Amid reports of Pakistani agents targeting soldiers online, the army has issued an advisory instructing its personnel to exercise extreme caution while befriending strangers on the Internet. It has told soldiers and officers to be especially wary of those identifying themselves as spiritual leaders or women of foreign origin, laying specific emphasis on not divulging any sensitive information.
These instructions come at a time when a soldier has been taken into custody in Jodhpur on charges of selling confidential information to a Pakistani woman agent through social media. A colleague detained along with him was later freed for lack of evidence.
The advisory issued last month indicated that Pakistani agents under fake identities were actively trying to target soldiers deployed in sensitive areas. The army, it said, has identified around 150 such profiles until now.
A source said that Pakistani agents target army personnel on social media in order to procure contact numbers of senior officers and gather information on deployment patterns. "The profiles appear authentic because they are generally two to three years old," news agency PTI quoted an official as saying.
The ones most likely to be targeted are junior officers and soldiers, the advisory said.
Vichitra Behra, an Odiya soldier posted in Pokhran, was picked up from the Jodhpur Railway Station along with a colleague on Tuesday. "The soldier gave confidential information to the Pakistan woman agent through social media. He also accepted money from the other side," news agency IANS quoted Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Umesh Mishra as saying.
An analysis of the questions she asked Mr Behra confirmed suspicions that she was a member of the Pakistani intelligence, he added.
The soldier has been charged under Section 3 (Espionage) of the Official Secrets Act for allegedly sharing crucial information with the Pakistani agent over a period of two years.
(With inputs from Agencies)