Wednesday, December 3, 2008



You cannot convince somebody, who does not want to be convinced, who is not prepared to be convinced.

That has been our experience since 1981 when Pakistan started using terrorism as a weapon to keep India bleeding and to weaken it, in the hope that, by doing so, it will be able to force India to agree to a change in the status quo in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).

The recovery by the Dubai authorities in 1983 from a Khalistani hijacker of a revolver which the German authorities certified in writing was from a consignment sold to the Pakistan Army; the recovery from the perpetrators of the March,1993, blasts of hand-grenades which Austrian experts certified in writing had been manufactured in Pakistan with technology and equipment sold by Austria to the Army-run Pakistan ordnance factories; the recovery from them of a chemical timer which the US certified in an unsigned note was part of a consignment supplied by the US to Pakistan in the 1980s and more and more and more.

The more the evidence we collected, the stronger the rejection---particularly from the US. Not sufficient enough. Does not directly implicate the Government of Pakistan. That was the stock reply we received repeatedly.

The US was interested only in protecting the lives and property of its citizens and in preventing another 9/11 in the US homeland from Pakistani territory. So long as Pakistan was co-operating with the US in action against Al Qaeda, the US closed its eyes and continues to close its eyes to Pakistani support for acts of jihadi terrorism directed against India.

One would have expected that the US attitude after the Mumbai terrorist strikes would have been different because the terrorists of the Pakistan Government-raised and backed Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) killed not only about 160 Indians, but also 25 foreigners-----six of them Israelis and another six Americans.

The Jewish civilians killed by the terrorists in the Narriman House were subjected to brutalities the like of which the world has not seen since the brutalities inflicted on the Jewish people by the Nazis during the Second World War.

And yet, the attitude of the US and other Western countries has been the same as it has always been. Where is the evidence, we are asked.

What evidence?

Evidence of the death of 160 Indians?

Evidence of the death of six Americans?

Evidence of the death of six Israelis?

Evidence of the brutalities inflicted by the terrorists on the Jewish people?

Is not the capture by the public of one of the perpetrators, a Pakistani national, who has confessed that he is from Pakistan and that he belonged to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and that the entire operation was mounted by the LET evidence enough?

Are not the intercepted telephone conversations between the perpetrators and their handlers in Pakistan evidence enough?

Are not the movement and activities of Prof.Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, the Amir of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), the political wing of the LET, in Pakistan as reported in the Pakistani media and in its own web site evidence enough?

Is not the continued existence of the training camps of the LET in Pakistani territory, including at Muridke, its headquarters near Lahore, evidence enough?

Is not the refusal of the Pakistan Government----whether of Pervez Musharraf or Asif Ali Zardari---- to arrest the operatives of the LET and close their camps despite an ostensible ban on it evidence enough?

What more evidence do the Americans want?

What evidence did they have when Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of Libya in 1986 after an explosion in a West Berlin discotheque, which killed some Americans?

What evidence did they have before Bill Clinton ordered the Cruise missile attacks on jihadi training camps in Afghan territory in August,1998?

What evidence did they have against Al Qaeda and the Taliban before they bombed Afghanistan from October 7,2001?

What evidence did they have against the Saddam Hussain Government before they invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003?

In every case affecting American nationals and interests, they bombed and then collected evidence. They did not wait till they had collected all the evidence possible before they bombed.

They did not act on the basis of evidence accepted by the international community. They acted on the basis of their conviction as to where from the attacks on Americans came.

Their actions were motivated by the need to show that nobody can play with American lives and get away with it.

We should stop demeaning ourselves as a nation by going to the Americans and others with evidence. I am shocked by suggestions that we should produce the evidence before the UN Security Council. I cannot think of a more naïve idea. It is as stupid as the advice given by the British to Jawaharlal Nehru to take the Kashmir issue to the UN Security Council with a promise that it would do justice by India.

The time for action against Pakistan has come. Action based on our conviction that the terrorists came from a Pakistani terrorist organization, which enjoys the patronage of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The objective of the action should be to force Pakistan to act effectively against the LET and its terrorist infrastructure. It should also be to mount a no-holds barred covert operation against the LET through our own resources and methods.

