Pakistan has stepped up its proxy war and has resorted to narco-terrorism to inflict more damage to India, experts across the forum have said.
It has been vigorously backing the spreading of drugs in the Indian state of Punjab, thereby spoiling an entire generation of youth in the province.
Sushant Sareen, a senior research fellow with Observer Research Foundation (ORF), an independent think-tank, believes it's a double whammy for India as Pakistan is not just damaging the youth of Punjab but is minting millions of rupees that are subsequently used to fuel terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of India.
"So this trend has been happening for the last 10-15 years and over the last couple of years, it has reached epidemic proportions. This is very dangerous because the linkage between the narcotics and terrorism is an established one and from the Pakist point of view it's a stone that kills a couple of birds in one shot," Sareen said.
"So they not only managed to destroy an entire generation of youth in Punjab but also manage to get tons of money which is then used to fuel terrorism and fund terrorism not just in Punjab but other parts of India," he added.
The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan has been using the Khalistan militants to achieve its objectives. Most of the drug cartels along the border of the Indian state of Punjab and Pakistan are being run and managed by Khalists.The deep state of the Army plays an instrumental role in running an entire cartel.
"This kind of narcotic trafficking cannot happen without authorities in Pakistan and with authorities I mean the Pakist military establishment partaking in this entire process," said Sareen.
Deepankar Sengupta, a professor from Jammu University believes that Khalists are Pakistan's hostages who are operating at its command.
"When militancy was crushed in the 1990s, they all had to run away across the border and now they are practically hostages of the Pakist regime which is using them for its nefarious activities," Sengupta said.
"These are criminals who get their money from Pakistan and they are not legitimate businessmen. Their criminal activities and Pakistan's criminal activities coincide therefore you see what you see," Sengupta added.
However, Sareen believes the rising influence is getting dangerous as Pakistan has doubled down on its strategy after realising that its relentless efforts are yielding some results.
"With the spread of narcotics in Punjab and networks they have established, I think, in the last few years, they have started to receive some traction. We are seeing a rise of a new crop of the Khalist terrorists. We are seeing some of them starting to take place," he said.
"There is clearly a nexus between the narcotics and violence that has taken place. We have seen targeted killings of political leaders and social activists in Punjab. and because they have now started receiving little more traction, I think that is enthusing Pakists to double down on the strategy of fuelling the Khalistan movement." he added.
He, however, believes that the government of Indian should expose Pakistan at international platforms.
"I think there is an international opinion against narcotics and a recognition of a nexus between narcotics and terrorism. I think it would serve India well if the investigative agencies and intelligence agencies were to build up a very clear and irrefutable kind of case to expose the kind shengans the Pakists are involved in. You have to relentlessly keep exposing the Pakist hand, the kind of nefarious activities Pakists are indulging in," Sareen added.
The killing of Harmeet Singh "PHD", the Khalistan Liberation Force leader who was gunned down in Lahore last week, is the fallout of a rivalry between three groups over control on drug money.
Sources reveal that there is an ongoing rivalry among Pakistan-based Khalist groups led by Harmeet Singh, Khalistan Zindabad Force's Ranjit Singh Neeta, and Paramjit Singh Panjwar of the Khalistan Commando Force.
It is revealed that drug money has been a major factor behind rivalry.
( With inputs from ANI )