Tuesday, September 30, 2008



The General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army announced on the night of September 29,2008, that Major-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, theDirector-General of Military Operations (DGMO), has been promoted as Lt.General and posted as the Director-General of the Inter-ServicesIntelligence (ISI) in place of Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj, who has been transferred and posted as the Commander of the XXX Corps based atGujranwala.

2. The change at the top of the ISI was part of a reshuffle involving 14 senior officers of the Army initiated by Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, theChief of the Army Staff (COAS), after meeting Yousef Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister, shortly after Kayani's return from a week-long visit toChina. The announcement of the changes, which were projected by a spokesman of the army as routine changes necessitated by theimpending retirement of some senior officers, was made when President Asif Ali Zardari had not yet returned from his visit to the US. Underthe changes introducted by Gen.(retired) Pervez Musharraf, when he was the President and the COAS, the powers for the approval of allpromotions and postings in the ranks of Major-General and above are with the President. The COAS is competent to order all promotions andpostings upto the rank of Brigadier. Even though an impression has been sought to be given that all promotions and postings announced onSeptember 29,2008, were made with the approval of or in consultation with Prime Minister Gilani, it is very likely that Zardari's approval hadbeen obtained either before he left for New York or while he was there.

3. Among other important changes, Lt Gen Yousuf, present Vice-Chief of General Staff, has been appointed as Corps Commander Bahawalpurin place of Lt Gen Raza Khan, who has been shifted as DG Joint Staff Headquarters. Maj-General Javed Iqbal, presently posted as GOCJhelum, has been appointed as Director-General Military Operations (DG MO). Commander 10 Corps (Rawalpindi) Lt Gen Mohsin Kamal hasbeen moved to General Headquarters as Military Secretary (MS) and in his place newly promoted Lt-General Tahir Mehmood has beenappointed as Commander Rawalpindi Corps.

4.Maj-Gen Waheed Arshad has been appointed as the VCGS and the newly promoted Lt General Mustafa Khan has been posted as the Chiefof the General Staff (CGS) in place of Lt Gen Salahuddin Satti, who will retire from the Army next week. The reshuffle involved the promotionof seven Majors-General to the rank of Lieutenants-General. They are Major General Tahir Mahmood (Infantry - present Commander SpecialServices Group), Major-General Shahid Iqbal (Infantry - Chief Instructor National Defence University), Major General Tanvir Tahir (EME - DGC4Is), Major-General Zahid Hussain (Artillery - Commandant Pakistan Military Academy), Major General Ahmad Shuja Pasha (Infantry - DGMilitary Operations), Major-General Mohammad Mustafa Khan (Armoured Corps - ISI), and Major-General Ayyaz Saleem Rana (Armoured Corps- ISI). Major-Generals Nusrat Naeem (ISI), Asif Akhtar (ISI), Khalid Jaffari (Anti-Narcotics Force)), Shoukat Sultan (GOC Lahore) andMohammad Saddique (GHQ - former acting Chairman National Accountability Bureau ) have been superseded. They will, however, continueto serve as Majors-General.

5. Of the five senior officers in the ISI----one of the rank of Lt.General and four of the rank of Maj.Gen---Lt.Gen.Nadeem Taj has been movedout, Maj.Gen.Mustafa Khan has been promoted as Lt.Gen. and appointed as the CGS, who acts as the eyes and ears of the COAS in the GHQ,and Maj.Gen.Ayyaz Saleem has been promoted and posted as the Chairman of the heavy industry complex at Taxila.Majs.Gen.NusratNaeem and Asif Akhtar have been superseded. They have been allowed to continue till their superannuation as Majs.Gen., but it is notknown whether they will continue in the ISI or will be shifted out. Among other superseded Majs-Gen is Mohammad Saddique, who used tobe in the National Accountability Bureau and was handling the corruption cases against Benazir Bhutto and Zardari.

6. Gen.Kayani will have in the important posts of the CGS, the DG,ISI, and Corps Commander, Rawalpindi, persons, who owe their promotionas Lts.Gen. to him and not to Musharraf. The CGS, the DG ISI and the Corps Commander Rawalpindi constitute an informal triumviratewithout whom, according to conventional wisdom, no COAS can stage a coup. The persons appointed to these posts as well as to the postof the DGMO are generally viewed as confirmed loyalists of the COAS.

7. Lt.Gen.Nadeen Taj, who is distantly related to Musharraf, served as the DG ISI for less than a year. He took over as the DG, ISI, on October8, 2007,after his promotion to the rank of Lt.Gen. Till then, he served as the Commandant, Pakistan Military Academy, with the rank ofMaj.Gen.

8. Lt.Gen.Pasha, who was promoted from the rank of Brigadier to that of Maj.Gen. by Musharraf in January,2003, is due to retire onSeptember 29, 2012.He has commanded an infantry brigade, a mechanised infantry brigade and an infantry division and has served as theChief Instructor of the Command and Staff College.In 2001-2002, as a Brigadier, he served as a Contingent and Sector Commander with theUnited Nations Mission in Sierra Leone. In October,2007, Musharraf agreed to a request from Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, torelieve Pasha from the post of the DGMO so that he could be appointed as the Military Adviser, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, inthe UN headquarters, in place of General Per Arne Five of Norway. An announcement on his posting in the UN headquarters was also madeby the office of the UN Secretary-General.

9. But, this posting did not materialise. In view of the Swat Valley in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) coming under the control of theTaliban-affiliated Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) headed by Maulana Fazlullah, Musharraf ordered a special military operationagainst the TNSM and asked Pasha in his capacity as the DGMO to co-ordinate it. Pasha got Sufi Mohammad, former chief of the TNSM, whowas in detention since 2002, released and sought his help in the operation. In January,2008, Pasha announced that his troops had defeatedthe TNSM and freed the Swat Valley from the control of the TNSM. His claim came to haunt him shortly thereafter when the TNSM, whichhad withdrawn into the hills, staged a come-back and re-established its control over large areas of the Swat. Fighting there is still going on.In August,2008, shortly after the return of Gilani from a visit to Washington DC, Gen.Kayani ordered another special operation against theTehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Al Qaeda in the Bajaur Agency of the Federally-Administered Tribal Area (FATA) and asked Pasha toco-ordinate it too. Despite repeated claims of the Army having inflicted heavy casualties on the TTP and Al Qaeda, the two have beenputting up a determined fight against the Army and the Frontier Corps .

10. The "Dawn" of Karachi reported on September 29 as follows: "Military operations against militants have been a mixed bag of successesand setbacks; however no timeframe could be given with regard to the ongoing campaigns, sources in the military said. ‘It is a continualoperation. It is not going to end in 2008 and it is not going to end in 2009. Don’t be optimistic, as far as the timeframe is concerned. It is adifferent ground and it will take some time’, military sources said in a media briefing." Thus, as the DGMO, Pasha has had a colourlessrecord. That, despite this, he has been posted as the DG,ISI, shows his closeness and loyalty to Kayani, who had taken him for his secretmeeting with Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, on board a US Aircraft Carrier, on August 26,2008, and notLt.Gen.Nadeem Taj.

11. The removal of Nadeem Taj has come in the wake of reports about US concerns and unhappiness over the alleged role of the ISI in theattempt to blow up the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7,2008, and over leakage of information shared by the US intelligence with the ISI tothe Taliban. President Bush was reported to have taken up this matter with Prime Minister Gilani, when he visited Washington DC in the lastweek of July as well as with Zardari whom he met in the margins of the current UN General Assembly session. While removing Taj from thepost of DG,ISI, Kayani has taken care not to create a feeling of humiliation in him by posting him as the Commander of an important Corps,but as the Corps Commander at Gujranwala he will not have much to do with Afghanistan or the ongoing military operations in the tribal belt.Kayani has removed him from any role in the operations against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

12. The removal of Taj from the ISI has also come in the wake of reports of Chinese unhappiness as expressed to Kayani during hisweek-long visit to China from September 21,2008, over the lack of a sense of urgency shown by the ISI in rescuing the two Chineseengineers kidnapped by the TTP on August 29. They were working for a Chinese cellular company in the Dir area of the NWFP. The TTPkidnapped them while they were travelling and removed them to the Swat valley. The TTP has been demanding the release of over 130Taliban members presently in the custody of the Pakistani security agencies in return for their release.

13. The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad and Chinese engineers working in Pakistan have also been reportedly expressing their unhappinessover the lack of a sense of urgency shown by the Gilani Government as a whole in getting the Chinese engineers released. They have beenpointing out as to how Musharraf always gave the first priority to requests from China for assistance and to the commando action orderedby him on the Lal Masjid of Islamabad when some of the students, including Uighurs, in the madrasas of the masjid, kidnapped someChinese women working in Islamabad, and comparing this to the lethargic response of Gilani and Zardari. They feel that Gilani and Zardarihave been giving a greater importance to US interests and concerns than to those of the Chinese.

14. In a report on the subject carried by the 'News" of September 24, 2008, Rahimullah Yusufzai, the well-informed Pakistani journalist, saidas follows: " A Chinese journalist, who requested anonymity, said the Pakistan Government hasn't shown any urgency in getting the twoyoung engineers freed. He recalled how the issue of the two Chinese engineers kidnapped by late Pakistani Taliban commander AbdullahMahsud's men in South Waziristan in 2004 was resolved within a few days. "The recent case of kidnapping of Chinese engineers hasn't beenresolved even after more than three weeks. We were hoping our citizens would have been freed by now, he said."

