Two attacks in two days in Jammu and Kashmir has kept the army engaged in a bloody battle. While the Indian Army continues to neutralize these terrorists from Pakistan, one has to bear in mind that there is a pattern behind these attacks.
These are an indicator of two factors- one is that transitional jihad is making steady inroads into the Valley and it is also a way of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and its allies announcing that they are not finished with Kashmir and will come back stronger each time.
Many stake holders in Kashmir
There are many stake holders in Kashmir. While it would always be the Lashkar-e-Taiba which would lead the threat perception in the Valley, there are many other takers who are likely to emerge in the near future.
The Al Qaeda in the Sub Continent and the ISIS are two are other groups which would try and take a stake in Kashmir. The Kashmir issue is the most emotive for Jihadi groups after Afghanistan.
The two back to back attacks show a sense of urgency among terrorists to claim dominance in the Valley. Over the past couple of months there has been a lull in the activities of terrorist groups in Kashmir. The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Saeed had in fact thanked both the militants and Pakistan for keeping calm during the elections.
It is a fact that the entire focus of the Pakistan based terrorist groups is on Afghanistan. They will make every attempt reclaim territory with the West moving out. The Afghan Taliban, Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, ISIS, Tehrik-e-Taliban among others are all claiming supremacy in Afghanistan.
But one needs to also bear in mind that in the battle for Afghanistan none of them would like to give up on the Kashmir issue and no matter what the talks between India and Pakistan are on diplomatic levels, terrorist groups aided by the ISI will act contradictory to the interests of the two democratically elected governments.
Lashkar had other plans
The Lashkar which is the blue eyed proxy of the ISI was being readied for a hard fought battle in Afghanistan. After all it has been assigned the task of taking on the likes of the ISIS and the Tehrik-e-Taliban.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharrif and the military in Pakistan are engaged in a battle over the release of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi who is the supreme commander of the Lashkar. The military wants him out and to lead the Lashkar in Afghanistan. However Sharrif feels that his release would read very poorly on Pakistan in international circles.
The primary intent of the ISI was to get the Lashkar to wage a bloody battle in Afghanistan and keep the Kashmir battle aside for a while. They want all the resources in a more important strategic battle in Afghanistan.
It was made clear by the Pentagon yesterday that the Lashkar would hold on until they complete the Afghanistan and then return to Kashmir. However the two back to back attacks in the Valley show a sign of insecurity and the Lashkar and its allies feel that too much of a lull in the Valley would encourage some other group to take over the issue.
Officers in the military intelligence unit tell OneIndia that there are bound to be such attacks by smaller groups of terrorist more often. They are trying to constantly remind the Indian establishment that the battle in Kashmir is not over.
These are sort of interim battles that the Pakistan based terror groups are trying to wage and send out reminders, the officer also informed.
What the Pentagon has to say?
According to Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of US Pacific Command Pakistan-based terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, will shift their operational focus on India after the scheduled complete drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.
Lashkar and other Pakistan-based groups will continue fighting in Afghanistan, but they will likely shift some of their operational focus to the Indian subcontinent in the next one to three years as coalition forces drawdown.
Al Qaeda's increased rhetoric focused on South Asia and the announcement of a new affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, suggest Al Qaeda will focus resources on uniting established terrorist groups to engage in jihad in South Asia, the officer also said.