Friday, October 30, 2009




The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the US has arrested and produced before a court in Chicago two local Muslim residents on a charge of conspiring with three others in Pakistan to carry out a Mumbai 26/11 style terrorist strike in Copenhagen and another strike in India.

2. The two arrested persons are David Coleman Headley ( aged 49 ) also known as Daood Gilani, an American citizen, who is a white convert to Islam, and Tahawar Hussain Rana (aged 48), a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, who has been running an immigration services office in Chicago with branches in Toronto and New York. He has also been running a company which was supplying meat to Muslims.

3. Headley was arrested on October 3,2009, and produced before the court on October 11.His arrest was kept a secret with the permission of the court for eight days to facilitate further investigation. The FBI arrested him at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as he was about to board a flight to Philadelphia for an onward trip to Denmark. According to the FBI, he was allegedly carrying a copy of a newspaper (not specified), a street guide for Copenhagen, a list of phone numbers and a computer memory stick with ten short video recordings of the offices of a Danish newspaper, which had published in 2005, a cartoon depicting the Holy Prophet, and the entrance to a military barracks in Copenhagen.

4.It was reported by the local media that Headley had "waived his rights" and made voluntary statements to the FBI about his connection to Pakistani terror groups.The authorities said the plot against the Danish newspaper, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, was referred to as the "Mickey Mouse Project" in communications between Headley and his contact in Pakistan. Headley had already traveled to Copenhagen in January and visited two different offices of the newspaper, the FBI said. Rana had allegedly reservations to fly to Copenhagen on Oct0ber 29. He was arrested on October 18 and produced before the court the next day

5.During his visit to Denmark in January last, Headley allegedly flew to Pakistan and met with his contact there, according to the FBI's affidavit filed with the court. The texts of the two affidavits filed by the FBI against the two arrested persons are available at and .

6. The FBI authorities have identified the contact as Ilyas Kashmiri, a former Commando of the Special Services Group(SSG) of Pakistan, who gravitated to the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) of Pakistan and subsequently to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). He was one of the suspects in Al Qaeda-inspired plots to kill Pervez Musharraf in December,2003, and other terrorist strikes.He was recently reported to have been killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan in September, but this was subsequently reported to have been incorrect. He himself contacted some Pakistani journalists to prove that he was still alive. According to the FBI's affidavit, Headley was introduced to Ilyas Kashmiri by an individual referred to as Individual A during a visit to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in July-August 2008. A persual of the two FBI affidavits would indicate that Headley's subsequent communications with Ilyas Kashmiri were through this individual and not direct.

7.In the past there were conflicting versions of the organisational affiliation of Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri. While some reports described him as the Amir of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) branch of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), other reports described him as the head of a splinter group of the HUJI of Pakistan headed by its Amir Qari Saifullah Akhtar, which had split from it and was operating independently in Jammu & Kashmir of India from sanctuaries in the POK.

8. Ilyas Kashmiri was among those arrested by the Pakistani authorities in January,2004, in connection with the investigation into the two unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi in December,2003. While some of the others arrested, including some junior Air Force officers, were prosecuted and convicted, Ilyas Kashmiri himself was released for want of evidence of his involvement. It was claimed by sections of the Pakistani media at that time that Ilyas was released on the intervention of Syed Salauddin, the Amir of the Hizbul Mujahideen and the head of the United Jihad Council for Kashmir, who reportedly managed to convince the Police that Ilyas had nothing to do with the two attempts to kill Musharraf.

9. Ilyas was subsequently reported to have closed down the camp of his set-up in the POK and shifted to North Waziristan from where he was operating in the non-tribal belt of Pakistan. In a despatch of May 24,2009, Amir Mir, the well-informed Pakistani journalist, who writes for the "News" and other papers said: "Commander Ilyas Kashmiri was recently named in a charge sheet filed by the Islamabad police in the November 2008 gruesome murder of Major General (retd) Amir Faisal Alvi, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the elite Special Services Group (SSG). The 12-page charge sheet submitted by the Rawalpindi police in an anti-terrorism court on May 12, 2009 stated that the former SSG commanding officer was killed to avenge the role he had played in the fight against Taliban linked militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The charge-sheet prepared by the Koral police station states that those involved and already arrested in the murder included Major (retd) Haroon Rasheed, a resident of Azad Kashmir; Mohammad Nawaz Khan of Peshawar and Ashfaq Ahmed of Okara. The charge sheet says the murder of Major General Amir Faisal Alvi was carried out on the instructions of Commander Ilyas Kashmiri who had provided funds and weapons.The charge sheet pointed out that Ilyas Kashmiri had already been named by the intelligence agencies for involvement in the October 2008 kidnapping for ransom of Satish Anand, a Karachi-based renowned film producer and distributor and the real uncle of Juhi Chawla, a well known Bollywood actress. After Satish Anand was recovered in the last week of April 2009 and the kidnappers arrested, it transpired during interrogations that one of them - Major Haroon Rasheed alias Abu Khattab – was a former Pakistani Army officer and involved in the murder of General Alvi. According to the murder charge sheet, the three accused – Haroon, Ashfaq and Nawaz followed Alvi when he left his residence in Bharia Town in Rawalpindi for his private office in Islamabad and killed him and his driver near the PWD Colony. Once considered close to General Pervez Musharraf, Amir Faisal Alvi was the first General Officer Commanding of the elite Special Services Group, and had also commanded the elite Group as a Brigadier. The first Pakistani Major General to have captained the Armed Forces Skydiving Team (AFST) as a GOC, Faisal Alvi was forcibly retired from the Army on disciplinary grounds ‘for conduct unbecoming’ by then Army Chief General Musharraf in August 2005."

10. Ilyas Kashmiri reportedly had his own training camp in the Razmak area of North (?) Waziristan and was collaborating with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

11.According to the FBI affidavit, "in July and August 2009, Headley exchanged a series of e-mails with LeT Member A, including an exchange in which Headley asked if the Denmark project was on hold, and whether a visit to India that LeT Member A had asked him to undertake was for the purpose of surveilling targets for a new terrorist attack.These e-mails reflect that LeT Member A was placing a higher priority on using Headley to assist in planning a new attack in India than on completing the planned attack in Denmark."

12.Although the affidavit named Ilyas Kashmiri, it did not identify two other Pakistan-based members involved in the plot, referring to them merely as LeT member A and Individual A. It said the LeT member A “has substantial influence and responsibility within the organization” and his “identity is known to the government.”

13. It is not clear what the FBI affidavit meant by saying that the LET member's identity is known to the Government. Which Government---the Government of Pakistan? If so, what action has been taken by the FBI to have him picked up by the Pakistani authorities and handed over to the FBI for interrogation and further investigation? The FBI has been silent on this till now.

14. The idea of using the US territory as a launcing pad for terrorist attacks in India had figured in the plans of the LET in 2003.On June 27,2003, the FBI had charged seven men in the Washington area and an eighth in Philadelphia with stockpiling weapons and conspiring to wage "jihad" against India in support of a terrorist group in Kashmir. The FBI's charge-sheet against them described them as members of the LET. It also said that three others involved in the case were absconding and were believed to be in Saudi Arabia.

