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Pakistan's new haven for terror

Pakistan's new haven for terror

Author: PN Khera
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: November 17, 2003

Pakistan's ISI has forged a nexus with the Maoist cadres of Nepal to recruit men to spy in India. The recent arrest of a Nepalese young man in Gujarat shows that the modus operandi is to invite youth to join educational institutions in Pakistan and, during the course of studies, they are encouraged to enter India through the open border between the two countries and seek out specific defence-related information.

Harinarain Shah (26) of Mohammadpur, Nepal, an MBBS student in a Karachi medical college, revealed during interrogation that there are many other young men whose families have Maoist sympathies, and who are joining the ISI network. He told the Indian security forces that the ISI had asked him to travel to Gujarat to seek out information about existing defence establishments, deployment of troops and plans for new strategic assets in the State.

Taking advantage of the fact that a Nepalese would hardly arouse curiosity anywhere in India, the ISI is utilising both the easy access provided by the open border between the two countries as well as the close fraternal relations between India and Nepal to sow seeds of discord.

The Maoists are also using the ISI network and its facilities to lay down their own web in Nepal. The ISI has set in place a network of agents in Nepal and Bangladesh to disperse counterfeit currency in India and distribute RDX explosive by moving it through individual couriers in small packets. The same tactic is being applied by the Maoist rebels to attack the Royal Nepal Army and the police posts in their country.

The Government of Nepal became aware of such ISI activities on its soil when it caught an ISI officer attached to the Pakistan Embassy in Kathmandu with a large stock of RDX. Another employee in the embassy was recently taken into custody with several thousand rupees in the denomination Rs 500 currency notes while trying to smuggle it into India. The hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu to Kandahar was the first major signal of the existence of a terrorist network of which the ISI is the linchpin.

At the same time the exponential growth of madarsas on both sides of the Indo-Nepal border is causing concern to both countries. The ISI has been assiduously encouraging Pakistani young men to marry Nepalese girls and settle down close to the border so that, over time, a pro-Pakistani population will be the dominant factor in the region. This has serious implications for the unity and integrity of Nepal as well.

The Royal Nepal Government has been at pains to cooperate with India to undercut Pakistan's nefarious designs, but the ISI has been developing new networks utilising the state of unrest within Nepal to create human intelligence networks that have links that go deep into Bangladesh as well. In 1993, the then Army Chief, General Bipin Joshi, spoke about the "inverted crescent" of the ISI, stretching from Maharashtra in the West, to Manipur in the North-East. This crescent has now become a complete necklace with almost the entire country being penetrated by the ISI cadres.

The ISI's eastward operations in the North-East, via Bangladesh and its activities in Nepal have again been stepped up. The main concern is while Pakistani intelligence operatives have since long been using Nepal as a concentration area and launching pad for anti-Indian activities, they are also alleged to be involved in training and arming Maoists for subversive activities in India by collaborating with its Left Wing extremist groups. The main Left Wing group, which has recently come back with a vengeance and with better weaponry, is the People's War Group. Its attack on Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is indicative of better training, equipment and motivation.

Nepal shares a porous international border of about 1,750 km with India, which has been maintained as an open boundary with people from both sides enjoying free movement. This border has been a bonanza for the ISI's anti-India activities. It is not only the ISI and HuM operatives who are up and about in Nepal but also Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Harkat Ul Jehad-e-Islami (HUJI), all of which are in close contact with various Islamic organisations known for their fundamentalist approach.

(ADNI)
 


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