USA State Department country Report on India
Overview: In 2021, terrorism affected the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the northeastern states, and parts of central India. Terrorist groups active in India include Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, ISIS, al-Qa’ida, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh. Terrorist tactics showed a shift toward attacks on civilians and greater reliance on IEDs, including an explosives attack using drones on an air force base. The Indian government made significant efforts to detect, disrupt, and degrade operations of terrorist organizations. In October, the United States and India held the 18th meeting of the Counterterrorism Joint Working Group, and in November India hosted the second Quad counterterrorism tabletop exercise along with Australia and Japan.
2021 Terrorist Incidents: During the year, there were 153 terrorist attacks in J&K, causing 274 deaths that included 45 security personnel, 36 civilians, and 193 terrorists. Other notable attacks included an attack on November 1 in Manipur, in which the People’s Liberation Army of Manipur and Naga People’s Front killed seven persons in an ambush, including an Indian Army officer and with his wife and minor son.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: There were no changes in terrorism-related legislation in 2021. India expanded the number of state-level Multi-Agency Centers to strengthen sharing of intelligence among state and federal agencies.
India implements UNSCR 2396 by using watchlists, implementing biographic and biometric screening at ports of entry, and prioritizing information sharing. Pursuant to a bilateral arrangement, the U.S. and Indian governments have committed to collaborating on improving border security and information-sharing capabilities. The U.S. government is still pending a decision from the Government of India on an offer to collaborate on watchlisting assistance.
India collaborates with the United States on implementing UNSCR 2309 and is implementing dual screen X-raying for cargo screening at airport locations.
Significant law enforcement actions included the following:
- A National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Special Court sentenced three Lashkar-e-Tayyiba/Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami terrorists to prison sentences of 10 years for weapons smuggling.
- Eight Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh terrorists were convicted for attacks with explosives in Bodh Gaya in 2012.
- Through September, the NIA had investigated 37 cases related to ISIS and arrested 168 people.
India responds promptly to U.S. requests for information related to terrorism investigations and makes efforts to mitigate threats in response to U.S. information. Collaborative efforts to disrupt terrorist travel continue, and alerts are issued to U.S. authorities for possible threats in the United States and against U.S. interests.
Indian law enforcement, including border security forces, face budgetary, staffing, and equipment constraints. Capacity to patrol and secure extensive maritime and land borders is improving but not adequate, given India’s extensive coastline.
The Government of India does not use the category of Racial and Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism and opposes labeling terrorism based on “the motivation behind such acts.”
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: India is a member of FATF, the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, and the Eurasian Group. India’s Financial Intelligence Unit-India is part of the Egmont Group. There were no changes in terrorism-related legislation in 2021. NIA investigated nine cases of possible terror funding.
Countering Violent Extremism: India did not adopt any new strategies or programs for countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment. The Ministry of Home Affairs is the lead agency for CVE. There is no national CVE policy or national CVE coordinator. State governments have the lead on CVE and deradicalization strategies.
Media reports and security experts claim donations from private groups in western countries and the Middle East earmarked for religious institutions, social organizations, and schools in India contribute to radicalization to violence.
In J&K, the Indian Army runs schools, training courses, recruitment drives, medical camps, and emergency services to prevent “radicalization.” Only five of the 28 Indian states have formulated a CVE strategy. CVE efforts are uneven and vary based on local interests and contexts. CVE programs target demographics and cohorts at the highest risk of vulnerability for terrorist recruitment.
India does not have a policy to repatriate FTFs or their families and has declined to repatriate four Indian citizen spouses of Indian ISIS fighters from Afghanistan. Rehabilitation and reintegration programs for Indians who have joined terrorist or violent extremist organizations on its territory take place at the state or local level.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is in the process of preparing an action plan on strategic messaging to counter radicalization, but it has not been released. At least one Delhi-based think-tank runs a program that promotes alternative narratives to counter online radicalization to violence.
Several federal agencies and state police forces monitor online platforms for extremist content and messaging. The NIA arrested two persons in August for disseminating content from the ISIS-affiliated online magazine Voice of Hind. Mumbai is a member of the Strong Cities Network.
International and Regional Cooperation: In 2021, India began its two-year term as a nonpermanent member of the United Nations Security Council, where it chairs the Counterterrorism Committee, the 1988 (Taliban) Sanctions Committee, and the Libya Sanctions Committee. India has leadership roles in the following regional and international fora, where it has promoted multilateral CT cooperation:
- The Global Counterterrorism Forum
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum
- Council of Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (known as RATS SCO)
- UN Office on Drugs and Crime
- The Group of Twenty
India shares counterterrorism information with Bangladesh, Maldives, and Sri Lanka. India’s defense relationships with Canada, France, and Russia, the United Kingdom extend to counterterrorism issues. India’s military exercises with most countries, especially with neighbors such as Nepal, incorporate CT elements. In November, as part of the Quad with the U.S., Australia, and Japan, India hosted a Counterterrorism Tabletop Exercise that addressed international CT responses.