INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR----PAPER NO.467
( A data-base prepared in connection with a a four-day conference on terrorism held at Tokyo from November 11 to 14, 2008, under the joint auspices of the Institute of Defence Analyses (IDA) of Washington DC and the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency. A report on my interventions in the conference is already available under the title "There Is No MacCounter-Terrorism)
Cross Border Terrorist Links
(1). Indian terrorist Groups with links in Pakistan:
(a). The Hizbul Mujahideen (HM): An indigenous Kashmiri group of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), which advocates the merger of J&K with Pakistan. Its leader, Syed Salahuddin, who was an Indian national, lives in Pakistan and co-ordinates the activities of the organization from Pakistan. Funded, trained and armed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Continues to be active in J&K.
(b). The Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). It has two branches. The Indian branch, which operates from Srinagar, is headed by Yasin Malik. The Pakistani branch, which operates from Rawalpindi, is headed by Amanullah Khan, a native of Gilgit in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Both the branches advocate an independent Jammu & Kashmir comprising all Kashmiri territory presently under the control of India, Pakistan and China. It was the first to start a violent struggle in J&K in 1989 supported by the ISI. Alarmed by the public support for independence, the ISI cut down its assistance to the JKLF and propped up the HM. The JKLF has given up resort to terrorism and has converted itself into a purely political movement for an independent Kashmir
There are many other terrorist organizations too in J&K with links in Pakistan, but they are not as important as the two mentioned above.
( c ). The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Formed in Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh in 1977 by some students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to function as a Muslim Rights Movement among the students. Some of its members went to Pakistan in the late 1980s and were got trained by the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) of Pakistan. Took to reprisal terrorism against the Hindus and Hindu nationalist organizations after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 by a mob of pro-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Hindus. Its activities have spread to different parts of India since then. Its objectives are partly retaliation for the excesses allegedly committed against the Muslims by the police and Hindu nationalist elements and partly to fight against the wrongs allegedly committed against the Indian Muslims. Acts sometimes on its own and sometimes in tandem with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) of Pakistan and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami of Bangladesh (HUJI-B). Some of its cadres were trained in LET/HUJI camps in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
(d). The Indian Mujahideen (IM): It came to notice after serial blasts carried out in three cities of Uttar Pradesh around the same time in November,2007. It projected itself as an organization of purely Indian Muslims with no links to Pakistan or Pakistan-based terrorist groups. It also claimed post-facto responsibility for some previous terrorist strikes including the serial explosions in some suburban trains of Mumbai in July,2006, in which over180 commuters and other civilians were killed. Since November,2007, the IM has also claimed responsibility for the serial blasts in Jaipur in May,2008, in Ahmedabad in July,2008, and in Delhi in September ,2008. Its claims of responsibility were believed to be authentic. Subsequently, there were serial blasts in Agartala and at four towns in Assam in October, 2008. Over 80 persons died due to the blasts in Assam----62 on the spot and the remaining in hospitals while under treatment. A claim of responsibility in respect of the Assam blasts was made by an organization calling itself ISF/IM-----which has been interpreted by the police to mean Islamic Security Force, Indian Mujahideen. This claim is yet to be proved to be authentic. In messages sent before and after the blasts in UP, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi the IM had referred to the various wrongs allegedly committed against the Muslims by the Indian criminal Justice system. The perpetrators of the blasts in Ahmedabad and Delhi have been identified and arrested. Some members of the IM based in Mumbai, who were allegedly planning to commit acts of terrorism in Mumbai, have also been arrested. The organization has at its disposal educated Muslims, some of whom have had the benefit of secular education. Among those arrested in Mumbai were three trained persons in Information Technology (IT), one of whom was a senior executive in the Indian office of yahoo.com. According to the police, he had visited the US in the past. While many perpetrators and other members have been arrested, the police do not seem to have a clear idea of its structure, leadership and command and control. The indications till now are that the organization has many sleeper cells in different urban centres of India, capable of operating autonomously of each other. The investigations also indicate links between this organization and the world of organized crime. Riaz Bhatkal, still absconding, one of the principal motivators of the IM, is allegedly a mafia operator. Many of those arrested so far have a SIMI background. This would indicate that it is either an off-shoot of SIMI or has drawn many of its members from the SIMI. According to the Delhi Police, the organization has had contacts with Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Toiba. Contacts with the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) of Bangladesh are also suspected. The organization itself denies any external links.
(2). Pakistani terrorist groups with links in India:
(a). The Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) with its headquarters in Muridke, near Lahore. Came into existence during the Afghan Mujahideen’s fight against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. After the Afghan Mujahideen captured power in Kabul in April,1992, the ISI sent the LET’s trained cadres into J&K to help the HM and other pro-Pakistan groups. From 1999, its cadres have spread to other parts of India too. Wahabi in orientation. Strongly opposed to liberal democracy of the Western model. Describes Kashmir as “the gateway to India” and its objectives as to help in the merger of Kashmir with Pakistan and help the Indian Muslims in other parts of India in their fight against the Hindus and the Government. Its sleeping cells in India have been discovered in many urban towns in the north as well as the south. It operates in India with its own trained cadres, who are Pakistani nationals, as well as Indian Muslims recruited by it through the SIMI and got trained in Pakistan. It is the most-favoured terrorist organization of the ISI. A member of bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF) for jihad against the Crusaders and the Jewish People formed in 1998. It has cells in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to recruit members from the Indian Muslim diaspora in West Asia for its operations in India. It has followers and sympathizers in the Western countries too in the local Pakistani diaspora. Abu Zubaidah, projected by the US as the then No.3 of Al Qaeda, was arrested in March,2002, in the house of an LET cadre in Faislabad in Pakistani Punjab. Designated by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in October,2001
(b).The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM): Also came into being during the Afghan Mujahideen’s fight against the Soviet troops. It used to be known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA), but changed its name as the HUM after the US State Department designated the HUA as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) in 1997. It was so designated because of its suspected involvement in the kidnapping of some Western tourists, including an American, in J&K under the name Al Faran in 1995. A founding-member of Al-Qaeda led IIF. Its then Amir, Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil, was a co-signatory of the fatwa issued by bin Laden in 1998 against the US and Israel. The ISI infiltrated the HUM’s cadres into J&K from 1993 onwards. Quite active in J&K, but does not have much of a presence in the rest of India. Has been focusing on the jihad in J&K. It claims to have helped the terrorists in Southern Philippines, Chechnya and in the Arakan area of Myanmar and to have trained some Afro-Americans in the 1990s in its camps in Pakistan. Was suspected to have been involved in the kidnapping and execution of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, in Karachi in January-February 2002 under the name HUM (International) along with the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM) of Al Qaeda, who is under trial before a military tribunal in the Guantanamo Bay for his principal role in orchestrating the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US. Strongly Wahabi.
( c ). The Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) : Its headquarters are in Pakistan. It has a branch in Bangladesh, which is referred to as HUJI (B). Also came into being during the Afghan jihad of the 1980s. It used to be part of the HUA. There was a split in the HUA after it was designated by the US as an FTO in 1997. One group under Fazlur Rahman Khalil constituted the HUM and another group under Qari Saifullah Akhtar constituted the HUJI. Saifullah was suspected of involvement in an attempted coup by a group of middle and lower level officers of the Pakistan Army led by a Brigadier in 1995. The Army officers were tried by a military court and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. Surprisingly, Saifullah was released after being kept in custody for some months. He was not prosecuted. After the two failed attempts to kill Pervez Musharraf at Rawalpindi in December 2003, in which the HUJI and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) were suspected to have participated at the instance of Al Qaeda, he fled to Dubai. The Dubai authorities arrested him in 2006 and handed him over to the Pakistani authorities. He was informally detained for some months, questioned about the HUJI’s role in the failed attempts to kill Musharraf and then released for want of any evidence against him. He was again detained after the failed attempt to kill Benazir Bhutto in Karachi on October 18,2007,following a complaint by her that she suspected his role in the assassination attempt. He was again released after some weeks of interrogation. Recently after the huge explosion outside the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad in September,2008. Amir Mir, the usually well-informed Pakistani journalist, had reported that the HUJI was suspected, but there has been no evidence against it. It is a member of bin Laden’s IIF. Saifullah was considered close to Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban.It used to have an extensive network of cells in Tajikistan and Chechnya. The “Friday Times” of Lahore had once described it as the Punjabi Taliban. HUJI prefers to operate in India through HUJI (B) and not directly. HUJI (B) takes advantage of the presence of a large number of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in different parts of India to recruit Indian Muslims for jihad in Indian territory. It has had links with the SIMI. Links with the IM are suspected, but not yet proved. Wahabi.