15. Before his election as the President, Zardari had stated that his first official visit as the President would be to China to underline theimportance attached by him to Pakistan's relations with China. He did not keep his word and instead went on a private visit to the UnitedArab Emirates and the UK and then on an official visit to New York to attend the UN General Assembly session. Pakistani officials have been explaining this away by claiming that his visit to New York was not a bilateral visit to the US and that his first official bilateral visit wouldstill be to China. (30-9-08)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Sunday, September 28, 2008



"The discourse on our 24-hour news channels is even more predictable. The usual suspects are rounded up to provide insight andcorrective action. Experts like B. Raman, Ajit Doval and Julio Ribeiro, alas, provide no cure. Police reform always gets roped into thediscussion and we are reminded of Supreme Court orders which have been studiously ignored. There is an element of farce in the wholeexercise. When the next terrorist outrage happens, as it will, we will go over the rigmarole once more. I don’t have any solutions to a verycomplex problem but I do know that the present strategy is a total failure. Let me correct that because I believe no one in the countryunderstands or is aware that a strategy exists—except to condemn terrorism and terrorists. As the Indian Mujahideen in their e-mailboasted: they can strike anywhere, anytime."
Extract from the "Delhi Diary" of Shri Vinod Mehta, Editor, "Outlook" available at http://www.outlookindia.com/diary.asp?fodname=20081006

Dear Shri Vinod Mehta,

I read with interest your above-quoted observations in the issue of "Outlook" dated October 6,2008. A major problem one faces in India inpromoting an adequate understanding of the problem of terrorism is that most of us have little time or patience for facts and figures and fordetails. We have our idees fixes and come to conclusions, which are often superficial, on the basis of such idees fixes. That is one of thereasons for the image of helplessness in dealing with terrorism which we project of ourselves to our own people and to the rest of the world.

2. Our record in dealing with terrorism and insurgency is not as negative as it is often projected to be. We have had a successful record inPunjab, Nagaland (partial), Mizoram, Tripura and in Tamil Nadu in dealing with terrorism of Al Umma. Even in Jammu & Kashmir, the groundsituation was showing signs of definite improvement till the recent avoidable controversy over facilities for the Amarnath pilgrims.

3.There are two kinds of terrorism/insurgency where our record has been poor till now---- the jihadi kind, which is essentially an urbanphenomenon outside J&K, and the Maoist (Naxalite) kind, which is essentially a rural phenomenon. If one compares these two kinds ofterrorism with the instances where we were not without success, one would find a striking difference. We have succeeded where theterrorism or insurgency was a regional phenomenon and was confined to a narrow area. We have not succeeded where the threat waspan-Indian in nature with the network extending its presence to many States in the North and the South.

4. A pan-Indian threat requires a co-ordinated pan-Indian response at the political and professional levels. Unfortunastely, we do not have it.The multiplicity of political parties, the era of coalition and the tendency in our country to over-politicise the problem of terrorism come inthe way of a pan-Indian political response. The tendency of the intelligence agencies and the police of different States to keep each other inthe dark about what they know and not to admit to each other as to what they do not know come in the way of a pan-Indian professionalresponse.

5. There has been a plethora of reports and recommendations on the need for better sharing and co-ordination, but without any effect onour agencies and the police. I was talking to a recently-retired Police chief on the present state of co-ordination and sharing. He admittedthat there has been no noticeable improvement. He added:" The agencies and the police show a greater readiness to share theirinformation with Praveen Swami, the journalist of "The Hindu", than with each other. We all wait for his columns in "The Hindu" to know whatinformation other agencies and the police of other States have."

6.The agencies and the Police are largely responsible for the absence of a co-ordinated professional response, but the political leadershipat the Centre and in different States cannot escape their share of responsibility.A determined political leader, who has the national interestsin mind, can use a whip and make the agencies and the police co-operate. We saw it in the case of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi andNarasimha Rao at the Centre and Beant Singh,former Chief Minister, in the case of Punjab, and Sharad Pawar in the case of Maharashtra. Apolitical leader whose policies and actions are motivated by partisan and not national interests will come in the way of professionalco-operation. We saw it in the case of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh.

7. Any cure to the problem of jihadi and Maoist terrorism has to start at the political level. A political leader has to play a dual role. He has tohelp the professionals in taking firm action against the terrorists---whatever be their community and ideology.He has to give them whatevertools they need. At the same time, he has to identify the circumstances and perceptions which drive young Muslims to take to jihaditerrorism and young tribals to take to Maoist terrorism. Anger is one of the common root causes of all terrorism. Unless this anger isaddressed, professional handling of the threat alone, however effective, cannot bring about an enduring end to this threat.

8. An effective political handling has to start with a detailed analysis of the causes of anger and action to deal with them. Our youngMuslims, who are taking to jihadi terrorism, are not bothered by issues such as lack of education and unemployment, reservation forMuslims etc . They are angry at what they consider to be the unfairness to the Muslims, which, according to them, is widely prevalent inIndia. They are angry with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for destroying the Babri Masjid and with the Congress (I) for not preventing it.They are angry with both for not implementing the Sri Krishna Commission report on alleged excesses commited by the Mumbai Police indealing with the riots by some Muslims after the Babri Masjid demolition. They are angry with the BJP for what happened in Gujarat in 2002.They are angry with both the BJP and the Congress (I) for their studied silence on the alleged violations of the human rights of theirco-religionists in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are angry with our political class----particularly the BJP and the Congress (I)--- for not utteringone word of criticism about the special detention centres for Muslim suspects set up by the US in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and in Bagramin Afghanistan. Even Tony Blair, who was widely perceived as an American poodle, criticised the Guantanamo Bay detention centre througha statement by his Attorney-General in 2006 before he left office, but none of our leaders has uttered a word on this subject. ManmohanSingh claims himself to be secular at home, but he profusely praises President George Bush, who is strongly disliked by large sections ofthe Muslims of the world. His unfortunate statement that the people of India like Bush is not shared by the 160 million Muslims of India and many others.

9. Unsatisfactory political handling of the Muslim youth by all political parties is an aggravating cause of the threat from jihadi terrorism. Thepolitical class is not prepared to mend its ways and play its role in dealing with this problem. How can they expect the professional class toproduce a miracle cure?

10. Similarly, it is the absence of meaningful land reforms and perceptions of suppression of the tribals by the so-called upper caste Hindus ,which is an important cause of the tribal anger in Central India. It is the responsibility of the political class and the society as a whole toaddress this. They do not do so and keep nursing an illusion that more and more money, men and equipment for the agencies and the policewill end this problem. It won't.

11. The way we kick around the problem of terrorism like a football blaming everybodyelse except ourselves can be seen in the TV debatesand media columns. The same arguments are repeated without worrying over their validity. The Congress (I) and the analysts supporting itridicule the BJPs demand for the revival of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) by pointing out that despite the introduction of the POTAby the BJP-led Government, major acts of terrorism took place during its tenure. The BJP attributes the increase in jihadi terrorism since the present Government assumed office in 2004 to its abolition of the POTA.

12. Both the arguments are partly correct and partly wrong. Yes, it is correct that despite the POTA major terrorist strikes took place during the BJP regime. So too, in Western countries, despite special powers given to the agencies and the police major incidents ofterrorism took place. The Madrid blasts of March,2004, the London blasts of July,2005, and the Glasgow incident of June 2007, took placeafter special powers were given. Nobody in the West uses these incidents as an argument against special powers.

13. Similarly, an increase in attacks on soft targets has been faced by many countries of the world after the Bali explosion of October,2002.So too India. This is due to the tightening of physical security for hard targets after 9/11. The new focus of the jihadi terrorists on softtargets has meant more terrorist strikes and more casualties. The undoubted fact that casualties due to jihadi terrorism have more thandoubled since the Manmohan Singh Government came to power cannot be solely attributed to its abolition of the POTA.

14.Effective intelligence and physical security and a modern legal architecture are the three essential components of any counter-terrorismstrategy.Intelligence and physical security help in preventing acts of terrorism. Successful investigation and prosecution deter the flow ofnew recruits to terrorist organisations.If only we had a federal agency solely for the investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases, wewill not be facing the kind of messy situation we are facing today---- with the Gujarat police under a BJP Government giving one version ofthe so-called Indian Mujahideen (IM) and the Police in Congress (I) ruled Delhi and Maharashtra giving a different version.

15.Flow of human intelligence about jihadi terrorism is weak because of the post-9/11 phenomenon of global Islamic solidarity and theadversarial relationship between the agencies and the police on the one side and the Muslim community on the other.Feelings of Islamicsolidarity prevent even law-abiding Muslims from volunteering to the agencies and the police information about their co-religionists, whohave taken to terrorism and from assisting the police in their investigation. The adversarial relationship has resulted in mutualdemonisation. How to come out of this syndrome is a matter for serious consideration not only by the police and the agencies, but also bythe political class and the civil society, including the media.

16. Once we allow terrorism and insurgencies of different kinds to make their appearance in our society it takes a long time to deal withthem. We took 19 years to deal with the Naga insurgency, another 19 years to deal with the Mizo insurgency, 14 years to deal withKhalistani terrorism and about 10 years to deal with Al Umma. The French took 19 years to deal with the terrorism of Carlos and his group.Even after 41 years of vigorous implementation of a no-holds-barred counter-terrorism strategy, Israel is still grappling with the terrorism ofthe Palestinians and the Hezbollah. The British took over 20 years to bring the Irish Republican Army under control.

17. The jihadi terrorism in the Indian territory outside J&K is a post-Babri Masjid demolition phenomenon. This has been rendered moredifficult to handle by the post-9/11 emergence of the concept of a global jihad. Our jihadi terrorism is still only a pan-Indian phenomenon, butit has not yet become a part of the global jihadi phenomenon. Preventing it from happening is the responsibility of the political leadershipand containing and rooting it out is the responsibility of the professional class. The two have to work together, with understanding andsupport from the civil society. The attitude of our political class to terrorism is ambivalent. On the one hand, it is worried---rightly---over thisgrowing threat. On the other, it continues to view this as a vote-catcher. Every political party has been firm in demanding action againstterrorism when it is out of power. It becomes soft when it comes to power. That is the bane of our counter-terrorism. Only voter pressure canforce the political class to stop exploiting terrorism as an electoral weapon and to start dealing with it as a major threat to national security,which should unite the political class and the civil society. (29-9-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Tuesday, September 23, 2008



Hundreds of Hindus in the predominantly Hindu island of Bali in Indonesia have demonstrated twice in one week to protest against theefforts of conservative Islamic elements to force through the Indonesian Parliament a Bill, which is ostensibly meant to ban thedissemination and possession of pornographic literature, films, CDs and other material. The Hindus, who have been living in Bali for over athousand years and preserved the pristine traditions of Hinduism, apprehend that the Islamic conservative elements behind the Bill have thehidden objective of imposing on non-Muslims the Islamic dress code and prejudices against music and dancing. They fear that the Islamicconservatives want to ban the use of music and dancing based on Hindu religious themes on religious and social occasions in Bali on theground that they encourage eroticism and remove from temples idols, which are perceived by the conservatives as erotic. They alsosuspect that the Islamic conservatives want to eradicate the influence of Hindu traditions and culture in Indonesia and Arabise the Muslimpopulation in Indonesia as has already been done in Malaysia.

2. The Islamic conservatives have been trying for the last three years to have the Bill passed and implemented, but they have been thwartedin their efforts by strong opposition not only from the Hindus and Christians, but also from liberal sections of the local Muslim society. Theliberals still have a strong presence and voice in the Indonesian Muslim society, but face increasing pressure from the conservatives to letthe Bill go through. This year, the conservatives made a determined bid to have the Bill passed and promulgated into law during the holymonth of Ramadan.

3. Provoked by this, the Hindus of Bali have demonstrated twice against the Bill. Addressing the second demonstration on September23,2008, Made Mangku Pastika, the Governor of Bali, said that the proposed Bill overlapped with existing legislation and trampled localcustoms in a country of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. "The parliament should enforce other laws on the sex industry but don'tendorse a new law on pornography, especially if that law only accommodates a single group's perspective and disrespects others'," he said.
He added that regulations in the media law, the criminal code, the broadcasting law and the child protection law should be enough tocontrol pornography.

4.The Bill is too vague in its definition of pornography and the critics of the Bill fear that it could lead to Taliban-style attacks against thosepreserving Hindu traditions in music and dancing and dressing differently from the Muslims. The conservatives want that women should bebanned from exposing their midriff and navel, which should be made an offence punishable with two years in prison. The Hindus say that theBill would threaten their local religious and cultural traditions, and hurt the lucrative tourism industry, on which they are mainly dependentfor their livelihood.The Bill would criminalise all public acts and material capable of raising sexual desires or violating "community morality,"including dance, music and poetry. The protesting Hindus sang, danced and recited from Hindu epics----- all acts which could be criminalisedif the Bill became law.

5.In the beginning the Bill was supported only by the Islamic conservative parties, but in view of the elections due next year, the secular Golkar has also started supporting it. However, the Christian Peace and Welfare Party and the nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party ofStruggle (PDI-P) have rejected the proposed Bill.The Hindus have threatened to launch a civil disobedience movement similar to themovement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in India if the Bill is enacted and enforced.

5. The discussion on the Bill in the Parliament has reportedly been postponed till the end of this year in view of the protests from the Hindus and the Christians, but it has not been withdrawn. (24-9-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Sunday, September 21, 2008




There are some indications that Denmark might have been the target of the massive blast directed at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on thenight of September 20,2008. While no organisation has so far claimed responsibility for the blast, the hand of Al Qaeda is suspected.According to IntelCenter, a US-based group which monitors and analyzes the Internet-based communications of Al Qaeda and itsassociates, a senior Al Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid had threatened attacks against Western interests in Pakistan in a video disseminated on the recent anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

2.However, in an investigative report carried by the "News" of September 22, 2008, Amir Mir, the well-informed Pakistani journalist, hasstated that Pakistani investigators suspect that the blast must have been carried out by the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), which is amember of the Al Qaeda-led International Islamic Front (IIF), formed by bin Laden in 1998.

3. Amir Mir has reported as follows: "According to intelligence circles in Islamabad, which are probing the latest suicide attack, the methodof the bombing and the nature of explosives resemble four previous vehicle bomb attacks, carried out by suicide bombers in Lahore,Islamabad and Rawalpindi ---- the March 4, 2008 attack on the Naval War College building in Lahore; the March 11, 2008 suicide bombingstargeting the headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Lahore; the June 3, 2008 attack outside the Danish Embassy inIslamabad; and the December, 25, 2003 twin suicide attacks targeting former President General Pervez Musharraf's cavalcade inRawalpindi. The bombers used different types of vehicles, laden with high-intensity explosives to hit their targets. The investigators sayabout 600 kilograms of explosives were used in the Marriott Hotel attack which created a 25 feet deep and 50 feet wide crater. They have concluded that the material used in Saturday's attack was a mix of cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine or RDX and trinitrotoluene orTNT explosives. RDX is used as a major component in many plastic bonded explosives to increase their intensity while TNT is usually usedto shatter concrete structures and hillocks. The investigators say the similar mix of RDX and TNT explosives had been used in the fourearlier attacks in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lahore, which were carried out by operatives of the HUJI."

4. While Al Qaeda had claimed the responsibility for the blast outside the Danish Embassy in Islamabad on June 3,2008, it did not in respectof the other strikes mentioned by Amir Mir. Al Qaeda targeted the Danish Embassy in protest against the cartoons on the Holy Prophetcarried by the Danish media. It continues to call for more attacks on Danish targets.

5. After the controversy over the cartoons broke out two years ago, Denmark had drastically reduced the strength of its home-based staff inits Embassy in Islamabad. It was running a truncated mission with the help of either Pakistani recruits or Danish citizens of Pakistani origin.However, it is learnt that it was having a small office in the Marriott Hotel, which was staffed by officers of the Danish intelligence agencyresponsible for counter-terrorism. They were monitoring the developments relating to terrorism in Pakistan and maintaining a liaison withthe Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The information about the presence of a small cell of the Danish intelligence in the hotel seems to haveleaked out to Al Qaeda.

6.The official figures of fatalities in the blast are 53. Of these, one has been described as a Danish citizen. Another Danish citizen is statedto be missing. An Agence France Press (AFP) report from Copenhagen says as follows: " A Danish intelligence agent is missing afterSaturday's devastating suicide bomb attack on the Marriott hotel in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, Denmark's Foreign Minister said onSunday. "We are talking about a member of the intelligence services stationed at the embassy in Islamabad, with no sign of life," Per StigMoeller told TV2 news channel. "What we have heard is that a Dane likely figures among the dead. If that proves to be the case, it would beprofoundly tragic," he added, because he had been sent to Pakistan to improve security for Danish staff there. The Danish intelligenceagency, PET, said in a separate statement that one of its agents, a security advisor, had been posted missing, presumed dead. A secondPET official was unhurt, it said. Earlier, the Foreign Ministry's head of diplomacy Klavs Holm told AFP that teams were scouring the city'shospitals and other places looking for the missing national. "Several other Danes were in the hotel, they have been slightly hurt" in theexplosion, Holm said, adding that these people, three in number, were all employed by the Danish Embassy in Islamabad. Saturday's suicideblast was "an attack on cooperation between Pakistan and the international community, because these Islamists, these fanatics, want tobreak relations between the West and the democratically-elected Pakistani Government," he added.

7. Media reports have quoted Lou Fintor, a spokesman of the US Embassy in Islamabad, as saying that there was no evidence thatAmericans were the target.However, two US Defense Department employees were among the dead and a third American—a StateDepartment contractor—was missing. Three U.S. Embassy employees and an embassy contractor were injured, Fintor said. (22-9-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Saturday, September 20, 2008




The rules of engagement relating to Pakistan's tribal belt followed by the US forces in Afghanistan before July,2008, were that whilePakistan had agreed to deniable air strikes by unmanned Predator aircraft of the US on suspected terrorist hide-outs in Pakistani territoryadjoining the Pakistan-Afghan border in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), it had not agreed to any unilateral ground strikes bythe US forces based in Afghanistan either in exercise of the right of hot pursuit or to pre-empt planned attacks by Al Qaeda and the Talibanon the NATO forces in Afghanistan from sanctuaries in Pakistani territory.

2. According to leaks to sections of the US media by unidentified US officials, in the middle of July President George Bush approved somechanges in the rules of engagement relating to ground strikes under which he authorised the US special forces to undertake unilateralground strikes in Pakistani territory under certain circumstances. In this connection, reference is invited to my previous article titled PAK-US SNAFU of 13-9-08 at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers29/paper2843.html .

3. Under these revised rules of engagement, a ground strike in Pakistani territory was undertaken by the US special forces in the SouthWaziristan area on September 3,2008. According to Pakistani claims, the strike was not successful and resulted only in the deaths of somecivilians.

4. This ground strike and the stepped up Predator air strikes since the present-Pakistan People's Party-led coalition came to office on March18,2008, came in for strong criticism from the Pakistan Army, including its Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, and thepolitical leaders of the present Government. They were embarrassed by speculation that the Government had infiormally agreed to therevised rules of engagement during the visit of Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani to Washington DC in the last week of July,2008.

5. The US ground strike of September 3 and the stepped-up air strikes also came in for criticism from tribals, who have remained loyal to theGovernment and have been co-operating with it in its operations against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) headed by Baitullah Mehsud ofSouth Waziristan. The Government had to take note of the widespread criticism of the US air and ground strikes from the tribals of the areabecause of the possible impact of their anger on the Frontier Corps (FC) and the Frontier Constabulary on which the Army relies for itsmilitary operations in the tribal areas. The FC is deployed in the FATA and the Frontier Constabulary in the North-West Frontier Province(NWFP). Both consist largely of Pashtuns recruited from the tribal belt, but officered mainly by Punjabis from the Army.

