Tuesday, April 28, 2009

India's Hostility Toward Pakistan

Respected American South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Washington's Brookings Institution recently told his audience: "Not a few Indian generals and strategists have told me that if only America would strip Pakistan of its nuclear weapons then the Indian army could destroy the Pakistan army and the whole thing would be over." 

India-Pakistan Border Crossing

 These remarks sharply contrast with the volumes being written in the West, particularly in the United States, about Pakistan's "obsession" with India. Pakistan is being incessantly lectured by the Western leaders and media to stop worrying about the security threat from India and focus exclusively on its western frontiers and the Taliban. These positions are often echoed by some of the liberal media editorials and commentators in Pakistan as well, in spite of substantial evidence to the contrary. The American admonitions to Pakistan about India's "benign" intentions are now turning into absolute demands. Preposterous conditions by various interest groups and Indian lobbyists in Washington are being added to the draft version of the "Aid Pakistan bill" that is expected to come up for debate in US Congress soon. 

According to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, the first major condition for aid requires Pakistan to undertake not to support any person or group involved in activities meant to hurt India and to allow US investigators access to individuals suspected of engaging in nuclear proliferation if it wants to qualify for a threefold increase in US economic assistance. This is probably just one of many conditions that Pakistanis will see as an insult to and assault on the nation's sovereignty. 

 With Pakistan's vociferous protests and angry responses to the US campaign against its military and intelligence service's genuine concerns about the Indian threat, there are a few US respected analysts, including Christine Fair, Laura Rozen and Stephen Cohen, who are beginning to look for and discover evidence of India's hostile actions and intentions vis-a-vis Pakistan. Here's what Christine Fair of Rand Corporation thinks about Indian involvement in destabilizing Pakistan via its growing presence and influence in Afghanistan: 

I think it would be a mistake to completely disregard Pakistan's regional perceptions due to doubts about Indian competence in executing covert operations. That misses the point entirely. And I think it is unfair to dismiss the notion that Pakistan's apprehensions about Afghanistan stem in part from its security competition with India. Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity! Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Baluchistan. Kabul has encouraged India to engage in provocative activities such as using the Border Roads Organization to build sensitive parts of the Ring Road and use the Indo-Tibetan police force for security. It is also building schools on a sensitive part of the border in Kunar--across from Bajaur. Kabul's motivations for encouraging these activities are as obvious as India's interest in engaging in them. Even if by some act of miraculous diplomacy the territorial issues were to be resolved, Pakistan would remain an insecure state. Given the realities of the subcontinent (e.g., India's rise and its more effective foreign relations with all of Pakistan's near and far neighbors), these fears are bound to grow, not lessen. This suggests that without some means of compelling Pakistan to abandon its reliance upon militancy, it will become ever more interested in using it -- and the militants will likely continue to proliferate beyond Pakistan's control. 

Here's another, similar view of India's involvement with the Taliban to foment trouble in Pakistan as seen by Laura Rozen in her article in Foreign Policy Magazine

The former (American) intelligence official strongly supported the regional approach to Afghanistan suggested by US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke. "Afghanistan is a classic power vacuum," the former official said. "Neighbors see it as point of instability to guarantee their own stability or an opportunity to score points." While the U.S. media has frequently reported on Pakistani ties to jihadi elements launching attacks in Afghanistan, it has less often mentioned that India supports insurgent forces attacking Pakistan, the former intelligence official said. "The Indians are up to their necks in supporting the Taliban against the Pakistani government in Afghanistan and Pakistan," the former (US) intelligence official who served in both countries said. "The same anti-Pakistani forces in Afghanistan also shooting at American soldiers are getting support from India. India should close its diplomatic establishments in Afghanistan and get the Christ out of there." "None of this is ever one-sided," he added. "That is why it was so devastating and we were so let down" when India got taken out of Holbrooke's official brief. Here is an excerpt from respected South Asia expert Stephen Cohen's recent remarks in Canada: India is groping now for a national identity that would allow it to approach Pakistan with confidence, but there is no consensus on how to mesh India’s identity with that of Pakistan’s. Indians do not know whether they want to play cricket and trade with Pakistan, or whether they want to destroy it. There is still no consensus on talking with Pakistan: sometimes the government and its spokesman claim that they do not want to deal with the generals, but when the generals are out of the limelight, they complain that the civilians are too weak to conclude a deal. The default option seems to be that Pakistan is now someone else’s problem--in this case the United States’. Not a few Indian generals and strategists have told me that if only America would strip Pakistan of its nuclear weapons then the Indian army could destroy the Pakistan army and the whole thing would be over. This of course is both silly and dangerous—and could lead to a catastrophic misjudgment when the fifth India-Pakistan crisis does come. We were close to one last year, I have no doubt that the people who tried to trigger a new India-Pakistan war will try again. 

Below is the full text of Stephen Cohen's April 9 speech before the International Development Research Center in Ottawa, Canada: 

