Increased use of the Internet, change of tactics like attacking crowded places, recruitment of educated youths, and coordinated activities by several terror groups in the Indian sub-continent pose serious challenge to the country's security.
A new book, which profiles in detail 39 such groups in the region -- ranging from ISI-backed terror outfits to regional ones and Left-wing extremists, says many of them have started coordinating their activities, including sharing arms supplies and transferring funds.
The pattern of terror strikes in India and elsewhere has also shifted from isolated attacks to bombings of crowded places or public transport systems to spread panic among the people, says the book 'Militant Groups in South Asia', brought out by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).
It also points out that the decades-long international efforts in the region in the name of 'war against terror', have not only failed to contain the menace of terrorism but aggravated the regional security situation.
Analysing the changing pattern of terror and militancy in the South Asian region, the authors -- noted security expert Surinder K Sharma and researcher Anshuman Behera -- say these groups "pose a critical challenge to the (Indian) state when they come together and coordinate their activities. These groups often come together to fight a common enemy".
The book not only profiles major militant groups operating in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries, but also provides information on their prevailing status, sources of finance and weapons and other capabilities. It also gives an assessment of what these groups could be capable of doing in the near future.
The organisations include Indian Mujahideen, Hizbul Mujahedeen, Al Ummah, United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland in India to Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jundullah and the Haqqani network in Pakistan, besides Al Qaeda and the United Jihad Council.
Last year's killing of prominent TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud and selection of commander Mullah Fazlullah as its chief may affect the future security scenario in Pakistan, as well as in India and Afghanistan, the authors, Sharma and Behera, said.
Noting that a large number of Pakistani unemployed youth were joining TTP and were being ingrained with anti-India sentiments, they said that TTP would soon be dragged into action in Kashmir and other parts of India.
It also expressed apprehension that TTP's network among radical elements in Pakistani armed forces would make it easy for them to gain access to nuclear facilities in Pakistan or carry out "a commando type attack that might cause widespread dispersal of radioactivity".
With US-led forces set to move out of Afghanistan, the authors expressed apprehensions about a major upswing in terror activities in the Federally Administered Tribal Area in Pakistan in the coming days.
Regarding JeM launched by Masood Azhar who was released from Indian prison during the 1999 Kandahar hijack, the book says such organisations have lately "resumed full-scale public activities" in Pakistan.
"The ISI has been given the task to train the terrorist outfits like the JeM to use cyber and computer technology" to carry out their terror activities, Sharma and Behera said.
On the ULFA, they said while peace talks were continuing with a major faction but being opposed by the one led by Paresh Barua, "any wrong move during the peace talks would attract a number of cadres from the pro-talk faction to join Barua faction".
Regarding Maoists, the authors say that overt and covert support of civil societies and frontal bodies has helped the extremists legitimise their ideology.
"Failure of the state in reaching the people and winning their hearts and minds is one of the major factors for the growth of Maoists in many parts of the country," they said, adding effective and efficient land reforms and development initiatives, apart from security measures, were needed to
tackle this problem