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ISIS looks at Bangladesh as a platform to capture India and Myanmar

ISIS has expressed several times that Hindu India is at its radar for attack and conversion

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ISIS looks at Bangladesh as a launching pad to attack India.
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April 15, 2016: The Islamic State (IS or ISIS) militant group says it wants to use Bangladesh as a launching pad to gain a foothold in neighboring Hindu-majority India and Buddhist-dominated Myanmar.

The plan was revealed by the alleged chief of ISIS in Bangladesh, named as Sheikh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, in an interview with the IS mouthpiece magazine, Dabiq.

Bangladesh

It was immediately dismissed by Bangladesh’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, who insisted that IS has no presence in his country and that the South Asian nation would never allow IS to use it as a base to expand its influence in the region.

The IS had claimed responsibility for a series of killings and attacks of bloggers, writers, foreigners and non-Sunni Muslim minorities.

Khan said however that some local militants had been using the “IS brand to add value to their names.”

‘Stepping-Stone’

In his interview, al-Hanif said that Bangladesh was “an important region” for the IS and its “global jihad” due to its “strategic geographic position.”

“[Bangladesh] is located on the eastern side of India, whereas the [Pakistan-Afghanistan region] is located on its western side,” he noted.

He said an ISIS base in Bangladesh “will facilitate performing guerrilla attacks inside India simultaneously from both sides.”

“Also, jihad in [Bangladesh] is a stepping-stone for jihad in Burma [Myanmar].”

Commenting on the report, Minister Khan said Bangladesh “will in no way allow the people with alien ideology [to] develop bases here to attack other countries; that will not happen.”

“I want to say unambiguously that IS has no presence in Bangladesh,” he told reporters. “May be a handful of [local] people may subscribe to the IS views.”

Bangladesh media gave wide coverage of al-Hanif’s interview.

This is second time the IS magazine featured the group’s strategy in Bangladesh. Late last year, it published a five-page report detailing its expansion plan in the Muslim-majority nation.

“This time an elaborate plan about Bangladesh has been written; this is significant,” Syed Mahfuzul Haque Marzan, a teacher of criminology at Dhaka University, told BenarNews.

The IS threat, he warned, should not be taken “lightly in any way,” calling for “more in-depth investigation.”

A former senior Bangladesh military officer, Air Commander Ishfaq Elahi Chowdhury, said IS would not be able to use the country as a staging post against India and Myanmar, citing close counterterrorism cooperation among the countries.

‘Fertile Ground’

Both IS and the terror group Al-Qaeda are competing for expansion in Bangladesh, a nation of 160 million Muslims, according to Singapore-based counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna.

“IS and Al-Qaeda leaders consider Bangladesh as a fertile ground for recruitment,” said Gunaratna, a BenarNews columnist who heads the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

“Although Bangladesh has been uncompromising in its approach to fight both IS and al Qaeda, these two groups have developed a presence on Bangladesh soil. They have recently killed both Bangladeshis and foreigners.”

Indian officials were not immediately available for comment on the IS plan.

But a former Indian army officer and defense analyst, Major General Satbir Singh, told BenarNews that the government should devise “a proper defense policy with regards to terror organizations like the ISIS.”

“We need to have a secured security environment for achieving peaceful development and national integration. That environment can be achieved only if we have good, actionable intelligence and coordinated response of all security agencies together,” he said.

Akash Vashishtha in New Delhi contributed to this report. (BenarNews)

 

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  • Pragya Jha

    Bangladesh and India would jointly fight against terrorism.

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.