Two Indian cities at high risk of terror strike

LONDON (TIP): Two Indian cities -Imphal (ranked 32) and Srinagar (ranked 49) have been named to be at “extreme risk” of a terrorist attack, mainly aiming to cause mass casualty and destroy public transport networks.

According to an analysis of the terror risk to 1,300 commercial hubs and urban centres around the world, populations and businesses in 113 Indian cities have been identified to be at some risk – high, medium or low risk of facing terrorist attacks.

The next major Indian city after these two that faces a terrorist threat is Chennai even though the risk quotient has been marked as medium risk.

Bangalore is the fourth most prone city even though it is placed at 204th in the global threat list followed by Pune and Hyderabad at 206th and 207th respectively

Cities like Nagpur (ranked 2010) and Kolkata (2012) have been found to face a higher risk of a mass attack by terrorists that the usually expected targets like Delhi (447) and Mumbai (298).

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Around 64 cities around the world are at “extreme” risk, with most in the Middle East and Asia – and three in Europe.

London ranked as low as at 400 due to the lack of a terror incident since the 7/7 bombings while Paris has soared into the top 100 cities following the Charlie Hebdo shooting, according to Verisk Maplecroft’s new Global Alerts Dashboard (GAD).

Arvind Ramakrishnan, head of Maplecroft India said “When it comes to Imphal and Srinagar, terrorist attacks aren’t on commercial targets as much as against the security forces. However n most of the other metropolitan cities, the targets are both to cause mass casualty and cripple its commercial hubs. Public transport networks in India are also prime targets”.

Ramakrishnan added “The Mumbai attack in 2008 was the turning point for India. But lack of intelligence sharing among states is a big worry. Law and order is still a state subject in India and political rivalries across states leads to state intelligence agencies not sharing actionable data. Virtually all police forces in India lack modern equipment and adequate manpower to counter a terrorist threat. This brings down the overall morale of the force. India does not face threats from cross border terror organisations but also from home grown ones like the Indian Mujahideen”.

Charlotte Ingham, head of security analytics at Maplecroft UK said in total, 64 cities are categorised as
‘extreme risk’ in an online mapping and data portal that logged analysed every reported terrorism incident since 2009.

Based on the intensity and frequency of attacks in the 12 months following February 2014, combined with the number and severity of incidents in the previous five years, six cities in Iraq top the ranking.

Over this period, the country’s capital, Baghdad, suffered 380 terrorist attacks resulting in 1141 deaths and 3654 wounded, making it the world’s highest risk urban centre, followed by Mosul, Al Ramadi, Ba’qubah, Kirkuk and Al Hillah. Ingham said “just because a city in India hasn’t seen a terrorist attack in a while does not mean it isn’t potentially facing one. The rankings are based on the frequency and intensity of attacks.

Belfast has been named as the most dangerous city in Europe while Baghdad topped the list worldwide.

Outside of Iraq, other capital cities rated ‘extreme risk’ include Kabul (13th most at risk), Mogadishu in Somalia (14th), Sana’a in Yemen (19th) and Tripoli in Libya (48th).

However, with investment limited in conflict and post-conflict locations, it is the risk posed by terrorism in the primary cities of strategic economies, such as Egypt, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan that has the potential to threaten business and supply chain continuity.

“An estimated 80% of global GDP is generated from cities,” states Ingham. “Visibility of the sub-national differences in terrorism levels should be an imperative for multinational organisations looking to understand and price the risks to assets, employees and supply chains”.

As Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria’s role as a commercial hub is central to economic growth across the region. Because of Boko Haram 13 out of the 24 Nigerian cities experienced a significant increase in the intensity and frequency of terrorist attacks compared to the previous quarter.

Paris (97th and ‘high risk’) has experienced one of the steepest rises in the ranking, reflecting the severity of the terrorist attack in January 2015 that left 17 people dead. The risk level in Paris is representative of a wider trend for Western countries, including Belgium, Canada and Australia, where the level of risk in key urban centres is substantially higher than elsewhere in the country”.

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