Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ex Indian Intelligence Chief AS Dulat on Failed Agra Summit

“This is when L. K. Advani surprised Musharraf by asking for Dawood Ibrahim. This took Musharraf back and a shadow was cast thereafter on the Agra summit.” “As Mr. Mishra put it: “Yaar, hote-hote reh gaya … Ho gaya tha, who toh.”  Ex Indian Intelligence Chief A.S. Dulat

The above quote is from A.S. Dulat who has served as Chief of India's Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) and as Special Director of India's Intelligence Bureau. He was speaking with Indian Journalist Karan Thapar of India Today on a variety of subjects including Kashmir and Musharraf-Vajpayee Agra summit.

India Responsible For Failure of India-Pakistan Diplomacy: 

Dulat has essentially confirmed the fact that Indian hawks like the BJP leader L.K. Advani are responsible for sabotaging the India-Pakistan summit. Dulat has also debunked the myth promoted by Indian security analysts and politicians who regularly blame Pakistan for the failure of past bilateral diplomatic efforts by citing what they believe is the adverse role of Pakistani military in framing Pakistan's policy toward India. This rationale does not explain why the diplomatic initiatives undertaken by Pakistani military leaders from General Zia to General Musharraf have not borne fruit.

A more rational explanation for the policy failures has recently surfaced in secret US embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks and published by The Hindu. After a meeting with India's National Security Adviser and former Indian intelligence chief M.K. Narayanan in August 2009, American Ambassador Timothy Roemer concluded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was isolated within his own government in his “great belief” in talks and negotiations with Pakistan.

Another myth the Indian governments promote is that Dawood Ibrahim is hiding in Pakistan. This myth has been demolished by India's own Minister of State (Home) Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary who told the Indian parliament that the former Mumbai underworld don is not on Indian intelligence's radar, and it would only be possible to bring him back to the country once his whereabouts were discovered.

Who's Dawood Ibrahim:

According to a leaked US diplomatic cable from India, Dawood Ibrahim was the undisputed kingpin of the Mumbai underworld before he fled India in the 1980s. Indian security agencies believe he was involved in the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed several hundred people. Vicky Malhotra is the right hand man of gangster Chhota Rajan, a fierce rival of Ibrahim. Rajan was once Ibrahim's lieutenant, but broke up with Ibrahim after the 1993 Mumbai bombings. The two have reportedly been fierce rivals since. Communal tensions between Ibrahim, a Muslim, and Rajan, a Hindu, were also believed to have contributed to the breakup. Rajan reportedly objected to the bomb attacks, which were part of a chain of violent retributions surrounding right-wing Hindus' destruction of the Babri Masjid mosque in 1992. Rajan was thought to be living somewhere in Southeast Asia, but recent press reports claim that he is now hiding in Europe. He and Malhotra are believed to have been responsible for the targeted killing of a number of Ibrahim's associates.

India's RAW Using Mumbai Underworld Figures:

While the Indians accuse Pakistan ISI of working with Mumbai underworld, it's been revealed that it is the Indian Intelligence that has been using Mumbai criminal gangs as their assets.  A 2005 US diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks shows that Ajit Kumar Doval, India's own ex-spook and current National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was arrested by Mumbai Police in New Delhi while traveling in the same car with Mumbai underworld figure Vicky Malhotra . Ajit Doval was quickly released without any explanation.

Where Is Dawood Ibrahim:

While no one knows for sure where Dawood Ibrahim is today, there has been a lot of speculation and rumors about his whereabouts, particularly in the Indian media. Outside of India, there is a Japanese journlist named Yoichi Shimatsu who has said as follows about Dawood's whereabouts:

"Washington and London both agreed with India's legal claim and removed the longstanding "official protection" accorded for his (Dawood Ibrahim's) past services to Western intelligence agencies. U.S. diplomats, however, could never allow Dawood's return. He simply knows too much about America's darker secrets in South Asia and the Gulf, disclosure of which could scuttle U.S.-India relations. Dawood was whisked away in late June to a safe house in Quetta, near the tribal area of Waziristan, and then he disappeared, probably back to the Middle East."

Future of India-Pakistan Ties:

Unfortunately, there is very little hope for improved ties between India and Pakistan as long as Hindu Nationalist hawks are in charge in New Delhi and people like Ajit Kumar Doval are running India's Pakistan policy. Evidence of Indian funding of Baloch insurgents, TTP militants and Karachi's militant political party MQM is mounting every day. The pattern seems to fit the Indian strategy of proxy war against Pakistan that has been articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval  as follows: "How do we tackle Pakistan? .. You make it difficult for them (Pakistan) to manage their internal security... Pakistan's vulnerability is many many times higher than India's....Taliban have beheaded 23 of their (Pakistani) soldiers...funding can be countered by giving more funds...more than one-and-a-half times the funding they have available and they'll be yours..the Taliban are mercenaries...go for more of a covert thing"


An American South Asia watcher Stephen Cohen says: "The alphabet agencies—ISI, RAW, and so forth—are often the chosen instrument of state policy when there is a conventional (and now a nuclear) balance of power, and the diplomatic route seems barren."

