The Terror Threat for India- Clear and Present Danger

Written by: Pathikrit Payne

India on alert as terror threat rises
The terror attack in the Wagah border on the Pakistani side was a timely wake-up call for India. It confirms that Tehreek e Taliban and al qaeda have now reached the doorsteps of India and it is time for India to brace up for the eventualities.  It was barely a couple of weeks before the Wagah attack that Indian's external intelligence agency RAW had given a specific input about the looming threat of a terror attack in the Wagah Border.

 While prompt action by India in terms of putting in place layered security made sure that nothing untoward incident happened on the Indian side of Wagah border, there is no guarantee that the tide of threat is over. On the contrary it is perhaps merely the beginning of the peril.

The Looming Threat...

A breakaway faction of Tehreek e Taliban namely Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat Ahrar (TTP-JA) has now given open threat to the Prime Minister of India. This should not be looked into as an isolated incident but a grave threat from a large number of transnational Islamic terror groups that India face today. It was barely six months back that al qaeda's top leader Al Zawahiri had narrated through a video about his intentions to open an India specific outfit of al qaeda.

From East as well...

In the same league, the explosive revelations of the extent of penetration that Bangladesh based terror group Jamaat Ul Islam Bangladesh (JUMB) in not just creating terror modules but a flourishing IED manufacturing set-up across Bengal rattled the investigators and pointed and the enormity of threat from radical terror groups that India today faces not just in western borders but in its eastern borders as well.

Meanwhile India's intelligence agencies have also given a specific warning to Kolkata Police and CISF about an impending terror attack on Kolkata Port by terror groups with help from Pakistan Army.

The credibility of the threat can be gauged from the fact that two Indian Navy warships which were docked at Kidderpore near Kolkata Port were promptly moved away by Indian Navy since warships, when docked at ports, become extremely vulnerable to terror attacks.

The Pakistan Factor now Completely Exposed

Further, a scathing Pentagon Report on Pakistan has squarely blamed the near failed state of Pakistan for using terrorists as proxies to terror attacks in Afghanistan and India. The report stated, ‘"Afghan-and Indian-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India's superior military," (read here) Thus the possibility of a desperate Pakistan using terror groups to wage a renewed round of attacks on India is highly probable.

The Bigger Worry- Increased Synchronized Approach of External and Homegrown Terror Groups

Therefore the moot issue that needs deliberation is the fact that India today is besieged from all sides by a multitude of radical extremist terror groups and terror attacks cannot be ruled out at all. The situation is perhaps going to be even more critical from middle of 2015 when the Americans would have pulled out most of their forces from Afghanistan thereby giving ample opportunity to the al qaeda and Tehreek e Taliban elements to then concentrate on India with the certain elements of Pakistan Army and ISI playing much of the work of assisting them.  

At the same time, recent intelligence inputs by agencies also point towards increased coordination between homegrown radical Islamic terror groups and al qaeda kind of organizations. Recent communications between al qaeda and Indian Mujahideen deciphered by India's intelligence agencies point towards major efforts being made by al qaeda to groom homegrown Jihadi groups for a series of terror attacks in India.

What India Needs to do....

Therefore, for the new Indian Government, the challenge is not just to resurrect the stagnating economy and revitalize the administrative architecture but also to bring in major upgradations in India's security architecture. The danger is clear and present in front of India and there is no denying of the fact that major terror organizations like ISIS and al qaeda with deep pockets are now turning their attention towards India.

Given the scenario that is building up, it is extremely important for India to thoroughly revamp its internal security architecture and make it prepared for the worst of the eventualities. The Syria example is right in front of India as to what happens when terrorism is not nipped in the bud.

India's state level law enforcement agencies are in dire straits. Be it the incident of 26/11 or that of the sheer ignorance and failure of the Bengal Police to prevent the massive growth of Jamaat terror network, vindicate that much is left to be desired from the state level agencies who still depend much of the central agencies during critical situations, be it for the 26/11 kind of terror, the dependence on NSG or for the Bengal terror network investigation, the indispensability of NIA.

Thus there is not just a need to comprehensively improve, upgrade and sensitize the state level law enforcement, intelligence, investigation and counter terror organizations but also to have a new and comprehensive approach towards creation of a National Critical Infrastructure Protection Policy for protection of India's critical infrastructure. The threat is clear,present and portentous. The mechanism to counter and thwart it would have to be equally robust.

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