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US tags Indian Mujahideen a terror outfit

world Updated: Sep 16, 2011 02:08 IST
Yashwant Raj

The US on Thursday designated Indian Mujahideen (IM), one of the terror outfits to claim responsibility for September 7 Delhi blast, as a foreign terrorist group.

The state department announcement described IM as an India-based terrorist group with “significant links” to Pakistan and to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat ul-Jihad-al-Islami.

The IM is blamed for the 2010 bombing of German Bakery in Pune that left 17 people dead and the 2008 blasts in Delhi in which 30 people were killed. Sixteen blasts that left 38 dead in Ahmedabad in 2008, too, are said to be its handiwork.

Thursday’s move bars US citizens from providing material support to the group and freezes any assets the outfit may have in the US.

“IM also played a facilitative role in the 2008 Mumbai attack,” the announcement said.

"These designations highlight the threat posed by IM not only to Western interests, but to India, a close US partner… and today's actions illustrate our solidarity with the Indian government," said Daniel Benjamin, state department's coordinator for counter-terrorism.

The tagging comes a day after a committee of the US House of Representatives was told during a hearing on India-US cooperation on terrorism that India faced a growing threat from home-grown terrorists.

Action against Indian Mujahideen does address a larger issue raised by the House committee — India and the US must cooperate more in fight against terror. “I'd like to get to a point where our counterterrorism exchanges are just as high-profile, numerous and unprecedented as our combined military exercises,” said Ed Royce, chairman of the House foreign affairs subcommittee on terrorism.