15. Although the FBI officials said that there was no evidence of a plot against the US, the members of the group had pledged support for pro-Muslim violence overseas, hoarded high-powered rifles and received military training in Pakistan. Nine of the 11 accused were American citizens, and three had served in the US armed forces for some time in the past. The charge-sheet said that seven members of the group had travelled to Pakistan in the last several years, and some received military training in small arms, machine guns, grenade launchers and other weaponry at a camp in northeast Pakistan connected to the LET.

16. The 41-count indictment charged the 11 accused with conspiracy, firearms violations and plotting against a friendly nation — namely, India. US officials connected with the investigation were quoted by the media as saying that there was no evidence that the accused were considering an attack within the United States or had ties to Al Qaeda.

17. However, the officials charged that the men conspired to help Muslims abroad in violent jihad not only in India, but also in Chechnya, the Philippines and other countries. The men, the indictment said, obtained AK-47s and other high-powered weaponry and practised small-unit military tactics in Virginia.

18. The indictment charged that the accused pledged their willingness to die as martyrs in support of the Muslim cause and gathered in private homes and at an Islamic center in suburban Washington to hear lectures "on the righteousness of jihad" in Kashmir, Chechnya and elsewhere. They also watched videotapes showing Muslim fighters engaged in jihad. They had also organised a function to celebrate the crashing of the space shuttle Columbia. One of the astronauts killed in the crash was of Indian origin. A message read out on the occasion had described the USA "as the greatest enemy of the Muslims."

19. According to the indictment, one of the accused Masoud Ahmed Khan, a Maryland resident, had a document titled "The Terrorist's Handbook," with instructions on how to manufacture and use explosives and chemicals as weapons, as well as a photograph of F.B.I. headquarters in Washington.

20. At least two of the 11 accused were described as of Pakistani origin. One of them, Mohammed Aatique, 30, was a work (H-1) visa holder while Khawja Mahmood Hasan, 27, was a naturalized US citizen born in Pakistan. But at least one more suspect, Masoud Ahmad Khan, 31, also had a Pakistani sounding name although his nationality was not disclosed. The other accused were Randall Todd Royer, 30; Ibrahim Ahmed al-Hamdi, a Yemeni national and non-resident alien; Yong Ki Kwon, 27, a naturalized US citizen born in Korea; Seifullah Chapman, 30; Hammad Abdur-Raheem, 35; Donald Thomas Surratt, 30; Caliph Basha Ibn Abdur-Raheem, 29, and Sabri Benkhala, 28. Chapman, Hasan and Benkhala were stated to be living in Saudi Arabia.

21.Earlier, on June 20, 2003 FBI officials had disclosed that they had arrested in April Iyman Faris, also known as Mohammad Rauf, originally a resident of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), who had migrated to the US in 1994 and was working as a truck driver in Ohio and charged him with having links with Al Qaeda and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, said to be Osama bin Laden's operations chief, who is believed to have co-ordinated the terrorist strikes of September 11, 2001, in the US. Khalid was arrested in the house of a women's wing leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) of Pakistan at Rawalpindi in March, 2003, by the Pakistani authorities and handed over to the FBI.

22. According to FBI officials, as quoted in the US media, Faris had visited Afghanistan and Pakistan a number of times between 2000 and 2002, met Osama bin Laden and worked with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, in organising and financing jihad causes. After returning to the US from Pakistan in late 2002, officials said, he began examining the Brooklyn Bridge and discussing via coded messages with Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan ways of using blow torches to sever the suspension cables.

23. "The plotting continued through March, as Faris sent coded messages to operatives in Pakistan. One such message said that the "weather is too hot. "FBI officials were quoted as saying that meant that Faris feared the plot was unlikely to succeed---apparently because of security and the bridge's structure-- and should be postponed. He was arrested soon thereafter. Sources in Pakistan described Faris, aged 34, as a Punjabi ex-serviceman settled in POK, before he migrated to the US.

24. The above-mentioned details of LET activities in the US have been covered in my latest book titled "Mumbai--26/11 : A Day of Infamy" released for sale by the Lancer Publishers of New Delhi on October 26,2008 ( ).

25.The plans of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa , the parent organisation of the LET, to carry out terrorist strikes in foreign territory against those insulting the Holy Prophet came to notice from the following report carried by the Pakistani journal "Ausaf" in its issue dated September 18,2006:"Pakistan's Jamaat-ud-Dawa has issued a Fatwa asking the Muslim community to kill Pope Benedict for his blasphemous statement about Prophet Mohammad. The Jamaat-ud-Dawa has declared death to Pope Benedict and said that in today's world blasphemy of the Holy Koran and the Prophet has become a fashion. The leaders of the Jamaat were speaking at a Martyrs' Islamic Conference in Karachi. Prominent Jamaat leader Hafiz Saifullah Khalid said that in the present circumstances, jehad has become obligatory for each Muslim. Muslims are being declared terrorists and our battle for survival has already started. The Muslim world has rejected the Pope's apology and decided to continue protests and demonstrations in big cities. The Pope's apology is just a drama and no political leader has any power to pardon him. It is part of a crusade initiated by the US in the name of terrorism. Instead of accepting fake apologies, Muslims should realise Europe's enemity towards Islam and Muslim Ummah shou ld prepare itself to defend its faith. Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Abdur Rahman Makki said the West and Europe have started a campaign against the Holy Koran and the Prophet and have abused jehad. We should take appropriate steps to deal with the champions of crusade. It is time for Muslim leaders to open their eyes and understand that the West had never been a friend of the Muslims and will never be so."

26. A perusal of the FBI affidavits indicates the following: Headley was a self-motivated jihadi who volunteered his services for the LET and Ilyas Kashmiri. He seems to have come into contact with the jihadi world in Pakistan by frequenting an Internet chat group of "Abdelians" ---- meaning former cadets of the Punjab Government's military cadet college at Hasan Abdal, 40 kms to the north of Rawalpindi, set up in 1954 to prepare young boys aspiring to join the armed forces. He had established independent contacts with an LET operative and Ilyas Kashmiri. While the LET operative was interested in using him to prepare the ground for a terrorist strike in India, Ilyas Kashmiri was interested in using him for a terrorist strike in Denmark.He had visited Denmark at least once to study the ground conditions there, but there is no indication of his having visited India. The role of Rana seems to have been to provide Headley with a business cover for his travels to Denmark and Pakistan. The two had discussed the operational plans of Headley during a long drive together in the US.

