Originally Published 2014-02-03 06:41:35 Published on Feb 03, 2014
West Bengal Governor and former National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan recently noted that contrary to what many security and strategic analysts in the West profess, terrorism remains by all means a grave threat to the civilised world. The reality is global terrorism is expanding, especially in Asia.
Global terrorism expanding, especially in Asia?
"Speaking at the NIA Raising Day on January 20, 2014, former National Security Adviser and currently Governor of West Bengal, M.K. Narayanan, said that the intelligence agencies, including Intelligence Bureau and the Research & Analysis Wing, knew of the impending terrorist attacks on Mumbai, including some targets like Taj Hotel, and yet they failed to take the requisite preventive measures since they did not know in what form it would be.

It was indeed a sad commentary that this specific warning coming a few days before the actual attack, and even mentioning one of the prime targets in Mumbai was not acted upon both by the intelligence agencies and the police. Authors Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy have given interesting details of the Mumbai attack in their book, ’The Siege’.

Pakistan’s pervasive hostility and its resort to terrorism through Islamic Jihadi terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Indian Mujahideen are known to the major intelligence agencies. The failure to face the Mumbai attack in a well-prepared manner was due to the failure of the Navy, to begin with.

The 10-member team, armed with AK-47 rifles, pistols, grenades, etc., came from Karachi through the sea route. Half way through, its members hijacked an Indian trawler on the Arabian sea and got an Indian navigator on the trawler to guide them to sail towards Mumbai. The attackers were connected by a satellite phone to a control room in Karachi. Once they sighted the coast of Mumbai, they killed the navigator. After landing on the deserted coast of Mumbai, they quietly walked into the city unchallenged. Then, the ruthless attack on the Taj Hotel began, while a few of them ran towards Chhatrapati Shivaji terminal.

Can we come across another instance of a more defenceless city than Mumbai?

First, consider the Navy’s role. Surely, there should be a system of watching the high seas, even beyond the Arabian sea. These are the days of satellite watch on sailing vessels. Even otherwise, the Naval Yard of Mumbai should have deployed the radar system and scanned the high seas constantly beyond Mumbai. How was it that the jihadis travelling from Karachi towards Mumbai for four days remained unseen by the radars of the Navy? In fact, the Navy had the foremost responsibility of locating and alerting the agencies of the movements of suspicious vessels. By not fulfilling the foremost responsibility, the Naval unit of Colaba, Mumbai, should own a major part of the blame for the failure to meet the attack.

M.K. Narayanan also noted that contrary to what many security and strategic analysts in the West profess, terrorism remained by all means a grave threat to the civilised world. The reality is global terrorism is expanding, especially in Asia.

Since Lashkar-e-Taiba and Indian Mujahideen have given terrorism new dimensions, one should anticipate the intensity and number of future attacks. The possibility of possible suicide means also need to be factored into future calculations.

A detailed scrutiny of the activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba based in Muridke in the Punjab province of Pakistan shows that several training camps are being held there. Its long-term objective is to inundate Jammu and Kashmir with jihadists for ’liberating the state’. LeT’s agenda lists the restoration of Islamic rule in India. Abu Jundal, who was arrested by security agencies at the Nepal border and interrogated subsequently, disclosed, among other things, that LeT had trained jihadist in paragliding.

Pakistan began to fund LeT in the early 1990s and the ISI is constantly guiding LeT’s military structure with specific instructions of attacking India at suitable opportunities. LeT in co-ordination with Jaish-e-Mohammad attacked Indian Parliament in 2001. It was responsible for the blast in Varanasi in 1989 which resulted in the death of 37 people. They were also involved in the Doda massacre in April 2006 and the Mumbai train bombings the same year. Saudi Arabia remained the critical financial support base for al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

With the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan coming closer, militancy in the Kashmir Valley is likely to increase exponentially. In 2013, 63 militants and 61 security personnel were killed in Kashmir. The number may increase in the current and coming years. An analyst, Hasan Suroor, has said that one does not have to be a revolutionary poet like Faiz Ahmad Faiz to look at the events in the Muslim world and lament at being deceived by the promise of a false dawn. A study of events for the past three years shows that the old face of Islam projected by extremists is back with a vengeance. Islam is at war with itself at several levels involving moderates and extremists. The latest example of jihadis looking for fresh recruits was the instance of a couple of Imams, possibly brain-washed by the ISI, visiting the camps of Muslim refugees affected by the riots in Muzaffarnagar.

Yasin Bhatkal of Indian Mujahideen, who is in judicial custody, has confessed that he had asked his Pakistan handler for a small nuclear bomb to detonate in India. The Pakistani jihadis may even try to prepare a ’dirty bomb’. It shows that they are not bothered about the terrible consequences to both India and Pakistan by resorting to a nuclear misadventure.

At a lecture organised by the Ananta Aspen Centre in New Delhi on January 24, Prof. V.S. Subrahamanian, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, USA, analysing activities of Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba, said that Islamic Jihadists were likely to carry out a series of attacks in India between January and May this year when the country would get ready for the Lok Sabha elections, Prof. Subrahmanian said the Centre and the States should be well prepared for any eventuality. Hopefully, the unfortunate performance of the Indian security agencies during the Mumbai attacks of 2008 would not be repeated.

Courtesy: The Tribune, February 3, 2014

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