Tuesday, April 7, 2009

India's Covert War in Pakistan

President Barack Obama's new regional strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan envisions persuading Pakistan to stop focusing military resources on its regional rival, India, so it can concentrate more on fighting insurgents in its FATA region. This goal may be especially hard to achieve given the longstanding Kashmir dispute, mounting evidence of India's involvement in destabilizing Pakistan via Afghanistan, the history of three wars in South Asia in more than a half century — and a nuclear arms race — between the two neighbors.

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."

The dismissal by the Obama administration of Pakistani concerns about its arch rival India does not make sense in view of the demonstration of unrestrained Indian hostility toward Pakistan. The success of Indian government and the pro-India Washington lobby in excluding India from Ambassador Richard Holbrooke's mandate significantly reduces the chances of Obama's success in the region. Add to that the ongoing US predator strikes claiming many Pakistani civilian lives, the concerted media campaign by the US to vilify the the ISI and blame Pakistani military for all the problems, and you can see the seeds of total failure of the new regional strategy being sown by Team Obama.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The commentators and policy-makers who call for Pakistan to ignore the Indian threat are either naive, lacking a real appreciation for the reality on the ground, or they are deliberately being disingenuous. As obvious from the virulent anti-Pakistan commentary that emanates from India on the Internet, media outlets and various international forums, the visceral hatred of Pakistan appears to part of the DNA of a significant segment of Indian population.

While Pakistan's religious right wing has very little support as demonstrated by repeated polls, including recent election results , Indians do vote in large numbers for openly anti-Muslim parties like the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, who are at least as big a threat to Pakistan's existence as the Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Notwithstanding increased US aid to Pakistan, the unilateral and impractical demands on Pakistanis by the Obama administration while continuing Predator strikes and the dismissal of the strategic interests of Pakistan in its neighborhood are not conducive to the success of US strategy in the region.

Related Links:

India and Balochistan

Obama's New Regional Strategy

Webchat On Obama's New Regional Strategy

Obama's Afghan Exit Strategy

Obama's Interview with CBS 60 Minutes

Obama's New Regional Strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan

US Escalating Covert War in Pakistan?

Can India "Do a Lebanon in Pakistan?

20th Anniversary of Soviet Defeat in Afghanistan

Taming the ISI: Implications for Pakistan’s Stability and the War on Terrorism

Growing Insurgency in Swat

Afghan War and Collapse of the Soviet Union

US, NATO Fighting to Stalemate in Afghanistan?

FATA Faceoff Fears

FATA Raid Charades


Anonymous said...


YOu have made a conspiracy theory that india was the creator of problem. Proabably one of your buddy has extended this and has made a case that the current problem of pakistan is being made by USA / Israel.



But the fundamental question which neither you nor the other site handles is that why is the country not taking care of its inherent weakness so that no third party can exploit it whether it is israel / usa / india.

Riaz Haq said...


Regardless of the sources cited, the best way to dismiss anything you don't agree with is to dismiss it as conspiracy theory. As far I know, Rand Corp and Foreign Policy magazine are not exactly known for spinning baseless theories about conspiracies.

What Pakistanis need to do is to be alert to the dual threats posed by the Taliban and the Indians so they can deal with them. Ignoring either one is going to be very dangerous to Pakistan's heath.

Jadev,India said...

From American sources given here..nobody states that India is supporting Pak or Afghan Taliban (of course Baluchis) that target NATO forces. So you have twisted and turned what you seen in these links and mixed it up with credible anonymous Pak offical sources(an oxymoron)..that Indian missions are somehow supporting Taliban. It is even more ridiculous some of Pak allegations without even a photograph that "Indian made" small arms have been captured from terrorists. Pak has one of the highest density automatic weapon possession among the population, so India which imports Eastern European small arms for its own CI, will somehow send "Indian made" small arms to Pak's indigenous freedom struggles is appalling.
Sure India has indigenous smalls arms capability but they are infantry battle field rifles like INSAS which need so much training in marksmanship to effectively use it and cost 3 times an AK-47 and worse it works only in single/burst mode and doesnot support automatic mode favoured by terrorist-types.
"The Indians have - by many accounts - had a longstanding connection with Baluch nationalists/separatists in Pakistan, but these are not Taliban and they aren't active in Afghanistan fighting against US/NATO forces. So yes, India gives Pakistan grief (as Pakistan has in India), but I've seen no evidence that it comes from Pakistani or Afghan Taliban."

Anonymous said...

"Indians do vote in large numbers for openly anti-Muslim parties like the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, who are at least as big a threat to Pakistan's existence as the Al Qaeda and the Taliban."

A few differences Riaz- the BJP/Sangh parivar do not appoint 12 year old boys to behead people. They dont flog young girls for apparently no reason. LK Advani is not a bearded terrorist coward who is hiding in a cave somewhere as Pakistan's guest. It has always been known that you are jihadist symphatiser, but this time you have gone too far.

Admittedly they are crackpots, for whom the Indian electorate often has the right answer.

Even if India is supporting these groups (which i hope she is, because it would only expedite the process), i see nothing wrong. After all, Pakistan has OVERTLY supported 'freedom fighters' in Kashmir for a long time now. I suggest you try to control your own borders before you go fishing for new territories.

Anonymous said...

And Riaz, please read the Wikipedia entry on the Rand Corporation.

"The RAND Corporation has been criticized as militarist. Due to the nature of its work, the RAND corporation also frequently plays a role in conspiracy theories."

Anonymous said...

Pakistans health????? What health Riaz??? The burial cries are being learnt in Madrassas and school history texts by Pakistan students.You do not need any nation to destroy pakistan.We are doing it ourselves very fast!
Thanks to our ISI idiots and army.Did you tour Pakistan recently if not you need to seriously-you will know where the nation is headed. One wishes that people come to this blog to learn but you know what that scares me-the fact that percent of learnt we actually have in our nation and I MEAN NOT MADRASSA CRAP but actual public school learners in Pakistan is abysmal for the population to understand the tenets of peace and democracy.
India and US or Afghanistan cannot destroy us because we are doing it pretty systematically. Thanks to US for elimination some shit our ISI idiots created.

Riaz Haq said...

Jadev: " From American sources given here..nobody states that India is supporting Pak or Afghan Taliban (of course Baluchis) that target NATO forces."

Please carefully read the Foreign Policy Magazine article by Laura Rozen I have referenced in the post. It cites a US intelligence official as the source that Indians are using elements among the Taliban to attack Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "the BJP/Sangh parivar do not appoint 12 year old boys to behead people. They dont flog young girls for apparently no reason."

You are right. But they do much worse. They kill thousands of Muslims and Christians and get away with it. For example, there have been well reported massacres of Christians in Orissa and Muslims in Gujarat. The names of the politicians, businessmen, officials and policemen who colluded in the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 are widely known. Some of them were caught on video, in a sting carried out last year by the weekly magazine Tehelka, proudly recalling how they murdered and raped Muslims. But, as Amnesty International pointed out in a recent report, justice continues to evade most victims and survivors of the violence. Tens of thousands still languish in refugee camps, too afraid to return to their homes.

Anonymous said...

India has mainstream politicians openly advocating genocide without any consequences. Not many countries in the world can claim this distinction. Pakistan will have to protect its interest u.s. is looking for quick solutions.

Jadev,India said...

Sorry about that..on a second sweep, I got that part..but I believe that quote is not sourced from RAND Corp and rather from a anonymous state dept.There are rumors that Indian tri-service DIA(Defence Intelligence Agency) along with Riyast-i-Amniyat-i-Milli(RAM) has started a covert operation in Baluchistan from 2002 and till now RAW haven't been authorized to restart its special operations.So I guess Indian covert operations have been designated to a specialized military intelligence agency and civilian counter-intelligence RAW has been told to keep away from covert operations as it is a major distraction from what an intelligence agency should do..i.e. to gather top quality strategic and tactical intel. After Kabul embassy and Mumbai attack now has precipitated a consensus to start covert operation in a big way.So, helping Pak Taliban tactically make sense with Afghans as intermediary. But supporting Afghan Taliban and Punjabi Taliban is totally counter-intuitive since they are ISI-Army pets and has never fought Pak Army.

