Friday, May 01, 2009

India among world's most terror-afflicted countries: US

1 May 2009, 0857 hrs IST, PTI



WASHINGTON: Ranking India among the world's most terrorism-afflicted countries, the United States on Friday said that none of the perpetrators of
the major terrorist attacks in that country last year have yet been prosecuted.

Besides the 26/11 Mumbai attack, the annual "Country Reports on Terrorism 2008" of the US state department has listed seven other major terrorist attacks in India during 2008 -- prominent among them being the Jaipur bombings, attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul and the terror strikes in Ahmedabad, Delhi and Assam.

"In addition to the Mumbai attacks, the rise in terrorist attacks and their coordinated nature throughout India suggested the terrorists were well-funded and financially organized," the report said.

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As for the Mumbai attack, the report said Indian authorities believe that the terrorists used various funding sources including credit cards, hawala, charities, and wealthy donors. Illicit funding sources that may have been exploited to finance terrorist operations were being closely investigated, it said.

According to the report, Indian government assessed that Islamic extremist groups including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harakat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami (Bangladesh) as well as indigenous groups were behind major terrorists attacks.

In its report, the US also praised India for having an "excellent record" of protecting its nuclear assets from terrorists.

India is taking steps to improve further the security of its strategic systems, it said.

In May the Indian Parliament passed the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Bill, designed to prevent the transfer of WMD, delivery systems, and associated technologies to state and non-state actors, including terrorists, the US reported.

And in August, India announced a new policy on airplane hijackings that included directing ground crews to obstruct a hijacked plane from taking off, and a clearance procedure for authorizing the shooting down of a hijacked plane in flight that might endanger civilians on the ground.

Observing that the terrorists staged hundreds of attacks on people and property in India in the year 2008, the report said the most prominent terrorist groups are violent extremist separatists operating in Jammu and Kashmir, Maoists in the "Naxalite belt", and ethno-linguistic nationalists in India's northeastern states.

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