6.The revised rules of engagement were greeted with concern not only in the NATO countries, but by influential American experts onPakistan, who apprehended that unilateral ground strikes by the US special forces in Pakistani territory might prove counter-productive.They argued that apart from adding to the prevailing instability in the tribal area, they could also create dangerous situations if Al Qaeda orthe Taliban managed to capture some of the raiding American forces. During a private visit to the UK to admit his daughter in a localUniversity, President Asif Ali Zardari met Prime Minister Gordon Brown and reportedly urged him to advise the US to desist from undertakingany more ground strikes similar to that of September 3.

7. The concern in Pakistan over the political and operational implications of the revised rules of engagement led to an unscheduled visit toIslamabad by Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, US Joins Chief of Staff, on September 16 and 17,2008, during which he met Prime MinisterGilani and Gen.Kayani. A statement issued by the US Embassy in Islamabad after his meetings said: "Admiral Mullen reiterated the UScommitment to respect Pakistan's sovereignty and to develop further US-Pakistan cooperation and coordination on these critical issuesthat challenge the security and well-being of the people of both countries."

8. Even as Admiral Mullen was in Islamabad for his meetings, US forces based in Afghanistan undertook yet another ( the 13th since March18) Predator air strike on September 17,2008, on an alleged Al Qaeda hide-out in the same area of South Waziristan where the US specialforces had carried out a ground strike on September 3. Seven persons---two of them Arabs of Al Qaeda and one a terrorist from Punjab---were reported to have been killed in this air strike.

9. This air strike clearly indicated that the reported US assurances to respect Pakistani sovereignty in its territory did not apply to airstrikes, which could continue as before. In fact, the Pakistan Army itself had agreed to these air strikes when Musharraf was the Presidentand the COAS. Kayani was a party to that decision and he could not now object to such air strikes unless the Army wanted the permissionfor air strikes accorded by Musharraf to be withdrawn.

10. However, Musharraf had consistently refused to agree to unilateral ground strikes by the US special forces. The present Government cannot give the impression that it had gone even further than Musharraf in its co-operation with the US forces in their operations against AlQaeda and the Taliban

11. The US has been undertaking air strikes only in those areas of South and North Waziristan, which are no longer under the de factocontrol of the Pakistan Government and where Al Qaeda and the Taliban have established their de facto control. It intended to undertakeground strikes too only in those areas where the writ of the Pakistani Government no longer runs. The US has not so far undertaken any airand ground strikes in those agencies of the FATA, which are still under the de facto and the de jure control of the Pakistan army eventhough such control might be weakening. However, it had undertaken in the past air strikes against suspected hide-outs of AymanAl-Zawahiri, the No.2 to Osama bin Laden, in the Bajaur Agency.

12. What the Pakistanis want is that the US should not undertake any ground strikes even in those areas of South and North Waziristan,where its writ no longer runs. This poses a dilemma for the US. The Pakistani security forces continue to be engaged in severe clashes withthe Taliban in the Swat Valley of the NWFP and in the Bajaur Agency of the FATA. Despite the use of air strikes by the Pakistan Air Forceand of helicopter gunships, the Pakistani security forces have not been able to overcome the resistance of the Taliban in these areas. Inthe Bajaur Agency, the TTP is also being aided by elements from Al Qaeda.

13. The fighting has been going on intermittently in the Swat Valley for over six months now and in the Bajaur Agency for nearly six weekswithout the Pakiastani security forces being able to prevail over the TTP. As such, till they prevail in restoring the authority of theGovernment in these areas, the Pakistani security forces are not in a position to undertake similar operations in the two Waziristans torestore the writ of the Government. Taking advantage of this, Al Qaeda and the Taliban have stepped up their operations in the Afghanterritory from these areas, which are under their effective control.If the US does not put down their sanctuaries in the two Waziristans, theNATO forces and the Afghan National Army will continue to bleed.

14. From the vague and contradictory statements coming out of Islamabad and Washington DC as to what was really agreed to during thetalks of Admiral Mullen, one could assess that while the US has not agreed to abandon the revised rules of engagement reportedlyapproved by Bush in July, it has assured Pakistan that these rules will apply only in the areas under the effective control of Al Qaeda and theTaliban in the two Waziristans and not to other areas of the FATA. Future operations of the US special forces will show to what extent thisassessment is correct. (20-9-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Friday, September 19, 2008




The events in New Delhi since the terrorist strike by the so-called Indian Mujahideen (IM) on September 13 2008, which killed 26 innocentcivilians, should be a matter of concern for all right-thinking Indians.

2. The pent-up anger of large sections of our society over the helplessness and ineptitude of Shivraj Patil, the Home Minister of theGovernment of India, who occupies a position similar to that of the British Home Secretary and the Secretary for Homeland Security in theUS, burst out with many demands either for his resignation from the Cabinet of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh or for his dismissal if herefused to resign.

3. Neither happened. Patil brazenly said: "There is no question of my resigning so long as I retain the confidence of my leader." Whom did hemean by "my leader"? Dr.Manmohan Singh? No. Sonia Gandhi. He himself said so. What he said amounted to his asserting that so long asSonia Gandhi had confidence in him, he did not have to worry about Manmohan Singh, who cannot touch him, or about the hundreds ofinnocent civilians, who have been killed by the jihadi terrorists in recent months..

4. On September 17,2008, Dr.Manmohan Singh addressed the conference of the Governors of the States of India at New Delhi. His addressreflected his concern over the widespread perception right across India that his Government was soft on terrorism and was unable tocontrol it for want of effective legal measures to empower the police to deal with this cancer effectively . It also carried an admission that inaddition to the continuing threat of jihadi terrorism sponsored by Pakistan, India was facing a new dimension to the threat to nationalsecurity due to a number of Indian Muslims gravitating to the ranks of the jihadis .

5. His address was widely welcomed as indicating that he and his Government were at long last coming out of the denial mode into whichthey had kept themselves confined since they came to office in 2004 and were now prepared for action to empower the police against thejihadi terrorists and to counter effectively the activities of the home-grown jihadis, but the hopes were belied within 24 hours. The PrimeMinister was apparently over-ruled by sections of his own colleagues in the Cabinet and in his Congress (I) party and by the other parties,which are part of the ruling coalition.

6. Briefing the media after a special Cabinet meeting to discuss counter-terrorism on September 18, Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, Minister forInformation and Broadcasting in the Cabinet of Manmohan Singh, virtually debunked and nullified what his own Prime Minister had told theGovernors the previous day. He said that there was no need for special powers for the Police to deal with jihadi terrorism. " If the presentlaws are implemented properly, there is no need for additional laws, " he said as reported by "The Hindu" of September 19,2008.
7. Thus, twice within five days of the New Delhi blasts, two senior Ministers of his Cabinet had sought to give an impression as if the PrimeMinister's views on counter-terrorism did not count. His authority in matters relating to counter-terrorism against jihadi terrorists has beensought to be marginalised by members of his own Cabinet and party as well as by members of the ruling coalition.

8. Some weeks ago, when there was a similar attempt to weaken the authority of the Prime Minister in matters relating to India's closerelations with the US and the concretisation of the agreement with the US for civil nuclear co-operation, the Prime Minister reportedlythreatened to resign in protest. This led to his party supporting him in this matter. One would have expected the Prime Minister to similarlythreaten to quit if his authority in matters relating to counter-terrorism is not respected and upheld by his colleagues in the Government andparty. He has chosen not to do so even though the subject of protecting the lives and property of the citizens of this country is a much moreimportant issue than the question of the nuclear agreement with the US.

9. Dasmunshi did not stop with debunking his own Prime Minister and others who spoke of the need for additional laws to deal with jihaditerrorism. He even ridiculed the concerns of the public over the recurring jihadi terrorist strikes across the country. The same issue of "TheHindu" has quoted him as saying : "Can anyone predict a terrorist strike? No Government can prevent it." So, to go by his words, theinnocent civilians of this country have no other option but to keep dying at the hands of the jihadi terrorists.

10.The events of the past few days have further indicated----if further indication was necessary--- as to who lays down the counter-terrorismpolicy of this country against jihadi terrorism.
Sonia Gandhi? No.
The Prime Minister of India? No.
The Home Minister of India? No.
The intelligence chiefs? No.
The police chiefs? No.

11. It is laid down by the leaders of the Muslim community themselves. They indicate the dos and don'ts and the Government does not havethe courage to go against them. There is a systematic attempt by the leaders of the Muslim community to ridicule the results of the policeinvestigation into the activities of the IM. The police are accused of fabricating evidence and of targeting innocent Muslim youth in order todiscredit Islam and the Muslim community. Everytime a suspected jihadi terrorist is sought to be arrested by the police, these leaders andthe members of the community rally to his suppport. They either try to prevent him from being arrested or if the police manage to arrest, tofrustrate his interrogation by making allegations of targeting the Muslim community in order to discredit it.

12. In recent months, the Tamil Nadu police have arrested dozens of Tamil citizens of India on suspicion of their links with the LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Do the Tamils allege that their community is being targeted? No.Many Nagas used to be arrested in Nagalandbecause of their alleged links with Naga insurgent organisations? Did the Naga leaders allege that their community was being targeted? No.Many Hindus in Assam are arrested on suspicion of their links with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). Do the leaders of the localHindu community allege that the Hindus are being targeted? No.

13. But the moment the Police arrests a Muslim for any reason-----for being a mafia leader, a narcotics smuggler, a counterfeiter or a jihaditerrorist--- large sections of the Muslim community rise in his or her defence and try to discredit the police by accusing it of targeting thecommunity by fabricating evidence. No leader of the Congress (I) or other parties of the ruling coalition has the courage to tell the Muslimleaders that the law has to take its own course against any wrong-doer whatever be his or her religion or ethnicity or language and that thepolice should do whatever they have to in order to protect the lives and property of the citizens of this country. The leaders of the Muslimcommunity are seeking to create an impression that a Muslim can do no wrong and that all the wrongs are committed by non-Muslims.