(d).The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM): Came into existence in Januarey,2000, following a split in the HUM due to differences over funds and property. Its Amir, Maulana Masood Azhar, a resident of Bahawalpur in southern Punjab of Pakistan, used to be in jail in India following his arrest for involvement in terrorism in India. The Govt. of India released him and Omar Sheikh, a terrorist of British origin, in December 1999, in order to save the lives of the passengers of an Indian Airlines aircraft, which was hijacked by some members of the HUM after it had taken off from the Kathmandu airport and taken to Kandahar. On his return to Pakistan from Kandahar, Maulana Azhar developed differences with Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil, the then Amir of the HUM, over the division and utilization of the funds collected by the HUM during his absence in an Indian jail. He and his followers left the HUM in January,2000, and formed the JEM. A member of the IIF. Suspected of involvement in the attempted attack on the Indian Parliament along with the LET in December,2001, in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl along with the HUM in January-February 2002 and in the two attempts to kill Musharraf in December,2003, along with the HUJi and Al Qaeda. Its operations in India are confined to J&K and New Delhi. It is reported to be helping the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in its operations against the Pakistani security forces in the Swat Valley of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Wahabi. Designated by the US as an FTO in December,2001.
(e).Al Qaeda: Has till now no organizational presence in India, but has admirers in the SIMI. It prefers to operate in Indian territory through its Pakistani surrogates, namely, the LET, the HUM, the HUJI and the JEM. According to the British authorities, Bilal al-Hindi, a Hindu convert to Islam, whose family had migrated to the UK from East Africa, had helped Al Qaeda in collecting target intelligence from the US. He was arrested and prosecuted for his links with Al Qaeda and has been sentenced by a British court to a long term of imprisonment. In his confessional statement before the US military tribunal in the Guantanamo Bay, as released by the Pentagon in an edited form, KSM had stated that Al Qaeda had planned to blow up the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi. He did not say why it could not do so. Abu Zubaidah, referred to above, who is a Palestinian, was reported to have undergone a computer course in Pune in India before crossing over to Pakistan and joining Al Qaeda.
(3). Indian terrorist groups with links in Bangladesh
(a). The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). It is an ethnic terrorist group of some Assamese people, which has been fighting for an independent Assam. It has a capability for urban as well as rural terrorism. Whereas the SIMI and the IM have largely shifted from the use of hand-held weapons to the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the ULFA, like the indigenous Kashmiri terrorist organizations, uses hand-held weapons as well as IEDs for its operations. Targets the security forces, other Government personalities, and non-Assamese working and living in Assam. Targets the economy too with selective attacks on the oil storage and distribution facilities. It regularly indulges in the kidnapping of business executives for ransom. Ransom collection is an important source of revenue. In touch with the intelligence agencies of Bangladesh and Pakistan. Its leader Paresh Barua and some other important cadres operate from sanctuaries in Bangladesh. Its cadres are trained in Bangladesh in its own camps as well as in the camps of the HUJI (B). It is an interesting example of an ethnic terrorist organization, whose leaders and members are largely Hindus, but which is depending on the support of the intelligence agencies of Bangladesh and Pakistan and jihadi terrorist organizations such as the HUJI (B) and the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen. Because of its dependence on the Bangladesh intelligence and Bangladesh-based jihadi organizations for funds, logistics and training in Bangladesh territory, it avoids targeting the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Assam. It is the most well-trained and well-motivated terrorist organization in India’s North-East
(b). There were and there still are some other terrorist/insurgent groups with links in Bangladesh such as the so-called Naga Federal Government (NFG), the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), the Mizo National Front (MNF) and some organizations of Tripura and Manipur and an organization of some members of the Bodo tribal community of Assam.. The NFG and the MNF have made peace with the Government of India and have come overground. The others are active off and on.
(4). Bangladeshi terrorist groups with links in India:
(a). HUJI (B). Already covered above. After the LET, it is the second most active jihadi terrorist organization in India, with cells and members found in many parts of India even outside Assam. The statement issued by Al Qaeda in 1998 about the formation of the IIF contained the signature of a person, who was described as from Al Jihad of Bangladesh. It is generally believed that this is actually a reference to the HUJI (B).
