India, US step up cooperation to track Dawood

India, US step up cooperation to track Dawood

India and the United States (US) stepped up cooperation to track Dawood Ibrahim, as the fugitive underworld don, who generally lived at Karachi in Pakistan till recently, of late started shifting his base frequently and purportedly moved to different locations within and outside the neighbouring country. 

The officials of India and US may discuss the issue of bringing the elusive D-company chief to justice during the third round of bilateral Homeland Security Dialogue, which is likely to take place in New Delhi later this month or early next month.

The dialogue will be co-chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and US Secretary for Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.

Sources said that Indian and American agencies had of late stepped up sharing of intelligence on terrorist and criminal networks based in Pakistan, including the D-company, which had come under renewed focus after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington on September 30. The joint statement issued after Modi-Obama meeting stressed on the need for stepping up cooperation to combat organisations like al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D-Company and Haqqani Network, including dismantling their safe havens.

Sources in New Delhi said that Indian and American agencies over the past few weeks renewed bilateral cooperation, focusing particularly on “disrupting financial and tactical support” that the D-company enjoyed within and outside Pakistan.

Dawood is wanted in India for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts that killed about 300 people.

Despite being on the Most Wanted List of the Interpol since long, he remained elusive, although New Delhi has been regularly receiving inputs about his being in Karachi under protection of the Inter Services Intelligence – the spy agency of Pakistan. He has also been running his network of extortion within and outside India.

Indian intelligence agencies are understood to have shared with their counterparts in US that the ISI had shifted Dawood from Karachi to North Waziristan near Afghanistan-Pakistan border sometime in the second week of October, ostensibly in anticipation of heightened cooperation between New Delhi and Washington to track him down in the wake of Modi-Obama meet.

The US agencies later shared with their counterparts in India intelligence inputs suggesting that he had been subsequently moved to Thailand, but had been brought back to Pakistan.

The US Treasury Department in 2003 put Dawood in the list of “Specially Designated Global Terrorists”, thus seeking to freeze any assets belonging to him in America and prohibiting his or his associates’ transactions with Americans. 

The United Nations in 2007 added him to the list of individuals belonging to or associated with al-Qaeda.

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