G-20 and its party poopers?
by Bashir Assad
While the administration readies Srinagar for the crucial and upcoming G-20 summit, intelligence inputs point towards possibility of clandestine attacks and infiltration by terrorists.
AHEAD of the Srinagar G-20 summit, militants are desperately trying to create a noise in Kashmir, which could go against the narrative of peaceful Kashmir. However, there is a likelihood that the subversive elements may resort to isolated killings rather than striking in a big way. The credible intelligence inputs based on intercepts suggest, that the terrorist commanders across the Border are desperately trying to reactivate new or old over ground workers (OGWs), to execute some incidents – like the killing of members of the minority community, particularly the ones engaged under a special package, a policeman and similar
soft targets. This, according to sources in the security establishment, may or may not be in
consonance with the ISI plans. As the Srinagar summit has huge diplomatic and political
ramifications, the terrorists are desperate to send a message across that could negate the claims of a peaceful Kashmir by the Indian state. As there is more focus on the Srinagar summit, and the entire State machinery is working hard to ensure an incident-free high-profile international event taking place in Srinagar between May 22 -24, the adversaries of India are determined to create some kind of noise which could overshadow the headlines
on the summit internationally.
According to credible intelligence inputs, the strategy of the terrorists is to engage in isolated incidents rather than striking in a big way. The intention is to create a counter to the popular narrative of peaceful Kashmir. Grenade throwing at public places or on an isolated security vehicle, attacking a member of minority community, snatching weapons, are the time-tested events orchestrated by terrorists from time to time, to send a signal across. There are inputs that the OGWs have been given the task to put across
posters and if possible, hoardings denouncing the Indian state and creating a sensation which could attract the newsmen across the globe. The twin Rajouri attacks have already created a noise around. The strategy of the terrorists now is to simply go for low-intensity attacks, just to keep the news flashing. The immature but highly consequential statement by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Bilwal Bhutto, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Corporation Organisation (SCO) in Goa clearly indicates that Pakistan is frustrated with the
G-20 presidency of India and the events unfolding as a result of the presidency. Pakistan initially was desperate to at least prevail upon its friendly states like China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia to not be part of the summit in Srinagar. However, it has failed in getting a positive response from these countries as their priority definitely is to safeguard
their national interests before speaking up for friends. Had Pakistan achieved something on the diplomatic front, it would have been a huge setback to the Indian presidency of G-20. But now, the only option left with the Pakistani state and its terrorist arms is to create some kind of disturbance within the territorial jurisdiction of the Indian state, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, to paint their narrative afresh.
The Pakistani army is also feeling some heat owing to the unprecedented economic crisis in that country. For the first time, Pakistan’s civilian population is expressing its anger and frustration against its army for drenching the resources – which has severely affected life in Pakistan. In every likelihood, the Pakistani army too is into the machinations of diverting the attention of the 22 crore Pakistani population. Put together, there are many indicators substantiated by intercepts and inputs from the intelligence agencies that point towards the fact that there are collective efforts from the Pakistani army, terrorist groups, and – going by the assertions of Bilwal Bhutto – the civilian government of Pakistan, to create disturbance in Jammu and Kashmir before and after the G-20 Srinagar summit, for multiple reasons. The aim is to have an impact on the mindspace of the visiting dignitaries and refute the claims of the Indian state on Kashmir. However, a misadventure of a high
intensity attack – such as a Fidayeen attack or attacking an army party – is ruled out. Their
intentions are to do something clandestinely rather than striking in a big way. They may not escalate it to a larger extent because that may go against them.
This year, the infiltration bids are likely to show a steep rise. It is anticipated that owing to the internal problems that country is facing, the Pakistan army would likely give a go-ahead to terrorists to attempt infiltration to this side. As the former army chief Qamar Jawed Bajwa has been accused of alleged sellout of Kashmir by the right wing thinkers of Pakistan, the incumbent army chief is likely to go for some adventurism. The security experts fear escalation on the borders otherwise also. There is an opinion that the
infiltration attempts will be more even after the culmination of the G-20 summit. The recent infiltration bid by the terrorists at Machil sector in frontier Kupwara district is seen as the beginning in this direction. As mentioned earlier, the public resentment is brewing in Pakistan against the army; therefore, infiltration would be a tactic to divert the
attention. The terrorists, on the other hand, too have intentions to create disturbances during this year.
Meanwhile senior officials from civil, security and intelligence agencies are camping in Srinagar, monitoring the elaborative arrangements being put in place for the smooth conduct of the high-profile Srinagar summit. All eyes are on it. The civil administration in Srinagar has been geared up to go for the massive facelifting of the city ahead of the
high-profile event. As reported in the last edition, the Dal Lake has been restored to its glory and the city has been decorated like a bride with the tricolour theme. The security barriers at many junctions too have been decorated with hoarding of the G-20 summit, the walls are being painted and the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is enthusiastically on to a cleaning mission. Despite incessant rains during the last many days, the work
on the Smart City Project is going on in full swing. A deadline has been issued by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary A K Mehta for completion of the project on or before May 15. The administration is looking forward to giving a final touch to the facelifting in the next seven days after May 15, and putting everything in place for the smooth conduct
of the G-20 summit beginning May 22.