India accuses Pakistan of fomenting Sikh militancy

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Shinde

NEW DELHI -India accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency on Wednesday of trying to recruit and train militants to carry out attacks across the border in the Indian state of Punjab.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency was pressuring Sikh militant leaders to target Punjab and other parts of India. “There has been some significant development on the Sikh militancy front,” Shinde said in New Delhi.

“Its commanders based in Pakistan are under pressure from ISI to further its plans not only in Punjab but also in other parts of the country,” he said. “The Sikh youths are being trained in ISI facilities in Pakistan.” The minister singled out the threat to the northwestern state during a speech to state chief ministers gathered in the capital for an annual conference on internal security.

Shinde said Punjab was also being targeted, with “a large quantity of arms and ammunition and explosives” seized by police in the last year after being smuggled across the Pakistan border.

Sikh youths living in Europe and the United States were also being encouraged to travel to Pakistan to train for terrorist-related attacks, Shinde told the conference.

India, he said, has a long and porous border with Nepal and Bangladesh which is being used by Pakistan-based jihadi groups to cajole youth for terror training in Pakistan and carry out attacks in India.”

This, he said, points to the necessity for closer coordination between states and the centre and the multi-agency centre needs to be strengthened for real time coordination of intelligence inputs.

Also addressing the conference, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged the state and national governments to work together to curb the “very grave threat” of Maoist insurgents in central India.

He has previously described the rebels as the country’s most serious internal security threat.

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