27.Al Qaeda, the LET and their jihadi associates are like homing pigeons. Once they draw up a plan for a terrorist strike, they focus on carrying it out whatever be the difficulties. It came out during the investigation of the November, 2008, terrorist strike in Mumbai that the LET had originally planned to carry it out in September, but postponed it---presumably because security had been tightened up at the hotels which it was planning to attack. It attacked on November 26, when the security had become slack.Its plans for a terrorist strike in India from US territory in 2003 with the help of White and other converts to Islam holding US and other Western passports were foiled in time by the FBI, but it did not give up this idea and has once again tried to give it shape.Despite its failure for a second time, it will continue looking for another opportunity. (30-10-09)

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009




"While the Pakistan Army has prepared itself well for the counter-insurgency style operations in South Waziristan, its ability to prevent attacks behind its back in the NWFP and Punjab is doubtful. Despite the spurt in suicide and commando-style terrorism in the NWFP and Punjab and even in supposedly well-guarded cantonments since the Lal Masjid raid in July,2007, the Pakistani counter-terrorism machinery has not re-fashioned and re-tooled itself to meet this threat. ....There is a danger of the NWFP and Punjab becoming the failed provinces of Pakistan if the Army's offensive does not succeed." ---- Extract from my article of October 17,2009, titled THE PAK ARMY OFFENSIVE IN SOUTH WAZIRISTAN available at

Over 90 innocent civilians----many of them women and children---- were killed in a timed or remotely-controlled car bomb explosion in a busy market area of Peshawar, the capital of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, on October 28,2009. Reports from Peshawar indicate that the car packed with explosives had been left unattended by two men wearing police uniform near a Shia mosque about three hours before the explosion. The unattended car did not attract the suspicion of the policemen on duty in the market area.

2. This has been the second deadliest terrorist strike in Pakistan-----the first being the suicide explosion in Karachi at the time of Benazir Bhutto's return from exile on October 17,2007, in which nearly 180 persons were killed.This has been the deadliest terrorist strike in the history of Peshawar and the third strike this month. The previous two took place on October 9 in which over 50 persons were killed in a suicide explosion in a market place and on October 16 involving 16 fatalities.

3. The local police had claimed to have identified and arrested the ringleaders of the previous incidents. Despite this, the attack of October 28 took place. This calls into question the credibility of the police claim.

4. There has so far been no claim of responsibility for the latest explosion. On the contrary, Pakistani electronic media have quoted alleged sources in Al Qaeda and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as denying responsibility and condemning the explosion as the work of anti-Muslim elements.

5.The denials need not necessarily be true. The public outrage over the wanton killings of women and children would have made it unwise for the perpetrators to admit responsibility.

6. The fact that the explosion coincided with the visit of Mrs.Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, to Pakistan, gave the explosion a political colour as meant to express the protest of the perpetrators against the continuing US drone strikes on Al Qaeda and Taliban hide-outs in the tribal belt and against Pakistan's continuing co-operation with the US in counter-terrorism. The current military operations by the Pakistani Army against the Mehsud component of the TTP in South Waziristan is viewed by the Taliban and Al Qaeda elements as undertaken at the behest of the US.

7. The NWFP is the traditional homeland of the Pashtuns and the cradle of the Pashtun culture. Over the years, it has had pockets of secular thinking and traditions nurtured initially by Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, the Frontier Gandhi, and maintained subsequently by his successors in the Awami National Party (ANP), which has been in power in the province as part of a coalition since the elections of last year. It has also been supporting the ruling coalition in Islamabad and has managed to maintain good relations with President Asif Ali Zardari.

8. In recent months,there have been reports that the US, which in the past kept away from the ANP due to a perception that it was a leftist, pro-communist party, has started interacting with its leaders and inviting some of them to visit the US. The fact that the Pashtun followers of the ANP have remained steadfast in their loyalty to the ANP and its secular ideology and have kept away from the Afghan as well as Pakistani Taliban has been a sore point with the TTP leadership.

9. Despite this, will the TTP target the Pashtun followers of the ANP and indulge in an orgy of killings of Pashtun civilians in Peshawar and other places? The TTP attacks in the Malakand Division, including the Swat Valley, largely targeted the security forces, but in Peshawar the perpetrators have been targeting Pashtun civilians as well as the security forces. There is also an anti-Shia angle to these attacks because the Shia Pashtuns support the ANP, which is seen by them as a protector of the Shias.

10. Sources in the ANP seem to believe that the repeated attacks on civilians in Peshawar are being carried out by elements in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), another Uzbek group, both allied to Al Qaeda. This serves the purpose of discrediting the ANP-led Government in the NWFP and at the same time sparing the TTP of unpopularity for slaughtering innocent Pashtun civilians.

11. What should be of special concern to the US and other members of the international community in the light of the deteriorating situation in the NWFP is the danger of the growing anarchy in the province enabling Al Qaeda to lay hand on Pakistan's nuclear waste stored in the province for being used in a dirty bomb. (29-10-09)

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

Hi All

The biopsy report was received today. It has confirmed high-grade malignancy in the urinary bladder--prostrate region.The doctors say they are not yet certain who is the enemy. They have prescribed one more test today. Results will come on Nov.3. Thereafter, the urologists, who have been treating me till now, will consult cancer specialists and decide on the course of the treatment, which may have to be aggressive. Regards. B.Raman. 28-10-09



Since 9/11, one talks of old and new terrorism and modern and post-modern terrorism. The reference is to the modus operandi (MO) and tactics used by the terrorists and their ability to use modern scientific and technological innovations for planning and committing acts of terrorism. Their use of modern innovations increases the lethality of their acts of terrorism, but, at the same time, increases their vulnerability to neutralisation by the security agencies. One saw in Mumbai in November, 2008, how the terrorists' use of modern means of communications facilitated not only their acts of terrorism, but also the investigation by the police.

2.After 9/11, the Neo Taliban of Afghanistan, headed by Mulla Mohammad Omar, has emerged as a modern insurgent force capable of planning and launching conventional-style attacks as well as sophisticated, complex, multi-target and multi-MO attacks involving the use of modern means of communications and weaponry. This should account for its successes against the NATO forces and the Afghan National Army (ANA) in certain areas and its vulnerability to neutralisation by the NATO forces in other areas due to the interception of its communications.

3. As compared to the Neo Taliban,the Maoist insurgents of the tribal belt in Central India are an old-style insurgent force still using tactics and MO such as ambushes, attacks with landmines and conventional weapons etc of the kind used by the communist insurgents of Malaya in the 1940s and of Myanmar and Thailand in subsequent years. Their strong points are not their weaponry, but the support from large sections of the tribal community in whose midst and on whose behalf they operate, their superior knowledge of the terrain and their non-dependence on modern means of communications.

4.The support of the community and their non-dependence on modern means of communications should explain the difficulties faced by the intelligence agencies in collecting human and technical intelligence about them. Their superior knowledge of the terrain gives them an advantage over the security forces. Clandestine, undetected movement through the terrain comes easily to them, but not to the security forces heavily dependent on modern means of transport for their movement.

5. The objective of any counter-insurgency strategy against the Maoists should be not to defeat them, but to deny them successes through better tactics and better MO by the security forces. This would be possible only with the support of the tribal community. Winning over the tribals through better governance, better development and better redressal of their grievances against the State has to be the core component of this strategy. Disproportionate use of force against the Maoists and the tribals supporting them would drive more tribals into the arms of the insurgent leaders.

6. Better tactics and better MO by the security forces would mean better capability for the detection and neutralisation of landmines, better skills in ambushing insurgent groups on the move and a capability for rapid intervention. The facts that there have been more instances of successful ambushes by the insurgents of the security forces than of the insurgents by the security forces, that deaths of members of the security forces due to landmines continue to be high and that a group of insurgents managed to stop the Rajdhani Express from Bhubaneshwar to New Delhi for over five hours on October 27,2009, without any counter-action by the rapid intervention forces speak of major deficiencies in our counter-insurgency capability.

