STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: India has the capability of taking care of its territorial integrity and sovereignty and there is no need to take seriously the threats on Kashmir by al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, the External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday. In a video, Zawahiri, who took over the reins of al Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden, said, “I am of the view that the Mujahideen (armed terrorists) in Kashmir — at this stage at least — should focus with single mind on inflicting unrelenting blows on the Indian Army and government so as to bleed the Indian economy and make India suffer sustained losses in manpower and equipment.” Reacting to it, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India’s security forces are capable and equipped to protect the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. “We keep hearing of such threats and it is not the first time that we received such a threat. I don’t think we need to take it seriously,” Kumar said in response to a question. “Al Qaeda is a UN-prescribed terror organisation and their leader is UN-designated terrorist. Our security forces are capable and equipped…not to worry about these threats. They have the capability of taking care of our territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said. The video was posted on ‘As-Sahab’ channel, an in-house production of al Qaeda used to relay the organisation’s views to the world, also asked the terrorists “to establish stronger channels of communication with their Muslim brethren all over the world”. Zawahiri hails from Egypt and the US has announced a reward of USD 25 million for information leading to his arrest or death. The al Qaeda chief also warned the terrorists not to fall into the trap of Pakistan, which he termed as a puppet of the US. Responding to another question on the Pro-Khalistan group The Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) ban, MEA spokesperson said it SFJ a fringe group involved in anti-India and subversive activities in Punjab and have supported violent forms of extremism. “It is important to understand that the vast majority of Sikhs in Canada and other parts of world share warm relations with India. They want better relations with India and their country of residence and frankly we take no cognisance of what the fringe elements have to say which is meant to create disharmony and spread hate,” he told reporters. He said the group has “no traction” within the mainstream Sikh community and India will continue to make efforts to engage with Sikh community in Canada and other parts of the world. Run by a few radical Sikhs of foreign nationality in the US, Canada, the UK, etc, SFJ was declared unlawful under the provisions of Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
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