India underestimated ISIS's potential to use it as a base

Written by: Col R Hariharan
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The startling revelation that the most popular ISIS propagator and recruiter on Twitter operated with immunity from Bengaluru is disturbing.

The country had to learn the ISIS-Bengaluru connection from a broadcast from UK

Even more disturbing is that the nation had to learn it from Channel 4 TV broadcast from UK. Only two days back answering a question in the Rajya Sabha minister of state Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said there were no intelligence inputs to suggest that Al Qaeda and ISIS terror groups are working together to target Indian cities.[Bengaluru Police sleep on complaint against 'Dawla ISIS' wifi connection]

India underestimated ISIS's potential

He was commenting on a video uploaded in September 2014 in which Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri the high priest of Al Qaeda announced the establishment of a new wing "Al Qaeda in Indian sub-continent (AQIS)." [@shamiwitness- Agencies get the man, but find no link to ISIS]

Indian authorities ignored information which was gathered months ago

Sorry Mr Minister, you can't be more wrong. How could he ignore the information known a few months earlier about a group of 40 radicalised students from Anjuman Islam's Kalsekar Technical College in Panvel came under the lens of the Intelligence Bureau, and the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad? [Bengaluru man handling ISIS Twitter account hails from Bengal]

They have been under observation for mining information on terrorist groups and Islamic preachings and had the potential to join ISIS. The information was later confirmed by Arif Majeed, the ISIS operative belonging to the same college who returned to India from Syria. [Bengaluru man who handled ISIS's Twitter account worked in a food company]

He had also confirmed that there were 20 other Indians. Arif has also revealed the involvement of SIMI (Student Islamic Movement of India) a proscribed terrorist organisation recruiting Indian youth for ISIS.

ISIS

Weakness in India's intelligence coordination systems

This shows the weaknesses in our networked intelligence coordination systems. Apparently it is still a work in progress even after eight years since a dozen or so Lashkar-e-Tayyeba terrorists held the nation to ransom for four days when they struck Mumbai.

Agreed that one never can get enough advance information about terrorist operations. But since 26/11 we have made considerable progress in breaking up terror modules of Indian Mujahidin in recent times in various parts of the country.

However, there is no end to the story in the ongoing battle against terror.

India's never-ending battle against terror

A number of terrorist incidents from apprehension of a Sri Lankan operative of the ISI in Chennai to the shocking discovery of Bangladeshi JMB terrorist module operating from Burdwan in West Bengal has shown at the operational level we need to be constantly on the alert.

And they have also shown the state police have not yet caught up with the operational systemic changes they require to make them effective in handling terorrist threats.

The information on ISIS operative (or whatever you may call him) working unchecked from Bangalore only confirms our security agencies have probably under estimated the ISIS' potential to use India as a recruiting base and strike at targets in India at an opportune time.

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