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India: Subnational variations in conflict

Risks of conflict varies widely at a sub-national level in India. There are primarily three categories of terrorist groups that results in serious threats to life and property – Islamist, Naxalite and ethnic insurgents. Islamist terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are highly active in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, regularly engaging in gun battles with security forces. Home-grown Islamist networks like the Indian Mujahideen (IM) have been weakened in recent years with the capture of senior leaders. However, major Indian cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru (Bangalore) are still at risk of terrorist attacks.

Separately, left-wing insurgents known as ‘Naxalites’ pose a substantial threat to human security and business operations in the eastern states of Odisha (Orissa), Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Naxalites particularly oppose mining and construction projects in these areas as they claim the benefits of such activity do not accrue to the local residents such as tribal groups. Finally, risks of protracted conflict are also pronounced in some of the north-eastern states, most notably Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. Ethnicity-based insurgent groups who seek outright secession in these regions pose moderate risks to human security.