The United States on Thursday slapped sanctions on India-based terrorist group Indian Mujahideen by designating it as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation and said it has significant links with Pakistan-based groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slapped sanctions on the organisation. The State Department said IM maintains close ties to other US- designated terrorist entities including Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami.
"IM's stated goal is to carry out terrorist actions against non-Muslims in furtherance of its ultimate objective: an Islamic Caliphate across South Asia," it said.
IM is responsible for dozens of bomb attacks throughout India since 2005, and has caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians.
"These designations highlight the threat posed by IM not only to Western interests, but to India, a close US partner. The Indian populace has borne the brunt of IM's wanton violence and Thursday's actions illustrate our solidarity with the Indian Government," stated Daniel Benjamin, the Department of State's Coordinator for Counter terrorism.
These designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to abandon terrorism.
The State Department said, IM's primary method of attack is multiple coordinated bombings in crowded areas against economic and civilian targets to maximise terror and casualties.
In 2010, IM carried out the bombing of a popular German bakery in Pune frequented by tourists, killing 17 and injuring over 60 people.
In 2008, an IM attack in Delhi killed 30 people. Also in 2008, it was responsible for 16 synchronised bomb blasts in crowded urban centres and a local hospital that killed 38 and injured more than 100 in Ahmedabad.
IM also played a facilitative role in the 2008 Mumbai attack carried out by LeT that killed 163 people, including six Americans, the State Department said. "The consequences of these designations include a prohibition against knowingly providing material support or resources to, or engaging in other transactions with, the Indian Mujahideen, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organisation that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the control of US persons," State Department said.
The slapping of sanctions against IM comes within a fortnight of a Congressional report identifying IM as an example of dangerous growing trend of indigenous Islamist terrorism in India.
"Despite New Delhi's reluctance to openly acknowledge the fact, India also has its own indigenous Islamist terrorism threat."The newly emergent IM group, widely believed to be an offshoot or pseudonym of the Students Islamic Movement of India, has been found complicit in a number of recent bombings, even as government leaders continue to name Pakistan as an abettor of such episodes," the Congressional Research Service said in its latest report on India.