Centre sounds alert as al-Qaeda video targets India

In the 55-minutes video issued overnight, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the successor to Osama Bin Laden, is seen focussing on a map of the Indian peninsula.

September 04, 2014 04:55 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 03:47 am IST - New delhi

The Union Home Ministry on Thursday sounded an alert across several States hours after al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri announced the formation of an Indian wing to open a campaign in the subcontinent.

The video claim set off a flurry of activity, with Home Minister Rajnath Singh convening a high-level meeting with officials, including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and the Director of the Intelligence Bureau. Senior officials said the government was treating the visuals as genuine and the claim with “all requisite seriousness”.

The Ministry directed state police forces to put together action plans to guard against recruitment for the international group. As the al-Qaeda chief referred to some places, authorities in different states also went on alert.

As of date, intelligence sources say, there is no evidence of any al-Qaeda presence in India. Senior officials said the government would focus on efforts to guard against recruitment, particularly in foreign-funded madrassas.

ccording to Bill Roggio of The Long War Journal , “The creation of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and the promotion of Asim Umar highlights the close ties between al-Qaeda and the Taliban groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan”.

Other intelligence experts are also pointing to the rise of the IS (Islamic State) terror group, that now controls parts of Iraq and Syria, as a reason why Al-Zawahiri is trying to raise the prominence of al-Qaeda at this point.

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