Cross Border Terrorism


Cross Border Terrorism Sponsored by Pak Army and Suggested Indian response



“Terrorism is the price of empire. If you do not wish to pay the price, you must give up the empire.”

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PAT BUCHANAN, Where the Right Went Wrong

1. Six decades after its independence Pakistan continues to search for a durable and credible identity. Pakistan’s rulers constantly strive to show how Pakistan is equal to, if not better than India in all respects. The complex psychology of the Pakistani ruling elite is dominated by the military. Even after more than three and a half decades, the role in the creation of Bangladesh continues to rankle, with the Pak Army in search of ‘revenge’ for its humiliating defeat in 1971. The mindset of the Pak Army is a cocktail of arrogance and brashness, at times bordering on cockiness, which becomes even more potent with the addition of a measure of a fundamentalism.

2. The Pak Army sees itself as the dominant power in Pakistan & has always enjoyed a larger than life status in socio-political fabric of the country. Democratic regimes have not survived and people represented institutions remain weak in Pakistan. It is difficult to comment authoritatively on whether it is the weak political leadership which is responsible for the democratic failures or the overpowering army which has led to military coups in Pakistan. However, what is certain is this, whenever the position of Pak Army has got threatened they have managed to come back into focus as ‘saviours’ of the nation by destabilising the Indo-Pak relations.

3. The Pak Army’s single minded pursuit of its proxy war for over a decade clearly indicates its long-term game planned to destabilize India by keeping the pot boiling in Kashmir, keeping the Indian Army and other security forces embroiled in counter insurgency operations and, more recently, to extend the area of engagement to other parts of India through wanton acts of terrorism in or around high value targets. In short the Pak Army’s strategy is to bleed India through a thousand cuts. For Pak Army it is a win-win situation as there is an element of deniability about its involvement. The Pakistani Generals, are convinced that their bleed-India strategy is a low-cost, high pay off option for Pakistan and, therefore, they are loathe to give it up.[1]

What Gives Pak Army Confidence to Wage Covert War?

4. A brutal confidence underlies Pakistan’s continuing commitment to a strategy of waging war by proxy. This confidence is founded on two pillars. The first is the belief in the Pakistan Army’s ability to crush any insurgency if it really decides to do so. This conviction was expressed most clearly in General Pervez Musharraf’s statement in 2005 to the insurgents in Balochistan that he would "sort them out" and that "they won’t know what hit them".

5. The second source of confidence is Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Many in Pakistan’s army and political leadership believe that these weapons protect Pakistan from the outside world. Indian restraint during both the 1999 Kargil War and during the 2001-2002 OP PARAKRAM after the militant attack on India’s Parliament, is an evidence of the power of Pakistan’s nuclear card. This was evident again after the Mumbai attacks on 26 Nov 2008.[2]

6. Many—if not all—of the militant groups active in J&K have enjoyed the specific patronage of the Pakistani state intelligence and military agencies to prosecute Islamabad’s interests in India.[3]

7. This dissertation seeks to carry out a study of the conduct of cross border terrorism by Pak Army, estimate its future contours & suggest suitable responses.

Cross Border Terrorism Sponsored by Pak Army and Suggested Indian response



“Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint.”

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, "Terrorism: Notes Toward a Definition"

Statement of the Problem

1. To identify & analyse role of Pak Army in creating dissonance in Indo- Pak relations by sponsoring cross border terrorism against India. To suggest India’s response to counter this threat.


2. With power now in hands of civilian establishment the Pak Army is finding itself in a vulnerable position and is gradually losing its commanding status. To regain their image as ‘guardian angels’ of the country they are resorting to destabilising Indo-Pak relations by triggering violent terror incidents.

3. The Pak Army attributes all such incidents as being carried out by ‘non-state’ actors and ‘freedom fighters’, while the truth is that Pak Army along with ISI is directly involved in promoting cross border terrorism.

Justification of the Study

4. Pak Army continues unabated in its quest to destabilise India through covert means. The investigations into the recent attacks in Mumbai have also revealed a clear link between the Pak Army and the non- state actors and yet the true propagators (read ISI) of the violence are yet to be brought to book. The more India talks in front of the whole world about it, the more denials come from Pakistan, in the light of these facts, it is essential that India must take concrete steps to counter Pak Army support to terrorists who wage covert war against India & also unveil its true colours to the world community.


5. The focus of this study is on Pak Army’s use of radical Islamic Fundamentalism & terrorism as a military strategy to create dissonance in Indo-Pak relations. The emphasis is on role of Pak Army in the recent Mumbai attacks. The study further analyses the likely contours of future covert war methods and concludes by suggesting various options with India to counter the new emerging threat. The dissertation does not cover Pak Army role in raising the ‘Taliban’ and it’s so called ongoing war against terrorism and only concentrate on the events and actions that destabilise Indo- Pak relations.

Method of Data Collection

6. The source of this dissertation has been the books, periodicals and articles available in the library of Defence Services Staff College. The web sites of IDSA, USI, and several other Indian dailies on the Internet also have been a great help. The bibliography is appended at the end of the text.

Organisation of study

7. It is proposed to study the subject by analysing and evaluating the following aspects:-

(a) Understanding terrorism.

(b) Cross Border Terrorism: An Alternative Military Strategy.

(c) Pak Army Sponsored Cross Border Terrorism.

(d) Future Contours & Suggested Responses.

(e) Conclusion.

Cross Border Terrorism Sponsored by Pak Army and Suggested Indian response



“In an interconnected world, the defeat of international terrorism – and most importantly, the prevention of these terrorist organizations from obtaining weapons of mass destruction — will require the cooperation of many nations. We must always reserve the right to strike unilaterally at terrorists wherever they may exist. But we should know that our success in doing so is enhanced by engaging our allies so that we receive the crucial diplomatic, military, intelligence, and financial support that can lighten our load and add legitimacy to our actions. This means talking to our friends and, at times, even our enemies.”


Defining Terrorism

1. Virtually any especially abhorrent act of violence perceived as directed against society—whether it involves the activities of antigovernment dissidents or governments themselves, organized-crime syndicates, common criminals, rioting mobs, people engaged in militant protest, individual psychotics, or lone extortionists—is often labeled “terrorism.”

2. Terrorism, in the most widely accepted contemporary usage of the term, is fundamentally and inherently political. It is also ineluctably about power: the pursuit of power, the acquisition of power, and the use of power to achieve political change. Terrorism is thus violence—or, equally important, the threat of violence—used and directed in pursuit of, or in service of, apolitical aim.[4]

State Sponsored Terrorism

3. One of the most authoritative studies by Daniel Byman, a leading scholar on terrorism defines state sponsorship as “a government’s intentional assistance to a terrorist group to help it use violence, bolster its political activities, or sustain [its] organization.” [5]His research identifies six areas in which states provide support to terrorists—training and operations; money, arms, and logistics; diplomatic backing; organizational assistance; ideological direction; and (perhaps most importantly) sanctuary.[6] Byman argues that terrorist groups which receive significant amounts of state support are far more difficult to counter and destroy than those which do not.[7]

4. However, it is also important to note that there are several types of state sponsorship of terrorism: “strong supporters” are states with both the desire and the capacity to support terrorist groups; “weak supporters” are those with the desire but not the capacity to offer significant support; “lukewarm supporters” are those that offer rhetorical but little actual tangible support; and “antagonistic supporters” are those that actually seek to control or even weaken the terrorist groups they appear to be supporting. Another category Byman examines is passive support, whereby states “deliberately turn a blind eye to the activities of terrorists in their countries but do not provide direct assistance.” [8] A state’s tolerance of or passivity toward a terrorist group’s activities, he argues, is often as important to their success as any deliberate assistance they receive. Open and active state sponsorship of terrorism is rare, and it has decreased since the end of the Cold War. Yet this lack of open support does not necessarily diminish the important role that states play in fostering or hindering terrorism.

5. At times, the greatest contribution a state can make to a terrorist’s cause is by not policing a border, turning a blind eye to fundraising, or even Combating the Sources and Facilitators of Terrorism tolerating terrorist efforts to build their organizations, conduct operations, and survive. Passive support for terrorism can contribute to a terrorist group’s success in several ways. It often allows a group to raise money, acquire arms, plan operations, and enjoy a respite from the counterattacks of the government it opposes. Passive support may also involve spreading an ideology that assists a terrorist group in its efforts to recruit new members.[9]

Benefits to State Sponsored Terrorists

6. For the terrorist, the benefits of state sponsorship were even greater. Such a relationship appreciably enhanced the capabilities and operational capacity of otherwise limited terrorist groups, placing at their disposal the resources of an established nation-state’s entire diplomatic, military, and intelligence apparatus and thus greatly facilitating planning and intelligence. The logistical support provided by states assured the terrorists of otherwise unobtainable luxuries, such as the use of diplomatic pouches for the transport of weapons and explosives, false identification in the form of genuine passports, and the use of embassies and other diplomatic facilities as safe houses or staging bases. State sponsorship also afforded terrorists greater training opportunities; thus some groups were transformed into entities more akin to elite commando units than to the stereotypical conspiratorial cell of anarchists wielding Molotov cocktails or radicals manufacturing crude pipe bombs. Finally, terrorists were often paid handsomely for their services, turning hitherto financially destitute entities into well-endowed organizations with investment profiles and healthy balance sheets.[10]

The Four Stages of Terrorism

7. The terrorist tactics though essentially focuses on creating terror through violence has evolved over a period of time.

