Hong Kong, Feb.9 (ANI): The Hong Kong-based International Risk says in a review of terrorism trends in Asia, published today, that the terror threat in South Asia is set to intensify this year, particularly in the wake of rising tensions between India and Pakistan.
"An ineffective response by the Indian and Pakistani governments to counter spiralling violence is contributing to an increasingly tense environment. This could, under a worst-case scenario, ignite a military conflict between these two nuclear powers," The Australian quoted the think tank, as saying.
IR president Steve Vickers, former head of Hong Kong's criminal intelligence bureau, says: "One of the consequences of the November 2008 Mumbai attack by Pakistani militants is that terrorism has now become deeply intertwined in the complex nationalist agendas in India and Pakistan".
He says it will feature as a central issue in India's national election in May.
The report adds: "With South Asia in such a precarious situation, the chances of another major terrorist attack being launched by Pakistan-based or organised militants into India are high."
Terrorist and militant movements are flourishing in Pakistan, IR says, especially in the remote and under-governed tribal regions, and these groups "have become increasingly confident in the past two years".
The Mumbai assault, it says, "clearly demonstrated that India is poorly prepared to prevent terrorist attacks". It represented "a critical failure of intelligence".
While the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan have become the primary hotspots for resurgent extremism, attacks are spreading.
"Large portions of Pakistan would appear to be sliding into terrorist-inspired lawlessness," the report says.
A descent by Pakistan into chaos "would pose a major source of geo-strategic concern, not only in the Asia-Pacific region but also for the rest of the world," it warns.
The IR further says: "The US might be tempted to intervene in an attempt to secure the country's nuclear arsenal", though the report expresses doubt that the Obama administration would take such an action.
But IR says the situation in Southeast Asia has been encouraging "as there have been no successful large-scale terrorist attacks since 2005".
IR rates the risk of a large-scale terrorist incident in Southeast Asia as medium to low, with the capacity of indigenous terrorist groups to mount such attacks strictly limited. (ANI)