 President David Malone, and Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honored to be invited to speak in this series on India. My approach will certainly be different from that of M.S. Swaminathan and Amartya Sen—both of whose work I came to know in 1993 when I spent a wonderful year in the Ford Foundation’s New Delhi office. My hope is that it offers an equally valid way of looking at India’s “emergence” or “rise,” and that what I have to say is relevant to our shared interest in seeing a more prosperous, equitable, and democratic India. India’s Revolutions India is a revolutionary power in many ways. India is not only undergoing several domestic revolutions—that of its economy, its caste system, and its federal structure, but also in how it sees its place in the world. India’s revolutions are different than those of China, and comparisons must be made very carefully. I can save some of you a lot of trouble by letting you know that much of the literature on “Chindia,” exemplified by two books I saw in Chennai last December—The Dragon and the Elephant and The Elephant and the Dragon, is with a few exceptions, mostly useless. The end of the Cold War forced India to reconsider how it configured its relations with major states, notably America. It is still a free-rider to the extent that, without being a member of any American-organized alliance, it benefits from the stability provided by these alliances. At best, Indians describe their relationship with the US as a “natural alliance,” a content-less term. India has an interest in a stable international order, but it has so far been only a bit player when it comes to global order issues. With the end of bipolarism the long-held dream of becoming one of the world’s four or five centers of power and authority seemed to move closer, but other than run of the mill peacekeeping operations under UN auspices—just like Bangladesh—it shows few signs of playing a larger role. Perhaps maintaining its own integrity is enough for the time being, but the chronic conflict with Pakistan is another reason why India remains confined to its region. India’s dispute with Pakistan is one of the reasons why the reforms sought by Amartya Sen, M.S. Swaminathan, and such eminent businessmen as Nandan Nilekani will be slow in coming. Ironically, this is not because of Pakistan’s strengths, but because of its weaknesses. Let me develop this idea further. Globalization and its Discontented Victims The cold war masked a process that was just as corrosive to many states as the US-Soviet rivalry. Pakistan got the worst of both worlds: its cold war ties retarded its political development, they allowed for the perpetuation of a military and strategic rivalry with the much larger India, and gave it false comfort in the belief that its cold war allies would help them in time of crisis. However, often hidden by the rhetoric of the cold war, another process was moving forward. This was variously termed “non-military security,” or ‘human security,” labels that were invented to compete with the cold war paradigm of “hard” or “real” security, that is, the security of states themselves. There was a widespread belief, promulgated by the foundations and some governments, that states were themselves the threat -- that too strong states repressed their citizens, and that human rights groups and NGOs could, and should, fill in where the state was repressive. There was also a belief that too much attention had been given to the security of states, not enough to their citizens. The state was the problem, non-state forces, backed by international watchdogs, were the answer. I think this was a misdiagnosis—states that were too weak were also a problem, and over the last ten years we have seen the further weakening of many new states, and some old ones, such as Nepal and Afghanistan, states that have been unable to adapt to the accelerating process of what we call globalization, defined as the increasingly rapid movement of ideas, people, and goods around the world at an unprecedented rate. The three technologies at the heart of this latest spell of globalization were the transistor, the wide-bodied jet, and the container ship. They enabled revolutionary applications such as the cell phone, satellite communications, and (a mixed blessing, indeed), global finance networks. Of course, the world has always been globalizing, people, ideas and goods have been in motion since prehistoric times. Four hundred years ago globalization entered its modern era with the invention of navigational aids and new forms of military organization that allowed the exploration and conquest of the world by a few Western states and later Japan. Two hundred years ago globalization hit the middle classes, and allowed ice from Walden Pond to cool drinks in the clubs of Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta, and as Henry David Thoreau wrote, would mix with the holy waters of the Ganges. A hundred years ago steam technology and international mail service enabled my grandfathers to hopscotch around the world until they settled in the United States—one of them, incidentally, made a stop in Canada. India had the resources and the infrastructure to take advantage of the most recent surge of globalization. It has become a global player in the software industry, a major center for advanced research (often funded by others, not necessarily in response to critical Indian needs, such as agriculture), a cultural superpower, and an efficient processor of services. As Thomas Friedman and others have noted, India (and China) have lifted the largest number of people in history out of poverty—yet India still has half of the world’s poor. Misreading the World Indian leaders misread the end of the Cold War. They correctly saw that they had to re-balance Indian strategic policy—after all the chief international supporter, the Soviet Union, had disappeared. Leading Indian strategists argued early on that some accommodation with the United States was necessary. Now, just about every party, except a few on the Left, agree with this shift. However, there was a slow and inadequate response to the unleashing of new forces set free by the decline of communist and left ideology. We forget that the Cold War was not just a struggle between major states—the so-called superpowers—but a struggle between ideas on how the world would be organized. Young people are almost always idealistic, and a generation ago usually rallied to a leftist, pro-Soviet, or even pro-China cause. The end of the cold war, plus China’s conversion to market economics and a cynical single party state pretty much removed the appeal of left ideas as far as the young, the backbone of any revolutionary movement that opposed injustice, even if Maoism without Mao lingers on in South Asia. By the early 1990’s it was easy to predict that ethnic identity movements and religion would replace communism as the Polar Star of the young, the disenfranchised, and the angry.[3] As a state, India is familiar with ethnicity and identity: it is an important element in India’s relations with all of its neighbors. A short list would include Tibetans, Kashmiris, Bengalis, Sikhs, Sindhis, Nepali speakers, Mohajirs, and Tamils. Indeed, every one of India’s neighbors has a major overlap with it in terms of ethnic identity movements. New Delhi early on learned how to manage ethnic movements, using force when necessary, then accommodation. In the words of an Indian police official, “we hit them over the head with a hammer, then we teach them to play the piano.” It works, in the same way that the Romans kept peace in their far-flung multi-ethnic empire. It also works as an instrument of foreign policy, and a number of South Asian states, including India, have used ethnic separatist movements to keep a rival off-balance. India (backed by the US) did this for a while with the Tibetans of China, it certainly did this in Sri Lanka, supporting Tamils, with tragic and unanticipated consequences, and its most significant use of ethno/linguistic discontent was its support of East Bengali separatist against Pakistan. There is ample evidence that India uses its presence in Afghanistan to not only balance radical Islamists there, but to undercut Pakistani efforts. Of course, Pakistan had long fished in troubled Indian waters. Even today it officially draws a distinction between Kashmir and India proper. China actively supported Naga separatists and other irredentists for many years. Two, three, four, or five wrongs not only do not make a right, but they create a morally muddied situation. If everyone is to blame, no one is to blame. The alphabet agencies—ISI, RAW, and so forth—are often the chosen instrument of state policy when there is a conventional (and now a nuclear) balance of power, and the diplomatic route seems barren. Frankly, this would not matter very much in the larger scheme of things, especially with an India that is acquiring real economic power. In the case of India’s other major Asian rival, China, they have a long border dispute, they have supported separatist and irredentist groups in each other’s territory for years, they are economic rivals, and they are nuclear weapons states—yet they have moved to a level of accommodation and understanding that seems impossible in the case of India and Pakistan. China is expected to soon become India’s largest trade partner, whereas Indian trade with Pakistan (except via the smuggling route), is negligible. The India-Pakistan Conundrum There are many reasons why India and Pakistan are seemingly incompatible, despite their shared history and geographical space. Let me present an explanation, and then note how other trends impinge upon an already-dangerous situation. Structurally, the India-Pakistan relationship is toxic. It is a classic case of what I call a “paired minority conflict.” In these situations both sides see themselves as vulnerable, threatened, encircled, and at risk. They have a “minority” or “small power” complex, which also means that conventional morality does not apply to them. Sri Lanka and the Middle East are the other two outstanding cases of a “paired minority conflict.” All three are self-contained, internally powered conflict machines. It is easy to see why Pakistanis have a classic small power complex: they are indeed smaller than India, increasingly less capable, their friends are fickle, and when from time to time Indian politicians and officials concede that Pakistan is a legitimate country, Pakistanis feel even more insecure. But why India? There is a powerful and emerging Indian identity, one that transcends regional differences, a continental-sized economy, and the plaudits of the world, now including the United States. India also has a world-class popular culture and its political parties are constantly redefining and refining a new Indian identity. But the fact remains that until very recently the self-identity of India’s elite was that they were citizens of a loser state? Those who were able to do so left it for more promised lands, to America’s benefit and that of Canada. This is changing rapidly, just as there is new thinking in Pakistan about India, but the core antagonisms still drive the overall relationship, hampering efforts to develop trade, people-to-people, and economic and institutional ties of a level that exists, say, between Taiwan and China. In their quest for an identity, some Indians tried to replicate Pakistan’s failure by manufacturing a “Hindu” Indian identity—the so-called Hindutva movement. But there is no all-Indian Hindu identity—India is riven by caste and linguistic differences, and Aishwarya Rai and Sachin Tendulkar are more relevant rallying points for more Indians than any Hindu caste or sect, let alone the Sanskritized Hindi that is officially promulgated. India is groping now for a national identity that would allow it to approach Pakistan with confidence, but there is no consensus on how to mesh India’s identity with that of Pakistan’s. Indians do not know whether they want to play cricket and trade with Pakistan, or whether they want to destroy it. There is still no consensus on talking with Pakistan: sometimes the government and its spokesman claim that they do not want to deal with the generals, but when the generals are out of the limelight, they complain that the civilians are too weak to conclude a deal. The default option seems to be that Pakistan is now someone else’s problem--in this case the United States’. Not a few Indian generals and strategists have told me that if only America would strip Pakistan of its nuclear weapons then the Indian army could destroy the Pakistan army and the whole thing would be over. This of course is both silly and dangerous—and could lead to a catastrophic misjudgment when the fifth India-Pakistan crisis does come. We were close to one last year, I have no doubt that the people who tried to trigger a new India-Pakistan war will try again. The structural contradictions in the relationship explain much of the problem. Put in terms of raw politics, India’s political parties do not make this a central issue in governance. In Pakistan there is not much support in the Establishment (or ruling oligarchy, to use the proper Aristotelian label) for an end to South Asia’s cold (and sometimes hot) war. As the years pass, India and Pakistan have traded places in being insecure and vulnerable: like two sides of a teeter-totter, when either side is down it fears that any concessions will lead down a slippery slope, when it is up, it expects the weaker side to bow. India is presently “up,” but there is no serious consideration of a deal that would bring to fruition the process begun by Atal Behari Vajpayee in the 1990s. Interestingly, it has been the BJP that seems to be more willing to redefine Pakistan in such a way that India could live at peace with it. Both Jaswant Singh and L.K. Advani have talked of “Jinnah’s Pakistan.” Let me list a few other factors that reinforce this paired-minority complex: * There are groups on both sides that try to disrupt the process when it seems to be reaching a positive conclusion. Some of the bureaucracies and covert agencies on each side need the conflict for their own self interest—the two armies, in particular, would have very little to do (except, perhaps to fight separatists and terrorist groups) if the international border were normalized. On the right, when Jaswant and Advani appeared soft on Pakistan they were roundly berated by the Hindutva hard-liners. * The introduction of nuclear weapons in the arsenals of India and Pakistan have not promoted peace—although they may have made all-out war virtually impossible. * The presence of bureaucratic pathologies should be noted, in particular the Pakistan army’s narrow vision, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ absence of vision. * The so-called track II dialogues, are more often than not a way of avoiding serious strategic dialogue between Indians and Pakistanis. They often involve those people who were responsible for past bad decisions, yet the same people who ten years ago were eager to do nothing now preach the importance of dialogue and further meetings—conference building measure. As one Indian journalist properly observed during one of these marathon talk-fests, both governments should consider extending the age of retirement by five or ten years since so many of yesterday’s hawks had morphed into today’s doves. * There is also an absence of imaginative strategic thinking in India—most officials and politicians seem to follow the advice of P.V. Narasimha Rao, who said that inaction is always preferable, that time will fix most problems. Prime Minister Rao may have been right in some matters, but I don’t think this is the case with India’s chief strategic and foreign policy problem, one that penetrates to the core of Indian politics—the crumbling state of Pakistan. I won’t go into details, but all of the long term indicators for Pakistan are very negative: economic growth, population, demographic trends, sectarianism, governmental coherence, rising discontent among non-Punjabis, and an increase in sectarian extremism within the Punjab itself. There is one positive trend: for the first time all of the major, relevant powers of the world are concerned about Pakistan. China, the EU and NATO states, America, and others understand that their Pakistan problem is not simply one of containing terrorism, but the integrity of the Pakistani state. I think that Indians sense this, but the moment for action was five or six years ago. Here, Washington and New Delhi failed each other as they were falling over each other in an attempt to complete an agreement on civil nuclear energy. I supported the deal, but it certainly distracted the United States from what was happening before its eyes. “De-hyphenation” was an Indian objective, and it was successful in the short term—but it contributed to American disinterest in internal developments in Pakistan just as these were becoming pathological. Exactly six years ago I published a book on Pakistan, and the last sentence concluded: “Before writing Pakistan off as the hopelessly failed state that its critics believe it to be, Washington may have one last opportunity to ensure that this troubled state will not become America’s biggest foreign policy problem in the last half of this decade.” Just before that the 2000 CIA “Global Trends” report, looking ahead to 2015, suggested that “Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement. . . . Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change . . . . and domestic decline would benefit Islamic political activists, who may significantly increase their role in national politics and alter the makeup and cohesion of the military. . . . In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the central government’s control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi.” Most recently, the Australian/American strategist David Kilcullen, predicted that Pakistan might collapse in six months. Is it too late? It might be, but politics is an empirical science, not a theoretical one, and there has to be one last comprehensive effort to answer the question of Pakistan’s viability. As for India, it is both part of the problem and part of the solution, but I know that if it does not act in a positive and creative fashion its hopes of becoming a comprehensively great power cannot be achieved. There may be some gratification in seeing your major enemy and rival go up in flames, but not if your house catches fire. What to Do? Let me conclude with a small “to do” list, addressed mostly to India but also to outsiders who want to be of help: * Kashmir is both the cause and effect of this paired-minority complex, it can’t be “solved” because there is no solution as long as present mind-sets prevail. Read the superb new study by Ambassador Howard Schaeffer of America’s many failed attempts coming out shortly from the Brookings press, and instead, look for ways that turn Kashmir into a non-zero sum problem. My suggestion would be to address, more broadly, the looming environmental and water issue, of which Kashmir is an important component. This affects India, China, Nepal, and Bangladesh, this is properly dealt with on a regional basis. Kashmir, as such, is not “ripe” for resolution, but parts of the problem are. * Regional trade is another area where India and Pakistan need an excuse to do only what is in their self-interest. In this case there is the problem of the big fish-little fish: Pakistan is big fish as far as Afghanistan is concerned, but a little fish when it comes to India. India of course is the whale as far as Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. India stands to gain a lot by giving up a little, a mind set that is common in the business community but not among the bureaucrats. * Nuclear proliferation provides us with anotherff opportunity, and if missed, all parties will suffer. India tirelessly avoids the issue by pious accusations in the direction of Pakistan on how not to be a responsible nuclear weapons state. All that India needs to do is to rediscover the Rajiv Gandhi action plan, which not only called for global disarmament—a politically safe thing to with the Bush administration gone—but Rajiv also addressed, if briefly, the prospect of movement at the regional level. This now means China, India and Pakistan, and it should not take more than ten minutes to figure out how many nuclear weapons would preserve deterrence stability for India. Given that India was rewarded with an incredibly generous agreement by the Bush administration, India should do more than simply reiterate its own excellent record. Such a region-wide agreement might include better verification and assurances regarding national protection of weapons and fissile material; it is not that Indian practices are bad (although there is little evidence that they are good), it is that India’s vulnerability to a nuclear weapon from Pakistan is self-evident. It is astonishing that the same Indian officials and “formers” who decry Pakistan as a rogue state and the epicenter of terrorism, seem perfectly happy with Pakistan’s control over a growing nuclear arsenal. * Finally, India needs to engage in introspection about he full range of military power that it wields. India is certainly Asia’s third great state, but the book I am now completing will argue that its strategic weight and its military power have been misjudged. Just because a state has done well in one or two areas does not necessarily mean that it will do well in all of them. There are no more than a handful of political and administrative officials who really understand the use of force and the instruments of military power. India cannot remove key threats by force, yet it maintains a huge army and an equally large paramilitary force that are strategically dysfunctional. It sometimes behaves like a timid state for good reason—yet it wants its neighbors to be in awe of its power. No big state will ever be beloved by its smaller neighbors, but India has failed to capitalize, especially in the case of Pakistan, on its real assets—these are its great cultural and economic power, not its army or its nuclear weapons. To summarize, India is the dominant power in South Asia, but it is the putative leader of the least-integrated region of the world; its neighbors all struggle, and at least one of them, Pakistan, defines itself in anti-Indian terms. While India must concentrate upon its domestic reforms and restructuring, this process must be accompanied by fresh thinking about India’s regional relations, and the role that outside powers can play in helping these to become more normal. The agenda I have outlined is already too long, and the problems that India faces in its relationship with Pakistan are very great. I remain optimistic that India will change -- it has done so at astonishing speed in many spheres—and somehow convert an enemy into a partner. India may have to give a little, but it has a lot to gain. The rest of us can stand by, offer suggestions where asked. However, we must also be prepared for strategic failure—another serious crisis with Pakistan, the further fragmentation of that state, or the expansion of the radical Islamist agenda to India itself. I am no Cassandra, but prudence suggests that we not just hope for the best, hope is not a policy. 

In my view, Pakistan faces two existential threats, not one. Clearly, the Al Qaeda and Taliban threat is in the news right now much more than the Indian threat. Any nation that has faced Indian intelligence's covert war followed by an outright invasion to divide it can not be told to ignore that threat. The kind of rhetoric that emanated from India post-Mumbai can not be ignored either, particularly when both nations have a nuclear standoff, the kind of stand off the Americans had with the Soviets. In fact, the situation is much worse than US-Soviet standoff because there is no geographic separation. My assessment is that "the Taliban" is not one organized monolith with a clear set of unified goals and single chain of command. There are many disparate groups operating under the label of "the Taliban". My guess is that some of these groups have probably also been infiltrated by foreign intelligence agencies like RAW and Khad that want to wage covert war in Pakistan to destabilize it. 

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Anonymous said...

Mr. Haq,

Your writings often present a partial disclosure of facts or events which leads to flawed conclusions for less informed readers.

With regards to Christine Fair, you've conveniently left out the balance debate among other experts on foreign policy in Pakistan. If you say India is fomenting trouble in Pakistan why is the evidence so thin? In fact, Christine Fair's comments in the same discussion were shouted down because they were absurd.

The rhetoric that came out after Mumbai attacks were media driven. The government of India never made offensive moves towards Pakistan. In the end, the Mumbai terrorists came from Pakistan. And, you've the cheek to complain about the rhetoric?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Your writings often present a partial disclosure of facts or events which leads to flawed conclusions for less informed readers."

The post stands on its own merit with multiple sources it cites, including Christine Fair, Stephen Cohen and Laura Rozen, who are well-respected heavyweight, regardless of any hecklers in the audience.

Beyond that, just look at recent posts by former Indian intelligence officials B. Raman and Vikram Sood, and you'll see what I am talking about.

In the wake of Mumbai attacks, there has been talk of lightning air strikes strategy dubbed "Cold Start" against Pakistan and there has also been a rather open discussion in India about covert actions by Indian agents to destabilize and balkanize Pakistan. Former RAW chief B. Raman argues that India appoint a covert ops specialist as the new head of RAW. He says, “At this critical time in the nation’s history, RAW has no covert action specialists at the top of its pyramid. Get a suitable officer from the IB or the Army. If necessary, make him the head of the organization.”

Vikram Sood, another former top spy in India, elaborates on India's covert warfare options to target Pakistan in the following words: "Covert action can be of various kinds. One is the paramilitary option, which is what the Pakistanis have been using against us. It is meant to hurt, destabilize or retaliate. The second is the psychological war option, which is a very potent and unseen force. It is an all weather option and constitutes essentially changing perceptions of friends and foes alike. The media is a favorite instrument, provided it is not left to the bureaucrats because then we will end up with some clumsy and implausible propaganda effort. More than the electronic and print media, it is now the internet and YouTube that can be the next-generation weapons of psychological war. Terrorists use these liberally and so should those required to counter terrorism."

Anonymous said...

" I won’t go into details, but all of the long term indicators for Pakistan are very negative: economic growth, population, demographic trends, sectarianism, governmental coherence, rising discontent among non-Punjabis, and an increase in sectarian extremism within the Punjab itself"

Further if pakistan wants to cheat itself saying that india is promoting taliban when taliban blasted off the afghan embassy of india, it sounds ridiculous. confession of raw that they donot have covert action specialist vouches the fact india is no invovled in the mess of talibans.

India has paid the high price of rajeev life siding with these type of double headed moster [ i.e ltte ]

If still pakistan wants to believe that india is instrumental for its taliban problem, so be it.

Jadev said...

Although Stephen Cohen (and his wife being an Indophile)tries hard to balance it out..he sneaks in his "American agenda"..i.e. "regional" disarmament of India,Pakistan and China...This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard.
China will not disarm come what may..they are duplicitous and cannot be trusted with any agreement much like Taliban. Again he conveniently leaves out reason why US and other Western countries should not disarm. Nuclear genie is out of the bottle..in a decade or two..a vast majority of the countries will be wielding crude tactical nuclear weapons..(after Iran takes the plunge..). Those who can't afford nukes..will settle for even more deadlier chemical weapons like VX or weapons grade anthrax.

As far as covert operations from India are concerned,It was actively discussed after Parliament attack..then discussion gained momentum..after Mumbai 2006 train bombings..and continuing series of bombings and cross border terror attacks..leading to Kabul Embassy & Mumbai 26/11 attack..all of it have clear Pak intel markings..
If India is stirring up Baluchistan or (allegedly)Baitullah Mehsud..we clearly have a good enough reason..and asymmetrical provocation..which with 26/11 have breached all thresholds of tolerance..
I don't know..why its a big deal..every action has and equal and opposite reaction..why do u ppl think that..we will just take it lying down..

All that India needs to do is to rediscover the Rajiv Gandhi action plan, which not only called for global disarmament—a politically safe thing to with the Bush administration gone—but Rajiv also addressed, if briefly, the prospect of movement at the regional level. This now means China, India and Pakistan

Anonymous said...


I read this url. I thought it could be one sided. reason being the water is perennial in himalayas and beyond a point you can hold the water.

Anonymous said...


"The post stands on its own merit with multiple sources it cites"

No, it does not and here is why. You've cherry picked the comment made by Christine Fair in a foreign affairs debate which also included other experts. You've left out the rest of the discussion which included comments from Stephen Cohen, Sumit Ganguly, Ashley Tellis, Shaun Gregory and Aqil Shah. All other experts disagreed with Ms Fair. They concluded that there is little evidence on India's involvement in Baluchistan. This was also recently confirmed by Mr. Holbrooke on a Pakistani TV channel. I can also give few other credible sources which will refute your 'imagined' conclusion.

Now, your regarding your comment on the remarks by B.Raman and Vikram Sood. These are suggestions made by ex-intelligence officials. Unlike the ISI, the RA&W has to receive the PM's nod before they actually do anything. In 1996, India - according to the Gujral doctrine - folded its covert operations in
Pak as a unilateral peace initiative. India has not recouped from that decision since.

Riaz Haq said...


What the others are saying is that they don't see evidence of India's involvement in Baluchistan. Well, they have not tried to look for it to find it. You can't find what you are not looking for. Christine Fair has actually traveled to the region and talked to people on the ground to see it. So, I'll take her word over the others who are less informed.

Rather than let you beat around the bush and make false claims about what others said, let me just reproduce their comments as follows:

Aqil Shah: Christine's observations provide damning evidence of the games states play. The Indians seem to be saying, "The Pakistanis did it to us in Kashmir, so we will pay them back in Baluchistan and elsewhere." So it should not be surprising that the Pakistani military continues to patronize groups it sees as useful in the regional race for influence, even if the costs to Pakistan's political stability outweigh the benefits.

Sumit Ganguly: I never suggested that the Indians have purely humanitarian objectives in Afghanistan. That said, their vigorous attempts to limit Pakistan's reach and influence there stem largely from being systematically bled in Kashmir. Their role in Afghanistan is a pincer movement designed to relieve pressure in Kashmir. Whether it will work remains an open question. Meanwhile, I know that the Indians have mucked around in Sind in retaliation for Pakistani involvement in the Punjab crisis. But as much as the Indians may boast about their putative pumping of funds into Baluchistan, why is the evidence for that so thin?

Ashley Tellis: What do key Pakistani actors want, especially the military? Obviously, they want security for Pakistan, along with the ability to protect their own interests inside it. Both objectives become problematic, unfortunately, when pursued in certain ways. The army is pursuing security for Pakistan in the east by combating India through a war of a thousand cuts and a rapidly expanding nuclear program, and in the west by a little imperial project in Afghanistan. There is a temptation to see the latter entirely through the lens of India-Pakistan competition. But Pakistan has interests in Afghanistan that transcend its problems with India. In fact, one of the crucial problems in both theaters is the exaggerated Pakistani fears of what it believes the Indians are up to. Aqil captures that paranoia quite well. I am not sure I buy Christine's analysis of Indian activities in Pakistan's west: this is a subject I followed very closely when I was in government, and suffice it to say, there is less there than meets the eye. That was certainly true for Afghanistan. Convincing Pakistanis of this, however, is a different story. I think Sumit and Shaun get the bottom line exactly right: Pakistan has to recognize that it simply cannot match India through whatever stratagem it chooses -- it is bound to fail. The sensible thing, then, is for Pakistan to reach the best possible accommodation with India now, while it still can, and shift gears toward a grand strategy centered on economic integration in South Asia -- one that would help Pakistan climb out of its morass and allow the army to maintain some modicum of privileges, at least for a while. The alternative is to preside over an increasingly hollow state.

Anonymous said...

The only question is should Pakistan be allowed to survive as nation-that decision is now in world communities hands NOT Pakistans will.Only time will tell.This answers Riaz's question very well.Pakistan has not met the criteria to exist as a responsible neighbour.Our Srilankan cricketers have been almost killed.Next what-will Taliban take nuclear weapons?Irresponsible society breeds taliban not tolerant citizens.Its just a matter of time!

Dhananjay said...

Since when did a person's word get construed as 'proof'? Kindly read up the meaning of the word 'proof'.

Anonymous said...

@Jadev and Dhananjay , both of you are frustrated with your Indian slums, so you will never accept the proofs, keep giving these comments and venting out.You need to as pakistan regardless is your next door neighbour, as your long term evil hidden agendas will drown you guys too if not corrected by your leaders.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is an excerpt from a Rediff report claiming Christine Fair, who I have quoted in this and other posts, has been offered the post of assistant sec of state for South Asia:

Fair told rediff.com that she would most likely decline the offer because she doesn't want to give up her academic research.

The administration, on the other hand, had not given up on her even though she informed Robert Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, who had interviewed her and had subsequently offered her the job, that she would not be interested.

"I am a mixed bag for Indians," she said. "I am not an advocate for any country. I am an advocate for my country."

In an online discussion earlier this year -- convened by the much-respected journal Foreign Affairs -- Fair had said that Pakistan had legitimate concerns about India's involvement in Afghanistan and that perhaps Islamabad's paranoia that New Delhi was fanning unrest in Balochistan was not unfounded.

'I think it is unfair to dismiss the notion that Pakistan's apprehensions about Afghanistan stem in part from its security competition with India,' she had then said, and noted, "Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity. Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Kandahar along the (Pak-Afghan) border.'

Fair also went on to claim, 'Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Balochistan. Kabul has encouraged India to engage in provocative activities such as using the Border Roads Organisation to build sensitive parts of the Rind Road and use the Indo-Tibetan police force for security.'

'India is also building schools on a sensitive part of the border in Kunar, across from Bajaur,' she said, alleging, 'Kabul's motivations for encouraging these activities are as obvious as India's interest in engaging in them.'

Fair contended that it would be 'a mistake to completely disregard Pakistan's regional perceptions due to doubts about Indian competence in executing covert operations.'

When reminded about the controversy her allegations on the Foreign Affairs discussion provoked, Fair still held to the credibility of her contention.

"I believe it to be true," she said, adding: "The problems with the Pakistanis is that they lie too much and so, that when they tell the truth, no one believes them."

She argued that "Actually, I am not normative about it -- India should be doing this and they should be doing more of it, if I may be so blunt. So, I've never said, 'Shame on the Indians.'"

But Fair asserted that "nothing that India could possibly do, without being observed as they tend to have not been observed, could ever rival what the Pakistanis have done, and it doesn't justify blowing up consulates and embassies and killing people."

