Terror Outfits Looking Beyond Kashmir: MHA

25 November 2009
Times of India

New Delhi: On the eve of the first anniversary of 26-11, the Centre said terrorists backed by various external agencies had expanded their focus beyond the Kashmir Valley with the objective of creating communal tension and hitting the country's economic growth. Underlining the threats which exist despite various security measures taken post-Mumbai terror attacks, the home ministry said, 'The challenge that we face today is from terrorist organisations that are not only equipped with latest technologies and have immense access to funds, but are having active backing of various external agencies.' The 26-11 terror attacks exposed the vast jihadi network beyond Pakistan, with one cell even found in Italy. The recent arrest of US-based terror duo David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana opened up a new dimension of the problem. Indian investigators suspect that Headley and Rana were part of the larger conspiracy behind the Mumbai carnage - an example of the terror outfits' network and reach across the globe. Taking view of such a trend, the ministry said, 'It is important that we are totally committed to a comprehensive approach to tackling terrorism and put in sustained intensive efforts to end this menace.' Among measures taken to strengthen security and intelligence infrastructure in the past year, the ministry listed functioning of the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) within the Intelligence Bureau for effective intelligence sharing, setting up of four regional hubs of National Security Guard at Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, move to set up 20 counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism schools across the country, constitution of National Investigation Agency and strengthening of coastal security among other things. The ministry also said that due to close coordination among intelligence and security agencies of the Centre and states, a number of sleeper cells were broken up, key Lashker-e-Taiba operatives arrested, terrorist incidents averted and a large number of cases resolved. Referring to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir - the traditional war zone of Pakistan-based terror outfits - the ministry said the number of violent incidents has gone down considerably and till October, 436 incidents were reported compared to 575 during the corresponding period in 2008.