The Indian security establishment is not taking at face value, recent claims by Pakistan about shutting down some of the terrorist training camps in Pakistan-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) or in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of mainland Pakistan. They would prefer to wait for more information on arrests or detention of leading figures in Laskhar-e-Tayyaba, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and even Hizbul Mujahideen (HM).
Top sources, who watch Pakistan closely, point out that a list of 14 camps run by LeT, JeM, HM, HuM and Al Badr was handed over to Pakistan with specific locations and other details two days after the Pulwama attack on February 14.
The list also included the Balakot camp, which was hit by Indian Air Force (IAF) planes on February 26, killing many terrorists undergoing training there. Pakistan had denied there were any casualties or damage to Balakot in the paradigm-changing air raids by the IAF but telephone intercepts, radio chatter and interviews with locals done by a Western journalist had confirmed the success of the Indian bombing.
Since then Pakistan has asked many terrorist leaders like Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar to lie low, but the camps according to multiple Indian intelligence sources, continue to train new recruits in these organisations.
For instance, the Tabook and Khyber camps run by LeT in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province are thriving. The camps impart the Daura-e-Aam course to the recruits which includes religious indoctrination, physical exercises and introduction to handling of weapons such as AK-47, PIKA, G-3 machine gun and hand grenades.
Propaganda films showing alleged atrocities by Indian security forces in Kashmir are also shown to the cadre. These two camps have the capacity to train a total of about 500 recruits at one time. The LeT is known to run at least half a dozen more camps in POJK along similar lines. They include: Ambor, Dakan and Huzaifa Bin Yemen (Shawai Nalla) camps. A JeM camp is co-located at Shawai Nalla.
Satellite pictures available with Indian agencies have been validated by HUMINT (human intelligence) sources on the ground, giving credence to the theory that Pakistan pretends to shut down one or two smaller camps of terrorists, floats a campaign through media about a crackdown on these organisations, either just ahead of an important multi-lateral meeting like the SCO Summit or when the political leadership is trying to extend an olive branch to India.
New Delhi has however decided to play it cool so far not responding to Pakistan’s overtures. This Indian approach of no talks when terrorism continues to be supported and abetted by the Pakistani deep state, is likely to continue as reflected in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision not to hold any bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Krygystan’s capital Bishkek later this week.