7. The incident of October 27 underlines the need for a specially-trained and equipped special intervention force capable of operating rapidly and stealthily in the rural areas. The National Security Guards (NSGs), who were used to counter the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai, are specially trained and equipped to intervene in terrorism-related situations in the urban areas. A similar force for rapid intervention against the Maoists in the rural areas is necessary.

8. Since the Maoist insurgency has spread over a wide geographic area coming under the jurisdiction of the police forces of a number of states, the command and control of the counter-insurgency operations becomes more difficult than in the case of terrorism. Should there be a centralised operational command and control or should the command and control remain the responsibility of the police forces of the affected States, with the role of the Government of India confined to co-ordination, guidance, capacity-building in the affected States and facilitation of the counter-insurgency operations? How to ensure better co-ordination among affected States and joint action where necessary? Should there be a joint action command? If so, how shoud it be constituted? These are questions which need attention.

9.Andhra Pradesh has had success stories in dealing with Naxalite/Maoist insurgency----through better intelligence, better terrain awareness, better physical security, better tactics and targetted attacks on key leaders. Its example should be of value to other states.

10. Non-state actors---whether terrorists or insurgents----cannot be defeated like one defeats a State adversary except in exceptional cases such as the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by the Sri Lankan security forces. The LTTE, under Prabakaran, conducted itself like a State and paid a heavy price for it. Non-state actors can be made only to wither away through a sustained campaign of attrition with the support of the community. The campaign will be long and has to be sustained. One should not expect quick results.

11. Hard rhetoric and war cries have no place in counter-insurgency. A State, which is perceived by the community as caring for the people, has greater chances of prevailing over the insurgents than a State, which is seen as indifferent to the problems of the people. (28-10-09)

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2009



In my article of October 15,2009, titled "Chinese Media Revert to Pre-Deng Rhetoric on India" available at , I had stated as follows: "The more hawkish line adopted by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the party media indicate that the hawks in the PLA and the party have started influencing the policy towards India. "

2. An article under the bye-line Li Hongmei under the title 'How to respond to Russia's "Ambiguous Diplomacy"?' carried by the Chinese Communist Party's "People's Daily" on October 21,2009, (annexed) indicates that the newly-evident hawkish line in foreign policy matters reflecting some of the arguments, characterisations and rhetoric of the pre-Deng Xiaoping era has been directed not only against India, but also against Russia.

3. The article carries intriguing references to Russia as a fair-weather friend and as practising an ambiguous diplomacy. There has been targeted criticism of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for some of his economic decisions affecting China and Chinese illegal traders in Russian territory.A comparison of the criticism of India, which has been accused of nursing hegemonistic aspirations, with the criticism of Russia indicates different motivating factors.

4. The motivating factor of the criticism of India is with reference to its foreign policy ---particularly its relations with the US ---, its aspirations of emerging as an important power and the border dispute. Economic factors do not appear to be behind the criticism of India.

5. In the case of Russia, economic factors seem to be mainly behind the criticism. The Chinese disappointment that Moscow did not give preference to China in respect of the award of the contract for the Far Eastern Oil pipeline project is writ large in the article. The article says:"Chauvinism and double-dealing tactics, which set the basic formula for making foreign policies in its Soviet time, can still be found in today's Russian diplomacy. This can be clearly illustrated by the 10-year-long competition between China and Japan for Russia's Far East oil pipeline project. The usual economic considerations inherent in a strictly commercial competition do not apply in this case. Instead, geopolitical considerations far outweigh any and all commercial considerations.Within the context, Russia had been cast in the role of exploiting the China-Japan rivalry. By waiting for the highest bid, Russia was fascinated by its triumph in converting the pipeline courtship into the pipeline diplomacy, in which Russia benefited from both sides while manipulating from behind the scenes."

6.There is also ill-concealed bitterness over the June 29,2009, decision of Putin to put down the illegal trading activities of Chinese immigrants in Russian territory by closing down the Cherkizovsky Market, Europe's largest marketplace, located in the Izmaylovo District of Moscow. Putin had ordered it to be closed down on grounds of violations of regulations and illegal activities. The market, which was owned by a Turkish group, had thousands of traders from China and the Central Asian Republics. Illegal traders from China constituted the majority in the market.

7. The need to pursue and enforce core Chinese interests----against India on the border issue and against Russia on economic issues---- has been the underlying themes of the two recent articles on India and Russia. While the emphasis on the enforcement of core Chinese interests is understandable, the use of pre-1979 rhetoric and arguments indicates the growing assertiveness of "China first" hawkish elements in the party and the PLA, who have no use for the reconcilatory language of the Deng era. What they are indicating is that the time has come for China to start using its military, diplomatic and economic muscles for enforcing its core interests.

8. What support these elements have in the party and the Government? It is difficult to answer this question,but the fact that the "People's Daily" has found it necessary to give voice to them in its columns shows that these elements are not insignificant. ( 27-10-09)

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



By Li Hongmei

Tightly pressed by the U.S.-led Western world since the end of the Cold War, and constantly beleaguered by the tit-for-tat measures devised by the West to counterbalance its military might---- just to name a few----NATO's eastward expansion, color revolution and deployment of missile defense system, Russia at times has to turn to China for a relatively sound security environment, but it has thus far remained a fair-weather friend to China, practicing "shadow-boxing" on its China policy.

Russia's ambiguous position seen in its diplomatic strategies could even trace back to its initial years in handling the ties with the then fledgling Chinese Communists. On the eve of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the pro-Kuomintang U.S. Embassy and its Ambassador Leighton Stuart chose to remain in Nanking, former capital of Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang government. But the Embassy of the Soviet Union, technically the sole supporter to the newly-born Chinese communist government, fled to South China with remnants of the overthrown Chiang clique.This can partially showcase the "Ambiguous Diplomacy" Russia has since sought after purportedly to gain advantage from both sides. By playing balance between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang, the Soviet Union could probably maximize its vested interests, its intention being self-evident in this case.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union left the U.S. as the world's monolithic superpower, Russia has appeared to get closer to China after a history of suspicion, rivalry, and even open hostility in 1960s. But the legacy of Soviet-style ambiguous diplomacy lingers on and suspicions remain overshadowing its relations with China. To shrug off the pressure imposed by the West, to which Russia found inaccessible even after the Cold War, Russia tilted its diplomatic favor to the East by adopting the so-called "Two-headed Hawk" Strategy. And on this basis, it finally entered into "Strategic Collaboration Partnership" with China.

With the wheel of history rolling on, Russia has been making desperate efforts to cut off its blood tie with its bygone days as a communist giant. But Chauvinism and double-dealing tactics, which set the basic formula for making foreign policies in its Soviet time, can still be found in today's Russian diplomacy. This can be clearly illustrated by the 10-year-long competition between China and Japan for Russia's Far East oil pipeline project. The usual economic considerations inherent in a strictly commercial competition do not apply in this case. Instead, geopolitical considerations far outweigh any and all commercial considerations.Within the context, Russia had been cast in the role of exploiting the China-Japan rivalry. By waiting for the highest bid, Russia was fascinated by its triumph in converting the pipeline courtship into the pipeline diplomacy, in which Russia benefited from both sides while manipulating from behind the scenes.

If this is not enough to reduce or limit the ever-growing Chinese clout, which has reportedly upset Russia for some time, Russia would go as far as it can to drag China down. For instance, its hard-line PM Vladimir Putin persisted in setting the limitation for issuing Russian Far East visas to the Chinese citizens, while the same Putin may speak in Moscow about bilateral ties being "at their highest level ever."

His recently wrapped-up debut Beijing visit as Prime Minister sealed a package of nearly $40 billion worth of orders and bilateral contracts. Nevertheless, Moscow's decision on the closure of Cherkizovsky, the largest market, which came in June unexpectedly like a bolt from the blue for the Chinese vendors, is still shrouding the minds of many Chinese, especially those who were born and bred in the years when the Soviet Union acted as China's Big Brother and who even today still cherish a subtle "Russia Complex".

Unfortunately, in reality, little has happened to strengthen the bilateral ties. On the other hand, Russia has attained a high degree of perfection in pushing its "Ambiguous Diplomacy" and even extending it to almost all the spheres of foreign affairs.

To China, what must be done in terms of its future bilateral relationship with Russia is, first and foremost, abandoning the one-sided wish, or so to speak, the thinking to "take a part as the whole". The best way to deal with Russia is to follow the path, more realistic and more reasonable, leading to a mature diplomacy, which will expect a reciprocal gesture of goodwill and satisfy the mutual interests as great powers.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Mumbai -26/11 saw a mix of commando-style attacks typical of the special
forces of an army and indiscriminate killing of civilians typical of the Lashkare-
Toiba (LeT), the Pakistani jihadi organization. The meticulous planning, the
thorough training of the 10 LeT terrorists, who carried it out, and the close coordination
of the attacks from the command and control of the LeT had the stamp
of Al Qaeda and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence with both of which the LeT
has a close relationship.

The LeT terrorists attacked a mix of targets—innocent Indian civilians in public
places, Jewish people in a religious-cum-cultural centre and members of the Indian
and foreign social and business elite in two five-star hotels. The attacks on the Jewish
centre and the hotels lasted over 60 hours and were continuously telecast live by
the TV channels.

The success of the terrorist attacks, mounted from the sea, highlighted once again
the serious deficiencies in India’s national security apparatus and the role of Pakistan
in the spread of terrorism across the world. Have we drawn the right lessons in
respect of both? Can the Indian people expect at least now a more robust counterterrorism
policy to prevent another 26/11?

A day of Infamy


B Raman 2009 ISBN: 978-1-935501-16-9 Hb pp 242

Published in October 2009



Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who discussed India-China bilateral issues with Prime Minister Wen Jiabo of China, on two occasions during his visit to Hua Hin in Thailand for the summit with ASEAN leaders, has maintained a studied ambivalence on the question of the reported plans of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh next month to declare open a hospital constructed with assistance from the Tibetan exile community in India. China has repeatedly protested against the proposed visit. The latest protest was handed over by the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi to the Ministry of External Affairs on the eve of the Hua Hin meeting between the two leaders.

2. Bilateral issues figured in the meeting of the two Prime Ministers in the margins of the summit on October 24,2009, as well as during a dinner hosted by the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for the participants in the summit. While the subject of the Dalai Lama's proposed visit did not appear to have figured at the bilateral meeting, it did figure during the discussions at the dinner as reportedly stated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself during his interactions with the Indian journalists, who had accompanied him. It is not clear whether the Thai dinner preceded the bilateral meeting or followed it.

3.Dr.Manmohan Singh was careful in the formulation of his remarks on the Dalai Lama visit. He said: "I explained to Premier Wen that Dalai Lama is our honoured guest and he is a religious leader.We do not allow Tibetan refugees to indulge in political activities and proof of that is that we took resolute action against some Tibetans during Olympics (torch relay) last year following reports that some Tibetan refugees might create problems."

4.The most significant part of his formulation came in reply to a question from a journalist on the Dalai Lama's proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh.Dr. Singh said HE WAS NOT AWARE OF THE DALAI LAMA'S PLANS. (Emphasis mine)

5. The proposed visit of His Holiness to Tawang in response to a local invitation from Arunachal Pradesh had been figuring in media reports for nearly two months now and the Chinese have repeatedly protested against it.India's Minister for External Affairs, Shri S.M.Krishna, had said that His Holiness was free to visit any part of India.

6. Till now, the Prime Minister himself had maintained a total silence on the issue. To have ruled out the visit would have been politically unwise for the Congress (I) in view of the recent elections in Arunachal Pradesh. Now that the elections are over and the Congress (I) has retained power, the Prime Minister no longer seems to feel the need to observe political caution on the subject lest the electoral fortunes of the Congress (I) be affected.

7.Is he preparing the ground for ending the controversy and defusing the tension with Beijing on the subject by quietly persuading His Holiness to postpone the visit for some personal reasons? (26-10-09)

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Mumbai 26/11: A day of Infamy

by B Raman

Friday, October 23, 2009


The cystoscopy on October 22,2009, actually showed two growths---one in the urinary bladder and the other in the prostrate.Both were removed by the doctors and sent for biopsy.I am being discharged on October 25.The biopsy report will be received on October 27. The biopsy report will indicate the staging of the malignancy and whether it started in the bladder and then spread to to the prostrate or vice versa.The doctor will discuss with me on October 28,the course of treatment.Regards.B.Raman 24-10-09

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I am entering the Hospital tomorrow (October 21,2009) for cistoscopy followed by biopsy. Yesterday and today, I had a series of tests---stress test, ECG, Echo etc--- to enable the doctors satisfy themselves that I will be able to withstand the procedure. According to the doctors,my heart condition is superb for my age (73). My energy level is very high. The biopsy will enable the doctors to grade my urinary bladder cancer---superficial affecting the bladder lining only in which case the treatment will be simple or deeper affecting the bladder muscle in which case it could be life-threatening calling for an aggressive treatment. According to my doctors, 85 per cent of the urinary bladder cancers are a nuisance, but not life-threatening. Fifteen per cent are life-threatening. They are hoping that the biopsy will show that I fall in the 85 per cent group. I expect to be out of hospital on Oct. 25. Thereafter, I will be in my brother's house awaiting the biopsy result. Regards. B.Raman. 20-10-09

Sunday, October 18, 2009



According to the Iranian State TV, General Noor Ali Shooshtari, the national Deputy Commander of the ground force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (RG), the Guards' chief provincial commander, Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh, and four other senior officers of the RG were among 31 persons killed in a suicide attack in the Pishin region of Iranian Balochistan known as Sistan-Balochistan on October 18,2009. The RG officers had gone to the area on a routine inspection tour during which they were having a discussion with representatives of the local Baloch community when a suicide bomber struck. Some reports speak of two suicide bombers.One reportedly managed to get into the
venue of the meeting. The other blew himself up at a vehicle carrying some Revolutionasry Guards outside the venue.