(b). The Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM): This organization, which carried out over 450 simultaneous explosions of low lethality all over Bangladesh on August 17,2005, has not come to notice for any major activity in Indian territory so far, but the Assam Police suspect that it has been trying to extend its activities to Assam through the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants despite its being in a state of disarray following the execution of some of its top leaders by the Bangladesh authorities in 2007 for involvement in terrorism.
(5) Indian terrorist groups with links in Sri Lanka:
(6). Sri Lankan terrorist groups with links in India:
(a). The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE): The LTTE had sanctuaries in Indian territory till May,1991. Till 1987, Prabhakaran, its leader, used to live in India, After the signing of the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987 followed by the induction of an Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) into the Tamil areas in the Eastern and Northern Provinces to disarm the LTTE, he and his followers had to leave Indian territory. After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister, by the LTTE in Chennai in May,1991, the Govt. of India banned the LTTE and put a stop to its activities in Indian territory. Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman, his intelligence chief, are among the principal accused in the assassination case. The LTTE suffered a huge loss of sympathy among the Tamils of Tamil Nadu in India. However, in recent months, it has been trying to rehabilitate its image in Tamil Nadu with the help of a small number of die-hard supporters in Tamil Nadu. While there is no longer any overt activity by the LTTE in Tamil Nadu since 1991, it maintains clandestine contacts with some elements in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and uses them for the procurement and smuggling of items such as engines and other parts for boats, ball bearings of bicycles for use in IEDs, detonators for IEDs , medicines etc. The Police of Tamil Nadu has taken strong action against such elements helping the LTTE in its clandestine procurement. Despite this, sporadic acts of clandestine procurement and smuggling to the LTTE-held areas in Sri Lanka continue.
(6) Links between the Maoists of India and Nepal:
Before the Maoists of Nepal came overground in 2006, contested the elections to the Constituent Assembly held subsequently and recently assumed the leadership of a coalition Government, there were strong ideological links not only between the Maoists of the two countries, but also between the Maoists of Nepal and different Communist Parties of India. Many Maoist leaders of Nepal used to take shelter in India when they were under pressure by the Nepalese security forces. These ideological links continue. There were, however, no arms supply and training relationship between the two.
Cross Border Criminal Networks
India and Sri Lanka face no major problem of maritime piracy in their coastal areas. The main threat to Indian shipping from pirates is off the Somali coast from the pirates operating in those areas. There is piracy along the Bangladesh coast, but this largely consists of cases of theft from ships anchored in the Bangladeshi ports. It is alleged that the captains of ships often project such thefts in ports as acts of piracy in the high seas.
Illegal Trade in Small Arms
There used to be considerable smuggling of small arms and ammunition by individual and group smugglers across the Indo-Pakistan border in the Punjab and Rajasthan areas during the Afghan jihad against the Soviet troops and during the height of the Khalistani terrorism in Indian Punjab in the1980s and the 1990s. Practically all the smuggling was from Pakistan to India. The problem posed by such smuggling has come down after the erection of a barbed wire fencing along the Indo-Pakistan border in the Indian Punjab and parts of Rajasthan by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF). Smuggling on a smaller scale continues to take place across the desert in the Rajasthan sector and across the Line of Control (LOC) in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan’s ISI uses smugglers for having explosives and other items reached to the jihadi terrorist groups operating in J&K and other parts of India. Smuggling through coastal ships and fishing boats is also not uncommon. The mafia gang headed by Pakistan-based Dawood Ibrahim, which orchestrated the serial blasts in Mumbai in March 1993, had large quantities of explosives, detonators and chemical timers and some small arms and ammunition such as AK-47 rifles with ammunition and hand-grenades smuggled into the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat in boats. These were landed at clandestine landing points with the complicity of some Customs staff and then secretly transported by road to Mumbai.
Trans-border smuggling is a major problem even now across the Indo-Bangladesh border. Active opposition from Bangladeshi para-military forces and Army in the form of firing has frustrated the efforts of the BSF to erect a border fencing in the Indian territory across Bangladesh.
