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Jihadists on a weak wicket in India: Expert

The trajectory of "militant jihadists in India is going down", says an expert.

delhi Updated: Nov 16, 2011 12:13 IST

The trajectory of "militant jihadists in India is going down", says an expert.

Speaking at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) at Sapru House in New Delhi on Tuesday, Dilip Hiro, London-based author and commentator, who specialises in Islamic affairs and South Asia, outlined the varying trajectory of militant jihadists in this region.

They are a cause of concern in Pakistan where jihadi groups have spun out of Islamabad's control and in Afghanistan, the Taliban is under pressure to delink with al Qaeda and this could bring about a "rift in the outfit's leadership", said Hiro.

However, the jihadists in Pakistan are at the centre of the "Afghanistan, Pakistan, Hindustan" arch and their "dream is to bring about a nuclear war between India and Pakistan", he added.

Hiro feels that jihadists in India are on a "weak wicket because Indian Muslims believe in electoral politics. As a minority they recognise the advantage of being a vote bank".

According to him, militant jihadists in India were sent and supported by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan.

Jihadists in Pakistan like the "LeT operate underground while those like the Jamait Ulema-e-Islam are over ground and at times they come together to show how important they are".

Nuclear installations in Pakistan have been "attacked four times by Al-Qaeda supported jihadists", he said.

The Taliban is interested in power only in Afghanistan and may delink with Al Qaeda which has global presence and interests. This may bring about a rift in the Mullah Omar led Taliban and the possibility of the Taliban agreeing to participate in Afghan elections.

The US cannot get out of Afghanistan without an agreement with the Taliban. While the US is trying to fight and talk to the Taliban at the same time "the Taliban will not talk as it knows that US has to leave", the author said.

The position taken by Pakistan's "ISI will be important" as the US and its allies prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan. "Pakistan wants to control the ultra jihadi groups and the Taliban, the Haqqani group and ISI want a friendly government in Kabul."

The best scenario will be an election in Afghanistan in which the Taliban participate but have to share power in the new government.

"This will compel the Taliban to be moderate and give assurances to the Tajiks and may lead to a decentralization of the 45 Afghan provinces," he said, adding post US withdrawal, China and Iran will also be big players there.

Hiro said: "Pakistan's DNA is built on fear and hatred of India and the Pakistani army commanders don't want to solve the Kashmir issue."

"Pakistan is convinced that India has a cold military strategy" and directs over 80 percent of its forces against it, he added.

First Published: Nov 16, 2011 12:10 IST