The US State Department recently released its annual report on terrorism which analyses the counter-terrorism initiatives adopted by different countries. The Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 also elaborates on the looming terror threat facing South Asian region and provides inputs to combat terrorism.
Indian government sources had earlier told The Indian Express that the segments on South and Central Asia “vindicate India’s longstanding position on the menace of cross-border terrorism in our region”. Along with the annual report, the Department of State is also required to release statistics on the number of individuals killed, injured or kidnapped by the terrorist group during the preceding calendar year.
Where does India stand?
According to the report, the number of terrorist attacks in India increased by 16 per cent in 2016 and the total number of deaths too went up by 17 per cent. Globally, however, the total number of terrorist attacks in 2016 decreased by 9 per cent and so did the total deaths due to terrorist attacks (13 per cent decreased). The report attributes this to fewer attacks in Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen.
The same year, India was also ranked third — behind Iraq and Afghanistan — in the list of the countries that faced the most number of terrorist attacks.
“Compared to the other countries that experienced the most terrorist attacks and fatalities in 2016, the diversity of perpetrator groups was much greater in India, with 52 active groups,” the report stated along with adding that nearly two-thirds of the terrorist attacks carried out in India in 2016 (65 per cent) were attributed to the Communist Party of India-Maoist or Maoist perpetrators.
The naxals were classified third, above Boko Haram, in the list of terror groups responsible for carrying out the most number of attacks. Islamic State and Taliban makeup the top three.
The “lethality” of attacks in India, however, remained relatively low compared to other countries. “On average, terrorist attacks in India caused 0.4 total deaths per attack in 2016, compared to 2.4 deaths per attack worldwide. Nearly three-quarters of attacks (73%) in India in 2016 were non-lethal,” the report said.
Statistics also point towards the decrease in the number of perpetrator deaths in terror attacks, putting the number at 20 per cent. When it came to hostages, “the total number of people kidnapped or taken hostage in terrorist attacks in India, decreased 63 per cent, from 866 in 2015 to 317 in 2016.”
Over 47 per cent of the terrorist incidents in 2016 involved either bombings or explosions. Only 18 per cent were armed assaults. Kidnappings were also prevalent in India as it comprised of 15 per cent of all attacks, compared to the global record of 10 per cent. In addition to this, facility and infrastructure attacks also accounted for 12 per cent of all attacks, compared to 6 per cent worldwide.
When it came to locating the regions most affected by terrorism, the report noted that more than half of the terrorist attacks in India in 2016 took place in four states: Jammu and Kashmir (19 per cent), Chhattisgarh (18 per cent), Manipur (12 per cent), and Jharkhand (10 per cent). Notably, Jammu and Kashmir experienced a 93 per cent increase in attacks in 2016.