ISI-sponsored terrorism is a stumbling block in Indo- Pak relations
2-inter-services-intelligencePrime Minister Nawaz Sharif led civilian government in Pakistan and the Modi government have shown desire to have cordial relations as both of them won elections on the premise of growth and development. Both the Prime Ministers â Mr. Modi and Mr Nawaz Sharif know that the neighbouring Â countries can progress if the animosity between them ends as they are spending their huge resources on defence and purchase of armaments. However, the overriding Pakistan army which avails several privileges in the country on the imaginary threat of annihilation of Pakistan by India does not allow civilian government to have friendly relations with its eastern neighbour. Pakistani Army chief General Raheel Sharif also wants to keep the civilian government under control, hence, whenever the leaders of India and Pakistan try to minimize the differences, military controlled Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) sabotages peace process by sponsoring terrorist activities in India.
ISI funded Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) attacked Dina Nagar Police Station in Gurdaspur in Punjab last July 27 and killed a Superintendent of Police and six Â innocent persons just after the meeting between Modi and Sharif at Ufa. The ISI equipped the terrorists with sophisticated weapons, strategic information and training. Same way ISI sponsored Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and United Jihad Council (UJC) attacked Pathankot Airbase this January Â 2 within a few days of the stopover of PM Modi at Lahore where both the prime ministers had cordial Â meetings. ISI was so desperate to carry out attack on Pathankot airbase that it utilized its contacts used in drug smuggling. Here it will not be out of point to mention that ISI seldom uses routes and contacts of drug smuggling in carrying out terrorist activities as drug smuggling contacts are far more precious than low level agents who carry out terrorist activities.
Pathankot airbase which is the first line of defence against Pakistan is situated near the border and at the time of attack Mig-21fighter planes and Mi-25 and Mi-35 attack helicopters were in the base. The terrorists were instructed to destroy planes especially Mi-25 helicopters as India promised to give 4 helicopters to Afghanistan.Â Although Pakistan trained terrorists could not damage the high value assets but seven valiant security personnel including a Lieutenant Colonel lost their lives. ISI backed terrorist outfits are continuing with the attacks and the latest attack was in Pampore near Srinagar on February 23. The security forces rescued more than 100 persons including son of Syed Salahuddin, who is the head of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and mastermind of several terrorist activities in India especially in Jammu and Kashmir. Six persons including two Army Captains lost their lives while all three terrorists were also killed. However, a wind of change is blowing and the terrorists killed in encounter with security forces at Pampore were not treated as martyrs and residents of village Bonyar refused the burial of the slain terrorists in their village.
Besides sponsoring terrorist attacks the nefarious ISI is also involved in smuggling of more than Rs.7500 Crores of drugs and large quantity of Indian Fake Currency Notes (IFCN) in India. The money generated through smuggling of drugs and IFCN is utilized by ISI in financing several terrorist outfits and activating Khalistan secessionist movement. All powerful Pakistan army would not allow feeble civilian government to have friendly relations with India hence the Modi government should chalk out a long term plan to counter cross border terrorism. Firstly, it should continue its sincere efforts to have negotiations with Pakistan. Secondly, it must modernize the security forces so that the terrorists cannot infiltrate and if at all they penetrate they must be eliminated expeditiously.
The intelligence organisations should be strengthened so that they produce actionable intelligence and that too in advance. Ministry of External Affairs must disseminate information in diplomatic circles about ISI sponsored terrorism in India. The important installations including Air Force Bases and Naval installations should be safeguarded by trained security agencies as Air Force and Naval personnel may not be fully trained to secure their bases. Security agencies should also involve public in countering terrorism. Village and local Mohalla Committees should be made and they should inform the security agencies if they observe any undesirable person or article. Beat constables should be more vigilant and should have cordial relations with the residents of their areas.
Pakistan must realize that it has more problems than India. All the nationalities in Pakistan are against the domination of Punjabis. Baluchis, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Muhajirs and a few more nationalities want to separate from Pakistan. It would be in the interest of Pakistan that state actors there Â discontinue sponsoring cross border terrorism as it is also realizing of late that terror incidents are wreaking havoc there also.
Jai Kumar Verma is a Delhi-based security analyst. Views are personal."