A diplomat told the UN General Assembly that India was sponsoring terrorism and funding terrorist organizations to carry out attacks inside Pakistan. But how true are these reports of the India-terrorism links?
A Pakistani diplomat reportedly told the UN General Assembly on Monday that India was funding and arming terrorists to launch attacks inside Pakistan. Tipu Usman, a counsellor for the Pakistan mission to the UN, said New Delhi was “churning out operatives of mayhem from its factories of terror.” Mr Usman was referring to Pakistan’s arrest of Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Yadav, who admitted to spreading terror and violence inside Pakistan in an attempt to destabilize it.
The UN diplomat has not been the only one who accused India of sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan this week. Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria echoed a similar sentiment on Tuesday. In an interview with SAMAA, Mr Zakaria said New Delhi has maintained close ties with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Pakistan.
In addition to using the terrorist group as an intermediary to establish contacts with other militants operating inside Pakistan to destabilize the South Asian nation, Mr Zakaria said India is using Afghanistan to launch terrorist attacks against Pakistan.
Mr Zakaria also referred to the evidence provided by Indian naval officer Yadav and said India’s terrorist activities in Pakistan had been exposed by the media. The spokesperson was supposedly referring to a recent article published in The Hindustan Times, in which a senior Indian analyst said that his nation was using the TTP to destabilize its neighbour.
What’s India’s connection to terrorism in Pakistan?
In April 2017, Islamabad released a video confession of a senior militant leader who exposed how multiple terrorist groups, including the TTP, cooperated with Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies. The Pakistani military showcased the video of former TTP spokesperson Liaquat Ali, also known as Ehsanullah Ehsan, admitting that the TTP had received funds from India and launched terrorist attacks inside Pakistan on behalf of New Delhi.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a secular political party in Pakistan that has long been accused of terrorism, also reportedly received funds from the Indian government, according to a London Metropolitan Police document in 2015. London police said they investigated a flow of “large amounts of cash” associated with the MQM that has been traced back to the Indian government. The document said that close aides of MQM leader Altaf Hussain, Tariq Mir and Mohammad Anwar, revealed India-terrorism ties and claimed that MQM’s funding came from the Indian government.
MQM has been accused of terrorism for its use of extra-legal activities in conflicts against political opponents. The party’s leader Hussain is believed to have been using militants in Karachi to carry out terrorist attacks and disturb the peace within the country.
In 2015, a senior police officer held a highly publicized news conference in which he presented a self-confessed terrorist who confessed of ties to MQM. The presumed terrorist also admitted to being trained by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), an Indian intelligence agency, specifically to launch terrorist attacks in Karachi.
Can the rumours of India-terrorism ties be proven?
A year later, the Pakistani military presented a new piece of evidence linking India to terrorism inside Pakistan. Serving Indian Navy Commander Yadav, who was arrested in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province in 2016, said his mission was to establish contacts with Baloch insurgents and carry out “activities with their collaboration.” Yadav also documented some of RAW’s past destabilizing activities in Pakistan, going back to the 1960s.
The same year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a statement in which he strongly affirmed his country’s support for the Baloch insurgency in Pakistan. Many analysts in Pakistan interpreted Modi’s remarks as his confession to supporting Baloch insurgents’ terrorism in Pakistan.
In 2013, U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, former U.S. President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, confirmed that India “has always used Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. India has over the years been financing problems in Pakistan,” according to U.S. intelligence reports.
In 2015, India’s then-Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “Terrorists have to be neutralized only through terrorists.”
Some analysts interpreted Parrikar’s remark as proof of India’s terrorism ties and of its funding of terrorists inside Pakistan. In 2014, current National Security Adviser to PM Modi, Ajit Doval, hinted at potential Indian support for terrorist elements in Pakistan, saying that in the case of a terror attack similar to the 2008 Mumbai attack in India, New Delhi “should immediately move to help the secessionists in Baluchistan.”
The Mumbai terror attack has also been associated with much controversy. According to a 2013 report published in The Hindustan Times, the Indian military established a special unit operating within RAW right after the 2008 attacks, which killed 164 people in India’s most populous city.
The special unit was reportedly called a Technical Support Division (TSD), and its mission was to launch covert operations in Pakistan. The story quoted an anonymous former TSD officer by saying that the unit’s main task was to “combat the rising trend of state-sponsored terrorism” by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.
India’s proxy wars against Pakistan
A former White House staff member told ValueWalk on Tuesday that India is “playing proxy wars against Pakistan in Afghanistan and Baluchistan.” Dr Tariq Niazi, who served with former President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, said India “inclining towards America and playing proxy wars against Pakistan in Afghanistan and Baluchistan” prompted Pakistan to abandon its decades-long strategic partnership with the U.S. and seek allies elsewhere.
“I think that Russia and Pakistan are joining hands in response to New Delhi and Washington’s growing relations,” Dr Niazi said, referring to the Russia-Pakistan joint military drills currently taking place in the North Caucasus region.
Pakistan has moved closer to Russia and China, its all-weather ally, in response to the growing partnership between the U.S. and India in recent years. The ongoing drills between Moscow and Islamabad, the second joint exercises between the two in history, are the latest indication of strengthening Russia-Pakistan ties.
“How deep will these ties run? Only time will tell,” Dr Niazi said, warning that “any formal defence alliance between Russians and Pakistan might be met with sanctions from Washington against Islamabad.”
The former White House staff member also added that the Russia-Pakistan drills will “improve and strengthen military ties between the two countries and share Pakistan Army’s experience in war against terrorism” at a time when “the Taliban are getting more and more strength and control in Afghanistan again.”
Dr Niazi also criticized Pakistan’s past ally, the U.S., for not having “any clear strategy.” The former White House staff member said the U.S. “doesn’t have any clear strategy to exit or control the situation on ground,” adding that “both Russia and Pakistan would have a lot to gain with good bonds so when needed they can cooperate not to let this spin out of control.”
“I am most surprised by the timing of these drills. Pakistan, China and Russia are natural allies because of their geographical locations,” Dr Niazi said. “Since President Trump has taken the office of the Presidency, the world has come to understand that the United States is not a dependable ally for friends and not a credible threat to foes. Technically, Russian, China and Pakistan would prove to be toughest for the rest of world from every aspect. Otherwise too as India is inclining towards America and playing proxy wars against Pakistan in Afghanistan and Baluchistan, Pakistan had to take the other route.”