Indian press report growing concerns over possible terrorist base in Maldives

Concerns that Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba are seeking to establish a ‘sleeper cell’ in the Maldives have re-risen following reports in the Indian media.

The Times of India reported yesterday that India has quickened its efforts to formalise the counter-terrorism partnership between the two countries.

Quoting Indian intelligence sources, the Times reported that India “has noted with concern the sharp increase in the number of visitor from the Maldives to Pakistan, where they spend a lot of time travelling around the country for purposes which are unclear but suspicious.”

The isolation and strategic location of the Maldives make it a tempting target for groups such as Lashkar, which India has identified as responsible for the attacks in Mumbai on 26 November 2008, in which gunmen entered the city by sea and killed at least 173 people and wounded 308.

Minister for Home Affairs Mohamed Shihab travelled to India in early February to meet his counterpart P Chidambaram, in order to draw up a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries that was to be signed in April.

State Minister for Home Affairs Adil Saleem said today Shihab was in Delhi but the trip was on the invitation of the World Bank regarding unrelated matters.

A spokesman for the Indian High Commission said defence agreements between India and the Maldives were “a continuous arrangement” and not specific to a particular incident or group.

He acknowledged that there was “support for fundamentalist groups” in the Maldives but would not speculate on who those groups were or defence arrangements between the two countries. He noted that no agreements had progressed since the minister’s last visit to India in February.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Naseem noted that the Maldives and India performed intelligence sharing “very well”.

“India is very concerned about this group Lashkar-e-Taiba; I think all the countries in this region need to be vigilant,” Naseem said, emphasising the importance of “close cooperation with our regional neighbours.”

In a letter sent to the Indian parliament on Tuesday, India’s State Minister for Home Affairs Ajay Maken wrote that “available inputs indicate that Pakistan-based terrorist groups, primarily the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), are making concerted efforts to organise terrorist attacks in various parts of the country, including iconic institutions, prominent industrial installations and tourist locations among others.”

In order to do so, he noted, the group was making concerted efforts to develop links with other countries in the region, including the Maldives.

Other prominent groups posing a threat included Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM), Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HuJI), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), Al Badr, Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), Khalistan Commando force, International Sikh Youth federation (ISYF), United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and Communist party of India (Maoist),” Maken noted.


14 thoughts on “Indian press report growing concerns over possible terrorist base in Maldives”

  1. we should start acting on this before the Maldives is used by afganisthan and pakisthan based terrorist. if such an attack is made the government shall be responsible. coz the government is allowing well known extreme propaganda been spread and people recruited for jihad by registered organizations in the Maldives in broad day light. of all they are bringing a terrorist loveer zakir naik to show good path

  2. Rising religious extremism is a growing concern among many Maldivians today.

    However, from the facts given above it is unclear how many the 'the sharp increase in the number of visitor from the Maldives to Pakistan' refers to.

    I am suspicious when such references are made without referring to numbers, etc.

    I hope this is not a ploy by the Indian government to scare the Maldivian public and influence Maldives against the Chinese to strengthen their economic grip on Maldives under the pretense of providing security and counter-terrorism partnership, etc.

    We've read on media that President Nasheed is making a formal visit to China on 1st May 2010.

  3. The comment by Shaya is spot on. This is exactly what India is doing. This the same Indian Intelligence who kept two Maldivian women behind bars for years before they were released. Who is responsible for the physical, mental & emotional one. Just a simple "very sorry" and a case of mistaken identity was enough for the great Indian Intelligence. So without beating around the bush, why don't they give numbers & facts.

  4. India has loads of things to worry about on its own borders. So why try to complain about a small country which is not next to its border?

    There can be what they call sleeper-cells anywhere in the world, including Europe which the British and American governments have admitted. There are also homegrown sleeper-cells in the West now. So again, why just point out Maldives? And why do a few make a big deal of it instead of pointing out to India that firstly we are a Muslim country which is not a part of India (a non-Muslim country). Secondly they can find what they might call sleeper-cells more in their own country due to the high level in population and also at their borders with Pakistan since these two countries are both nationalist countries trying to compete in an arms struggle between each other over Kashmir which is pathetic since fact is Pakistanis and Indians are the same people. Just because the country split after Gandhi's failure to keep to keep peace between the Muslims and the non-Muslims, does not mean they are not the same race. They are only different in religion and this is what split them as Muslims had to leave India and actually make their own independent country to live safely. Wonder how hostile the Indians were in order for this to happen. And also wonder how Gandhi could ever be an icon for freedom, when he actually split a huge country like India into two separate nations which are still at battles with each other till this date.

  5. It is well known that young Maldivians are very susceptible to being brainwashed by terrorist groups, and I don't understand why Maldivians should be allowed to travel to Pakistan at all in these vulnerable times, when we KNOW that Maldivians are being trained there.
    It shouldn't be easy, reasons and proofs should be given on why there is a need to travel to Pakistan.

    I don't think it brings us forward in defending ourselves by saying that sleeper cells occur all over the world (blaming again Europe and so on), when we have a serious problem within our country.

    Recently I have been talking to one of the ex-leaders of the dots - he told me how they went out to recruit young people, how they influenced them, how they brainwashed them. Luckily this boy converted back to "normal" after the Sultan bombing was completed - but anyone who defends this behaviour, and I am sure that many who comment here do so, is a terrorist him/herself.

    Hoping for a successful co-operation between the Maldivian and Indian government to eradicate such radical groups from the world.

