The cases of youths joining the Islamic State were only “stray incidents” and there was “no widespread pull” of terrorist group, said former R&AW chief Alok Joshi on Wednesday.
Joshi, who retired on December 31 and is presently posted as an Officer on Special Duty to the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), asserted that the incidents of youth joining the IS or the ISIS were mainly out of “curiosity”.
“I will contest the point that there is a widespread pull of the ISIS (in India)… We are not in agreement with that. Now, I am not there (in R&AW), but certainly when I was, we didn’t see the kind of spread that people generally believed to be there (for the terror group). That is just not there,” Joshi said on the sidelines of a conference to discuss counter-IED strategies by the National Security Guard (NSG).
Joshi, who is set to take over as the NTRO chairman on April 1, said those who were probably swayed by the ideology of the IS have since been taken care of.
“There is a certain curiosity element as to what the ISIS is all about. But there is no sign of any great involvement (of Indian youths with ISIS)… One or two stray cases may be there… But people have been suitably cautioned, informed and assisted,” he said.
He, however, evaded a direct reply to a question on the recent controversy over an intercept by the NTRO following which the Coast Guard fired on a Pakistani fishing vessel off the Gujarat coast.
“It is very unfair to constantly cast doubt on this aspect… Let me assure that there are processes in place at the cutting-edge level in the agency (NTRO). This (exchange of snoop data) is not an issue at all,” he said.
To questions whether the operation off the Gujarat coast on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 was correct or whether there was an inquiry instituted to probe lapses, if any, he said to the best of his knowledge, there was “no inquiry”, but “I am only an understudy as of now”.