Friday, April 8, 2011


India's external counter-terrorism policies
India has been the victim of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism since the 1950s. In those years, Pakistan's ISI had supported the insurgent/terrorist groups in India's northeast region and provided them sanctuaries, training, arms and ammunition in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of the then East Pakistan. India's anxiety to stop this played an important role in its assistance to the people of East Pakistan to liberate themselves.

Since 1980, the ISI has been providing sanctuaries, training, arms and ammunition in Pakistan to religious terrorist groups operating in Punjab, J&K and other parts of India. It is also infiltrating the mercenaries of the Pakistani pan-Islamic jihadi organisations into India to promote cross-border terrorism.

India has taken up this issue with the US since 1992 and wants Pakistan declared a State sponsor of international terrorism under US laws and have punitive action taken against it. In 1993, the Clinton administration placed Pakistan on a watch list of suspected State sponsors of international terrorism for six months and forced Nawaz Sharif , who was then in power, to sack Lieutenant General Javed Nasir, then ISI's director-general, and other senior officers. This did not have any effect on the use of terrorism by the ISI.

Since 9/11, Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment has been collaborating with the US in taking action against Al Qaeda elements posing a threat to US nationals and interests. But it has not taken any action against cross-border terrorism directed against India and to destroy terrorist infrastructure in PoK and the Northern Areas.

After the attack by terrorists belonging to LET and JEM on the Indian Parliament in December 2001, India mobilised and deployed its Army on the border in response to public pressure for action against the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory. In response to appeals from the US, UK and other friendly governments, India refrained from action against Pakistan. Under US pressure, Pakistan banned LET and JEM, but not HUJI and HUM, and arrested some of their leaders and cadres. They have since been released.

US officials themselves admit Pakistan has not implemented its assurances to the US that it would put a stop to cross-border terrorism in J&K. Despite this, the US is reluctant to act against Pakistan because of its cooperation in assisting the US in neutralising Al Qaeda elements who have taken shelter in Pakistan.

India has made it clear that there will be no question of any talks with Pakistan on the normalisation of bilateral relations till it stops cross-border terrorism, winds up the terrorist infrastructure in its territory and gives up the use of terrorism as a weapon against India.

India has also been greatly concerned over the use of Bangladesh territory by religious and non-religious terrorists operating against India. The non-religious terrorist groups continue to enjoy sanctuaries in the CHT. Of the religious terrorist organisations, HUJI has an active branch in Bangladesh. Some Al Qaeda elements, who escaped into Pakistan from Afghanistan, have found their way into Bangladesh, where they have been given shelter by HUJI.

There is active complicity between the ISI and its counterpart in Dhaka in this matter. The Bangladesh authorities have not been co-operating with India in taking effective action against the large-scale illegal immigration into India. However, keeping in view the otherwise good relations with Bangladesh, India has been trying to have these problems sorted out bilaterally at the political and diplomatic levels. But the progress so far has been disappointing.