Jammu: A top Army commander on Thursday said there was a “possibility” that global terror outfit Islamic State (IS) may join hands with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba to launch attacks in India.
“Yes, that (IS joining hands with LeT to launch attacks in India) can be a possibility as the motive of the terrorists is to spread their propaganda.
“They want their name and for that, they can do anything. And if they get successful, they can take advantage of it by using any name. Yes it is a possibility,” General Officer Commanding of the 16 corps of the army Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar told reporters on Thursday.
He was replying to a question whether IS can join hands with other terrorists outfits like LeT to launch Paris-type attacks in India.
Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar also said there are around 700 active militants in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
On a question about the number of terrorist training camps active across the Line of Control in the POK, he said that from the inputs that the captured terrorist Navid has given there are around 37 active camps in that region.
“See, there are a number of launching pads and we are all aware of it as it is in the open domain. So, therefore, I will not exactly say as to how many are there,” he said.
The army commander said,”There are sufficient number of launching pads and if you calculate that way… take the statement which is given by terrorist captured in Udhampur attack so you can easily co-relate what he said and calculate…
“So to my mind in the entire PoK there may be about 600-700 terrorists.”
He said that out of the 700 militants present in the PoK, half of them are ready and waiting for a chance to infiltrate into the Indian side.
“Out of them, half are ready to be launched so they can come in the launch pad and get launched,” he said.
The army commander said Navid had revealed that 35-37 terrorist camps were active in the PoK region.
“Thirty-five to thirty-seven camps are there and if in every camp there are 20-30 (terrorists), then the total figure reaches to 600-700 and out of them half are ready to be launched,” he said.
Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar said the militants were looking for ways and means to infiltrate.
“We cannot say this with certainty whether the number has increased or decreased. In my opinion, it is their job to find ways and means to infiltrate and whenever they get a chance they do it and our job is to stop them and if one of them slips in and our job is to clear them. It is an ongoing game which keeps on going,” he said.
Replying to a question about radicalisation of Kashmiri youth and their attraction towards IS ideology, he said that if any organisation wants to grow then it is bound to recruit people into its folds.
“See, right now, these are speculation and we cannot say anything about it. If any organisation wants to grow, they will definitely go for recruitment, it is their job and it is to be seen in how much area they get success. It depends on their propaganda,” he added.
He said, “I cannot say this with any degree of certainty if they are present or not. IS flags which are being raised we have seen these are scattered incidents, in Srinagar we cannot say with certainty about their influence having increased.”
He said that the need of the hour was to remain alert and be ready to face any eventuality.
“Right now, we have to do detailed analysis but at the end it is our job that we have to be ready all the time. We have to remain alert. Whatever the name be, be it the IS, the LeT, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen etc if they attack the final result would be the same. We have to guard against that final result and I want to assure you that we are always ready,” he said.
On the question about the presence of IS in terrorist training camps in the PoK, Lt Gen Nimbhorkar said that nothing can be said with certainty about the presence of IS in PoK.
On reports about youth in Kashmir being radicalised by the use of Internet and that IS was trying to spread its ideology in the Valley through social media, the officer said that it has become a global problem.
“See management of the Internet is a worldwide problem. It is a power that can be used by anyone, who is not empowered by other means. They can use this media to their advantage. So how to fight it, is a different issue altogether and that has to be dealt and looked into its perspective,” he said.
“This stance of yours that the IS is using the (social) media is correct and I have read it on the net that they are using it to their advantage. But I am quite certain people at the helm of affairs are aware of this and they will take necessary measures to counter it in a manner which is legal and firm,” he said.
On another question about the threat of IS penetrating into the Kashmir Valley, he said, “I feel that and I have said it that IS is a worldwide problem and people are aware of this issue.
“As far as our area is concerned, whether it is IS whether it is LeT, they all are inimical to us and we have to be guarding against this. Our basic philosophy of not allowing them to intrude or infiltrate and we are geared up for the same. And so therefore any action on their part we are ready to counter them,” he said.
He said that if militants would get a chance they would try to target the civilian areas as they have done in the past, but the methodology adopted by the army was helping prevent such attempts.
On the issue of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Lt Gen Nimbhorkar said that the top brass of the force was aware of the issue and it was being discussed at the highest level in the government.
“They are aware about the issue of AFSPA and they will take up appropriate decision on it,” he said.