Lashkar-I-Taiba: The Fallacy of Subservient Proxies and the Future of Islamist Terrorism in India

  • March 01, 2010
  • Dr Ryan Clarke

A discussion of the foundation of Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT), the development of its modus operandi, and engages in an investigation of LeT’s activities in India, Pakistan, and the Kashmir region are discussed. Further, LeT’s fundraising methods are touched upon, and LeT’s relationships with regional state and nonstate actors such as Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company are analyzed. Also, the impact that these developments have on domestic Islamist terrorism in India are addressed. The author argues that although LeT has been a vital component of Islamabad’s regional strategy in the past, the organization has grown beyond the control of its former patron, is largely self-sufficient and operates independently of the political process, and has expanded its agenda well beyond Kashmir. These developments challenge the long-held notion that irregulars can be sustainably used to achieve limited objectives in an asymmetric conflict and should serve as a clear warning to other state sponsors of terrorism. However, contrary to many analyses, LeT is not likely to sacrifice its independence and come under Al-Qaeda’s umbrella. Rather, LeT will continue to evolve into a distinctive, South Asia-centric terrorist actor in its own right while still receiving aid from fringe elements in Pakistan’s security and intelligence apparatus and elsewhere. This will not only allow LeT to continue to plan future Mumbai-style terrorist attacks in India from safe havens in Pakistan, but will also allow LeT to guide and assist the predominantly indigenous Indian Mujahideen (IM).