No immediate threat to India, but should watch psychological impact: Experts

May 2nd, 2011 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi,May 2 (IANS) Top Indian security experts feel Osama bin Laden’s killing in Pakistan Sunday will not have any direct impact on India but the “psychological impact on militancy sympathisers” will have to be watched.

Ajai Sahni, executive director of New Delhi-based Institute of Conflict Management who also runs the South Asian Terrorism Portal, told IANS: “There will be none whatsoever impact of Laden’s killing on the security situation here. But the impact on the morale of his sympathisers will depend on any major revenge strike by the Al Qaeda “.

Ved Marwah, former governor and security expert, felt that there will be a “psychological impact of disappointment and reality call” on the sympathisers in India . “They will realise the long arm of governments will catch them wherever they hide,” Marwah said.

But E.N. Rammohan, former chief of the Border Security Force (BSF), warned that they there may be few incidents of reprisals by extremist organisations like the Kerala-based Popular Front.”

“There are some outfits in India who admire Laden, if not under direct Al Qaeda command,” Rammohan told IANS.

According to Sahni, the activities of the whatever “jihadi terrorist organisations in India, like the Laskar-e-Taiba, will continue as they are all state-sponsored outfits by Pakistan.”

He said the psychological impact of Osama’s Indian supporters could be either way. “If Al Qaeda is able to stage some major strikes to revenge their leader’s killing, there may be a new tide of support for his organisation”, he added.

“Osama had been saying for years that he may be killed anytime and that he will die as a martyr. So yesterday’s killing will not unnerve his supporters much.”

Sahni said it was known “all over the world that Pakistani Army and establishment have been sheltering and shielding Laden.”

“They have been helping him to shift from one place to another. Since 2004, they had kept him away from limelight. But now the game is up,” Sahni said.

Marwah said there is less chance of revenge strikes in India as the Al Qaeda’s main enemies are “the United States and the Western countries”. India has never been on the main agenda of the terrorist outfit, he pointed out.

He said organisationally, the Al Qaeda will not be affected . “Because for a few years, the operations had been directed by the Al Qaeda Shoora (advisory council) not by Laden himself. They have already a second line of leaders.

“Laden was an icon of jihadi militants. His killing will take away the aura of the leader from his sympathisers here in India. There will be a realisation that terrorism, militancy and killing civilians will not achieve anything. And at last, the gunman, however protected, will go down by another mighty gun.”

“Politically and ideologically, Obama died a few months ago, when pro-democracy movement swept Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and other Arab countries. Instead for jihad, the ordinary Arabs came on the streets raising their issues of ‘roti, kapada and makaan’ and more importantly freedom,” Marwah recalled.

The slogans of the jasmine revolution had already confused the pro-jihadis in India, Marwah said: “And the Laden’s killing will add to their distancing from the path of gun and terror”.

However, Rammahon said there may be some revenge strikes in India too .”The Al Qaeda network will let off some suicide bombers to prove the terror organisation is still intact.”

“Though Al Qaeda does not operate in its name in India, some outfits like the Popular Front are ideologically and operationally linked to Laden’s outfit,” Rammohan said.

(George Joseph can be contacted at

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