At a time when infiltration bids have spiralled upwards in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Army has for the first time not ruled out the possibility of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters waging jihad in the state. Asked if terrorists from these outfits were operating in the Valley, Army chief General Deepak Kapoor said on Thursday, “It is a recognised fact that foreign terrorists account for some 48 per cent of the total in J&K. It won’t be surprising if some of them belong to these terror outfits.”
Elaborating, he said, “When militants get into a radicalised or fundamentalist mode, I do not think they are concerned about national boundaries… They will wage the so-called jihad anywhere alongside Taliban in Afghanistan or in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
The army does not want to take any chances in the state with Assembly elections due in October and there being every likelihood of terrorist activity intensifying. Speaking to reporters after delivering a talk on national security at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Kapoor said security forces were on high alert to check an expected surge in infiltration from across the border ahead of the elections. The army announced on Wednesday that it had killed 11 terrorists in Kupwara sector in a two-day operation.
Dubbing the situation Pakistan fluid, the army chief said the biggest challenge faced by the Pakistan government was to moderate the radicalised sections. “We are trying to ensure a peaceful environment in J&K so that people can go and cast their votes in a free and fair manner,” he said.