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Terror networks in Indonesia may target India

July 20, 2009 10:43 IST

The al Qaeda, which is suspected to be behind the recent blasts in two luxury hotels in Jakarta along with local terrorist outfit Jemayah Islamiya, has set up base in Indonesia for the first time, suggest intelligence reports.

The al Qaeda zeroed in on Indonesia as a safe haven for a number of reasons. The cluster of nearly 12,000 islands surrounding the country provided the perfect opportunity for the al Qaeda to set up its terror hub.  The al Qaeda's entry was an easy one, after it offered financial support to the JI for its fight against the Christian population in Moluccas islands.

The al Qaeda's burgeoning network in Indonesia and other countries will prove to be a headache for India. It is a well known fact that the al Qaeda had sought the help of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba after the crackdown by United States forces in Afghanistan. The two outfits have managed to regain their base in South Asia and they have primarily targeted countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Maldives, which a large number of islands, to set up base.

While the al Qaeda's cadres are trained on these remote islands, intelligence agencies are worried that the terrorists will launch attacks on the ships that sail anywhere near these islands.

In Indonesia, nearly 2000 youths have been trained in terror-related activities. Intelligence officials caution that cadres trained in Indonesia might be sent to launch terror strikes in India, as tight security on the Indo-Pakistan border might hamper infiltration attempts by other cadres.

According to US intelligence, the cadres are being trained in handling automatic weapons and assemble bombs. Intelligence reports suggest that several youths from Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan had traveled to Indonesia as workers and stayed back.

The IB says that in the next few years, the terror outfits will try to move away from Pakistan and set up base in other countries like Maldives, Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Vicky Nanjappa