India among world’s most terror-hit nations: US

April 30th, 2008 - 11:41 pm ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 30 (IANS) India continues to rank among the world’s most terror-afflicted countries with terrorist strikes by Islamic and other extremists taking more than 2,300 lives in 2007, according to the US State Department. The conflict in Jammu and Kashmir, attacks by extreme leftist Naxalites and Maoists in eastern and central India, and assaults by ethno-linguistic nationalists in the northeastern states added to the casualties, it said Wednesday in an annual report on terrorism.

Taking note of the decreased terror activity along the Line of Control that divides Kashmir and crediting the leadership in Pakistan with taking steps to make this happen, the report points out that Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and other Kashmir-focused groups continued to plan regional terror attacks.

“The Indian government’s counter-terrorism efforts remained hampered by outdated and overburdened law enforcement and legal systems. The Indian court system was slow, laborious, and prone to corruption; terrorism trials can take years to complete,” the Congressionally mandated annual report said.

“Many of India’s local police forces were poorly staffed, lacked training, and were ill-equipped to combat terrorism effectively,” it noted.

Noting that New Delhi has accused Islamic extremists of carrying out several attacks, including the one on the Friendship Train between India and Pakistan that killed dozens in February last year, the report said: “These attacks, which killed and injured both Muslims and Hindus, were probably conducted by extremists hoping to incite anger between the Hindu and Muslim communities.”

Indian officials claim that the perpetrators of these attacks have links to groups based in Pakistan and Bangladesh, particularly LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami, among others, the report said.

These groups also have links to terrorist activity in Jammu and Kashmir. The number of civilians killed were approximately half of that in the previous year.

In May 2007, “the Indian government acknowledged that the level of infiltration across the Line of Control had fallen, but noted that insurgents had in some case shifted routes to enter India through Bangladesh and Nepal. Attacks in Kashmir continued,” it said.

The US State Department noted that India participated in the US-India Counter Terrorism Joint Working Group (CTJWG), which has so far met nine times since its creation in 2000, besides similar joint forums with 15 other countries.

It has also participated in multilateral CTJWGs with the EU and with the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, an organisation that promotes economic cooperation among Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

In October, the Indian government held the second round of consultations with Pakistan under the bilateral counter-terrorism joint mechanism, and hosted a ministerial level meeting of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) on Counter-terrorism, the report noted.

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