Clearly, "the diplomatic route seems barren" for now between the two South Asian neighbors.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

MQM-RAW Connection 

Ex-Indian Spy Documents RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Cover War Against Pakistan?

Pakistan's Political and Military Policy Response to Peshawar Attack

Taliban or RAW-liban?

Respecting Rights of Fellow Humans: Huqooq ul Ibad in Islam

Counter-insurgencyOperation ZarbeAzb

India's Abiding Hostility Toward Pakistan 

India's Israel Envy: Will Modi Attack Pakistan?

Who Killed Karkare?

CFR's View of the Taliban

Rising Religious Intolerance Threatens Pakistan's Future

Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization


Indian Eye said...

Did you even watch the entire interview? He said Advani asked for Dawood before the Agra summit, in a meeting in Delhi. Thereafter, Dulat says, Advani softened his stance and had great relations with the Pakistani side.

He attributed the failure of the summit to tactical errors by the Pakistani negotiators in Agra. I don't know whether he's right or wrong, but if you're going to start a thread based on Dulat's opinion, you might as well quote him correctly.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian Eye: "Did you even watch the entire interview? He said Advani asked for Dawood before the Agra summit, in a meeting in Delhi. Thereafter, Dulat says, Advani softened his stance and had great relations with the Pakistani side. He attributed the failure of the summit to tactical errors by the Pakistani negotiators in Agra. I don't know whether he's right or wrong, but if you're going to start a thread based on Dulat's opinion, you might as well quote him correctly."

You are being disingenuous by talking about "tactical errors" by Pakistanis. What was the "tactical error"? It was Pakistanis "putting all their eggs in one basket, the Vajpayee basket? How's that an error? Wasn't he in charge? Weren't Jaswant Singh and Brajesh Mishra both saying to Pakistanis that the deal is done and ready to sign? And didn't Brijesh Mishra blame the summit failure on LK Advani? Please be honest!!!

Riaz Haq said...

Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief AS Dulat's revelations on a raft of issues ahead of the launch of his book have kicked up a political storm in the country.

Dulat has spoken about the Kandahar hijack incident and the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government's response to it, the 2002 Gujarat riots and Jammu and Kashmir among other things. Here are a few revelations made by the former spy agency chief:

Intelligence agency's payouts to militants, politicians in J-K

Indian intelligence agencies regularly pay terrorists, Hurriyat leaders and mainstream Jammu and Kashmir political parties including the National Conference (NC) and PDP, Dulat revealed in an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times on Friday.

"Nobody is immune to bribes, not the militants, not politicians and not the separatists. Over the years, they have all been paid by intelligence agencies. We paid money to demonstrate that what the ISI can do, we can do better, except kill people," said Dulat, who was posted in J&K as an Intelligence Bureau officer in 1988. He went on to head the Research and Analysis Wing, India's external intelligence agency, and then became adviser to prime minister Vajpayee, serving in government till 2004.

"As militancy grew in the 1990s, so did the payments. They grew from the hundreds to lakhs of rupees," revealed Dulat. He said "there were some honourable exceptions in the Hurriyat who did not accept the money", but refused to name names. Dulat clarified that he could only confirm payments till 2004.

Speaking to Hindustan Times ahead of the launch of his book, Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years, Dulat said the UPA government that came into power in 2004 made him "the villain of the NDA's Kashmir policy'', saying "I had bribed my way through Kashmir, but the fact is that when I was posted to Srinagar in 1988, the first thing I got to know was who was paying whom and how much. It is not a big deal. Intelligence agencies all over the world pay slush money".

Both the NC and PDP denied the charges. "Our political party has been struggling and striving with the people of Kashmir and we have always functioned in a very transparent way. These allegations are unsubstantiated and we totally deny them," said the NC's Junaid Azim Mattoo.

Riaz Haq said...

Former RAW chief AS Dulat has on Saturday said that Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain is a ‘guest’ of British intelligence agency MI-6 in London. However, he refused to answer a question about Indian funding of MQM, reported Dunya News.

Talking to a news channel in India, AS Dulat, refusing to answer a question whether India funds MQM or not, claimed that Altaf Hussain is a ‘guest of MI-6’. He said that Altaf Hussain is hosted by MI-6 and therefore, MI-6 should be questioned about MQM s funding as well.

AS Dulat’s statement has come amid rumors that two of MQM leaders have confessed MQM’s funding from India.

Riaz Haq said...

India, Pakistan ‘fight’ over Shakeel aide

With Munna Jhingada’s sentence in Thailand coming to an end this week, India and Pakistan have renewed their diplomatic efforts seeking custody of the Chhota Shakeel henchman. Jhingada had carried out the famous attack on Chhota Rajan on December 13, 2000 in Bangkok — at Shakeel’s behest — but the latter escaped narrowly while his aide Rohit Verma was killed in the gunfire.
Pakistan has been asserting its claim on Jhingada by pointing out that he had a Pakistani citizenship during the attack — a “technically valid” reasoning, according to crime branch officers. Sources in the crime branch have claimed that a team of policemen will leave for Bangkok as soon as part of larger government effort to win the tug-of-war with Pakistan. “We had already submitted DNA and documentary evidence to Thailand to prove his Indian origin while his extradition request has been pending with the Thai authorities. It will get cleared soon,” said DCP (crime) Dhananjay Kulkarni. The DNA evidence was obtained after conducting blood ests.
Pakistan, on its part, has said that Jhingada held a Pakistani passport by the name of Mohammed Saleem, which makes him their citizen. The Indian claim was made in 2012 when the police learnt about a Pakistan police team reaching Thailand to initiate proceedings to take Jhingada’s custody when Mumbai cops hurriedly flew down there and filed the documentation before the Pakistani officials. “Pakistan is dreading India interrogating Jhingada, since he will reveal the entire functioning of the Dawood-Shakeel gang that operates with Pakistani patronage,” a crime branch officer said.
On the day of the famous shooting, Jhingada — whose real name is Mudassar Hussain Sayyad — managed to locate Rajan in Bangkok and contacted Shakeel, who gave him the green signal to carry out the killing. Jhingada, accompanied by Yusuf Godrawala and Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, managed to breach Rajan’s security in the Bangkok hotel where he was having a private party and opened fire. Rajan managed to escape unhurt.
In 2009, India managed to get custody of Bhullar while Pakistan took Godrawala with them.

Riaz Haq said...

Met Dawood Ibrahim in #London, he had offered to return to #India: #Indian lawyer Ram Jethmalani. #Mumbai #Pakistan

A senior lawyer of India's Supreme Court Ram Jethmalani has claimed to have met Dawood Ibrahim in London, where the fugitive underworld don offered to surrender himself and his close associate Chota Shakeel before Indian authorities.

In an interview to the ANI news agency published on Zee News channel's website, the senior lawyer said the proposal was rejected by the Sharad Pawar-led Maharashtra state government. He added that it was not the chief minister's decision alone, but the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was also a part of it.

Giving details of his meeting with Dawood Ibrahim, Jethmalani said that the underworld don had denied involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and wanted assurance from Indian authorities that upon his return he will not be subjected to third-degree torture by the police while in detention.

Read: Modi says if he becomes PM he will hunt Dawood

The former law minister also said that the underworld don was ready to return to India and be placed under house arrest during the trial, as he feared he would be assassinated in jail.

In a Press Trust on Indian interview published on the NDTV website, Saharad Pawar, who was the chief minister of Maharashtra state in 1990s when the offer was made, said that, "It is true that Ram Jethmalani had given a proposal about Dawood's willingness to return. But there was a condition that Dawood should not be kept in jail. Rather he should be allowed to remain in a house. This was not acceptable. We said he had to face the law."

India has routinely accused Pakistan of providing shelter to one of India’s most wanted fugitive.

Pakistan denies Indian charges that it shelters Dawood Ibrahim — one of India's most wanted men — ever since the don became a fugitive for his alleged role in the serial bomb blasts that hit Mumbai in 1993 in apparent retaliation for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992. Over 250 people were killed in the attacks.

Also read: Dawood Ibrahim not seen at daughter’s wedding

Ibrahim stands convicted in absentia in India for the blasts, together with several Mumbai accomplices.

In a reply submitted to the Indian Parliament recently in May, India's Home Ministry had said that the government had no clue about the whereabouts of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit had termed the admission as vindication of Pakistan's stance over the issue.

A few days later Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said in the Lok Sabha that India had evidence of Dawood Ibrahim’s presence in Pakistan, and would bring him back “no matter what”.

Anonymous said...

The death of Praful Bidwai, leading Indian left wing journalist and proponent of India-Pakistan dialog, of a cardiac arrest in the Netherlands was widely ( and gleefully?) reported in the Indian media as being caused by Praful's choking on a piece of meat (beef???!!!) at dinner.

Riaz Haq said...

