Though India has pursued the case of Dawood Ibrahim with the US for a long time, the two countries signalled their intention to jointly go after the mob boss and his support network during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the US.
A joint statement issued after Modi’s meeting with US President Barack Obama committed the two sides to collaborate to dismantle safe havens for terrorist networks and to disrupt financial and tactical support for the D-Company, the name given to Pakistan-based Dawood’s extensive terror and crime network.
The joint statement said the two sides would also take similar actions against the al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Haqqani Network.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who played a key role in the inclusion of the D-Company in the joint statement, stayed on in the US after the conclusion of Modi’s visit to fine-tune modalities for action against the terror networks.
Though official documents issued after meetings between India and the US in the past have contained references to groups like the LeT, this was the first time that the D-Company was mentioned in a joint statement.
The US Treasury Department designated Dawood as a “specially designated global terrorist” in October 2003 and frozen any assets belonging to him within the US.
At the time, the US had said that Dawood had found “common cause” with the al-Qaeda, “sharing his smuggling routes with the terror syndicate and funding attacks by Islamic extremists aimed at destabilising the Indian government”.
In November 2003, the UN Security Council had designated Dawood as a terrorist for his links with the al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.
He was also accused of participating in financing, planning, facilitating and perpetrating of terror attacks in India.
Besides being wanted in India for the 1993 Mumbai bombings, Dawood is known to have financed the activities of LeT, which was sanctioned by the US in October 2001.
Though Dawood has largely been based in the Pakistani port city of Karachi in recent years, reports had suggested that he was briefly moved to other places in the aftermath of the unilateral US military raid that killed bin Laden in May 2011.
Dawood, whose daughter is married to the son of Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad, is also believed to have safe houses in other cities like Lahore and Islamabad.