Saturday, June 15, 2024

Convergence of terror


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By Sanchet Barua

The arrest of two Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) leaders of Manipur Arun Kumar Singh and Dalip Singh in October 2011 exposed the emerging links between the militant organizations in the Northeast, Kashmir, LeT, and the Maoists. They revealed the ongoing effort on part of these groups to form a “Strategic United Front” since they had the common objective to overthrow the Indian government. They reckon that it is only collectively that they would be able to take on the might of the Indian state. They also revealed the plans of setting up a “Joint Training Camp” in Myanmar. The Times of India on 08 October 2011 quoted official sources “ISI and PLA are in-touch and supply Maoists with arms. They are supposedly using China as the alternative route.” The official sources also claim to have photographic evidence of Maoist cadres from six Indian states being trained by the PLA of Manipur, in Orissa and Jharkhand.

The Chinese have supplied a weapon manufacturing facility to the Kachin Insurgents in Myanmar. This facility is manufacturing replicas of AK-47, which is being supplied to all terrorist groups in India including the Maoists.

In October 2011, government had alleged that the Maoists of Nepal (PLA) had been imparting training to Indian Maoists on Nepal’s soil. Further, the Maoists were receiving training from LeT instructors in these camps. There was information of 234 Maoists training in Nepal under the supervision of Naxalite leaders like Vinod Gurung, Prakash Mehto and LeT members like Razak Khan and Latif Khan, who hail from Karachi.

The spearheads of the modern terror network are people, who enjoy or have been conferred respectability by way of international awards or membership of NGOs ostensibly engaged in public cause. Some of these ideologues are active in forging links between various military groups. A noted human right activist, based on telephonic intercepts, has come under the scanner of intelligence agencies for trying to bring together various terrorist groups at the behest of Pakistan.

Even in the national capital the ideologues of the Maoists, Kashmiri and Northeast separatists have come together on a common platform on many occasions. Their agenda is common, i.e. to weaken the resolve of the government to fight terrorism. It is in this backdrop that their diatribes against the state, the security forces, and the Armed Forces Special Power Act should be viewed. This Act, they feel is the most robust tool in preserving the unity of India.

It is pertinent to note that when Anna’s agitation was at its peak, the eternal fast of Sharmila Irom of Manipur was consistently highlighted. The focus was not she, but the removal of Armed Forces Special Power Act from Manipur. One of the active members during the agitation is known for his ULFA links. During the same period, the so-called lawyer civil activist and core member of the Team Anna, in one of the television channels, had categorically stated that the days of elected representatives are over, thereby implying that the India must jettison multiparty democracy. He was only articulating the Maoist agenda. He also had then spoken that it is the Kashmiris who should decide whether they want to be part of India or not. Such was the hysteria during that period that these statements were lost in the din and did not receive adequate attention. The same gentleman has now advocated plebiscite in Kashmir and repealing of the Armed Forces Special Power Act. One of the members of the Team of interlocutors on Kashmir has enjoyed the hospitality of Fai Foundation, headed by Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai the face of the Kashmir separatist cause in the United States. The Fai Foundation is funded by the ISI. It was a foregone conclusion that the team of interlocutors would recommend more autonomy for Kashmir. The timing of the submission of the report and utterances of the lawyer is not a mere coincidence.

The most formidable spearheads for convergence of terror in India are there in the media and amongst people who fancy to be called as intellectuals. The “terrorism economy” is also formidable and has the ability to sustain some big media houses and other public platforms. They decry the government, but “Misuse the Freedom of Speech”.

The entire region in the surround of India is in unprecedented geopolitical flux. The US-Pakistan strategic partnership, which ensured the survivability of the latter since its inception is now under tremendous strain, arguably on the verge of collapse. The internal problems of Pakistan seem to be intractable. The spectre of the country’s split is haunting. Pakistan’s strategic manoeuvre space is getting increasingly constricted. The conventional tools available in the hands of Pakistan in leadership to alter the dangerous geopolitical discourse are in disarray or blunted. It is not India, but Pakistan’s machinations in Kashmir and Afghanistan, which has brought the country to this juncture. The emerging strategic partnership between India and the US, and India and Afghanistan has unnerved a tottering Pakistan.

The only recourse available to Pakistan is to destabilize India by leveraging on all terrorist groups, i.e. the Maoists, who are active in one-third of India, and the terrorist groups in Kashmir, Punjab, Northeast, and Pak based terrorist groups and crime syndicate of the Dawood Ibrahim.

In this there is a congruency of interests between Pakistan and China. China too is not comfortable with the Indo-US strategic partnership and consequently the direction of the geopolitical discourse in the region. It has very high strategic stakes in Pakistan as well as in the Indian Ocean, particularly in the Bay of Bengal, where it is seeking presence by way of ports on Myanmar’s western coast for convenient supply of oil from Gulf for its energy needs. It is for this reason that China is engaged in thwarting India’s “Look East” outreach by increasingly brazen support to Northeast terrorist groups and the Maoists.

The convergence of Pakistan and China backed terror and spearheaded by the ideologues has dangerous portends for India.

This proxy war has disastrous economic consequences. There is a thriving parallel terrorist economy. The Maoists are disrupting train services at will. Bandhs orchestrated by Maoists and Northeast terrorists are having crippling effect on the economy and the livelihood of the people.INAV


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