2.Thirty persons were killed and over 180 injured on May 28, 2009, in a suspected suicide bomb blast at the Amir-al Momenin Shia mosque in Zahidan, the capital of Iranian Balochistan. It is the second largest Shia mosque in Zahidan. Mainly Shia Government servants and members of the security forces pray there. Three persons were injured on May 29, 2009, when unidentified gunmen attacked the election
office of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Zahidan. On May 31, 2009, there was an exchange of fire between groups of Shias and Sunnis in different parts of Zahidan following an unsuccessful attempt by unidentified persons to kill Mulla Abdol Hamid, a senior Sunni leader. While he survived the attack, many of his body guards were reportedly injured.

3.Following these incidents, the Iranian authorities announced the execution of three Balochs on a charge of involvement in the explosion of May 28. Baloch sources, however, maintained that these persons were already in police custody and had been arrested before the explosion. Hence, they contended, these persons could not have participated in the explosion as alleged by the Iranian authorities.

4.The province of Sistan-Balochistan has around 3.5 million Balochs, the majority of them Sunnis. The province has been the scene of frequent incidents of violence unconnected with the liberation struggle being waged by the Balochs in Pakistan's Balochistan province for over three years now. There are close ethnic and religious links between the two Baloch communities on both sides of the Pakistan-Iran border. Iranian Balochistan also has a common border with Afghanistan.

5. The responsibility for the violent incidents in Iranian Balochistan in the past as well as for the latest one on October 18,2009, has been claimed by an organisation called Jondollah (Soldiers of Allah), which projects itself as the People's Resistance Movement of Iran and not as the People's Resistance Movement of Sistan-Balochistan. It has no links with any of the Baloch nationalist organisations in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. In the past, there were reports of its having links with the anti-Shia Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi of Pakistan.
In the 1990s, there were reports that a major explosion in the province was organised by Ramzi Yousef, who is now undergoing imprisonment in the US for his involvement in the attempt to blow up the World Trade Centre in New York in February, 1993. The Jondollah seems to be more a Sunni extremist than a Baloch nationalist organisation.

6. The Jondollah had claimed that 130 members of the Iranian security forces were actually killed in the Zahidan attack of May 28,2009. A statement attributed to Jondollah after the May 28 attack said: "This incident has been organised in response to one week of Omar Denunciation Ceremonies which the fanatic Shias and security forces organised to curse Omar, the second Caliph, whom they blame for
killing Fatema, the daughter of Prophet Mohammad. The false and fabricated narrative has been officially recognized in Iran as a fact and therefore, Iranian authorities have initiated a large number of denunciation ceremonies in which the second Caiph is cursed by the speakers and audience; even though Ayatollah Khamenaei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, announced three weeks ago that any action that may generate divisions among Moslems is treason. The Shia leaders and followers are famous for what they call Taghiya, which means lying for the sake of Islam but now it has been turned in Iran as an official way of misleading and deceiving the public and opponents, saying something in the public and doing something else. If the supreme leader really believed in what he said, organising such incidents should have been prohibited by law and if anybody acted against the law, should have been arrested and tried for generating severe divisions among Moslems. The authorities have blamed the US for hiring terrorists who carried out the suicide bombing. Jondollah categorically rejects this claim. It does not have any kind of relationship or any kind of support from the US or any other country. This action was in response to systematic and regular insults to the beliefs of Sunni Muslims in Iran and wide discrimination against the Baloch people. We reject the Government’s claim that we are a terrorist organization. We are a defensive organization and act according to international law of self-defence by the same strategy and equipments the Iranian governments are using against us. Several religious leaders and hundreds of Baloch youth have been killed or hanged by the Islamic Republic of Iran just for their beliefs after severe and long torture. The Islamic Republic of Iran has destroyed several Sunni mosques and has hanged several top religious leaders of Sunni people in Iran."

7.A statement of July 23,2009, attributed to the Jondollah said: "The Islamic regime hanged 13 young Baluch political activists on 14 July to create a sense of fear among the public. The Baluch people have been in the vanguard of the political campaign against the Islamic Republic of Iran that conducted the biggest fraud in election in the history of Iran and the world. The resistance of Baluch people became a great source of inspiration for other people of Iran to express their discontent about the fraudulent elections and other injustices in the form of demonstrations and huge marches......At the same time, the Government of Pakistan extradited one Baluch who was in prison for some time to the Iranian regime, knowing that he will be tortured and executed. The Pakistan Government under Musharaf extradited a group of Baluch opposition to the Government of Iran and all of them were tortured and executed later. The Baluch people are Sunnis and
they have been subjected to discriminatory policies. Baluchistan has the highest poverty rate and according to all international and United Nations research, is the poorest province of Iran. According to official figures, poverty rate in Baluchistan is over 76 per cent. The Baluch students are not admitted into universities on an equal basis and on merit. While the Islamic Republic of Iran has given more than a million scholarships to Iranian students to study abroad or in the top Iranian universities, only three Baluch students have been awarded
scholarships. The Baluch people are under daily threat and a security environment has been imposed in Baluchistan. Everybody is a suspect and the security guards shoot the Baluch people with total impunity. Although hundreds of Baluch people have been killed in the streets of Iran, not even one single agent has been tried in the court. Baluchistan is in the vanguard of the freedom seeking people of Iran
and will never stop its campaigning until a democratic regime is established in Iran."

8.In an earlier statement of July 14,2009, the Jondollah said: "The young Baluchs (executed on July 14) have been forced to accept that they have been agents of CIA. They were campaigning for the legitimate rights of the Baluch people who are Sunnis in a majority Shia country. The Baluch people have been systematically oppressed since the beginning of the revolution for seeking equality of rights and
opportunities with other Iranians. According to the constitution of the Islamic Republic and other laws that have been passed by Iranian parliament, the Sunnis are prohibited from becoming supreme leader, president, minister, deputy minister, army general, ambassador, or any other high official. The official religion of the state has been declared Shiism which is a radical opponent of the Sunni people."

9. The Iranian authorities have been projecting the Jondollah as a surrogate of the US intelligence operating from sanctuaries in Pakistani territory. They have been alleging that the periodic terrorist strikes in Iranian Balochistan are being mounted from Pakistani territory. While they accuse the Pakistani authorities of inaction against the anti-Iranian Sunni elements operating from Pakistani territory, they have never accused the Baloch nationalist organisations of Pakistani Balochistan of backing the Jondollah. They have been suspecting the
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), the anti-Shia organisation of Pakistan which is allied with Al Qaeda, to be training the suicide bombers of the Jondollah. However, they have never accused Al Qaeda of involvement in Iranian Balochistan.

10. According to the Iranian authorities, the leader of the Jondollah is Abdul Malik Rigi, who lives in Pakistan. His elder brother Abdul Hamid Rigi, who was also based in Pakistan, was arrested by the Musharraf regime and handed over to the Iranian authorities. Reports received in July had indicated that he was among those to be executed on July 14. He made a self-confession before local TV channels. But, latest reports say that the Iranian authorities decided not to execute him to avoid creating any embarrassment for Islamabad. Some of the statements attributed to the Jondollah are disseminated from London. This has created some suspicion in the minds of the Iranian authorities that the UK is also probably backing the Jondollah in its anti-Teheran activities. ( 19-10-09)

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

Saturday, October 17, 2009




Reports from Pakistan indicate that about 30,000 troops of the Pakistan army and Frontier Corps launched on the morning of October 17,2009, the long heralded offensive against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in South Waziristan. The ground offensive was preceded by sustained air strikes against the suspected hide-outs of the TTP in the area.

