Counter-Terrorism: Indian Moslem Terrorists

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February 23, 2008: India is trying to deal with growing Islamic radicalism by using diplomacy. That's the case with combating terrorist tendencies among the nearly 140 million Indians who are Moslems (and don't live in Kashmir). In the last seven years, members of the Indian Moslem community have been involved with terror attacks that have killed 602 people, nearly all of them civilians. Some of these attacks have been aided and encouraged by Pakistan. But that support was scaled back after 2001, when an Islamic terror attack on the Indian parliament building resulted in India mobilizing its army and sending it to the Pakistani border. At that point, India was telling Pakistan that their support for terrorism inside India could start a conventional war. Given that both nations have nuclear weapons, and that the U.S. had, since September 11, 2001, gone to war against Islamic terrorists, Pakistan reconsidered, and cut way back on support for Indian Moslem terrorists.

But Indian Moslems support for Islamic terrorism was growing anyway. The ideas of "Islam under attack", converting the planet to Islam, and using terrorism to cope, caught on with enough young Moslems to be noticeable. These terrorists are a radical fringe of the Indian Moslem community, and have to watch out for fellow Indian Moslems who would report their activities to the police. But even a few terror attacks can cause a lot of casualties. Such violence killed 262 in 2006, and 141 last year. In those two years, India was getting the upper hand in Kashmir (which is considered a separate war), where over a decade of Islamic terrorism had turned the Moslem population against the terrorists. New equipment (night vision gear and new sensors) had made it more difficult for the terrorists to cross over from Pakistan. There were fewer new recruits in Kashmir itself.

Pakistan itself is increasingly at war with Islamic radicals. Six years ago, Islamic conservative parties won 20 percent of the seats in parliament. In the recent elections, they lost 90 percent of those seats. In a word, Indian Islamic terrorists are on their own in a hostile environment. However, even a fraction of a percent of the Indian Moslem population backing Islamic terrorists, still translates into thousands of eager killers, and even more willing to support them. With that in mind, India has increased its counter-terror operations, seeking to detect active terrorists cells, and round up the members before attacks can be carried out. Most Indian Moslems have noted the failure of Islamic radicalism in so many other Moslem countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Indonesia), and don't want to get behind a loser.

 


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