Lesson from Paris for India is to look beyond India

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The Paris attack which unfolded in the most horrific manner will worry every intelligence agency across the world. With an attack of such a magnitude, the repercussions are high. Such attacks act as inspiration to many radical elements which in turns helps groups such as the ISIS boost recruitments.

Let us consider the Indian scenario. After every major attack on Indian soil, the number of recruitments into a terror group has only increased.

Also read: Paris attacks: Did the French let their guard down?

India on alert after Paris attacks

Intelligence Bureau officials say that while the ISIS has been largely fighting in Iraq and Syria, this time around it has come out of its comfort zone and carried out such a major attack. This is bound to inspire the radical elements who feel that the ISIS is the only saviour of Islam.

The role of India goes beyond India

These are probably the worst times for Intelligence Bureau officials working both internally and externally. While the guard is on those radical elements within India who are showing signs of joining the ISIS, the real problem may be elsewhere. The ISIS is most likely to target Indians working abroad.

There are many Indians working in the Gulf, Europe and Iraq. These could fall easy prey to the designs of the ISIS, Indian Intelligence Bureau officials feel.

The ISIS is desperate for recruitments from across the globe and India is very much on their mind. With groups such as the Ansar-ul-Tawhid recruiting actively for the ISIS from India, it is time to look out for Indians beyond India.

India may have been largely successful in curbing the problem of ISIS recruits in India to a large extent, but to look beyond is the real major challenge ahead.

Vappala Balachandran, former official with the Research and Analysis Wing says that Indian labour statistics in the Gulf who are usually targeted for joining ISIS is inadequate.

In several cases they were deported by the Gulf authorities on the basis of local suspicion. This is a serious cause for worry. The 2012-13 annual report of our Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) counted only 18,000 Indians in Iraq.

As against this, "Iraq Business News" (May 17, 2010) said that "at least" 50,000 Indian workers were working in Iraq including some who had entered through Kuwait or UAE when India had imposed a ban(2004-2010) on recruitment. So what appears on the surface is really not the correct position.

A close watch on returnees

India has taken a very different approach to the ISIS problem and those associated with it. Only Areeb Majeed, Afsha Jabeen and Mehdi Masroor Biswas alias Shammiwitness have been jailed and are in the process of being tried.

However in the case of the rest who have shown interest in the ISIS or those who have tried leaving the country to join the ISIS, India has taken a different approach. Such persons have been counselled and let off.

IB officials however say that these persons continue to be on the radar and there and no counseling with available if they attempt joining the outfit again.

The NIA however feels that there is a need to punish such persons as it would act a deterrent. The Home Ministry is still considering this proposal and is likely to act on it soon. Several officials feel that it is difficult to trust anyone these days.

Some persons who have agreed to change after being counseled could well be pretending to do so. IB officials say that they do not take any of these cases lightly and the radar on such persons will remain high all the time.

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