As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in New Delhi on Sunday on a two-day visit, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has directed security agencies to ensure that he be provided the highest security cover in the wake of threats from ISIS.
The IB has even demanded that his aircraft be guarded at all times during his stay in the capital. A special request to allow officers deployed for his personal security to carry weapons has also been placed.
Top intelligence sources told India Today that the IB had directed Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, Customs and CISF to ensure that there was round-the-clock watch on President Erdogan's aircraft from the time it landed in the national capital until he completed the visit.
HERE IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
- As there is a high security threat perception for President Erdogan, his personal security officers will be allowed to carry 20 highly-sophisticated weapons and communication equipment during this tour.
- During his visit, President Erdogan is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee at Hyderabad House and Rashtrapati Bhawan respectively.
- In his meeting with PM Modi on May 1, Erdogan is likely to discuss India's NSG membership bid and ways to strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism and trade.
- Talks on bilateral, regional and other international issues of mutual interest are also expected to take place.
- According to sources, the expansion of ISIS network in the Indian subcontinent is a major security challenge.
- While some ISIS-linked networks, who were planning to carry out terror attacks in India, were identified and neutralised in recent months, latest investigations have revealed the persistent efforts by ISIS-inspired jihadi groups to carry out strikes in India. This is primarily why such top-notch security is being ensured for President Erdogan.
- Turkey is a member of the US-led coalition fighting against the ISIS and has carried out operation "Euphrates Shield" in Syria in retaliation to the threat posed by the terror outfit. It had simultaneously targeted Kurdistan Workers Party terrorists in North Syria and Iraq, including their hotbeds in the southern provinces of the country. This has made Turkey a soft target of those terrorist groups.
- A number of suicide attacks have been carried out by the ISIS in Istanbul and Ankara. Recently, ISIS claimed responsibility for carrying out an attack on the nightclub in Istanbul on January 1 which claimed 39 lives. The terrorists had also warned President Erdogan of more strikes.
- Turkey also witnessed a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The state machinery since then has purged thousands of individuals associated with the banned Fethullah Gulen Movement in the country. The Gulen sympathisers present in various countries may assist anti-Erdogan groups, thus posing a threat to visiting dignitaries like him.
- The country also recently concluded its constitutional referendum and victory of President Erdogan may drive him to intensify action against Kurds and his opponents, hence making him prone to enhanced threats from Kurds.