The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Security review for Kalam, Atal

New Delhi, July 1: The security for both the President and the Prime Minister will be upgraded amid intelligence reports on militant groups’ unease over the India-Pakistan peace process.

The decision to further upgrade the security for A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Atal Bihari Vajpayee was taken after reports came in about militant groups determined to halt the peace initiative, home ministry officials said.

A proposal to include a jammer vehicle in Kalam’s motorcade is being considered to prevent the use of remote-controlled, improvised explosive devices by militants.

“Many of the terrorist outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad are worried about the easing of tension between India and Pakistan,” a senior government official said.

“They are angry with President Musharraf and worried that the military leader may sacrifice the Kashmir cause to buy peace with India. Some hothead belonging to either of these groups, or to a little known outfit, may decide to kill a senior Indian leader to put an end to the peacemaking efforts in the region,” he said.

“We just don’t want to take a chance after hearing these (intelligence) reports and want to be doubly sure that security of VVIPs is foolproof. Anyway, there are regular reviews of VVIP security arrangements.”

Unlike his predecessors, Kalam has been the target of several militant groups because of his former role in the country’s missile and nuclear programmes.

The weapons carried by the President’s security personnel are also being upgraded. Those in the pilot car and the first two escorts in Kalam’s cavalcade will get upgraded rifles.

Vajpayee’s security, too, has come under review because of several minor breaches in the Prime Minister’s cavalcade of late.

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