The arrest of Zabiuddin Ansari aliyas Abu Jundal in Saudi Arabia and his deportation to India are not only billed to be major success for intelligence agencies but also speak volumes about Indian diplomacy. The sort of information divulged by Abu Jundal to Intelligence agencies raises some serious concerns. Jundal has revealed how terror groups have been plotting to carry out attacks in India. Such information has often been coming to the fore since Jundal’s arrest. The police now need to be more vigilant so that these terror organizations do not succeed in executing their mala-fide intention. In fact Jundal’s arrest has given a big jolt to the terror outfits preparing to carry out attacks on Indian soil, however they are likely to wreak havoc, disrupting the peaceful ambience of the country that could create bubbles in the Indo-Pak relation. The deportation of Abu Jundal is rather more important as Pakistan had put in all efforts to hamstring the extradition of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist to India. However, Saudi Arabia did not heed to Pakistan’s appeal. Moreover, Saudi Arabia on the request of Indian intelligence agencies arrested another Lashkar-e-Taiba man Fasih Mohammed. Saudi Arabia’s cooperation will certainly give a new impression on the strategic and diplomatic scenario of the region. Saudi Arabia’s cooperation is rather more important as it is seen as a friend of Pakistan.

One week after Jundal’s arrest there was a foreign secretary level talk between India and Pakistan. As it was assumed, no breakthrough could be achieved in the bilateral relations between both the nations. Clearly Jundal’s arrest cast a shadow on the talks. It is a known fact that Pakistan is least interested in bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 to book. Despite several concrete proofs, Pakistan is not only willing to accept that terror groups responsible for the Mumbai mayhem were trained on its soil but also enjoyed ISI’s support. All evidences given by India to Pakistan have been termed insufficient by the authorities of the neighbouring country. Fearing criticism from the international community, Pakistan is reluctant to accept the role of terror groups active on its soil.

During the foreign secretary level talks, India had raised the issue of Abu Jundal and provided all possible information to Pakistan based on the interrogation, but Pakistan adopted a pessimistic attitude. Pakistan is not willing to act as a responsible nation. Though Indian diplomats have realized that Pakistan will never accept the evidences given to it by India, New Delhi should keep applying pressure on Pakistan. It is evident that a section of the Pakistani army and the ISI are busy in their anti-India agenda of providing help to terror groups to carry out attacks on Indian soil. The entire world is aware of the fact, but Pakistan somehow manages to deceive them.
For continuing its campaign in Afghanistan, the US along with its allied nations requires Pakistani territory for furthering the operation. Pakistan knows better how to cash in on the compulsion of the western countries. Therefore it isn’t surprising that the bitterness recently developed between the US and Pakistan seems to be fading away. America has once again agreed to provide financial help to Pakistan despite knowing very well that Pakistan could misuse this money against India.  On several occasions India has given concrete evidences in this regard but to no avail. Pakistan has been continuously providing assistance to the separatists in Kashmir. When India talked about Abu Jundal during the recently held foreign secretary level meeting, Pakistan once again raised the issue of Kashmir. Owing to this attitude of Pakistan, the warmth of the relation between the two countries gets watered down. It’s a fact that India has no other option but to carry on talks to improve relations with Pakistan. Any bid of India to apply force on the Pakistan could destabilise peace in the region. Therefore, it would be wise step for India to apply restraint and continue dialogue process in order to improve the relationship with Pakistan, but at the same time ruling establishment of India should be proactive to fend off any possible threat of terror outfit operating from the neighbouring country.

In the present scenario, security forces and intelligence agencies should hammer out a new strategy against terrorism. The proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) can play an important role in this regard but unfortunately due to political compulsions it could not be made functional. It is difficult to say whether Mamata Banerjee, Navin Patnaik along with other Chief Ministers will ever converge on the NCTC, but it’s an irony that even the issue of internal security is being overshadowed by petty politics. It seems strange that the Maharashtra Police filed a petition in the court for Abu Jundal’s custody despite knowing the fact that the Delhi police was interrogating him. National Investigating Agency along with the Gujarat and Maharashtra police are also keen on getting Jundal’s custody. It clearly indicates that state governments are treating the issue of terrorism, posing serious menace to internal security, as an affair under their own jurisdiction. The behaviour of Delhi and Maharashtra police indicates that they belong to two different countries. Can’t all of them interrogate Jundal collectively? The lack of coordination between Central and state police will be like a boon for terrorists. It is to be noted that amidst the bickering of Delhi and Maharashtra police a terrorist managed to escape the arrest. In fact such a divergent stand of state police justifies the need of setting up of anti-terror establishment like NCTC. The Centre should try to clear all the apprehensions of state governments and make NCTC functional as soon as possible. Considering the growing terror threat, it would be wise that the Central and state security agencies should work in tandem, until a consensus is evolved over NCTC.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on July 8, 2012 translated by the English Editorial. The author is Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)