Two steps the Government can take immediately:

STEP No.1: Downgrade the diplomatic relations with Pakistan, terminate all economic relations including bilateral trade and communication links, suspend the confidence-building measures and the so-called peace process, terminate the talks on the gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan and withdraw from the so-called joint counter-terrorism mechanism, which has been a farce forced on Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh by the US. Announce that these actions will remain in force till Pakistan acts against the LET and its terrorist leaders and infrastructure and hands over to India the terrorists wanted for trial in India.
STEP No. 2: Revive immediately the covert action capability of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), which was wound up by Inder Gujral, when he was the Prime Minister in 1997, and empower it to impose prohibitive costs on Pakistan till it stops using jihadi terrorism against India. The R&AW imposed heavy costs on Pakistan for supporting the Khalistanis and should be able to do so now for its support to the LET and other jihadi terrorist organizations.

If step 2 has to be effective, there is an urgent need for a revamping of the R&AW. The organization has been in a bad state of affairs with low staff morale, factionalism and internal bickerings. Unfortunately, at this critical time in the nation’s history, the R&AW has no covert action specialists at the top of its pyramid. Get a suitable officer from the IB or the Army. If necessary, make him the head of the organization..

This is not the time for a direct military confrontation with Pakistan. It could prove counter-productive. It would enable the Pakistan Army to divert its troops from the Pashtun tribal belt to the Indian border and could unite the various jihadi organizations against India.

A divided Pakistan, a bleeding Pakistan, a Pakistan ever on the verge of collapse without actually collapsing----that should be our objective till it stops using terrorism against India.

We should be realistic enough to anticipate that Pakistan will step up terrorism in Indian territory if we adopt such a policy. This should not deter us from embarking on this policy. The policy of active defence against Pakistan should be accompanied by time-bound action to strengthen our counter-terrorism capability at home. (3-12-08)

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


Unknown said...

Amazing analysis. I could not agree more. We need a covert operations unit in RAW and a Homeland Security unit that supports ATS & NSG.
Why are we looking to the USA for permissions when most other nations that are considered powerful members of the UN (UK, Russia, Germany, etc.) and even Israel never think twice before conducting "pre-emptive" strikes against rogue forces - even if they are not based in their own territory but in neighboring countries.
If we have the conviction to be peaceful, we must have the conviction to act with courage and pride.

sudeep said...

You are right..

But who will bell the cat sir? What can we as citizens do to put this plan into action?


Unknown said...

'It should also be to mount a no-holds barred covert operation against the LET through our own resources and methods.'

Couldn't agree more. Shri Raman - I was wondering - why was such a capability wound up by Mr. Gujral in the first place? And why wasn't it revived under later governments? It would be great if you could shed some light on this...

Vijainder K Thakur said...

Your analysis cannot be faulted and your suggestions probably correct. However, I have some questions and thoughts for you.

I think more important than the specifics of the action that India should take, what the citizens of this country would like to hear is a resolute commitment on the part of the government to book those responsible for the Mumbai terror.

As a citizen, I would like to hear Manmohan Singh say: “We will get them.”

If he must say something more, an understandable impulse considering that he is a politician now, this is what he could add.

“We will get them, wherever they are in this world, with or without the co-operation of the country they are in, with or without the cooperation and understanding of the rest of the world. We will get them!”

That is what President Bush told the American people after the 9/11 - They can run, but they cannot hide.

Not a single government functionary has told the nation that we will get them; four magical words to reassure a nation whose pride has been grievously wounded.

I think I know why? Because in their hearts they believe they cannot get them!

You probably know better than I whether we can get them or not through covert operations, without going to war with Pakistan. It would be nice if you could share your thoughts on the issue.

As a citizen, all I can say is even if we need to sign a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, as a quid pro quo for getting the Mossad help to eliminate the perpetrators, like it did in the case of the Munich bombers, I think our country should have no problems with it.

Ray said...

