Surge in terrorist activities all along J&K border

Escalation in terrorist-related activities began last year when Pakistani jihadists set up their operation base in the dense forests of Surankot in Poonch
Keywords: Kashmir, Jammu, Attack, Terrorism, Pakistan, ISI, Politics, TTP, War, Army
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Gun battles with terrorists in Kashmir have shown an upward graph in recent months. The Anantnag, Baramulla, Uri gun battles, and infiltration bids have come in succession this month. Simultaneously, infiltration bids have increased though many of these have been successfully repulsed. In the process, our security forces have lost some precious lives.

Two border districts, Rajouri and Poonch, have become the operational ground as well as hiding sites. The terrorists who are operating in the region are mostly from Jaish-e Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Toyyaba terrorist organizations based in Pakistan. Both underground workers and over-ground workers of these terrorist organisations in the localities where they have become active of late are effectively strengthening the terrorist network in Kashmir and on the western border of Jammu region. Escalation in terrorist-related activities began last year when Pakistani jihadists set up their operation base in the dense forests of Surankot in Poonch last year.


Several reasons have contributed to the escalation of recent terrorism. The first is a wave of insecurity that has gripped Pakistani media, leading Pakistani leaders to speak incoherently about threats to Pakistan’s territorial integrity. Perhaps that is by way of reflecting the country’s sense of victimhood.

The second reason is the somewhat less balanced statements of contemporary Indian national leadership that India has the capacity and will to wrest the illegally occupied part of the original J&K State. That is why most of the terrorist camps in PoK have been relocated close to the LoC for quick retaliation.

The third reason could be the widening gulf between the ruling and the opposition parties in India. Some of the reputed opposition parties are speaking the language of Pakistan and that emboldens Pakistan to become adventurous.

Yet, the most important reason is that Pakistani agencies have succeeded in brain-washing a good number of local citizens on our side of the border. The jihadists are getting crucial logistical support from them. It is also possible that the Pakistani jihadists, having received training in new methods of guerrilla warfare from the TTP or Taliban trainers, feel they are better equipped to fight the Indian army. For example, laying an ambush or digging tunnels, or occupying caves in dense forests are among the new tactics. 

Pakistan’s desperation

The Pakistani army is rife with internal dissensions. There is groupism within the armed forces. The Commander-in-chief is a jihadist and is patronising extremist segments of the Pakistan army. The TTP is trying to exploit this situation. Only yesterday, it has stated that if the PPP of  Bhutto or the PML(N) of Nawaz Sharif also want to be on the same page with the government, it will not hesitate to strike them as well. It means that the TTP is also aiming at targeting the political structure of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s frustration is exacerbated by the recurrent lethal attacks by the TTP; the hostile stance taken by the Taliban of Afghanistan, and large scale civilian uprisings in all the provinces other than Punjab and against Punjab. Pakistan would surely want India to launch an attack on PoK so that Islamabad can go around the Muslim world beating its breast and shouting that the infidel India is as dangerous for Islam as Israel is. In this way, Islamabad would be able to attract the attention of the world to Kashmir in a renewed manner. Pakistan thinks that aggression by India could lead to the restoration of its profile internationally, thereby pulling it out of isolation.

Indian stance

Hopefully, India will not lose her cool and will refuse to fall into the trap. The reaction should remain limited and not extend beyond the borders of PoK. The terrorist camps set up at strategic sites on the Pakistan side of the border have to be targeted and destroyed. These are set up in sites deep in the forest. Their identification is somewhat difficult but drones and surveillance apparatus may be used to locate and destroy as many launching pads as can be possible.

Recently, Pakistan hosted a meeting of top jihadist-terrorist leaders during which voices were raised that Pakistan, the lone nuclear-armed Muslim country, should be asked to raise the nuclear threat against Israel. Kashmir is also a priority with these fanatics and extremist elements in Pakistan may be contemplating a copycat of the 7th of October Hamas attack on Israel. India should not turn its face away from such a possibility and must keep its powder dry. 

US-Pak relations

The Biden administration is rethinking its relations with Pakistan. Since Pakistan is in a deep economic and financial crisis, carrying a huge debt burden mainly due to China, Washington thinks that the time has come when Islamabad should be weaned away from its closeness to Beijing. Pakistan is vulnerable to the American diktat. If the Baluch and Pashtun movements for freedom intensify, and their reverberations become loud in Sindh, Pakistan will be under pressure to shift from CPEC to the proposed India-Middle East-Europe Corridor project.

The Pakistan armed forces and ISI chiefs have been in Washington meeting the US secretary of state jointly. It is an important indication that Pakistan needs some support from the US but that support will come at a cost. Diplomacy is not a one-way street.

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K N Pandita

K N Pandita has a PhD in Iranian Studies from the University of Teheran. He is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University.

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