The twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad after the recent execution of Pakistani 26/11 attack convict Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru were not entirely unexpected by Indian intelligence agencies and some alerts were in place on the ground. Yet, tragically, 17 people lost their lives and over 120 were injured in communally sensitive Hyderabad which appears to be growing into a favourite target for terrorists, including some of the home-grown variety whose inspiration and all round material support unmistakably comes from across the border. That the government and all its security and intelligence organs of the State must re-visit the nation’s preparedness against the terror machine and perpetrators of such evil acts and take immediate prophylactic steps is a critical national imperative.
However, Pakistan, in keeping with its historical predilection, continues to display its never-changing mindset of creating tensions along the Line of Control(LoC) in an effort to rekindle the waning militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in eager anticipation of 2014 which it surmises as the year of its reckoning. That Pakistan eagerly awaits the final drawdown of the US and western forces from Afghanistan by 2014 to re-establish its arc of influence (read strategic depth) in that hapless troubled land with its cadre of the faithful like the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Haqqani terror network, the remnants of al Qaeda, and importantly the Afghani Taliban will be perhaps stating the obvious.
The façade of recent parleys between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari orchestrated by British Prime Minister David Cameron, to get the ‘moderate Taliban to talk to the Karzai government, is nothing but an exercise in self-delusion. Pakistan hopes and with good reason for the Taliban to have a walkover in Kabul as soon as US forces depart. Islamabad aims to then speedily fill the strategic vacuum in the wake of the ill-timed and premature departure of the US and other International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) from Afghanistan. The statements emanating from the US administration regarding the efficacy of the Karzai-led Afghan government to be adequately prepared to fill the void after the US forces depart is nothing short of pure chicanery. The land of the Hindu Kush thus awaits the ‘slaughter of the lambs’ to be followed by medieval governance, once again, getting resurrected in Afghanistan.
The Americans, battle weary and financially fatigued, refuse to flinch despite an ignominious exit they have planned for themselves built not on ground realities of Kabul’s adverse security environment but a follow-up of electoral promises delivered during their presidential elections. Even the sole global superpower has its limitations.
Back home, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed relative peace barring sporadic incidents of violence against a few democratically elected sarpanches by Pakistan inspired-militants. A record number of tourists, both Indian and foreign, visited the beautiful Valley, ushering in much financial relief to the hapless locals who had been fed up with the nefarious activities of Pakistan-funded terrorists and separatists.
These terror outfits, once again, have been encouraged by the otherwise legally implemented recent execution of Afzal Guru. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) smelt another opportunity to re-energise terror-driven activities in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the Indian hinterland — the Hyderabad terror strike on February 21 was thus a part of Pakistan’s evil strategy implemented by its local followers — the Indian Mujahideen.
Importantly, as the US and ISAF depart from Afghanistan, the ISI would already be planning to divert maximum resources from its terror machine in Afghanistan to Jammu and Kashmir — a development which the Indian security hierarchy will have to seriously factor in to thwart Pakistan’s machinations in the Valley.
However, at this crucial hour, all political parties must close ranks and stand united to combat the common enemy. In the run-up to 2014, Pakistan is all set to re-ignite the flames of instability wherever it can in India. Therefore, we have to be fully prepared with a range of options, including the military, employing all our genius and resources to meet the looming credible threat to our security for the summer months ahead promise to be hotter than in recent times.
Kamal Davar was the first Chief of the Defence Intelligence Agency
The views expressed by the author are personal