security agencies issue advisory to counter pakistan's espionage tactics

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Security agencies have issued a detailed advisory to the stakeholders to remain alert to Pakistani espionage tactics by keeping a watch on the visa violators, tracing Pakistani nationals with valid visas and missing Pakistan nationals besides tracking visiting business delegations from across the border and fortifying counter intelligence apparatus around sensitive defence and scientific research institutions.

The advisory comes amid renewed efforts by Pakistani intelligence agencies to gather information by seeking to compromise officials of Indian missions abroad, making pseudonymous calls to government officials, cyber offensives and the like to gather intelligence on scientific developments in space and missile technology, defence exercises and simulation facilities among others.

The thrust areas for Pakistan-directed espionage is the activities of the Indian armed forces and the paramilitary forces and assessing their future requirement, procurement of military hardware, ascertaining the organisational set up, communication network, location of cantonments, air and naval bases, rail movement of army and paramilitary units, annual exercise programmes of army including simulation exercises and war games. The focus is also on gathering telephone directory of defence units, especially of those deployed along the Indo-Pakistan border.

Another area of emphasis by the Pak agencies is on espionage in the field of science and technology where Pakistan was trying to monitor developments in diverse fields such as nuclear, space and missile technology and defence research, particularly those related to technological developments for the frontier areas besides trying to obtain classified documents. Most of the Pak-backed espionage modules were located in the border districts of Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal.

Pakistan was exploiting its resident agents and Indian resident agents and using Pak mission in India and in third countries, cyber space, especially social media, monitoring of websites of Indian scientific institutions and compromising disgruntled elements of scientific establishments.

Fake social media profiles are also used for honey-trapping officials, compromising computers and extraction of information through crank calls through illegal grey telephone exchanges or calls over VoIP and compromising government officials posted in Indian mission by exploiting their weaknesses.

Suggested counter measures include keeping watch over activities of Pak Jathas (Tablighs and Zaireen)/business delegations, their places of stay, trans-border smugglers, Sawari/Hawala operators and persons released by courts in espionage cases.

The variety of offensive activities undertaken by the Pakistani agencies include espionage, subversion, sabotage and terrorism.

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