1980s-1990s: Era of backyard Islamicist Struggles

8. During this time the focus was on overthrowing specific regions, like the non democratic governments of Algeria and Egypt, or fighting countries seen to be occupying Muslim lands like Israel and India.

(a) Spectacular Example. Assassination of Anwar Sadat of Egypt in 1981 was probably the most famous terrorist act of this period.

(b) Preferred Tactics. Mimicking the methods of secular left wing and nationalist terrorist groups like the Palestinian Fatah or the Irish Republican Army. This generally involved hijacking of aircraft, assassination of political s and kidnapping of foreigners. Few of these attacks had much of a ripple outside the region that they took place. These acts were largely seen as a local law and order issue rather than an international menace.

1990s- 2001: Rise of Spectacular Jihad

9. This period saw the arrival of Osama Bin Laden and the Egyptian Ayman al Zawahri on the scene. These men argued that local islamicist struggles need to combine force so they can replicate soviet defeat in Afghanistan.

(a) Successful Attack. 9/11, the world’s most lethal and media-friendly terrorist attack. It was preceded by attacks on US warships and embassies in Africa and Persian gulf.

(b) Preferred Tactics. 9/11 stamps suicide bombing as the preferred jihadi tactic but also raised the bar on how spectacular the attack must be From roughly 2002 onwards there was a huge surge in suicide bombings across the world, spreading into places like Kashmir, Chechnya and so on where they had previously been rare.

2001-2007: Maturing of Local Guerrilla Terrorism

10. Losing its Afghan base al Qaeda turned to local jihad affiliates to keep up the momentum of attack. Transit attacks in Madrid and London took place. But US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan provided a new outlet for jihadi wrath. Abu Musab al Zarqawi replaced Bin Laden as the terrorist of the moment.

(a) Successful Attack. The entire campaign against US military in Iraq which soured the US public to the war and lead to a consensus on the need for the US to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.

(b) Preferred Tactics. In Europe it was bomb in the bus or terror on the train. In Iraq it is a more straight forward guerilla style war with roadside explosives devices, suicide bombers. Zarqawi introduced shocking media footage such as the execution video of Daniel Pearl.

2008: Possible start of Global Terrorism

11. Suicide Bombing hurts al Qaeda Sentiment among mainstream Islam. Surveys have shown declining support for such tactics since 2005 onwards. Further it is getting increasingly ineffective against new security methods and in terms of winning media attention.

(a) Tactical Experiment. The use of small bands of suicide fighters, trained like professional soldiers, who simultaneously strike local and global targets. Mumbai is now being seen as the most intricately coordinated and most successful islamicist terrorist attack since 9/11. This could well be the dawn of new era of such terrorism. [11]

Cross Border Terrorism Sponsored by Pak Army and Suggested Indian response



“In the South Asian context, talks on conventional military confidence building cannot be divorced from terrorism. The route of the escalatory process is militancy.”


1. The Pakistani military leadership believes the terrorist threat is an incentive to India to come to the negotiating table; without it India will simply ignore Pakistan’s calls for a resolution of the issue. Terrorism also poisons Hindu-Muslim relations and weakens the foundations of India’s secularism. It affects the image of India as an investment destination, which would explain the terror attacks in cities like Bangalore and Mumbai. It panders to extremist lobbies within Pakistan whose declared ambition is to break up India from within. The repeated attacks on Hindu religious places is intended to provoke a communal backlash against the Muslims, in the expectation that this will engender greater Muslim alienation, leading eventually to the tearing up of the social fabric of India.[12]

2. Terrorism has become an institution in Pakistan and has widespread support. Its army and intelligence services consider it a strategic weapon. After each terrorist strike, the Pakistani government cleverly dodges international pressure by temporarily clamping down on terrorism until the focus shifts away. It never completely eliminates this menace.[13]

3. Post Mumbai, Ironic as it may seem the Pakistan Army has gained in an important way. The crisis has gone some way in building bridges between the militant groups and the Pakistan military. Their historical relationship, which had broken down in several ways, is on the mend. Taliban groups in the tribal areas battling Pakistani security forces offered ceasefires so that troops could devote all their energies on what was built up as a coming war on the eastern front. They even offered to fight alongside the troops against India. [14]

Cost to Pakistan to Support Cross Border Terrorism

4. Pakistan officially accepts that it is providing diplomatic, political and moral support to Kashmiri militants. However, it is now internationally accepted that the Pakistan army and the ISI Directorate are providing military training, weapons, military equipment, ammunition and explosives to the militants, besides financial support. The ISI spends approximately Rs 5 Crore per month for its proxy war campaign. The Pakistan Army also actively assists the militants to infiltrate into j&K by engaging Indian posts on the LC along the routes of infiltration with artillery and small arms fireand provides a large number of officers to lead the militants.[15]

The Pak ‘Terror’ Machine

5. How did the present day terror infrastructure originate? The answer this question can be found in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The invasion provided Pakistan Army an opportunity to reconstruct its professional image which had considerably tarnished as a consequence of 1971 war and dismemberment of Pakistan. In 1981, when the Reagan administration agreed to support the Afghan Mujahideen and US military assistance to Pakistan began to filter in. It helped the military to build its professional image. The planning and coordination of Afghan resistance movement was done in close collaboration with US intelligence agencies and the Inter Service Intelligence(ISI) of Pakistan. While supporting, training and organizing the various Afghan Guerrilla Bands the ISI built its reputation and skills as a professional organisation. In the process, the ISI enhanced its intelligence and surveillance capabilities. The Zia regime at that time also availed this opportunity to embark on a program to modernize the armed forces of Pakistan. The regime was able to strike a deal with Reagan administration for the procurement of sophisticated F-16 fighter planes. It was also able to procure some artillery and armoured equipment for the army. Consequently the Afghan war and US military aid did facilitate the moderenisation of the Pakistan military. This helped the Military to bolster its professional image.[16]

6. Neither the Americans, stung and exhausted after the wars of the CIA and the armed forces in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, nor the Saudis, who hate to get involved in fighting anywhere, wanted to commit their own forces. So they let Pakistan’s ISI do the donkey work. The ISI, controlled directly by President Zia al-Haq and influenced on the ground by affluent Arab organizations close to the Muslim Brothers and Pakistan’s Islamist groups, ran the war against the Russians. Many billions of dollars to fund it came from the United States, the Saudi treasury, and finally as the conflict was winding down, from the resources of financiers like the Saudi construction tycoon Osama bin Laden, who effectively privatized global terrorism in the 1990s.[17]

7. The fundamentalist groups which were trained initially for Afghan war were indoctrinated to believe that it is their religious duty to kill unbelievers and their supporters wherever they are found. Funded by the ISI and religion- based political parties of Pakistan, they are armed with sophisticated weaponery.[18] It is well known that the ISI had surreptitiously siphoned off up to 40-50 % of the weapons supplied by the CIA for use by the Afghan Mujahideen against Russia. These weapons have eventually found their way into J&K.[19] It is not as well known that towards the end of Afghan resistance against Russian occupation, ‘mullah warlords’ had taken over the cultivation and processing of poppy along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Since then, the illicit trade in narcotics has been generating hefty profits. These are being ploughed into fuelling terrorism in J&K and in supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. This vicious politician-mulla-ISI-army racket suited the ruling elite in Pakistan and is a major cause of continuing war in Afghanistan and terrorism in Kashmir.[20]

8. The sketch below shows the movement of CIA/ISI trained guerrillas out of Afghanistan after driving out Soviet Union from Afghanistan.

Islamic Fundamentalism & Pak Army

9. From the early days, the secular apolitical army that the British left behind deviated in Pakistan from the basic tenets of professionalism and began to intervene in politics and governance aided by the bureaucratic class( later to be simply used by the army) and the incompetence of the political elites. The army defined the parameters of national policy and the means by which it was to be pursued even when it was not in direct control of state. It also began from the very beginning to rely on clandestine covert war, executed through multiple means and tactics, while following up with traditional professional military forces for a coup de grace when it wanted.[21]

10. When General Zia ul Haq came to power he did not take too long to reveal his religious political outlook. He was brisk in replacing the Jinnah’s motto of Pakistan Army- Unity, Faith & Discipline with Faith, Piety & Holy War (Jihad).[22] In his opening speech, after the take over he, extended two reasons for military intervention. Firstly the country was on threshold of a civil war. Secondly Islam had not been effectively put into practice in Pakistani society.[23] Zia ul Haq after assuming power lent his support and affinity with the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) protest movement. PNA was an alliance of nine parties to throw out Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and they promised to bring back Islamic laws. “I must say that the spirit of Islam, demonstrated during the recent movement was commendable. It proves that Pakistan, which was created in the name of Islam, will continue to survive only if it sticks to Islam. That is why I consider the introduction of Islamic system as an essential pre-requisite for the country.”[24]

11. The army has seen itself for the last three decades or more as the defender of not only of the physical frontiers but also of ideological frontiers of the state, conceptualized on the foundations of exclusivity of religion. It has inevitably been increasingly ‘islamised’ which at one level enhanced internal cohesion and motivation to fight and at another created a spectre of potential discord within the army.[25]

12. In 1976, the Pakistan army had amended its secular motto to include the term ‘jihad’ in it. All the eight groups of irregular resistance fighters that it equipped and trained for the war in Afghanistan during the 1980s were called ‘Mujahideen’- those who carry out jihad.[26] The military-dominated state has used jihad, which is intrinsic to faith and ethics in Islam, to advance its strategic, economic, and political ends. Such a shrewd strategic vision, backed by political denial and policies of economic exclusion, violates elementary Islamic principles of equity and justice. The army has capitalised on the jehadi industry to further ensconce itself in the power structure.[27]

Role of ISI

13. The Inter Services Intelligence(ISI) of Pakistan and the inter services public relations are officially under the ministry of defence. In reality, the ISI functions under direct control of Pak Army and its Chief is answerable to the military leaders. The ISI does not report to the civilian authority, even when there is a democratically elected government. The ISI enjoys a unique status in the infrastructure of the Pakistani establishment. It is not an ordinary intelligence apparatus of the state. It has emerged as a fulcrum of Islamic jihadist operations of the state of Pakistan and jihadist tanzeems created by the state.

14. The ISI devoted two full wings of its establishment for carrying out operations inside India. The joint intelligence miscellaneous (JIM) and the joint intelligence north (JIN) are reported to be responsible for directing the Indian operations of the ISI. Whole other wings of the ISI are known to play supportive roles. The JIX often came to the notice of the Indian agencies for coordinating special operations inside India. The Pakistan IB, unlike Indian IB, is not totally barred from conducting operations in selected foreign countries. For Indian targets they are allowed to conduct certain shallow penetration trans-border operations as well as assigned high commission based operations.[28]

The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and ISI

15. The Lashkar’s nexus with the ISI is well established. “LeT had worked in close coordination with the ISI, which also provided support to launch the militants across the border” Dr. Khalid Mehmood Soomroo of the Jamiat-e-Islam asks: “Is there a single militant training centre in Pakistan which can operate without the consent of the Pakistan army?” The are numerous training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK). Zahab and Roy mention three, the principal one being Um al-Qura at Muzaffarabad. Five hundred mujahids are trained here every month.[29] Moreover, India has been victimized by a host of militant groups based in and supported by Pakistan for decades. With the possible exception of the militant groups associated with Jamaat-Islami, the so-called Kashmir tanzeems have been raised, nurtured, assisted, and trained by the ISI.[30] As such, these groups are not strictly non state actors but rather extensions of the state intelligence apparatus, albeit with some degree of plausible deniability.

16. Groups that were previously limited to the Kashmir expanded into the Indian hinterland following the 1998 nuclear tests. Notable attacks included the 2000 LeT attack on the Red Fort, the 2001 Jaish-e-Muhamad (JeM) attack on the Indian parliament, the 2006 LeT Mumbai rail system attack, and numerous other attacks by LeT or JeM throughout India. In addition, in 2000, LeT introduced the fidayeen (high-risk suicide commando) operation in Kashmir and has since used it throughout India.[31]

17. LeT is still considered to be an important asset in Pakistan’s quest to secure its regional objectives and because it, unlike the proliferating morass of Deobandi groups, has never targeted the state.[32]

Civil-Military Power Relationship in Pakistan

18. As a ruler Zia left Pakistan turbulent and rife with sectarian and ethnic tensions. Political parties were weak and divided. In such a divided polity the military was not merely the hegemonic, but also the only institution that had grown, expanded and emerged as the arbitrator in defining power relations among various contending power groups. Having established its hegemony in political system the military was poised to search for redefining its role in the post Zia era.[33] Military Hegemony has emerged as the most dominant and durable character of Pakistan’s political system. Hegemony was achieved through four process

(a) Promotion of the “corporate interests” of military.

(b) Political exclusion i.e. exclusion of political leaders, political parties and urban middle class.

(c) Political control, i.e. control of the press and labour.

(d) Political inclusion, i.e. co-optation and consolidation of bureaucratic elites, financial industrial groups and feudal classes.[34]

Govt and Pak Army Today

19.Fast forward to the present and today as a result of the tumultuous political developments in Pakistan during 2007-08 leading to the historic 2008 elections, the Pak Army is under pressure but has not lost its power. It may go back to its old ways when the situation calms down. Pakistan is still far from having a genuinely democratic government that wields effective power. A tug-of-war is underway. It is not ruled out that spate of terrorist acts and destructive activities against india are intended to show up the ineffectiveness of the Pakistan’s civilian government and create suspicions in India about its bonafide’s, and the way for the Pak Army to reassert itself openly in Pakistan’s political arena[35]

20. While Musharraf’s departure has reduced the visible level of involvement of the Pakistan Army in affairs of state, it has by no means reduced its stature as a major domestic force and one of the key pillars of governance in the country. It can safely be expected that the weakness and instability of the political coalition will bestow greater significance on the domestic role of the Pakistan Army and could even see the coalition in Islamabad acceding to all “requests” of the Pakistan Army. The chance that any reluctance on the part of the elected politicians to digress from the path desired by the Pakistan Army may lead to yet another military coup in Pakistan is likely to prominently in the thinking of the elected leaders and could well force them to acquiesce to the desires of the Pakistan Army. In some ways, this would highlight a paradox that has continued to in Pakistani politics – the departure of a strong albeit despised military ruler from the corridors of power has once again presented the all-powerful Pakistan Army with yet another opportunity for calling the shots in Islamabad. The power and influence that the Pakistan Army continues to enjoy became fairly evident when Prime Minister Gillani’s government had to revoke an order placing the powerful ISI under the Ministry of Interior within six hours of its issuance, primarily due to pressure from the Army.[36]

Cross Border Terrorism Sponsored by Pak Army and Suggested Indian response



“The terrible thing about terrorism is that ultimately it destroys those who practise it. Slowly but surely, as they try to extinguish life in others, the light within them dies.”

TERRY WAITE, London Guardian, Feb. 20, 1992

1. The Pak Army is now inextricably involved in exporting terrorism to India. A cosy relationship has developed at the functional level between the local army commanders, the drug mafia, the politicians, the bureaucrats, the police, and the mullahs who supply young recruits as cannon fodder for the so called jihad in Kashmir. It suits everyone’s vested interests to keep the pot boiling. The vigorous advocacy of jihad provides a share in spoils of the narcotics booty. Power and pelf make a potent cocktail; this heady mixture is an extremely motivating incentive for institutionalizing the perpetuation of a proxy war against India. Hence, no matter what incentives India offers, there is likely to be no let up in the ongoing hostilities. [37]

Pak Sponsored Terrorism in J&K

2. The ISI had initiated the Proxy war in J&K in 1989-90. This campaign can be categorized in three main phases

(a) The Azadi Phase (1990-1995). The ISI had raised, trained and equipped the JKLF to initiate terrorism in the Valley. The JKLF based its struggle on the slogans of Azadi. By 1993, the JKLF had taken serious losses. It tried to find safe sanctuaries in the remote areas of Doda and Kishtwar to survive. However, by 1995 the JKLF was wiped out. In 1996, Assembly and Lok Sabha Elections were held in J&K which restored political legitimacy to the state.

