Amit Shah Meets NSA Doval; Better Tech Use Among Forces Tops Agenda Amid Sticky Bombs Threat

Amid security preparations for this year’s Amarnath Yatra in the Kashmir Valley, union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday chaired a high-level meeting with national security adviser Ajit Doval, NTRO chief Anil Dashmana and other CAPF heads.

In the wake of increased cross-border drone activity and use of sticky bombs, the central agenda of the meeting was better use of technology by armed forces to counter such security challenges.

A separate meeting was also chaired by the home secretary, who interacted with heads of National Investigation Agency, Central Industrial Security Force, National Security Guard and Border Security Force. They, too, discussed the use of technology to deal with terror threats.

Earlier in the week, Shah had held a meeting with Doval and RAW chief Samnat Goel among other top officials. They had discussed the security situation in the union territory, which has witnessed a spate of killings since May. Shah had also convened a high-level meeting on June 3 to discuss the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and to take stock of the arrangements for the annual pilgrimage, which is being held after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In similar meetings about the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah has directed security forces and police to conduct coordinated counter-terrorism operations proactively. The home minister has advocated that to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a prosperous and peaceful J&K, security forces should ensure zero cross-border infiltration.

On May 29, a drone carrying seven sticky bombs was shot down in Rajbagh area of Kathua district shortly after it crossed into the Indian side from across the international border. The drone was part of a major terror plot aimed at the Amarnath Yatra but timely intervention of police foiled the major terror plot, as per sources. Apart from the seven sticky bombs, the drone was also carrying another packet containing seven under-barrel grenades.

Police had inputs that terrorists might use sticky bombs to attack the Char Dham Yatra buses. A search party of police detected movement of a drone from the border in Talli Hariya Chak area under Rajbagh police station’s jurisdiction in the morning and fired at it. Police officials said the drone was brought down after being hit by the ground fire.

A similar modus operandi was also used during the Katra bus incident earlier this month, where one such bomb was suspected to have been used. Top intelligence sources had then said the mysterious blast inside the vehicle was a terror attack and a sticky bomb was used for the blast on the bus heading to the Vaishno Devi shrine base camp.

Security officials said the threat of IED attacks have always been there. However, sticky bombs (also called magnetic bombs), which can be attached to a vehicle, are a new threat this time. These can be remotely detonated or set off by timers.

According to a senior J&K police officer, it is a coin-shaped magnet at the bottom of a small container that enables the attacker to attach the bomb to a metal surface, usually a vehicle. Unlike remote control sticky bombs, these bombs have a timer of about five to 10 minutes, which gives the attacker enough time to flee.

(With PTI inputs)

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