Things go bump in the night
In the early hours of 2nd May, 2011, an obscure twitter-user started tweeting about the US raid on Osama Bin Laden’s safe-house – 35 km from Islamabad, 200 miles south of the Afghanistan border, in Abbottabad. In a city, which houses Pakistan’s equivalent of Indian Military Academy.
But Pakistan’s police, para-military, military forces claimed ignorance, showed surprise, feigned outrage. Par for the course. Was it abject failure or a cover-up in Pakistan , by the powers-that-be?
Afraid of the mullah-madrasa-mujahid combine, predictably, Pakistan started denying any role in the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Truly Pakistan ‘doth protest too much, methinks’. Secret deal or not, in the past or post-facto, a deal around killing Osama could have been easily hammered out between Pakistan and USA.
It suited both the leaderships.
It is election time in USA
Pakistan was not alone in using Osama. Osama alive was source of US funds for Pakistan. Osama dead is an election ticket and a feel-good factor for the a USA being battered by the Great Recession. As Rajiv Dogra points out, on the opposite side of the world,
The timing suited Obama well. It had long been speculated that Osama would be killed around the time Obama’s re-election campaign kicked off.
Predictably, the US made a song-and-dance about the annual aid of US$3 billion that they dole out to Pakistan. Compared to the US$3 trillion that the US Department of Defence is unable to account for, this talk of US$3 billion makes for poor form.
On a lighter – and logical side
Famous for the song केम छे ‘kem che, kem che’ from the film जिस देश में गंगा रहता है Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rahta Hain, a Bollywood songwriter confidently predicted, soon after 9/11, that Bin Laden would be found near the White House or Islamabad!
Coming to India
Memories dimmed, history forgotten, India draws wrong conclusions from these Western adventures in our neighbourhood.
After WWII, as British, French and Dutch colonialists were being thrown out of Asia, in country after country, the West was in real danger of losing markets and raw material sources.
A new power, fueled by a growing migrant population, USA, took the place of tired, old powers – Britain, France and the Dutch. Instead of the openly exploitative system of European powers directly running colonial governments in these Asian countries, the US installed an opaque system – which is equally exploitative. To impose its writ on the newly independent Asian countries, the US simply destroyed their economies by war. The USA, then instituted the innovative USCAP Program and ‘helped’ these countries. These countries (Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, et al) were now ruled by overtly independent regimes – but covertly, client states of the USA.
US multinationals and home-grown oligarchs (keiretsus, chaebols, etc.) took over the economy – and sidelined British, French and Dutch companies. To impose this economic model, US armies, using nearly 1 million troops, killed 50 lakh Asians. The takeover of European colonial possessions by the USA was handled over 3 regimes of Eisenhower-Kennedy-Johnson seamlessly.
Between a rampant USA, behind biggest terror spots of the world, and a nuclear-armed, imploding Pakistan, India’s choices are difficult – and reactive policies inadequate.
Once more, Osama’s death and Obama’s antics bring out India’s policy inadequacy in sharp relief.
- Cable: Pakistan military learn anti-Americanism (cbsnews.com)
- Bin Laden’s Pakistan villa: Tourist destination? (cbsnews.com)
- Osama bin Laden dead: Pakistan returns helicopter wreckage (telegraph.co.uk)
- You: Drones hurting national integrity (nation.com.pk)
Centre has shared an updated dossier of 31 most wanted terrorists — including 19 of IM and 12 of the other Lashkar-SIMI front, Jama-i-tul Ansarul Muslimeen (JIAM) — with states, asking them to launch a manhunt for them. Security agencies believe that 10 terrorists may be hiding somewhere in the country.
With a majority of them suspected to be in West Asian countries like the UAE and Qatar on Pakistani passports, India has sought help from these nations in the wake of the Varanasi blast.
“A list, comprising 17 top IM terrorists, including Bhatkal brothers — Riyaz and Iqbal — the outfit’s bombmaker Yasin Bhatkal, financer Mohsin Chaudhary and technical expert Abdus Subhan Usman Qureshi alias Tauqeer, has also been with Pakistan for over nine months,” said a senior home ministry official. New Delhi had shared these details with Islamabad during foreign secretary-level talks in February. (Post-Varanasi, govt on hunt for 31 ‘wanted’ – The Times of India).
