News / Asia

    Terror Attacks Against Indian Interests Seen as Threat to Regional Peace

    FILE - Indian security forces patrol inside the Indian air force base that came under attack Saturday in Pathankot, India, Jan. 3, 2016.
    FILE - Indian security forces patrol inside the Indian air force base that came under attack Saturday in Pathankot, India, Jan. 3, 2016.

    Days after a landmark visit to Pakistan and Afghanistan by the Indian prime minister, regional terror against Indian installations erupted, stalling diplomatic progress and derailing optimism that Pakistan, Afghanistan and India can overcome long-standing differences.

    On his way back from Kabul, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stopped in Pakistan to meet his counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Christmas Day.

    Just after the New Year, heavily-armed gunmen launched an attack on a strategic Indian airbase in Pathankot town near the Pakistani border, leaving six attackers and seven security personnel dead.

    Hours later in neighboring Afghanistan, assailants stormed India's diplomatic mission in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

    Several terror groups separately took responsibility, including one Pakistani organization tied to violence in Kashmir.

    Undermining peace

    Some analysts believe that the attacks were carried out to derail recent peace-building efforts between India and Pakistan, which could also affect the security situation in neighboring Afghanistan.

    FILE - Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (L) shakes hand with Pakistan's top adviser for foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, prior to their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, Dec. 9, 2015.
    FILE - Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (L) shakes hand with Pakistan's top adviser for foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, prior to their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, Dec. 9, 2015.

    It "follows a similar pattern," Nitin Gokhale, an Indian national security analyst, told the Los Angeles Times. "Every peace move — even if symbolic — is followed by an audacious attack.”

    Afghan analyst Javed Ghafoor told VOA Pashto: "It seems that India and Pakistan want to improve their ties, but there are some groups that want to sabotage these efforts.

    “There are mafia circles, as well as global terror groups such as al-Qaida and the new Islamic State group which may also be involved so that the ties [between the two countries] do not improve,” he said.

    Pakistan-based political analyst Khadim Hussain said, "The basic goal of the attacks was to create trust deficit between Pakistan and India."

    Talal Chaudhary, a member of Pakistan's parliament, told VOA's Urdu service: "There are forces in both countries that do not want ties between the two countries to improve."

    He added that "non-state actors" want to sabotage recent efforts to restart negotiations.

    The recent incidents will likely put peace negotiations scheduled for next week between Pakistan and India in jeopardy.

    The Indian government said Thursday that Pakistan must deliver "prompt and decisive action," indicating that the talks between the two countries are unlikely to go ahead.

    "The ball is in Pakistan's court," said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson for the India's Foreign Ministry.

    "India now awaits a prompt and decisive action. … Eight days remain for the foreign secretary-level talks between the countries, let's see what happens in these days before January 15," Swarup told reporters.

    Indian opposition parties also have expressed concerns about the scheduled talks.

    IS expansion

    Analysts say the terror groups in South Asia are interconnected and, at times, cooperate to carry out their plans and secure their continued existence in the region.

    FILE - Anti-Islamic State posters are seen around a mosque in Kolkata, India, Dec. 5, 2015. Muslims in India have condemned Islamic State as an un-Islamic group. (S. Azizur Rahman/VOA)
    FILE - Anti-Islamic State posters are seen around a mosque in Kolkata, India, Dec. 5, 2015. Muslims in India have condemned Islamic State as an un-Islamic group. (S. Azizur Rahman/VOA)

    Kabul-based security analyst Javed Kohistani told Radio Liberty that "there are organizations that, by carrying out such actions, try to keep countries away so that they find safe havens for themselves and force countries into using them."

    A spokesperson for the Afghan ministry of interior told VOA's Pashto service that "special circles" in the region use and train terror groups to target interests and facilities of other countries.

    "It's damaging. Today's situation is worse than 9/11, what happened in Paris, and what is happening elsewhere, in Afghanistan and in the Middle East," former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rahman said. "Pakistan cannot afford regionally or internationally that its name keeps on popping up in terrorism."

    The escalation of tensions between the two nuclear powers will likely have a negative impact on the security situation in Afghanistan as the Afghan government is battling Taliban resurgence and a growing IS presence.

    "It is an immense danger," Kohistani told Radio Liberty. "It is a huge threat to the region, to Afghanistan, to India, and to the countries of the region."

    IS has also shown signs of expanding in Pakistan. Punjab province's law minister said this week that around 100 Pakistanis have joined the Islamic State in Syria and Iran. The group has been actively recruiting men and women in various cities of Pakistan.

    In India, Union Minister Rajnath Singh said recently that India has no threat from IS and he added that "Indian values" will prevent young Muslims from joining IS. Still, the country's National Intelligence Agency chief has warned that IS could be a major threat.

    And this week, after leading Indian politician Asaduddin Owaisi slammed IS ideology, an alleged IS sympathizer tweeted, "It's better for you to shut your mouth on Islamic State. If you don't know the truth, Islamic State will invade India soon."

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora