Saturday December 15, 2018
Home India For First tim...

For First time, US Warns publicly of Possible Islamic State Terrorist Attack in India

India traditionally has been more vulnerable to terror cells from Bangladesh and Pakistan carrying out attacks on its soil

FILE - An Indian Muslim man holds a banner during a protest against IS, an Islamic State group, and the Paris attacks, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 18, 2015. VOA

November 2, 2016: For the first time the U.S. government is publicly warning of the possibility of terrorist attacks in India carried out by the Islamic State group.

A brief security message for U.S. citizens in India, issued Tuesday evening at the embassy in New Delhi, calls on Americans to “maintain a high level of vigilance and increase their security awareness,” especially at religious sites, markets and festival venues.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

Previous security advisories issued by the embassy have mentioned Islamic extremist groups, such as Indian Mujahideen (IM) and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, but not Islamic State.

The fresh security advisory could be related to recent IS arrests in India, said Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Lisa Curtis, noting last month’s discovery of an Islamic State cell in Kerala that allegedly was plotting attacks during the Diwali holiday season, which began Sunday and runs through Thursday.

Kashmiri Muslim protesters hold a flag of Islamic State as they shout anti-India slogans during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, April 8, 2016. VOA
Kashmiri Muslim protesters hold a flag of Islamic State as they shout anti-India slogans during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, April 8, 2016. VOA

“These arrests may have led to additional information about the ISIS terror threat in India,” Curtis, a former CIA analyst who was also a diplomat in U.S. embassies in India and Pakistan, told VOA. ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.

“I have no doubt there are some grassroots capability [of IS in India], at the very least,” said Fred Burton, chief security officer for the private strategic intelligence firm Stratfor.

In other South Asian nations, such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, IS has successfully tapped into local Islamist networks.

“ISIS operators may be trying to employ the same tactic in India by linking up with groups like the Indian Mujahideen, which was behind a series of attacks several years ago,” Curtis said. “ISIS released a recruiting video in May showing Indian Muslims [including two IM members] calling on Indian Muslims to avenge … purported injustices in Kashmir.”

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

Muslim minority community

The relatively few extremists in India’s substantial Muslim minority community are not perceived as having interest in joining IS, according to analysts. It has been reported that two or three dozen members of IM and others groups, however, traveled from India to Syria and Iraq to fight with IS, but are not believed to have sworn allegiance to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

FILE - Anti-Islamic State posters are seen around a mosque in Kolkata, India, Dec. 5, 2015. (S. Azizur Rahman/VOA)
FILE – Anti-Islamic State posters are seen around a mosque in Kolkata, India, Dec. 5, 2015. (S. Azizur Rahman/VOA)

India traditionally has been more vulnerable to terror cells from Bangladesh and Pakistan carrying out attacks on its soil.

“Any kind of chatter can drive an alert” by a risk-averse State Department, Burton told VOA.

As has been the case for IS-claimed attacks in other parts of the world, there is “no need for elaborate infrastructure or training for a self-inspired small group or individual to do an ‘official’ Islamic State attack. Just at minimum a computer for inspiration, weaponry [including a machete or a vehicle],” added Burton, a former deputy chief of counterterrorism of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

A branch of Islamic State said to be active in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan has “an interest in galvanizing individuals to attack in India,” said Amarnath Amarasingam, an analyst at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.

Possible nexus

Illinois State University’s Ali Riaz, who teaches South Asian politics and political Islam, says Indian militants may be connected with terrorist groups in Bangladesh who have affiliated themselves with IS.

“Most of the weapons used in the recent Dhaka attack in July were modified in India before they were transported to Bangladesh,” Riaz told VOA.

While the extremist group’s messaging about India primarily has focused on the disputed Kashmir region and avenging attacks against Muslims in India, the group’s magazine also has carried threats against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and condemned India for being a majority country of Hindus, a religion it has characterized as “cow-worshipping pagans.”

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

Islam is India’s second-largest religion, with Muslims comprising about 15 percent of the total population of more than 1.2 billion people.

If other countries follow Washington’s lead and issue similar warnings about a possible IS attack, it may have ramifications for India’s travel and tourism sector, according to the Economic Times, a Mumbai-based daily newspaper.

In recent years, foreign tourism has become a significant part of India’s economy, contributing about $20 billion annually in foreign exchange earnings and matching the much-touted information technology sector. (VOA)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

Next Story

Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

cryptocurrency. google
Google, Facebook face greater scrutiny in Australia. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?