Small numbers …big problem
31 terrorists is India’s problem. The answer to these 31 operatives is dedicated teams for each terrorist. Teams drawn from the 10 affected states, with 2 specialists from each state, dedicated to the task of booking these 31 terrorists. 620 in all. 30 support staff. 6 in information technology; 12 in accounts & admin another twelve in documentation and secretarial section. Another 50 experts in language, cipher, psychology, intelligence, politics and culture can support this group. 700 people in all. To hunt down these 31.
Replacing these 31 operatives will be tough for any organization.
Let’s do the numbers
Indian police has a superb network of ‘humint.’ But, they need more than that – for neutralizing terror.
There are finally less than 1000 SIMI + HuJI activists who could be future terrorists. There are a similar 1000 Kashmiri terrorists. What India needs to do, is to set up a national database on these 2000 suspects – allot (say) teams of 5 policemen to these 1000 suspects.
Monitoring the activities of the 2000 suspects cannot be a national pastime. With neural networks and similar ‘intelligent’ systems, India police should be able to improve their ‘intelligence.’
2ndlook plan for terrorism
2ndlook has been working on a plan to tackle terrorism for 30 months now – resting on an intel-based theme. Not on more – computers, policemen, organizations.
The first output in this plan was the answer to counterfeit currency problem. 2ndlook analyzed this problem (in September 2008) down to a handful of Western companies, their Governments and proprietors who supply Pakistan with the paraphernalia to make fake currency notes. India needs to tackle these 12 companies and about 4 Governments.
The second stage in this plan was 50 days before 26/11 Mumbai attacks – on October 3rd 2008. Specialist teams to tackle identified, confirmed, proven terrorist candidates – DAT Teams (Dedicated Anti-Terrorist Teams). Instead of Western-style Draconian laws, which depend on mass jails, kills, hanging, State Terrorism, torture, India must depend on a targetted alternative.
For numbers will set you free
After 26/11, came a bigger 2ndlook anti-terrorism plan. Without demonizing Pakistan, or Pakistanis. Further development of better data came in December 2009, when specific numbers were revealed by Army Chief Deepak Kapoor. 42 terrorist camps is what the Indian intelligence agencies had estimated. Instead of putting a full army on alert, is it not possible to lob grenades into these 42 army camps every month for six months. With such sustained attacks comings in, how long will this structure-of-terrorism hold up.
Indian Government has taken action on some of these proposed points. The FCN issue was taken up with the necessary Euro-zone countries. India also decided to make its own security paper, instead of depending on unreliable-and-unethical European companies.
- Collusion or collaboration? The Think Tank Initiative (quicktake.wordpress.com)
- 26/11 – The Maldives Connection (quicktake.wordpress.com)
- Mujahedin Attack Shows India Still Terror-Prone (newsweek.com)
- The IPI-TAPI Story (quicktake.wordpress.com)
This is the first time JuH has taken up the Kashmir issue. The resolution stressed, “We don’t consider interests of the Kashmiri people to be separate from the interests of Indian Muslims.” It also called all like-minded people and organisations to campaign for peace and justice in Kashmir and “thwart enemy forces bent upon disintegration of Kashmir”.
When asked why were they silent so long, All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s Kamal Farooqui said, “Muslims were not comfortable talking about Kashmir for fear of getting branded and harassment by police and intelligence agencies.”
Asked about the prospect of resolution of the Kashmir issue, he said, “The country is in a reconciliatory mood, be it on J&K or Ayodhya. So, reconciliation within the Indian Constitution is the way out. An overwhelming section of Kashmiris want it, too. Which stupid person would want to go with Pakistan?” (Via : Jammu & Kashmir’s future with India: Deoband – The Times of India).
Deoband on Kashmir.
Deoband speaks out for Kashmiri Muslims – a part of the larger set of Indian Muslims. The Deobandis think that only a ‘stupid person would want to go with Pakistan’.
Deoband is also tasking the Indian State with the removal of AFSPA, human rights abuses and compensation for those killed in Kashmiri violence.
Is this Deobandi approach cutting ice with the secessionist-azaadi fighters? The TOI report does not think so?
Without my tongue getting cut-off
This discussion provokes some really basic questions from Kashmiri secessionist-azaadi fighters.