(b) The Jihadi Phase (1996-2005). Pakistan now dumped the JKLF for it did not trust its agenda of Azadi. It had in the meanwhile raised a whole set of Jihadi Tanzeems like the Hizbul Mujahideen(HM), Harkut ul Ansar and Harkat ul Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI) and pushed them into the Valley in a major way to launch struggle for the accession of Kashmir to Pakistan. The ISI felt that the Kashmiri cadres could not stand up to the Indian Army and hence sent in a large number of Afghan, Pakistani and other Foreign Terrorists from its Afghan Jihad Corpus. It tried to widen the arc of instability to South of the Pir Panjal and under its Operation Balakote, it tried to spread jihadi insurgency in the districts of Rajouri, Poonch and Udhampur. Concerted counter- terrorist operations, however, inflicted serious levels of attrition on the HM and allied Tanzeems. Pakistan now sent in the LeT and JeM. Their training camps had been moved out of POK to the Afghanistan / Pakistan border but with the overthrow of the Taliban these were brought back to POK. All these Tanzeems had suffered serious attrition as India raised more Rashtriya Rifles(RR) formations and increased force levels to counter the new Tanzeems and the widening of the arc of terrorism in J&K. Then came the Kargil intrusions These intrusions were designed to internationalize the Kashmir issue as a nuclear flash point and take the pressure off the Tanzeems by drawing the Indian Army away towards the LC and the border. This gave the Tanzeems a reprieve in the hinterland and a chance to revive their sagging fortunes. Counter-terrorist Operations were re-intensified and heavy losses inflicted on the terrorist ranks in the years 2000 and 2001. By 2002 a positive degree of control had been achieved and, free and fair Assembly Elections were held in J&K.

(c) The Third Phase: Though very heavy attrition had been inflicted on terrorist Tanzeems, the constant Pak Army endeavour was to send in terrorist replacements and regenerate their force levels in J&K. To end this regeneration syndrome it was decided to build the LC Fence at huge cost. It proved to be a key turning point in J&K. The creation of the Fence in J&K in 2004/05 had not just entailed the erection of a physical obstacle but also an electronic wall of sorts. It had been Pak Army’s constant endeavour to continue to push in terrorists each year in summer to make up for the attrition inflicted by the Indian Army as also turn over its Tanzeem cadres for rest and relief. The erection of the Fence and the widespread use of Night Vision devices severely curtailed Pakistan’s ability to infiltrate or exfiltrate terrorists or provide any meaningful degree of logistics support. A distinct drop was encountered in the availability of ammunition and this had lowered terrorist morale.

(d) The Intifida Phase. Realising that the terrorist battle had been largely lost, the ISI tried to respond in several ways The Pakistani Army staged firing incidents on the LC to provide fire cover for renewed attempts at infiltration. It thereby did its best to break the ceasefire that had held since 2003. The intention was possibly to divert attention from President Musharraf’s serious problems as also to possibly create excuses in the east to slow down or call off its campaign against the Taliban in FATA and NWFP, west of the Indus.

Terror Training camps

3. There are around 40-50 terror training camps in Pakistan. The number has gone down may be because the terrorists have become careful, Instead of being spread out, they are focusing on running fewer camps across a smaller area. There are apparently three kinds of camps: those for recruitment, training and launching attacks. The recruitment camps (marked in red in the sketch below) in PoK exist between Muzaffarabad and Lahore and training here lasts 30-35 days. From here, the brainwashed young men are sent to learn about guns and grenades, navigation and radio telephony.

4. Most instructors are from Pak Army or ex-servicemen. ISI officials control the camps and come to inspect progress of training. After completion of training the terrorists are moved to launch pads (Marked in yellow) to be launched across the IB/LC. The launching pads have 10-30 terrorists including handlers and instructors. These can be dismantled in no time as most of the infrastructure is mobile.[38]

Terror Sponsored in Rest of India

5. ISI is promoting local organizations which seem to draw their angst from purely local causes and have a highly localized narrative.

6. ISI Support to Indian Mujahideen (IM). The IM is an offshoot of the Students Islamic movement of India (SIMI). A series of training camps were held in various forest locations in India where Pakistani trained activists imparted training to the IM cadres in the manufacture Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from locally available material like Ammonium Nitrate (used in fertilizers) and Hydrogen Peroxide for mass casualty actions. Though not as powerful as Service RDX or Plastic Explosives, these, when used in multiple strikes, could create mayhem and panic. Non use of RDX or Plastic Explosives obviated the need for logistics support networks from across the border and ensured deniability for the ISI.

7. A number of camps were held in the year 2007/08, which included camps held at Hubli, Dharwad, Jungles of kerala and Pawagarh jungles near Vadodra. Instead of camps run by Jihadi Tanzeems in Afghanistan or POK, these camps are being organized in remote jungles within Indian territory. The entire enterprise is far more sophisticated and professional and in text book covert action style, ensures deniability by using local agents and localized narratives. Tracing their antecedents and support back to the ISI is increasingly difficult because the logistical footprint of AK-47s, RDX and Plastic Explosives or other sophisticated equipment is simply not there. What is even more significant is that there are no electronic signatures. These new set of terrorists do not use citizen band radio sets, or even cellular phones but make sophisticated use of the Internet or just face to face communications. The lessons learnt by al Qaeda in the last few years are fully evident in the new modus operandi of the IM. We are now dealing with a new phase of Jihadi terrorism in India. It has not happened overnight but was for one year in the making. The ISI has fully ingested its lessons of the earlier campaigns in J&K and the rest of India. What we are now witnessing is the effectiveness of the changed tactics. The former Jihadi triumphalism has now been replaced by a far more sophisticated professionalism.

8. ISI has also been reported to operate training camps near the border of Bangladesh where members of separatist groups of the North Eastern states, such as the United Liberation Front Of Assam (ULFA) are trained with military equipment and terrorist activities. These camps also include training for groups including the National Security Council of Nagaland [NSCN], People’s Liberation Army [PLA], and North East Students Organization [NESO].[39]

Mumbai : India’s 9/11

9.Why Mumbai? Pakistan based terrorists see India as a part of the “Crusader-Zionist-Hindu” alliance, and therefore the enemy of Islam. LeT has declared that its objective is not merely liberating Kashmir but breaking up India. More pragmatically, a terrorist attack on India can exacerbate antagonisms between India’s Hindu and Muslim communities and provoke Hindu reprisals that, in turn, divide India and facilitate recruiting by Islamist extremists.[40]

10. The terrorist’s attacks have increased tensions between India and Pakistan, which could have been part of terrorist’s strategic objectives. The prospect of another armed confrontation with India or India’s conducting attacks on suspected terrorist training bases in Pakistan, will provoke and strengthen Pakistani hardliners. That, in turn, will take the pressure off the terrorists based in Pakistan by forcing a redeployment of Pakistani forces from the frontier tribal areas to the border with India.[41]

How was 26/11 Different?

11. The attack was sequential and highly mobile. Multiple teams attacked several locations at once combining armed assaults, carjackings, drive by shootings, prefabricated IEDs, targeted killings(policemen and selected foreigners), building takeovers and barricade and hostage situations.

12. These tactics were a break from the now common suicide bombings associated with jihadist groups. What was new here was a combination of various tactics. It was a complicated, multipart operation. By dispersing into separate teams and moving from target to target, the terrorists were able to sow confusion and create the impression of a greater number of attackers. The explosive devices that would go off after the terrorists departed heightened the confusion.

13. The multiple attacks at different locations prevented the authorities from developing an overall assessment of the situation. Media reports consistently overestimated what we now know to be the actual size of the force. The small size of individual attack teams-two to four men- limited their capability in any firefight with the security forces. Upon confronting any serious return fire, as they eventually did at the train station, for example, they broke off contact and moved onto another target.[42]

Involvement of Pak Army

14. Ajmal Kasab the only terrorist captured alive by the police revealed that he underwent 21 days of physical training and Darsh-e-Quran ( Quran recital) at a LeT camp at Muridke in Punjab in Pakistan in 2007. This training programme was called Daura-e-Shufa (Era of Simplicity). He was then sent to Manzera in PoK for another 21-day training programme called Markaz-e-Tayyeba (Centre of the Pure). He was taught how to use automatic rifles, including AK-47s andM-16s, and pistols. On completing his arms training, he had to undergo two months of khidmat (service) training – as a cook in the camp kitchen.

15. The courses were very intensive and gruelling and not all recruits made the cut. Ajmal did and was then sent to another LeT camp in the Cherapadi region of Muzaffarabad in PoK in Jun-Jul 2008. For the next two-and-a-half months he received advanced training from ustads ( teachers) in fiiring AK 47, Rocket Launchers and Mortars and was also taught how to use GPS systems and Marine Compass. Having ‘qualified’ Ajmal and his cohorts were taught to operate maritime vessels. His handlers now considered him a finished product. He proceeded to Azizabad in Karachi where he and nine others were briefed about their deadly mission.

16. The group of ten started in a medium-sized boat from an isolated creek in Azizabad on Nov 23. Three or four nautical miles into the sea, they boarded al Hussaini, a larger, sea faring vessel. They were given a bag each, which contained eight grenades, one TT pistol with one or two magazines, an AK 44 with three double magazines, a gas lighter, a dry fruit packet weighing 500 gms, loose ammunition, one mobile phone with an Indian SIM card and a walkie talkie.

