Homeland Security

Pakistan's Cross-Border Terrorism
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 17 Feb , 2024

On 14thFebruary  2024, the Pakistani Rangers violated ceasefire agreement with India, which resulted in crossfire from the Indian Border security Force (BSF) post along the international border at Ranbir Singh Pura, Jammu.

According to the Indian officials “BSF troops retaliated befittingly. Intermittent crossfire between BSF and Pakistan Rangers lasted for over 20 minutes”. No casualties were reported by the BSF.

The ceasefire violation has occurred at a time, when the administration of Jammu and Kashmir is getting geared for the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will beaddressing a public rally on February 20th.

It is also important to highlight that 14th February is also the anniversary of the dastardly Pulwama attack of 2019, which extinguished the lives of 40 Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.

Additionally, the New Indian Express reported that the government is to appoint a consultant for boosting the competencies in the operational proficiencies of the BSF as well as the Central Armed Police Forces.

Furthermore, there is a high security alert sounded,as in the past terrorists used diversion tactics to infiltrate into India.

In an article written by former Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) commander Ehsanullah Ehsan, he points out the strategy Pakistan has been implementing to push terrorists into Kashmir using the military cover for distraction. The claim stays on par with what has been also reported by the Indian media.

The recent ceasefire violation by Pakistan is among the many violations done by Pakistan in past years.

In November 2023, Pakistan had violated the ceasefire at Ramgarh sector of Samba district. A BSF personnel was killed as a result. This was reported as the first casualty on the Indian side since February 25, 2021, when the ceasefire agreement was renewedb etween India and Pakistan.On 26th October 2023, two BSF personnel and a woman were reported to be injured in a cross-border firing in Arnia sector of Jammu. This was the second ceasefire violation in the same month.

In 2020, despite the Covid pandemic, there were many ceasefire violations along the India-Pakistan border. The same year, 4,645 violations were reported, which according to an RTI filed by a Pune based activist Prafful Sarda would easily tally up to 12.7 violations a day.

According to the RTI that was filed, there have been 11,424 ceasefire violations along the India-Pakistan border between 2014-2021.

“Pakistani troops repeatedly targeted forwards posts and villages along the LoC and the International Border (IB) to create fear among the people and destabilise the peace along the borderline,” as stated by a senior police officer from Jammu.

According to another report, the Pakistani military have violated the ceasefire 3,289 times along the Indo-Pak border in 2019, they said.

This development may be also deduced as a cause and effect reaction from Pakistan post the abrogation of Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated them into union territories.

On February 25, 2021, a joint statement was released by the directors general of military operations of India and Pakistan stating both would adhere to the “strict observance of all agreements and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from midnight 24/25 Feb 2021.” This would appear as a significant step toward “achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace”. However, Pakistan’s consistent violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB), present the contradiction in the Pakistani state’s actions and dialogue.

It is important to note that regardless of Pakistani political dispensation, the cross border infiltrations and violations is highly unlikely to ebb.

Apart from the discordance seen in Pakistan lately,  the degree to which Pakistani military has provided the support and aid to the radicalised and the terrorist groups detrimental to India will only be expected to rise.

It is imperative that India clearly pronounces its policies in regards to the cross-border terrorism. For India to leverage itself further, India needs to raise its stakes against Pakistan which will deter it from its terror activities .

Cross-border infiltration and proxy wars fall under the grey zone conflicts, whose objectives are to incur damage over prolonged period without indulging in an outright war, which is expensive to wage. India currently has unresolved border issues with both its enemy nations such as Pakistan and China. This provides the enemy state and non-state actors the opportunities to strike India by using the topography to their advantage while remaining legitimate before the world.

The regions of North East, Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab have become eminent targets for cross border terrorism. These areas are located at outer limits of India which share borders with enemy nations. The geographical proximity to the enemy nations helps with transgression and infiltrations and this further aids to sustain the conflict there.

The utilization of people who may belong to the identical ethnic demography is a frequent occurrence. Based on several instances and cases, it was observed that several modules of ISIS Khorasan, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba sprouted within the country from the sympathizers who showed familiarity or relatability with terror groups across the borders, especially in regards to cultural and religious identity. On basis of such factors, several sleeper cells and over ground workers are recruited by the handlers in Pakistan or China.  Majority of whom may be serving officers of ISI in conjunction with a state funded terror organisation. These individuals serve as informants, fund raising groups for the organization and are also tasked with propagating anti India sentiments as also hiring new recruits. In many cases, at times, the information on the Indian side of the border may be relayed to the handlers across the border. This also becomes a determinant factor for infiltrations which the enemy state will try to put in action.