We must maintain the façade of business as usual. Inder Malhotra, Inder Gujral and other candlelight warrior should be allowed their eminent selves to glow in the light of the candles. Arundhuti Roy should be encouraged an intimate hug of the shrivelled Geelani and the Setalvad woman should be allowed to crusade against Modi unabated and wastefully while her friends across the border ignite one or two more towns as a lark!

And within this business as usual environment, India should encourage subnationalism in Pakistan, which is there in any case since they detests the Pak Punjabi dominance and their looting the resources of Pakistan at large, as also encourage the secessionists in Baluchistan, Northern Areas, Sind and NWFP. Encourage the Shia Sunni divide. If Pakistan plays dirty, what prevents us from teaching them a lesson? High faluting Gandhian philosophies?

If India burns, can Pakistan be far behind?

Unknown said...

Unless Rajmata agrees, UPA govt. would never agree to what you've suggested. Additionaly Manmohan SIngh needs US approval even to change his clothes. Unless US forces India into doing something, no action against Pakisatani terrorists will be taken

Ramkumar Krishnan said...

Its an amazing article on the extremist policies of pakistan. Pakistan has not yet realized the dangers of terrorism. Soon pakistan will become history.

king of cochin said...

sir, i agree with your analysis but will any of it ever take place? after the loud rhetoric issued by USA asking Pakistan to take action and to declare full support to India, once confronted by pakistan USA has visibly mellowed down. All the fieriness of Rice seems to have disappeared when she reaches Pakistan and now it is all talks of dialogue-investigation non sense.
Sir, should we depend on USA at all? After all Israel is the other aggrieved party. Israel has a history of zero-tolerance of attacks on its citizens and taking action when necessary even if it is not supported in it by USA and the other "Powers". Israel bombed Osirak reactors when Iraq was the best friend of USA. Why dont we form an alliance with Israel and strike Pakistan?

Sameer said...

These steps are absolutely correct and in fact the most important one for setting our own house in order. What is more important is to re-vamp the security apparatus of our country. If we start looking after other countries interest or other countries support we would never be able to stand on our own feet. The first and the most important thing is for the creation of Federal intelligence. There are some any agencies like the state intelligence, the central intelligence agencies and RAW, also Military intelligence(MI) of the three services needs to be included. Even after the Mumbai mayhem the agencies seems to be playing the blame game for not taking serious about the vital information received just before the attacks. Also important is the setting up of “Parliament Onsight Committee” for accountability in the intelligence community. I think we have hardly learned any lesson from the kargil war and much - much need to be done...

What is more important is not to wait for Pakistan action or other international action for the attacks being carried out… what is important as to where we went wrong and what measures can be done to correct so that the same incidents do not carry and more lives being lost.

I do agree with Raman and other Bloggers that the is an urgent need to start a covert operation. I think the external intelligence of other countries has greatly analyzed the greater function of RAW which might have let to the increasing attacks in our country. It’s not like eye for an eye.

The very fact that the KAO and his colleagues has done a commendable job for saving the country from brink of destruction and isolation which should not go in vain.

The destiny of the country will largely depends on the choice we all make but I hope we should not be heading towards the dead end.

Vijay said...

excellent analysis - Successive pacifist governments have looked at R&AW with suspicion probably due to its perceived role during emergency. I hope the next PM will increase the manpower of R&AW by atleast 4 times from current levels. if we have sufficient depth in the inteligence areas, the pressure on the military is much less.
also, it hurts me as an indian to see why we are running to world bullies for certification and help everytime. if we yearn to be a world leader in our own right, we must not hesitate to act on our own. zardari has talked about "my part of pakistan" which means there is a part that is not in control of civilian government. this alarming development must be seen as an invitation to punitive and pre-emptive strikes in the pakistani boundaries but not controlled by civilian authority.

Rutvij Shah said...

I completely agree with your suggested future course of action that we should adopt. But i believe there is complete political vacuum at the top level in India. And this was very evident in the statements coming out from political leadership after the tragic event. Even our prime minister was not able to fulfill our expectations.