14. The comprehensive UN Security Council Resolution No.1373 passed unanimously after the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, inter alia,called upon the member-countries of the UN to take necessary legal measures to further empower the police. India is one of the fewcountries in the world not to have implemented the resolution in toto due to fear of adverse reactions from its Muslim community. TheAzamgarh District of Uttar Pradesh is not located in a remote area of the country where the Police cannot reach. It is in the heart of India. Itwas previously the Sicily of India from which many of the Muslim mafia leaders, narcotics smugglers and other criminals emerged. It is nowbecoming the breeding ground of India's home-grown jihadi terrorism. Many of those arrested in connection with the investigations into theactivities of the IM have had an Azamgarh connection. Azamgarh is slowly emerging as India's South Waziristan, a new radiating point ofjihadi terrorism. The police is not given a free hand to put an end to this spawning ground. The predominantly Muslim areas of this districtare becoming no-go areas for the police----not because the Police do not have the capability to neutralise the emerging jihadi breedinggrounds, but because the political leadership will not allow them to use that capability for fear of displeasing the Muslims.

15.Pleasing the Muslims at any price----by closing our eyes to the depredations of the jihadi terrorists in our midst--- in order to retain theirsupport during the election has become an important driving force of the electoral strategy of the ruling coalition. If hundreds of innocentcivilians have to die as a result, so be it. Keeping the Muslims happy is more important than protecting the lives and property of the citizensof this country.

16. Another disturbing trend has not received the attention it deserved. Many members of the Cabinet of Manmohan Singh and manyleaders of the ruling coalition are reportedly unhappy with the intelligence agencies and the Police for speaking of home-grown jihaditerrorism. They are also reportedly unhappy with the Prime Minister himself for drawing attention to this in his address to the Governors'conference. They want that the focus should continue to be on Pakistan and the terrorists sponsored by Pakistan and that one should nothighlight the role of the Indian Muslims in the global jihad. They are worried that the talk of home-grown jihadi terrorism might increasepressure on the Government to step up the monitoring of developments in the Indian Muslim community and identify and neutralise theIndian Muslims taking to jihadi terrorism.

17. On September 19,2008, Mohan Chand Sharma, a legendary and brave Inspector of the Delhi Police, succumbed to bullet injuries after hewas shot thrice by a group of jihadi terrorists from Azamgarh, who were operating from a hide-out in a Muslim area in the heart of New Delhi.Sharma, with a small team of his officers, had gone to the hide-out to arrest a group of five jihadi terrorists, believed responsible for therecent serial blasts. The cynical reaction of the so-called secular class as a whole to this despicable action of the jihadis has shocked thecountry. The so-called secular political class has vied with one another in praising this brave officer and in announcing financial assistancefor the members of his family. But, not one of them has condemned the Indian jihadis for their despicable crime and called for action to rootout jihadi terrorism in our midst.

18. Fortunately, we are a democratic country. If the Muslims, who constitute only about 15 per cent of the population of the country, havethe power of the vote, the rest of the population has it too. The Hindus constitute about 80 per cent of the population. At the time of voting,every voter should have before his or her eyes the pictures of the death and destruction being caused right across the country by the jihadisand the faces of Sharma and other similar brave officers of the security forces, who have sacrificed their lives in the fight against jihaditerrorists despite the lack of support from the so-called secular political class.

19. Every vote in the forthcoming elections should be a vote against jihadi terrorism and against the political leaders who are not preparedto act against the jihadi terrorists. Let there be an anti-jihadi tsunami against all of them.

20. Thus far and no further----that is the message that should go across to the jihadi terrorists and their political backers and secularapologists. (20-9-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretay (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,Chennai. E0-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Thursday, September 18, 2008




The address of the Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh, to the Governors’ conference at New Delhi on September 17,2008, contains a number of important pronouncements relating to the fight against terrorism. These pronouncements taken together amount to an attempt by the Government, which is almost at the end of its term before the general elections are due, to come out of the denial mode into which it had kept itself confined since it came to office in 2004.

2.While refuting allegations from the critics that the Government was soft on terrorism, the Prime Minister admitted that there had been intelligence failures and that in addition to the continuing threats from jihadi terrorists infiltrated from Pakistan, the nation is now finding itself confronted with a new dimension of the threat posed by more Indian nationals gravitating to the ranks of the jihadis.

3. A point, which was not mentioned by the Prime Minister, but which needs to be underlined is that the phenomenon of home-grown jihadis is not new to India. We had faced a serious threat of home-grown jihadis from the Al Umma of Tamil Nadu after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992. Al Umma spread death and destruction across Tamil Nadu between 1993 and 1999 including the orchestrated serial blasts in Coimbatore in February,1998. Al Umma was almost a hundred per cent home-grown movement with no links to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) or to the global jihad waged by Al Qaeda and its Pakistani associates. The threat from Al Umma was largely neutralized by the effective action taken by the Tamil Nadu Police after the Coimbatore blasts.

4. Between the end of the Kargil conflict with Pakistan towards the end of 1999 and November,2007, we saw a new wave of jihadi terrorist strikes outside Jammu & Kashmir involving either the ISI-sponsored Pakistani organizations such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) or a mix of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian elements. While the Pakistani and Bangladeshi elements in this mix largely belonged to the LET and the HUJI, the Indian elements came largely from the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) plus a few with no previous affiliation to any organization. These groups thought and acted tactically as well as strategically.

5.Tactically, they viewed their operations as meant to retaliate against the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the anti-Muslim incidents in Gujarat in 2002 after the massacre of some Hindu pilgrims traveling by a train by some Muslim fanatics at Godhra. Strategically, they viewed them as part of the global jihad being waged by the International Islamic Front (IIF) under the leadership of Al Qaeda for achieving an Islamic Caliphate and putting an end to the presence and influence of the US in the Islamic world.

6. What we have been seeing across India since November last year is a revival of the Al Umma phenomenon of reprisal terrorism with the tactical objective of wreaking vengeance against the society as a whole and the Governments in New Delhi and different States for the alleged wrongs done to the Indian Muslims. These elements have been operating under the name of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and deny vehemently in their propaganda any foreign links either with the ISI or with the Pakistani organizations. They have till now not given any indication of any strategic objective. They just want to kill and desire to demonstrate their ability to kill wherever and whenever they want.

7. All the suspected perpetrators arrested till now in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and other places in connection with the serial blasts for which the IM has claimed responsibility are Indian Muslims. This need not mean that there is no hidden foreign involvement either of Pakistani organizations or of Al Qaeda. The fact that till now they have not been talking and acting strategically does not mean that they do not consider themselves as part of the global jihad being waged under the leadership of Al Qaeda.

8. One significant difference needs to be noted in the modus operandi of the Pakistan-sponsored jihadi organizations and the IM. Under instructions from the ISI, Pakistani organizations generally do not claim responsibility for attacks on civilians. They claim responsibility only for the attacks on the security forces. Like Al Qaeda, the IM admits its responsibility for targeted attacks on civilians and proclaims such attacks as part of its policy. Al Qaeda admitted its responsibility for the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US and lionized the terrorists, who attacked the London public transportation system in July,2005. There have been other instances of Al Qaeda openly proclaiming its responsibility for attacks on civilians.

9. The new dimension of the threat as stated by the Prime Minister has made him concede the need to enhance the powers of the police through special laws where necessary and to set up a special central agency to investigate and prosecute terrorism-related cases.

10. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s pronouncements, which indicate a change in the Government’s thinking and strategy, have come hardly a few months before the elections. His critics would, therefore, suspect that his pronouncements were more an electoral ploy than the result of a genuine change of conviction as to how to fight terrorism.

11.Moreover, even if he is able to counter successfully suspicions of an electoral ploy, the concretization of his pronouncements through the drafting and enactment of appropriate laws and introducing the necessary changes in the counter-terrorism architecture will take at least a year. This is not something that can be done overnight. The Lok Sabha is about to enter the lame duck mode and the opposition will try its best not to give the Government any credit for bringing about the necessary changes.

12.In this context, what is important is an urgent short-term plan to identify the brains behind the self-styled IM and neutralize them before they spread further death and destruction. As I have been pointing out repeatedly, this is a pan-Indian threat not confined to a single State and hence calls for a pan-Indian response. It is important to make the Police in all the States where the blasts have already taken place carry out their investigations in an integrated manner through an appropriate short-term mechanism, which would not require any major change in the existing laws.

13. We have had three examples of successful investigations and prosecution. The first was the investigation into the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE in 1991. In view of its ramifications extending to more than one State and its external linkages, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), then headed by Vijaykaran, an officer of the Intelligence Bureau, was asked to take over the investigation through a special task force headed by D.R.Kartikeyan.

14. The second was the investigation into the Mumbai serial blasts of March,1993. Here the investigation was done by the Mumbai Police with the CBI handling the external ramifications. Narasimha Rao, the then Prime Minister, set up a co-ordination committee headed by S.B.Chavan, the then Home Minister, to co-ordinate the investigation on a day-to-day basis. Rajesh Pilot, the then Minister of State for Internal Security, played a live wire role in this co-ordination. Narasimha Rao closely monitored the work of this committee, by periodically chairing the meetings himself.

15. The third was the investigation into the terrorist strikes in Tamil Nadu. This was done in a very creditable manner by the Tamil Nadu Police through its own resources.

16. The serial blasts, which the country has been facing since November 2007, are more complicated. While the Police officers of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Delhi have been doing excellent work through their resources, the final results in terms of identification, neutralization and prosecution may not be quite satisfactory in the absence of a continuous and effective central role. How to achieve this has to be decided by the Prime Minister quickly in consultation with the Chief Ministers of the targeted States.