2. The TTP is a hotch-potch of the myriad Pakistani insurgent and terrorist groups, which were trained and armed in the past by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Special Services Group (SSG) for use against India and for supporting the Afghan Taliban headed by Mulla Mohammad Omar, its Amir, now sheltered in the Quetta area of Balochistan. Most of these groups have since turned against the Pakistani State, which they look upon as apostate because of its co-operation with the US. The fighting capabilities imparted to them in the past by the ISI and the SSG have since been supplemented by the capabilities imparted to them by Al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Islamic Jihad Union, another Uzbek group, and by small numbers of Chechens and Uighurs.

3. The element of surprise, which is important in any such ground offensive, has been lost by the long time taken by the political and military leadership of Pakistan to launch the offensive. It is a face-saving offensive forced on the Pakistan Army by the series of spectacular attacks launched by the Pashtun and Punjabi components of the TTP on the General Headquarters of the Army in Rawalpindi and on prestigious police establishments in Lahore, Peshawar and Kohat. It is an offensive , which seems to focus only on the Mehsud component of the TTP based in South Waziristan.

4.The Mehsuds are the sons of the South Waziristan soil, but have repeatedly demonstrated a capability for action outside South Waziristan in areas such as the Orakzai agency of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and in the Peshawar, Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan areas of the North-West Frontier Province. Hakeemullah Mehsud, who was chosen as the Amir of the TTP after the death of Baitullah Mehsud in a US Drone strike on August 5,2009, is reportedly still based in the Orakzai agency, where he has been supervising operations against the NATO's logistic convoys to Afghanistan while at the same time co-ordinating operations in Peshawar, Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan.

5. Waliur Rehman, a confidante of Baitullah, who is in charge of the Mehsuds based in South Waziristan, will be organising the resistance against the Pakistani forces in South Waziristan with the help of the forces of Serjuddin Haqqani of the so-called Haqqani network. The Pakistan Army seems to have launched the offensive without factoring into its planning the lessons from the recent attacks in Rawalpindi,Lahore. Peshawar and Kohat. While the attacks in Rawalpindi and Lahore were spearheaded by the Punjabi component of the TTP, which calls itself the Amjad Farooqi group and has shown a capability for SSG-style commando operations, the attacks in Peshawar and Kohat were carried out by the suicide bombers of the suicide squad trained and motivated by Qari Hussain Mehsud.

6. The TTP will seek to counter the offensive on three fronts---- insurgency style operations against the advancing troops in South Waziristan similar to the operations of the Afghan Taliban in Afghan territory, more suicide attacks by Pashtun suicide bombers of Qari Hussain Mehsud in Peshawar and Kohat and more terrorist attacks---some of them of a complex nature in Punjab, including Rawalpindi as well as in Islamabad. While the Pakistan Army has prepared itself well for the counter-insurgency style operations in South Waziristan, its ability to prevent attacks behind its back in the NWFP and Punjab is doubtful. Despite the spurt in suicide and commando-style terrorism in the NWFP and Punjab and even in supposedly well-guarded cantonments since the Lal Masjid raid in July,2007, the Pakistani
counter-terrorism machinery has not re-fashioned and re-tooled itself to meet this threat.

7. In South Waziristan, the Mehsuds will follow the same tactics that the Pashtuns have been following for centuries against invaders of their territory---- avoid a frontal confrontation, split into small groups and harass the strangers to a terrain which the Mehsuds know well. Their tactics will be not territorial domination, but dispersal of their presence and operational focus. They will try to deny to the Pakistan Army the advantages of a well-focused assault, by harassing it here, there and everywhere, without allowing it to get its bearings in a hostile terrain.

8. As the Army carries forward its offensive, US Predators will be looking for Serajuddin Haqqani, Waliur Rehman, Hakeemullah and Qari Hussain Mehsud.If they succeed in eliminating one or some or all of them, it could be a morale-booster to the Pakistani troops. Otherwise,their difficulties could increase.

9. Pakistan's counter-terrorism mechanism is in a shambles. It does not know who is a friend and who is a foe in Punjab. It does not know who is a terrorist and who is a serving or retired serviceman. It does not know who is an ally against India and who is an adversary of the State of Pakistan. There is a danger of the NWFP and Punjab becoming the failed provinces of Pakistan if the Army's offensive does not
succeed. (17-10-09)

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

Friday, October 16, 2009



There are welcome indicators of some fresh-thinking in New Delhi on India's relations with China. This fresh-thinking has been reflected in the decision of the Goverment of India to bring on record its unhappiness and concern over the Chinese involvement in the construction or upgradation of some infrastructure projects in the disputed territory of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), including the Northern Areas of Jammu & Kashmir (Gilgit & Baltistan). The Chinese, who had earlier helped Pakistan in the construction of the Karakoram Highway connecting Pakistan's Punjab with the Xinjiang province of China through Kashmiri territory occupied by Pakistan, are now helping it in its upgradation. They have also agreed to help Pakistan in the construction of a hydel project in the Kashmiri territory occupied by Pakistan.A
feasibility study has been undertaken by Pakistan for the construction of a railway line, with Chinese assistance, to connect the Chinese-constructed port of Gwadar on the Mekran coast of Balochistan with Xinjiang through Pakistan-occupied Kashmiri territory.

2. The Chinese action in helping Pakistan in integrating with Pakistan, territory which does not legally belong to Pakistan, amounts to an unfriendly act to India and is detrimental to India's territorial integrity. India was within its rights to have protested and expressed its unhappiness over the Chinese actions, which are contrary to its professions of friendship and goodwill for India. Our past hesitation to bring on record our protests over such Chinese actions has encouraged the Chinese into thinking that they could do anything vis-a-vis India,without provoking any protest from New Delhi. Our protests may not make the Chinese stop their participation in these projects, but it has to be made clear to Beijing that such Chinese actions in disregard of Indian sensitivities could come in the way of further development of the bilateral relations. Beijing should be made to realise that it cannot be business as usual between the two countries if it continues to
disregard Indian interests and sensitivities.

3. Another welcome indicator of re-thinking relates to Chinese construction companies, which have won contracts in India and which have been bringing a large number of Chinese workers---skilled and unskilled--- to work in their projects in India without employing Indian workers and engineers. This is a practice which Chinese companies have been following in African countries where there is a severe shortage of manpower, but there is no such shortage in India. It has been reported that the Government of India has taken a decision or is about to take a decision not to issue work visas to unskilled Chinese workers. Even in respect of skilled workers, the issue of work visas should be more an exception than the rule. Work visas should be issued only in those cases where the Chinese companies can demonstrate that recruits in certain skills are not available in India. There are hundreds of Western, Japanese, South Korean and South-East Asian companies which win
contracts in India. They don't bring their own labour from their countries. They employ local labour. If the Chinese executives are not able to manage with Indian labour because of their inability to communicate with the Indians in English, they should not bid for contracts in India.