Covert operations and hot pursuit of rouge elements in foreign land requires full political support and I doubt the capability and sincerity of our present political leaders irrespective of political party.

Ramsinh said...

Dear Mr.Raman,

Unless Indian Government fights its own war with terrorists and stops looking at USA and others for help there will be no solution to this problem.

Please tell us what is the use of having top 5 largest military forces, nuclear missiles, IT superpower prowess, Inteligence agencies like RAW & IB(one really wonders!) in the world but NO leadership with vision, commitment and drive to take the fight to the enemy. Americans are taking Indians for a ride by talking of supporting Pakistan bluff.Please advise on following if you deem appropriate:
1)If the Pakistan Army takes over what difference will it make to India except Americans will be hammered by the Taliban and make Americans destroy Taliban in both Pakistan and Afghanistan? Why should only be victims in War on Terror?After all USD11 Bilion has been invested in Pakistan and we are facing the Jihadi destruction.

2)If America is not willing to take military and coercive action against Pakistan are we Indians ready to be continued to be slaughtered like lambs?Will the UPA Government wait for New Delhi Mumbai to be nuked?

3)Are we so naive to think that Pak and Jihadis will publicly announce before nuking our Metros?

Pakistan Government, Army and ISI are making mockery of Regional superpower India and China its arch rival must be laughing at the Indian Government!!!!!

3)What are the specious reasons for this outrage Babri Masjid, Kashmir and Gujarat riots!!!!! Where is the logic ?Punishment must be conferred by culprits and Indian democracy in case of Bari Masjid and Gujarat riots but Kshmir is an integral part of India where Minorityism has become a virtue and indigenous Hindus driven out akin to holocaust.

Indian Hindus and Muslims and Christians are bound by culture, blood and ties of kinship. INDIANness is the first religion followed by individual religion. SHOULD NOT EACH of us be ready to make sacrifices now so that our Children can be free of fear???

Bangalore News said...

If I recall correctly, during the 2001 Parliament attack period, the conventional wisdom was dismemberment of Pakistan would be inimical to Indian interests. But this time, I sense a difference, dismemberment of Pakistan is not met with alarm and is being accepted as a possible solution. Sir, could you please offer your thoughts on this change in mindset/circumstances?


Superb article, SIR and I have given a link to your article in my latest post.



techrsr said...

I agree with you inasmuch as the effectiveness of direct confrontation with Pakistan. Direct confrontation requires an identifiable, discrete, well defined enemy whose boundaries, alliances and allegiances are all well defined. Terrorists are not such easy enemies to handle. A combination of incisive strategy and tact, combined with covert, under cover operations that shake the foundations of the terrorist organizations and make them ineffective will only be effective. Like Machiavelli said, the invisible wars that one wages against one's own people are those that the most effective in maintaining the system. In times like these, Pakistan's policies should enable it to fight with groups in its own country. Our tact lies in pandering to the things they do right and forcing them against the wall when they do things wrong. The intelligent way is not the easy way, but an effective way. The simple method our of this is to declare war on terrorist groups inside Pakistan (or Pakistan itself, if it is implicated). This method can lead to large losses of life and property, not to mention the impact on the economy at an already delicate time.

sniperz11 said...


An extremely interesting and apt analysis.

However, reading your post, I am struck by a few questions:

1) Why was RAW's covert capabilities shut down by IK Gujral? Was there any advantage that he hoped to achieve by this?

2) Wouldn't restarting our covert ops in Pak and support for their own Balochi militants raise the spectre of India being morally equated with Pakistan as a sponsor of terror, especially if coherent proof of such was found by Pakistan?

3) Will a bleeding Pakistan always at the edge of a chasm be a good idea, given the state of their Nukes, and the fact that it will only lead to the Army becoming stronger.

4) Wouldn't a better option be to support a civilian government in Pakistan, given that most ordinary Pakistanis would like to be moderate. If we help the moderate elements, and destroy the ISI, and the Pakistan Army's hold on power, would that not be a better situation?