17. Each of them was also given fake ID cards. By 12.30 to 1.00 pm they were within reach of Mumbai, but the instructions were to launch the operations only after night fall. So, they slowed down and waited for the sun to set. At 6.30 pm, the group of ten boarded a rubber speed boat, fitted with a new Yamaha engine and came ashore in India’s financial capital at 8.30 pm.[43]

18. The training the group received on handling of sophisticated equipment including maritime vessels, the intelligence they were fed about the targets, and logistic support they received all point to direct involvement of ISI/ Military agencies.

ISI Involvement In Terror Strike at Mumbai

19. There are strong indications that Pak ISI Colonel Mehmud Hasan had allegedly played a role in assisting the LeT plot, the Mumbai attacks, according to a senior Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer. Hasan, was involved in rustling up logistics required for the Mumbai attack. Among the things he arranged were retired armed forces and ISI personnel, who trained the Lashkars suicide attackers. Hasan, a serving officer, works with an ISI division named Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous (JIM). Hassan, had been tasked to interface with ‘jihadi’ tanzeems that operate in India to aid and guide their operations’.

20. According to the senior IB officer the LeT would not have dared to orchestrate its Mumbai attacks without the approval of their mentors in the ISI. They knew the ramifications would be great. Intelligence sources revealed that another ISI division named “X” had allegedly ‘played a role in fine tuning the attack plans.’ Indian enforcement and intelligence have come across the names of a few other ISI officers who allegedly aided the LeT in carrying out the audacious, clinical attacks having the “precision of a commando operation”.

21. Mumbai crime Branch’s Additional Commissioner of Police Devan Bharti has said that Kasab confirmed that retired personnel from ISI and the Pakistani armed forces would attend the training camps and especially hold taqreers (discussions) on how to handle tactical situations in such terror attack.[44]

Cross Border Terrorism Sponsored by Pak Army and Suggested Indian response



“Every leader, and every regime, and every movement, and every organization that steps across the line to terrorism must be banished from the discourse of civilized human life.”

ALAN KEYES, speech, Apr. 21, 2002

What Next ?

1. The attackers’ purpose, as indicated by the testimony of the surviving terrorist, was to kill as many people as possible. However, there is some uncertainty that slaughter alone was the sole purpose of the operation’s planners. If we compare the 2008 Mumbai attack with the 2006 Mumbai train attack, in which seven bombs killed 209 people, or the 1993 Mumbai attack. In which 257 persons died in 13 bomb blasts across the city, it would seem that bombs would have been more effective if body count were the sole criterion.

2. Indiscriminate bombings, as in the London and Madrid bombings, have been criticized, even by some jihadists, as contrary to an Islamic code of warfare. So it is possible that by relying on shooters, the 2008 attack would appear to be more selective, even though the vast majority of those killed in Mumbai were ordinary Indians gunned down at random. This pretension of selectivity was underscored by the terrorists’ purported search for Americans and Britons, by the brutal murders at the Chabad Centre, and by what appear to have been considered decisions to kill certain hostages. The massacre at the Chabad center had its own logic. According to transcripts of phone calls between the terrorists and their handlers during the attack, terrorists at the Chabad center were instructed to kill their Jewish hostages in order to “spoil relations between India and Israel.” [45] It also enabled the attackers to eventually engage the police and soldiers in what their supporters could portray as a heroic last stand.

3. Security may have been another factor. Based on the pattern of previous terrorist attacks, Indian authorities were focused on truck bombs at hotels. Rail security focused on trying to keep bombs off trains, not armed assailants out of train stations. An armed assault might also have been more attractive than suicide bombings to the attackers themselves. Once they opened fire, their fate was sealed, but the prolonged nature of the operation enabled them to engage in a sustained slaughter where they could see the results. Still martyrs in their own minds, they could also think of themselves as being more like warriors than mere button-pushing suicide bombers.[46] Putting aside the drive-by shootings, the train station and the two hotels provided the opportunity for achieving a high body count. The Leopold Café and the hotels were dramatic venues for the attack—providing the “emotional value” sought by terrorists.

4. They may call the next several years the ‘Era of Mumbai Terror’, an increasing number of counter terrorism specialists say the nature of the attack is clearly different from the South Asian norm and possibly even by global measure. And because it was so successful- a score of armed men holding an entire country to ransom for three days- it may become a model for the next wave of jihadi fighters.

Colonel Jonathan Fighel of Israeli international institute for counter- terrorism is among those who has pointed out that the Mumbai attacks are ‘unusual not only for India, but also on the International scale.’ The sub-continental norm has been a series of explosions undertaken simultaneously by radical Islamic organisations aiming to kill ‘masses of people’ this was an all out offensive, with clear military hallmarks.’

5. The military nature of the attack is striking. Indian commandos have been interviewed as saying it was like fighting regular soldiers, whose training was not unlike Indian Army, and contrary to the common perception, the militants largely avoided the taking of hostages or using civilians a shield. The innocents were either executed or got caught in the cross fire. The attack indicates that LeT, probably with the assistance of al Qaeda , have shifted to quality over quantity. US intelligence sources say they rate the Mumbai attack as being more sophisticated and logistically complex than even 9/11.[47]

6. Slam Bang terrorism may make way for a special forces variety. Why would jihadi – master blasters feel the need to try a new tactic? The reason is that their cause is in the grip of its own global meltdown. The movements main fighting force, al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, is in retreat – ironically because of attacks by infuriated Arab Sunni tribal groups. The enemies that Osama Bin Laden has often declared to be his number ones- the US, Israel and Britan- haven’t had their hair seriously ruffled now for several years. al Qaeda affiliates in Saudi Arabia, SE Asia and the Caucasus are sub-prime and falling.[48]

Future Contours

7. Given that one of the possible reasons for the 26/11 outrage was to divert the Pakistani military from its counter insurgency engagement in FATA and NWFP to its eastern border, the possibility of a similar attack in the future remains. This could be state inspired, at least partially and covertly, or could have autonomous origin in terrorist strategy against both India and the Global War On Terror (GWOT). Therefore, the possibility cannot be ruled out.

8. The Mumbai attack demonstrates that jihadist organizations based in Pakistan given the requisite support are able to plan and launch ambitious terrorist operations, at least in neighbouring countries such as India. Put in the context of previous terrorist attacks in India by Pakistani-based or local jihadist groups, it suggests a continuing, perhaps escalating, terrorist campaign in South Asia. Beyond India, the Mumbai attack reveals a strategic terrorist culture that thoughtfully identified strategic goals and ways to achieve them and that analyzed counter- terrorist measures and developed ways to obviate them to produce a 9/11-quality attack.

9. The attack put into actual practice LeT’s previous rhetoric about making the Kashmir dispute part of the international jihad. In so doing, LeT has emerged, not as a subsidiary of al Qaeda, but as an independent constellation in the global jihad galaxy. Indeed, with al Qaeda central operational capabilities reduced, the Mumbai attack makes LeT a global contender on its own.[49]

10. The masterminds of the Mumbai terrorist attack displayed sophisticated strategic thinking in their choice of targets and tactics. The attack appears to have been designed to achieve an array of political objectives. This indicates a level of strategic thought—a strategic culture— that makes this terrorist foe particularly dangerous.

11. Given that the terrorists seek to maximize the psychological impact of the attacks, we can expect that future attacks will aim at both large-scale casualties and symbolic targets. The jihadists have stated, and the Mumbai attack demonstrates, the determination of the terrorists to seek high body counts, go after iconic targets, and cause economic damage. The masterminds designed the Mumbai attack to do what authorities were not expecting. There were no truck bombs or people attempting to smuggle bombs onto trains, as in previous attacks. Since attacks against high-profile soft targets are relatively easy and cheap to mount, such institutions will remain targets of future attacks. The protection of those targets presents particularly difficult challenges. Many of India’s older symbolic buildings were not built with security considerations in mind or are in exposed locations.[50]

12. One of the most important lessons of this attack is the continuing importance of an earlier operational form: the firearms assault. While the counterterrorism world has been focused almost exclusively on explosives, this attack demonstrates that firearms assault, while not as deadly as mass-casualty bombings, can be an effective tactic in creating prolonged chaos in an urban setting.

