Munich: Asserting that India has been suffering from the menace of "exported terrorism" in Kashmir, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has said the country's strong democratic structure and genuinely pluralistic society has not allowed any fertile ground for Islamist terror.
Successive Indian governments have pursued a policy of closely integrating all minority groups into the mainstream of the society and as a result radical Islamists could not succeed in propagating their extremist ideologies among the Muslim population, Doval said while participating in a panel discussion on 'War on Terror' at the 51st Munich Security Conference here yesterday.
Doval made the remarks while answering a question from one of the participants on what India has done better than many other countries having large Muslim populations to prevent radicalisation and to deny breeding grounds for Islamist terror.
Doval said India has been suffering from the menace of "exported terrorism" in Kashmir.
Last month's election in Kashmir showed that a vast majority of the population ignored a call to boycott the election and took part in the voting because they have trust in the country's democratic system and they did not want to be influenced by radical Islamist groups, he said.
India's strong democratic structure and its genuinely pluralistic society provided no fertile ground for Islamist terrorism even though the country is the home to one of the world's largest Muslim populations, Doval said.
India has been combating terrorism differently and this also contributed to less radicalisation among the Muslim population, the National Security Advisor (NSA) said.
During anti-terror operations, India's security forces always took great care to avoid "collateral damage" even putting their own life at risk, he said.
Asked about Pakistan's announcement that the attack on a school in Peshawar in December marked a turning point in its policy towards combating terrorism, Doval said he has not seen any evidence that Pakistan has changed its strategy.
Doval said he hoped that Pakistan will not differentiate between terror groups operating within and outside the country and stern action will be taken against all groups.
The NSA highlighted that instead of resorting to aerial
bombardment and use of heavy artillery and grenades against terrorist targets, Indian forces have been using smaller weapons and tried to avoid excessive use of force in order to keep the impact on the population as low as possible.
This made great difference in anti-terror operations and evoked positive response from the population, he said.
Referring to al-Qaeda's announcement last year that it has opened a branch in India, Doval said this was a reaction to the rise of Islamic State (IS) in Syria and in Iraq and its loss of influence and popularity in the Muslim world.
This new group was created by some al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and it really exists, but nothing significant has happened until now, he said.
"This is purely a reaction to the activities of IS, also in Afghanistan," he said.