Shivam Vij: "#India looks bad rebuffing #Pakistan peace overture" at #UNGA2015. #Modi #NawazSharif. @DilliDurAst …

In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made a direct proposal to India to normalize relations. India immediately and summarily rejected his overture, blaming Pakistan for terrorism and taking strong exception of his description of Indian-administered Kashmir as a foreign occupied territory.
In the never-ending saga of India-Pakistan relations, it is usually Pakistan that looks like the party that does not want peace. It is Pakistan that gets blamed for terrorist attacks in India, heightened military confrontation on the disputed Kahsmir border, or militant incursions. Now, with New Delhi not responding even to very specific Pakistani proposals for reducing tensions, India risks being seen as the party that is shunning dialogue and peace.
The Pakistani prime minister proposed putting into a signed document the 2003 ceasefire agreement. Back then, India and Pakistan did not sign that agreement due to diplomatic differences over phraseology. Nevertheless, the 2003 agreement did result in substantially reducing tensions on the disputed Kashmir border, at least until 2013. Over ten years, a lot of military and civilian lives and property were saved. Signing such an agreement can only be in India's interest.

India instead blamed Pakistan for ceasefire violations. It is true that Pakistan's ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir are often aimed at helping militant incursions, but it is not as if India doesn't respond to them.
An objective outsider can never tell what the two armies - standing eye to eye on a volatile disputed border - are up to. That is why the monitoring mechanism of the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan, better known as UNMOGIP, can only be to India's advantage. While Pakistan wants an enhanced role for UNMOGIP, India would rather have UNMOGIP's international observes pack up and go home.
India says that Kashmir and other disputes are strictly between India and Pakistan, and that the two countries signed an agreement in 1972 that there would be no third party.
However, Nawaz Sharif did not seek the UN's intervention in mediation, or dispute resolution. Indeed, India is missing the departure from the strict Pakistani line that Kashmir needs a plebiscite under the UN Security Council resolutions. That is the usual Pakistani rhetoric meant to go nowhere.
But Nawaz Sharif this time tried to show meaningful intent by proposing that India and Pakistan reaffirm that they will not use, or even threaten to use, force against each other. India could take this up and demand commitments from Pakistan on terrorism, asking Islamabad to walk the talk and bring to justice the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008. India could also ask Pakistan to reciprocate India's commitment to not be the first to use nuclear weapons.
Nawaz Sharif proposed demilitarization of Kashmir, to which India has responded by saying that the real solution is “de-terrorizing Pakistan”. However, Pakistan did not demand demilitarization of only India-administered Kashmir. This would apply to both sides of the disputed border. India knows better than anyone that Pakistan's terrorist infrastructure is centered in Kashmir. India could demand linking demilitarization of Kashmir to Pakistan shutting down Kashmir terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan gives UN files claiming that #India foments violence. #Terrorism

Lohdi told The Associated Press the dossiers include information about “India’s involvement and support to terrorism in different parts of Pakistan.”

One dossier relates to Pakistan’s tribal areas, another relates to Karachi, and the third to the southwestern region of Baluchistan, she said. “So the idea is to really go to the international community through the U.N. secretary-general and to expose the kind of destabilizing actions that India is taking against my country.”

Pakistan and India have a history of uneasy relations and they have fought two of their three wars over the disputed Kashmir region, which is claimed by both countries. Forces on both sides of the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir, have traded fire several times in recent weeks.

Lohdi cited the “escalating tensions in the region” as the reason Islamabad was taking this step. “We believe that these actions must stop,” she said, and she called for a return to dialogue. “We’re ready to go anywhere, at any level, to resume the dialogue process, but this dialogue cannot be on the basis of preconditions.”

She said India had not responded to her move, and she said her country was “disappointed” at the response that India’s foreign minister gave to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Wednesday speech to the U.N. General Assembly — in which Pakistan offered a four-point peace initiative.

She called India’s response the following day “non-serious” and called on India, “Why don’t you put something on the table, too?”

She said Pakistan is in conversation with the U.N. about “how best to take this forward.”

Riaz Haq said...

Former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri on Tuesday tried to put the blame of failed talks between India and Pakistan in Agra in 2001 on the then home minister Lal Krishna Advani.

According to Kasuri, Pakistan had provided India with addresses of terrorist camps operating in Kashmir as part of its deal to bring peace to the Valley.

However, Advani's demand to hand over terrorist Dawood Ibrahim derailed the talks.

"It was Advani's demand that Pakistan hand over fugitive terrorist Dawood Ibrahim to India that destroyed the Agra peace talks," Mumbai Mirror quoted Kasuri as saying.

Kasuri, who served as Pakistan's foreign minister during General Pervez Musharraf's regime from 2002-2007, said how can you hand over somebody (Dawood) who the Pakistani authorities claim is not in the country.

Riaz Haq said...

