For Pak-Backed Terror Groups, US Zawahiri Killing May Be of Little Consequence

For India, Zawahiri’s killing marks the end of a terrorist leader who made videos seeking to incite Muslims against some steps taken by the government. But will his end make a difference to the thinking of Pakistan-based terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) or the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)? That is not likely at all. For one, besides the statements the US has made demanding that Pakistan end its support to these groups, it has not really done anything. It is true that it has used the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to give effect to its demands. But these have to be seen through the lens of its own interests and in the context of Afghanistan. And now, on the FATF front, too, the US has shown greater positivity towards Pakistan.

The calibrated use of the LeT and the JeM is part of Pakistan’s security doctrine against India. The Zawahiri killing will have no impact on Pakistan’s approach towards the use of terror against India, and, therefore, on these groups. Indeed, Pakistan did not modify its approach towards terror even after the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Will these groups change their outlook in the wake of the Zawahiri killing? The answer has to be in the negative. The clear inference for India is that it will have to now, as always in the past, rely on its own resources to deal with Pakistan’s use of terror.

(The writer is a former Secretary [West]Ministry of External Affairs. He can be reached @VivekKatju. This is a personal blog, and the views expressed above are the author’s own.The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

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