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Saiprasad Dhoot asked: How is India’s collaboration at the international level to tackle threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh?

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  • Adil Rasheed replies: India has been part of the global war against the ISIS menace since its emergence as an Islamist proto-state in Iraq and Syria. India has taken part in various United States (US) - led summits against the ISIS threat both during the presidential terms of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

    With the US, India has worked on modalities to exchange terror watch lists and the two countries have also engaged in few counter-ISIS operations.

    In 2016, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) provided India information about Iraq and Syria based militants communicating with an ISIS cell based in north India, which helped Indian police carry out several arrests. At times, India has also received help from Western media sources such as the British media organisation Channel 4, which gave India information about the ISIS twitter handler Mehdi Masroor Biswas, an engineer in a multinational corporation in India’s IT capital, Bengaluru.

    India has established strong relations with the Gulf countries in fighting the ISIS menace. The cooperation has mainly focused on intelligence sharing and capacity building, particularly on three points: terror financing, identifying persons of interest, and mapping terror travel routes. Mechanisms are being devised for better monitoring of remittances through official wire transfers, but more importantly through unofficial ‘hawala’ transfers. There is also an agreement on coordinating efforts to counter radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred and perpetrating acts of terrorism. However, there is a lot of room for greater coordinated efforts in this regard.

    India has also received cooperation from Israel in fighting the ISIS threat, mainly in the realm of technology. The two countries have signed a MoU on Cyber Security Cooperation. India has also benefitted from Israel’s counter-terrorism intelligence sharing and forensics techniques.

    India is providing assistance to various developing countries grappling with the ISIS threat. India has reportedly conducted cyber security training with a special emphasis on de-radicalisation for the Philippine security personnel. New Delhi has expanded its counter terrorism partnership with other countries too in the region namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand that have recently been afflicted with the ISIS menace.

    Posted on March 14, 2018