5) How will reforming RAW by bringing in outside experts from IB and IPS help in any way? We've seen RAW becoming what is has even with such a powerful IPS influence. Would sidelining the RAS rather than improving them actually solve the situation. This also beggars that question about the difference of expertise that IB and R&AW must possess.

I would be grateful if you could answer these doubts of mine.

I also request you to, if possible, without revealing classified info, write a post about RAW's present situation and about the issues it is facing.

Also, given the rumblings we hear about infighting, politicking and lobbying by outside groups (IPS, IAS, IB, etc) within the RAW, how suitable and rewarding would a career in RAW be for an aspiring person? Right now, we hear that most people do not wish to join RAS due to the low career advancement, and instead, join the IPS or IAS, and get a lateral transfer later.

I think an explanation of a career as an RAW operative and how one can join would also help a lot of aspiring people, for whom there is a paucity of information.

Looking forward to your opinions and replies.

Thank you
K. Prasad

Ray said...

1) Why was RAW's covert capabilities shut down by IK Gujral? Was there any advantage that he hoped to achieve by this?

He did it since he had a surfeit of candles (electricity being at a premium) and he liked lighting them at Wagah! He is creative as is his brother.

These are the people we elect!

Ray said...

"peace and war are difficult to distinguish from each other and are part of the same ongoing conflict."

"The enemy must not know where I intend to give battle. For if he does not know where I intend to give battle he must prepare in a great many places. And when he prepares in a great many places, those I have to fight in any one place will be few"

"to subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill"

All from Sun Tsu's Art of War!

Unknown said...

Arial strikes on all targets in POK and carpet bombing muzaffarbad would send the right kind of message to pakistanis. Here is how.

1. Most important to convey is our intent and seriousness. Further protests and diplomatic dialogues would only make us look like fools and a freshly washed doormat.

2. Since POK is a tribal region, the mainstream pakistanis would afford the loss of lives and property in that region.

3. This should be a swift, precise and focussed operation. The strategy, planning and execution should be absolutely flawless in order not to let it escalate into a full-fledged war.

4. We cannot find a better timing than this for a pre-emptive strike. This is a politically viable situation considering the political dynamics in India, Pakistan and the US at this moment.
-->Pakistan's political establishment has never been shakier.
-->Opportunity for the congress to redeem any public trust left in their administration. There is absolutely no other way they can manage to hold on to their power at center. BJP has already offered full support for a stern action against terrorists and its supporters.
-->Bush can afford to turn a blind eye while India undertakes this operation. Obama can afford to repeat his oft repeated line that there can be only one president at a time and the Mr.Clean can still keep his hands clean.

5. We have the advantage of pakistani troops being stationed on their border with afghanistan.

6. We have an over-whelmingly huge sympathy wave sweeping across the world for our cause right now. It may not last long.

7. This strike would ensure a committed follow up to the operation from pakistani government to root out all the camps elsewhere in pakistan. Keep the sword hanging over their neck and make them do the dirty work. There is no other way to it.

8. This would cost us much less compared to a full blown conflict.

9. This would re-affirm the sovereignty, pride and self-respect of India and restore the confidence of Indians in India.

We cannot afford to lose this opportunity to strike pak.


Unknown said...

I do agree with the initiatives you have put forth for revamping our intelligence agencies and all those "long term" plans. There is no doubt these initiaties would bear fruits in the long run. At the same time, this exercise is no more than a candle-light vigil right now.

Those initiatives should in no way hinder our response to pak lest we risk not only losing this opportunity but also let the sense of complacency settle in our hearts.... yet again!

The "Strike of Intent" is the need of the hour.


Hyperion said...

What is astonishing is that we need even to be discussing this. It should be fairly obvious to even the meanest intelligence, and the most supine of backbones that the more you give way to a bully, the more he pushes.

Your blog, Mr. Raman, is one of the few places where I have seen any sense being talked on the issue of terrorism.

Winding down the R&AW covert ops unit seems to me to be akin to an almost suicidal move, given the neighborhood we live in.

