The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday downplayed calls by terror group Al Qaeda to inflict “unrelenting blows” on the Indian Army and the government in the Kashmir to “bleed” the economy and make the country suffer, PTI reported. The MEA said it was a routine threat and should not be taken seriously.

“We keep hearing of such threats and it is not the first time that we received such a threat,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. “I don’t think we need to take it seriously.” He asserted that India’s security personnel were capable and equipped to protect the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“Al Qaeda is a UN-prescribed terror organisation and their leader is UN-designated terrorist,” Kumar said. “Our security forces are capable and equipped...not to worry about these threats.”

The video

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri had urged the “mujahideen in Kashmir” to inflict “unrelenting blows” on the Indian Army and the government, American news website FDD’s Long War Journal reported on Tuesday.

Zawahiri had made the statement in a video released by the terror group’s media arm As-Sahab, which transcribed his latest message, titled “Don’t Forget Kashmir”, in Arabic and English.

“I am of the view that the mujahideen in Kashmir – at this stage at least – should single mindedly focus on inflicting unrelenting blows on the Indian Army and government so as to bleed the Indian economy and make India suffer sustained losses in manpower and equipment,” Zawahiri had said. “In doing so, the mujahideen must persevere patiently.”

Al-Qaeda has been grooming a group to wage jihad against Indian security forces in Kashmir, according to the report. Although Zawahiri did not mention the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, the group’s Kashmir cell, the video displayed an image of Zakir Musa, who led the group.Musa was killed in an encounter in Tral area of Pulwama district in May. The following month, Hameed Lelhari was appointed the new chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind.

He had said that the “fight in Kashmir” was not a separate conflict but a part of the worldwide Muslim community’s battle against an array of forces. He said mosques, markets and places where Muslims in Kashmir gather should not be targeted.

He also warned that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, which he termed as “toadies of America”.
will try to prevent the mujahideen from doing so, so that they remain under their control forever as a political bargaining chip.

He claimed Pakistan’s conflict with India “is essentially a secular rivalry over borders managed by the American intelligence”.