9 Dec : India’s globally acclaimed software industry is high on the terrorists’ target list and sensitive installations like atomic plants and refineries located on the coastline are vulnerable to terror attacks, Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said.
“We are world leaders in software. But software industry is high on the threat list,” Pillai said addressing a conference on ‘Challenge of Terrorism to India’s Infrastructure and Economy’ in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The Home Secretary said all software companies in India were now realising this fact and they were taking their own measures to protect themselves.
“And the government is also in partnership with many of the companies making effort to provide adequate security (to foil any attempt by the terrorists to target them),” he said.
Indian software exports have risen from Rs 28,350 crore in 2000-01 to an estimated Rs 216,300 crore in 2008-09.
The industry is expected to grow 16 percent this fiscal and log revenues of USD 60 billion despite the global slowdown.
Pillai said India’s western coastline hosting several petroleum and nuclear installations are vulnerable to terror strikes from the sea route.
“Petroleum and nuclear installations located on the western coast are highly vulnerable,” he said.
Pillai said steps were being taken to protect country’s 7,500 km-long coastline through multi-layered security apparatus.
“We have been trying to plug the loopholes in coastal security. There is a series of highly attractive installations in the West coast. No doubt it is still vulnerable,” he said.
A good number of nuclear power plants, including Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, are located along western coast.
Six refineries, including Reliance Industries Ltd, are also located along the West coast in places like Jamnagar, Mumbai, Mangalore and Kochi.
The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, who attacked Mumbai last year, came to the city through sea route.
Pillai said the government has improved the intelligence gathering mechanism to a great extent during the last one year and the security agencies have successfully neutralised many terrorists who were planning fresh terror attacks.
According to earlier intelligence inputs, Lashkar-e-Taiba was planning to attack two schools — Doon and Woodstock in Uttarakhand — and hotels in Goa which are regularly frequented by foreign tourists.
The Home Secretary said government was taking steps to deal with Maoists problem and taking action.
“Basic governance in naxal area is more critical than anything else,” he said.
Pillai said state governments have realised that security would soon be a major election issue if they could not provide security to common people and started taking action.
Pillai said the time has come to “think the unthinkable” as terrorists were adopting new strategy to break the country’s security.
“As we have seen from the David Headley case that one can still slip through the radar. Because we are not looking for them. This is one of the big problem. Because nobody would look for a US citizen, with a US passport and a business visa, you would not think that he is a terrorist,” he said.
The Home Secretary said if it can happen to a US national, it can happen to citizen of any other country and favoured necessary steps to deal with such cases.