A.S. Dulat, Former Head Of #India’s Spy Agency #RAW, Believes #Pakistan’s #ISI Is Tops … via @ValueWalk

While affection might be a strong word for his feelings for Pakistan’s (the Directorate for) Inter-Service Intelligence, but admiration was certainly on display from the former spy master.

“The most powerful intelligence agency is either KGB which no more exists or ISI, because they are very anonymous.”

“I believe we’re as good as anybody else. We don’t have technical abilities but are fast catching up,” he said backtracking a bit and praising India’s own intelligence agencies.

Considering a world inhabited by MI6, the CIA, Mossad, and others, that’s pretty high praise.

Dulat versus ISI in Kashmir

Earlier this year, in July specifically, Dulat made it clear that intelligence agencies had, for year, paid politicians, militants and separatists in Indian Kashmir in order to keep up with ISI efforts to foment trouble in the region.

“So what’s wrong? What is there to be so shocked or scandalized by. It’s done the world over,” Dulat said when he was speaking to NDTV’s Barkha Dutt.

In his book, Dulat further explained his methods without issue, and as he has said repeatedly, violating any Indian state secrets.

“If anybody …has any doubts about the path I took – of talking, talking, talking – and how unbeatable dialogue is as both a tactic and a strategy then I will tell them what Agha sahib (Kashmiri educationatist Agha Ashraf Ali) said to me — you were sent to disrupt the Kashmir movement in the friendliest possible manner.”

But as Dulat is quick to point out, his successes were, generally short lived as nearly all of the assets he developed were “bumped off” by ISI.


Both RAW and the ISI were formed based on the failures of intelligence agencies that preceded them. Each were formed with an agenda but, few would argue, the ISI’s reach and power far surpasses that of RAW.

The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) came into being following the disgraceful performance of the leftover Intelligence Bureau during both the Sino-Indian War in 1962 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. It was decided that RAW’s formation would supplant the Intelligence Bureau and become the primary agency responsible for foreign intelligence gathering in India.

RAW has been rightfully credited in its work secreting the Indian nuclear weapon program from the world as well as its safeguarding today. While the agency has enjoyed numerous successes since its inception, the attacks on Mumbai in 2008 showed both India and the world that detection and prevention are two different animals.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Losing #Kashmir as Public Anger Intensifies With Atrocities, Abuses Under Armed Forces Special Powers Act

The repeated calls by various civil society and human rights groups for the repeal of draconian laws such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) – which gives sweeping impunity to the armed forces of India operating in Kashmir – have been met with a cold shoulder, as the Indian army has staunchly opposed any attempts to repeal it.

As Kashmir has seen a resurgence in violence, public support for the insurgency also seems to be increasing. India is losing whatever support it had among the general Kashmiri public, and this trend will continue unless it brings about a radical change in its Kashmir policy.

In October of last year, Abu Qasim, a top commander of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba – believed to be responsible for several attacks on the Indian Army including the 2013 Hyderpora ambush – was killed. A sea of people attended his funeral procession. Authorities confirmed that militants also attended the funeral and fired a three-volley salute to honor his death. As if this were not enough, people from the villages of Khandaypora and Bugam clashed with each other over “the honor” of burying his body in their respective villages. Then, in November, an armed conflict between militants and the Indian Army broke out in the Manigah forests of Kupwara in Indian-administered Kashmir, lasting 27 days, killing two Indian soldiers, and leaving six others injured. The General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Indian Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps stated that the militants were getting supplies from the locals in the area. In yet another incident, nearly 25,000 people attended the funeral procession of Shariq Ahmad Bhat, a member of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group, who was killed in Pulwama district on Jan. 20 of this year. Militants were seen firing their AK-47 rifles in salute. The growing participation of locals in insurgency-related events suggests resurgent support for militancy in Kashmir, which has set alarm bells ringing in the Indian security establishment. The renewed support is so strong that even the president of the Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Mian Abdul Qayoom, recently indicated his support for the insurgency, saying, “We can also use [the] gun as a last resort, and it is no offence under [the] U.N. Charter.”

During a November 2014 visit to Kashmir, discussions with locals revealed that Kashmiris point to the Indian government’s policies for the resurgence in violence. Many were of the opinion that India has not been honest in resolving the political problem of Kashmir. “India asked us to give up arms and come to the table, and we did it. What happened next? Nothing,” said one Kashmiri. “When the situation in Kashmir was bad during the ‘90s, India repeatedly said that dialogue is the way forward to the Kashmir problem and not violence. And now that India has strengthened its hold here, they say there is no political problem at all,” said another.

Riaz Haq said...

In the book, “How India Sees the World: Kautilya to the 21st Century”, Mr. Saran records the crucial meeting of the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) on the eve of India-Pakistan Defence Secretary-level talks in May 2006, where the draft agreement, that had been approved by the Army and other stakeholders, was to be discussed. However, he said two crucial players, the-then NSA MK Narayanan and then Army Chief General J.J. Singh made last minute interventions to cancel the proposal.

