J&K, Northeast India, Maoist-hit regions in central India hit by terror activities in 2020: US report

Washington, Dec 17 : Terror outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, ISIS and Al-Qaeeda continue to be active in the Indian subcontinent, with Jammu and Kashmir, Northeast India and Maoist-hit regions in central India being hit by terror activities, according to the latest report on terrorism released by the US State Department.

The Indian government had made significant efforts to detect and disrupt operations of major terrorist organisations within its borders, but threats persist, the report titled 2020 Country Reports on Terrorism' said.

In 2020, terrorism affected the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Northeast India and Maoist-affected regions in central India. Major terrorist groups have been active in India, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, ISIS and Al-Qaeeda in the Indian subcontinent, the report, which is published annually, said on Thursday.

The report cites the example of crackdown by the Indian security agencies on several key members of Al-Qaeeda-affiliated outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind in Jammu & Kashmir.

In September 2020, the United States and India held the 17th meeting of the Counterterrorism Joint Working Group and Third US-India Designations Dialogue.

In December, India had proposed holding another Quad counterterrorism tabletop exercise along with the United States, Australia, and Japan, the report said.

Although insurgent groups continue to operate in the Northeast, levels of terrorist violence have decreased.

The report also examined the decreasing presence of Khalistan groups in the country.

The many organisations involved in the Sikh separatist (Khalistan) movement have not engaged in significant recent activities within India's borders, it said.

Observing that the National Security Guard has improved its response time and reduced past dependence on other agencies for logistics, the US State Department report insisted that challenges including budget constraints and dependence on temporary details and volunteers from the armed forces remained.

Noting that Indian security agencies were effective in disrupting terror threats, gaps remained in inter-agency intelligence and information sharing, the report said.

In the absence of a National Counter Terrorism Centre, the Indian Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) collaborates with the United States on exchanging terrorist screening information and conducting real-time collation and sharing of intelligence among federal and state security agencies.

Several Indian states have established state-level MACs to disseminate terrorism information to law enforcement, it said.

Indian security forces demonstrate limited capacity to patrol and secure extensive maritime and land borders.

India is implementing UNSCR 2396 to improve detection and deterrence of terrorist travel by using watchlists, implementing biographic and biometric screening at ports of entry, and expanding information sharing, the report added.

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