December 20, 2008 9:18:00 am
More than two decades after the National Security Guard (NSG) was set up on the lines of the German GSG-9 counter-terrorism force, the two countries have agreed after the Mumbai attacks for GSG-9 to help train and upgrade the NSG which is being expanded to have six regional hubs.
It’s learnt that after the recent visit of German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble, the two countries are working to put in place an intensive assistance mechanism where the foremost priority is being given to improving the communication equipment used during operations. Sources said Germany had offered training from GSG-9 along with the communication equipment to help NSG upgrade.
GSG-9 is the elite counter-terrorism and special operations force of the German police, set up after the 1972 Munich Olympic terror incidents where the German police was found inadequate in countering the terrorists. German officials have told their Indian counterparts that no major terror incident has happened in Germany after that. GSG-9 is famous for its seven-minute quick operation in October 1977 to free a hijacked Lufthansa flight that was being held hostage in Mogadishu.
In continuing these high-level discussion, German Foreign Policy and Security Advisor Christoph Heusgen was here on Friday to meet his counterpart M K Narayanan to intensify cooperation on all fronts needed to enhance India’s preparedness to counter sophisticated terror operations like the one LeT launched in Mumbai. He assured all support, including GSG-9 training.
India, sources said, told Germany that LeT had footprints in at least 24 countries that includes Somalia, among Chechen rebels in Russia and even in Indonesia where Jamaat-ud-Dawa is said to have engaged in relief work after tsunami. Also, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakvi, who is believed to be the mastermind behind 26/11, is said to have fought in Bosnia.
These details were shared with Germany to underline the extent of LeT’s presence and hence, the ability to strike even in the West. In fact, heads of German national and foreign intelligence agencies will be visiting India soon to take this conversation further besides sharing experiences on countering terror.
Germany, which is also part of the recently formed group called the Friends of Pakistan, agreed that there was sufficient evidence to prove that the terrorists came from Pakistan, but it was still not clear that the trail led to the Pakistan Army or the ISI.
Germany, reliable sources said, also agreed that Pakistan had not done enough in terms of action after the Mumbai attack. But like other Western countries, Germany felt that that the civilian Government led by Asif Ali Zardari must be strengthened, as it was not aware of the attack. In the recently concluded meeting of the Friends of Pakistan, Germany has agreed to double the development assistance to Pakistan, particularly in FATA, from 40 million Euros to 80 million Euros.
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