Press Trust of india

Indian agencies effective in disrupting terror threats despite some gaps: US report

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Washington: India applied sustained pressure to “detect, disrupt, and degrade” terrorist activities within its borders in 2019 and its security agencies are effective in disrupting terror threats despite some gaps in intelligence and information sharing, according to a US report on Wednesday.

In 2019, India suffered militant attacks in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and parts of central India, the annual Country Reports on Terrorism released by the State Department said.

“The Government of India continued to apply sustained pressure to detect, disrupt, and degrade terrorist activities within its borders,” it said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior Indian leaders made numerous statements to condemn domestic terrorist attacks and bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism, in cooperation with the United States and other like-minded countries, it added.

Indian security agencies, the report said, are effective in disrupting terror threats despite some gaps in intelligence and information sharing.

“The United States and India increased CT cooperation in 2019,” the State Department said.

In March, the US and India held the annual Counterterrorism Joint Working Group in Washington, DC, meeting concurrently with the second US-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 the UN Security Council resolutions No 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 Al-Qaeda, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, HQN (the Haqqani network), Hizb-ul Mujahideen, and Tehrik-i-Taliban, the report noted.

Referring to the changes made in the counter-terrorism laws, the report said that the newly amended NIA Act can further improve bilateral law enforcement cooperation.

“The efficacy and impact of the newly amended laws will likely be tested in ongoing terrorism cases in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as cases involving what India characterizes as ‘left-wing extremists’, and cases involving insurgencies in Northeast India,” it said.

In August, India amended the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967 to authorise the designation of individuals as terrorists – which it did a month later by designating four terrorists, including the leaders of LeT and JeM.

The Parliament also amended the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act of 2008 to provide the NIA with the ability to investigate terrorism cases overseas, it said.

The NIA Act was enacted in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008. A decade later, the Act was amended with the objective of speedy investigation and prosecution of certain offences, including those committed outside India.

The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Lok Sabha on July 15, 2019, and by Rajya Sabha on July 17, 2019.

In 2016, India and the United States signed an arrangement to exchange terrorism screening information, and India continues to work on implementation.

According to the report, India and the US are engaged to improve border security and information-sharing capabilities.

India is in the process of improving its ability to detect and deter terrorist travel by using watchlists, implementing biographic and biometric screening capabilities at ports of entry, and expanding information sharing, it said.

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