Cyber Terrorism

13. Two types of offensive actions are key components of the insurgency doctrine: armed conflict and mass mobilization. It is clear that the insurgents use IEDs/suicide attacks as their main instrument to conduct armed conflict. It is just as clear that they have learned how to mobilize and conduct conflict-related cognitive activities using cyber capabilities.[51]

14. Insurgent cyber mobilization capabilities are designed to conduct psychological warfare activities, to propagandize insurgent successes and counter coalition allegations, and to recruit, finance, and train more fighters. Insurgents designate public affairs specialists to be their spokespersons and establish video production centers to promote their cause.[52]

15. From a psychological perspective, two of the greatest fears of modern times are combined in the term “cyber terrorism.” The fear of random, violent victimization blends well with the distrust and outright fear of computer technology. An unknown threat is perceived as more threatening than a known threat. Although cyber terrorism does not entail a direct threat of violence, its psychological impact on anxious societies can be as powerful as the threat of terrorist bombs.[53]

16. The most sophisticated have been Web sites of various radical Pakistani organizations such as LeT, HUM, Harakat al-Ansar (Movement of the Partisans). Although the majority of the Pakistani-based groups have had relatively anemic and poorly designed sites (e.g., Hizb ul Mujahideen (HM), Harakat al-Ansar), LeT is an exception. Its Web designers are not only proficient but also capable of posting content in multiple languages—English, Arabic, and Urdu. Audio links on the site provide connections to Radio al-Jihad and Mercaz al-Dawa. Fund-raising is a prominent feature on the Web for Lashkar and other groups, with banking details and instructions provided for direct deposits into the group’s account. An entreaty on the site described how the group’s holy warriors were engaged in fighting the “oppressive Hindu Army in the snow covered valleys, mountains and jungles of Kashmir. These Mujadhideen best deserve your charity.” The site is visceral in its enmity towards what its authors defined as Islam’s triumvirate of most-hated opponents: India, the United States, and Israel.[54]

CBRN Terrorism

17. A new age of technology has produced a threat of non-state & state sponsored actors with international networks that have access to weapons of mass destruction—chemical, biological, radioactive, and nuclear (CBRN)—sometimes based in failing or failed states like Pakistan. The CBRN threat in the hands of terrorists poses new challenges to the concept of national security. Terrorism confronts the state with a different set of challenges; the worst-case scenario for any government would be the acquisition of nuclear material by a terrorist group with a demonstrated history of conducting suicide bombing. The potential situation in which such a group obtains materials to conduct a suicide bombing attack using weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but cannot be discovered in time due to lack of coordination among government agencies, adds a sense of urgency to attempts to improve interagency coordination.[55] For instance, the U.S.-German cooperation, worked together to identify and seize a ship bound for Libya in 2003 that contained banned nuclear materials, believed to be destined for a terrorist organization.[56]

18. The poisonous anthrax letter campaign post 9/11 by a still undetermined perpetrator ushered in a new era of catastrophic terrorist warfare. There are also reports in the media about training by al Qaeda operatives in chemical and biological warfare, as well as the group’s interest in acquiring radiological and nuclear weapons. These are strong indicators of their intention and potential capability to carry out catastrophic warfare involving chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons and devices against their adversaries which include our country.

Indian Responses

19. While India understands the costs of military action, from its point of view there are also costs to not responding. Since 2001, India has suffered a number of militant attacks that have involved in varying degrees Pakistan-based and indigenous militants. Given the origins of the various attacks perpetrated on its soil, India exhibited exceeding restraint in the aftermath of the 2006 LeT attack on Mumbai’s local trains. Pakistan has likely concluded from the events since the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament complex and prior, that India is unable or unwilling to mount a serious effort to punish and deter Pakistan for these attacks. Accordingly, from India’s vantage point, to not respond would signal a lack of Indian resolve or capability.

20. 26/11 gave a sense of déjà vu in the sense of being in a way a repeat of the 13 Dec 2001 attack on the Parliament. India’s response on the previous occasion was military mobilisation as part of an exercise in coercive diplomacy. The outcome was in drawing out a commitment from Pakistan not to allow its territory to be used for terrorist purposes directed against India. Since then, there has been the resumption of the peace process, ceasefire along the Line of Control and a drawdown in Pakistani sponsorship of terrorism in Kashmir, best evidenced by peaceful elections there. However, that terrorist infrastructure remains intact in Pakistan was starkly revealed in the well prepared and orchestrated terrorist outrage perpetrated at Mumbai. This gave rise to considerable speculation of Indian exercise of the military option in response. While this option was kept open, India instead relied on diplomacy for targeting Pakistan, to bring pressure on Pakistan to take appropriate action against terrorist organisations.[57]

21. However, India has possibly reached the limit of its tolerance levels. Internal politics may compel adoption of a hard-line in face of future testing of its resolve. India’s military preparations for a set of response options would likely be in place as a result of the lessons learnt from this crisis and would be in a position to execute a response strategy in a short warning scenario. Lastly, having tried mobilisation in Dec 2001 and diplomacy in Dec 2008, and with both being found wanting, there would be a requirement for adopting other options, not excluding the military option.

Instruments Available to Deal with State Sponsored Terrorism

22. Nations usually employ several means to coerce state sponsors: political pressure, economic sanctions, and military force. As an alternative (or, more rarely, a complement), states may try to engage sponsors of terrorism. Each of these instruments has its flaws.

23. Engagement. Victims of terrorism may try to engage a sponsor, offering concessions in order to reduce the likelihood of further terrorism. Regardless of the morality of “giving in to terrorists,” such engagement is often based on a ruthless strategic judgment: by conceding on what a government may deem as a minor issue, it can free itself from the scourge of terrorism. In past India has adopted this strategy in resolving the J&K dispute but time and again Pakistan has not kept its side of promise. Engagement also suffers from a drawback, i.e the victim state is open to blackmail and is perceived as weak.

24. Despite these many problems, engagement is at times necessary as long as it is part of a broader effort that involves coercive forms of pressure. Engagement, by itself, tends to make the problem of terrorism worse. However, coercion without any promise that the pressure will relent is not really coercion in the true sense: there must be an incentive to stop the support for terrorism, and the promise of engagement is thus often necessary.

25. Political Pressure. State efforts to halt support for terrorism almost always involve some form of political pressure. The US state sponsor list’s “name and shame” power is one means of getting state sponsors to abandon their support for terrorism. As Edmund Hull, the former acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism contended about regimes on the list, “Most of these governments are extremely uncomfortable with the stigma that comes attached to being accused of sponsoring terrorism, and they will over time seek ways to escape that stigma.”[58] Another common form of pressure is an official demarche meant to discourage a particular act in support of a terrorist group. At times, states may attempt to make a rival regime an international pariah, shunned by its neighbors and the world.

26. Isolation may also prove ineffective or difficult to establish because of the supporting state’s importance for a host of other issues not related to terrorism. For example Pakistan is seen as an important ally of US in GWOT. So efforts by India to isolate Pakistan are only partial success. However, political isolation offers several advantages for policymakers over other options. Most important, it is low cost: it demands few sacrifices and carries few risks. In addition, political isolation is almost always part and parcel of a larger coercive campaign involving economic and military measures. Political pressure can be seen as a first step, or a reinforcing measure, for other forms of coercion.[59]

27. Economic Pressure. Economic pressure is another common means of trying to persuade sponsors to stop supporting terrorism. States can limit trade, withdraw investment, punish foreign companies, and otherwise use economic means to convince other countries not to support terrorism. Economic pressure can be unilateral, multilateral, or, more rarely, comprehensive., Unilateral sanctions are the most common and are often initiated by the stronger, victim state. India has restricted trade with Pakistan.[60] Economic pressure may also affect elite or popular support for a regime, another theoretical potential point of leverage. A regime that fails to deliver economically might be voted out of power or lose the support of key interest groups keeping it in power.[61] Sanctions, however, have several profound limits on their effectiveness. Studies of sanctions have determined that, in general, they succeeded only 17 percent of the time when imposed unilaterally and only slightly more when imposed multilaterally.[62] The humanitarian impact of sanctions is another major drawback, both due to the inherent suffering they cause among innocents and because this suffering makes it harder to sustain them.

28. The Use of Force. When political and economic pressure does not lead to promising results, states often use their military forces to respond to terrorism. At the most extreme levels, this may involve invading another country and trying to change its government by force. A recent example is the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, where the United States worked with local Afghan allies to overthrow the ruling Taliban because of its support for al Qaeda. The United States bombed Libya in 1986 because of Libya’s use of terrorism; in 1993, the United States struck Iraq in response to its attempted assassination of former President George H.W. Bush; and in 1998, the United States attacked Afghanistan and Sudan after al Qaeda bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Military Option as a Response to Pak Sponsored Terrorism

29. India has demonstrated restraint and maturity in wake of both the Parliament and the Mumbai attacks. It has not allowed the calibration of its policy to be hijacked by war hysteria.

30. From political aims flow military objectives and strategy. Political aims range from minimal to expansive. In the context of response options these would be formed internally by political pressures, media hype, public outrage and capabilities; and externally by availability of international support and an assessment of Pakistani reaction. Along an ascending order the aims could range from exacting revenge to making Pakistan comply. The former would imply acute limitation in military strategy restricted to ‘demonstration strikes’ on terrorist infrastructure, while the latter means strategic compellence amounting to Limited War.

