A bomb blast in a Chennai train in May revealed new plots against India by Pakistan-based jihadist groups using Sri Lanka and Maldives as transit points. A multinational investigation including Malaysia zeroed in on a Lankan national, Shakir Hussain, who confessed that he had visited India over 20 times on reconnaissance trips.
He told investigators, as was reported by TOI, that he was facilitating militants from Maldives who were tasked with attacking American and Israeli consulates in Bangalore and Chennai, critical infrastructure like airports and power plants in Chennai among other targets.
The investigation, sources said, also pointed to involvement by Pakistani officials at their mission in Colombo. Indian officials confirmed that Sri Lanka and Maldives have been red-flagged by Indian security establishment for some time. The new Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, too, has been sensitized to the growth of fundamentalism among youngsters who may be traveling to Pakistan for religious studies.
In a related development, Sri lankan authorities have been rounding up Pakistani asylum seekers — almost 1,500 of them will be deported back to Pakistan. This has invited sharp criticism from human rights activists and the UN, because many of them are Ahmadiyas (a banned sect in Pakistan) and Shia Muslims.
While Indians have traditionally focused on north India as points of infiltration by Pakistan-supported elements, south India poses a particular danger.
May 1 Chennai train blast revealed plots against India by Pakistan-based jihadists using Sri Lanka and Maldives as transit points. Modi conveyed the sensitivity of issue to Lankan President Rajapakse during his May 26 swearing in as PM and sensitized the new Maldivian president also.
On return to Sri Lanka, Rajapakse ordered probe which led to decision.