The US has said that weak intelligence sharing by agencies and the limited resources of the National Security Guard (NSG) were affecting India’s counter-terrorism efforts.
“Despite its rigorous training, NSG’s rapid response capability is somewhat limited, due in part to its small staff relative to India’s large size and to the NSG’s limited independent logistics capacity,” according to the State Department’s annual survey of global terrorism.
“Continued weaknesses in intelligence and information sharing negatively impacted state and central law enforcement agencies,” the report said about the other perceived shortcoming.
But the report, “Country Reports on Terrorism for 2018”, also noted that the “larger Indian states have established their own state-level MACs (Multi-Agency Centres) and are providing near-real-time information on terrorism to India’s various law enforcement agencies”.
The report warned that the “Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) maintained the capability and intent to attack Indian and Afghan targets”.
The top international counter-terrorism official of the US, Nathan Sales, who released the report in Washington last week, said that in 2018, most terrorist incidents around the world (about 85 per cent) were concentrated in three regions – South Asia, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa.
Washington and New Delhi have increased cooperation to fight terrorism and in March last year, the US-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group reviewed threats posed by terrorist groups worldwide, the report said.
During the first 2+2 dialogue of the cabinet-level diplomatic and defence officials last year, the two countries announced their intent to increase information sharing on known or suspected terrorists and to enhance their ongoing cooperation on terrorism issues at the UN and at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which fights terrorism funding, the report said.
Nirmala Sitharaman, who held the defence portfolio at that time, and the late External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj represented India at the 2+2, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-Defence Secretary James Mattis attended on behalf of the US.
The two countries also committed themselves to implement the UN Security Council resolution to counteract the threat of foreign terrorism fighters, it added.