Amidst praise for India in its 2011 Country Reports on Terrorism, unveiled on Tuesday, the U.S. State Department has warned that “terrorist opponents of better Indian-Pakistan relations, such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, have long planned to derail any progress by launching new attacks.”
Lauding India for increasing its counter-terrorism capabilities and expanding its coordination with the U.S., for example through the new Homeland Security Dialogue, the State Department, however, emphasised that the loss of over 1,000 lives still made India “one of the world’s most terrorism-afflicted countries and one of the most persistently targeted countries by transnational terrorist groups such as LeT.”
Although the overall number of deaths in India attributable to terrorist violence was lower in 2011 than in 2010, the reports hinted at concern over the impact of violence relating to the Maoist/Naxalite conflict. Through November 2011 there were over 1,550 incidents involving Naxalites that resulted in over 500 deaths as compared to 2010, when 2,006 incidents involving Naxalites resulted in over 93 deaths, the report noted.
Among the 2011 terror attacks that the report considered “significant” were four in particular, including the July 13 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai killing 17 people and injuring 131 others; the September 7 blast outside the Delhi High Court in which at least 12 people were killed and approximately 91 others injured; the November 30 incident in which a suspected separatist bomber was killed by an explosive device at a Manipur festival and the October 12 suspected terrorist plot foiled in Ambala, Haryana.
The reports pointed to the diversity of terror threats that India continued to face, underscoring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s description of the Naxalites issue as “India's greatest internal security threat,” but also noting that sporadic violence in Kashmir and attempted infiltrations from Pakistani territory across the Line of Control remained “serious concerns for the Indian government.”
Notwithstanding the persistence of these challenges the State Department heaped praise on India for the wide range of counter-terrorism efforts that the government had pursued. Among these the 2011 report made specific mention of India’s membership of the Financial Action Task Force and the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering; India’s role as a founding member of the Global Counter-terrorism Forum and its efforts as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and as Chair of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee; and a series of programmes to counter radicalisation and violent extremism by rehabilitation and integration of various insurgent groups.