Freedom from what? The economic burden of India on Kashmir? Can Kashmiri secessionist-azaadi fighters prove how India ‘burdens’ Kashmir? Right now, Rest of India subsidizes Kashmir. Is it forced conversions from Islam by a ‘Hindu’ Indian State?
Are there attempts to change the demographic profile of Kashmir by ‘Hindu’ migration into Kashmir? Self-rule to do what? How is Kashmiri secessionist-azaadi fighters rule going to be different from the past and the present?
What will you do
If Kashmir indeed ‘suffered’ from rigged elections, has the Kashmiri secessionist-azaadi fighters polity been a part of the solution? Or do they think that it is the responsibility of a ‘Hindu’ India to deliver ‘perfection’ to the Kashmiris? Is it that Kashmiris have a right to make ‘demands’ and it is the job of the ‘Hindu’ Indian State to ‘meet’ these demands?
This is a lot like many ‘desi‘ Indians who migrate, believing that they can expect ‘superior’ systems in the West? All that these ‘desi‘ ’immi-grunts’ have to then do is take ‘advantage’ of opportunities in the West! Is it surprising that these ‘desi‘ Indian ’immi-grunts’ hit ‘glass-ceilings’, encounter ‘racism’?
Nation-building is a tough job – and someone’s gotta to do it! You can’t ‘escape from backward’ India to the ‘forward’ West. Not without becoming second-class citizens. The Indian ‘immi-grunt’ has seen some level of acceptance – after India itself achieved some modicum of success.
Worth their weight in salt
If Kashmiri terrorists believe they are capable administrators, let them win an election, and prove their administrative capacity. Let them demonstrate that it is Rest of India which is hobbling Kashmir?
Do the ‘freedom’ fighters’ of Kashmir believe that by shouting azaadi they will get ‘freedom’! Freedom to impose their Wahabbi-Sunni-Shariat ‘vision’ on Indians?
Some 75 years ago, Indians could prove to the British rulers and to the world, that the British Empire was a burden on Indians.
While Indians were engaged in this epic struggle, some Indian Muslims could also make out a case (to the British) for a separate Indian Muslim Homeland. They called it Pakistan. Maybe Pakistan needs these ‘superior’ Kashmiris. Why not prove your superiority?
Options and futures
Maybe it is time that India offered some real simple choices to these Kashmiri secessionist-azaadi leaders. No more demands. No more negotiations.
One - Simply integrate into India. Fight and win elections. Work with the Indian Election Commission to ensure a clean election. Make a difference in Kashmir.
Two - Many decades ago, Kashmiris thought that an ideal location for a base for their freedom ‘struggle’ was the UK. May be they can live in PoK, or Pakistan. Why ever not in Saudi Arabia? Or, they can live in ‘Yumm-rika’ – like Ajmal Kasab wants! I say, anyone who will have them. It may be time for these leaders to see the world.
Three - If not two of the above choices, these leaders must get the third option – Indian jails await you. It is the worst of the three options for everyone – including the Indian State.
- You: Kashmir not part of India: Arundhati Roy (nation.com.pk)
- Kashmiri Hurriyet leader Syed Ali Gilani supports Pakistan (teabreak.pk)
Chief of Army Staff Gen Deepak Kapoor has said that there are still 42 terror camps operating across the border in Pakistan in which 2000 to 2500 terrorists are still waiting to infiltrate into Indian side. (via 42 terror camps still active in Pakistan: Army chief- Hindustan Times).
Such cross-border firings did come down for some time after the two countries agreed to a ceasefire along the 198-km International Border in J&K, the 778-km LoC and the 150-km Actual Ground Position Line in Siachen on November 26, 2003.
But Pakistan army is now back to its old strategy of actively aiding and abetting infiltration, and the ceasefire is increasingly turning fragile. Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, in fact, recently said Pakistan army was trying to push in as many militants as possible before the mountain passes get snowed under. (via Terror infrastructure in Pak still intact: Antony – India – The Times of India).
So … if we know this … what are we doing about these 42 camps?
Post-Independence India has inherited a Pakistan Fixation, which predisposes us to whine – and demonize Pakistan. Endless whining about Pakistan’s bad deeds gets us nowhere. A ‘victorious’ Congress, ruling for most of the 60 years of post-colonial India, had three clear propaganda imperatives.
1 – TINA, There is no alternative
They needed to prove that it was only the Congress which could ‘take on’ and ‘defeat’ the ‘glorious and the mighty’ British Empire on which the sun never set. The logic went, “what could India(ns) have done without the Congress”. This thinking went deeper and dirtier, when a certain Deb Kant Barooah, declared “India is Indira and Indira is India.”
Similarly, Congress decided to re-write history and take all credit for the departure of the British colonialists. Contributions of leaders like SC Bose was ignored or the importance of the February 1946 joint action by the Indian Armed Forces against the colonial forces, was minimized to the ‘Naval Ratings Mutiny.’ Leaders like VD Savarkar (the first to write a non-colonial history of the War of 1857), or Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (the founder of the Jana Sangh-BJP) was dismissed as fascism.
Fact is, that Britain was bankrupt and could not hold onto India. Fact is, that for a 150 years – from 1797-1947, many rebellions, wars, individual hits were made against the colonial British Government. The myth of non-violent Indian freedom movement, served both colonial and Congress interests. It showed the British as ‘civilized’ colonialists – and the Congress as ‘enlightened’ leadership. Just like most Western literature caricatures African-American characters as hard-working, humble, docile, placid, obedient, gentle!
2 – If you don’t have an enemy, create one!
The Congress needed to create an enemy. A demon, who they could blame, use, abuse – and Pakistan fitted the bill perfectly. A failed state (!), a hotbed of terrorism – and to top it all, an Islamic State. What more could the West-Congress combine ask for?
Easily slipping into colonial legacy of ‘divide et impera’, the Congress went onto a disastrous foreign policy trail of Hindi-Chini bhai bhai. A solid realtionship with Pakistan would have, arguably, saved Tibet from the Chinese maws – which Nehru’s foreign policy predicated.
3 – Craven desires
To gain Western approval, acceptance, favours, privileges et al.
Consider the English language policy of the post-colonial Congress Government. It has massively subsidized English education in India so that the children of the elite could ‘escape’ to the West. The demeaning ‘population control theory’, the English language education – all, a result of this need of the Congress Party.
The deliberate colonial distortion of Indian history continues unchecked and unhindered. You only have to read Congress Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s speech at Oxford, praising the Raj, while receiving his honorary doctrate, or Chidambaram’s decision to end “abject poverty” in India that he seems to “have known for 5,000 years.”
When each of these elements are looked at in isolation, we can take benign view of these actions. When looked at collectively, it forms a clear pattern.
A rather ominous pattern.
The Root Of This Problem
The state of inter-government relations in South Asia is a sign of lazy Indian diplomatic corps (the IFS) which considers all these neighbourhood postings as ‘punishment’ postings. The ‘best’ of IFS corps wants postings to Western capitals. Like the IAS, the IFS is another albatross around India’s neck.
A large part of India’s Foreign Ministry budget goes towards Western engagement (for proof, look at the dubious Festivals of India in USA, France, Russia, Britain, etc). Instead if the same money was spent in the sub-continent, it would have been better spent. The huge monies spent on Western embassies are mis directed. It would be ideal if those Western embassies were Spartan, frugal (I should actually say Gandhian) – and our the money saved was invested in the sub-continent. India’s Western engagements are at a direct cost of involving and managing the neighbourhood relationships.
If India’s problems were limited to Pakistan, possibly, there is some merit to India’s Pakistan Fixation. India’s relations with its other neighbours are also in trouble. Its relations with Bangladesh are at a historic low. Relations with Sri Lanka are back from the brink. Nepal is the new fire in the sub-continent.
What should India do?
The other issue is that Indian bureaucrats whine. They issue empty threats – and take no follow up actions.
For instance, cut off Pakistan’s supplies of paper, inks, dies, presses, spares for the currency printing. Are things changing.? India has indeed has taken the first intelligent action (that I have seen) in a long time in handling Pakistan.
Next! Send a 100 Indian agents to lob grenades into Pakistani terrorists camps – every month. Just one grenade in one terrorist camp every month. Within the next 6 months the terror infrastructure of Pakistan will evaporate.
Other options India can consider.
- Zardari wants to export cement and sugar to India. India has a large market for both – and can easily absorb Pakistani exports. Tie these Pakistani exports to quantitative achievements in shutting down terror camps in Pakistan.
