Infiltration & terrorism continue

Ground realities

As Musharraf contends with multi-dimensional threats – from rebellious tribesmen to sectarian terrorists within Pakistan, his disposition to curb cross-border infiltration into Indian Kashmir becomes an easy casualty. The snows have melted and infiltration is again on the rise. Terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Toiba have been successful in infiltrating into India in spite of fences and assurances.

The familiar pattern is repeating – terrorists cross the border into India, seek safe haven in mosques and attack the low-hanging fruit – civilian targets. The nascent recovery in the tourism industry is a plum target as in this grenade attack on a Pahalgam hotel.

Indeed, it is time for Natwar Singh to pop the question.

Update:

Looking for gaps: Nearly 250 terrorists of various groups have lately come close to the frontier, most of them in Uri, Keran, Neelam valley and Lepa sectors of J and K, the sources said here quoting reports from field intelligence units.

They said the terrorists are believed to be belonging to different groups, particularly Lashker-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

“There are reports that some of the terrorists have already carried out reconnaissance to find gaps to cross over,” the sources said, adding “there may be an increase in infiltration during coming month and all preparations are being made to meet any eventuality.”

They pointed out that infiltration has seen a gradual increase over last few months after witnessing a slowdown following announcement of ceasefire in October last year. [Daily Excelsior]

4 thoughts on “Infiltration & terrorism continue”

  1. Nitin:

    I think it too early to judge the fence [and other counter-infiltration measures] a failure. The key test will be whether the overall level of militants in J&K drops after the summer.

    However, we don’t have to wait until that time to gauge the success of fencing. A good interim test will be to see whether the ratio of terrorists killed in/near the LoC, compared to those killed in the interior of the state changes for the better. So, the interception near the LoC, in Sabjian (Poonch), may ultimately count as a success, at least if more such interceptions at/near the LoC occur.

    That written, an added question for you: Have you seen the reports that Ram Jethmalani discussed/offered a ‘phased/partly plebiscite’ in his talks with Pakistan’s man in J&K, Syed Geelani ? Both the Indian Express & Hindu mentioned this, leading me to think the reports have some basis in fact.

    I wonder if Jethmalani is off the reservation altogether, or does he have GOI’s backing ? Of course, he could have been merely sounding out Geelani on his views.

    Kumar

  2. Kumar

    Yes, that ratio of on LOC/off LOC killings will give a better estimate. But that ignores the ones that get away – in field conditions it is quite difficult to keep count of how many came in, how many were killed, how many retreated and how many escaped into Indian Kashmir. So the overall number of terrorist incidents remains a useful proxy for the actual state of affairs. As with any fence, its only a matter of time before the terrorists find out how to get around the hurdle it poses.

    Ram Jethmalani’s effort looks like a weather balloon floating exercise. It could also keep India’s channel of communication open with that extreme faction of the Hurriyat. What beats me is why India should discuss a plebiscite – that too with an unelected, anti-democratic, pro-Pakistani element.

  3. Nitin:

    Yes, you’re right that the overall incidence of terrorism is the best measure. But the peri-LOC/interior kill ratio is a good, interim, proxy. It should tell much about the efficacy of the fence.

    As for Jethmalani, I’m also not sure what to think of this discussion of a plebiscite. As your argument implies, if this was a ‘serious’ offer from GOI, they would have discussed it w/ the ‘moderate’ faction first! That’s why I’m inclined to think Jethmalani was sounding out Geelani (read Pakistan) about his negotiating strategy.

    Btw, Reuters (via reporter Simon Denyer at the following URL http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=5407433&section=news) is ringing alarm bells for the ‘peace process’. Denyer’s argument is astounding in its moral blindness: Essentially, he wants India to cave into Pakistani blackmail! And he seems to think Vajpayee would have been the one to do the caving-in. Again, it seems that foreigners just don’t get it. India is a democracy, after all. And there is simply no consensus for the sort of ‘territorial concessions’ people like Denyer envisage.

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