26/11: How Pakistan’s Musa company trains its maritime terrorists
Mumbai, Nov 26: The Mumbai 26/11 attack was one of the biggest sea borne strikes on the country. Ten terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba travelled to India from Pakistan by sea and launched an attack at various locations in Mumbai.
Since then there has been sprucing up of maritime security. Intelligence agencies often warn that the next big attacks would take place from the sea as the coast is the toughest thing to guard.
In this context, let us take a look at how adequate our coastal security is. Is India ready to fight the maritime threat? Let us also take a look at how Pakistan trains its maritime terrorists in this article.
Fighting terror on the seas
It is the Musa company, which is the special services group of the Pakistan Army that handles the naval wings of the terror groups.
The naval wing of these terrorist groups is not often used by terror groups. It is part of the surprise element, the reports state. Since 2004, it had become mandatory for every Lashkar-e-Tayiba recruit to undergo a certain amount of maritime training. This apart, the terrorists also take part in classes on elementary flying.
As part of the training programme, the first class is held in Thakot and then at Murdike. The training programme comes to a close at Karachi and each of these sessions is conducted by officers of the Musa company.
Sea routes a favourite
In the days to come the sea route would be the most preferred for terrorists. It is impossible to man the entire sea and hence in this regard, intelligence and coordination becomes the key. In addition to this there is also a dire need to introduce hi-tech technology to aid the Intelligence Bureau.
The reason why Intelligence, technology and coordination becomes crucial is because 90 per cent of the world trade is sea based and it is impossible to man each and every vessel on the sea. The smaller ones in particular pose the maximum danger.
In a bid to boost up the maritime capabilities, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the al-Shahbab came together in 2011. The coming together of these two outfits was specifically to spruce up their maritime capabilities.
Sponsoring the pirates:
Investigations conducted have revealed that the pirates from Somalia who are dominant on Indian waters were sponsored by the al-Shahbab group which is linked to the al-Qaeda. It was the ISI that had suggested that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the al-Shahbab come together and carry out strikes.
The idea was to send out the terrorists along with some of the pirates in a bid to carry out strikes. Since manning all vessels is an impossible task for India alone, it became necessary to seek the cooperation of other nations such as Africa. The Lashkar-e-Tayiba on the other hand entered into several alliances in a bid to spruce up its maritime capabilities.
Coordinating with the al-Shahbab:
An operative by the name Abu Yakub was tasked with coordinating with the al-Shahbab. A plan hatched back in 2011 indicated that these groups would send out several pirates into the sea in a bid to keep the Indian Navy busy. On the other hand they would take advantage of the situation and then get their terrorists to launch an attack on the Navy. Post the 26/11 attack, maritime security had been increased. There are over 400 warships which are on guard. In addition to this several more coastal police stations were set up and the fishermen were roped in to provide human intelligence.