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Terrorism rose sharply in India in 2008: US

Terrorism rose sharply in India in 2008: US

Author: S Rajagopalan
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 2, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/173457/Terrorism-rose-sharply-in-India-in-2008-US.html

'Outdated system impedes Govt's counter-terror operations'

India ranks among the word's most terrorism-afflicted countries, but its efforts to counter the menace remain hampered by its outdated and overburdened law enforcement and legal systems, says the US State Department's annual report on terrorism.

It highlights the 26/11 Mumbai carnage and seven other major terror strikes across India during 2008, adding: "None of the perpetrators of these attacks has yet been prosecuted."

"India continues to be the focus of numerous attacks from both externally-based terrorist organisations and internally-based separatist or terrorist entities," it says dwelling on the large number of casualties inflicted in these attacks, notably the most devastating of them in Mumbai, where the 183 victims included six Americans.

Commenting on the systems in place to deal with the challenge, the report said: "Although clearly committed to combating violent extremism, the Indian Government's counterterrorism efforts remained hampered by its outdated and overburdened law enforcement and legal systems."

It, however, took note of the post-Mumbai pieces of legislation in Parliament to restructure the counter-terrorism laws and the proposed National Investigative Agency to create national-level capability to probe and prosecute acts of terrorism. Since the Mumbai attacks, India has also greatly increased counter-terrorism cooperation with the US, it said.

South Asia as a whole is terrorism-plagued and the US has been working to increase counter-terror operations with its partners in the region, the report said, adding: "However, continuing political unrest in the region, weak Governments, and competing factions within various South Asia Governments, combined with increased terrorist activities, resulted in limited progress and made South Asia even less safe for US citizens and interests than it was in 2007."

The spate of attacks in India also suggested that "the terrorists were well-funded and financially organised", tapping illicit sources to fund their operations. In the Mumbai carnage, it cited the belief of Indian authorities that the terrorists used various funding sources including credit cards, hawala, charities and wealthy donors. The report also focuses on left-wing extremism by Maoists in eastern India and by insurgent groups in the North East.

While listing the major attacks, including the ones in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and New Delhi, the report says "the Indian Government assessed that South Asian Islamic extremist groups, including Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami (Bangladesh) as well as indigenous groups were behind these events".

"The Government of India believed these attacks were aimed at creating a breakdown in India-Pakistan relations, fostering Hindu-Muslim violence within India, and harming India's commercial centres to impede India's economic resurgence," it said.

In a section dealing with Pakistan, the report said the country continued to suffer from rising militancy and extremism and that the US remained concerned that the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan were being used as a safe haven for Al Qaeda terrorists, Afghan insurgents and other extremists.

As in previous years, the State Department identifies Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba as state sponsors of terrorism, with Iran being "the most active" of them. The US dropped North Korea from the blacklist last October following a deal to facilitate verifying the latter's nuclear disarmament. A formal agreement, however, was not concluded.

'Destroy Taliban in two weeks'

Washington: US's top commander David Petraeus has said that he is looking for concrete action by the Pakistan Government to destroy the Taliban in the next two weeks before Washington determines the next course of action, Fox News has reported.

Citing the General's purported assessment, it said Petraeus had told officials that the next two weeks were critical to determining whether the Pakistani Government would survive.

However, the US later denied having set a two-week deadline.

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