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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2614

Terrorism Indigenised.. .. ..

By Allabaksh - Syndicate Features

The discovery that terrorist training camps were being run in the dense forests of Dharwad and Uttara Kannada districts of Karnataka should not come as a surprise. It is the same state where the inaccessible jungles had provided a safe sanctuary for a ‘dreaded’ sandalwood smuggler and bandit called Veerappan who was able to stay out of reach of the law for a long time even though some scribes were able to reach his hideout with remarkable ease.

But the discovery of these terrorist training camps, following the arrest of suspects, has to be seen as the larger designs of the main exporter from across the border and its efforts to ‘indigenise’ terrorism in India so that it can run on its own steam in the unlikely event of the exporting nation actually forced to dismantle the entire edifice of its officially sponsored terror business.

There was anger in the country over ‘intelligence failure’ while terrorism crept into the Karnataka woods. But the country can ill afford any further failure after a long string of such intelligence failures. Today all four corners of the country are bristling with pockets of ‘home grown’ terrorists.

Reports about jihadi terrorist camps being run in Karnataka jungles validated the fear expressed only haltingly till recent days that the terror network was spreading into the southern states which were considered to be comparatively free from the scourge of terrorism. It is hardly comforting that terrorism took longer to cross the Vindhyas than it did to arrive at other corners of India from Pakistan. It is disturbing that quite a few of the ‘home grown’ jihadi militants come from middle class backgrounds and by no means belong to the unprivileged sections of society.

It was easy to begin the export of terrorism to India through the northern parts of the country, especially Kashmir where Pakistan, the acknowledged epicentre of world terrorism, has been diligently working right from the time of independence in 1947 to arouse strong anti-India sentiments for carrying out subversive activities. Entry of terrorism through the eastern route was equally easy because of the wide porous border with Bangladesh and Nepal. Thanks of official condoning of the rising tide of fundamentalism in that country Bangladesh became an important agent of exporting made-in-Pakistan terrorism to India.

The open seas that border the western part of the country had seen a thriving smuggling business into India. The smuggler syndicates faced little resistance in bringing in their contraband. If the security forces and the customs were looking the other way so were the intelligence agencies. The masters of the terrorist outfits expanded this ‘facility’ to export their own merchandise of death. Shelter for terrorism became more readily available in the area with the growth of hate politics in the region that had alienated the minorities.

The prime mover behind the efforts to cover entire India with a terror network is not Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda or Mullah Omar’s Taliban but Pakistan’s notorious Inter Services Intelligence. Unforeseen circumstances, especially after the 9/11 attacks, obliged it to change its tactics for spreading subversive activities in India. There were stronger reasons for effecting a strategy change after 2004 when the then prime minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was assured--- no doubt under US pressure---by the Pakistani strongman, Pervez Musharraf that he would not allow terrorist activities directed against India from territories under Pakistani control.

The change of tactics is not synonymous with change of heart. The unwritten but frequently spoken Pakistani resolve to bleed India with a thousand wounds remains. The anti-Indian sentiments in the Pakistani establishment remain deeply entrenched. It makes sure that the ISI does not withdraw patronage from India-specific terrorist outfits in Pakistan. It is a different matter that Pakistan does not see the danger it faces from this policy even as the monsters it had long nursed have started to operate within Pakistan itself.

Irrespective of the internal situation in Pakistan the latter’s policy of helping the so-called ‘freedom fighters’ has not been and will not be abandoned. The twisted Pakistani definition of ‘freedom fighters’, tacitly accepted by a myopic US, provides it the excuse or justification to extend covert and sometimes overt help to outfits that vow to hurt India. Islamabad keeps recharging its anti-Indian batteries frequently; one such occasion is the so-called Kashmir solidarity day observed annually in early February when the Pakistanis, officials as well as private citizens and in and out of the country, raise vociferous and provocative slogans against India and burn the tricolour and effigies of Indian leaders.

Pakistan might have diluted--though not entirely given up--its policy to bleed India if it was under any real pressure from the US, which along with China is the only country that has some leverage over Islamabad. But Washington seems to have a secret understanding with Islamabad that the latter’s bleed-India policy can continue but with a shift in strategy. It should not leave blatant signs of Pakistani involvement, which were evident from the large number of Pakistanis arrested or killed for carrying out terrorist activities in India.

The terrorist centres--or cells or whatever--have been set up in India with the blessings of the Pakistani army and government; it is impossible to believe otherwise. But it suits Pakistan if its ‘bleed India’ policy can be continued with the help of ‘home grown’ militants in India.

If these indigenous terrorists in India are able to serve the subversive interests of Pakistan over the next few months Pakistan may be able to start the charade of ordering closure of some India-specific jihadi-terrorist outfits that had changed their name, some claiming to have been converted into ‘humanitarian’ groups. Pakistan is not willing to take action against these dubious ‘humanitarian’ outfits without first raising a sufficient indigenous terrorist structure in India.

With the seeds of ‘home grown’ jihadi warriors starting to sprout in various parts of India, Pakistan may be able to cut down the number of its own citizens sent into India for executing acts of terrorism. Islamabad can now consider a shift in its strategy because it thinks its efforts of nearly two decades to enlist local jihadi recruits in India has shown some success. Even after going to the extent of refusing to accept the bodies of its citizens killed by Indian security forces fighting terrorists Pakistan was finding it increasingly difficult to convince the world outside that none of its citizens took part in acts of terror in India.

In recent days there has been a drop in the direct involvement of Pakistanis in the acts of terrorism in India. It is by no means an indication of Pakistan abandoning its ‘bleed India’ policy, which can now be continued with an army of ‘home grown’ Indian terrorists, complete with both active soldiers and sleeper cells. The only obstacle to their grand designs can come from better intelligence and security apparatuses.

- Syndicate Features -

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