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'Qaeda's presence not yet noticed in India'

A top former intelligence official claims that no overt presence of Al Qaeda has been found in India so far though several Pakistan-based outfits sympathetic to it are operating in the country.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2008 16:34 IST

A top former intelligence official has claimed that no overt presence of Al Qaeda has been found in India so far though several Pakistan-based outfits sympathetic to it are operating in the country.

Even though Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri had till 2003 made virulent statements against "Crusaders, Zionists and Hindus", the critical references to Hindus were absent in the statements made by Zawahiri in December 2006, said B Raman, former Additional Secretary in Research and Analysis Wing of the Cabinet Secretariat.

In his new book 'Terrorism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow', he said "from the point of view of India, a significant aspect was the absence of any critical reference to Hindus and Hinduism and to India's relations with the US.

"Previous comments in Al Qaeda propaganda that the global jihad was directed against the joint anti-Islam conspiracy of Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism did not find repetition," Raman said in the book published by Lancer.

Describing the outfit as "an almost exclusively Arab organisation", he said bin Laden was inducting "only Arabs known for their personal loyalty to him so that its (Al Qaeda's) internal security is not diluted."

He said the Kashmir issue "hardly figured in the statements of Al Qaeda" before the 9/11 attack. Since then the references have been more frequent "but not as frequent as in the case of other countries."

The former intelligence official said no overt presence of Al Qaeda has been noticed in Jammu and Kashmir or any other parts of India so far.

However, pro-Al Qaeda jihadi organisations from Pakistan have been active in Indian territory since 1993."

These included Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba.