Pakistan has truly become now the epicentre of international terror which is another face of international Islamic jihad. If the Pakistani state turns jihadi the Al Qaedas wildest dreams would have been fulfilled.
The chicken has come home to roost. The terror monster the Pakistani agencies created is now threatening the state of Pakistan itself. The number of jihadi terrorists present in the Pashtun belt has been estimated at around 50,000. A poll in June 2010 found that jihad in Kashmir remains a popular objective with a 56 per cent approval rating.
By staging the many targeted strikes on Mumbai in November 2008, the LeT has demonstrated that it is now a player on the international terror stage. The strikes were carefully planned and executed with the assistance of ISI which gave the terrorists specialised training in naval commando warfare and provided a boat to them. The LeT has directed its terror attacks against India in Afghanistan also. Sometimes it has not spared the NATO forces as well. The troubling scenario of it getting access to a nuclear bomb has been haunting the Indian and Western intelligence services for long.
Pakistan has truly become now the epicentre of international terror which is another face of international Islamic jihad. If the Pakistani state turns jihadi the Al Qaeda’s wildest dreams would have been fulfilled. Dire consequences for its neighbourhood and distant lands alike such as China, Central Asian Republics, Europe and US will follow from this. There are already radical Islamist groups active in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and these will get more virulent. Similarly, Islamism is posing problems in Russia, China and countries further afield like, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines and these will grow worse. The frightening scenario is also causing anxieties in Pakistan but so far there is no credible evidence yet to suggest that it has had any second thoughts regarding its policy towards India. Apparently, support to groups like LeT, Afghan Taliban and Quetta Shura is considered to be strategically more important than countervailing disadvantages. The Indian options should, therefore, not be limited to just dialogue. They should be determined on the basis of the possibility of a worst case scenario coming to pass. Already, terror has become indigenous in India. If the trend continues the suicide bomber can be expected to make its appearance in India.
This article is based on published information and was originally published in the October 2011 issue of Journal of Defence Studies of IDSA. It is being reproduced with their permission.