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The Indian Government continues to apply sustained pressure to detect, disrupt, and degrade terrorist activities within its borders and attempts to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism in cooperation with the United States and other like-minded countries.
The Country Reports on Terrorism 2019, submitted to the Congress by the Department of State in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (the “Act”), said that both Washington and New Delhi have made numerous efforts to implement counter-terrorism measures to coerce terrorist operatives within the state as well as the South Asian region.
The United States and India increased counter-terrorism cooperation in 2019. In March, the United States and India held the annual counter-terrorism Joint Working Group meeting in Washington concurrently with the second U.S.-India Designations Dialogue.
Both countries announced their intent to prevent terrorists from obtaining access to weapons of mass destruction and underscored their respective commitments to the implementation of UNSCR 2396. In December, the United States hosted the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, in which the ministers called for concerted action against all terrorist networks, including AQ, ISIS/Daesh, LeT, JeM, HQN, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, and TTP, the report said.
India’s state-level law enforcement agencies also play a significant role in detecting, deterring, and preventing acts of terrorism, the report stated. These state agencies, including the NIA, NSG and others, have varying degrees of capability. State anti-terrorism squads were created after 2008 for rapid first response, it added.
A February 14 suicide bombing attack against an Indian paramilitary convoy in the Indian state of J&K led to military hostilities and heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, it said.
However, the Indian counter-terrorism forces, at the federal and state levels, have been active in detecting and disrupting transnational and regional terrorist groups, such as ISIS, its local affiliate ISIS-Bangladesh, and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Between February and June 2019, Indian security forces detained nine suspected JMB and ISIS-Bangladesh terrorists from sites across India.
The arrested individuals were allegedly planning attacks, ranging from jailbreaks to freeing imprisoned JMB and ISIS-Bangladesh members to attacking Indian security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Following the April 2019 Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, the NIA conducted searches in Tamil Nadu and Kerala to investigate a suspected ISIS cell. One person was arrested in Palakkad, Kerala, on April 29 and admitted he was planning a suicide attack in Kerala.
India is a founding member of the GCTF and participated in the GCTF, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and other UN forum on counterterrorism in 2019.
India continues to use multilateral forum and bilateral visits to highlight terrorism concerns and impacts. The country also continued to lead efforts to condemn terrorism and urge tangible steps against the threat in meetings of ASEAN.
In November, India hosted the first Counterterrorism Table-top Exercise in the Quad country format (the United States, Australia, India, and Japan).
The US Special Forces continued an annual exercise in Washington State alongside Indian Special Forces, which focused on counter-terrorism operations in an urban environment, and also conducted a Joint Combined Exercise Training with the NSG in Hyderabad.