NEW DELHI: In an assessment shared by India with Australia at a meeting of their joint working group on counter-terrorism here on last Thursday, August 28, as many as 10 Indian youths are reported to be currently engaged in the Islamic State (ISIS) “war” in Syria/Iraq.
The figure of 10 Indians now with ISIS is higher than the assessment put forth at a meeting of chief secretaries and police chiefs of 12 states convened by the Union home ministry here earlier in August. This meeting was called to discuss the ISIS’ appeal among a section of Indian youth and ways to counter it, it was discussed that 13 Indians had joined ISIS so far. Of this, seven were believed to be located in ISIS territory, while six had been killed.
Incidentally, unlike India where ISIS has had limited success in drawing the young into its ranks, Australia has witnessed a notable outflow of its youth to jihadi theatres controlled by the outfit. As many as 150 young Australians have travelled to Iraq/Syria to fight alongside the ISIS. Of these, around 30 have come back while 60 are believed to be fighting for ISIS. Australia also perceives a threat to its citizens travelling to countries like Indonesia, where ISIS had picked up many recruits, as tourists.
During the counter-terror talks with Australia, India is said to have raised Pakistan’s continuing terror activities against India and its failure to dismantle the terror infrastructure on its soil. Senior officials of the ministry of external affairs are said to have shared how terror outfits active in the Af-Pak region were now taking up legitimate business such as leather goods exports, travel agencies, flour mills etc, to camouflage their operations and funding. ISI is controlling most of the terror outfits, particularly LeT.
The joint working group also discussed international presence of Sikh radical groups, particularly their attempts to “take over” gurudwaras in US, UK, Germany and Canada, all having a notable Sikh diaspora. India is said to have raised the emerging nexus between radical Sikh outfits and jihadi groups.