The Indian Sponsorship of Terrorism: A Nascent Challenge for Pakistan

External support to both insurgent and terrorist organisations has remained a prime factor since 9/11, distressing Pakistan’s security and economic landscapes. Recently, in a joint press conference with the Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi presented a dossier having “irrefutable evidence” of Indian sponsorship of terrorism to destabilise Pakistan and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Such terror threats pose a massive challenge to state security and the economy as India is trying to dent CPEC to affect China and Pakistan’s economic uplift.

For decades, Pakistan has been a primary target of Indian-sponsored terrorism. Still, after the launch of the CPEC in 2015, the Indian backing became more dynamic in supporting terror outfits like the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) in Balochistan. Along with its intelligence agencies, the Indian government added fuel to the fire to sabotage the CPEC. Kulbhushan Jadhav, a retired Indian Naval officer and a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent, is apprehended in a counter-intelligence operation in 2016 in the Mashkel area, Balochistan. His arrest is concrete proof of New Delhi’s mala fide intentions against Pakistan. Such high-profile detention of an Indian spy explicitly unearthed the Indian patronage of the insurgent networks in Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan. The BLA commanders in the past had sought medical treatment in Indian hospitals with fake identities and camouflages. Likewise, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan told the parliament that it is an undeniable fact that India was involved in an attack at the stock exchange building in Karachi. 

Besides, several incontrovertible pieces of evidence against the Indian patronage and assistance to terrorist and insurgent organisations, present in the stated dossier, are as follows:

Indian patronage to the outlawed Tehreek -I-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), BLA, and Jamaat ul Ahrar (JuA) and their exertions in the reintegration of the two splintered factions of the TTP, the Hizbul Ahrar (HuA) and JuA. Indian supplies of weapons, ammunition and improvised explosive devices (IED) to terrorists.

 

Established a consortium between the TTP and other ethno-nationalist militant groups in Balochistan as part of its grand mission.

 

Four secret meetings among the Indian intelligence officials and the factions mentioned above; decided to target the country’s metropolitan cities. Colonel Rajesh, a man, employed in the Indian embassy in Afghanistan, was one of those intelligence officials and a mastermind behind the plan to establish the consortium.

 

Several terror attacks in the country were planned by RAW; for instance, the attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar in 2019. RAW officer Anurag Singh was culpably involved in the blast in which attackers used a sim from Afghanistan. They were in connection with an Indian number. 

 

Indian efforts for creating a connection with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Pakistan to create “Daesh-e-Pakistan”. Thirty members of the ISIS militants were relocated from India to the Pak-Afghan border by the Indian intelligence.

 

Indian intentions to sabotage the CPEC projects.

 

Eighty-seven terror camps under the supervision of the Indian intelligence agencies, 66 of them are in Afghan territory while 21 in mainland India.

 

Afghan soil being used by the Indian military for providing assistance to the terrorist networks.

Attempts to destabilise Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

India planned to disable Pakistan’s efforts to exit the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list.

All of the above-described unquestionable evidence presents multiple challenges for the security and economic wellbeing of Pakistan. The Indian intelligence agencies’ longstanding efforts to reunite the militants against Pakistan will increase the militants’ strength that could have grave consequences for the state. If the TTP successfully brings its breakaway factions back into its fold, its strength can increase to 10,000, a quite problematic figure for the security forces of Pakistan. Furthermore, Indian connections with international terrorist organisations like the ISIS to destabilise Pakistan may facilitate how other international terrorists steer their terror outfits in the state. Involvement of the Indian intelligence agencies in arming, training and providing moral support for operations in the neighbouring countries, to several banned terror outfits is another consideration. It is a concern for Pakistan’s civil-military intelligence as to how they will counter the future missions of the Indian intelligence agencies against Pakistan. Apart from the security lens, such terror threats are also a substantial challenge to the country’s economic landscape. Delay and disruption of distinct projects under the CPEC framework would probably impact the country’s economy. The state’s economy during the past counter-insurgency operations has extensively declined. Since 2001, Pakistan has faced more than 19,000 terrorist attacks that caused 83,000 fatalities with the economic loss of more than $126 billion.

Pakistan handed over the dossier containing the details of the Indian “stoking of terrorism” in Pakistan to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The country also presented dossiers to the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) permanent member (P5) states and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Will the international community take any action over it or remain silent? Should the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (UN CTC) accuse India of stoking terrorism? Will the FATF impose sanctions on them? All the great powers of the global arena, the UN CTC, and other regional and international organisations should take an appropriate look into such evidence as to whether India contravened the international conventions or not.

Being an allied partner in the “War on Terror” (WoT), Pakistan military’s small and medium scale operations successfully wiped out several militants. However, the country is still facing one of the biggest threats to its national security. The conventional threat posed by militancy and terrorism is a severe challenge for the state policymakers. Pressurising the neighbouring countries not to assist and let terrorists enter into their soils would be the utmost demand of the state on the international level. Similarly, CPEC’s security and financial loss are equivalent concerns for the Xi Jinping Government and Pakistan. Hence, both China and Pakistan should have a binocular vision to tackle the Indian backing for militants

Share