On Pak does not have religious party voted to power is disingenuous. First of all,Pak is an Islamic country with a blasphemy law and with a negligible minority who are constantly ridiculed and humiliated(and no voting rights until Musharaf gave it to them). Second of all, real power (foriegn policy,defence,intelligence) has always with Pak Army whose motto is JEHAD.
We have a f**kin huge Christian and Muslim population.
I want to stress here that most Christians (except clergy)here are more patriotic than so called Hindus..but Muslims are u know ..like urself...
So concluding my argument, I want to know why you need a religious party like MMA when you are a declared intolerant Islamic country(aspiring to be another Saudi Arabia with no sense of humour) that cannot even tolerate even fellow "Muslims"(Shias,Balochis and Ahmedias..Bengalis(remember)). After Sheik hassina starts War crime enquiry your nation's systematic genocide killing and raping millions in 70s will be exposed to whole world..That will be fun..

Anonymous said...

Dear Riaz,

Do you know
Aamir and Shahrukh are muslim and
Zaheer , irfan and yusuf are muslim too.
Nobody in india is anti-muslim.
if a seemingly logical and moderate person like riaz has that outlook than
only god can help pakistanis.

Please open your mind , dear friend.
Don't just stick to one mindset.

You all know taliban is much bigger and current danger to you , how hard you try to run away from truth , it is inevitable.



Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report in Wall Street Journal today on Holbrooke and Mullen visiting New Delhi after Kabul and Islamabad.

"We can't settle issues like Afghanistan and many other issues without India's full involvement," Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, told a press conference during an official visit here.

"India is a vital leader in the region," added Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, who accompanied Mr. Holbrooke to New Delhi after they both visited Kabul and Islamabad.

But their comments also served to highlight the extreme sensitivities the U.S. faces as it tries to pursue a cohesive diplomatic and military strategy that eradicates Islamist militancy in Pakistan and Afghanistan but doesn't heighten tensions between three countries whose shared history is rife with violence and mutual suspicion.

Indeed, when U.S. policy makers initially considered including Kashmir -- the disputed Himalayan territory that is shared by India and Pakistan -- as part of the U.S.'s new regional policy, India balked. U.S. officials subsequently have taken discussion about Kashmir off the table, even though it remains a central flashpoint in tensions between India and Pakistan. Just this week, Indian troops and suspected militants have been fighting in Indian Kashmir; a gunbattle Tuesday left two from each side dead. Pakistani officials have complained that the U.S. needs to consider all conflicts in the region as it seeks to solve them.

Anonymous said...

Pakistan army can just complain as they have no say to the donor and to its friends. India does not require aid from usa hence does not require to agree to whatever told by USA. On the contrary, BRIC is considered the growth engine of world including america.

Way in which pakistan surrendered swat to taliban day might comme when the country is only left with urban pakistan rather than the rural one as they go to the taliban for justice rather than to the fully corrupted government setup.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "India does not require aid from usa hence does not require to agree to whatever told by USA."

While US does have greater influence on Pakistan than India, it's naive to think that US has no leverage over India. India still depends on substantial aid and trade, where US has influence directly or indirectly.

Just to give you a few examples:

1. India is still the biggest recipient of aid from World Bank where US is the biggest contributor and an American heads the institution.

2. To pressure India, all US has to do is issue a negative travel advisory asking Americans to leave India, just as it did in 2002 forcing Indians to back down from a confrontation with Pakistan after the Indian parliament attack. The US also warned India not to risk confrontation with Pakistan after Mumbai attacks.

In fact, I am quite certain that the US is pressuring India on Kashmir behind the scenes. New Delhi visits by Holbrook and Mullen are part of that pressure.

Anonymous said...

In fact, I am quite certain that the US is pressuring India on Kashmir behind the scenes. New Delhi visits by Holbrook and Mullen are part of that pressure.

Yep, the US should enjoy the leverage while it still. In this relationship, one power is on it's way to super-power status and the other one is slowly seeping out of it. Notice how China's stopped taking dictation from the US - even though it is heavily dependent on the US importing its stuff? That's India 10 years from now. So keep playing that little Kashmir dhol. Soon it will cease to evoke any reaction in the places that matter. A generation from now - with Pakistan (if it exists) still on the edge, and having abdicated large parts of its territory - the azaadi loving Valley Kashmiris will still be singing sweet songs of secession but will be a more integral part of India than they already are.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "In this relationship, one power is on it's way to super-power status and the other one is slowly seeping out of it."

Well, let's if you remember another superpower called Soviet Union. It's no more. You know who brought it down? Azadi loving Afghans.

If and when India does become a superpower, Kashmiris will be the next Afghans who bring down that superpower....with the help and support of another nuclear power called Pakistan. in spite of your wishes to the contrary.

Anonymous said...


I will take your words with a pinch of salt. India did the testing against all the tracking will of america. It banned. How many months & days. they removed themself that than india. Further remember they require some economy which can pay and take their product including nucelar reactors.

If you think pakistan has grown that way, i am happy about it.

Anonymous said...

"1. India is still the biggest recipient of aid from World Bank where US is the biggest contributor and an American heads the institution."

I appreciate that your on hell lot of an well informed guy. Pls provide source if any for the above. In my perception, india is no more in need of imf funds and it is quiet comfortabel with its foreign reserves. With india striking oil in godavari basin it is expected that the imports will come down by another 11 percentage that mean the depends on dollar for import bill will also come down.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "I appreciate that your on hell lot of an well informed guy. Pls provide source if any for the above. In my perception, india is no more in need of imf funds and it is quiet comfortabel with its foreign reserves."

Here's a Reuters report about the World Bank providing $14 billion (twice as much as IMF loan to Pak) to help stabilize India's banks:

Washington: A $14 billion World Bank lending plan for India, the biggest ever by the global lender to Asia’s third-largest economy, will help recapitalize state-run banks facing liquidity strains and target the country’s poorest regions, a senior Bank official said.
In an interview with Reuters, Rachid Benmessaoud, the Bank’s acting country director to India, said some $3 billion of the loan will focus on areas most affected by the global financial crisis, including state-owned and housing banks, small- and medium-sized enterprises and infrastructure.
“The capital market is drying up in India and we have seen that a number of commercial state banks are not able to access long-term financing,” Benmessaoud told Reuters on Friday.
“Because of the financial distress, certain companies will not be able to repay these banks so their non-performing assets are likely to increase.”
He said the World Bank would evaluate the needs of the 27 state-run banks over the next month.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Financial Express report of World Bank giving another $14 billion aid to India for its infrastructure:

The World Bank said on Friday it will lend India $14 billion by 2012 to help the country overhaul its creaking infrastructure and increase living standards in its poor states.

The government has estimated it needs $500 billion over the five years to 2012 to upgrade infrastructure such as roads, ports, power and railways.

"Under the strategy, the bank will use lending, dialogue, analytical work, engagement with the private sector, and capacity building to help India achieve its goals," the World Bank said on its website.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development would lend $9.6 billion and the International Development Association would make available $4.4 billion of funding.

Only 30 per cent of India's state highways have two lanes or more, and the majority are in poor condition, the bank said. Electricity generation capacity has grown at less than 5 per cent in the past five years, much slower than overall economic growth of about 8 per cent over the same period.

The funds would also be used to help reduce poverty in seven low-income states; Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Jharkand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, the World Bank said.

Anonymous said...


You missed a point. Aid is give away for social cause where there is no return.

What you have referred are investment. Happily world bank will invest in indian public sector bank as they are safer than any foreign banks.

With regard to the FII investment in india, they entered the market at 3000 to 4000 index and they left when it was hovering around 20000. Still after their exist the market is hovering at 10000.

What world bank is doing is deploying its fund where it can get decent return.

Even now, the indian government is asking the world community to invest in india as the infrastrucutre project requires billions of dollar but for a return not for give away.

Anonymous said...

If and when India does become a superpower, Kashmiris will be the next Afghans who bring down that superpower....with the help and support of another nuclear power called Pakistan. in spite of your wishes to the contrary.

A fond fantasy of yours no doubt.

For clarity's sake what would you have happen to the Kashmir Valley? (Keep in mind Jammu wants nothing to do with the Valley agenda. Also remember that the Valley had a 60% turnout in the recent state elections. ) Would you have the Kashmir Valley merge with Pakistan? Would you favor an independent Kashmir Valley? Or some other mid-way solution?

Also, why do you care so much? Is it some humanitarian instinct for a supposedly oppressed people? Or is it purely a Muslim thing?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "What you have referred are investment. Happily world bank will invest in indian public sector bank as they are safer than any foreign banks."

The World Bank charter is poverty reduction and, under that charter, it "invests" India because India has 450m poor people accounting for more than a third of the world's poor.

The World Bank does not compete in situations that commercial investors find attractive. With India rated as the riskiest of the 11 Asian nations rated by Hong Kong based Political Risk Consultancy, most private investors/lenders require fairly expensive political risk insurance in India, something World Bank does not require.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "For clarity's sake what would you have happen to the Kashmir Valley? "

I am not proposing a specific solution but there have a number of ideas on the table that Musharraf proposed and India was receptive to. But the bottom line is that any solution agreed should be acceptable to Kashmiris.

I believe it is in the best interest of BOTH India and Pakistan to put an end to the problem that has produced a new generation of radical jihadis who are threatening to destabilize the entire region.

Anonymous said...


Simple, pls read yesterday times of india. isreal has given technology to india for lauching spy satellite in the orbit which can clearly track the border.

With india align with israel will give enough intelligence to handle the cross border terrorism.

In the same tone, lone hurriyat leader is participating in the election for mp. Kashmiri hope they have common sense to see that they can hold on the support of the country which is not in a position to hold on itself is going to support them ? If yes ? How long ?

In my perception, they will come along with the mainstream and india is providing more democratic representaiton proabably more than what pakistan can offer them ?

Further all would stick to the side which has more butter to offer.

Anonymous said...


Being in india, i can tell you that world bank has not given any aid to indian public sector bank. For basel II bank has to increase their capital and some bank missed the bull run. For them they would raise tier II capital in the form of debt which is placed to investor. Probably world bank might be subscribing to those tier II bond which are paid interest as per the current market rate and risk perception.

With regard to the risk rating of moody, that can be assigned to the dust bin.

These are bunch of idiot which had assigned AAA rating for all the insolvent bank of USA. I feel money is safe with indian bank than these foreign bank

Probably these nut can sell this to middle east based soverign wealth funds and they would invest as per their guidelines to loose 2.5 trillion dollar. Probably that is the will of god, easy it come and so it goes.

Suhail Hamid said...


There's no doubt that Taliban are the greatest and immediate danger to Pakistan, and also that this realization is lacking in Pakistanis. The threat is much greater than any perceived threat from India on the lives of Pakistanis. Taking the logic further, if Taliban succeed in dismantling or taking over Pakistan, their next target will be India. This will immediately happen because Pakistan is not an energy rich country like Saudi Arabia or Iran, so dependent on industry and services sectors for its sustenance. Since Taliban do not have the capability to run these sectors, the economy will soon be in tatters thereby speeding up the need to continue search of new areas for their scavenging operations. With its much bigger economic base, India will be a more attractive and softer target for Taliban than Pakistan. So it is in the best Indian interest that Pakistan succeeds in holding off Taliban.

Coming to the reasons behind the present Pakistan crisis, it is proved beyond doubt that Taliban have succeeded against the Pakistan Army in Swat and bordering areas because of covert Indian help to them through and in league with Afghanistan. This is the prime cause of Pakistan having to give up territories to Taliban. In my opinion right thinking Indians should be supporting Pakistan Army in the fight against Taliban, rather than the reverse being done till now. They should be aware of the fact that compared to the mortal Taliban threat to India, the present Indian threat perception from Pakistan Army is child's play. Organized Army build up, nuclear capability etc are no deterrents to Taliban takeover. An Afghan-Indian tie-up is a win-win situation for Afghans because if it succeeds, they'll have virtually taken over Pakistan and reached Indian borders. If it loses, Afghans will form an alliance with the "winning" Pakistanis achieving the same objective of reaching Indian borders. For Indians, this is a lose-lose situation.

Now coming to one of our earlier communications where we were lamenting that throughout history Afghan hordes have pillaged and dominated the subcontinent, despite its being advanced and affluent. The present infighting between India and Pakistan with Afghans as a party on one side does give a clue as to why the subcontinent has been dominated throughout history, and the same may be repeated if both the nations do not act wisely now. I'd say Indians being the bigger stakeholders in the subcontinent have the bigger role to play. They must consider actively working in league with the Pakistani state and Army to contain the Taliban threat.

My advice to right thinking Indians would be to stop consider themselves as "outsiders", only criticizing Pakistan and thinking that they are immune to this problem. They should realize that the process is working towards their own self destruction.

Anonymous said...

India must not get into any conversation with pakistan army. They must handle the problem created locally. Assume if india has to assist what has to be assisted. Allow the border weak for the pakistan sponsored terrorist or taliban sponsored terrorist to seep in to create problems internally.

As you sow as you reap. Pakistan is reaping the bonus of hatred sowed for the last sixty years. Even today, the educaiton books of pakistan does not preach tolerance or respect other religion.

As far as nuclear weapons are concerned, it is not india problem but for the world as the next nuclear war will leave the world with nothing.

As i had mentioned, india is working with reliable friendly nation as israel for increasing its capacity to handle borderw with more spy satellites on geo stationary positions.

As far as india goes, we have handled state sponsored terorrism for sixty years. But for pakistan it is new. Further the people including muslim knows the fate of the talibanism to the society. Pls visit www.indianmuslims.in for a better understanding of their psyche.

Anonymous said...

Dear brother Suhail Hamid,

Let me give some facts

-In both India and pakistan there are more forces that make them fight
fight and less that make then unite.

- Combined population of BIP(bangladesh, India ,Pakistan) is more
than that of china, hence this is most populus region in entire world.
So this supports more life than any other political entity in world.

- This region is (BIP) if studied carefully has every capability to be self
dependent in EVERY area concerning life.

- We are unfortunate that we are living in a time of hatered towards each other.

Let me make my asseertions about future.

Time has come that this region will again become unified.
Irrespective of ways or means
- Wether indian with grab pakistan soil
- wether pakistan will do same to india.
- wether both unite to fight a common enemy(taliban)

-Whatever be the reason the final outcome is this BIP will be unified,
yes there will be bloodshed but every great achiebvement has to pay the price.

-BIP will rise strongly and taliban may be initial common enemy but final
common enemy to fight is "WEST" the western civilization , there means and methods,
there lifestyle etc.

- Only this region has the potential to change the complete world as was the case
5000 years back.

- Allah and Eshwar will become one and will lead the world into new world order.


Anonymous said...


For allah sake let that not happen. India is happy without Pakistan / Bangladesh with the current level of fundamentalism.

India does not consider any nation nor religion as their enemies. That is the reason that from jews, parsi, christian and muslim live in india for thousand of years.

Atleast let the muslim in india live in a secular democracy.

Anonymous said...

Why is Pakistan so worried about India's involvment in Afghanistan. Pakistan should also pump in money towards building roads, hospital, schools & get actively involved in constructing Afghanistan but they prefer other way round. If Pakistan strongly believes that India stragety is to contain them through Afghanistan- then Pakistan is used by China a buffer ZONE towards India so its tic or tac. However, India is not going to gain anything from containment of Pakistan moreover stakes are very very high if Pakistan is disintegrated - Indian economic will have to bear extra burden of refugees from Sind, Punjab, spending on defence has to go triple fold, worry about nuclear arsenal of paksitan in wrong hands. If India is involved in Afghanistan.. it not for containing Pakistan it bcoz of trade corridor than would help boast Indian economic... just ensuring to earn some good will. The best for Pakistan is to reverse their role of Cold War - Get house in order before it collapse...

Anonymous said...

Indians and Pakistanis are fools. The bitter hatred for whatever reasons felt towards each other is a form of divide and rule which benefits nations such as China and the USA. As a foreigner of Indian descent, I often read the news of the animosity between India and Pakistan. This is laughable. Kashmir and Punjab etc are now immaterial. India and Pakistan were once nation. India accepted the partition of Pakistan. India has a large Muslim population which lives in a secular democracy. If India and Pakistan mend their relationship and unites as brothers, they can ensure peace and tranquility for all of their people. They will also become super nations in the form of wealth and development. Instead those two stupid nations spend billions of dollars fighting each other. Both India and Pakistan are just loser nations it seems.

Riaz Haq said...

General Stanley McChrystal’s leaked assessment of the war in Afghanistan says as follows:

“Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment. In addition the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani counter-measures in Afghanistan or India.”

Clearly, the rising Indian influence in Afghanistan is a matter of deep concern for Pakistan, given the history of Indian-inspired animosity toward Pakistan among Afghans, particularly those of non-Pushtoon ethnic background who constitute the Northern Alliance.

And it would not be a surprise if elements within Pakistan act to stem the tide of India's hostile presence in Afghanistan through their own covert actions which may or may not be in the best interest of NATO alliance and its goals in Afghanistan.

That reinforces the belief in Obama's earlier strategy to treat Afghanistan-India-Pakistan as part of the equation that must be dealt with by a single point of focus in the state dept...namely Richard Holbrook. But, unfortunately, Obama has increased his own difficulties by caving in to the Indian lobby's pressure in Washington to leave India out of Holbrook's portfolio. And ultimately, Indian lobby' actions will most likely prove to be detrimental to India's own interests in the region.

Riaz Haq said...

Kashmiri traders have condemned a report published by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) that proposed that India should inflict “economic pain” on Pakistan. The 118-page (FICCI) report also called for choking water resources, covert retaliation and surgical strikes against Islamabad in order to address terrorism in India. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and other trade bodies in Srinagar met in an emergency meeting on Thursday and called the report “irresponsible and immature”. The KCCI said the development was “serious”. “The apex business chamber should have devoted time to formulating policies for the economic prosperity of the country. It has unfortunately indulged in political gimmicks, and that too with gruesome mindset against a neighbouring country,” the KCCI members said in a statement. Federation of Chambers of Industry in Kashmir (FCIK) President Shakil Qalander said at a time when the world needed peace, the FICCI was advocating strategies that could clearly lead to war. The KCCI asked world economic bodies to take note of the FICCI’s “war rhetoric” and support the quest for peace and stability in the region by helping settle the Kashmir dispute. “The suggestion of launching a military offensive is not new and has been tried on four occasions previously. It has only ended in a typical cycle of war breeding war,” the statement added. iftikhar gilani

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...

Here's a report from India Today on India army-air force debate over cold start:

The army and air force are battling it out over how to beat Pakistan in a flash war if and when that happens.

The Indian Air Force is not convinced about its role in the army's "cold start doctrine" for a future Indo-Pak war.

The strategy envisages the air force providing "close air support", which calls for aerial bombing of ground targets to augment the fire power of the advancing troops.

The growing tension between the two services is evident in a statement of air vice-marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, deputy director of the air force's own Centre for Air Power Studies.

"There is no question of the air force fitting itself into a doctrine propounded by the army. That is a concept dead at inception," Kak said.

A senior army officer disputes the notion of a conceptual difference between the two services. "The air force is supposed to launch an offensive under the doctrine by hitting targets deep inside enemy territory," he said. But he admitted the air force was hesitant about 'close air support'. 'Cold Start' is a post-nuclearised doctrine that envisages a "limited war" in which the army intends to inflict substantial damage on Pakistan's armed forces without letting it cross the threshold where it could think of pressing the nuclear button.

The doctrine intends to accomplish the task before the international community led by the US and China could intercede to end hostilities. Kak said, "The air force has the primary task of achieving 'air dominance' by which Pakistan's air force is put out of action allowing the army to act at will."

But he sees little necessity for the air force to divert frontline fighter aircraft for augmenting the army's fire power, a task that, in his opinion, can be achieved by the army's own attack helicopters and multiple rocket launchers that now have a 100-km range.

But he agrees the two services should work according to a joint plan. It means the air force would launch 'battlefield air strikes' to neutralise threats on the ground based on an existing plan. But that would be different from an army commander calling for air support on the basis of a developing war scenario.

That is not the only problem facing the doctrine. In the past few weeks, many have expressed doubts about the army's ability to launch operations on the basis of the new doctrine.

There are also apprehensions about the army's incomplete deployment of forces, lack of mobility and unattended infrastructure development.

But senior officers say the army has identified the units, which would constitute the eight division-strong independent battle groups out of its three strike corps. These battle groups would comprise mechanised infantry, artillery and armour.

"The forces have exercised as constituted battle groups at least six times since 2004. Each of the identified unit knows where they will be deployed," a senior General said.

According to him, the time for deployment has been cut down to "days". "No longer will the movement of troops require three months like it did when Operation Parakram was launched after the attack on Parliament in 2001," he said.

The army also debunks the idea that the troops lack mobility. Some armed forces observers have said only 35 per cent of the army is mobile inside the country.

They have, thus, concluded that even less numbers would be mobile inside the enemy territory.

The army officials, however, pooh pooh the criticism claiming 100 per cent of the Indian troops are mobile.

Riaz Haq said...

You often hear rhetoric about India-Pakistan friendship. But friendship is a two-way street.

Musharraf was very serious about making friends with India on his watch from 2000 to 2007. He offered significant concessions and tried very hard to reach an agreement with Delhi on Kashmir, but to no avail.

Instead of of responding positively, India stepped its hostility by opening a new front in starting a covert war in Pakistan via Afghanistan.

Here is how South Asia expert Stephen Cohen described India's ambivalent attitude toward Pakistan recently:

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.

In addition to Kashmir, the other key and potentially more explosive issue between India and Pakistan is that Indus water.

A South African water expert and Harvard professor John Briscoe recently argued that Pakistan was woefully vulnerable to Indian manipulation of the timing of water flows of the Jhelum and Chenab; that the Indian press—unlike the Pakistani media—never noted the other country’s views on the issue, and was instructed on what to say by the Ministry of External Affairs; and that India lacked the leadership of a regional power, as Brazil had been magnanimous in similar disputes with Bolivia and Paraguay.

Here is the exact quote from Briscoe's piece published in April 2010:

Living in Delhi and working in both India and Pakistan, I was struck by a paradox. One country was a vigorous democracy, the other a military regime. But whereas an important part of the Pakistani press regularly reported India's views on the water issue in an objective way, the Indian press never did the same. I never saw a report which gave Indian readers a factual description of the enormous vulnerability of Pakistan, of the way in which India had socked it to Pakistan when filling Baglihar. How could this be, I asked? Because, a journalist colleague in Delhi told me, "when it comes to Kashmir – and the Indus Treaty is considered an integral part of Kashmir -- the ministry of external affairs instructs newspapers on what they can and cannot say, and often tells them explicitly what it is they are to say."


Anonymous said...

My reason for writing these posts is simple, really: I want Pakistan to be a progressive state, with positive relations with all its neighbors, as well as the rest of the world. That necessarily means clarifying perceptions that I might see as untrue.
A tall order, admittedly, given the negative perception of the country and doubts that Pakistan may not even survive.
But the first step is to understand the truth of what is happening in the region, and to do that the question to ask is: Who benefits?
I may be wrong. If so, I am willing to listen to alternative viewpoints. Let's assume for the sake of argument that what I said was all 'conspiracy theory' etc. We would then need an alternative 'sensible' explanation and solution:
So, is India, indeed, magnanimous and altruistic in its spending of billions toward Afghanistan infrastructure, electric grids, education programs for Afghans, etc?Perhaps.
There's also this: that it's along with the two modern Indian air bases in Northern Afghanistan, the 14+ 'consulates' all along the Afghan-Pakistan border, the 'special' Afghan students in India, the creation of RAAM along the lines of RAW with Northern Alliance men, the frequent (photographed) visits of Baloch separatist leaders in Indian consulates, the bombers of mosques and shrines who have been followed, tracked and found to have ties to Indian 'consulates').
Who benefits? Is it true that the militant activity is blowback for Pakistan from its militant creations?
Yes, true. But who is funding/arming them now? Because after Pakistan went against them under pressure from the US, they turned against Pakistan, which was the only possible outcome. Whose strategy did this fulfil?
Who benefits?
Another element in the mix: Who created Jundallah? Who funds and arms it? After they killed several Iranian generals, Pakistan captured and turned over some of their leaders to Iran. Care to guess their funding?
Who benefits?

As regards Deobandi, Wahabbi, Naqshbandi, Cheshire cats, Muggles or any other ilk: These are just red herrings. They are levers to use and pull, in order to get the poor ignorant sods to blow themselves up by reinforcing their twisted beliefs.
The real question is: who is pulling the levers?
Who benefits?