“When the CCS meeting was held on the eve of the defence secretary–level talks, [Mr.] Narayanan launched into a bitter offensive against the proposal, saying that Pakistan could not be trusted, that there would be political and public opposition to any such initiative and that India’s military position in the northern sector vis- à-vis both Pakistan and China would be compromised. [Gen] J.J. Singh, who had happily gone along with the proposal in its earlier iterations, now decided to join Narayanan in rubbishing it,” Mr. Saran writes.

According to Mr. Saran both Indian and Pakistani armies had agreed to authenticate the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), and sign an annexure with maps marking exactly where Indian and Pakistani troops held positions. As a result, Mr. Saran says, Indian troops, who occupy the heights of Siachen would be able to mutually withdraw and be spared “extreme cold and unpredictable weather in inhospitable areas, [where] their psychological isolation was just as bad as their physical hardship.”

Mr. Saran’s revelations are significant as it is the first time that an Indian official of the time has accepted that agreements on Siachen and Sir Creek, often called the “low-hanging fruit” of the Comprehensive bilateral dialogue between both countries, was a reality. In 2015, former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri has written about the agreements in his memoirs “Neither a Hawk nor a Dove”, with an account of the Pakistani side of those negotiations.

During the book launch on Wednesday, General (Retd) J.J.Singh, who was also in the audience, asked Mr. Saran whether it would have been possible, in fact, to “trust Pakistan”, and ensure Pakistani troops wouldn’t return to occupy positions in Siachen. “In matters of international diplomacy, it is a convergence of interests rather than trust that counts,” Mr. Saran replied.

The book also records what Mr. Saran calls a “missed opportunity” to solve the Sir Creek dispute in Kutch, with the solution crafted by the Navy to divide the creek between India and Pakistan according to the “equidistance” principle. When asked by Mr. Menon whether the opportunities to resolve the long-standing issues with Pakistan still existed, Mr. Saran said, “Opportunities are perishable. When they aren’t seized, they don’t return.”

Riaz Haq said...

In one of the most unusual books to be published in recent times, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani, who was chief of Pakistan’s all-powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the 1990s, has collaborated on a set of espionage dialogues with A.S. Dulat, the former head of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). by Barkha Dutt

. Durrani and Dulat’s book, “Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace” has garnered enormous scrutiny on both sides of the fence.


The book’s central premise is that old political formulas have failed, civilian governments in Pakistan are hardly empowered, and it is time to allow an institutional line of dialogue between spies on both sides. Dulat, whom I have known to be an indefatigable optimist, opened secret talks with militants and secessionists in Kashmir and later admitted to me in an interview that both India and Pakistan paid money to try to influence them, conceding wryly that “corrupting someone with money is more ethical than killing them.”


Contrary to official accounts in both his country and the United States, Durrani claimed that Pakistan directed the U.S. Navy SEALs to Osama bin Laden’s hideout in 2011. “I have been giving my assessment right from the 3rd of May, 2011, just a day after the raid,” Durrani told me in an interview. “It just so happens that most of the investigative journalists — at home and abroad — came to nearly the same conclusion.....

Durrani’s other big reveal was about the Kashmir conflict. India has long documented how Pakistan has patronized terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-a-Mohammed to create unrest in the Kashmir valley. Intriguingly, when asked in the book to say what he thought was the biggest failure of the ISI, Durrani replied: “When the Kashmir uprising happened we did not know how far it would go. We didn’t want it to go out of control, which would lead to a war that neither side wanted…. ISI’s leverage on the Kashmir insurgency turned out less than successful.” Durrani was ISI chief in 1990-1992, during the insurgency’s early years. When I asked him whether the direction Kashmir has taken has proved difficult for both nations, he said, “True, it wasn’t easy to keep a handle on it — as the Indians too must have concluded over time.” But taking a swipe at India, he added sarcastically, “Oh, I think Pakistan knows what to do with it; sit back and watch.” Dulat’s answer to the question of RAW’s failures with Pakistan was just as candid: “That we have not been able to turn an ISI officer at a level where it counts.”

There are other valuable nuggets for watchers of a region that President Bill Clinton once called “a nuclear flash point.” Dulat shared how a border cease-fire was brokered in 2003 as a result of secret meetings between the head spooks of either side. He revealed that a tipoff from RAW saved the life of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf and said Musharraf had even conveyed his gratitude.

As army chief, Musharraf pushed Pakistani soldiers into India in 1999 leading to the Kargil war. His hard-line statements and actions made him a deeply contentious figure in India. Yet, Dulat insisted, “There has been no more reasonable Pakistani leader than General Musharraf.”

