New York: India is among the 10 countries most impacted by terrorism in 2014, according to a new report which said that ISIS and Boko Haram are now jointly responsible for more than half of all global fatalities from terrorist attacks.
Mumbai police with sniffer dog.
According to the third edition of the Global Terrorism Index 2015 (GTI), India ranked 6th out of 162 nations most affected by terrorism in 2014.
India witnessed a slight increase in terror-related deaths, up by 1.2 per cent in 2014 to reach a total of 416, the highest number of terrorist incidents and deaths since 2010. There were 763 incidents which represents a 20 per cent increase from 2013, the report by Washington-based Institute for Economics and Peace said.
In India, the two deadliest Islamic terrorist groups in 2014 were Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen. The Pakistan-based LeT was responsible for 24 deaths in 2014, while Hizbul Mujahideen was responsible for 11 deaths in 2014, down from 30 deaths in the previous year.
In 2013 Hizbul Mujahideen was the only group in India to use suicide tactics, but in 2014 there were no suicide attacks in India, the report added.
It said that the number of lives lost to terrorism around the world increased by 80 per cent in 2014, reaching the highest level ever recorded at 32,658 as compared to 18,111 in 2013.
Pakistan was ranked fourth of the list while the US was ranked 35th among the nations most impacted by terrorism. The report added that just two terrorist groups, ISIS and Boko Haram, are now jointly responsible for 51 per cent of all global fatalities from claimed terrorist attacks.
"Boko Haram, which pledged its allegiance to ISIL as the Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP) in March 2015, has become the world's deadliest terrorist group, causing 6,644 deaths compared to ISIL's 6,073," it said.
India has featured 14 times in the 10 countries most affected by terrorism for the 2000'2014 period. While India continues to be among the 10 countries most impacted by terrorism, 2014 was the first time since 2000 that India did not feature among the ten countries with highest fatalities from terrorism.
"However this is due to the growth of terrorism in other countries more than to an improvement in India," the report said adding that majority of terrorist attacks in India have low casualties.
In 2014 around 70 per cent of attacks in India were non-lethal. Of the 50 different terrorist groups that engaged in a terrorist act in 2014, 28 groups did not kill anyone, it said.
The report categorised terrorism in India into three distinct groups of communists, Islamists and separatist. It said communist terrorist groups are "by far the most frequent perpetrators" and the main cause of deaths in India. Two Maoist communist groups claimed responsibility for 172 deaths in 2014, which constitutes 41 per cent of all deaths from terrorism. Police are overwhelmingly the biggest targets of Maoists, accounting for over half of the deaths.
Kidnapping is also a common tactic of the Maoists where it is often used as a political tool to force the government to release Maoist prisoners.
The majority of Maoist attacks occurred in the provinces of Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the report said. The dispute with Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir is the main source of Islamic terrorism.
Islamist terrorists were responsible for 57 deaths in this region, which is 14 per cent of the total deaths in India from terrorism, the report said.
The report noted that the announcement in September 2014 that Al-Qaida was establishing a presence in India has not led to a dramatic increase in terrorism by the group. It further said that India's north-east region has for the last three decades seen continual ethno-political unrest from ethnic secessionist movements. It termed the National Democratic Front of Bodoland as the second deadliest group in India in 2014 responsible for killing 80 people in 2014.
Globally, terrorism is highly concentrated in just five countries - Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria -accounting for 78 per cent of all deaths in 2014. Iraq continues to be the country most impacted by terrorism, with 3,370 attacks killing 9,929 people, the highest number of terrorism incidents and fatalities ever recorded by a single country.
Nigeria recorded the largest increase in deaths from terrorism, rising by over 300% to 7,512 fatalities. The economic cost of terrorism reached its highest ever level in 2014 at USD 52.9 billion, an increase of 61 per cent from the previous year's total of USD 32.9 billion, and a tenfold increase since 2000.
"The significant increase in terrorist activity has meant that its ramifications are being felt more widely throughout the world. What is most striking from our analysis is how the drivers of terrorism differ between more and less developed countries. In the West, socio-economic factors such as youth unemployment and drug crime correlate with terrorism.
"In non-OECD countries, terrorism shows stronger associations with ongoing conflict, corruption and violence," IEP Executive Chairman Steve Killelea said.
"Ten of the eleven countries most affected by terrorism also have the highest rates of refugees and internal displacement. This highlights the strong inter-connectedness between the current refugee crisis, terrorism and conflict."
The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria since 2011 is the largest influx in modern times. Current estimates now range from 25,000 to 30,000 fighters, from roughly 100 countries.
Half of the foreign fighters travelling to Iraq and Syria are from neighbouring countries and a quarter from Europe and Turkey.
The flow of foreign fighters does not appear to be diminishing, with over 7,000 arriving in the first six months of 2015, it said.