The process of divide and rule left by the British Raj has been inducted by ISI to bleed India. The effect of the communal spill over has been an important component in waging jihad against the non Muslim groups. For years ISI has been propagating the notion of a fascist India, intolerant to Muslims. This concept of brainwashing the youth into an ISI engineered Islamic rhetoric is pushed through the Madrasas on their pay roll in India, through a front company under the name of charity. Such activities cater to information gathering on the ground about the Indian security forces.

A joint effort of internal and external intelligence should be integrated under a one centre for quick mobilization of security forces based on the accumulated information through HUMINT and tech intelligence.

The children of conflict also tend to be easy targets as a cannon fodder for the terror recruits.

It is important to understand that besides the state sponsored terrorism, the political aspirations of the terror outfits based on religious or communal ideology also playan equally important role for various alliances.

Islamic state and al-Qaeda are terror outfits with their ultimate goal to create an Islamic state. While each desire to express their monopoly on jihad in South Asia, ISIS Khorasan (offshoot of the parent ISIS) reached out to the banned Popular Front of India (PFI), formerly known as SIMI cadre in India. In their, propaganda magazine “Voice of Khurasan”, it lauded PFI and sent out an invitation to the PFI cadre to join their outfit. Several modules of ISK have been caught in many states of India such as Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and even Kashmir. Most of these modules have been reported to also include women and children, who are involved in terror activities. Majority of the modules are suspected to have had the links with the banned PFI, which was also notorious for carrying out the Anti CAA protests in Shaheenbagh (location of the PFI Headquarters).

It can be inferred that the threat of the cross border terrorism is both military and non military, residing internally and externally of the country.

Recently, reports of ISIS senior commanders being entertained by the ISI and being accommodated in the Pakistani government guest houses was awash in the social media. Reports state that an agreement was fomented between the Pakistani ISI and ISK called the “Dabori Agreement”. (Dabori is a village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where many ISIS leaders originate from).

Following the agreement, reports of Pakistani military firing at the Afghan border while giving cover to ISK cadre to infiltrate Afghanistan surfaced. This was also disclosed by former TTP commanders who confirmed, that a similar strategy was implemented against India in Kashmir.

In regards to cross border terrorism, one cannot negate the perception warfare.

Pakistan has wilfully adopted the strategy to diminish the culture, heritage and identity by replacing them with Salafi- Wahhabi Islam which is not indigenous to the Kashmir valley. Using this factor to its advantage, Pakistan has been deploying the narratives to exacerbate the conflict like situation which has decreased since the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir.

In an interview the MEA Minister S. Jaishankar clearly stated “What Pakistan was trying to do, not now but over multiple decades, was really to use cross-border terrorism to bring India to the table. That, in essence, was its core policy. We have made that irrelevant by not playing that game now.”

The Foreign minister clearly elucidated that in response to cross-border terrorism, India will riposte with the appropriate response. It can be expected that India will make an exception for Pakistan, when it comes to its Neighbour First policy, owing to Pakistan’s engagement in the cross-border terrorism in India.

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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

Aparna Rawal

is an Independent Researcher and Analyst specialing in Af/Pak region and Counter Terrorism.

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One thought on “Pakistan’s Cross-Border Terrorism

  1. After the retirement of FM SAM MANEKSHAW MC, #IndianArmy facing Dilemma:

    1. 1972, Sam Bahadur returned the Pakistani POWs with full military dignity and honour, in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

    Whereas, the then, PM Mrs Indira Gandhi, verbally taken words from the then, PM Bhutto of Pakistan 🇵🇰 to return, Indian POWs ( some 53 only) but that day till date, never came to see the light by the Indian PoWs, languishing in different Pakistani Prisons.

    On seeing the weaknesses of PM Indira Gandhi; Sam Bahadur passed his remarks:“BHUTTO HAS MADE MONKEY OUT OF YOU”.

    2. Kargil war: The Pakistani soldiers, intruded and here in India 🇮🇳 except Shepherd, first notice the intrusion by Pakistanis, later on, started Kargil conflict not war.
    Over 500 #Bravehearts #Supremesacrifice in their line of duty and over 1600 wounded in Kargil war.
    Later, @IndianAirForce took part in this conflict and again tussle between Army Chief and @CAS occurred, that is blame game erupted.

    3.1990, When Terrorists in Kashmir, massacred Kashmiri Pandits, burnt 🥵 their houses 🏡 and driven away from their own lands, living there for 5K years.

    Since then, till date, The successive, Indian governments and #COAS of the #IndianArmy proven, futile to prevent the Pakistani, their nefarious, design bullying India 🇮🇳




    The Terrorists activities and Pakistani nefarious design will go on because they knew, the weaknesses of #COAS & Federal government of India 🇮🇳

    Sam Bahadur the Star ⭐️ is gone for ever, leaving #IndianArmy: ORPHANED!

    Jai Hind!



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