The map, which can be accessed here, is stated by Aon to show ‘a trend towards fewer terrorist attacks in the Middle East but increased activity in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, with Thailand and Nepal also showing higher levels of activity’.
While the US embassy did not give out the basis for the terror strike warning, Aon says ‘The past year has highlighted the tenacity of leftist/Maoist activity in India and Nepal. Outside India little attention is paid to the activities of the rural conflict in the north east part of the country but Maoist terrorists have become amongst the most prolific in the world. The recent Indian elections led to a significant spike in attacks; in April 2009, 65 terrorist incidents were recorded there.’
The assessments made by Aon ‘draw upon empirical data and open source intelligence from the Terrorism Tracker online database’, which ‘records all global terrorist attacks and plots, as well other threat indicators such as terrorist group communiques, counter-terrorist actions and government threat warnings’.
This data is then analyzed by experts at Janusian who then assign ‘threat levels by scoring each country according to the following threat indicators for 2009:
Evidence of known and active groups or networks operating in a given country.
Their aims and stated objectives.
Their track record of terrorist activity, including target selection and activity levels.
Their operational capabilities to stage attacks.
The likely erosion of terrorist capabilities through the current counter-terrorism regime in the given country.’
One security expert in the Indian government thinks that even if the US advisory is not based on the threat assessment published by Aon, which he says is quite possible, “It is significant that independent assessments being made by risk assessment companies as well as the US government point to a heightening of the terror strike threat perception. This is obviously something we take seriously.”
While he refused to comment on whether the Indian government had similarly changed its threat perception, he did say, “The nature of the terror threat in India includes those from Pakistan-based terror groups, Naxals, the LTTE etc. The perception is quite dynamic and keeps changing. India, being surrounded by unstable countries and especially threatened by terror groups in Pakistan, is obviously a target. The release of Hafeez Saeed doesn’t do any good things for our threat perception.”