Tuesday, November 02, 2004

India: Analysis - On Osama bin "Spotted"


How true is the information that India supplied intelligence details of Bin Laden's whereabouts to FBI headquarters in the US two weeks ago after Indian military intelligence gathered evidence of his moving towards Himalayas? Interestingly, it all started with Fox News stating that Bin Laden was heading to his winter citadel in the Himalayas and was spotted by an Indian aerial reconnaissance plane. The report added that it was India's military intelligence, which forwarded some startling inputs to FBI on the same. So how can an Indian Air Force reconnaissance plane spot Bin Laden sitting in a convoy? If the IAF inspection aircraft really did then why it is taking so long for the entire world that is fighting a global war against terror to nab the most wanted Bin Laden so far? And how true is that such intelligence inputs exist in the records of the military intelligence and has been shared with the US?


Read in conjunction with Dak Bangla's Global Jihad News on UBL in China of 17th October HERE

Bin Laden's spectre via Indian Air Force
Ravi S. Jha

Was Osama bin Laden's convoy spotted by an Indian Air Force reconnaissance plane that picked his picture close to the North-Eastern frontier of Pakistan bordering India and China?

How true is the information that India supplied intelligence details of Bin Laden's whereabouts to FBI headquarters in the US two weeks ago after Indian military intelligence gathered evidence of his moving towards Himalayas?

While the federal government here is still searching for answers on how to respond to such claims being made in a section of the US media and broadcast by a prominent TV channel here late on Sunday night, the news of 'Bin Laden being located close to Indian border in Pakistan' and 'Indian security agencies being alerted in Kashmir' has come as a 'scoop' that many in the media is getting wary to lap up.

Interestingly, it all started with Fox News stating that Bin Laden was heading to his winter citadel in the Himalayas and was spotted by an Indian aerial reconnaissance plane. The report added that it was India's military intelligence, which forwarded some startling inputs to FBI on the same. Then it was the turn of the Star News TV Channel that had a 'Breaking News' at 12 in the midnight on a lean Sunday quoting Fox News footages on the same.

It said India had provided intelligence details to FBI on Bin Laden's presence in Pakistan and his convoy was seen heading near Tibet-Ladakh region close to the border of India in Pakistan. And that is not all. Even a 'piece to camera' from TV Channel's Delhi bureau authoritatively stated quoting 'sources in the defence' confirming such a development.

So how can an Indian Air Force reconnaissance plane spot Bin Laden sitting in a convoy? If the IAF inspection aircraft really did then why it is taking so long for the entire world that is fighting a global war against terror to nab the most wanted Bin Laden so far? And how true is that such intelligence inputs exist in the records of the military intelligence and has been shared with the US?

If reports are to be believed then Bin Laden was spotted between October 17 and 19 by the IAF plane. While some in the federal government cautiously reacted to the news report, many termed it as speculative. "What non-sense?" said a defence official reacting to the news. So far India is concerned; it has not shared any high level 'intelligence input' with the US, said official.

Though India has military intelligence infrastructure where radio signal can be picked up and intercept the communication links, besides satellites to trace such convoy on ground, there are doubts whether such images can pick up Bin Laden with pin-point accuracy. The Star News quoting Fox News said the military intelligence report mentioned the pilot of the aircraft clearly recognising Bin Laden.

Not surprisingly, the sensational news break is being seen in India as an effort to use India on the eve of US presidential elections essentially to recuperate President George Bush. Also Bin Laden's latest tape is being seen as one of the many attempts to rescue President Bush. Many believe that if news of Bin Laden's whereabouts can be exploited, then things could change remarkably for President Bush who till Sunday was trailing behind Kerry.

Khaleej 02/11/2004