There is considerable smuggling of narcotics across the land borders with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The narcotics smuggled into India across the Myanmar and Bangladesh borders come from the Golden Triangle. The narcotics smuggled from Pakistan originate from the Golden Crescent. The intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Bangladesh close their eyes to the narcotics smuggling in return for their agreeing to smuggle explosives and small arms for the jihadis in India. Americans have been complaining for some years that the chemicals required for refining opium into heroin are smuggled from India into Pakistan across the borders. Alleged complicity by law-enforcing elements in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh has thus come in the way of a 100 per cent effective action to stop the smuggling. There have been instances of smuggling of material required for IEDs by boats from India into the LTTE-controlled areas in Sri Lanka. The recently stepped-up efforts of the Tamil Nadu Police and the Indian Coast Guard to stop this has succeeded to some extent, but not completely as seen from sporadic acts of attempted smuggling.
(b) Smuggling by the LTTE: Next to the Palestinian terrorist groups, the LTTE has the most developed capability for the clandestine procurement of not only small arms and ammunition and explosives, but also more substantial items such as anti-aircraft guns and shells, artillery, surface-to-air missiles and even small aircraft from different parts of the world.
Initially, it used to smuggle these items from the Thai-Cambodian border and other sources in S.E.Asia. Subsequently, in 1993, it managed to get a consignment of arms and ammunition from Pakistan’s ISI, but the ship on which they were loaded at Karachi was tracked by the Indian Navy and sunk with the arms and ammunition in the Bay of Bengal. After the collapse of the communist regimes in East Europe in 1991, it started smuggling from Ukraine and the Czech Republic.
It was running a fleet of commercial ships flying the flags of other countries such as Panama. These were ostensibly used for legitimate commercial shipping, but when needed also for smuggling arms and ammunition.
In 1995, the LTTE agreed to transport a consignment of arms and ammunition given by the HUM (then known as the HUA) to the terrorist elements in Southern Philippines. In return, the HUM donated some anti-aircraft guns to the LTTE. In 2006, the US arrested some supporters of the LTTE for planning to procure some surface-to-air missiles.
The LTTE’s arms smuggling activities by sea have been affected by the post-2001 stationing of a multi-national naval task force in the Gulf area to prevent any smuggling and other activities by Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organizations. Despite the increased vigilance by Western countries, the LTTE managed to procure from the Czech Republic and smuggle into the Wanni area of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka two to five small aircraft for its so-called air force. The suspicion is that it got them ordered in the name of a flying club in South Africa and then had them transported in a dismantled condition to the Wanni region. There is also reason to suspect that the LTTE got its pilots trained in ground strike operations in South Africa with the help of some ex-White pilots of the South African Air Force. It manages to smuggle in fuel required for these aircraft. During the days of the anti-apartheid struggle of the African National Congress (ANC), the LTTE had developed a good networking with it. This continues to come in handy for the LTTE in its arms smuggling activities. Chandrika Kumaratunge, former Sri Lankan President, and the late Laxman Kadirgamar, former Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, had visited South Africa to request the South African authorities to act effectively against its activities through South Africa. The response has been poor.
In recent months, the Sri Lankan Navy has claimed to have considerably disrupted the sea smuggling activities of the LTTE and destroyed many of its ships----either by acting on their own intelligence or with the help of the intelligence collected by the Indian agencies. Despite this, arms and aviation fuel smuggling by the LTTE continues, but on a reduced scale.
Links between Criminal Networks and Terrorist Groups
Taking advantage of the anger in some sections of the Indian Muslim community over the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh by some Hindus in December,1992, and the subsequent alleged excessive use of force by the Mumbai Police to quell riots by the local Muslims, the ISI organized serial explosions against major economic targets such as the Stock Exchange in Mumbai in March,1993, with the help of an Indian Muslim mafia group headed by Dawood Ibrahim, who was then living in Dubai, and some young Muslims recruited in Mumbai. With the help of Dawood Ibrahim, these recruits were taken to Pakistan for training in the use of explosives. The explosives and other materials required for the IEDs were smuggled into the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat with his help. The investigation into these explosions and the interrogation of the arrested persons brought out his leadership role in organizing the blasts. He shifted to Karachi and has been given a Pakistani passport under a different name. He has been in regular touch with the ISI and helping the LET and other jihadi terrorist organizations. The Pakistani media has been reporting about his presence and activities in Karachi. Despite this, the Government of Pakistan has been denying his presence in Pakistan and has taken no action on requests from the Govt. of India made directly and through the INTERPOL for his arrest and handing over.
