US names Hizbul Mujahideen a foreign terrorist organization
In what came as an Independence Day gift of sorts to India, US has designated Hizbul Mujahideen as a 'foreign terrorist organization'. The organization has been at the helm of unleashing violence in Jammu & Kashmir for the past three decades. The move indicates that US may finally be starting to see terrorism the way India sees it. How does this help India?
Growing US-India convergence on terrorism: What has happened so far?
During his first foreign trip to the Middle East, President Trump termed India a 'victim of terror', while urging nations to tackle home-grown terror. The annual 'Country Report on Terrorism' released last month further termed Pakistan a 'terrorist safe haven'. Much to Pakistan's irk, US also designated Hizbul Chief Syed Salahuddin as a 'global terrorist' ahead of PM Modi's recent visit to the US.
Hizbul Mujahideen: Spreading terror since the 90s
Hizbul Mujahideen (Party of holy warriors) founded by Muhammad Ahsan Dhar in 1989, is primarily a Kashmiri separatist group propounding a pro-Pakistan ideology. It had so far been designated as a terrorist organization by India and the European Union. Hizbul is regarded as Kashmir's largest indigenous terrorist group and is responsible for perpetrating large-scale violence in Kashmir, including the present bout of violence.
How will this affect Hizbul operations?
The designation will effectively expose and isolate the organization and deny them access to the US financial system. "These designations seek to deny Hizbul Mujahideen the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks," noted the State Department statement. The FTO identification further bars US citizens from entering into transactions with the organization and blocks Hizbul properties and interests in US jurisdiction.
How does this help India?
The designation is likely to help India which is currently grappling with the volatile security situation in Kashmir. Cutting off Hizbul's sources of funding is likely to help Indian security agencies including the National Investigation Agency, in their crackdown against terror funding. This further means that US stands with India on the matter rather than China, which shields Pak-supported terror groups from sanctions.