The State Department designated an Indian militant group as a foreign terrorist organization Thursday. The Indian Mujahideen (IM) is an India-based terrorist group whose ultimate aim is to impose an Islamic-style caliphate in South Asia. The group is suspected of being behind the serial bombings in Mumbai on July 13 that killed more than 20 people and injured at least 100 others.
The IM is believed to be part of the Karachi Project, sponsored by Pakistan's powerful military spy agency, the Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate (ISI). The Project that includes Pakistan-based terrorist groups, the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and the Harkat ul-Jihad-Islami (HuJI), seeks to train Indian jihadists to wage terrorist attacks against key metropolitan cities in India.
The IM has been responsible for a number of attacks on Indian cities in recent years. In 2010, the group attacked a German Bakery in Pune, which is frequented by Western tourists, killing nine people, including two foreigners. In 2008, the IM launched attacks in Delhi and Ahmedabad that killed more than 60 people. The IM has also played a "facilitative role" in the November 2008 terrorist siege on Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
"These designations highlight the threat posed by IM not only to Western interests but to India, a close U.S. partner. The Indian populace has borne the brunt of IM's wanton violence and today's actions illustrate our solidarity with the Indian government," Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the State Department's Coordinator for Counterterrorism, said in a statement.