VIEWPOINT : MORE TERROR
Ironically, among all the big talk of international cooperation for countering terrorism, at best one can expect sharing of intelligence but that too if it suits the national interest of the intelligence provider. The bottomline therefore is that this is
In a recently released video, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced the formation of an Indian branch of his militant group that, he said, would spread Islamic rule and “raise the flag of jihad” across the subcontinent. The new group, he said, “is the fruit of a blessed effort of more than two years to gather the Mujahideen in the Indian subcontinent into a single entity.”
The fact is that Zawahiri who had thought his cadres helping the rebels in Syria and Libya would buy him favours of the US and EU has actually been given the drubbing of his life by Al Qaeda’s offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that wants to consume its own mother. So with the ISIS pushing his face into the gutter, Zawahiri declares he is turning focus to the subcontinent. His claim of gathering the Mujahideen in India and proclamation of support to Afghan Taliban is a good effort to score brownie points. Al Qaeda’s support to Afghan Taliban is nothing new. As far as mustering the Mujahideen in the subcontinent is concerned, Al Qaeda’s godmother Pakistan has been at it since ages, even since Al Qaeda protégé Musharraf as a young officer was training terrorists in the Chitagong Hill Tracts of what earlier was East Pakistan. The constant of course has been the unstinted support of Pakistan to Al Qaeda; sheltering Osama bn Laden, providing safe havens and support to the Haqqani network. Zawahiri’s video messaged in the instant case too is assessed to have been broadcast somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which may well have been under the tutelage of the Haqqanis and Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI).
In conjunction terrorising Jammu and Kashmir ( J&K), Pakistan inducted armed modules pan India; in the states of J&K, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Kota/Ajmer region of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and that Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had already started deputing ‘volunteers’ to Pakistan for training along with the Mujahideen, Taliban and Al Qaeda cadres, as penned by a former joint director of Intelligence Bureau in 2005.
So those who hide behind the facade that Indian Muslims will not get lured by ISIS are adopting the ostrich approach. It is a process that has been orchestrated over decades. We have the largest youth bulge in the world but we also have the largest number of illegal weapons circulating in the country and being central to the Golden Triangle and the Golden Cres- cent are slush with narcotics. Not that we should discount the threat from Al Qaeda whose footprints were reported by the media citing the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Anlaysis Wing sources over five years back. Tn fact the rise of the Kerala headquartered Popular Front of India (PFI) was attributed to the joint effort of Al Qaeda and LeT.
Then is the nexus of the Al Qaeda and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) goes back many years and poses a threat to South India in conjunction Al Qaeda and LeT investing into neighbouring Maldives. That the Indian Maoists were trained by LTTE in use of mines, IEDs and explosives at the behest of Pakistan’s ISI and LeT representatives attending Maoists meetings are well known, as is the use of Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lankan soil for ISI activities. Concurrent to all this, is the startling news of more than 300 Indian youth having been recruited by Pakistanbased Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) which has joined hands with ISIS. This comes after the news that five educated youth from Maharashtra had joined the ISIS and one of them has been killed in fighting recently.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) report about more than 300 Indian youth joining ISIS says that the youth are being recruited from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka, and that they are being trained in Pakistan, Iraq and Syria to be Fidayeen. Jmaat-e-Ahrar is the latest breakaway group from the TTP that has openly proclaimed allegiance to the ISIS. Not that any formal proclamation was needed when some 5,000 Pakistan Taliban had been fighting alongside in Syria and Iraq past several months, as revealed by the Syrian Ambassador to India.
The ISIS threat too cannot be ignored either as terrorist organisations are getting more and more networked worldwide. We cannot discount global linkages of international terrorist organisations and the focus to destabilise India by forces that will remain inimical to us always. The Indian Mujahideen are the creation of the ISI of Pakistan but can be expected to do the bidding of both Al Qaeda and the ISIS. Ironically, among all the big talk of international cooperation for countering terrorism, at best one can expect sharing of intelligence but that too if it suits the national interest of the intelligence provider. The bottomline therefore is that this is our fight and we have to fight it ourselves. That is why Ashley Telis of the Carnegie Foundation had said some years back that “India getting subjected to terrorism, suits many”.
LT GENERAL P.C. KATOCH (RETD)