New Delhi: Visiting FBI Director Christopher A Wray on Tuesday emphasised on the need to take the "partnership and cooperation" with India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) to the next level to deal with the constantly evolving challenges and threats of terrorism, and informed that his agency was "aggressively" investigating the attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco.

The FBI chief's statement came in a meeting with the NIA at its headquarters here in the national capital.

Wray, leading a high-level FBI delegation, visited the NIA headquarters earlier in the day and held extensive discussions with NIA Director General Dinkar Gupta and senior officials of both agencies.

The FBI Director, who is on a three-day visit to India, also discussed a host of issues, including the acts and activities of terrorist-organised criminal networks, ongoing investigations in the US in the attack on the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, investigation of cyber-terror and cyber-crimes of various kinds highlighted the NIA.

"Wray informed the NIA that the FBI was aggressively investigating the attack on the Indian Consulate in San Francisco," NIA said in a statement.

As per the NIA, candid and wide-ranging discussions held during the meeting with the NIA chief highlighted the active nexus between the terrorist outfits and terrorist elements with members of Organised Criminal Syndicates, which was spreading to the US as well.

Wray said that both the agencies have a lot in common and the similarities are far greater than the differences, said the NIA in a statement, adding, "on the nexus between terror actors and organised crime syndicates, Wray said that a blending of lines between terrorists and criminals was now visible in the cyberspace as well."

"Terror incidents like 9/11 and the Mumbai attacks have changed the way in which nations respond to terror threats," observed the FBI Director, emphasising on the need to take the partnership and "cooperation between the FBI and the NIA to the next level to deal with the constantly evolving challenges and threats of terrorism."

During the meeting, the NIA DG pointed out that threats in the cyber domain were increasing. Digital space was also being effectively exploited by terrorists and extremists for propagating radical views and recruitment, he said, adding that NIA was also seeing use of cryptocurrency for terrorist financing.

"Wray added that increasingly, cybercrimes are being committed to fund terrorism," stated the statement.

It further pointed that Wray stressed "this evolution of the cyber-threat needs a joint response towards investigation of cyber-threat cases."

The difficulties encountered by Law Enforcement Agencies across the world in obtaining data from encryption Apps also came up for discussion during the meeting, mentioned the NIA statement.

The two sides noted that with the advent of newer technologies at a fast pace, tracing, tracking and investigating crypto transactions is turning out to be a huge challenge. Both agencies recognised the challenges posed by organised crime networks, terror-related crimes, cyber-enabled terror attacks, ransomware threats, economic crimes and transnational terror crimes.

"Wray also remarked that newer challenges mean that there are new opportunities for Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) to cooperate in newer ways. He also thanked the NIA for the enduring cooperation between the two agencies and looked forward to the exploration of new opportunities to collaborate further.

According to the NIA, Wray informed the agency that the FBI was aggressively investigating the attack on the Indian Consulate in San Francisco.

DG NIA thanked the FBI for being a very significant partner in the training and capacity building of Indian Police officers. Both agencies agreed to explore increasing their future interactions and collaborative initiatives on the training track.

Director Wray's visit signifies a step towards deepening the cooperation and shared commitment between the national agencies of the US and India to combat terror in all its manifestations around the globe.

As part of its continuing investigations into the attacks on the Consulate General of India, San Francisco, the NIA on November 22 raided 14 places spread across the districts of Moga, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Mohali and Patiala in Punjab, and Kurukshetra and Yamunanagar in Haryana. The crackdown led to the seizure of digital data containing information related to the accused persons, along with other incriminating documents.

The move was a bid to unravel the complete conspiracy behind the March 19, 2023, and July 2, 2023 attacks involving criminal trespass, vandalism, damage to public property and attempts to cause hurt to the officials of the Indian Consulate in San Francisco and set the Consulate building on fire through acts of arson.

The NIA has been probing the case to identify and prosecute the attackers and the assailants of the attacks and send a strong message to such anti-Indian elements. A team of the NIA visited San Francisco in August 2023 to investigate the incidents of attacks on the Consulate through violent acts of arson and vandalism leading to fear among the Consulate staff and the community.

The Consulate General of India in San Francisco was attacked on March 19 by a group of assailants who committed criminal trespass, damaged public property, and attacked officials of the Consulate. Before this attack, on the same day, some attackers attempted to set the Consulate building on fire by sprinkling inflammable substances early in the morning. Subsequently on July 2 at midnight, a few persons attempted to set the Consulate building on fire.