17. Political and electoral considerations should not be allowed to come in the way of time-bound action to put a stop to these serial blasts.

18. If these blasts continue in this manner with the police and the intelligence agencies being perceived not only by our public, but also by foreign Governments and investors as helpless, it could come in the way of our efforts to invite more foreign investment. The foreign investors have till now shown signs of continuing confidence in the capability of our Police and security agencies to prevail over the terrorists sooner than later. But, if such incidents continue at regular intervals, this confidence could be shaken.

19. The time for action is now, not tomorrow, which may be too late.(18-9-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Saturday, September 13, 2008




"Even though the US does not rate highly Zardari's leadership qualities, it prefers him to Nawaz because of his willingness to maintain Musharraf's policy of co-operation with the US in its so-called war against terrorism in Afghanistan and his perceived amenability to pressure by the US because of its role in persuading Musharraf, when he was the President, to issue the NRO ( National Reconciliation Ordinance). The US is also hopeful that, unlike Nawaz, Zardari will avoid any humiliation of Musharraf and will let him continue to live in Pakistan without fearing any harassment by the Government. Well-informed PPP sources say that the entire scenario has been proceeding according to a tacit understanding reached with US officials during the visit of Yousef Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister, and Rehman Malik, his Advisor on Internal Security, to Washington DC, in the last week of July, 2008. According to these sources, this understanding provided for: launching of a special land-cum-air operation by the Pakistan military against Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries in the Bajaur Agency, permission to be accorded by the Gilani Government for continuing unmanned Predator strikes by the US intelligence agencies on terrorist hide-outs in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and US pressure on Musharraf to resign thus paving the way for the election of Zardari. The object of the entire exercise was to keep Nawaz out of power, marginalise him and keep up the present level of US-Pakistan co-operation against terrorism."

Extract from my article of August 27,2008, titled "AFTER TRICKY MUSH, TRICKY ZARDARI" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers29/paper2824.html

The same well-informed sources of the Pakistan People's Party cited in the above-mentioned article of August 27,2008, say that it is correct that Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari had been kept in the picture by officials of the Bush administration, including President George Bush himself, about the new rules of engagement approved by Bush in July before the visit of Gilani to Washington DC. Under these new rules of engagement, the US has been allowed to step up aerial attacks on suspected terrorist hide-outs in Pakistani territory by the Predator pilotless planes and undertake ground operations through special forces within a depth of not more than five kms if warranted by precise intelligence without informing the Pakistan Army beforehand. According to them, these rules of engagement also lay down that ground operations would be undertaken in such a manner as not to involve an accidental confrontation with the Pakistani security forces. As against three Predator strikes and no ground strike during the whole of last year when Pervez Musharraf was the President and the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), there have already been 12 Predator strikes and one ground strike since the Gilani Government came to office on March 18,2008.

2. These sources say that Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Pakistan's Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), was also briefed on these new rules of engagement during his meeting with Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, on board a US aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea on August 27,2008. However, Kayani has strongly denied this. A press release of the Inter-Services Press Office issued on September 10,2008, quoted Kayani as saying as follows while commenting on media reports: "The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country will be defended at all costs and no external force will be allowed to conduct operations inside Pakistan. There is no question of any agreement or understanding with the coalition forces whereby they are allowed to conduct operations on our side of the border."

3. Referring to his meeting with senior officers of the US on board USS Abraham Lincoln, the aircraft-carrier, on Aug 27, he said they were informed about the complexity of the issue that required understanding in depth and more patience for evolving a comprehensive solution.He said it was stressed that in such like situations, military action alone would not solve the problem. Political reconciliatory effort was required to get along with the military prong to win the hearts and minds of the people. During the discussions with the US officers, the imperative of public support at large for the military operations also came under focus."Ultimately it is our national interest which would always guide our policy. The trust deficit and misunderstandings (between the US and Pakistan armies) can lead to more complications and increase difficulties for all. The constraints of operating in these areas must never be lost sight of. There are no quick fixes in this war. Falling for short-term gains while ignoring our long-term interest is not the right way forward.To succeed, the coalition would be required to display strategic patience and help the other side the way they want it; rather than adopting a unilateral approach which may be counter productive. It is the multi-pronged approach, fully supported by the people of Pakistan, which will help us defeat the threat of internal terrorism," Kayani said.

4.These sources point out that before her assassination, Benazir Bhutto herself had said in media interviews that if she became the Prime Minister she would allow the US forces to search for Osama bin Laden in Pakistani territory if they had reliable intelligence and allow the interrogation of Dr.A.Q.Khan, the nuclear scientist, by an international team of investigators. She had also said that she would consider the arrest of Dawood Ibrahim, the Indian mafia leader, if he was found in Pakistan and hand him over to India. According to these sources. Zardari is merely following the policies as laid down by her. These sources say that both she and Zardari were concerned over the control established by Al Qaeda and the Taliban over the Pashtun tribal belt and wanted to fully co-operate with the US in neutralising them.

5. According to these sources, Zardari, Gilani and Kayani have been completely taken aback by the leakage of the information about the new rules of engagement to sections of the media by unidentified officials in Washington DC. They are reportedly indignant over this leakage, which, they fear, could worsen the situation in the tribal belt and result in a fresh upsurge of suicide terrorism directed against Pakistani security forces and leaders, including possibly Zardari himself. They say that this was a gentlemen's agreement reached in total secrecy and by leaking it out, the US has made it difficult for Pakistan to step up the co-operation with the US against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. They are unable to understand the motives of the US officials who leaked out this information and whether this leakage had the authorisation of Bush and other senior leaders.

6. Kayani is stated to be indignant over the officially-leaked allegations in sections of the US media that he was aware of the plans of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for a car bomb explosion outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7,2008. He reportedly feels that what he regards as such reckless media allegations in the US, inspired by unidentified officials, tend to damage his image in the eyes of his soldiers and this could be counter-productive.

7. Zardari and Gilani are in a dilemma due to the media leaks in the US and the strong reactions of Kayani and the Corps Commanders to it. While backing the strong line taken by Kayani without consulting the political leadership, Gilani has been urging that this matter should be left to be handled by the Pakistani Foreign Office through the US State Department and that everyone should refrain from comments or reactions, which might add to the already strong anti-US anger in the public. The "Dawn" of September 13,2008, has quoted Gilani as saying as follows during an Iftar (fast-breaking) party on September 12,2008: "Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ruled out retaliatory action against incursions by US-led coalition forces into Pakistan’s territory and said that the Government will instead use diplomatic channels to dissuade the United States and the United Kingdom from taking such actions.Replying to a question about a US missile attack in North Waziristan on Friday morning, the Prime Minister said: “We can take up the issue of these attacks at the diplomatic level but we cannot go to war.”He said: “Pakistan is capable of dealing effectively with terrorists and militants on its soil.” He reiterated that Pakistan was capable of taking action against terrorism inside the country in an affective way.Mr Gilani said Pakistan had cordial relations with all countries and it could convince them that the situation in its areas was its internal matter. “We will convince both the US and the UK to respect our sovereignty.”

8. In the meanwhile, to convince the US of its sincerity in fighting terrorism, the Gilani Government has withdrawn the suspension of its military operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban elements in the Bajaur Agency. The Frontier Corps (FC) and the Air Force have again started attacking the terrorist strongholds and claim to have already killed over 100 jihadis, many of them allegedly foreigners. (13-9-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Thursday, September 11, 2008




(To be read in continuation of my earlier paper of September 4,2008, titled "US Special Forces Launch Hit & Withdraw Raid in S. Waziristan"at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers29/paper2832.html )

The car bomb explosion outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7,2008, has boomeranged on Pakistan. According to reliable Pakistanipolice sources, the US has been able to collect independent evidence from its own sources that the plan for the explosion was drawn up byserving officers of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and executed through a suicide bomber selected by Serajuddin Haqqani, sonof Jalalludin Haqqani, the senior Taliban Commander.

2. These sources say that while the US has conclusive evidence on the role of some serving officers of the ISI in organising the explosion, itstill does not have adequate evidence to show whether Lt.Gen.Nadeem Taj, the Director-General of the ISI, who is related to Gen.(retd)Pervez Musharraf, was in the picture and whether clearance had been obtained at the political level.

3. The US generally does not act upon intelligence against Pakistan provided by India due to the possibility that it may be motivated. Itacts only when it is able to collect independent evidence from its own sources. The US has not yet been able to identify all the ISI officers,who had played a role in organising this attack just as it was able to identify in 1992-93 all the ISI officers, including Lt.Gen.Javed Nasir, thethen DG of the ISI, who had instigated the Afghan Mujahideen not to sell back the unused Stinger missiles to the US.

4. It may be recalled that after assuming office in January,1993, the then US President Bill Clinton had placed Pakistan in a list of suspectedState-sponsors of international terrorism and pressured Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister, to sack Lt.Gen.Nasir and other officersidentified. Only thereafter was Pakistan's name removed from that list.

5. If the US succeeds in identifying all the officers involved in the Kabul explosion, it may demand their removal from the ISI. It is reportedthat the US investigation has not yet reached that stage.

6. However, the information so far collected by the US investigators on the role of some serving officers of the ISI in the Kabul explosion hasconfirmed the suspicions which it already had even before the Kabl explosion that some serving officers of the ISI and other wings of thePakistan Army have been leaking to Al Qaeda and the Taliban intelligence collected by the US agencies through human and technicalmeans. These suspicions arose following the arrest of some Pashtun tribals by the Taliban and their execution on charges of working forthe US intelligence.

