GUWAHATI, July 17 - The threat from the Islamic State (IS) and other jehadi elements towards Assam and other parts of the northeastern region cannot be overlooked and the government should take adequate precautionary measures before the situation goes out of control. This was the observation by security analyst Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekhatkar.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Lt Gen Shekhatkar said, �We will be fooling ourselves if we say that the threat is not real.� He pointed out that there is a new term called �home grown terrorism�, which is now frequently used in Bangladesh that is facing a serious terrorist threat. He said that the outfits like the IS do not have to send fighters all the way from Iraq and Syria to create disturbance in places like Assam. Such outfits only need to radicalize local youths with their ideology to create trouble as they have done in Bangladesh, he pointed out. He also said that Assam having a sizeable immigrant population, the threat is very much real and the government would have to take adequate measures to thwart any such threat.
Lt Gen Shekhatkar, who is well versed with the ground situation in the Northeast as he had served in the region in various capacities, including the GoC of the 4 Corps of the Army, suggested that intelligence gathering is one of the keys to deal with such threats. He expressed the view that the security agencies would have to go for anticipatory threat analysis and predictability threat analysis to thwart any move by the jehadi elements to create trouble. He admitted that India is still weak in anticipating threats and �we only act after the militant or terrorist outfits manage to create trouble.�
The former GoC of the 4 Corps of the Army said that when the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) started establishing roots in Assam, no one took the militants seriously and only later a full-scale operation had to be launched. He also pointed out that no Chinese person came to Assam to help out the ULFA or other militant outfits, but members of the outfits went to China. Similarly, the IS leaders will not have to come to Assam to train up local youths, he added.
Pointing out that the jehadi elements can create trouble in Bangladesh and sneak into India and vice versa, Lt Gen Shekhatkar stressed the need for augmenting security measures along the international border with Bangladesh. He said that the order of using only non-lethal weapons by the BSF should be withdrawn as the criminals should be given a strong message. The facilities offered to the BSF personnel deployed along the border should be improved immediately, he said.
Lt Gen Shekhatkar also pointed out that if the Act East Policy of the Government of India is implemented properly, Assam would be the main hub of trade and commerce and the adversaries of India would not like the policy to become successful. China will also not like India to gain control over the economy of Myanmar, which is very much possible with the successful implementation of the Act East Policy. Under the circumstances, the government will have to keep a close watch on the situation, he added.