Fostered and reared by Britain, and Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf countries, the Sunni jihadis have sent threats to both Russia and India. A video been posted on YouTube: “This is a message to you, oh Vladimir Putin, these are the jets that you have sent to [Syria’s] Bashar, we will send them to you, God willing, remember that,” said one fighter in Arabic, according to the Russian-language subtitles in the video. “And we will liberate Chechnya and the entire Caucasus, God willing,” said the militant. “The Islamic State is and will be and it is expanding God willing.” “Your throne has already teetered, it is under threat and will fall when we come to you because Allah is truly on our side,” said the jihadi. “We are already on our way God willing.”
Russia has fought two wars with Islamic separatists in Chechnya over the past 20 years. The unrest has since engulfed the entire North Caucasus including Dagestan and Ingushetia, where attacks on authorities are a regular occurrence.
On Sept. 3, al-Qaeda announced the establishment of a new branch, called “Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent.” The group reports to Mullah Omar, the head of the Afghan Taliban, and is led by a former commander in the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who also served as a sharia official in al-Qaeda’s branch in Pakistan. The ultimate goal of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent is the same as al-Qaeda’s: to establish a global caliphate and impose sharia, or Islamic law. While al-Zawahiri’s statement referred to the “Indian Subcontinent,” a term that most commonly includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, his comments were widely seen as directed at India, a Hindu-majority nation with a large Muslim minority.
Responding to the threat, New Delhi has a heightened alert in the states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar. The Islamic State jihadis are also becoming active in what was once al-Qaeda’s exclusive zone in Afghanistan, dropping pamphlets to attract youth and setting off a recruitment race. India has changed, to an extent, after a couple of cataclysmic events in the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium, all the more reason why the country has to be on guard against such doctrinaire propaganda naming specific areas like Assam, Gujarat, and Kashmir to foment sectarian strife.