7. Previously, the US was aware that some retired senior officers of the Pakistan Army and its ISI such as Nasir, Lt.Gen.(retd) Hamid Gul,another former DG, etc were allegedly helping the Taliban and Al Qaeda through advice and information. The US also had some vaguesuspicion of the involvement of serving ISI officers at junior level, who had served under Nasir and Gul, when they headed the ISI. Theinvestigation into the Kabul explosion reportedly confirmed the involvement of serving ISI officers even at senior levels.

8. Alarmed by this discovery, the US is reported to have stopped sharing sensitive intelligence with Pakistani Army and ISI officers. Underthe rules of engagement followed till the middle of July, while the US intelligence acted on all information, which called for instant airstrikes, it left it to the Pakistan Army to carry out ground operations where instant follow-up was not required. It was decided in July, withthe approval of President George Bush, that ground-level follow-up would also be done by the US special forces without informing theirPakistani counterparts.

9. The "New York Times" and the BBC, quoting American official sources, have reported that Bush signed a classified order in Julyauthorising ground actions inside Pakistani territory in the tribal belt by the US forces without informing the Pakistan Army beforehand.According to other sources unrelated to the NYT and the BBC,only after the US forces have withdrawn from the Pakistani territory wouldtheir action and the justification for it would be conveyed to the Pakistan Army. It is not clear whether the Presidential orders specify thedepths up to which US forces can enter into Pakistani territory.

10. There are three possible types of cross-border special operations. The first is the hot pursuit into Pakistani territory to kill or capturemembers of the Taliban or Al Qaeda fleeing after attacking NATO forces in the Afghan territory. The second is air-borne raids on suspectedterrorist hideouts to kill or capture Taliban or Al Qaeda operatives on the basis of intelligence about their presence in the hide-outs. Thethird is search and destroy operations on the basis of general and not specific intelligence regarding the location of training camps etc. Itwould seem that only the first two kinds of cross-border operations have been authorised for the present. These would involve the presencein Pakistani territory of the US forces for a very short duration. These would be hit and withdraw or hit and quit operations. The search anddestroy operations, which could involve a longish stay of the US forces in Pakistani territory, do not appear to have been authorised for thepresent.

11. The first raid in Pakistani territory under the new orders took place in the early hours of the morning of September 3,2008, when USSpecial Forces launched a hit and withdraw attack on three houses in the village of Jalal Khel, also known locally as Moosa Nika, in theAngoor Adda area of South Waziristan. The houses were located about one KM inside Pakistani territory from the border with Afghanistan.The village is about one kilometre from Angoor Adda and seven kilometres from the US military base at Machadat in Afghanistan's Paktikaprovince. The raid did not find any high-profile operative of Al Qaeda or the Taliban in the houses raided.The fact that the raid was made soclose to a Frontier Corps (FC)post and that the FC personnel did not react indicated a possible understanding between Admiral Mike Mullen,Chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Pakistan's Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), when they met on board anAmerican aircraft-carrier on August 26, 2008, about the circumstances under which US Special Forces could launch hit and withdraw raidson suspected hide-outs of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistani territory close to the Afghan border without prior intimation to the Pakistani posts.

12. The speculation that the raid was made in pursuance of a secret understanding with Kayani created some embarrassment for thePakistan Government and Army. They condemned the raid, but in a low profile manner. But the reports from Washington on September10,2008, which quoted official sources as saying that Bush himself had authorised such raids without informing the Pakistan Army added tothe embarrassment of the Government and the Army. The embarrassment was increased further by comments made openly by Bush in anaddress to the National Defence University at Washington DC on September 9,2008, on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the 9/11terrorist strikes in the US Homeland by Al Qaeda.Bush named Pakistan as among the major battlegrounds in the global war on terrorism andreminded Islamabad that it was its responsibility to eradicate terrorism from the tribal areas. He said: “Defeating these terrorists andextremists is also Pakistan’s responsibility — because every nation has an obligation to govern its own territory and make certain that itdoes not become a safe haven for terror.” He described Iraq, Afghanistan and "parts of Pakistan" as " theatres in the same overall struggle.In all three places, extremists are using violence and terror in an attempt to impose their ideology on whole populations.They murder toimpose their dark vision of the world.”

13.In an unusually strong statement on September 10,2008, Kayani said that his forces would not tolerate such incursions and woulddefend the country's sovereignty "at all costs." "No external force is allowed to conduct operations inside Pakistan," he added. Was it only aproforma protest to conceal any Pakistani secret approval of such raids or was it an expression of genuine indignation? It would be difficultto answer this question at present.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Wednesday, September 10, 2008




(This was carried by the “Times of India” in its Editorial page on September 11,2008)

Despite the set-backs suffered by Al Qaeda in Iraq, it is constantly on the look-out for opportunities for another act of mass casualty terrorism anywhere in the world where an opportunity presents itself.

Mass casualty operations of the 9/11 kind in countries far removed from the terrorist sanctuaries have been rendered difficult by the enforcement of strict travel and immigration control measures. It has become difficult for terrorists normally resident in one country to go to another country with which there is no common border for carrying out a terrorist strike. The trend is, therefore, increasingly to depend on local residents in the targeted country for carrying out a terrorist strike. Hence, the phenomenon of home-grown jihadis.

From the messages disseminated by Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the No.2 to Osama bin Laden, in recent months, it is clear that Al Qaeda is trying to adapt itself to the new ground realities by promoting the concept of a global intifada in the place of a global jihad. Its message to Muslims all over the world has been---- hit wherever you can, whenever you can and in whatever way and with whatever means you can.

US counter-terrorism experts have managed to drive a wedge between the secular Iraqi Arabs of the national resistance movement and the Wahabi Saudi Arabs and their associates from other Arab countries, who constitute the bulk of Al Qaeda in Iraq. This has affected Al Qaeda. It still manages to carry out sporadic terrorist strikes in the Sunni area, but not on the same scale and not as frequently as before.

However, US experts have not succeeded in similarly driving a wedge between the Pashtuns of the Taliban and the Arabs, Uzbeks and Chechens of Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organizations. The Taliban and Al Qaeda remain firm in their solidarity with each other. Pakistan’s reluctance to act firmly against Al Qaeda sanctuaries in its Pashtun belt and its collusion with the Taliban have posed a cruel dilemma for the US---- either act on its own against the sanctuaries in Pakistani territory, thereby running the danger of driving more Pashtuns into the arms of the Taliban and Al Qaeda or continue bleeding helplessly in Afghanistan. There have been some indications that the US may no longer be averse to undertaking unilateral strikes on the ground in Pakistani territory. Deniable air strikes have been there since 2002, but ground strikes have been avoided till now.

The majority of the Muslims all over the world still do not take seriously Al Qaeda’s goal of an Islamic Caliphate, but they have started paying attention to the call of Al Qaeda and the Taliban to take Islam back to the days of its pristine purity Thus, one finds Al Qaeda and its associates mastering and using modern means of communication and motivation through the Internet etc not for taking their community forward towards modernization, but backwards towards archaic concepts and beliefs.

There is no evidence in South Asia to indicate that formerly peaceful groups are now becoming radical because of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan or other reasons. However, there are three trends which need attention: First, organizations, which were already radical, are becoming more radical due to external (anti-US anger in Pakistan) or internal ( anger over domestic grievances in India) reasons. Second, an increase in the flow of new recruits of individual Muslims to these organizations. Thus, formerly peaceful Muslims are now tending to get radicalized. Third, first signs of concern in the Indian Muslim community over this phenomenon. This has led to an open condemnation of resort to terrorism by some leaders of the Muslim community and a reported split in the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) between those advocating terrorism and those advocating peaceful political means.

Radicalisation in some measure or the other has been there in sections of the Indian Muslim community at least since the 1970s,but what is of comparatively recent origin is pan-Islamisation. Al Qaeda was not the originator of pan-islamic tendencies, but it took advantage of them to promote the concept of a global jihad or a global intifada. There were not many takers for its ideas in the past, but it has now started attracting followers from small sections of the Indian Muslim youth in India as well as abroad.

Anger is the basic root cause of all terrorism. The anger is often caused by domestic or external factors. While India may not have much control over the external factors, it should be able to detect in time signs of anger due to domestic reasons and take action to address them. Unaddressed anger at the domestic level drives the angry into the arms of trans-national organizations such as Al Qaeda in course of time.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



The significant decision of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG), which met for the second time at Vienna from September 4 to 6,2008, to waive the application to India of the embargo on nuclear trade as laid down in the guidelines adopted by the NSG in 1992 havebeen greeted with unwarranted euphoria on the one side and unbalanced or even motivated criticism on the other.

2. Many media reports and New Delhi-based analysts given to hype have projected the decision as marking the end of 34 years of nuclearisolation for India, which was imposed on it after it carried out its first nuclear test (Pokhran I) in 1974 when Indira Gandhi was the PrimeMinister. After 1974, the US and Canada had imposed bilateral embargoes on India, but there were no universal embargoes. India continuedto interact commercially and scientifically with other countries--- particularly with the then USSR and France---in the nuclear field till 1992. Itwas during this period before 1992 that India signed the agreement with the USSR for the purchase of the Koodankulam I and II nuclearpower stations, which are now under erection in Tamil Nadu by a joint team of Russian and Indian engineers and scientists. To talk of 34years of nuclear isolation is, therefore, incorrect. Bilateral isolation imposed by the US in 1974 did not mean universal isolation by theinternational community till 1992.

3.The Export Guidelines, adopted by the NSG in 1992 under US pressure, made these embargoes universal and came in the way of freshcontracts even with countries such as Russia and France. Despite this, Russia rejected pressure from the Clinton Administration in the USnot to go ahead with the implementation of the contract relating to Koodankulam I and II even though signed before 1992 and has goneahead with its implementation. It was even prepared to sign supplementary contracts under the same pre-1992 agreement for theconstruction of more reactors at Koodankulam. It was the Manmohan Singh Government, which decided not to sign the supplementarycontracts proposed by Russia till the waiver was granted by the NSG lest there be any misunderstanding with the US, which took theinitiative for granting an NSG waiver to India.

