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Indian security analysts suggest probing role of Pakistan in encouraging radicals in Russia

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday strongly condemned the terror attack in the Moscow region and affirmed that India stood in solidarity with the government and the people of Russia in this hour of grief.

Terrorists attacked a large concert hall in the Moscow region on Friday night and sprayed the crowd with gunfire, killing more than 90 people, injuring over 100 and setting fire to the venue in a brazen attack. Security has been tightened in Moscow and the adjoining regions, with mass events being cancelled.

“We strongly condemn the heinous terrorist attack in Moscow. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims,” Modi said in a post on X.

“India stands in solidarity with the government and the people of the Russian Federation in this hour of grief,” he said.

Earlier this week Modi on Monday sent his congratulations to Russian President Vladimir Putin following his reelection. On Wednesday he dialed Putin and both held detailed discussion on economic, energy and connectivity projects. India and Russia share robust counter-terror partnership.

Reports said the ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on its affiliated channels on social media. The Russian government is yet to blame any particular terror group for the attack even as Moscow has been warning the international community about the ISIS role in regions adjoining Eurasia. Russia which played a prominent role in defeating ISIS in Syria has been facing threats from the group.However, there are conflicting reports with Russian security analysts alleging role of the Ukraine or Ukraine-extremist nexus in the attack. Sergei Goncharov, a veteran of the elite Russian Alpha anti-terrorism unit, blamed Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov for the attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue in Krasnogorsk, Moscow region. However, advisor to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Mikhail Podolyak said that Kiev was not linked to the incident.Head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) Aleksandr Bortnikov has informed Putin that eleven suspects have been detained in connection with the attack on Crocus City Hall.

Sources here indicated to ET that Russia should also probe the role of Pakistani radicals in influencing perpetrators of the terror attack. Over the last few years there has been a steady increase of Pakistani nationals in Russia who are either attending some courses in institutes or engaged in trade.

Sources alleged that presence of radicals among Pakistani citizens in Russia cannot be ruled out and that the Russian authorities should tighten norms for granting visas to Pakistani nationals and scrutinize their socio-academic background. Controlling entry of Pakistani nationals in Russia will be key to controlling the spread of radical ideology.

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