"I stand by what I wrote..." Fair said, "Yes, I think the Indians are up to stuff in Balochistan, as they should be. (But) It's not what the Pakistanis say they are up to."

"Anyone who read what I wrote," she added, "would have seen exactly what I said. Yes, I said, the Pakistanis are exaggerating it, but they are not completely making it up either."

"Let me also be blunt with you," she said. "I think the Indo-US relationship is extremely important, but I know I am not the flavour of the day in India, and I think that it actually would have undermined our moving the relationship forward, if I were in that job. And, that's the reality of it."

Fair said she had told the State Department this "from the beginning, when they interviewed me. I said, 'Are you sure, you are interviewing the right person?'"

Riaz Haq said...

In a recent interview, Indian Army chief Gen Singh talks about "fighting through our area which has been contaminated by a nuclear strike. We are confident that we will get through in such contaminated areas and this is part of our training methodology, doctrine and our concept".

It begs the questions: Is Mr Singh breeding super jawans immune to radiation?

I think Gen VK Singh's thinking is naive and dangerously out of date, it's as old as the 1950s when the Americans were building shelters in their basements to survive nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. I hope someone puts some sense into Singh's empty little hand about the reality of modern nuclear warfare.

Haseeb said...

Riaz, See the article below. It is making many interesting points about the future of Pakistan. I think it is short sighted in many ways but it is being forwarded to everyone like the "Gospel about Pakistan's Future" to all :--(
To me Mr. Cohen seems more like mouthpiece of India than anything else.


Riaz Haq said...

There is no question that Pakistan is facing multiple serious crises right now. Zardari has only made things worse by his corrupt and incompetent governance.

However, I would not look to the likes of Stephen Cohen for any objective and sincere analyes and recommendations or forecasts.

Cohen is part of what is known as the Washington Consensus...a set of principles and recipes for the world that are designed to advance the US interests regardless of the costs to others who accept and implement such consensus. China has rejected the Washington consensus and it's promoting its own Beijing Consensus instead.

For example, Cohen was very pro-Musharraf until Musharraf decided to not accept all of US demands. He then supported a change to BB in because she promised total cooperation in WOT with US, meaning doing 100% of US bidding.

And now that he sees Zardari unable to deliver as promised (take Rayomd Davis case, for instance), he has now turned against the current govt and started making making apocalyptic forecasts for Pakistan.

Among the US analysts who analyze South Asia, I find that Prof Juan Cole of Univ of Michigan is more on the mark than Stephen Cohen. Cole is much more sanguine about Pakistan's future. For example Cole says in one of his posts that the "the hype about Pakistan is very sinister and mysterious and makes no sense to someone who actually knows the country."

But Cole is not popular with Washington or with Pakistani liberals.



Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from an Op Ed in The Hindu on Wikileaks cables showing growing US and Israeli influence in New Delhi:

The publication and analysis of the US embassy cables accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks is ongoing, but what has been made available so far reveals a disturbing picture. The US has acquired an influential position in various spheres - strategic affairs, foreign policy and economic policies. The US has access to the bureaucracy, military, security and intelligence systems and has successfully penetrated them at various levels. The cables cover a period mainly from 2005 to 2009, the very period when the UPA government went ahead to forge the strategic alliance with the US.
The volte face by the Manmohan Singh government in voting against Iran in the IAEA in September 2005 was one such crucial event. The cables illustrate how the US government exercised maximum pressure to achieve this turn around. The Indian government was told that unless India takes a firm stand against Iran, the US Congress would not pass the legislation to approve the nuclear deal.
Other cables reveal how the United States succeeded in getting India to coordinate policy towards other countries in South Asia like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The close cooperation with Israel under US aegis is also spelt out.

The success achieved in getting India's foreign policy to be "congruent" to US policy is smugly stated in an embassy cable that Indian officials are ‘loathe to admit publicly that India and the US have begun coordinating foreign policies'.
One of the cables from the US ambassador to the American defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld spells out the agenda which the Americans hope to accomplish during the visit. The Defence Framework Agreement was the first of this type to be signed by India with any country. It envisages a whole gamut of cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries. It is evident from the cables that the US government and the Pentagon had been negotiating and planning for such an agreement from the time of the NDA government.
The cables show the growing coordination of the security establishments of the two countries reaching a high level of cooperation after the Mumbai terrorist attack. The then National Security Advisor, M K Narayanan was seen by the Americans as eager to establish a high degree of security cooperation involving agencies such as the FBI and the CIA.

The cables also provide a glimpse of how the Americans are able to penetrate the intelligence and security apparatus. Among the forty cables which were first published by the British paper, The Guardian, there are two instances of improper contacts. In the first case a member of the National Security Advisory Board meets an American embassy official and offers to provide information about Iranian contacts in India and requests for his visit to the United States to be arranged in return. In another case the US embassy reports that it is able to get access to terrorism related information directly from a police official serving in the Delhi Police, rather than going through official channels.
The collaboration between the intelligence and security agencies of the two countries had already resulted in American penetration. Two cases of espionage had come up. During the NDA government, a RAW officer, Rabinder Singh was recruited by the CIA. When his links were uncovered, he was helped by the CIA to flee to the United States. During the UPA government a systems analyst in the National Security Council secretariat was found to have been recruited by the CIA, the contact having been established through the US-India Cyber Security Forum.


Riaz Haq said...

India is reviewing a list of 50 "most wanted fugitives" it says are hiding in Pakistan, a day after one of them was traced to a prison in Mumbai (Bombay), according to the BBC:

Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, who is accused of involvement in a 2003 train bombing, was arrested last year and is behind bars in the city's Arthur Road jail.

Earlier it turned out that another "fugitive" had already been bailed and was living in Mumbai with his mother.

Opposition parties and Pakistani media have derided the episode as a fiasco.

Correspondents say the mistakes are likely to cost India dear, as well as being hugely embarrassing. They say Islamabad will now be able to raise doubts about other names on the list too.

For years Pakistan has denied harbouring militants India says are guilty of attacks on its soil.

Riaz Haq said...

There was an article in Forbes magazine issue of March 4, 2002, by Steve Forbes titled "India, Meet Austria-Hungary" which compared India with the now defunct Austria-Hungary. Here is an excerpt from the text of that article:

Influential elements in India's government and military are still itching to go to war with Pakistan, even though Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has taken considerable political risks by moving against Pakistani-based-and-trained anti-India terrorist groups. Sure, Musharraf made a truculent speech condemning India's ``occupation'' of Kashmir, but that was rhetorical cover for cracking down on those groups. Washington should send New Delhi some history books for these hotheads; there is no human activity more prone to unintended consequences than warfare. As cooler heads in the Indian government well know, history is riddled with examples of parties that initiated hostilities in the belief that conflict would resolutely resolve outstanding issues.

Pericles of Athens thought he could deal with rival Sparta once and for all when he triggered the Peloponnesian War; instead his city-state was undermined and Greek civilization devastated.

Similarly, Hannibal brilliantly attacked Rome; he ended up not only losing the conflict but also setting off a train of events that ultimately led to the total destruction of Carthage. Prussia smashed France in 1870, annexing critical French territory for security reasons, but that sowed the seeds for the First World War. At the end of World War I the victorious Allies thought they had dealt decisively with German military power. Israel crushed its Arab foes in 1967, but long-term peace did not follow.

India is not a homogeneous state. Neither was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It attacked Serbia in the summer of 1914 in the hopes of destroying this irritating state after Serbia had committed a spectacular terrorist act against the Hapsburg monarchy. The empire ended up splintering, and the Hapsburgs lost their throne. And on it goes.

Getting back to the present, do Indian war hawks believe China will stand idly by as India tried to reduce Pakistan to vassal-state status? Do they think Arab states and Iran won't fund Muslim guerrilla movements in Pakistan, as well as in India itself? Where does New Delhi think its oil comes from (about 70%, mainly from the Middle East)? Does India think the U.S. will stand by impotently if it starts a war that unleashes nuclear weapons?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an MSNBC report about US contingency plans to "secure" Pakistani nuclear weapons:

It’s no secret that the United States has a plan to try to grab Pakistan’s nuclear weapons -- if and when the president believes they are a threat to either the U.S. or U.S. interests. Among the scenarios seen as most likely: Pakistan plunging into internal chaos, terrorists mounting a serious attack against a nuclear facility, hostilities breaking out with India or Islamic extremists taking charge of the government or the Pakistan army.

In the aftermath of the bin Laden raid, U.S. military officials have testified before Congress about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and the threat posed by “loose nukes” – nuclear weapons or materials outside the government’s control. And earlier Pentagon reports also outline scenarios in which U.S. forces would intervene to secure nuclear weapons that were in danger of falling into the wrong hands.

But out of fear of further antagonizing an important ally, officials have simultaneously tried to tone down the rhetoric by stressing progress made by Islamabad on the security front.

Such discussions of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, now believed to consist of as many as 115 nuclear bombs and missile warheads, have gotten the attention of current and former Pakistani officials. In an interview with NBC News early this month, Musharraf warned that a snatch-and-grab operation would lead to all-out war between the countries, calling it “total confrontation by the whole nation against whoever comes in.”

“These are assets which are the pride of Pakistan, assets which are dispersed and very secure in very secure places, guarded by a corps of 18,000 soldiers,” said a combative Musharraf, who led Pakistan for nearly a decade and is again running for president. “… (This) is not an army which doesn't know how to fight. This is an army which has fought three wars. Please understand that.”

Pervez Hoodboy, Pakistan’s best known nuclear physicist and a human rights advocate, rarely agrees with the former president. But he, too, says a U.S. attempt to take control of Pakistan’s nukes would be foolhardy.

“They are said to be hidden in tunnels under mountains, in cities, as well as regular air force and army bases,” he said. “A U.S. snatch operation could trigger war; it should never be attempted.”

Despite such comments, interviews with current and former U.S. officials, military reports and even congressional testimony indicate that Pakistan’s weaponry has been the subject of continuing discussions, scenarios, war games and possibly even military exercises by U.S. intelligence and special operations forces regarding so-called “snatch-and-grab” operations.

“It’s safe to assume that planning for the worst-case scenario regarding Pakistan nukes has ready taken place inside the U.S. government,” said Roger Cressey, former deputy director of counterterrorism in the Clinton and Bush White House and an NBC News consultant. “This issue remains one of the highest priorities of the U.S. intelligence community ... and the White House.”


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent report in The News about India's war preps against Pakistan:

First, in the context of current events, is Afghan President Karzai’s recent visit to New Delhi and the signing of a strategic accord with India at the heels of ex-President Burhanuddin Rabbani’s assassination. While one side of the equation that has been brought into the spotlight shows that the accord will pave the way for India to train the Afghan armed forces and police, the other side that remains veiled could contain clauses that may affect Pakistan’s internal and external security. According to policymakers here in Islamabad, the accord requires careful thought at all levels. The critical point to remember is that India has no role whatsoever in Afghanistan yet Indian interference and policies are at the root of many of the problems that Pakistan is facing today. “This accord is a short-sighted narrow-minded move that would harm Afghanistan, both in the short and long term,” warned a regional expert while evaluating the accord and its impact on the region.

Second, the Indian army is holding a massive two-month long winter exercise at the Pakistan border, bringing a potent strike corps, the Bhopal based 21 Corps, in the Rajasthan desert. The exercise involves battle tanks and artillery guns besides Indian Air Force assets. Intriguingly, ‘Sudarshan Chakra’ Corps will be aiming to build its capacities for “breaching the hostile army’s defences and capturing important strategic assets deep inside enemy territory.” The exercise is the third of its kind this year. The summer war game Vijayee Bhava, in the Rajasthan desert, involved the Ambala-based 2 Kharga Corps, and the Pine Prahar exercise in the plains of Punjab was staged by the Jalandhar-based 11 Vajra Corps, both held in May this year. The question is: why is India holding three massive war games in a year at the Pakistan border that aim at capturing important strategic assets deep inside the enemy territory?

Third, a key development across the border has been the deployment of Su-30 fighter aircraft near the Pakistan border. The significance of the fact that the aircraft is the most sophisticated in the region and that it has been deployed along the Pakistan border at this crucial juncture is not lost on policymakers in Islamabad.

Two other related but under-reported events have been the extension of the runway at Kargil by India and its decision to acquire six more C-130J aircraft, the latest version of the intractable workhorse, reinforcing fears in Islamabad that New Delhi is preparing for a war that may engulf the whole region.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on Seeds of Peace in Pakistan:

Seeds of Peace, an international youth based organisation established in 1993, aims to empower young individuals from conflict areas to help bridge differences. Aiming to create a better understanding amongst the youth to work towards ‘co-existence’ and ‘reconciliation’, the organisation was the brainchild of American journalist John Wallach. The first such programme involved about 50 young participants from the Arab-Israel conflict zone who were invited to the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine, USA.

Fahad Ali Kazmi, the joint secretary of Seeds of Peace-Pakistan, said the basic aim here is to incorporate the voice of youth in conflict areas. “We started the mock parliament last year to sensitise youth in conflict areas to help appreciate the counter narratives of global issues,” said Kazmi, who ‘graduated’ from an international camp in 2002 and returned to Pakistan as a ‘Pakistani Seed’.

Seeds of Peace came to Lahore in 2001, the same year it opened its offices in Mumbai and the next year in Kabul. Every year 10 to 12 young individuals from Pakistan and India are invited to the United States for the 250-day camp where they interact with youth from across the world.

Seeds of Peace-Pakistan’s first mock parliament session was held last year, aiming to acquaint the youth in conflict areas of India and Pakistan with a political understanding of issues on both sides. Last year, a mock Indian parliament was held in Pakistan by the Seeds of Peace-Pakistan and a similar event was held in India whereby Indian Seeds engaged in a mock Pakistani parliament. The concept, said Kazmi, is to eradicate prejudice and build bridges to better understand one another.

This year, Seeds of Peace-Pakistan will organise a Mock Afghan Parliament, whereby Pakistani youths will be educated about the workings of the Afghan parliament and also assigned roles and positions to take. “With Afghanistan and Pakistan engaged in a political conflict, we thought of engaging Pakistani youth in understanding the Afghan perspective,” Kazmi said.

Teams from across Lahore will participate in the event. Between 25 and 30 young people from different schools across Lahore including Beaconhouse School System, Divisional Public School, Lahore Grammar School and Crescent Model High School are participating in the event.

A workshop will be conducted by the Seeds of Peace-Pakistan on November 20 to educate the participating youth about the Afghan constitution and the dynamics of the Afghan parliament.

“The Pakistani Seeds are working in close collaboration with their Afghan counterparts to understand the political dynamics of the Afghan parliament,” said Kazmi while talking about the workshop which precedes the mock parliament that is to be held later in the month. At the end of the workshop a three-day mock parliamentary session will be convened for which three to four major areas of debate will be identified and a sample Afghan parliament formulated. The three-day mock parliamentary session will end on November 27.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting account in Dawn newspaper of Sashi Tharoor's visit to Pakistan and discussion at Jinnah Institute:

...It was only his third day in Pakistan, yet it was surprising for him and his wife to see “how much we have in common and how much we differ”. He is visiting on the invitation of Jinnah Institute (JI) to be the first in its Distinguished Speakers series, which is part of the Track-II engagement between the civil societies of the two countries.

Dr Tharoor started by saying that as a member of Lok Sabha he sees the foreign policy in the perspective of improving the life of the poor and the marginalised – for which peace is essential.

“Peace is indivisible and so is freedom and prosperity,” he said.

In the age of globalisation it has become more so and that was why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to resume the dialogue process that India had halted after the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai.

Since the technological tools that benign forces used to bring the world together are used by the malign forces to disrupt the process, nations need to cooperate to fight terrorism, he said, bluntly charging the ISI and Pakistan army with using terrorism as a strategy.

“Pakistan defines itself in opposition to India and the “previously benign forces of religion and culture have become causes of conflict”, he said and decried its `Kashmir solution first` policy.

While other states have army, Pakistan army is said to have a state to itself.

As a consequence the civilian governments live in awe of the army and the few steps they took to improve relations with India were torpedoed by the military, he surmised.

But he welcomed the present government`s decision to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India because it reflected how important it was for Pakistan to normalise relations with India after ignoring India`s grant of Most Favoured Nation to Pakistan for 16 years.

Dr Tharoor forcefully rejected “the notion that India is a threat to Pakistan and dismissed the Indian military action in support of Mukti Bahini in East Pakistan in 1971 that created Bangladesh as “a very special case”.

Otherwise, according to him, India had been magnanimous to Pakistan, like when it returned the strategic Hajipir Pass in Kashmir after 1965 war and had given up “first strike” in a nuclear conflict.

His discourse seem to hold Pakistan polity responsible for all the troubles and invited riposte from the panelists Nasim Zehra and Ejaz Haider and sharp questions from the audience comprising Pakistani diplomats, academia and some commoners.

“I am disappointed,” blurted out Nasim Zehra, a current affairs presenter on a private TV channel. “Whether it is fact or fiction depends on the narratives. The distinguished speaker has been selective.”

“I too believe India-Pakistan is a must. Here we have been pushing for a new vision. You have to change the narrative,” she said to applause from the audience.

Ejaz Haider, executive director of Jinnah Institute, was more subtle.

“I agree with your poetry but what about the prose,” he told Dr Shashi Tharoor, who is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books. How India has behaved and been doing in the last 60 years should be kept in mind also.

India`s military intervention in East Pakistan is a special case because stronger states use humanitarian and other international laws for their real politik, he said.

As for Hajipir Pass, he noted that post-1965 India had to chose between that pass and Kargil and “chose correctly”.

Dr Tharoor replied to the points raised and questions that followed on the same lines, more as a diplomat than a politician.

“Once trust is built, everything would be solved,” he said....


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a excerpt from retiring PAF Chief Rao Suleman's farewell speech as reported in The Nation:

He said all the latest weapon systems have been inducted and operationalised ; the fighter fleet has been upgraded with the fourth generation fighter aircraft and force multipliers.

He pointed out that the PAF has established two squadrons of its very own indigenously produced JF-17 Thunder Aircraft whose production started in the last three years.

This aircraft also saw unprecedented success in various exercises and international Air Shows the world over.

Air Chief Marshal Qamar Suleman said other major inductions included Saab-2000 AEW&C, ZDK-03 AWACS, IL-76 air-to-air refuellers and Spada-2000 Lomad systems. Alongside induction of sophisticated equipment, its operationalisation and availability for operations was attained in a very professional manner within these 3 years.

He said handling technologies four decades apart was the real test for the operational and technical experts of the PAF. They all can be proud of the fact that, despite limitations, PAF as a team with its talented human resource accomplished both the tasks in the most professional manner.

“Today we can claim with confidence that the technical and operational capabilities of PAF have been strengthened to adequately meet all the challenges,” he declared.

He said another important achievement, while they were inducting and operationalising new hardware, participating in national and international exercises, revamping training system, operating the legacy systems and undertaking all operational tasks as necessitated by the environment, the PAF also accomplished maximum flying in its history.

For two consecutive years, PAF crossed the 90,000 hrs mark and they could be proud of the fact that these feats were accomplished while achieving the best ever flight safety record in these three years and making 2010 an accident free year first time in our history and that too with maximum flying during the year.

The outgoing Air Chief said during the last three years, there have been numerous new initiatives, introduction of new policies and systems, very large number of successful operational and non-operational accomplishments and meaningful contributions towards nation building as well as provision of support during natural calamities. All this could not have been possible without Allah Almighty’s blessings and devotion, dedication and hard work by his excellent team, which included all the PSOs, ACsAS, field commanders and all airmen of the PAF.


Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of a McClatchy report on Indian involvement in Baloch insurgency in Pakistan:

Pakistan repeatedly has claimed that India is supporting the Baluch uprising. Insurgents deny it, but some Western diplomats believe there's evidence to back up the charge.

A diplomatic cable sent Dec. 31, 2009, from the U.S. consulate in Karachi and obtained by WikiLeaks said it was "plausible" that Indian intelligence was helping the Baluch insurgents. An earlier 2008 cable - discussing the Mumbai attack that was reportedly hatched by Pakistan-based terrorists - reported fears by British officials that "intense domestic pressure would force Delhi to respond, at the minimum, by ramping up covert support to nationalist militants fighting the Pakistani army in Baluchistan."

"Indians are 100 percent funding and training" the separatists in camps in Afghanistan, alleged a senior Pakistan security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to reporters.

The official estimated that the various insurgent groups combined had 3,000 to 4,000 fighters, but that their capability "does not compare" to the superior fighters of the Pakistani Taliban, who are battling security forces in the northwest tribal areas.

Pakistani security officials believe that the insurgency is controlled by two exiled leaders, both tribal chiefs: Bramadagh Bugti, who lives in Switzerland and allegedly controls the Baluch Republican Army, and Hyrbyair Marri, who's based in London and is linked to the Baluchistan Liberation Army. Both men deny running these groups.

This year, Islamabad proposed to drop all outstanding criminal cases against Bugti and Marri and enter into negotiations - an offer that was rebuffed.

"We are occupied by Pakistan, which has done nothing for the Baluch except plunder us for 60 years," said Marri, speaking by telephone from London. "The only negotiation we are willing to hold with Pakistan is the withdrawal of its forces from our land."

The rebels have killed 166 Frontier Corpsmen since 2009, according to the military's public relations wing. The Baluchistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility in March for killing two police officers in Quetta.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan believes that some 800 settlers, including schoolteachers, barbers and professors who had origins in Punjab province, have been murdered in Baluchistan since 2006, seemingly by separatists. The rebels also have killed hundreds of fellow Baluch whom they accuse of siding with Pakistan or spying for it.

On March 10, six young and apparently unarmed Bugti men were executed by the Baluch Republican Army in the rebel stronghold of Dera Bugti. Many civilians also have been killed by landmines planted by insurgents.

Baluchistan is effectively under martial law. Naseebullah Bazai, the top civilian security official, insisted that day-to-day administration was handled by civilian authorities but added that "our resources do not meet the challenges in any way."

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/04/01/3528430/in-remote-baluchistan-pakistan.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC story on an India spy returning from Pak jail:

Surjeet Singh, an Indian spy, was released last week after more than 30 years in a Pakistani prison. The BBC's Geeta Pandey travels to his village in the northern Indian state of Punjab to hear his story.

When Surjeet Singh left home to go to Pakistan on a cold winter's day in December 1981, he told his wife he would return very soon. It was 30 years and six months before they saw each other again and his jet black beard had turned white.

While he was incarcerated for spying in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, his family had given him up for dead. He was utterly isolated; he didn't receive a single visitor or even a letter. Some of his time in prison was spent awaiting his end on death row. Only his faith sustained him.

"All because of the almighty. He helped me through those long years," he says.

While India's economy boomed in those three decades, tragedy struck his own family. His eldest son died, as did four of his brothers, his father and two sisters.
'Hurt and angry'

So when Mr Singh came across the Wagah border last week at the age of 73, he returned to a country and a family that had undergone radical change.
Mr Singh says the government has treated him 'unfairly" and that he is willing to fight for what is rightfully his. But if the authorities continue to deny that he worked for them?

"I have documentary proof, I will go to the Supreme Court to get what is my right," he threatens.

Mr Singh declined to show me the documentary proof and it is unclear exactly what his role was. He seems to have acted partly as a courier and says he did some recruiting of Pakistani agents.

He says that as a young man, he worked for a few years with the paramilitary Border Security Force before leaving it in 1968 to become a farmer. In the mid-1970s, he says the Indian army recruited him to work as a spy.

"I did 85 trips to Pakistan," he says. "I would visit Pakistan and bring back documents for the army. I always returned the next day. I had never had any trouble."

But on his last trip, things went horribly wrong.

"I had gone across the border to recruit a Pakistani agent. When I returned with him, an Indian official on the border insulted him. He slapped the agent and wouldn't allow him in. The agent was upset so I had to escort him back to Pakistan. In Lahore, he revealed my identity to the Pakistani authorities."
There are other Indians in Pakistan's jails. Mr Singh says there are 20-odd Indian prisoners in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat prison - all accused of spying. Two others - Sarabjit Singh, India's most famous prisoner, and Kirpal Singh - are on death row.

But, he says, India has done little to secure their freedom.

"The government doesn't care. It refuses to do anything for these Indian prisoners. The authorities forget that these men are also someone's husband, someone's son, someone's brother."

India's policy on the issue is not to comment.

When he did not return home as promised, his wife Harbans Kaur initially thought he was held up for work. But when days turned into weeks and weeks into months and months into years, she says she didn't know what to think.

"I didn't know whether he was dead or alive," she told me.

Daughter Parminder Kaur was 12 or 13 when her father went missing. Parminder and her siblings had to drop out of school soon after as the family couldn't afford to educated them.


Riaz Haq said...

Yet another mass shooting in America--this time at Sikh temple where a white supremacist gunman killed Sikhs apparently mistaking them for Muslims.


The subtext to this and similar anti-Sikh violence appears to be the hysterical Islamophobic rhetoric that conflates all Muslims with terrorists and it amounts to outright fearmongering. It must stop to free us all from these kinds of incidents in America. Rather than distancing themselves from fellow Americans who happen to be Muslim, the Sikhs and other minorities as well as the white Christian majority must take a stand against such violence. I applaud Ethan for this timely and well-written piece in this regard.


In addition to the hateful rhetoric of some American Islamphbes and xenophobes, the consequences of hateful Hindutva rhetoric not just on Muslims but others as well...the kind of consequences suffered by Norwegians about a year ago.

It appears that the Norwegian white supremacist terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik’s manifesto against the “Islamization of Western Europe” has been heavily influenced by the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric which is typical of the Nazi-loving Hindu Nationalists like late Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906-1973), and his present-day Sangh Parivar followers and sympathizers in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who currently rule several Indian states.

This Hindutva rhetoric which infected Breivik has been spreading like a virus on the Internet, particularly on many of the well-known Islamophobic hate sites that have sprouted up in Europe and America in recent years. In fact, much of the Breivik manifesto is cut-and-pastes of anti-Muslim blog posts and columns that validated his worldview.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times piece on how Bollywood portrays Pakistan and Pakistanis:

...the need for patriotic films arose as the newly formed nation was looking for a reason to remain united. Pakistan became a convenient excuse. As India’s national identity began to strengthen in the 1960s, jingoistic films began to emerge.

Manoj Kumar’s 1967 classic, “Upkar,” for instance, had covert references to Pakistan, but never named the country outright. The protagonist in the film is suggestively called Bharat (Hindi for India), who takes a moral high ground when his younger brother asks for the family property to be divided between them.
The younger brother (Pakistan is metaphorically called the younger brother of India) is the evil one, who exploits the older one’s tolerance. “Such family metaphors were used by the industry until much, much later,” said Namrata Joshi, associate editor of Outlook magazine.

Professor Kumar said it wasn’t until 1973, in Chetan Anand’s “Hindustan Ki Kasam,” which was based on the 1971 war between the two countries, that a movie made unambiguous references to Pakistan. “But Pakistan still remained an unnamed malevolent power on Indian screens,” he said.
The 1990s saw a sudden spurt in Hindi films talking about the tensions with Pakistan. “The problem was that Indian filmmakers chose to see Pakistan in only military terms. No one tried to portray or even find out what Pakistani society looked like,” Professor Kumar said. “They began to equate Pakistan to its ‘evil’ military.”

Films like “Border,” based on the 1971 war with Pakistan, were released, where patriotism took on a new definition. “You loved India only if you hated Pakistan,” said Ms. Joshi of Outlook.
A typical modern-day Hindi film on the tension between the two countries would have morally upright Indians and sinful Pakistanis. “However, they always distinguished Indian Muslims and Pakistani Muslims. The former were always the good guys,” said the journalist and film critic Aseem Chhabra.

The cross-border tensions on screens portrayed a rather subtle gender politics as well. “I don’t remember a film where the girl is from India and the boy from Pakistan,” said Ms. Joshi. “India had to have an upper hand sexually as well.”

The Hindi film industry witnessed some high-octane nationalism in the early 2000s with films like “Gadar” and “Maa Tujhe Salaam” having blatant Pakistan-bashing scenes. Pakistan was the evil enemy, much like what the former Soviet Union was to the United States during the Cold War
The way the Hindi film industry has looked at Pakistan has always been dependent on the mood of the nation and government policies. “But now, filmmakers keep in mind the mood of the market as well,” Professor Kumar said, “because Pakistan is emerging as a huge market for Bollywood films.” As Pakistani diaspora increases in number, this market would further expand....
Despite these changes in sentiment, films featuring cross-border espionage like “Agent Vinod” and Salman Khan’s “Ek Tha Tiger,” which released Wednesday, still face problems with the censors on both sides of the borders.

“With Indo-Pak films, as with Indo-Pak relations, it is always one step forward and two steps back,” said Professor Kumar.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a Daily Times Op Ed by Saad Hafiz on recent India-Pakistan flareup:

The problem of the organisational relationship between a larger and smaller power plays a role in the confrontation. India is frustrated that in its relationship with Pakistan, its overwhelming military and economic superiority is not counting for much. Pakistan on the other hand, continues its obsessive pursuit of ‘parity’ with India and a pathological refusal to accept any status of inferiority. In the words of the South-Asia scholar Stephen Cohen: “One of the most important puzzles of India-Pakistan relations is not why the smaller Pakistan feels encircled and threatened, but why the larger India does. It would seem that India, seven times more populous than Pakistan and five times its size, and which defeated Pakistan in 1971, would feel more secure. This has not been the case and Pakistan remains deeply embedded in Indian thinking. There are historical, strategic, ideological, and domestic reasons why Pakistan remains the central obsession of much of the Indian strategic community, just as India remains Pakistan’s.”

There are powerful hardliners in the two countries with sizeable constituencies of their own, dogmatically committed to the policy of enmity. These constituencies advocate retrogressive and religion-based policies at home and hostile relations across the borders. They have over time refined a mindset that prompts their supporters to talk of teaching each other a lesson. Both governments should have taken steps to curb and contain these constituencies. Neither government has so far demonstrated any desire to do so. Both governments should recognise that the resolution of outstanding issues rests squarely on them. People-to-people contacts can create a favourable climate, but they cannot by themselves pave the way for peace.
If the examples of the countries that have established durable peace after prolonged confrontation are any guide, a willingness to concede ground is critical to establishing peace. The rhetoric of hollow nationalism without a willingness to honourably concede substantial ground is not adequate for peace-making. People have to be psychologically prepared that durable peace is not achievable without substantial concessions. They have to be made aware that the concessions made would be in the long-term interest of the two countries. Until this is done, a sound basis for trust and conflict-resolution cannot be created.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a news report about Obama's nominee for US Defense Secretary saying India has been "financing problems" for Pakistan in Afghanistan:

Secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel suggested in a previously unreleased 2011 speech that India has “for many years” sponsored terrorist activities against Pakistan in Afghanistan.

“India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan” in Afghanistan, Hagel said during a 2011 address regarding Afghanistan at Oklahoma’s Cameron University, according to video of the speech obtained by the Free Beacon.


Hagel appears to accuse India of fueling tensions with Pakistan, claiming it is using Afghanistan “as a second front” against Pakistan.

“India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border,” Hagel says in the speech. “And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being [that] the tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years.”



Riaz Haq said...

Here's a CFR piece by Daniel Markey on US to mediate India-Pakistan disputes:

The Afghan civil war of the 1990s was partly fueled by longstanding Indo-Pakistani rivalry, with different Afghan factions receiving support from different regional neighbors. The United States has a clear interest in avoiding a similar outcome as it disengages from the current war in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, promoting Indo-Pakistani dialogue on Afghanistan will not be easy. The conventional wisdom holds that heavy-handed U.S. diplomacy—exerting pressure or attempting direct mediation—will hit a wall in Islamabad and irritate New Delhi. The new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry could reject that argument, but he should first study the discouraging history of U.S. diplomatic efforts in Kashmir. U.S. mediators have repeatedly found that American intervention encourages both sides to play Washington against one another rather than to tackle their disputes head on.

Instead, Kerry could take another run at talks with a wider circle of Afghanistan's neighbors—from Central Asia and the Persian Gulf to China, India, and Russia—as Ambassador Richard Holbrooke attempted early in President Obama's first term. That agenda foundered in part because of Washington's dilemma on how to deal with Afghanistan's western neighbor, Iran. Or, Kerry could shift diplomatic action to a multilateral setting like the United Nations. But the UN has not been a favorite venue for Islamabad or Washington and might also be resisted by New Delhi, for fear of a setting a diplomatic precedent that could be applied to the Kashmir region.

A more promising alternative might be for the United States to invite India, Pakistan, and China into quiet four-way talks. Beijing could be convinced to participate given its increasing concerns about stability in Afghanistan after the United States' anticipated withdrawal in 2014. To succeed, Beijing would then need to allay Islamabad's concerns about talking about Afghanistan with India and Washington would have to counter New Delhi's reluctance to acknowledge China's enhanced role in South Asian affairs.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times blog post by Huma Yusuf on conspiracy theories in Pakistan:

As the security situation in Pakistan continues to deteriorate, trading conspiracy theories has become the new national pastime. Nothing is more popular on the airwaves, at dinner parties or around tea stalls than to speculate, especially about American activities on Pakistani soil.

According to many Pakistanis, the C.I.A. used a mysterious technology to cause the devastating floods that affected 20 million people in 2010. Washington had the teenage champion for girls’ education, Malala Yousafzai, shot as part of a campaign to demonize the Pakistani Taliban and win public support for American drone strikes against them. The terrorists who strike Pakistani targets are non-Muslim “foreign agents.” Osama bin Laden was an American operative.

The Pakistani penchant for conspiracy theories results from decades of military rule, during which the army controlled the media and the shadowy Inter-Services Intelligence agency controlled much of everything else. The lack of transparency and scarcity of information during subsequent democratic rule has further fueled rumors.

Mostly, however, conspiracy theories persist because many turn out to be true.

A few years ago, Pakistan’s independent media denounced the presence in Pakistan of C.I.A. agents and private security firms like Blackwater. While U.S. and Pakistani government officials denied any such infiltration, private television channels broadcast footage of the homes of Westerners, allegedly Blackwater agents. One right-wing newspaper, The Nation, even named one Wall Street Journal correspondent as a C.I.A. spy, forcing him to leave the country.

For a time liberal Pakistanis condemned this as a witch hunt and decried poor journalistic ethics. But soon the international media disclosed that Blackwater was in fact operating in Pakistan at an airbase in Baluchistan used by the C.I.A.

Then it was revealed that the American citizen who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in January 2011 — an American diplomat, the U.S. government claimed initially — turned out to be a C.I.A. agent, just as many conspiracy theorists had surmised.

And what about those U.S. drone strikes targeting militants in Pakistan’s tribal belt? It turns out those suspicious Pakistanis were right to imagine that their own government was complicit. That became clear when, in November 2011, to protest a NATO airstrike that killed Pakistani soldiers near the border with Afghanistan, the Pakistani government ordered the C.I.A. to leave the Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan, from where the drone attacks were being launched.

Other rumors concern India, Pakistan’s long-time rival. Zaid Hamid, a jihadist-turned-policy analyst, alleges that the Indian spy agency R.A.W. funds and arms the Pakistani Taliban. Some Pakistani officials accuse New Delhi of facilitating the separatist insurgency in Baluchistan.

This paranoia was confirmed this week by Chuck Hagel, the new U.S. secretary of defense. A video clip from 2011 that circulated during his confirmation hearings shows Hagel claiming that India uses Afghanistan as a “second front” against Pakistan and “has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.”

The allegation outraged the Indian government and undermined liberal Pakistanis who believe India wants a stable Pakistan and support improved bilateral ties. Meanwhile, of course, it validated those conspiracy mongers who have long warned that India wants to culturally subsume, colonize or destroy Pakistan.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report on US Ambassador James Dobbins acknowledging validity of Pak allegations of India's anti-Pak activities in Afghanistan:

Pakistan's concerns over India's presence in Afghanistan are exaggerated but "not groundless", US Special Envoy James Dobbins has told the BBC.

Islamabad accuses Delhi of fomenting trouble on its western border through its consular presence in the Afghan cities of Kandahar and Jalalabad.

India denies the charge and says it is working on trade and development.

India has spent $2bn on development projects in Afghanistan and has strong diplomatic and trade ties with Kabul.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Dobbins said the Indian presence in Afghan cities was minuscule and it was "perfectly reasonable" because of their economic and cultural ties.

'Somewhat exaggerated'
Mr Dobbins, US special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, has recently returned from a trip to the region along with the Secretary of State John Kerry.

He said that Islamabad was also concerned about the issue of "cross-border militancy".

"The dominant infiltration of militants is from Pakistan into Afghanistan, but we recognise that there is some infiltration of hostile militants from the other direction as well. So Pakistan's concerns aren't groundless… They are simply, in our judgement, somewhat exaggerated," Mr Dobbins said.

In the past, US officials have expressed such sentiments in private, but this is the first time that a diplomat has said it openly.

Kabul has often blamed Pakistan-backed militants for violence in Afghanistan.

The US too has expressed its unhappiness over havens provided to these militants in Pakistan.

Mr Dobbins said the issue had been discussed at great length with Pakistan.

"We do remain concerned about the relative freedom with which Afghan insurgents can operate out of Pakistan," he said.

"We believe that Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US need to collaborate much more closely to deal with this threat of cross-border infiltration."

He said that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was "quite warm" to the idea of talking to the Taliban and had asked Pakistan to facilitate contact between the Afghan High Peace Council and the insurgents.

He said he hoped that the talks could begin within the next three months.


Riaz Haq said...

A crowd of Indian ruling Congress's "youth wing" attacked Pak High Commission building in New Delhi to protest against alleged killing of Indian soldiers in Kashmir. Here's a BBC report on Indian media's reaction to the latest round of LoC tensions in Kashmir:

Media in India are expressing mixed views on whether India should hold peace talks with Pakistan following the killing of five soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir.

India's army on Tuesday accused Pakistan over the incident, saying their troops had "entered the Indian area and ambushed" an army patrol in Poonch in the Jammu region.

A Pakistani military official, however, said "no fire took place" from their side.

The latest incident comes as the two sides are preparing for peace talks, the first since a new Pakistani government took office, to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

The Hindustan Times, in its editorial, says that such "grave provocations have to be tempered with pragmatism. At the moment, to be very realistic, India's best bet is to talk to them and at least gauge what measures can be taken to avert such incidents in the future".

The Indian Express, on the other hand, feels that by cracking under pressure, the government has "put dialogue with Pakistan at risk".

The paper adds that "giving vent to aggression will only hurt at a juncture when the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is set to unleash a period of instability".

The Times of India, however, says the killings of five soldiers "needs to be condemned in the harshest terms" and the army must "beef up its preparedness and strengthen its tactics" at the border.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Hindustan Times report on India's special intelligence unit for covert ops in Pakistan:

The military intelligence unit set up by former army chief General VK Singh was involved in sensitive covert operations in Pakistan and was even on the trail of 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, officials associated with it have told HT.

“Our main task was to combat the rising trend of state-sponsored terrorism by the ISI and we had developed contacts across the Line of Control in a bid to infiltrate Hafiz Saeed’s inner circle,” an official who served with the controversial Technical Services Division (TSD) said.

Asked for an official response, an army spokesperson said, “The unit has been disbanded. Details of the unit, which was the subject matter of an inquiry, are only known to the Chief and a few senior officers. It is for the defence ministry now to initiate any further inquiries.”

related story

Govt vetting report on ex-Gen VK Singh's snoop unit
CBI probe likely into functioning of secret unit set up by VK Singh
The spook unit was set up after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks on a defence ministry directive asking for the creation of covert capability.

Army documents, perused by HT, reveal the senior-most officers signed off on the formation of this unit. File No A/106/TSD and 71018/ MI give details of approvals by the Director General Military Intelligence, vice-chief and chief of army staff.

The TSD — disbanded after allegations that it spied on defence ministry officials through off-the-air interceptors — was raised as a strategic force multiplier for preparing, planning and executing special operations “inside depth areas of countries of interest and countering enemy efforts within the country by effective covert means”.

But it then got caught in an internecine battle between army chiefs. The TSD – which reported directly to Gen VK Singh — used secret service funds to initiate a PIL against current chief General Bikram Singh. As reported by HT in October 2012, secret funds were paid to an NGO to file the PIL, in a bid to stall Bikram Singh’s appointment as chief.

However, covert ops were the unit’s essential mandate and deniability was built into it and it reads, “The proposed organization (TSD) will enable the military intelligence directorate to provide a quick response to any act of state-sponsored terrorism with a high degree of deniability.”

Its task was to carry out special missions and “cover any tracks leading to the organisation”.

Though covert operations were formally shut down by IK Gujral when he was PM in 1997, sources reveal the TSD carried out several such operations within and outside the country — such as Op Rehbar 1, 2 and 3 (in Kashmir), Op Seven Sisters (Northeast) and Op Deep Strike (Pakistan).

Controversy is dogging the unit once again after disclosures in The Indian Express that secret service funds were also used to destabilize the Omar Abdullah government in Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP has raised questions over the timing of the disclosures. While the defence ministry has had the inquiry report since March, the revelations have come soon after Singh shared the stage with the saffron party’s PM candidate Narendra Modi last Sunday.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Indian view of Waar as published in Emirate 24X7:

One of the most intense rivals on the cricket field, India and Pakistan are capable of turning a dead rubber into a fierce battle of egos.

Now, the film industries of these two countries have realised the box office potential of turning a movie into an ‘India vs Pakistan’ affair.

The age-old rivalry is given the re-make treatment with renewed vigour and often a cross-border love angle, after all, in Bollywood and Lollywood, love still rules.

Pakistan’s latest super-hit film 'Waar' seems fair give-back for a generation of cross-border bashing films coming out of India – including 'Ek Tha Tiger', 'Gadar' and 'Agent Vinod'.

In Shaan Shahid's 'Waar' (Strike), militants overrun a Pakistani police academy and kill 100 officers. An Indian spy and her accomplice are behind the success of the mission.

Pakistan’s first big-budget movie depicts every volatile aspect of Pakistan’s rocky relationship with India.

Even in Pakistan, 'Waar' has been denounced by some liberals wary of what they see as fiery nationalistic rhetoric and scenes demonising India.

The narrative is simple and packed with action.

Indian villains team up with militants to plot spectacular attacks across Pakistan.

Pakistani security forces jump in and save the day.

'Waar' has proved to be hugely successful, attendees leapt to their feet to applaud the patriotic scenes.

Bilal Lashari, ‘Waar’s’ 31-year-old director, believes that too much is being read in-between the lines.

The fact that the Indian intelligence agency RAW features prominently has raised a few hackles.

Though Bilal confesses that there is a subtle hint of select Indian characters causing trouble in Pakistan, he re-emphasises that his is not a propaganda film and has to be looked as a 'high quality' entertainer.

The film has also revived the stagnating film industry in Pakistan.

If Pakistan's film industry has discovered this new means of minting money, Bollywood was flogging this potential script to death as early as the 1990s.

In the early 2000s, films like 'Gadar' and 'Maa Tujhe Salaam', were still based on blatant Pakistan-bashing scenes.

Recently, Saif Ali Khan's 'Agent Vinod' and Salman Khan’s 'Ek Tha Tiger' faced problems with the Pak censors boards.

Pakistan banned 'Agent Vinod' a few days before its scheduled release, most likely because of its critical portrayal of the Pakistan's generals and spies.

They are shown providing support to the Taliban in Afghanistan and scheming to set off a nuclear suitcase bomb in India's capital.

In 'Ek Tha Tiger' Katrina Kaif plays the role of a Pakistani spy posing as a scientist's part-time home caretaker while Salman Khan plays a RAW agent who falls in love with Kaif's character.

Films portraying love and peace between the two nations, work the reverse angle with some success - latest being 'Main Hoon Na' and 'Veer Zaara'.

Indo-Pak scripts are, by the final credits, a mirror reflection of the Indo-Pak political situation - one step forward and two steps back.


Riaz Haq said...

“I AM a rambo b**ch”: Meet drone defender Christine Fair who wants #India to militarily SQUASH #Pakistan http://www.salon.com/2015/11/04/i_am_a_rambo_bch_meet_the_drone_defender_who_hates_neo_cons_attacks_glenn_greenwald_and_may_have_conflicts_of_her_own/ … via @Salon

In a debate on the Al Jazeera program UpFront in October, Fair butted heads with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, a prominent critic of the U.S. drone program. Fair, notorious for her heated rhetoric, accused Greenwald of being a “liar” and insulted Al Jazeera several times, claiming the network does not appreciate “nuance” in the way she does. Greenwald in turn criticized Fair for hardly letting him get a word in; whenever he got a rare chance to speak, she would constantly interrupt him, leading host Mehdi Hasan to ask her to stop.

The lack of etiquette aside, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Shadi Hamid remarked that Fair’s arguments in the debate were “surprisingly weak.”

After the debate, Fair took to Twitter to mud-sling. She expressed pride at not letting Greenwald speak, boasting she “shut that lying clown down.” “I AM a rambo b**ch,” she proclaimed.

Fair also called Greenwald a “pathological liar, a narcissist, [and] a fool.” She said she would like to put Greenwald and award-winning British journalist Mehdi Hasan in a Pakistani Taliban stronghold, presumably to be tortured, “then ask ’em about drones.”

Elsewhere on social media, Fair has made similarly provocative comments. In a Facebook post, Fair called Pakistan “an enemy” and said “We invaded the wrong dog-damned country,” implying the U.S. should have invaded Pakistan, not Afghanistan.

In another Facebook post, Fair insisted that “India needs to woman up and SQUASH Pakistan militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically.” Both India and Pakistan are nuclear states.

Fair proudly identifies as a staunch liberal and advocates for a belligerent foreign policy. She rails against neo-conservatives, but chastises the Left for criticizing U.S. militarism. In 2012, she told a journalist on Twitter “Dude! I am still very much pro drones. Sorry. They are the least worst option. My bed of coals is set to 11.”

Despite the sporadic jejune Twitter tirade, Fair has established herself as one of the drone program’s most vociferous proponents. Fair is a specialist in South Asian politics, culture, and languages, with a PhD from the University of Chicago. She has published extensively, in a wide variety of both scholarly and journalistic publications. If you see an article in a large publication defending the U.S. drone program in Pakistan, there is a good chance she wrote or co-authored it.

Reviewing the “mountains of evidence”

After her debate with Greenwald, Fair wrote an article for the Brookings Institution’s Lawfare blog. While making jabs at Greenwald, Hasan, and Al Jazeera; characterizing her participation in the debate as an “ignominious distinction”; and implying that The Intercept, the publication co-founded by Greenwald with other award-winning journalists, is a criminal venture, not a whistleblowing news outlet, Fair forcefully defended the drone program.

Secret government documents leaked to The Intercept by a whistleblower show that 90 percent of people killed in U.S. drone strikes in a five-month period in provinces on Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan were not the intended targets. Fair accused The Intercept of “abusing” and selectively interpreting the government’s data. In a followup piece in the Huffington Post, she maintained that the findings of the Drone Papers do not apply to the drone program in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts from a right-wing Hindu publication hindunet.org on the history of water issues between India and Pakistan:

Following the partition of the sub-continent, India and Pakistan signed a "standstill agreement" on 18 December 1947 which guaranteed to maintain water supplies at the level of allocation in the pre-partition days. However, on 1 April 1948, India without any warning cut off supplies to Pakistan from both Ferozepur and Gurdaspur. The action was contrary to the letter and the spirit of the international law covering interstate river waters. The Barcelona Convention of 1921 on interstate river waters to which India was a signatory disallowed every State to stop or alter the course of a river which flowing through its own territories went into a neighbouring country and also forbade to use its waters in such a way as to imperil the lands in the neighbouring State or to impede their adequate use by the lower riparians. But India as the upper riparian of the Indus rivers was in a position of strength. India could deflect the Beas into the Sutlej above Bhakra or divert the Ravi into the Beas at Madhopur. It could construct a dam on Wular lake in the Kashmir valley and dry up the river Jhelum. A headwork on the Chenab at Dhiangarh, north of Jammu, could deflect the Chenab from its natural course into Pakistan. The major projects of the Bhakra, Pong and Thein dams then in the offing, if completed, could drain off the rivers of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi.


The Indus water Treaty was signed at Karachi on 19 September, 1960 by Prime Minister Nehru and President Ayub Khan. Under the agreement India promised to supply waters to Pakistan for the payment of expenses for operating the Madhopur and Ferozepur head works and their carrier channels, and also to contribute Rupees 100 crore for construction of replacement headworks to Pakistan.


Riaz Haq said...

India’s founding fathers set Pakistan up to fail by Nisid Hajari

....however exaggerated Pakistan’s fears may be now, Indian leaders bear great responsibility for creating them in the first place. Their resistance to the very idea of Pakistan made the 1947 partition of the subcontinent far bitterer than it needed to be. Within hours of independence, huge sectarian massacres had broken out on both sides of the border; anywhere from 200,000 to a million people would ultimately lose their lives in the slaughter. Pakistan reeled under a tidal wave of refugees, its economy and its government paralyzed and half-formed. Out of that crucible emerged a not-unreasonable conviction that larger, more powerful India hoped to strangle the infant Pakistan in its cradle — an anxiety that Pakistan, as the perpetually weaker party, has never entirely been able to shake.

Then as now, Indian leaders swore that they sought only brotherhood and amity between their two nations, and that Muslims in both should live free of fear. They responded to charges of warmongering by invoking their fealty to Mohandas K. Gandhi — the “saint of truth and nonviolence,” in the words of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In fact, Nehru, and Gandhi himself — the sainted “Mahatma,” or “great soul” — helped breed the fears that still haunt Pakistan today.

There’s little question, for instance, that Gandhi’s leadership of the Indian nationalist movement in the 1930s and 1940s contributed to Muslim alienation and the desire for an independent homeland. He introduced religion into a freedom movement that had until then been the province of secular lawyers and intellectuals, couching his appeals to India’s masses in largely Hindu terms. (“His Hindu nationalism spoils everything,” Russian writer Leo Tolstoy wrote of Gandhi’s early years as a rabble-rouser.) Even as Gandhi’s Indian National Congress party claimed to speak for all citizens, its membership remained more than 90 percent Hindu.

Muslims, who formed a little under a quarter of the 400 million citizens of pre-independence India, could judge from Congress’s electoral victories in the 1930s what life would look like if the party took over from the British: Hindus would control Parliament and the bureaucracy, the courts and the schools; they’d favor their co-religionists with jobs, contracts, and political favors. The louder Gandhi and Nehru derided the idea of creating a separate state for Muslims, the more necessary one seemed.

Ironically, Gandhi may have done the most damage at what is normally considered his moment of triumph — the waning months of British rule. When the first pre-Partition riots between Hindus and Muslims broke out in Calcutta in August 1946, exactly one year before independence, he endorsed the idea that thugs loyal to Mohammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, the country’s dominant Muslim party, had deliberately provoked the killings. The truth is hardly so clear-cut: It appears more likely that both sides geared up for violence during scheduled pro-Pakistan demonstrations, and initial clashes quickly spiraled out of control.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s founding fathers set Pakistan up to fail by Nisid Hajari...contd

Two months later, after lurid reports emerged of a massacre of Hindus in the remote district of Noakhali in far eastern Bengal, Gandhi fueled Hindu hysteria rather than tamping it down. Nearing 80 by then, his political ideas outdated and his instincts dulled by years of adulation, he remained the most influential figure in the country. His evening prayer addresses were quoted and heeded widely. While some Congress figures presented over-hyped casualty counts for the massacre — party chief J.B. Kripalani estimated a death toll in the millions, though the final tally ended up less than 200 — Gandhi focused on wildly exaggerated claims that marauders had raped tens of thousands of Hindu women. Controversially, he advised the latter to “suffocate themselves or … bite their tongues to end their lives” rather than allow themselves to be raped.

Within weeks, local Congress politicians in the nearby state of Bihar were leading ugly rallies calling for Hindus to avenge the women of Noakhali. According to New York Times reporter George Jones, in their foaming outrage “it became rather difficult to differentiate” between the vicious sectarianism of Congress and radical Hindu groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), whose cadres had begun drilling with weapons to prevent the Partition of India. Huge mobs formed in Bihar — where Hindus outnumbered Muslims 7 to 1 — and spread across the monsoon-soaked countryside.Huge mobs formed in Bihar — where Hindus outnumbered Muslims 7 to 1 — and spread across the monsoon-soaked countryside. In a fortnight of killing, they slaughtered more than 7,000 Muslims. The pogroms virtually eliminated any hope of compromise between Congress and the League.

Equally troubling was the moral cover the Mahatma granted his longtime followers Nehru and “Sardar” Vallabhbhai Patel — a Gujarati strongman much admired by Modi, who also hails from Gujarat and who served as the state’s chief minister for over a decade. Echoing Gandhi’s injunction against pushing anyone into Pakistan against their wishes, Nehru and Patel insisted that the huge provinces of Punjab and Bengal be split into Muslim and non-Muslim halves, with the latter areas remaining with India.

Jinnah rightly argued that such a division would cause chaos. Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs were inextricably mixed in the Punjab, with the latter in particular spread across both sides of the proposed border. Sikh leaders vowed not to allow their community to be split in half. They helped set off the chain of Partition riots in August 1947 by targeting and trying to drive out Muslims from India’s half of the province, in part to make room for their Sikh brethren relocating from the other side.

Jinnah also correctly predicted that a too-weak Pakistan, stripped of the great port and industrial center of Calcutta, would be deeply insecure. Fixated on building up its own military capabilities and undermining India’s, it would be a source of endless instability in the region. Yet Nehru and Patel wanted it to be even weaker. They contested every last phone and fighter jet in the division of colonial assets and gloated that Jinnah’s rump state would soon beg to reunite with India.


Riaz Haq said...

#Indian officials: #India to deploy 464 newly ordered T-90MS tanks along border with #Pakistan | IHS Jane's 360 http://www.janes.com/article/67082/india-to-deploy-newly-ordered-t-90ms-tanks-along-border-with-pakistan#.WIF7UOuXjB0.twitter …

The Indian Army (IA) plans to deploy about 464 newly ordered T-90MS main battle tanks (MBTs) along India's western and northern borders with Pakistan, military officials told IHS Jane's on 19 January.

The T-90MS MBTs, which are being acquired in kit form from Russia for INR134.80 billion (USD2 billion), will in the coming years supplement around 850-900 Bhishma MBTs currently deployed in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Punjab, both of which border Pakistan.

Bhishma is the designation for the Indian variant of the T-90S MBT, the export model of the T-90 MBT in use with the Russian Ground Forces.

Riaz Haq said...

At #G20Summit, #Modi's obsession with #Pakistan continues with attacks on #India's neighbor http://toi.in/yeMKea via @timesofindia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at Pakistan at the G-20 summit on Friday as he named terror groups LeT and JeM along with global scourges IS and Boko Haram to drive home the point that some countries use terrorism as a tool and that the outfits are united by a common ideology despite different labels.
Looking to take the lead on terrorism, Modi also presented a 11-point Action Agenda for fighting the global menace as he made a clear reference to Pakistan when he said "some nations are using terrorism for achieving political goals".
Modi named Lashkar and Jaish in the same vein as IS, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. "Their only ideology is to spread hatred and commit massacres," he added. He said all these groups had the same basic ideology even if they went by different names. Modi emphasised that nations today are not as well networked as terrorists are.
The G-20 leaders' statement reflected the "safe havens" concern to some extent. "There should be no `safe spaces' for terrorist financing anywhere in the world...In order to eliminate all such `safe spaces', we commit to intensify capacity building and technical assistance, especially in relation to terrorist financing hot spots," it said. The statement stressed the resolve to make the international financial system "entirely hostile" to terror financing.