India and other countries in Central Asia have become the new faces for the Islamic State as the presence of people from these regions in transnational attack have increased, American publication Foreign Policy stated in an article published on Thursday.
The report said some of ISIS’ most dramatic attacks such as the Easter 2019 Sri Lanka bombings, the attack on a Turkish nightclub on New Year’s Eve 2017, or the 2017 truck attacks in New York City and Stockholm, revealed jihadism’s persistent appeal to a global audience.
The rise of cohorts from these regions to higher ranks in attack planning poses worrying consequences, it read.
Jihadism in India dates back a long time. According to the article, the Deobandi movement, a sect that was a source of ideas for the Taliban, was born in the country. The Kashmir conflict is another one of the world’s “longest-standing unresolved jihadi conflict”.
The piece added that while most Indians were not involved in the forefront of international attacks earlier, this is now changing.
The reason why more young people, both men and women, are quickly joining the organisation, is because they want to be a part of a transnational movement and an epic global struggle, instead of staying on a local level, the article pointed out.
It identified Syria as a focal point, “a significant marker in the international jihadist story”.
“For Indians, the international role has been more limited, with Indians for the most part appearing in attacks in Afghanistan and in limited numbers on the battlefield in Syria.”
The article added that the increased participation of the regions, especially India, is also because of the tense political climate. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advanced a series of policies promoting a Hindu nationalist narrative openly hostile toward Muslims. There has since been a notable uptick in jihadist propaganda toward India.”
It concluded that with time the faces of jihadism across the globe are changing and India and Central Asia are big examples of this. “They are exactly the sort of threats which may slip under the radar until it is too late,” the article added.