Pak terror groups eye drones, paragliders to attack India: Intelligence

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Yusuf, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Mar 24, 2009
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    NEW DELHI: Amidst chilling revelations by several terrorists and investigations carried out by intelligence agencies on possible use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)/unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) for terrorist attacks, the government has finalized a robust policy for flying such objects. The new guidelines for the UAVs/UASs including paragliders, hot air balloons, remote-controlled flying devices, microlight aircrafts etc will be out soon, said sources.

    The recent attack at Jewani in Balochistan province of Pakistan on August 30, in which gunmen stormed the small unused airport in early hours, also sent alarm bells ringing as there are 325 such less used or unused airstrips in India, which can be used for launching gliders etc.

    READ ALSO: Threat from terrorist groups emanates from Pakistan, US says

    In fact, the threat from paragliders is borne by the interrogation of terrorists including LeT's Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, Indian Mujahideen's Syed Ismael Afaque Lanka and Khalistani militant leader Jagtar Singh Tara. Jundal, co-conspirator of 26/11 Mumbai strikes, had revealed that LeT provides aerial training to select cadres. Independent inputs confirm ISI's role as well in training LeT cadres in parachute jumping. It is learnt that LeT is trying to procure equipment for paragliding from companies in China and UAE, besides falling back on in-house Pakistani companies to purchase the technology to build drones. In December 2014, intelligence inputs had indicated that LeT had paragliders ready to operate at two weeks' notice.

    Afaque, the IM man arrested in Bengaluru in January, revealed during his de-briefing an interest in paragliding, which, given his religious and puritanical lifestyle, aroused suspicion. He had undergone a five-day paragliding training course in November 2013 in Goa and just two months later purchased two second-hand paragliders from the US. A safety harness was purchased from Huzaifah Power Tools, Bengaluru. According to Afaque's trainer, the IM terrorist had insisted on being trained alone, shown interest in tandem paragliding and also wanted him to explore the viability of flying paragliders in Bhatkal area.

    Jagtar Singh Tara, arrested in Bangkok on January 5 this year, revealed the ISI's designs to liaise with Pakistan-based Sikh militants to procure motorized para-gliding equipment from Spain. The paragliders were to be launched from Pakistan to drop arms/explosives consignments here. This consignment was to be used by identified Pakistani associates to stage a fidayeen attack on Dera Sachcha Sauda at Sirsa. Fortunately, after receiving the equipment in semi-knocked down kit, the group could not assemble it properly and the glider did not take off.

    READ ALSO: 'Pak stopped support to Harakat-ul-Ansar to avoid terror tag'

    The agencies, in investigations carried out in Spain, learnt that a motorized paraglider with a capacity to carry two persons was to be procured for 10 lakh Pakistani rupees. The equipment could carry a payload of 150 kg and cover a distance of nearly 70km. Tara tasked one Gajinder Singh to receive the paragliding equipment in Pakistan.

    Spanish authorities confirmed that Spain resident Muhammad Umar Gondal had purchased a para-motor from a paraglider store in Costa de Sol area, mentioning an address in Sargodha, Pakistan, in the invoice. Gondal took the paraglider to Pakistan on June 30, 2014, when he claimed VAT refund on it.

    As per the plan, the paraglider was to be launched from Narowal area during dusk time, with the intention of dropping the consignment into Indian territory. The paraglider would then make a return sortie, with the propeller fan switched off at a safe distance to avoid alerting the border agencies.
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