India warns of ISIS threat, tightens vigil at French, US missions

Militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, operate in India and carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, operate in India and carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks.PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has warned of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) using regional militant groups to mount strikes in the country, and has increased security around the diplomatic missions of the United States, France and Britain among others, a government advisory said.

The Federal Interior Ministry said in the note issued to state police chiefs that Friday's attacks in Paris in which 129 people were killed showed the intentions of ISIS to expand its arc of operations beyond Syria and Iraq.

Despite India's large Muslim population, ISIS has only been able to draw a handful of recruits from the country, although security officials say they don't have a full picture, and that there could be more youth getting radicalised.

But some of the world's deadliest militant groups, including the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba that carried out the Mumbai 2008 attacks, operate in India, and the fear is ISIS might turn to them to target foreign interests in the country.

"Though ISIS/ISIL has not been able to establish any significant presence in India, its success in radicalising some youth, attracting certain section of the local population/Indian diaspora... or the possibility of piggybacking on terrorist groups operating in India have opened up the possibility of ISIS sponsored action on Indian territory," the note said.

Reuters has a copy of the advisory issued on Monday. It ordered security to be enhanced for the missions of France, the United States, Britain, Germany, Russia, Australia, Turkey and Israel.

"Available intelligence about ISIS activities should be immediately reviewed to identify plans, targets, areas vulnerable to attack by ISIS and appropriate action taken to neutralise potential threats," the advisory said.

Ten Lashkar-e-Taiba gunmen attacked luxury hotels, a train station and a Jewish centre in a three-day shooting spree in Mumbai seven years ago, killing 166 people, India said, in an assault similar to the attacks in Paris.