Union minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday played down reports of former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Musa being named as the head of al-Qaeda's cell in Jammu and Kashmir, saying India is capable of meeting any challenge.
Islamist terror group al-Qaeda had on Thursday officially announced the establishment of its unit in Jammu and Kashmir, naming former Hizbul Mujahideen militant Zakir Musa as its chief in the troubled state.
The announcement was made by the Global Islamic Media Front, the media wing of al-Qaeda and its allied jihadist groups across the world.
"I think Kashmir today and India today is much more awakened than ever before. India is capable of meeting any challenge," Minister of State in the PMO Singh said here while responding to a question on al-Qaeda's new cell in Kashmir.
He said the greatest assets are the common masses of Kashmir particularly the youth of the valley, who are ready to join mainstream India and want to be part of the developmental journey led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The youth of Kashmir is very well connected globally. He (youth of Kashmir) is aware about the enormous opportunities available to him in the rest of the country in last 2-3 years," Singh said.
He said "that is why, you have seen 30 young boys and girls of Kashmir qualified for the IITS and IIMs. We have Kashmiri boys qualifying and topping in civil service exams. They are aware about the opportunities available to them in central government".
"They (youth of Kashmir) are keen to avail the opportunities made available to them and they are keen to do it regardless of what is being fed to them (by separatists)," he said while ruling out the youth getting influenced by terror.
"It is only the wheel of fear that is preventing them and very soon, when the militancy is down and out, Kashmiri youth will look forward to a giant leap in the country," he said.