Homeland Security

Tactical Shifts in the Terror Profile
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Issue Vol. 23.4 Oct-Dec2008 | Date : 08 Oct , 2011

Indian Mujahideen (IM)

The Indian Mujahideen is an offshoot of the SIMI. Mazbul Haq of the SIMI wanted to adopt the route of political activism. Safdar Nagori had broken away from this organization and formed the IM. His right hand men were Bashir and Abdur Subhom Quereshi @ Tauquir (a software expert from Mumbai). After Nagori’s arrest, Bashir became the Jimmewar and Tauquir became the Ansar or General Secretary of the IM.

The ISI seems to have closely analysed its own experience in the South Asian context and has made logical adjustments.

Training Camps In the year 2007 a series of training camps were held in various forest locations in India where Pakistani trained activists imparted training to the IM cadres in the manufacture Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from locally available material like Ammonium Nitrate (used in fertilizers) and Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) for mass casualty actions. Though not as powerful as Service RDX or Plastic Explosives, these, when used in multiple strikes, could create mayhem and panic. Non use of RDX or Plastic Explosives obviated the need for logistics support networks from across the border and ensured deniability for the ISI. Camps were held in the year 2007/08 as under:-

  • Apr 07 Three camps were held at Castle Rock near Hubli.
  • Aug 07 One camp held at Dharwad District near Karnatak.
  • Nov 07 Camp held at Charol near Indore.
  • Dec 07 Camp at Nagaman jungles in Kerala
  • Jan 08 Camp in Pawagarh jungles near Vadodra.

Instead of camps run by Jihadi Tanzeems in Afghanistan or POK, these camps are being organized in remote jungles within Indian territory. The entire enterprise is far more sophisticated and professional and in text book covert action style, ensures deniability by using local agents and localized narratives. Tracing their antecedents and support back to the ISI will be increasingly difficult because the logistical footprint of AK-47s, RDX and Plastic Explosives or other sophisticated equipment is simply not there. What is even more significant is that there are no electronic signatures. These new set of terrorists do not use citizen band radio sets, or even cellular phones but make sophisticated use of the Inter net or just face to face communications. The lessons learnt by Al Quaida in the last few years are fully evident in the new modus operandi of the IM. We are now dealing with a new phase of Jihadi terrorism in India. It has not happened overnight but was for one year in the making. The ISI has fully ingested its lessons of the earlier campaigns in J&K and the rest of India. What we are now witnessing is the effectiveness of the changed tactics.

Editor’s Pick

The former Jihadi triumphalism has now been replaced by a far more sophisticated professionalism. Our Intelligence agencies will increasingly have to place far greater reliance on human intelligence and monitoring the Internet and change their tactics to respond to this new genre of terrorism with a home grown veneer.

Intifada Phase in J&K The recent shifts in tactical and operating patterns of the ISI stem from the lessons learnt so far in the global war against terror. The ISI seems to have closely analysed its own experience in the South Asian context and has made logical adjustments.

Though heavy snowfall caused seasonal damage to the fencing north of the Pir Panjal, it could not reduce the tactical efficacy of the Night Vision equipment.

In J&K, the terrorists tactical rhythm was totally disrupted by the Fence and associated transparency measures which, created a mini revolution in tactical affairs and severely curtailed infiltration. Though heavy snowfall caused seasonal damage to the fencing north of the Pir Panjal, it could not reduce the tactical efficacy of the Night Vision equipment. As such the ISI realized that the Terrorist Tanzeems had more or less lost the battle.

This has led to a deft shift in tactical emphasis. Obviously the Tanzeems themselves have been closely studying the Iraqi, Hamas and Palestinian models. The Tehrik0-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e- Muhammad (TNSM) of the NWFP thus engaged itself in a big way in relief and rehabilitation work in the wake of the earthquake in POK. This was mirrored on the Hamas model in Lebanon. In J&K per se, what we are witnessing is a clear shift in strategy from armed insurrection to an Intifada style mass mobilization and large scale agitation. These are patently based upon communal mobilization and use Friday prayer congregations to effect such mobilization and generate mass hysteria by blowing local emotive causes out of all proportion. These tend to exploit the emotional volatility of the Kashmiri population. From the psychological standpoint emotions in Kashmir tend to be intense. However this emotional intensity can not be sustained for long durations (as opposed to emotional depth phenomenon which can smolder for decades). What a secular state must prevent firmly is a blatant communalization of the agenda. What is at stake in J&K is the very ideological basis of the Indian state. There can be no compromise on this vital issue.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Maj Gen GD Bakshi, (Retd)

is a war Veteran and Strategic Analyst.

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2 thoughts on “Tactical Shifts in the Terror Profile

  1. The write up gives an insight of the grave condition that has troubled the Indian citizens for more than two decades. I am astounded that there’s no other comment available. Are we so much busy going through other things that the real trouble doesn’t troubles us.

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