Is ISIS A Serious Threat To India?

ISIS caliphate map


To be honest, ISIS has clearly filled the global humanity with fear through its acts of barbarism. But a 32-page Urdu-language document found some time ago in Pakistan’s lawless tribal area from a Taliban fighter has hinted at bigger violence on India. It revealed that the ISIS has grand ambitions of developing a new terrorist army in the Afghan- Pak region by uniting numerous extremist factions into a single Jihadi army of terrorists. And then trigger a war in India to provoke an Armageddon-like “end of the world.” The undated document has a title: A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC), The Caliphate According to the Prophet.

It demands that the Islamic State’s leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims under a religious empire called a “caliphate” and wishes to take over the entire world and behead every person that rebels against Allah. It talked of “preparations” for an attack in India that will provoke an apocalyptic with Indo-America confrontation. Attack on ‘Hindu India’ is always a cherished dream of every hardcore Islamist who loves to hate Kafirs and decimate them. It can sure magnify the stature of ISIS.

The document did not reveal anything new because the Islamic State had made its threats and intentions clear in June 2014, when it released maps detailing its wish to expand the caliphate to Khorasan – a historic name for a region covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and other neighboring countries.

The ISIS vision is certainly more comprehensive and more ambitious. Unlike other terror groups it aims at territorial control and wants to lead the global Muslim community. It has also taken Jihadi barbarism to new highs (or lows) by reviving centuries old inhuman and uncivilized tactics of Arab tribes of 7th century. The ISIS Jihadis started off with much publicized beheadings of foreign nationals and used online social media to publicise them. Reviving the 7th century Arab practice of violating women of defeated tribes they publicized auction of Yejdi women for sex slavery. They burned alive the captured Jordanian pilot and posted the gory video on social media.

Another aspect of the ISIS strategy is that it uses local Jihadi sleeper cells to launch attacks in other countries – rather than planning and sending Jihadis from Iraq-Syria for terror attacks. This makes the task of intelligence agencies significantly difficult.

Quick Rise of ISIS

Have you ever wondered how smoothly the ISIS became a dominant player in the Middle East while the mighty US and its allies have been waging the so-called ‘war on terror’ in Iraq since 2003!

Experts point out that the ISIS evolved almost smoothly in Iraq and Syria primarily because it did not meet an organized or united opposition. The US and its allies are unwilling to put forces on the ground.  Iran is the only country that is putting troops on the ground against the ISIS, but in the regional politics of Middle East Shia Iran has to stand isolated among its Sunni neighbours. For a variety of reasons they would be unwilling to join Iran against the ISIS – which shares with them the same extreme Sunni ideology of Islam.

Moreover, informed people also find it strange that the ISIS never talked about attacking Israel – historic sworn enemy of all Muslims in the Middle East! They speculate that the Saudis, Americans and Israelis jointly propped up ISIS through covert support to counter Shia Iran and the Assad (a Shia) regime in Syria supported by Iran (and Russia). They see the ISIS as yet another pawn in the Middle East chessboard of power struggle among different local players.

But it grew up too strong too soon. Whatever limited air-strikes they carried out are not enough to root it out completely. Finally, the neighbouring countries around the ISIS controlled areas, for whatever reasons, allowed it to sell oil in the black market to raise money. Besides, it has a large sympathetic following among oil rich Sheikhs of the gulf and Muslim youth of Western nations. Thus, the ISIS now has enough funds as well as sympathisers not only locally but also globally.

Few ISIS Sympathisers in India

Experts advice that although the reports of a possible ISIS threat should not be taken lightly, there is no need for panic. In fact, being the breeding ground of so many Jihadi terrorist groups Pakistan is at a much bigger risk than India. And fortunately, by and large Indian Muslims are still more peaceful than their Western counterparts. Credit for this must squarely go to the influence of 80% Hindus whose Dharma based lifestyle is inherently tolerant and stresses non-violence as a virtue; it also has inbuilt respect for other religious philosophies.

As a result, despite the huge Muslim population of 180 million in India the ISIS has failed to achieve any significant recruitment from India. European, with just around 15 million Muslims , has sent thousands to Syria to fight alongside the ISIS.

Intelligence sources (in November 2015) say that only 23 Indian youth have gone to fight on behalf of ISIS: including 2 from Maharashtra, 1 each from Telangana and Karnataka, 1 Australia based Kashmiri, and 1 each from Oman and Singapore. 6 killed while fighting, including 3 from the banned outfit Indian Muzahiden (IM) of which 2 had earlier received training in Pakistan, 2 were from Maharashtra, and 1 from Telangana.

They also prevented 30 youth from going to Syria and Middle East. About 150, mostly from South India, are under close watch; these are youth who have developed sympathy for IS terror ideology and are connected online with the IS.

