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India witnessed third highest terror attacks in 2016: US

According to the Country Report on Terrorism released by the US State Department, India witnessed third highest number of terrorist attacks in 2016, more than Pakistan.

The six countries that faced highest number of terrorist attacks in 2016 are Iraq (2,965 terrorist attacks), Afghanistan (1,340), India (927), Pakistan (734), Philippines (482), Nigeria (466).

Key Highlights from report

Several countries that have routinely experienced large numbers of terrorist attacks in recent years observed considerable decreases in total attacks in 2016, compared to 2015. In 2015, Iraq (2418 attacks) and Afghanistan (1708) were ranked first and second respectively, while Pakistan took the third spot (1009 attacks).

The number of terrorist attacks in India in 2016 has increased by 16% and total number of deaths also has increased by 17%. More than half of the terrorist attacks in India in 2016 took place in four states: Jammu and Kashmir (19%), Chhattisgarh (18%), Manipur (12%) and Jharkhand (10%).

This geographic pattern of attacks was relatively stable compared to 2015, with the exception of J&K which experienced an increase of 93% in attacks in 2016. Though India ranked 3rd, the lethality of these terrorists attacks were relatively low compared to other countries that have experienced great deal of terror violence.

On average, terror attacks in India led to 0.4 deaths per attack in 2016, compared to 2.4 deaths per attack worldwide. Nearly three-quarters of attacks at 73% were non-lethal in India in 2016. The majority of attacks in India either involved explosions/bombings at 47% or armed assaults at 18%.

In addition, kidnappings at 15% of all attacks were particularly prevalent in India, compared to 10% worldwide, while facility/infrastructure attacks were at 12% of all attacks, compared to 6% worldwide. The deadliest attack in India in 2016 took place in July 2016, when the Communist Party of India – Maoist (left wing extremists) detonated explosives and opened fire on CRPF personnel in Bihar, killing 16 people including six assailants.

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‘CASO’ to be Reintroduced as Part of Counter Terrorism Operations

Indian Army has planned to re-introduce cordon and search operations (CASO) as a part of its counter terrorism operations after a gap of 15 years. The major objective behind the reintroduction of combing operations is to bring the situation in the Kashmir Valley under control. Hereafterwards, Army will carry out CASO in a major way to flush out militants in the militancy-hit areas of Kulgam, Pulwama, Tral, Budgam and Shopian in south Kashmir, indicating a change in strategy.

Background

CASO was a regular feature of Army’s counter-terrorism operations in the 1990s. The security forces made use of “area domination and sweep” operations in the 1990s. During those times, such operations were commonly conducted by the Indian Army. Later, following the complaints of discomfort caused to the local population, the Army switched to specific intelligence-based operations involving small teams and CASO was discontinued.

The recent decision to re-introduce CASO comes against the backdrop of the recent killing of unarmed Kashmiri Army officer Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz in Shopian by militants.

Recently, the Army, security forces and police had also carried out a massive cordon and combing operation in south Kashmir’s Shopian district following the recent militant attacks on policemen and banking facilities. It was the first time in 15 years that the combing operation of this magnitude involving 4,000 troops was conducted by the security forces.

 

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