Operationalising the Strategy

31. Military means would require to be tightly controlled in light of limited political ends. Self-regulation internal to the military would be a necessity. Likewise the media would require to be appropriately managed in order that media fanned public passions do not adversely impact policy. Use of multiple voices and diplomacy through media should be abjured. The opposition would require to be taken on board so that a consensus is presented not only internally but also to the outside world. Maximisation of diplomatic effort should be done simultaneously as the military instrument is only meant to complement these resources. At all times, all channels to Pakistan be kept open to include direct diplomatic, through friendly countries and intermediaries as special envoys, back channel and hotlines.

32. A strategic dialogue needs to be initiated with Pakistan so as to convey Indian resolve and limited intent in wake of a possible future terrorist outrage. This would in the event defuse Pakistani over-reaction, permitting termination of the conflict at the lowest escalatory levels. Higher escalatory levels of a Limited War should be avoided at all costs. However, these need be resorted to only in case of usurpation of power in Pakistan by right wing extremists and in coalition with the international community, preferably with the approval of the UN Security Council. The timeline of response at the lowest level should be earliest. The firebreak between each level should be such, so as to allow diplomatic gains to be made and assessed.

33. The main limitation of the military option is the implication of its inherently escalatory potential for political aims. It is likely that military coercion would serve to prompt Pakistani nationalism, resulting its cohering at least temporarily, behind its military. Such a constellation would push India to further exertion or stand down. Exerting high levels of pressure could prompt the undesirable outcome of rightist forces taking over the state in alliance with fundamentalist elements in society. Pakistani fragility, though taken as being over projected by Pakistan for the purposes of blackmailing the international community, should be taken with seriousness as Pakistanis themselves see their ‘failed state’ status as an existential threat. Since India would prefer to see Pakistan on even keel, the utility of the military option is only for posturing to supplement diplomacy. Resorting to it, however, would be only in an extreme circumstance since India would not like to be deflected from its socio-economic trajectory by the action of a set of terrorists aimed at this very reaction.

Cross Border Terrorism Sponsored by Pak Army and Suggested Indian response



“ When I say that terrorism is war against civilization, I may be met by the objection that terrorists are often idealists pursuing worthy ultimate aims — national or regional independence, and so forth. I do not accept this argument. I cannot agree that a terrorist can ever be an idealist, or that the objects sought can ever justify terrorism. The impact of terrorism, not merely on individual nations, but on humanity as a whole, is intrinsically evil, necessarily evil and wholly evil.”

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, International Terrorism

Power Equations Between Civil & Military

1. The Mumbai attacks have thrown up stark reality of two opposing power centres in Pakistan and the tensions between them. If the July attempt by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government to rein in the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) ended with the government retiring hurt, the Mumbai attacks pitched both sides in a fresh battle. In the first round, the government gave a repeat of its July performance and said that it would send the ISI chief to New Delhi for talks. But it had to issue a “correction” on that soon.[63]

2. Thus, Pakistan’s civilian government does not control the Military’s (or ISI’s) policies toward militant groups operating in and from Pakistan. Most analysts of Pakistan now believe that Pakistan’s best hope is to slowly civilianize and incrementally exert civilian control over the military and intelligence agencies, but few are optimistic that this can or will occur. The challenge for India, and the international community is how to selectively put pressure on the military and intelligence agencies in the near term without destabilizing Pakistan’s fragile civilian government.[64] The reality of the power equation in Pakistan is that the Army is the most organised and powerful party around. And although the present military leadership would prefer to stay out of the lime light after nine years of Musharraf’s high profile rule, it still calls the shots where Pakistan’s regional policy is concerned.

3. Given this reality, it is difficult to see how terrorist groups like the LeT and the JeM can be reined in. Both have received official blessings and support in the past. Even if formal links with the ISI have been severed, training camps are difficult to shut down permanently, given the sympathy these groups enjoy in sections of the military, the police and the judiciary.

4. Since Zia’s poisonous rule in the 1980s, extremism has seeped into every level of the bureaucracy. Many Pakistanis are in denial about the extent to which their country has been infected by this plague. Under these circumstances the arrest of an individual like Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a commander in the LeT is meaningless. In the past, top terror suspects like Masood Azhar of the JeM and Hafiz Sayeed of the LeT have been scooped up in the wake of terrorist outrages, only to be released a few weeks later.

5. It needs to be recognized that the real problem between India and Pakistan is the Pakistan’s rogue army. The Punjabi dominated Pak Army, that is the foremost among Pakistan’s several elites, such as the mullahs and maliks, has a vested interest in destabilizing India through covert means. It will never allow Kashmir issue to be amicably settled. As there would then be no justification for Pakistan to maintain a 450,000 strong force. The only language that Pak Army junta is likely to understand is that of reciprocal violence-directed not against civilians inside POK but against Pak Army deployed on LC.[65] The time has come to review India’s Kashmir strategy and institute stronger steps to neutralize Pak Army sponsored cross border terrorism. The government needs to follow active two pronged approach to finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem. While it must persist in smoking the peace pipe with all the genuine representatives of the Kashmiri people to find a political solution and win the battle of hearts and minds, it must simultaneously adopt pro-active measures to reach across the country’s borders with Pakistan to eradicate the menace of trans-border terrorism from its roots and turn the screws on the Pak army.

6. One major reason of the army is unwilling to completely sever its links with extremists is that it fears an alliance between India & Afghanistan that would see Pakistan encircled. Having an army of proxy warriors is an insurance policy military planners are reluctant to surrender. Years ago, a Pak Army general said ‘ by supporting the mujahideen in Kashmir, we have tied down at least four Indian divisions there. What could be a more cost effective strategy.” [66]


7. Pakistan may be facing the most crucial moment of its existence. But its policymakers even now seem unwilling to recognise fully the dangers and are reluctant to confront them. The struggle becomes more difficult with each delay, deception and ruse. To confront the threat truly, the first challenge is for Pakistanis to agree that they want to live in a modern, democratic and plural society. To achieve this goal, Pakistanis must face and overcome the jihadi movement. Put simply, to meet the Islamist challenge effectively, the Pakistani state must finally accept and fully exercise its responsibility to maintain peace, provide justice, foster democracy and participation, and make available in an equitable manner the resources necessary for economic and social development. [67]

8. The limited gains made so far in wake of 26/11, of getting Pakistani compliance with Indian requirements indicate that next time around there would be greater pressure for adopting a hard line, to include the military option. The discussion here has revealed this to be of limited utility. There is, therefore, a need to think through the need for India to engage with Pakistan meaningfully as has been envisaged in the Shimla and the Lahore Agreements.

9. The only credible way for Islamabad to gain the presumption of innocence when acts of terror occur in India is to continuously crack down on those who support such operations from safe havens on Pakistani soil. These steps have been repeatedly promised in the past, with half-hearted or ephemeral implementation. As a consequence, Pakistan’s professions of innocence continue to be suspect. Nor can plausible deniability be gained by outsourcing terror to cells based in Bangladesh or Nepal, if shadowy links remain to groups or handlers in Pakistan. Pakistan’s best defence is to go on the offense against Islamic extremists.[68]

Cross Border Terrorism Sponsored by Pak Army and Suggested Indian response



1. Brig Gurmeet Kanwal, ‘Proxy War ‘ in “Pakistans’s Proxy War” Lancer Publishers and Distributors,2002.

2. Daniel Byman, Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor Terrorism Cambridge University Press, 2005.

3. James JF Forest Countering Terrorism & Insurgency in 21 Century, Praeger Security International, 2007.

4. Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, Columbia University Press, 2006.

5. Hindustan Times, 26/11: The Attack on Mumbai Penguin Books , Hindustan Times 2009.

6. Saeed Shafaqat, Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan: From Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to Benazir Bhutto , West View Press 1997.

7. John K Cooly Unholy Wars, Pluto Press 2000.

8. K Subramanyam, “Kargil : The Crises and Its Implications”, Nehru Memorial & Library 1999.

9. Ayesha Jalal, “Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia” Havard university Press.

10. Shalini Chawla, “Pakistan’s Military and Its Strategy” , Lancer Publications 2009.

11. Rajiv Sikri, “Challenge & Strategy” Sage Publications 2009.

Mariam Abou Zahab and Olivier Roy, ”Islamist Networks” Hurst & Co., London; 2004.

