Country Report on Terrorism 2013 - Chapter 2 - India

Overview: According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), approximately 400 people were killed as a result of terrorist attacks in India in 2013. This figure is somewhat higher than in 2012, demonstrating that India remains subject to violent terrorist attacks and continued to be one of the most persistently targeted countries by transnational and domestic terrorist groups. Included in the total number of fatalities were approximately 200 deaths ascribed to the Communist Party of India (Maoist) or Maoist/Naxalite violence, which the Indian government considers its most serious internal security threat. To date, these groups have not specifically targeted U.S. or other international interests.
In 2013, Indian sources continued to attribute violence and deaths in Jammu and Kashmir to transnational terrorist groups that India alleges are backed by Pakistan. Continued allegations of violations of the Line of Control between India and Pakistan (the border along Jammu and Kashmir), Pakistan’s failure to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice, and activities of Pakistan-based terrorist groups remained serious concerns for the Indian government.
The United States and India maintained counterterrorism capacity building efforts and cooperation. In May 2013, the Second U.S.-India Homeland Security Dialogue took place in Washington, DC, and Indian and U.S. leaders reaffirmed their commitment to, and the importance of, bilateral counterterrorism cooperation. In December, India hosted the U.S.-India Homeland Security Dialogue Police Chiefs Conference, a landmark event that brought together U.S. and Indian law enforcement officials to share best practices and lessons learned in detecting, preventing, and responding to threats facing large cities, including terrorist threats. Indian officials participated in courses provided through the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program and through other regional capacity building programs. In addition, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, through the Embassy’s Office of the Legal Attaché, conducted exchanges with Indian law enforcement personnel.
2013 Terrorist Incidents: Significant terrorist incidents included the following:
  • On February 21, terrorists exploded two bombs in Dilsukhnagar, a crowded shopping area within Hyderabad. The bombs exploded within 330 feet of each other, killing 17 and injuring at least 119. Authorities determined that the Indian Mujahideen (IM) carried out the attack.
  • On April 17, a motorcycle bomb was detonated in front of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in the Malleswaram district of Bangalore, injuring 18 people. Following the blast, authorities arrested 15 suspects with alleged links to the al-Ummah terrorist organization.
  • On May 25, Naxalite insurgents belonging to the Communist Party of India (Maoist) attacked a convoy of Indian National Congress party leaders in the Darbha Valley in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, India. The attack killed 27, including former state minister Mahendra Karma as well as India’s former Minister of External Affairs Vidya Charan Shukla.
  • On July 7, a series of 10 bombs exploded in and around the Mahabodhi Temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bodh Gaya. Five people, including two Buddhist monks, were injured by the blasts. Bomb-disposal squads defused three other devices at a number of locations in Gaya. Authorities determined that IM was responsible for the bombings.
  • On September 26, Pakistan-based terrorists entered Jammu and Kashmir and attacked a police station in Hiranagar, killing five; and an Indian army camp in Samba, killing 10, including an army officer. The attacks took place just ahead of a planned meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in New York.
  • On October 27, IM operatives detonated a series of bombs at a political rally for the BJP, and its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, in Patna, Bihar. The attacks killed at least six and injured 85.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: India passed no new counterterrorism laws in 2013. The country continued to apply previously-enacted measures, including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (1967), the SAARC Convention on Suppression of Terrorism Act (1993), and various state-level laws.
Following the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, India enhanced efforts to counter terrorism through agencies including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the National Security Guard (NSG), and the National Investigation Agency (NIA). India’s efforts to counter terrorism are seriously hampered by impediments to coordination and information sharing between agencies. In addition, law enforcement organizations display a limited command and control capacity. India has launched initiatives to address some of these challenges, including through a Multi-Agency Centre for enhancing intelligence gathering and sharing. It also plans to implement the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), a system for linking databases in different government departments and ministries for use by intelligence agencies. The Indian government had proposed to create a National Counterterrorism Centre, but state-level officials have opposed this initiative and it has not been implemented.
On December 16, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and the Indian Bureau of Civil Aviation Security signed a Sensitive Security Information-sharing agreement to enhance cooperation on aviation security, increase collaboration on security-related technologies, increase reciprocal visits for airport security assessments, and facilitate the exchange of ideas and best practices for security at airport points of entry. Indian airport officials already utilize biographical databases for counterterrorism screening. In an effort to boost its border security, India continued to build fences along its borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, although rural areas remained susceptible to illegal border crossings. India’s maritime boundaries, as well as its border with Nepal, remained extremely porous.
India continued to participate in the Department of State’s ATA program, and received training and equipment designed to build Indian police counterterrorism capacity. ATA training focused on issues related to securing infrastructure, conducting investigations, and responding to critical incidents.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: India is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and two FATF-style regional bodies, the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering. India’s financial intelligence unit is also a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. India has criminalized terrorist financing in accordance with international standards. Indian officials monitor and regulate money transfers, require the collection of data for wire transfers, oblige non-profit organizations to file suspicious transaction reports, and regulate and monitor these entities to prevent misuse and terrorist financing. However, the government does not have procedures in place for freezing and confiscating terrorist assets without delay and does not routinely distribute UN lists of designated entities to financial institutions.
In November 2012, the Government of India passed amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) that aligned the law to international standards.
The degree of training and expertise in financial investigations involving transnational crime or terrorist-affiliated groups varies widely among the federal, state, and local levels and depends on the particular jurisdiction’s financial resources and perceived necessities. U.S. investigators have had limited success in coordinating the seizure of illicit proceeds with their Indian government counterparts. While intelligence and investigative information supplied by U.S. law enforcement authorities have led to numerous money seizures, a lack of follow-through on investigational leads has prevented a more comprehensive offensive against violators and related groups.
The Indian government is taking steps to increase financial inclusion through “small [banking] accounts,” and issuing a biometric-enabled universal identification number. International experts have urged India to further the development and expansion of alternative money transfer services in the financial sector, including mobile banking, domestic funds transfer, and foreign remittances in order to allow broader financial inclusion of legitimate individuals and entities and reduce overall AML/CFT vulnerabilities. India’s reporting structure only protects principal officers/compliance officers of institutions who file suspicious activity reports in good faith. The lack of protection for staff or employees of these institutions who report may limit the number of reports received.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:
Regional and International Cooperation: India is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and participated in GCTF and UN forums on counterterrorism.
The 2013 arrests of high-profile terrorists Abdul Karim Tunda and Yasin Bhatkal cast a spotlight on India’s counterterrorism cooperation with neighbors, in this case, Nepal. India sought greater cooperation with Nepal in managing the two countries’ shared border, and it appeared that Nepal was taking steps to achieve this.
During 2013, the Indian and Bangladeshi governments continued their cooperation under their bilateral Coordinated Border Management Plan to control illegal cross-border activities and announced the strengthening of bilateral cooperation in the field of security and border management through additional cooperation agreements.
Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: India’s counter-radicalization and violent extremism efforts are mostly directed by state and local authorities. While there is no comprehensive national policy for countering radicalization or violent extremism, the government has implemented some initiatives to counter violent extremism, such as offering quality and modern education in madrassas. In addition, the government has programs to rehabilitate and integrate various groups, mostly insurgents, back into the mainstream of society, such as the “Scheme for Surrender cum-Rehabilitation of militants in North East.” While not a CVE program per se, it is directed at disaffected members of Indian society who support separatist and at times violent movements. Indian government officials have raised concerns about how social media and the internet can be used to stir communal unrest and radicalization.