On October 16, 2003, the US Department of Treasury announced that it was
designating him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 and that it would be requesting the UN to so list
him as well.
"This designation signals our commitment to identifying and attacking the financial ties between the criminal underworld and terrorism,”
stated Juan Zarate, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes. “We are calling on the international
community to stop the flow of dirty money that kills. For the Ibrahim syndicate, the business of terrorism forms part of their larger criminal
enterprise, which must be dismantled."
A press release of the US Department of Treasury said: "Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian crime lord, has found common cause with Al Qaida, sharing his
smuggling routes with the terror syndicate and funding attacks by Islamic extremists aimed at destabilizing the Indian government. He is
wanted in India for the 1993 Bombay Exchange bombings and is known to have financed the activities of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (Army of the
Righteous), a group designated by the United States in October 2001 and banned by the Pakistani Government -- who also froze their assets
-- in January 2002. "
A fact sheet attached to the press release said: "Ibrahim's syndicate is involved in large-scale shipments of narcotics in the UK and
Western Europe. The syndicate's smuggling routes from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa are shared with Osama Bin Laden and his
terrorist network. Successful routes established over recent years by Ibrahim's syndicate have been subsequently utilised by bin Laden. A
financial arrangement was reportedly brokered to facilitate the latter's usage of these routes. In the late 1990s, Ibrahim travelled in
Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban."
It added: "Ibrahim's syndicate has consistently aimed to destabilise the Indian Government through inciting riots, acts of terrorism and
civil disobedience. He is currently wanted by India for the March 12,1993, Bombay Exchange bombings, which killed hundreds of Indians
and injured over a thousand more."
It also said: "Information from as recent as Fall 2002, indicates that Ibrahim has financially supported Islamic militant groups working
against India, such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET). For example, this information indicates that Ibrahim has been helping finance increasing
attacks in Gujarat by LET. "
Pakistan’s response even to the US notification has been negative. Two other Indian mafia personalities have since come to notice for their links and assistance to jihadi terrorist groups. The first is Aftab Ansari, who was suspected of involvement, in an attack by jihadi elements on the security guards outside the US Consulate in Kolkata in January,2002. The second is Riaz Bhatkal, a mafia figure from Karnataka, who is suspected by the police of helping the IM in some of its recent blasts.
Threats to sea lanes of communication from maritime piracy
Maritime counter-terrorism has received considerable attention in India, but till now the focus was naturally and mostly on maritime
counter-terrorism and security in the waters off Sri Lanka and in the Malacca Strait. There was inadequate attention to terrorist threats of a
strategic nature from the seas to the west of India---- whether from the Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Strait of Hormuz or the Mediterranean. The major threats to India's maritime security are from the seas to the West of India and not to the East. Ninety per cent of India's foreign trade in terms of volume and 77 per cent in terms of value and practically all its energy imports pass through the seas to the West of India. There are more Indian and foreign ships with Indian crew in the seas to the West of India than to the East.
After a recent increase in the incidents of piracy off the Somali coast and the hijacking of ships with Indian crew by the pirates, the Government of India has taken action to fill up the gaps in India's maritime security in the seas to the West of India. The Government of India announced on October 16, 2008, the
deployment with immediate effect of an Indian naval warship with helicopters and marine commandoes on board in the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy patrols on the route usually followed by Indian commercial vessels between Salalah ( Oman) and Aden (Yemen). A Government spokesperson said: " The presence of the Indian Navy warship in this area will be significant as the Gulf of Aden is a major strategic choke point in the Indian Ocean region and provides access to the Suez Canal through which a sizable portion of India's trade flows. This anti-piracy patrol will be carried out in co-ordination with the Directorate-General of Shipping , who will keep Indian flagship
vessels informed in case they want to travel in the Indian Ocean along with the Indian Navy ship. The presence of the Indian Navy in the
area will help to protect our seaborne trade and instil confidence in our seafaring community as well as function as a deterrent for pirates."