12. Harvey W Kushner, Encyclopaedia of Terrorism, Sage Publications, 2003.

13. John K. Cooley, Unholy Wars – Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism ,Pluto Press,2000.

14. Suemas Miller, Terrorism and Counter Terrorism in India, Blackwell Publishing,2009.

15. L Ali Khan, A Theory of international Terrorism, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers

16. Edited by James JF Forest Countering Terrorism & Insurgency in 21 Century, Praeger Security International, 2007.

17. Bruce Hoffman , Inside Terrorism, Columbia University Press, 2006.

18. Shuja Nawaz, Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within Oxford Pakistan Paperbacks

19. Stephen P Cohen, The Idea of Pakistan, Brookings Institution Press, 2006.

Magazines & Newspapers

1. Frontline Volume 26 – Issue 02 :: Jan. 17-30, 2009.

2. Indian Defence Review Vol 23.3 Jul Sep 2008.

3. Indian Defence Review Vol 24.1 Apr-Jun 2009.

4. USI Journal Jan -Mar 2009, Vol CXXXVI, No 575.

5. Frontline Volume 26 – Issue 02 :: Jan. 17-30, 2009.

6. Frontline Volume 25 – Issue 26 :: Dec. 20, 2008-Jan. 02, 2009

Papers/ Notes

1. C Christina Fair, “Pakistan’s Myraid Militants : Situating LeT”, in ‘Antecedents and Implications of the November 2008 LeT Attack Upon Several Targets in Indian mega City of Mumbai ‘, RAND Corporation Report, 2009

2. The Lessons of Mumbai, RAND Corporation Report, 2009.

3. Robert R Tomes, Relearning Counter Insurgency Warfare, Naval War College Review,2004.

4. Michael Krepon, “The meaning of Mumbai” The Henry L. Stimson Center , August 2006.

5. Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jeffery J. Schott, and Barbara Oegg, “Using Sanctions to Fight Terrorism.” Institute for International Economics, November 2001.

Internet/ World Wide Web

1. Pak Army in Post Musharraf Era’ in

3. Directorate of Inter services Intelligence in

4. Edmund Hull, “Briefing upon the Release of the Report,” Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 (April 30, 2001). Available at




8. , “Counter Terrorism Operations in Kashmir Valley” by Brig KA Muthanna articles in issue Apr-Jun 08

9. “ISI and its Chicanery in Exporting Terrorism ” by Maj Gen Yashwant Deva, AVSM (Retd).

[1] Brig Gurmeet Kanwal, ‘Proxy War ‘ in “Pakistans’s Proxy War” Lancer Publishers and Distributors,2002. Pp 94-95.

[2] A.H. Nayyar & Zia Mian, “Enemies Within” , Frontline Volume 26 – Issue 02 :: Jan. 17-30, 2009.

[3] C Christina Fair, “Pakistan’s Myraid Militants : Situating LeT”, in ‘Antecedents and Implications of the November 2008 LeT Attack Upon Several Targets in Indian mega City of mumbai ‘, RAND Corporation Report, 2009. Pp.2.

[4] C Christina Fair, “Pakistan’s Myraid Militants : Situating LeT”, in ‘Antecedents and Implications of the November 2008 LeT Attack Upon Several Targets in Indian mega City of mumbai ‘, RAND Corporation Report, 2009. Pp.2.

[5] Daniel Byman, Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor Terrorism ,London: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Edited by James JF Forest Countering Terrorism & Insurgency in 21 Century, 2007, Praeger Security International. Pp 4.

[10] Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, Columbia University Press, 2006 Pp 259.

[11] Pramit Pal Chaudhari, ‘The Four Stages of Terrorism’, “26/11 The Attack on Mumbai” Penguin Books , Hindustan Times 2009, Pp.73.

[12] Kanwal Sibal , “Rain of terror on India” Indian Defence Review Vol 23.3 Jul Sep 2008.

[13] Vijay Kumar K Sasi , “Solution to Pakistani Terrorist Quagmire” Indian Defence Review Vol 24.1 Apr-Jun 2009.

[14] ibid

[15] Brig Gurmeet Kanwal, ‘A Decade of Proxy War’ in “Pakistans’s Proxy War” Lancer Publishers and Distributors. Pp. 12.

[16] Saeed Shafaqat, Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan: From Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to Benazir Bhutto “Military Hegemony : Policies and Legacies” West View Press 1999. Pp. 207.

[17] John K Cooly Unholy Wars, Pluto Press, 2000. Pp.4.

[18] K Subramanyam, “Kargil : The Crises and Its Implications”,Nehru Memorial & Library 1999. Pp.99.

[19] Brig Gurmeet Kanwal, ‘Present Wave of Terrorism and Responses ‘ in “Pakistans’s Proxy War” Lancer Publishers and Distributors,2002. Pp. 19.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Shalini Chawla, “Pakistan’s Military and Its Strategy” ,Lancer publications 2009. Pp. xviii.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Saeed Shafaqat, Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan: From Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to Benazir Bhutto “Military Hegemony : Policies and Legacies” West View Press 1997,Pp. 189.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Shalini Chawla, “Pakistan’s Military and Its Strategy” , Pp. xx.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ayesha Jalal, “Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia” Havard university Press.

[28] Ibid. Pp.79.

[29] Mariam Abou Zahab and Olivier Roy, ”Islamist Networks” Hurst & Co., London; 2004. Pp.53 &55.

[30] “Implications for India”, in ‘The Lessons of Mumbai’, RAND Corporation Report, 2009 Pp.13.

[31] C Christina Fair, “Pakistan’s Myraid Militants : Situating LeT”, in ‘Antecedents and Implications of the November 2008 LeT Attack Upon Several Targets in Indian mega City of mumbai ‘, RAND Corporation Report, 2009 Pp.3.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Saeed Shafaqat, Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan: From Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to Benazir Bhutto Military Hegemony :Policies and Legacies. West View Press 1997,Pp. 219

[34] Saeed Shafaqat, Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan: From Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to Benazir Bhutto ‘Military, Bureaucracy, and Party Politics’ West View Press 1997, Pp.34

[35] Rajiv Sikri, “Challenge & Strategy” Sage Publications 2009, Pp.44.

[36]‘ Pak Army in Post Musharraf Era’ in

[37] Brig Gurmeet Kanwal, ‘Present Wave of Terrorism and Responses ‘ in “Pakistans’s Proxy War” Lancer Publishers and Distributors,2002 Pp. 33.

[38] Image from

[39] Directorate of Inter services Intelligence in

[40] In the introduction of ‘The Lessons of Mumbai’, RAND Corporation Report,2009.

[41] Ibid.

[42] “Tactics”, in ‘The Lessons of Mumbai’, RAND Corporation Report, 2009.

[43] Tushar Srivastava, ‘Sole Terrorist Survivor Reveals he was being trained in Pak’,in “26/11 The Attack on Mumbai” Penguin Books , Hindustan Times 2009, Pp.113.

[44] Abhishek Sharan, ‘Intelligence Agencies Identify ISI Handler’ ,in Hindustan Times, Mumbai , December 07 , 2008.

[45] “Targets ”, in ‘The Lessons of Mumbai’, RAND Corporation Report, 2009.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Pramit Pal Chaudhari, ‘The Future of Terrorism’, “26/11 The Attack on Mumbai” Penguin Books , Hindustan Times 2009, Pp.77.

[49] “A Strategic Terrorist Culture ”, in ‘The Lessons of Mumbai’, RAND Corporation Report, 2009 Pp.8.

[50] “Key Judgements”, in ‘The Lessons of Mumbai’, RAND Corporation Report, 2009. Pp.21.

[51] Edited by James JF Forest ,Countering Terrorism & Insurgency in 21 Century, Praeger Security International, 2007 Vol 1 Pp 358.

[52] Ibid. Pp 359.

[53] Ibid. Pp 361.

[54] Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, Columbia University Press, 2006. Pp 212.

[55] Edited by James JF Forest ,Countering Terrorism & Insurgency in 21 Century, Praeger Security International, 2007 Vol 1 .Pp 134-135.

[56] Ibid. Pp 430.

[57] Col Ali Ahmed (Retd), “ India’s Military Options in a Future 26/11 Scenario” USI Journal Jan -Mar 2009, Vol CXXXVI, No 575.

[58] Edmund Hull, “Briefing upon the Release of the Report,” Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 (April 30, 2001). Available at

[59] Edited by James JF Forest ,Countering Terrorism & Insurgency in 21 Century, Praeger Security International, 2007 Vol 2 Pp 4.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jeffery J. Schott, and Barbara Oegg , “Using Sanctions to Fight Terrorism.” Institute for International Economics. November 2001.

[63] Nirupama Subramanium, “In a Cleft Stick”, Frontline Volume 25 – Issue 26 :: Dec. 20, 2008-Jan. 02, 2009

[64] Op cit.

[65] Brig Gurmeet Kanwal, ‘A Proxy War: Strategy of Restraint Has Failed” Lancer Publishers and Distributors,2002 Pp. 79.

[66] Irfan Husain, ‘View from Pakistani: It is an eyewash’ ,in in “26/11 The Attack on Mumbai” Penguin Books , Hindustan Times 2009, p.139.

[67] A.H. Nayyar & Zia Mian, “Enemies Within” , Frontline Volume 26 – Issue 02 :: Jan. 17-30, 2009.

[68] Michael Krepon, “The Meaning of Mumbai” The Henry L. Stimson Center , 7 August 2006.

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