Indian security agencies effective in disrupting terror threats: US report

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Indian security agencies are effective in disrupting terror threats, but gaps remain in interagency intelligence and information sharing, the US state department said in its annual report on terrorism published Thursday. Citing several arrests by India’s National Investigative Agency (NIA), the country-wise report said that Indian counterterrorism forces actively detected and disrupted transnational and regional terrorist groups in 2020.

The ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2020: India’ mentioned multiple arrests of alleged al-Qaeda-affiliated operatives from Kerala and West Bengal, and of Abdul Karim, the second-in-command of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, on suspected involvement in serial bombings in Bodh Gaya in 2013.

It stated that India responds “in a timely manner” to the requests made by the United States for information related to terrorism investigations and “makes efforts to mitigate threats” in response to the information shared by the US. According to the report, the collaborative efforts of India and the United States have disrupted terrorist travel and alerted American authorities about possible threats posed to the United States.

“Officials remain concerned about internet use for terrorist recruitment and radicalization to violence, as well as for fomenting interreligious tensions. In 2020 there were multiple reports in the media and from the NIA of suspected cases of online terrorist radicalization, particularly in southern Indian states,” the report said.

It highlighted the major terrorist groups that are active in India, including Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

“The Indian government made significant efforts to detect, disrupt, and degrade the operations of terrorist organizations within its borders,” the report further noted, adding that counterterrorism and security cooperation with the United States expanded in 2020.

The country-wise report on Pakistan said that India’s neighbour took steps to counter terror financing and to restrain India-focused militant groups but made limited progress on its pledge to dismantle all terrorist organizations without delay or discrimination. It highlighted that Islamabad did not take steps under its domestic authorities to prosecute terrorist leaders residing in Pakistan, such as JeM founder Masood Azhar and LeT’s Sajid Mir, mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

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