27 August 2016
With the advent of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in 2014, the opinions and analyses of policymakers and the strategic community in South Asia remain divided on whether the terrorist group constitutes a threat to the region or not. These differences can be attributed to two schools of thought.
The first believes that, given its global appeal among the jihadist groups and the traction of its ideology among disaffected and radicalised youth, IS poses a significant security threat to the region. The other school of thought opposes this notion, arguing that the monumental barriers of geography, language, and culture will hinder IS attempts to gain a foothold in South Asia.
However, in the last two months the spate of IS-directed or IS-inspired high-profile attacks in Dhaka, Kabul and Quetta, coupled with the travel of radicalised youth from India and Maldives to Iraq and Syria, have dispelled the previous myths that considered IS’s presence in South Asia a media hype. The level of planning, sophistication, and coordination exhibited by these attacks indicates the growing footprint of IS in the region.
In less than two years, the terrorist group has built a network of supporters and sympathisers in South Asia, evolving from a potential security risk to a tangible threat.
… The writer is an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 29/08/2016