India’s intelligence agencies have warned security agencies of a possible ‘big terrorist action’ in Jammu and Kashmir in the ‘coming days’.
According to government sources, an alert was issued three days back on the basis of information received about at least four Lashkar e Toiba terrorists infiltrating into the Jammu region via the International Border with Pakistan around Kathua. These terrorists are known to have assembled for the infiltration in the last week of December. Lashkar e Toiba commanders in the Kashmir Valley have also been instructed to conduct attacks in the valley as well as Jammu.
This alert was issued when mopping up operations at Pathankot were still underway, following last week’s terror attacks on the the Indian Air Force (IAF) base there, which claimed the lives of one officer from India’s National Security Guards (NSG), Lieutenant Colonel E.K. Niranjan, one IAF Garuda special forces commando, Corporal Gursewak Singh, and five personnel of the Defence Security Corps (DSC): Subedar Fateh Singh, Hawaldar Kulwant Singh, Hawaldar Sanjeevan Singh Rana, Hawaldar Jagdish Chand and Hawaldar Mohit Chand.
This attack came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday diplomacy with his brief stopover at Lahore to greet Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his birthday on the way back from Kabul. Early last month, India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Kumar Doval met his Pakistani counterpart, Lieutenant General Naseer Khan Janjua in Bangkok on ways to take the bilateral dialogue forward. General Janjua retired from the Pakistan Army just before taking office, last October, and is considered as representing the will and interests of the Pakistan Army, which does not always coincide with those of the civilian government. But this representation is also welcomed by India, at least in part, because it means direct dialogue with the real power in Pakistan.
Although the two PMs and NSAs have reportedly spoken to each other over telephone about the Pathankot attacks, this latest alert raises questions about the commitment of the Pakistan Army to the sputtering dialogue process, behind which Prime Minister Modi appears to have put his weight.
Significantly, there also other, similar alerts for additional terrorist attacks in Punjab based on technical intercept data.
All of this has created uncertainty about the foreign secretary-level talks, which were due to take place next week in Islamabad.