June 2007 News

No Al-Qaida In J&K, Says Army

13 June 2007
The Times of India

New Delhi: Even as it grapples with the recent spurt in infiltration and tackles terrorists in the hinterland in Jammu & Kashmir, the Army says it not found any evidence of Al-Qaida operating in the terrorism-hit state. 'While groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e- Mohammed do have well-established links with Al-Qaida, we have not come across any of its cadre in our extensive counter-insurgency operations in J&K,' said a senior officer on Tuesday. 'Nor do interrogation of captured militants or radio intercept point to any Al-Qaida elements being active in J&K,' he added, dismissing the June 8 declaration made by a little-known outfit Al-Qaida fil'al- Hind (Al-Qaida in India) that it was launching operations in J&K. The Army, in fact, believes the claim could be the handiwork of Pakistan's ISI to ensure some amount of deniability for its cross- border support to militancy. 'Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf and ISI are under international pressure to scale down support to terror groups targeting India. By introduction of an Al-Qaida element in J&K, they can proclaim that the terrorists operating in J&K are not under their control,' said the officer. Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta, in fact, had earlier stated that the government was well aware of those behind the claim and their intentions, urging the media not to play up 'mischief' by anti- national elements. Incidentally, Army chief General J J Singh in recent days has pointed out that there were reports to show that 'some elements' of the Pakistan Army and ISI were still abetting the infiltration of terrorists across the Line of Control. As reported by TOI earlier, official Army figures indicate that infiltration from Pakistan has witnessed a two-fold jump over the last two-three months when compared to the same timeframe in 2005 and 2006. This has led to some apprehension that the terrorists are re-grouping and might plan 'big strikes' in the coming months.


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