Reports in this regard came to the fore after intelligence agencies in the country have decrypted communications between IM and Al Qaeda. Testimony from other suspects have also triggered alarm among intelligence officials in India

According to intelligence agencies officials, plots they had uncovered included the kidnapping of foreigners and turning India into a "Syria and Iraq where violence is continuously happening."

Indian security agencies said evidence they had gathered pointed to growing ties between Al Qaeda and IM, a home-grown movement hitherto known for low-level attacks on local targets using relatively crude weapons like pressure cooker bombs.

Weeks after al Qaeda announced the formation of a South Asia wing to strike across the subcontinent, agencies said they had discovered IM members were training with al Qaeda and other groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan for major attacks.

Security officials cite last Sunday's deadly suicide bombing on the Pakistani side of a border crossing with India, and a terror alert on Tuesday at two eastern ports that forced the Indian navy to withdraw two ships, as evidence that militant coordination and activity are on the rise.

"The thing we are looking for is how al Qaeda/ISIS tie up with local groups, especially as the drawdown takes place in Afghanistan," said Sharad Kumar, head of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The Internet chats, which the United States helped Indian investigators to decipher, reveal tensions between IM and Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which India says has nurtured the group with finance and equipment.

In one conversation, Riaz Bhatkal, one of the founders of IM now based in the Pakistani city of Karachi, tells his men that it was important to build direct ties with Al Qaeda, cutting out Pakistan agents whom he described as "dogs".

He talks about visiting Al Qaeda leaders in the tribal belt on the Afghan-Pakistan border, despite ISI orders not to do so.

"It has been clear for some time that there is no group that is fully within ISI control. They are all itching for independent action, some want to have a go at us immediately," said an Indian security official.

Pakistani officials deny they have links with the militants. "This is an outdated story. It does not serve any purpose for Pakistan to support such groups," said a senior intelligence official in Islamabad, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media about the issue.

"These terrorists are openly attacking us, the army, innocent civilians, everyone here is a target," he said. "Why would they do so if we were helping them in any way?"

On Sunday, at least 57 Pakistanis were killed in a suicide bombing at Wagah, which the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat Ahrar group, whose leader has ties to al Qaeda, said was also aimed at India.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, a prominent militant and spokesman for the group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat Ahrar (TTP-JA), had warned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that attacks in India were in the pipeline.

"I have already conveyed it to Modi ... that if our suicide bombers can carry out attacks on this side of the border, they can easily do it on other side of the border in India," he told a news agency by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Two Indian naval warships were abruptly ordered back to sea on Tuesday, a day after they docked at Kolkata port after intelligence agencies issued a terror alert.

On Wednesday the warning was widened to the neighbouring Haldia port, the site of a huge petrochemicals complex.

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