India has decided to support the war declared against the Islamic State (IS) by France in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said on Monday.
Hinting at a change in India’s approach towards IS, Rijiju — who attended a condolence meet at the Embassy of France — said: “We have taken a decision to stand with France in its declaration of war against the Islamic State. We have also stated that this effort of war against IS should not be of France or India alone but a global effort. We commit ourselves fully in supporting France in its effort to combat terrorism.”
The minister, however, refused to elaborate to what level India planned to support France and whether it would it remain limited to intelligence sharing or involve military intervention. So far, India has avoided intervening in the war going on in the Syria-Iraq region in any manner.
“The contours of this cooperation will be decided in due course. But we have decided to extend all possible support to France,” said Rijiju.
Sources within the home ministry said that the government was mulling a more “aggressive” approach towards IS as it had demonstrated its capability to carry out spectacular attacks against developed nations.
“The activities of IS are expanding fast across the world. We have to take note of it and recalibrate our approach,” said a senior home ministry official.
Till now, the Indian security establishment had maintained that IS was not a big threat to India. The country’s response to youth joining IS ranks in Syria or indulging in IS propaganda had also been measured. Despite many being identified for being associated to IS, only three were arrested. Most of those found indulging in IS propaganda were counselled and let off. Even Home Minister Rajnath Singh had brushed aside the IS threat as “minor”. The NIA, which is probing a case against Kalyan youth Areeb Majid for fighting alongside IS in Syria, has not been allowed to lodge an open FIR in the case of IS, just as it did in the case of Indian Mujahideen. Delhi Police, however, lodged an FIR on these lines.
Emphasising the need for a re-look at India’s approach towards IS, Rijiju said, “The threat of IS is increasing by the day. We need to look at our own capabilities of fighting and containing it… we need to make our commitment towards fighting IS stronger in view of the Paris attacks.”
The intelligence establishment as yet does not consider IS an immediate threat to India. It, however, is worried about the advances IS has been making in Afghanistan. “The day IS makes deep inroads into Pakistan, we will have trouble at our door. It will begin from Kashmir,” said a senior intelligence official.
Envoy: Mosques spreading hatred will be shut
New Delhi: French Ambassador to India François Richier on Monday said that France may close mosques “if it is established that they are spreading hatred against country”. “If mosques or their associations spread messages of hate, such organisations should be stopped,” Ambassador Richier said. ENS