4. What the waiver granted on September 6,2008, has done is to restore the status quo ante as it was before 1992. There are no longer anyuniversal embargoes on nuclear trade with India. but the bilateral embargoes imposed by the US after Pokhran I in 1974 still remain. Thesewill be removed only after the so-called 123 Agreement on civil nuclear co-operation signed by India and the US is approved by the USCongress and is formally signed by the two countries. The optimistic expectation is that this will be done before the end of September,2008.When that happens, the status quo ante as it was before 1974 in the nuclear interactions between the US and India will be restored.

5. Though the universal embargoes stand removed, national embargoes or restrictions will remain, wherever they exist unless they srespecifically waived or removed by the country concerned. Thus, Australia has imposed an embargo on the sale of uranium to countries,which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This embargo will continue to stand in the way of the sale of uranium toIndia by Australia unless a waiver is granted by the Australian Government. The previous Government of John Howard was prepared to grantsuch a waiver after the NSG granted its waiver to India, but the present Government headed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is not.

6. Even in the case of the US, it will not be bilateral nuclear trade with sky being the limit as projected by some analysts . It will be bilateralnuclear trade subject to the limits laid down in the Hyde Act passed by the US Congress. It is an India-specific legislation enacted by the USCongress and , in effect, lays down the conditions, which would govern the nuclear trade with India once the waiver is granted by the NSGand the US Government removes its bilateral embargoes. Thus, the Hyde Act will be very relevant in determining the extent of the nucleartrade between India and the US and the conditions under which it will be carried on. The argument often advanced by the Government ofIndia and its supporters that the Hyde Act is a matter between the US President and the Congress about which India does not have to worryis equally incorrect.

7. Even after the grant of the waiver by the NSG and the coming into force of the 123 agreement between India and the US, interestedcountries will continue to use nuclear co-operation and trade as an instrument of coercive diplomacy to achieve foreign policy objectives innon-nuclear related matters. The US has suspended the implementation of its civil nuclear co-operation agreement with Russia after itstroops intervened recently in Georgia. Similarly, Australia, taking the cue from the US, has suspended the process for the ratification of itsagreement with Moscow for the sale of uranium. Both the countries have made it clear that the suspension will remain in force till theRussian troops are withdrawn from Georgia. India too could be the victim of such coercive pressures in future in case it has seriousdifferences with the US on foreign or other policy matters of interest to the US.

8. Nuclear co-operation with the US could be a double-edged sword. That was the lesson from 1974. It will be unwise to forget that lesson.Arule of prudence will be to avoid over-dependence on the US to meet our nuclear energy and technology requirements and to diversify oursources of procurement. The question is: Will the US allow it or will it demand more than its pound of flesh in return for the leadership roleplayed by it in securing a waiver in favour of India from the NSG India has reasons to be grateful to the US for all that it has done tofacilitate the restoration of the status quo ante, but that feeling of gratitude should not make us tie the future of our nuclear power projectsand industry to the whims and fancies of US policy-makers.

9.A lot of time and energy has been spent on examining whether our agreements with the US and the commitments made by us through theUS in the margins of the parleys at Vienna would affect our future manoeuvrability in matters such as nuclear testing, acquisition ofstrategic fuel reserves for our nuclear power stations and our acquiring the enrichment and reprocessing capabilities. These are importantmatters, but equally, if not more important, is the question whether, in our anxiety to secure the US support for the waiver, we haveinformally bartered away our right to purchase our nuclear equipment and technology from wherever and from whomsoever we want. Isthere an informal commitment made by the Government to the US that all other conditions being equal, preferential treatment will be givento US suppliers? From the evasive remarks coming out of the Government as to whether we intend going ahead with signing thealready-negotiated contracts with Russia, one cannot avoid the suspicion that such a commitment probably exists.

10.Some Russian analysts also seem to suspect that such a commitment exists. Dmitry Yevstafiev of the PIR Centre of Russia has beenquoted by "The Hindu's" Moscow correspondent as saying as follows (September 9): " The waiver would push India closer towards the US. India is clearly drifting towards the US. We (Russia) may have tactical gains, but the strategic outlook for us is dim." What he means is thatwhile Russia may be able to participate in the expansion of the existing projects concluded or initiated before 1992, the prospects of Russia supplying new power stations are not that good.

11.The only way of removing these suspicions from the minds of the public will be for the Government to sign the contracts with Russia foradditional reactors ar Koodankulam as soon as the US Congress approves the 123 Agreement and go ahead with their implementation. Ifthe present Congress does not approve the 123 Agreement due to any reason and the matter gets postponed to the next Congress whichwill come into office only in January next, the Government of India should not hesitate to go ahead with signing the already-negotiatedcontracts with Russia. If it does not and waits indefinitely for a nod from the US, that will only confirm these suspicions.

12. Even though the US Government is not supposed to intervene in private contract negotiations between US companies and their foreigncounterparts, it does try to exercise political pressure to secure a decision in favour of US companies. One has often seen it in the case ofnegotiations of the Boeing with foreign countries for the sale of Boeing aircraft for their airline companies. Similar political pressure onbehalf of US nuclear equipment suppliers will be a fact of life.

13. The post-waiver world of nuclear commerce will be different from the pre-1992 world. We got Koodankulam I and II at concessionalprices from Mikhail Gorbachebv's USSR and Boris Yeltsin's Russia. We will be negotiating our future contracts with Russia of Vladimir Putinand his successors. Putin's Russia has already shown that it could be as money-minded as the US companies. We had the unpleasantexperience of its hard bargaining tactics from the way it sought to impose on us a cost escalation in respect of an old and re-conditionedaircraft carrier being bought for our Navy. It imposed the cost escalation when the implementation of the contract was half-way through. Wehave also been seeing how after completing the two nuclear power stations for Iran, it has avoided their commissioning by delaying thesupply of nuclear fuel on the ground that that there was a delay in Iran meeting its payment obligations. Another reported reason is that Russia is demanding a cost escalation from Iran as it did in respect of the aircraft-carrier for our Navy.

14. While the status quo ante as before 1992 has been restored, we are going to handle our future negotiations in a world different from thepre-1992 world. While we have reasons to be happy with the undoubted diplomatic success achieved by us, we must keep our feet firmly onthe ground, identify the ground realities of today and see how to come to terms with them without damaging our national interests.

15. Vienna has added to our fears and misgivings about China.Can China's word in any matter be trusted? This question bothered us afterthe Sino-Indian war of 1962. During the 1950s, maps started circulating in Communist China showing large parts of India near the border inArunachal Pradesh and Ladakh as Chinese territory. Jawaharlal Nehru repeatedly took this up with Chou En-lai. He assured Nehru that thesewere KMT-era maps and that we should not worry about them. He promised that these maps would be revised after the Communists settleddown in power. They did not revise them. Instead, they invaded India in order to enforce their claims as indicated in these very maps.

16. In the 1980s and the 1990s, the Chinese violated repeatedly all international restrictsions on the sale of nuclear and missile equipmentand technologies and helped Pakistan acquire a nuclear and missile capability. When the US discovered this and took it up with Beijing, ittotally denied helping Pakistan in the military nuclear field and put the blame for the violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime onprivate entities as if so-called private companies in China can hoodwink the Government.

17.During their meetings with each other, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had agreed in principle that anyborder settlement between the two countries should not involve an exchange of populations and should be restricted to unpopulated areas.The Chinese subsequently wriggled out of this and reportedly said that this would not apply to Tawang in Arunachl Pradesh. They aredemanding that India should agree to transfer the Tawang Tract to China even if it is a populated area.

18. They have now added to the suspicions in the minds of many in India by the way they reportedly conducted themselves in Vienna. Duringthe last two years, they had repeatedly assured the Indian leaders and other interlocutors that they would not pose a problem in the way ofthe NSG granting a waiver, but in Vienna, their role was allegedly far from helpful. They did not openly try to oppose a consensus, but theytried to delay it for as long as they can by encouraging the opposition of smaller nations such as Austria and Ireland. They were evidently hoping that negotiations fatigue would set in and delay a consensus before the US Congress completed its term.

19. The "Mail Today", a New Delhi-based daily, reported as follows on September 8,2008: " Addressing Saturday's meeting (of the NSG) atVienna, Cheng Jingye, head of the Chinese delegation, said it was China's hope that the decision taken by the NSG would stand the test oftime and contribute to the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear power. It was also China's hope that the NSGwould equally address the aspirations of all parties for the peaceful use of nuclear power while adhering to the nuclear non-proliferationmechanism." The second point was apparently made with Pakistan in the Chinese mind.

20. This has been the standard Chinese formulation. It was expected even before the Vienna meeting that the Chinese would reiterate thisformulation without standing in the way of a consensus. This is what the Chinese ultimately did at Vienna, but the way they avoided playinga role in support of India has given rise to a perception in the minds of many in India that this was yet another instance of the Chinese notkeeping their word. This suspicion will continue to influence Indian attitude to China despite the spectacular improvement in trade andother fields.

21. Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, who visited New Delhi on September 8 and 9, 2008, for talks with Indian leaders stronglydenied reports emanating from Indian media sources in Vienna that China had tried to block a consensus at Vienna.He said: " I am surprisedby these reports. Facts speak louder than words. China has always worked responsibly towards consensus both in the International AtomicEnergy Agency and the NSG." Despite his denial, the suspicion persists that China's attitude at Vienna was far from positive.

22.Why did China hum and haw at Vienna before going along with the consensus? Was it out of a feeling of solidarity with Pakistan, whichwill not be a beneficiary of a similar nuclear trade? Or was it a futile attempt to save face for the Communist Party of India (Marxist), whichhas doggedly opposed Indo-US co-operation whether in the nuclear or any other field?(11-9-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStrudies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )