India prepared to tackle threat from al Qaeda-like agencies: IAF chief Arup Raha

Two days after the reported creation of a new al Qaeda wing in the Indian subcontinent, Indian Air Force chief Air Marshal Arup Raha on Friday acknowledged threat from al Qaeda-like agencies but said the nation is prepared for it.

India prepared to tackle threat from al Qaeda-like agencies: IAF chief Arup Raha

New Delhi: Two days after the reported creation of a new al Qaeda wing in the Indian subcontinent, Indian Air Force chief Air Marshal Arup Raha on Friday acknowledged threat from such terror outfits but said the nation is prepared for it.

"There is a threat perception from such agencies but the nation is prepared for it," he said when asked about the al Qaeda threat.

He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on the role of Air Force in the 1965 war with Pakistan.

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced the creation of a South Asian branch of his outfit to "raise the flag of jihad" in the Indian subcontinent, causing concerns.

In a 55-minute video posted online on Wednesday, Zawahiri - who succeeded Osama bin Laden after he was killed in Pakistan, said that the formation of "Al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent" would be good news for Muslims in Burma, Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir where they would be rescued from injustice and oppression".

Official sources said in New Delhi that the Intelligence Bureau has been asked to authenticate the video.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh met the heads of the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) on Thursday. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval also attended the meeting.

Congress leader and former union minister Manish Tewari described the development as "extremely worrying" and said the government must take cognizance of it.

The Al Qaeda announcement comes at a time when the group faces challenges from the increasingly aggressive Islamic State that has taken control of a large swathe of territory in Iraq and in Syria too.

(With Agency inputs)