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Saudi, Indian intelligence come together to combat terrorism

NewsSaudi, Indian intelligence come together to combat terrorism

NEW DELHI: On 28 March, the Saudi Arabian Cabinet approved an order that will have far-reaching implications as far as India’s security apparatus and its efforts to curb terror groups are concerned. As per the decision of the Saudi Cabinet, India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), and the Presidency of State Security (PSS), which is responsible for all matters related to the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will now extensively cooperate in the field of combating and financing terrorist.
The PSS was born in July 2017 when the kingdom rulers had carried out a massive shakeup of its security apparatus. In February 2019, during his visit to India, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, initiated talks to increase the cooperation between the two countries in the field of intelligence sharing and strategic security, something that officials in India were wanting for a long time.
For long, Riyadh was seen as a safe haven for terror groups who would use the country as a safe haven to reach out to their partners and coordinate terror attacks as the 9/11 attacks and the 26/11 Mumbai attacks showed. However, things started changing following the Mumbai attack when the Saudis arrested and deported Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari, aka Abu Jundal, one of the main accused in the Mumbai attack, on 25 June 2012. This was a far cry from August 2008 when the Saudis decided to let go of 1993 Mumbai blast accused Anees Ibrahim after arresting him at Jeddah airport despite India’s fervent request.
Official sources say that things have improved “drastically” in the last few years as Saudi Arabia has taken long strides to get itself off the infamous list of Gulf countries that work as “jehadi centre”. Much of this has been attributed to the significant policy reforms that MBS has initiated in order to shelve the negative image that the country had developed.
Many of the terror funding networks spread across Saudi Arabia, including those that were operated by Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), have seen reduction in state patronage that has led to them looking for new places in the region.
There is a lot of movement of information between Riyadh and Delhi on a real-time basis as far as counter-terror cooperation is concerned and both countries, without disclosing the details, have mutually benefited from this sharing of information. Sources said that PSS, which was handling the most efficient intelligence setup among the Gulf countries, had proven to be a valuable ally for Indian agencies, which for long, had been looking for a friend in the Gulf.

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