Ex-NSA chief warns of jihadi wave in India

A new version of jihad is attracting "small but steady stream" of Indians to join Islamic State movement in Syria, Former National Security Advisor (NSA) M K Narayanan warned on Tuesday.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 23, 2014, 23:01 PM IST

London: A new version of jihad is attracting "small but steady stream" of Indians to join Islamic State movement in Syria, Former National Security Advisor (NSA) M K Narayanan warned on Tuesday.

"New version jihad is proving to be highly attractive for its strength is spiritual purity. More and more youngsters find this very attractive," the former director of Intelligence Bureau said at a lecture here.

"As a result of online propaganda, I would say the jihadi wave is achieving new heights today. In India, what we are witnessing today is a small but steady stream of recruits from different states trying to join the ranks of ISIS in Syria," he added.

The security expert, who recently stepped down as West Bengal governor, was speaking on the 'Security Challenges and Strategic Imperatives for India' at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS).

"I don't know if I am the right person to speak on India's security challenges because I don't think I was very successful in meeting them," Narayan began on a lighter note.

"We are meeting at a time of great turbulence in Asia and India being a part of Asia, it cannot be totally detached from several of the strands or strains that afflict Asia today. Asia today faces a range of threats from violent acts by state non-state and sub-state actors to newer dangers stemming from fundamentalist, extremist and radical ideas and beliefs," he added.

Describing terrorism as a "defining threat", he pointed to "overt and covert militancy" as a result of infiltration from across the border making a steady stream of new recruits available.

"Newer players, newer methodology and newer targets reflect a change in terrorist imperatives," he warned.

He said that there was a resurgence of religious extremism in the region as a whole which is a potential danger but is yet to develop into a threat.

"India does not face any existential threat from any external source but like many other countries in Asia, India too is embroiled in some border disputes such as India-China and the intense rivalry between India and Pakistan, especially over Jammu and Kashmir. But I would like to stress that neither of these disputes are likely to lead to open conflict," he said.

"For the present India's worry is to maintain peace and sustain democracy in a region affected by violent agitations and the spectre of religious orthodoxy, mainly Islamist." Narayanan also highlighted cyber terrorism as another major security imperative before India.