As the gentleman from Israel that TimesNow had interviewed, when asked "what help India can expect from the global community?", said:

"If India cannot help herself, noone can help her".

Isnt it a shame, that a nation of 1billion, with one of the worlds best armed forces, has to whine and ask for "help" from a tiny nation like Israel?

Incidentally, I read your book (The KAOboys of R&AW), and greatly enjoyed it. One of my relatives served under Mr. BN Mullick for long years from the 1950 till the mid 60s, and it is interesting to see where that unified agency went after the external wing became a seperate specialised service. He is very old now, but speaks of those days with interest (though still revealing no secrets!). His main analysis was that most government agencies have no idea how a secret service works, and generally do their best to bungle things.

Incidentally, what do you feel about the recent reporting in the media (Hindustan Times) which has enumerated the recent instructions allowing IPS officers to return to their parent cadre instead of being permanently absorbed into the R&AW as being one of the reasons for lack of professionalism in the org.?

And also, of the growing tendency of police, intelligence and military sources to use the media to snipe at each other? Some of the stuff I see in the news is quite disgusting.

lonikar said...

Dear Mr. Raman,

In addition to the 2 steps you have suggested, I would like to suggest that India should now try to use whatever leverage it has (if it has) with the west to stop the IMF package to Pakistan or use that package to make it fully deliver on India's demands. They have an inflation of 25% and food items inflation of 33%, and almost out of forex reserves. Without the IMF bailout package, even their "all weather" friends and free oil donors wont help them.

On the covert action capability: I think that with rising affluence, and our culture, most Indians would not risk or give their lives for this cause. This is clear from the fact that even the armed forces are finding it difficult to fill the officer ranks. This would make it difficult to find resources for this kind of operation where the probability of death is more than what the officers face. Even the most right wing Hindu organizations like Bajarang Dal, VHP, Shivsena, and the recently famous Sadhvi Pragya and Purohit are not suicide bombers. Indian muslims by and large would not go for suicide operations. I doubt that even pro-India Kashmiris would be willing to serve in the covert operations although the Kashmiri separatists have a sizable number of fidayeens. All of the Indian right wing organizations (Hindu or Muslim) can stretch themselves to rioting and some bombings within India only, and can not take them across the border to Pakistan or even Bangladesh.

Thus, India is left with two options:

- Raise a highly professional offensive action force (as opposed to the counter terrorism force like NSG which is defensive in nature). This swift action force should be capable to carry out operations inside the enemy territory, and get out safely from the other side. In Pakistan's case, this would mean getting out from Afghanistan or Iran. This is what the ISI agents do to India: carry out operations in India and get out from Nepal, or Bangladesh or back into Pakistan via border or LoC. This is not a suicide operation force, but commando force raised specifically for offensive actions. The members of this force should be screened extensively to exclude rogue elements who act on their own and bring disrepute to the country. They need to strictly comply with the government objectives.

- Raise a secondary "fidayeen" force out of elements whose death nobody will mourn. Possible candidates are murder convicts serving death or life sentence, local gangsters who serve no purpose otherwise to the society but can be brain washed for the national cause, and even maoists. Remember that the captured terrorist Kasab is a primary school dropout who wanted to be a dacoit and turned to LeT for arms since he did not have any means to purchase those. Thus, Pakistan is proving to be more effective in utilizing their rouge human resources. Maoists have exhibited suicide killing tendencies in the past but are different from the religious extremists. Also, the maoists in Chhattisgadh have condemned the attacks on Mumbai, and tried to distance themselves from the religious extremists. They can urged to utilize their energies in a positive way.

While Indian government continues to pressure Pakistan, lets hope they start building this capability in parallel, and when Pakistan demands their handover, we in turn ask them for "evidence"!!

Jay said...

Very well written, Mr. Raman. I hope the government could show half the resolve that this post shows.

warren.hastings said...

Very good article Mr Raman. The Government of the day will be convinced to take a tough stand agianst terrorism only if the voters convincingly indicate that they have terrorism as their top priority. This has however not happened at Delhi or Rajhasthan which is matter o concern