But these are merely smaller subsets in the new overall "Great Game" which is what seems to be happening.

1. The present "Great Game" is control and access routes to oil/energy and the region for the next 40 or so years until alternative sources are developed
2. To provide a market for the military products of the military-industrial complex by perpetual war.
There is no intention of leaving the region.
The main competitors/players battling for access/control of the region are the US, China and the partners of these two. Within this battle are the subsets of regional conflicts.
China’s building of the port in Gwadar, Balochistan gives it direct access to the Persian Gulf and allows it a cheaper route for its energy needs. The only way to block this is to control Pakistan. One method to ‘control’ Pakistan was suggested by Maj. Ralph Peters in his now infamous redrawn map of the region which advocated a break-up of Pakistan.
India, ready and willing, is the means by which the break-up of Pakistan is being envisaged, through its ‘consulates’ in Afghanistan that fund the militant groups (the Baloch groups, the Pakistani Taliban, etc) which are bombing Pakistani cities, Shia/Sunni mosques, Sufi shrines etc. Mercenaries are already in place inside Pakistan.
Negative media portrayal of Pakistan is another important component to prepare the public should a war take place. They will be more accepting of a war on a country that has a negative image.
It is no coincidence that such portrayals are already at a high level, and that some violent incidents take place when needed.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from a piece by David Pilling of Financial Times published recently:

(There have ben many a dire warning about Pakistan failing), yet Pakistan has survived. In its partial victories against Islamist militants it may even have made some kind of progress. It is all too easy to think of Pakistan as a failing – even a failed – state. But it might be better to see it as the state that refuses to fail.

To appreciate just how remarkable this is, cast your mind back to this dangerous year’s catalogue of fire and brimstone. First, following its victory in Swat, the army turned its attention on South Waziristan, bombarding militants in lawless areas bordering Afghanistan. Many considered that an important step, given the well-documented links between the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency and tribal militants, part of Pakistan’s quest for “strategic depth” in Afghanistan.

Second, and partly as a result of the army’s offensives, there has been a wave of counter-attacks on hotels, mosques and police stations. Last October, militants mounted a brazen raid on the supposedly impregnable headquarters of the 500,000-strong army. That led to alarm that men with beards and a less-than-glowing feeling towards America were getting perilously close to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Third, Pakistan has had to adapt to a dramatic shift in US policy towards Afghanistan. In December, President Barack Obama ordered a surge of 30,000 extra troops, a military intensification that has sent militants scurrying across the border into Pakistan. Worse from Islamabad’s point of view, the US president has committed to drawing down those troops from next summer, a retreat, if it happens, that would once again leave Pakistan alone in a nasty neighbourhood.

Fourth, the economic outlook remains precarious. Pakistan just about avoided a balance of payments crisis which, at one point, saw its reserves dwindle to just one month’s import cover. But respite has come at the cost of being in hock to the International Monetary Fund, which has extended some $7bn in loans. With tax receipts at a miserable 9 per cent of output, it is unclear how it will make ends meet.

As if these man-made calamities were not enough, Pakistan has been drowning in the worst floods in its history. At one point, no less than one-fifth of the country was under water.....

Remarkably it has not been. Why not? A partial explanation for Pakistan’s staying power is that it has become an extortionary state that thrives on crisis...

There are more benign explanations too. The strength of civil society has helped. Many refugees from the floods, like those from Swat, have found temporary shelter with the networks of friends and relatives that bind the country together. The army’s response to the floods has also underscored, for better or worse, the efficiency of the state’s best-run institution. Even the civilian administration, weak and discredited as it is, has clung on. If, as now seems plausible, Mr Zardari can survive, power could yet be transferred from one democratically elected administration to another for the first time in Pakistan’s 63-year history.

One should not overstate Pakistan’s resilience. The world is rightly alarmed at the mayhem that rages at its centre. But, if you care to look on the bright side, you might conclude that, if Pakistan can survive a year like this, it can survive anything.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt fom a NY Times story on Obama's India visit and internal US policy debates on India-Pakistan conflict:

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top commander in Afghanistan, is among those who have warned internally about the dangers of Cold Start, according to American and Indian officials. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, share these fears.

The strategy calls for India to create fast-moving battle groups that could deliver a contained but sharp retaliatory ground strike inside Pakistan within three days of suffering a terrorist attack by militants based in Pakistan, yet not do enough damage to set off a nuclear confrontation.

Pakistani officials have repeatedly stressed to the United States that worries about Cold Start are at the root of their refusal to redeploy forces away from the border with India so that they can fight Islamic militants in the frontier region near Afghanistan. That point was made most recently during a visit to Washington last month by Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

The administration raised the issue of Cold Start last November when India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, visited Washington, Indian and American officials said. Indian officials told the United States that the strategy was not a government or military policy, and that India had no plans to attack Pakistan. Therefore, they added, it should have no place on Mr. Obama’s agenda in India.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/06/world/asia/06india.html?scp=6&sq=obama%20t rip%20to%20india&st=cse

Riaz Haq said...

I am sure many Indians looking for Obama to bash Pakistan (as that British novice PM Cameron did) would be sorely disappointed by the following statements Obama made to Indian students at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai:

"We want nothing more than a stable, prosperous and peaceful Pakistan".

"It may be surprising to some of you to hear me say this, but I am absolutely convinced that the country that has the biggest stake in Pakistan's success is India."

Here's more from the Washington Post today:

Obama commemorated the Nov. 26, 2008, massacre (in Mumbai) on his arrival Saturday when he laid a white rose at a memorial to the victims and spoke at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and Tower, a main target of the attack. But he infuriated many Indians by not mentioning Pakistan in his tribute, reinforcing the impression here that Obama cares less about India's grievances than he does about defending a key partner in the Afghanistan war.

The issue will probably come up again Monday, Obama's final day in India, when he appears with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before the U.S. and Indian media and later addresses the Indian Parliament. Obama could well face questions over his position on Kashmir, a religiously mixed region in the subcontinent's northwest that both India and Pakistan claim.

How he portrays the U.S. interest in Pakistan, whose weak government is defending itself against its own Taliban insurgency, will probably determine whether his visit here succeeds in convincing Indians that he is serious when he says, as he did Sunday, that "the U.S.-India relationship will be indispensable in shaping the 21st century."

Riaz Haq said...

Are Pakistani Taliban supported by India? UAE Security officials believe so, according to Wikileaks as reported by Deccan Herald.

UAE's security officials believed that India along with Iran had supported the Pakistani Taliban and Pushtun separatists, even as US suggested that UAE was a source of funding for the militants, a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks discloses.

The strange allegation by UAE officials is noted in a State Department cable, which reports the details of a meeting between officials of the US treasury department and those of UAE's State Security Department (SSD) and Dubai's general department of state security (GDSS) to discuss suspected Taliban-related financial activity in the UAE.

The meeting, spread over several hours on December 15-16, 2009. In the meeting, GDSS officials noted Iran's support to Taliban in Pakistan, adding that it believes that India also has supported Pakistani Taliban and Pashtun separatists.

The meeting from the US side was represented by Treasury Department Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis Howard Mendelsohn.

Mendelsohn also raised Afghanistan and Pakistan-based extremist and terrorist groups, to include Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and Jamaat al-Dawa al-Quran wa al-Sunna (JDQ), according to the cable.

Riaz Haq said...

There are reports that Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's special rep for Afghanstan and Pakistan, has died. Here is how NY Times is reporting the news:

Richard C. Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2009 and a diplomatic troubleshooter in Asia, Europe and the Middle East who worked for every Democratic president since the late 1960s, died on Monday evening at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.


Mr. Holbrooke’s signal accomplishment in a distinguished career was his role as the chief architect of the 1995 Dayton peace accords, which ended the war in Bosnia. It was a diplomatic coup preceded and followed by his peacekeeping missions to the tinderbox of ethnic, religious and regional conflicts that was formerly Yugoslavia.

More recently, Mr. Holbrooke wrestled with the stunning complexity of Afghanistan and Pakistan: how to bring stability to the region while fighting a resurgent Taliban and trying to cope with corrupt governments, rigged elections, fragile economies, a rampant narcotics trade, nuclear weapons in Pakistan and the presence of Al Qaeda, and presumably Osama bin Laden, in the wild tribal borderlands.

His tenure in the Obama administration had mixed reviews. President Obama sent in more troops, as Mr. Holbrooke had wanted, but there was little military or civic progress. Mr. Holbrooke’s relationship with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan was icy. He clashed with Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander fired last June. Some experts said that merely avoiding disaster would have been a triumph. But many said the tenacious Mr. Holbrooke was the right man for the job.

A brilliant, sometimes abrasive infighter with a formidable arsenal of facts, bluffs, whispers, implied threats and, when necessary, pyrotechnic fits of anger, Mr. Holbrooke dazzled and often intimidated opponents and colleagues around a negotiating table. Some called him a bully, and he looked the part: the big chin thrust out, the broad shoulders, the tight smile that might mean anything.

But admirers, including generations of State Department protégés and the presidents he served, called his peacemaking efforts extraordinary.

When he named Mr. Holbrooke to represent the United States at the United Nations, President Bill Clinton said, “His remarkable diplomacy in Bosnia helped to stop the bloodshed, and at the talks in Dayton the force of his determination was the key to securing peace, restoring hope and saving lives.” Others said his work in Bosnia deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. ...

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...

Is there a difference between "infiltrating" and "working with" as reported about Raymond Davis and LeT?

Let's not forget that CIA moles also facilitate the work of the "bad guys" in the orgs they infiltrate, as was the case with Switzerland's Tinner family, Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, Urs and Marco, who infiltrated the AQ Khan network and helped him for years in nuclear proliferation for personal profit, according to NY Times.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story about shifting loyalties of a Libyan who has gone from being a US ally to an adversary and back to being an ally in Libya again:

For more than five years, Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu was a prisoner at the Guantánamo Bay prison, judged “a probable member of Al Qaeda” by the analysts there. They concluded in a newly disclosed 2005 assessment that his release would represent a “medium to high risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies.”

Today, Mr. Qumu, 51, is a notable figure in the Libyan rebels’ fight to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, reportedly a leader of a ragtag band of fighters known as the Darnah Brigade for his birthplace, this shabby port town of 100,000 people in northeast Libya. The former enemy and prisoner of the United States is now an ally of sorts, a remarkable turnabout resulting from shifting American policies rather than any obvious change in Mr. Qumu.

He was a tank driver in the Libyan Army in the 1980s, when the Central Intelligence Agency was spending billions to support religious militants trying to drive Soviet troops out of Afghanistan. Mr. Qumu moved to Afghanistan in the early 1990s, just as Osama bin Laden and other former mujahedeen were violently turning against their former benefactor, the United States.

He was captured in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, accused of being a member of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and sent to Guantánamo — in part because of information provided by Colonel Qaddafi’s government.

“The Libyan Government considers detainee a ‘dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts,’ ” says the classified 2005 assessment, evidently quoting Libyan intelligence findings, which was obtained by The New York Times. “ ‘He was known as one of the extremist commanders of the Afghan Arabs,’ ” the Libyan information continues, referring to Arab fighters who remained in Afghanistan after the anti-Soviet jihad.

When that Guantánamo assessment was written, the United States was working closely with Colonel Qaddafi’s intelligence service against terrorism. Now, the United States is a leader of the international coalition trying to oust Colonel Qaddafi — and is backing with air power the rebels, including Mr. Qumu.

The classified Guantánamo assessment of Mr. Qumu claims that he suffered from “a non-specific personality disorder” and recounted — again citing the Libyan government as its source — a history of drug addiction and drug dealing and accusations of murder and armed assault.

In 1993, the document asserts, Mr. Qumu escaped from a Libyan prison, fled to Egypt and went on to Afghanistan, training at a camp run by Mr. bin Laden. At Guantánamo, Mr. Qumu denied knowledge of terrorist activities. He said he feared being returned to Libya, where he faced criminal charges, and asked to go to some other country where “You (the United States) can watch me,” according to a hearing summary.

Nonetheless, in 2007, he was sent from Guantánamo to Libya and released the next year in an amnesty for militants.

Colonel Qaddafi has cited claims about Mr. Qumu’s past in statements blaming Al Qaeda for the entire Libyan uprising. American officials have nervously noted the presence of at least a few former militants in the rebels’ ranks.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a contrarian view of the events in Abbottabad as published in Indian Telegraph newspaper:

The army faction that supports a deep alliance with the US has won out and proved its loyalty to Washington.

Contrary to the carefully cultivated perception in Washington and Islamabad about the fallout of killing Osama, a new phase in the US-Pakistan security alliance has been sealed in Abbottabad with the blood of the Saudi billionaire-turned-terrorist.

The best accounts of the operation which killed bin Laden are not to be found in the US media, which is behaving as if it is embedded with the CIA like American journalists were with the US forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and swallowed army propaganda for which newspapers like The Washington Post later apologised.

Revealing details about Sunday’s Abbottabad operation are to be found in the Chinese media, especially China’s official news agency, Xinhua, which has no pretensions to media freedom unlike its American counterparts.

The Chinese have the best sources in Pakistan, given the all-weather friendship between Islamabad and Beijing.

Xinhua says electricity was cut off to Abbottabad as the operation to kill Osama began. That shows complicity with the Americans not only within the Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi but down the line to the local administration that controls the electricity switching stations.

Xinhua says security forces cordoned off the entire area near Osama’s safe house before the Americans attacked it and no one was allowed to enter or leave the operational surroundings during the attack.

That only means the Pakistanis knew what was going to take place, although it is only logical that reasons for sealing off the area would not have been communicated down the line to the local police or paramilitary units.

Xinhua also says residents of Abbottabad took videos and cellphone pictures from their rooftops as the spectacular helicopter landing and firefight was under way.

But Pakistani security forces went round from house to house collecting memory cards from cameras and seizing videos from residents soon enough so that the pictures were not transmitted freelance by what modern TV would call citizen journalists.

All this could not have been organised by the Pakistanis after the event, which means, circumstantially, that the killing of Osama was a well co-ordinated US-Pakistani operation down to local ward-level in Abbottabad.

Besides, Abbottabad is the seat of a brigade of the second division of Pakistan’s Northern Army Corps and several other sensitive army establishments, including a key military training academy.

Metaphorically, even a fly cannot circle the skies of that city without escaping the attention of the defence network that guards Abbottabad.

It is for this reason and to keep up the fiction that the US and Pakistan did not co-operate in killing Osama that an official statement was issued in Islamabad today that “US helicopters entered Pakistani airspace making use of blind spots in the radar coverage due to hilly terrain”.

The statement added that “US helicopters’ undetected flight into Pakistan was also facilitated by the... efficacious use of latest technology and ‘nap of the earth’ flying techniques”.

At the same time, the Pakistan Army did not want its people to lose faith in Rawalpindi as the guardian of their country’s borders and their defence.

Hence, a paragraph in the statement which asserts that “it may not be realistic to draw an analogy between this undefended civilian area and some military (and) security installations which have elaborate local defence arrangements”.------

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...

Here's an India Today story on Indian spies returning from jails in Pakistan:

Several persons who returned to India from Pakistan after completing their sentence for spying have decided to approach the government for compensation for the years they spent behind bars.

They claim they were on a "spying mission" for Indian intelligence agencies and that the government discarded them once they got arrested in Pakistan.

Even after their return to India after languishing in jail, the authorities remained indifferent towards them, they said.

The only exception was Kashmir Singh, who got land and monetary compensation from the Punjab government. He returned in 2008 after spending over three decades in a Pakistani jail.

Karamat Rahi, who lives in Gurdaspur district's Khaira Kalan village, said: "I am living a pauper's life now and have fallen off the agencies' map. Former spies have been coordinating with each other across the border states. We plan to highlight our plight to the government and demand compensation for giving our prime years to the nation."
Karamat had shifted to India from Pakistan in 1980. "The security agencies took advantage of my background. They pushed me back into Pakistan in 1983. I worked for the agency and got arrested in 1988 near Minar-e-Pakistan with sensitive documents. The agencies summarily condemned me following my arrest," he said. Karamat's release was possible in 2005 after the intervention of then Punjab CM Amarinder Singh.

"When I returned after spending 18 years in jail, I approached the agency for rehabilitation. They told me not to make a noise about my plight. But I need help for settling my son, who has grown up," Karamat said.

Surjeet Singh, who returned to India after spending over three decades in prison, echoed similar sentiments.

"I will relax for a few days and then work out a strategy for seeking compensation from the government," he said, adding that he would welcome any move by fellow "spies" towards a joint effort for compensation.

Daniel aka Bahadur, who hails from Dadwain village in Gurdaspur and pulls a rickshaw to earn his livelihood, also accused the "authorities who sent him to Pakistan" of refusing to recognise him.

Daniel was apprehended by the Pakistani rangers in 1993 and imprisoned for over four years. "I tried to contact the officers who had sent me to the country but no one bothered about me," he said.
The "spies" indicated that the security agencies require them to act as couriers. After picking them up, the agencies train them to identify military vehicles and strategic installations. They also teach them the local language and customs.

"In Kashmir's case, he assumed a Muslim name and learnt to offer namaz. He was also circumcised," Karamat said.

How the spies source information is another tricky issue. Corruption is deep-rooted in Pakistan as well. "Money always does the trick for us. What do you think, they will let me in at a cantonment if I enter it for selling oranges?" a person claiming to be a former spy asked.

He also claimed that several Pakistani soldiers were on the "payroll" of Indian agencies.

Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/government-ignored-spies-once-they-got-arrested-in-pakistan/1/203322.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...

Here are a few excerpts of an MIT doctoral thesis by Christopher Clary on future India-Pakistan conflict:

Conventional wisdom suggests that India has gained sufficient conventional superiority to fight and win a limited war, but the reality is that India is unlikely to be able to both achieve its political aims and prevent dangerous escalation.

While India is developing limited options, my analysis suggests India's military advantage over Pakistan is much less substantial than is commonly believed.
Most analyses do not account adequately for how difficult it would be for the navy to have a substantial impact in a short period of time. Establishing even a partial blockade takes time, and it takes even more time for that blockade to cause shortages on land that are noticeable. As the British strategist Julian Corbett noted in 1911, "it is almost impossible that a war can be decided by naval action alone. Unaided, naval pressure can only work by a process of exhaustion. Its effects must always be slow…."7 Meanwhile, over the last decade, Pakistan has increased its ability to resist a blockade. In addition to the main commercial port of Karachi, Pakistan has opened up new ports further west in Ormara and Gwadar and built road infrastructure to distribute goods from those ports to Pakistan's heartland. To close off these ports to neutral shipping could prove particularly difficult since Gwadar and the edge of Pakistani waters are very close to the Gulf of Oman, host to the international shipping lanes for vessels exiting the Persian Gulf. A loose blockade far from shore would minimize risks from Pakistan's land-based countermeasures but also increase risks of creating a political incident with neutral vessels.
The air balance between India and Pakistan is also thought to heavily favor the larger and more technologically sophisticated Indian Air Force. While India has a qualitative and quantitative advantage, the air capabilities gap narrowed rather than widened in the last decade. The Pakistan Air Force has undergone substantial modernization since 2001, when Pakistan exited from a decade of US-imposed sanctions. With purchases from US, European, and Chinese vendors, Pakistan has both dramatically increased the number of modern fighter aircraft with beyond-visual-range capability as well as new airborne early warning and control aircraft. Meanwhile, India's fighter modernization effort has been languid over the last decade. India's largest fighter procurement effort—the purchase of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft—began in 2001 and has been slowed considerably by cumbersome defense procurement rules designed to avoid the appearance of corruption.
The ground forces balance has received the most attention from outside observers, in large part because the Indian Army has publicized its efforts at doctrinal innovation, most often referred to under the "Cold Start" moniker. However, India's ground superiority is unlikely to be sufficient to achieve a quick victory.
The net result of this analysis is to conclude that India's limited military options against Pakistan are risky and uncertain. Pakistan has options to respond to limited Indian moves, making counter-escalation likely. At least in the near-term, Pakistan appears to have configured its forces in such a way as to deny India "victory on the cheap." Therefore, India might well have to fight a full-scale war that could destroy large segments of Pakistan's army to achieve its political aims, which would approach Pakistan's stated nuclear redlines. Such a conclusion should induce caution among Indian political elites who are considering military options to punish or coerce Pakistan in a future crisis. ...


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 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...

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 a News report on India's former Army Chief VK Singh's disclosure of Indian support for Baloch separatists:

The dirty tricks sanctioned by the top Indian general were carried out by Tactical Support Division (TSD), an Indian army unit raised after Mumbai attacks on the directives of the Defence Minister and National Security Adviser Shev Shankar Menon in order to “perform a particular task to secure borders and internal situation in the country.”

TSD consisted of six officers, five JCOs and 30 men and operated out of an unmarked two-storeyed building within the Delhi Cantonment dubbed the ‘Butchery’, that was a refurbished slaughterhouse of colonial times, The India Today reported.

“The division was headed by Colonel Munishwar Nath Bakshi, a tall, flamboyant intelligence officer in his early 40s, better known by an unusual nickname, ‘Hunny’,” it said.As the inquiry body was set up to investigate, Col Bakshi, a confidante of Gen Singh, got himself admitted in a mental hospital pretending that he was under serious mental stress.

Former Army Chief VK Singh allegedly used TSD, a clandestine collective of handpicked military intelligence personnel, to settle scores on both sides of the contentious Line of Control (LOC) between Pakistan and India, reported The India Today, in its October 7 edition.

Between October and November 2011, India Today reported this month, TSD had claimed money “to try enrolling the secessionist chief in the province of a neighbouring country” and “Rs1.27 crore (Indian currency) to prevent transportation of weapons between neighbouring countries”. In early 2011, TSD claimed an unspecified amount for carrying out “eight low-intensity bomb blasts in a neighboring country”, according to this weekly Indian magazine.

The Hindustan Times earlier reported about the covert operation inside Pakistan by TSD and quoted its former official stating it was assigned to nab Hafiz Saeed of Jamaatud Dawah but didn’t mention TSD’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan as has been revealed through inquiry board.

Since there was no explicit mention of Pakistan, it didn’t emerge on the radar of Pakistani media. The News spoke to different journalistic sources in India privy to details who confirmed that it was about Pakistan.

India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, who headed a Board of Officers’ inquiry under the direct orders of Gen Bikram Singh, current army chief, to review the functioning of the TSD submitted the report in March this year to the Indian government. While report is not being publicised, however, TSD was closed in December 2012.

An RTI request filed for the copy of this report was also denied, stating that sharing this information was prejudicial to national security and can harmrelations with the neighbouring countries.

“In so far as your request for supply of order regarding setting up of ‘TSD’ and enquiry etc, is concerned, it is regretted that the same cannot be supplied in terms of Section 8 (1) (a) of the RTI Act,” the ministry said in reply to an RTI query as quoted in an Indian paper.



Riaz Haq said...

India's national security advisor Ajit Doval tells a story about his days as a spy for his country in Pakistan ..

" When in Pakistan , I happened to go to a Dargah since i was supposed to be a Muslim man. There, in front of the Dargah i saw a man with a long white beard who called me and asked me whether i was a Hindu? I said it was not true . He asked me to follow him and took me through some lanes to a nearby house . He closed the room and told me i was a Hindu since he had seen a hole in my ear ( In some Hindu traditions , both boys and girls have their ears pierced at birth) . I told him I used to be a Hindu but i had converted but he insisted I was still a Hindu . Further, he said that he could observe all this because he himself was a Hindu and showed me Durga and Shiva idols in his almirah. His family has been killed off and he had since been living in disguise. He said he felt happy when ever he could meet another Hindu . This incident was very unique for me."


Riaz Haq said...

Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, has been sheltering a Pakistani rebel for several years, much to the annoyance of Pakistan's generals, US embassy cables show.

Brahamdagh Bugti, a leader of the nationalist insurgency in Balochistan province, emerges as a pawn in often stormy relations between Kabul and Islamabad that are spiced with intrigue and failed American efforts to broker a solution.

A stream of Pakistani demands for Bugti's return are stonewalled by Karzai; Bugti is accused of kidnapping a senior UN official; and the Islamabad CIA station chief is roped into an initiative to move Bugti to Ireland that turns out to be based on a false promise.

Bugti's case was a "neuralgic" one for Pakistani generals, Americans believed. The Bugtis are at the forefront of a rebellion that seeks greater economic and political autonomy for Balochistan, Pakistan's largest but least developed province.

The 20-something rebel fled Pakistan in 2006 after surviving a military assault that killed his grandfather, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. Since then Pakistani generals have frequently accused Kabul of secretly sheltering the young rebel.

In 2007, General Pervez Musharraf said Bugti was "enjoying freedom of movement to commute between Kabul and Kandahar, raising money and planning operations against Pakistani security forces".

When the US assistant secretary of state, Richard Boucher, said Karzai had promised that nobody would be allowed to use Afghan territory to attack Pakistan, Musharraf replied: "That's bullshit."

The controversy touches on one of the Pakistani military's core fears: that India could use Afghan-based proxy forces to foment upheaval in Pakistan.

In 2007 Musharraf said he had "ample proof" of Indian and Afghan support for Bugti; the prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, said Bugti had travelled to Delhi on a fake Afghan passport.

American analysis suggests the fear of Indian meddling helps explain Pakistan's support for militant proxies such as the Afghan Taliban; a view supported by a veiled threat Musharraf issued through a US diplomat. "If India wants to continue, let's see what our options will be," he reportedly said.

Karzai, meanwhile, has refused to bend to Pakistani demands to surrender Bugti, accusing Islamabad of using the issue to deflect attention from its support of the Taliban. "Fomenting uprising does not make one a terrorist," he said in one meeting before asking US officials to stop taking notes because the matter was "too sensitive".

In public, Afghan officials have consistently denied sheltering Bugti, but in a meeting with a senior UN official in February 2009, Karzai "finally admitted that Brahamdagh Bugti was in Kabul", the cables recorded.

The admission followed the kidnapping of a senior American UN official, John Solecki, in Balochistan. After Solecki was snatched from Quetta, Balochistan's capital, in early February, Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, told the US he had phone intercepts that proved Bugti had orchestrated the kidnapping.

On 15 February, the US asked the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to call Karzai , urging him to speak with Bugti and have Solecki released. Karzai agreed, but said he doubted Bugti was involved. US officials later complained that Karzai was blocking American contact with the rebel.

Solecki was released on 4 April in Balochistan. Speaking to the Guardian by phone later that year, Bugti denied any role in the kidnapping, but admitted he was leading the fight against Pakistan's army.

"We want ownership of our own resources, our land, our coastal belt – nothing else," he said. "We want to solve this problem politically; nobody wants to use the gun. But because of what is happening the armed struggle is necessary." Bugti declined to say where he was speaking from.


Riaz Haq said...

Will #Afghanistan-#Pakistan spy collaboration blunt #India's RAW's covert war against Pakistan? http://reut.rs/1Lg2tg9 via @Reuters

After years of antagonism and accusations, spy agencies in Pakistan and Afghanistan will now share information, the Pakistani military said, in another sign frosty relations between the neighbors may be gradually thawing.

Improved ties are key to tackling stubborn Taliban insurgencies on both sides of the border but there is a long legacy of suspicion to overcome.

The announcement that a memorandum of understanding between the two intelligence agencies had been signed was made late on Monday by Major General Asim Bajwa, the Pakistan military spokesman, on Twitter.

"MOU signed by ISI & NDS," the tweet read, referring to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security.

"Includes int sharing, complimentary and coordinated int ops on respective sides," it said, referring to intelligence and operations.


As violence in Afghanistan increased, Kabul and its NATO allies accused Pakistan of backing Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan in a bid to maintain influence. Pakistani denied the accusations but made little move against Taliban safe havens in northwest Pakistan.

In recent years, Pakistan began accusing Afghanistan of doing the same thing in revenge.

Two distinct but allied Taliban insurgencies developed, one in Pakistan and one in Afghanistan. Each is dedicated to overthrowing the government in its own country and establishing strict Islamic law. Each has bases across the border.

But since Ghani took office, he has made a concerted push to reassure Pakistan and minimize Indian influence. A plea for Indian arms was quietly put on hold. Six Afghan cadets were sent to train in Pakistan and the Afghan army chief addressed a Pakistani class of military graduates.

There have been no large joint operations between the two militaries and deep suspicions remain.

But U.S. drone strikes against Pakistani militants in Afghanistan have increased, and Pakistani forces have intensified an anti-Taliban offensive in their northwest.


Riaz Haq said...

Excerpt of "Transcending divisions: the consolidation of Pakistan" by Benazir Bhutto published in 1996 in Harvard International Review:

DURING BRITISH COLONIAL RULE, a superb feat of political engineering kept together several nationalities clearly differentiated by religion, ethnicity, language, and cultural tradition. As a result, the withdrawal of the colonial power in 1947 brought to the surface national tensions similar to those which had already led to the creation of scores of nation-states in Europe, each based on the principle of national self-determination. The inevitable creation of Pakistan as an independent sovereign state in 1947 illustrates the historic existence of multiple nationalities in South Asia. It is further substantiated by the fact that when the eastern wing of Pakistan broke away in 1971, it did not return to India, which had militarily intervened to bring about the secession, but asserted its independence from India as strongly as Pakistan has always done.

In contemporary South Asia, states like India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka continue to be multiethnic and multi-national states. For each of these states, internal consolidation and cohesion has depended on the successful resolution of great sub-regional rivalry and competition. Occasionally, internal conflict has loomed so large as to create a genuine crisis of governability.

The case of Pakistan seems unique in many respects. It is the only country in which the internal contradictions that existed between the two wings of the country, separated by more than a thousand miles of hostile India, exploded into a major bloody conflict leading to the emergence of a third state in the subcontinent, Bangladesh. Paradoxically, the trauma of this separation led to deep soul-searching in Pakistan which, in the due course of time, profoundly affected its political culture. The loss of East Pakistan in 1971 did not exacerbate the tensions within West Pakistan, even though these tensions had been largely neglected during the pre-war attempts at mediation of the East-West conflict. Rather, the new Pakistan rediscovered a set of principles and allegiances which have played an important role in the country's consolidation.


Pakistan now stands at a crucial juncture in its history, where most of the instability it faces comes not from domestic separatism but from external interference and threats. It earnestly hopes that economic policies in South Asia in the direction of free enterprise and participation in the global economy will counteract and neutralize aggressive tendencies. Pakistan would like to open an entirely new chapter of cooperative relations with India, and invites the leaders of India to negotiate a peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem as well as a reciprocally-binding non-proliferation regime for nuclear weapons and delivery systems. We invite India's leaders to take parallel measures to limit and reduce military spending in the interest of the billion people living in South Asia. In addition, as the two largest states of the subcontinent, India and Pakistan owe it to South Asia to transform its only regional organization, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, into a more meaningful and effective vehicle of regional economic and social development. History will not forgive us if we forego the great opportunities present today for shared prosperity and peace.


Riaz Haq said...

#India seeks consular access to #RAW agent arrested in #Balochistan #Pakistan http://www.geo.tv/…/102903-India-seeks-consular-access-to-R… …

India’s foreign ministry on Friday said it has sought consular access to an undercover agent of the country’s intelligence agency RAW arrested by Pakistan from Balochistan.

In a statement issued today, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs admitted that the officer was an officer in the Indian Navy, but claimed that he had taken an early retirement from service.

“He (alleged RAW officer arrested in Pakistan) has no link with the government since his premature retirement from the Indian navy,” the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in the statement.

“We have sought consular access to him. India has no interest in interfering in internal matters of any country,” said the statement.

Pakistan summoned the Indian ambassador on Friday to protest against the illegal entry of the Indian spy.

"(Pakistan) conveyed our protest and deep concern on the illegal entry into Pakistan by a RAW officer and his involvement in subversive activities in Baluchistan and Karachi," Pakistan’s foreign office said in a statement, referring to the message conveyed to India’s ambassador.

The capture of the RAW agent is the latest evidence of Islamabad's claim that the neighbouring country is actively trying to destabilize Pakistan.

In a media statement here today, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said that the captured agent is an active Indian serviceman who was active in Balochistan with an aim to destabilise Pakistan.

According to details obtained by Geo News, RAW agent Kul Bhashan Yadav was arrested by a Pakistan’s intelligence agency in Balochistan three days ago and he was later shifted to Islamabad for investigation.

The arrested agent of RAW had contacts with separatist groups operating in Balochistan, sources said, adding that he is a commander in the Indian Navy.

During preliminary investigations, the undercover Indian agent revealed that his main agenda was to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through propaganda and to create disharmony among the Baloch nationalist political parties.