3rd largest terror target after Iraq and Afghanistan in India

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India has displaced Pakistan on a list of countries facing terror attacks in 2016, with higher fatalities and injuries than its restive neighbour, according to data compiled by the US state department.

The data, analysed by a national consortium for the study of terrorism and responses to terrorism, contracted with the US state department, reveals India is third after Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of terror attacks. Pakistan had held the position earlier.

Out of 11,072 terror attacks in 2016 worldwide, India bore the brunt of 927, 16% more than 2015 (798). The number of deaths in India also rose 17% from 289 in 2015 to 337 last year while the number of injured increased from 500 in 2015 to 636 last year. On the other hand, the number of terror attacks in Pakistan reduced by 27% to 734 in 2016 from 1,010 in 2015.

However, a crucial difference needs to be noted while comparing India and Pakistan and the incidence of terror.

Pakistan is largely the victim of terrorist groups it has harboured and raised since the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and its extremist seminaries attract terror recruits from around the world. India, on the other hand, has to deal with terror groups operating from safe havens in Pakistan and a clear upsurge in attacks in Jammu & Kashmir directed from across the border in 2016.

Interestingly, the US analysis has labelled Naxals the third most deadly terror organisation in the world after IS and Taliban, even ahead of Boko Haram. The CPI (Maoist) was behind 336 terror attacks last year in which 174 people were killed and 141 were injured. More than half of the terror attacks in India in 2016 took place in four states – J&K, Chhattisgarh, Manipur and Jharkhand.

File photo he geographical areas show that left-wing extremism led by Maoists also contributed to terror incidents in parts of east India.

Jammu & Kashmir saw a surge of 93% in terror attacks last year, the data says. The Indian home ministry’s annual report 2016-17, however, reports a 54.81% increase in terror incidents in the state.

The Modi government has taken a “tough line” against terrorism. The government has decided not to seek a political outreach and concentrate on intensive security operations, going by the assessment that negotiations will signal weakness rather than accommodation.

According to the NCSTRT data, total number of people kidnapped or taken hostage in terrorist attacks in India has, however, reduced 63% from 866 in 2015 to 317 in 2016. 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.

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