But it’s the no-holds barred description about key officials in both countries that’s got everyone talking. “Get Doval to Lahore; he loves Pakistan,” said Dulat of the Indian National Security adviser, Ajit Doval, regarded as a hard-liner in Pakistan. Durrani was less than complimentary about Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who he said has the “acumen of a camel” on international relations. And on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi? Durrani said: “A fox. Modi is smart.”

Riaz Haq said...

India, Pakistan in Thai legal battle over gangster Chhota Shakeel

Originally from Jogeshwari, Zingada had attempted, at Shakeel’s behest, to kill rival gangster Chhota Rajan in Bangkok in 2000.

Zingada was arrested after the incident and sentenced to 10 years in prison. After he completed his jail term in 2012, India and Pakistan had fought in the Thai court over his nationality.

Rajan’s aide, Rohit Verma, was killed in the Bangkok attack, and after Zingada was arrested and sentenced, the Mumbai crime branch team had submitted a dossier on him before the Thai court listing his criminal activities in the city between 1994 and 1997 along with “incontrovertible proof of his Indian nationality”, including passport details, fingerprints and DNA samples of his kin.

Zingada gained notoriety after he shot dead a key member of gangster-turnedpolitician Arun Gawli’s polit ..

Riaz Haq said...

WikiLeaks cables: Rahul Gandhi warned US of Hindu extremist threat
This article is more than 10 years old
Scion of India's leading political family told ambassador radicalised Hindu groups could create religious tension and political confrontation

Rahul Gandhi, the "crown prince" of Indian politics, told the US ambassador at a lunch last year that Hindu extremist groups could pose a greater threat to his country than Muslim militants.

In controversial comments likely to cause a storm in India, Gandhi – considered a likely prime ministerial candidate and a scion of the country's leading political family – warned Timothy Roemer that although "there was evidence of some support for [Islamic terrorist group Laskar-e-Taiba] among certain elements in India's indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community".

The 40-year-old politician, the son of the Congress party president, Sonia Gandhi, told the ambassador that "the risk of a "homegrown" extremist front, reacting to terror attacks coming from Pakistan or from Islamist groups in India, was a growing concern and one that demanded constant attention".

The US view of him has evolved. In late 2007, US diplomats described the young politician, recently appointed to lead the Congress youth wing, as "widely viewed as an empty suit and will have to prove wrong those who dismiss him as a lightweight".

"To do so he will have to demonstrate determination, depth, savvy and stamina. He will need to get his hands dirty in the untidy and ruthless business that is Indian politics," one said in a cable entitled The son also rises: Rahul Gandhi takes another step towards top job.

Other cables talk of Gandhi's political inexperience and repeated gaffes. They also repeat cutting criticism from political analysts and journalists.

However as Gandhi warmed to the US, the US warmed to him. In a meeting with another American official last summer, he explained his strategy of targeting rural populations and small towns, impressing his interlocutor.

"[Gandhi] came off as a practiced politician who knew how to get his message across, was precise and articulate and demonstrated a mastery that belied the image some have of [him] as a dilettante," the official said.

In November last year, after a meeting with the US ambassador, a cable to Washington described Gandhi as "an elusive contact in the past" but now "clearly interested in reaching out to the USG [United States government]".

A cable from February this year describes him as "increasingly sure-footed".

For Roemer, writing after the lunch during which Gandhi had commented on extremism, "the rising profile of young leaders like Rahul Gandhi provides [the USA with] an opening to expand the constituency in support of the strategic partnership with a long term horizon".

Riaz Haq said...

India’s action to deliver pain in response to Pakistan’s terror should be calibrated. Because of the limitations on India’s ability to inflict a decisive blow on Pakistan through military means, examined in the next chapter, the actions available to India to punish/deter Pakistan’s terror activities fall in the tactical domain. Though lagging behind India in conventional military capability, Pakistan is in a position to respond in kind to such actions. Therefore, an indiscriminate tactical response to Pakistan’s provocations can result in a tit for tat spiral, without corresponding results in India’s favour. Hence, while calibrated action against Pakistani posts/infrastructure facilitating infiltration/terror may be desirable, the policy of heavy firing across the LoC/IB in the J&K sector, adopted by India from time to time has invariably resulted in a stalemate of tit for tat killings of security personnel/civilians on both sides, without putting an end to infiltration/terror from Pakistan.

Sabharwal, Sharat. India’s Pakistan Conundrum (p. 290). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.


