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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

India Getting an Al Qaeda Franchise

The Jamestown Foundation, a U.S.-based think tank, has warned of a renewed threat to India from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

It quotes intelligence sources as saying the LeT’s marine wing may be planning a Mumbai-type incursion to target vital installations in the coastal states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa.

The group is also reported to have funneled huge amounts of money from its Gulf-based networks to fund activities in India.

It is not the first time such a warning has been issued, since the attacks in November. The U.S. embassy still has a warden message on its website dated June 2, 2009, warning U.S. citizens there is a “high threat of terrorism throughout India.

India’s Home Minister P. Chidambaram wasn’t too happy with the advisory when it was issued, arguing the country was safe to travel. But if his own intelligence agencies are talking of a second 26/11, you have to ask yourself if you should not be taking these warnings seriously.

The Jamestown Foundation said the LeT was using the Gulf networks and hawala channels to route money for operations not just in India, but in Pakistan itself.

Is it a tactical shift to ride out international pressure that New Delhi has been trying to bring on Pakistan to act against a group long regarded as a ”strategic asset” ?

This week Pakistan has appealed against a court decision to free LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, accused by India of plotting the Mumbai attack. And simultaneously, the United States moved against the group, launching sanctions against three senior operatives along with one from al Qaeda.

Some people are already speculating if the Lashkar is the new al Qaeda.

The Rest @ The Associated Press

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