This statement and other clarifications by the Government spokespersons highlighted the following: (i)This is a permanent measure to
protect vessels with Indian flags and Indian crew carrying goods for India; (ii). It is not a one-shot measure triggered off by the hijacking of a
Japanese ship with Indian crew; (iii).The deployment of more ships for the anti-piracy patrol is not ruled out; (iv).The deployment is not a
prelude to intervention by the Indian ship to rescue the Indian crew.
Border protection challenges
Regional agreements to combat cross boarder threats
Any Other Information:
India and Sri Lanka have the best counter-terrorism co-operation in the South Asian region. This co-operation has been in the form of timely sharing of intelligence and provision of counter-terrorism training facilities and non-lethal, defensive equipment such as radars by India to Sri Lanka and firm action by the Tamil Nadu Police and the Indian Coast Guard against attempts by the LTTE for procurement and smuggling of material required for its terrorist operations. The two countries have a convergence of views on the threat to national and regional security that could arise from the sea and air capabilities of the LTTE. They also have shared perceptions of the dangers of copy-cat emulation of the LTTE’s modus operandi by other terrorist organizations in the region.
India also has excellent co-operation with the Bhutanese authorities in counter-terrorism. Bhutan had put an end to the activities of Bodo tribal militants from its territory.
Nepal has also been responsive to India’s concern over the use of its territory by the ISI and the jihadi groups from Pakistan and India. Nepal is one of the routes used by the ISI and the jihadi groups for their to and fro movement between India and Pakistan. Nepal is also a favoured route for money-laundering by criminal elements and for the dissemination of counterfeit Indian currency notes printed in Pakistan. Nepal is also an important base for the activities of the Dawood Ibrahim-led mafia group. India is keeping its fingers crossed as to whether the Maoist-led Government, which came to power in Kathmandu recently, would extend the same level of co-operation as its predecessors.
Co-operation from Pakistan and Bangladesh has been unsatisfactory. Since India and Pakistan became independent in 1947, Pakistan has never extended any mutual legal assistance to India in respect of any crime if the person wanted by India is a Muslim. In respect of terrorism, it has never extended any mutual legal assistance to India irrespective of the religion of the wanted person. Whenever the terrorist suspect wanted by India is an Indian national, it denies his presence in its territory. Whenever the terrorist suspect is a Pakistani national, it does not deny his presence in its territory, but rejects the evidence presented by the Indian Police. It has had no qualms over picking up informally nearly 200 Muslims---- Arabs as well as its own nationals--- and handing them over to the US without following the due process of law for being taken to the detention centres in Bagram or in the Guantanamo Bay. But it has never arrested a terrorist---Muslim or non-Muslim---wanted by India and handed him over to India. There are presently 20 terrorist suspects----- the accused in aircraft hijacking cases of the 1980s, the Mumbai blasts of March,1993, the attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi in December 2001 and others---- living in Pakistan. Islamabad has repeatedly avoided requests from India and the INTERPOL to have them arrested and handed over to India.
Despite the seeming improvement in the bilateral relations, Pakistan continues to use jihadi terrorist organizations as weapons against India for achieving its strategic objectives. Under pressure from the US, Pervez Musharraf banned the LET, the HUM and the JEM as terrorist organisations on January 15,2002, but they continue to operate against India openly from Pakistani territory either under their original names or under changed names.
The same is the case with Bangladesh.
Many mechanisms have been set up to improve counter-terrorism co-operation with Pakistan and Bangladesh such as:
(a). The periodic meetings of the Home Secretaries of India and Pakistan and India and Bangladesh to discuss trans-border security.
(b). The periodic meetings of the senior officials of the para-military forces of India and Pakistan and India and Bangladesh for the same purpose.
( c ). The periodic meetings of the Joint India-Pakistan Counter-Terrorism Mechanism set up by Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September,2006, to discuss co-operation in counter-terrorism. Its meetings are attended by senior officials of the intelligence agencies of the two countries and officials of other departments concerned with counter-terrorism.
Despite these mechanisms, there has been no improvement in counter-terrorism co-operation either with Pakistan or Bangladesh. As against this, counter-terrorism co-operation with Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal has been good even in the absence of formal mechanisms. This shows that if the desire and the intention to co-operate is not there, no formal mechanism can help.
B. Raman, Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also an Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: email@example.com