Ironically, it was a military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, who liberalised the media scene in 2002, allowing private radio and TV channels. Since then, privately owned channels have multiplied. Pakistan now has over 30 Urdu and regional languages news channels, besides entertainment and religious channels. The number of internet users in Pakistan was reported to be around 76 million at the beginning of 2020, an increase of about 17% over the previous year.1 Though around 35% of the total population, this is a significant number in absolute terms. Social media users in Pakistan stood at around 37 million at the beginning of 2020.2 All this has ensured that a large segment of the population is not dependent on the state for information, including about other countries. In this context, access of a large number of people to the internet and social media cannot be overemphasised. As mentioned in Chapter 13, my speech on the Indus Waters Treaty made in Karachi in April 2010 was largely blacked out by the print and electronic media because of a signal from the powers that be, but found its way into the local public discourse through the internet.
Sabharwal, Sharat. India’s Pakistan Conundrum (pp. 336-337). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

Use of trade as an instrument to punish Pakistan is both short-sighted and ineffective because of the relatively small volume of Pakistani exports to India. Further, as examined in Chapter 13, use of water as an instrument of coercion is a highly overrated option.

Sabharwal, Sharat. India’s Pakistan Conundrum (p. 359). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.


Absence of dialogue and diplomacy between the two countries carries the risk of an unintended flare-up. With India increasingly convinced of its ability to coerce Pakistan militarily and Pakistan overestimating the leverage resulting from its growing China nexus and the downturn in India-China relations because of China’s aggressive behaviour in eastern Ladakh, an accidental escalation can occur. Restoration of ceasefire on the LoC/IB in the J&K sector in February 2021 was an important step towards shifting to a “management” mode from the free-fall phase of the relationship since 2016. As of this writing, the ceasefire was holding with a few exceptions. However, some additional steps such as upgradation of diplomatic representation to High Commissioners’ level and resumption of trade that would have contributed further to the shift towards a “management” mode, had not come about. The eight-track dialogue format used in every phase of structured dialogue since 1997 has outlived its utility. To begin with, Pakistan never bought wholeheartedly into India’s sagacious rationale that issues such as trade and people to people contacts should not be held hostage to solution of the more intractable political problems. Coming to the specific subjects, it is clear that demilitarisation of Siachen is not possible. without an understanding on the larger J&K issue and vastly improved trust between the two countries. A solution to Sir Creek requires a compromise by both sides, which is not possible until the relationship improves substantially. A roadmap for normalisation of trade, drawn up by the Commerce Secretaries in September 2012, already exists and can be used with suitable adaptation as and when the Pakistani establishment takes an enlightened view on the matter and overcomes the resistance of vested interests in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and automobiles. The revised visa agreement signed in September 2012 is available for implementation as a stepping stone to promotion of greater people to people contacts, but this too can happen only when the overall relationship looks up. As stated in Chapter 10, the Tulbul Navigation Project has become a non-issue.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex spy chief Amarjit Singh Dulat tells DH why he thinks both India and Pakistan have their best chance at peace now

S. Raghotham of Deccan Herald: What is the legacy that Gen Pervez Musharraf, who passed away recently, has left on the Kashmir issue?

Ex RAW Chief AS Dulat: I was a great admirer of Musharraf. In fact, it was one of my unfulfilled desires that I wanted to meet him, but I never could. Having watched Kashmir for more than 35 years, I feel that there has been no Pakistani leader who has been more reasonable on Kashmir than Musharraf. From our point of view, the most positive thing was that he repeatedly said that whatever is acceptable to Kashmir and Kashmiris would be acceptable to Pakistan. There’s not been anybody else in Pakistan who has said that. Of course, Musharraf got into trouble when 9/11 happened, and he had to willy-nilly join George Bush’s War on Terror. And 9/11 definitely helped us, because it put pressure on Musharraf. And as part of that pressure, he was also told that he had to behave with India. In the years following 9/11, militancy went down. The other positive thing for us (post-9/11) was that the average Kashmiri....


Manmohan Singh is on record that they (he and Musharraf, after Vajpayee and Musharraf in Agra in 2001) were very close to signing an agreement.

Q: What happened that we didn’t?

A: I think we dragged our foot, we took too long…Musharraf kept waiting for Manmohan Singh’s visit to Pakistan. The visit never happened.

Q: So, the recent revelations by Gen Qamar Bajwa, that PM Modi was to go to Pakistan, stay in a temple there for nine days, and then come out with a peace accord that would freeze the Kashmir issue for 20 years. Is that all true? Is it still possible? ...

A: I wouldn’t know. But coming from the (recently retired) Pakistan army chief Gen. Bajwa, there has to be some truth in it. I mean…there may be some exaggeration in it. I think this year -- this is my hunch, my gut feeling -- that something should happen because the Pakistanis are very keen. And they are in a big mess. So, it could be a question of Modi actually bailing out Pakistan. And he could do it…I feel Modi is the right man, he is under no pressure to move forward, but he can move forward.