- Pakistan precarious financial position does not allow it the luxury of an arms race with India. Pakistan has access to Western technology for – in defence for RDX, machine guns, PACs, etc. The world must withdraw all technology from Pakistan for all arms and ammunition. No RDX, no tanks, no F-16s, no APCs. Pakistan must be put on strict diet of military technology blockade by the world. No less.
- Fake Indian currency notes are also allegedly coming out of technology supplied by Europeans. Close these channels. Pakistan’s suspected role in counterfeit currency operations must also be put under the scanner. Controlling Government’s of the 12 companies that dominate the currency printing business must be made to choose. Between India and Pakistan. If the German Government can arm twist their companies to suspend currency supply to Zimbabwe, there is no excuse for them to not to lean on dealings with Pakistan.
- Pakistani Hindus (especially Dalits) are crucial to Pakistan. Announce a scheme for Hindu immigration from Pakistan to India. The loss of this 2% of Pakistani population can make life difficult for Pakistan. Facilitate their immigration to India.
- Work with US, NATO, Afghan Governments to close down the Peshawar arms bazaar. This small time bazaar became the sourcing centre for terrorists all over the world. Initially, stocked up with arms from the CIA funded jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, Peshawar, has become a problem that never ends. If required, there should be a UN mandate to send in a multinational force to surround, capture and destroy this centre for arms and armaments.
- Pakistan is at the crossroads of a jihadi, terrorist, criminal elements who have joined together and created an incendiary mash-up. Fueled by a drugs trade worth billions, arms trade worth millions and respectability, as they are ‘carrying out a religious jihad’.
- The leadership of these gangs has to be de-fanged. LK Advani, as the earlier Home Minister, forwarded a list of ‘Most Wanted 20′ to Pakistan nearly 7 years ago. Not one has come to India. The US has not co-operated on this one important Indian requirement.
The Pakistan problem is finally not as complex and it is made out.
Nor as easy as some may want it to be.
The West, most notably the United States, has been all too willing to dance with dictators in pursuit of perceived short-term goals. The litany of these policies and their consequences clutter the earth, from the Marcos regime in the Philippines, to the Shah in Iran, to Mohammed Zia ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. Invariably, each case has proved that myopic strategies that sacrifice principle lead to unanticipated long-term consequences. (via Asif Ali Zardari – Pakistan on Frontier of Fight Against Terrorism – washingtonpost.com).
December 17, 2007
More than 18 months ago, the 2ndlook blog, traced the source of all terror in the modern world to the very door-step of the US of A.
In today’s world, behind all terror you will similarly see another baleful influence. No, it is not Osama bin Laden. The source of modern terrorism is the USA. (Decemeber 17th 2007 – from Behind The Web Of Terror).
October 6, 2008
The 2ndlook blog did a Quicktake on the commendable, new Pakistani attitude – best represented by Asif Ali Zardari.
Zardari’s vision (first time, during an interview on Times Now), was for a Pakistan which would serve as a facilitator for good Indo-China relations on one hand – and a Pakistan that is ‘lucky’ to share common borders with the world’s two emerging economies – India and China.
This is the kind of vision that India-China and Pakistan must share and work with. Of course, India needs to be motivated by these statements on one side! On the other India must keep consolidating gains at each step. We cannot let paranoia come between us – and blind faith in human goodwill, blind us to realities of Pakistani politics.
After all, Musharraf did a Kargil after the Lahore Accord – and Zardari questioned the validity of a signed agreement. (from A New Beginning! by 2ndlook).
We must take up Zardari’s offer
Zardari’s most valuable statement is an echo of Indic values was made to Pakistani bureaucrats, “For power to be effectively used for long lasting public good, it must be dispersed as widely as possible”. It is America and Britain which created the border problems, funded and armed these countries and stoked the rivalries.
The division of Pakistan has unfortunately legitimised the rule and role of two institutions in the politics of Pakistan; its religious extremists and its army and can be seen as a consequence of the US engagement with Pakistan post 9/11.
To understand this situation and the initial US response, we must deconstruct the ‘war on terror’ policy of the US and analyse one of its key components: the engagement of the US with its ally Gen Pervez Musharraf. This engagement was political as it had the effect of demoralising the democratic presence in Pakistan. (via When the US dismembered Pakistan- Opinion-The Economic Times).
Excellent analysis of how the US and the West is creator of the Pakistani Frankenstein!