  6. What kind of crap is this Indian Press publishing. This is just false allegations tarnishing the good image of Maldives. Maldivians have been traveling to Pakistan and India for medical and study purposes. Both countries give scholarships to Maldivian students as well. Just because people travel and use their basic human rights does not mean they are terrorists. Maldives is such a small place we all know almost everyone and can recognize each other very well. The type of terrorist organizations mentioned in the IP cannot easily get a foothold in Maldives. Most Maldivians are much well aware and not easy targets for brainwashing by such gangs. of course there may be one or 2 but with the free and fair democracy we have there is no need for our fellow country men to join such forces. I call on the government to strongly condemn these stupid allegations by a stupid press just to sell their stories.

  7. I couldn't disagree more with Muad MZ.

    "So again, why just point out Maldives? "

    Simple. Because we are Maldivians. This kind of thing horrifies ordinary Maldivians.

    The rapid rise in rigid, extremist version of puritan Islam - that contradicts our traditional peaceful culture - and the corresponding rise in Maldivian terrorist activity is indeed a huge cause for concern for thinking citizens, as well as vulnerable neighbors like India and Pakistan who bear the large brunt of terrorist violence on their soil.

    If terrorists are allowed to spread their roots in our country, and they cause another mass murder like the Mumbai terror attacks, then we MUST take part of the responsibility.

    The fact there are sleeper cells in Europe or wherever doesn't even enter the equation here. We have a problem at home that we must solve.

    Also, Muad's comment betrays a vast ignorance of modern history.

    Gandhi could in no way be blamed for hostilities between Muslims and Hindus. It wasn't his decision to partition the country - it was a demand made by the Muslim League and supported by far right Hindu parties.

    Gandhi opposed the partition for as long as he could - and it is said this is why he was shot dead by a Nathuram Godse, a religious fanatic.

    The blame for the partition lies on both the British imperialists who indulged in a policy of divide and rule, as well as religious fanatics among both Muslims and Hindus that both sought to sow discord among people for political gains.

    It must be said here that both Jinnah and Nehru - the first premiers of both countries were staunch secularists.

    Pakistan didn't descend into a failed state caught between Army, America and Allah until the dictatorial reign of General Zia Ul Haq.

    It would be historical injustice to a great man and leader of the stature of Gandhi to blame him for a partition he went on a hunger strike to prevent, just because he was not a Muslim.

  8. ibrahim Mohamed,

    What about the fact that the President of the Maldives has also confirmed that potentially hundreds of Maldivian youth are being brainwashed in the name of religion to fight political wars in that region?

    What about blogs and websites operated by Maldivians that openly espouse 'jehad'(defined as murder and terrorism by us average Maldivians)

    What about the videos leaked on Al-qaeda forums with Maldivians in it?

    What about stories the dozens of 'martyred' Maldivians that I have personally verified to be true?

    By labeling the article 'stupid' just because there are facts that you do not wish to confront, you are not doing anyone a favour.

  9. Dear Yaamyn,

    What about the load of crap that went about regarding Mariyam Rasheeda & Fawziyya? That is also the same intelligence of India. Even if the President says it should be backed by facts. The so called great intelligence should be atleast able to give numbers who traveled from Male (even via India) to Pakistan - backed by proof.
    I am also totally aware of the intolerant nature of certain groups of people in the name of religion - and i don't support that. But that doesn't mean that we should dance to every tune our BIG BROTHER is playing.
    Wake up - be realistic. Don't let others add fuel to and already polarizing public.

  10. "But that doesn’t mean that we should dance to every tune our BIG BROTHER is playing"

    The tune, unfortunately, is not being played by 'Big Brother'.

    Like I said, the facts have been corroborated by the Maldivian President himself.

    If - despite the obvious participation of Maldivians in terrorist activities - as proven by scores of dead 'martyrs' and videos popping up on Al-Qaeda forums - you still think the Indian intelligence is just cooking up all these stories, then the Lord help you.

    Another thing, Mariyam Rasheeda and Fauziya were not set up by Indian intelligence. Far as I'm aware, it was corrupt policemen who framed them.

    The ensuing action showed just how seriously the Indians take threats to their national security - unlike some of us, perhaps.

  11. Yaamyn, thanks for listing the various examples of Maldivians engaged in terrorist actions - it seems to me that the ones who are trying to ridicule the Indian gvts concerns are just one of them... trying to defend their extremist views...

  12. India is talking bollocks. Its more easy for Lashkar-e-Taiba to make a military terrorist camp in India itself than coming all the way to Maldives to do it. Besides they are well established in Pakistan itself which is a more affordable base for them to attack India.
    SO please, STOP talking nonscence India. You concentrate on your own domestic issues first rather than talking about Maldives. Sort out a way of feeding you one billion people first.
    Let us live in our home quietly and leave us alone. Dont try to influence Maldives. We know you have a strong interest in ruling over the India ocean area before you rivals China and Pakistan gets into it. This is the only reason why you are trying to be so good friends with us and showing your cunningness.

  13. According to Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, published by the United States Intelligence Council, in those countries that are likely to struggle with youth bulges and weak economic underpinnings - such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Yemen - the radical Salafi trend of Islam is likely to gain traction. Therefore, it is no big surprise that economically disenfranchised young Maldivians are travelling to Pakistan to be 'educated'.

  14. This is the most lame excuse or alibi that India can give to eye on having a Military base in the Maldives.


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