They have identified 5 states that could be potential targets for IS operatives: J&K, UP, Maharashtra, WB and Assam. It is remarkable that the gulf state UAE has been cooperating actively with India. It handed over 4 suspected youths to India who were in contact with the IS and another lady Ayesha Jabin – an IS recruiter.

As yet there is no report of any Indian Muslim joining the ISIS and coming back to plan terror strikes in India, as has happened in Europe. However, you can never know anything accurately about the Jihadi sleeper cells and where they would suddenly strike.  But certainly compared with Europe, so far the ISIS appears to have no perceptible foot-prints in India as of now.

One more piece of information: Foreign intelligence agencies reveal that Muslims from Indian, Pakistan and Bangladesh are considered inferior Jihadis compared with those from Arab origin. They are paid lower salaries and allotted inferior accommodations. Clearly they can’t be as barbaric as their Arab counterparts and are generally given second grade tasks. Their passports are burned so that they can’t escape or go back – and are seen with suspicion and kept under watch. African Jihadis too meet the same treatment.

They are often tricked to become suicide killers!

It works like this: They are sent on vehicles loaded with explosives and asked to dial a number on reaching the destination. Actually, doing that sets off the explosives – and soon news spreads about suicide attack!!

However, there are occasional news of sighting ISIS flag in Kashmir Valley but that is squarely a Pak sponsored activity through its Jihad factories in POK. In South India, Kerala stands out as another possible flash point for Islamic violence, due to its high population of Muslim NRIs working in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and other gulf nations. Since they are used to seeing Islamic extremism and Wahhabism  the Muslim community in Kerala is somewhat easily radicalised. It’s a consolation that Muslim population is rather small in Kerala.

Indian agencies have identified regions in 12 states in the country which could be easily disturbed by the Wahhabis and ISIS Jihadis: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal.

Indian Government is Gearing to Limit Probable ISIS Support Base

Over the past few weeks, some counter activities from Indian government have emerged for de-radicalization of potential ISIS/extremism sympathizers.

The government plans to set up outreach programs by involving elders of the Muslim communities, so that the Wahhabi and other intolerant Islamic cults can be discouraged. Already, intelligence agencies are tightening their watch on people going to the Middle East.

Saudi exported Wahhabism is at present the biggest ideological threat that, over the years, has been changing the face of Indian Islam and sowing the seeds of rebellion, separatism, isolationism and intolerance among Muslims. They have been importing this radical Islamic philosophy since decades all over the world; given the might of money this radical philosophy has virtually wiped out other peaceful and local versions of Islam from most countries. Poor Muslim communities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are easy prey and a huge lucrative market given their very large numbers. Together the three countries alone are home to over 500 million Muslims, of their 1.6 billion global population!

Wahhabi agenda in India

Intelligence agencies have discovered that during 2011 – 2014 alone as many as 25,000 Wahhabi preachers come to India for conducting seminars in various parts of the country. They brought with them a sum totalling about Rs 1700 crore and literature to propagate the Wahhabi Islam.

They achieved good success in Kerala, from where a large Muslim population works in Saudi Arabia, and it is reported that they have taken control of around 75 Mosques. Kerala has also seen the largest inflow of funds in recent years. A section of Kerala Muslims reportedly mourned the death and Osama bin Laden and hanging of Mumbai attack terrorist Ajmal Kasab.

In summary, most military experts see the ISIS document as unrealistic dream because it lacks the military capability to reach out globally. However, it certainly has the ability to carry out Mumbai style terror attacks using its local sleeper cells – as it has recently demonstrated it in Paris on 13/11 with the help of Belgian sleeper cells.

In the end, a silver line: most analysts don’t see the ISIS surviving for long! Iran will never allow it to grow; Saudis are having sleepless nights seeing the IS barbarism and advances as it reminds them of how they came into being in 1930s!  Russians are furious after the IS downed their airliner killing 224 tourists; together with France it owed to decimate ISIS soon. Europe is already overwhelmed by the refugee influx from Syria and is worried about arrival of Jihadis in the garb of refugees and Germany has witnessed molestation of its women at the hands of Islamic immigrants. Rational thinkers are now worried about import of Islamic problems. Germany accepted 1.1 million Islamic refugees in 2015.

After the 13/11 Paris attack, the West might crush ISIS soon just as they had been eliminating the other monsters of their own creation in the past! But the more troublesome worry is that the distinction of terrorists between ‘bad’ and ‘good’ is unlikely to end any sooner.

Therefore, under the current circumstances when Pak Jihadi intrusion in Kashmir continues unabated it makes more sense for India to think of launching surgical air strikes on ‘bad’ terror factories located inside Pakistan!

Explore Further:

Wahhabism: The Ideological Force Behind Islamic Extremism

Paris Terror Attack: The Nonsense of ‘Terrorism has no Religion’

About Goodpal

I am a firm believer in healthy people (mind and body both), healthy societies and healthy environment. Please feel free to comment, share and broadcast your views -- I like rational and intellectual discussions. Thanks for stopping by. Have a Good Day!
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