4. There is also a need for a fresh look into our past decisions to allow Chinese companies in sensitive fields such as telecommunications to operate in India as collaborators of Indian companies for expanding our telecommunications network. In view of the increasingly hostile attitude being taken by the Government and party-controlled media in China towards India, the time has come to re-consider these
decisions. It would be unwise to allow a Chinese presence in sensitive fields such as telecommunications at a time when Chinese media such as the "Global Times" (October 14), which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, has started threatening India with "dangerous consequences" if it does not concede the Chinese point of view on Arunachal Pradesh. India should not accept threatening language from
China---whether it be from the Government or from the Government and party-controlled media.

5.The Government of India should also re-consider its attitude towards His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He and thousands of his Tibetan followers have been our honoured guests for fifty years. We respect him as a Buddhist leader. Their welfare is our responsibility. Till now, in deference to Chinese sensitivities, successive Prime Ministers have been avoiding meeting His Holiness even on occasions such as the
Indian festival of Diwali. We do not give him an opportunity to meet Indian leaders to discuss the problems and welfare of the Tibetan refugees. A couple of years ago,a function was held in New Delhi to facilitate His Holiness on the award to him of the US Congressional Medal of Honour. At that time, in an unwise and unwarranted move, the then Cabinet Secretary of the Government of India was reported to have advised the Cabinet members to keep away from the function. This policy has to change. The Prime Minister should meet His Holiness from time to time in New Delhi as well as Dharamsala to discuss about the welfare of the Tibetan refugees.

6.Sino-Indian relations have steadily improved since the visit of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China in 1988 and his meeting with Deng Xiao-ping. Credit should go to Deng for laying the foundation for this improvement despite the pending border dispute. This improvement continued under President Jiang Zemin. India reciprocated the Chinese desire for better bilateral relations in spite of its
unhappiness and concern over the Chinese actions in giving military nuclear and missile capabilities to Pakistan, which wanted them for possible use against India.

7. Ever since Hu Jintao, who won his spurs as a political leader in Tibet, assumed charge as the President the policies of Deng and Jiang have been slowly sought to be reversed---- under pressure from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the hawkish elements in the party. The recent anti-India editorials in the party-controlled " Global Times" and " People's Daily" on October 14 are indicators of anti- India and
pro-Pakistan hawks in the party once again influencing the Chinese policy towards India and seeking to reverse the progress made under Deng and Jiang. We have to take note of this and re-fashion our policies accordingly.

8.India and China cannot afford a military conflict or confrontation or even sporadic trans-border incidents. It will damage their aspirations of a better life for their people and a more important role for their countries in the international stage.Misperceptions and misunderstandings over the border issue need to be handled delicately and sought to be removed by continuing the policy of engagement at the official and political levels. A war of words and hysteria and a tendency to demonise each other should be avoided. The gains made so far should be preserved. At the same time, we should not hesitate to articulate our core interests and adhere to them firmly even while trying to strengthen the bilateral relations. ( 17-10-09)

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

Thursday, October 15, 2009




In the wake of the four well-orchestrated commando-style attacks launched by different terrorist groups against security establishments on October 15,2009---- three in Lahore and one in the North-West Frontier Province--- Rehman Mallick, Pakistan's Interior Minister, is reported to have aptly described the increasingly uncontrollable situation faced by Pakistan in the Pashtun tribal belt and in Punjab as a guerilla warfare launched against the State of Pakistan.

2. 149 fatalities---security forces personnel and civilians as well as terrorists--- have been reported in a relentless series of fedayeen attacks launched by different groups since October 5,2009. Among the targets of the terrorists were the highly-guarded but easily penetrated General Headquarters (GHQ)_ of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi, a Lahore office of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which is
responsible for the investigation of terrorism-related cases, two training institutions in Lahore and a police station in the NWFP. Rehman Mallick used to be a senior officer of the FIA when Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister from 1993 to 96.

3. The attacks are more and more fedayeen (suicidal) than suicide and have involved a mix of modus operandi---use of hand-held weapons and explosives. Suicide attacks involving explosives-laden vehicles continue to take places against convoys of security forces, but commando-style attacks against well-fortified and supposedly well-guarded fixed establishments of the Army and the police are taking place with increasing frequency----to demonstrate the ability of the terrorists to attack with ferocity despite supposedly enhanced physical security.

4.Of the four attacks reported on October 15, two were against targets which were attacked earlier----the FIA office office in Lahore and the police training academy at Manawan, a Lahore suburb. They had both been attacked in March last, following which physical security was reportedly enhanced. This could not prevent the terrorists from attacking them again. About 20 terrorists split into three groups are
reported to have participated in the three attacks in the Lahore area on October 15---against the FIA office, the Manawan Police Academy and a commando school at Bedian on the outskirts of Lahore. It is not yet clear whether the Bedian commando school is of the police or of the army's Special Services Group (SSG). It is, however, noticed that the security forces personnel who participated in the fighting against
the attackers at Bedian, which reportedly lasted about four hours, were mainly from the Army and not from the police.

5. At least 10 of the attackers in Lahore perished---some were killed by the security forces and some blew themselves up. The fourth attack of the day on a police station at Kohat in the NWFP was carried out by a lone vehicle-borne suicide bomber. There were 32 fatalities in the four attacks---of security forces personnel as well as civilians caught in the firing or explosion.

6. Poor intelligence, poor investigation, poor physical security in establishments of the security forces, including in the army's GHQ, poor access control, poor road security and poor morale and motivation as seen from the failure or reluctance of the security forces personnel to give a chase to the surviving terrorists and capture them continue to be the bane of Pakistan's counter-terrorism mechanism. One saw this after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team earlier this year when the terrorists just sauntered away after the attack without being stopped or chased and caught by the security forces.

7. While the morale, motivation, training and resilience of the terrorists belonging to different Taliban affiliates have been steadily increasing, there are worrisome signs of poor morale and motivation among the security forces. One notices also an alarming casualness and a lack of professionalism in performing their counter-terrorism tasks There is a tendency, even in the army, to avoid coming to terms with the ground reality, which is that the situation, which has already deteriorated in the Pashtun tribal belt, has now started deteriorating in the non-tribal areas of Punjab. Senior political leaders and military officers continue to behave with a certain nonchalance as if they are the masters of the situation despite the repeated attacks. Seriousness and determination in dealing with the situation are totally lacking.

8. There are more and more reasons to be worried about the security of Pakistan's nuclear establishments---if not of its nuclear arsenal. If the terrorists can lay hands on Pakistan's nuclear waste, which is stored in the NWFP, they could threaten the international community with the use of dirty bombs.Even if one feels that the fatalities due to the use of nuclear waste may not be much, the psychological effect on the general population could be high. ( 15-10-09)

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




One should not be surprised by the Lahore High Court's dismissal on October 12,2009, of the two cases under the Anti-Terrorism Act registered against Hafeez Mohammed Sayeed, the Amir of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), the political wing of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET ), by the Faislabad Police in the Pakistani province of Punjab. The cases were registered following two inflammatory speeches delivered by him glorifying jihad and for collecting funds for a supposedly banned terrorist organisation. His speeches were interpreted as amounting to incitement to terrorism.

2. The dismissal of the cases was ordered by the Lahore High Court after it was admitted by the prosecution that the JUD was not a banned organisation. While there is a notified ban on the LET as a terrorist organisation since January 2002, there is no notified ban on the JUD.Sayeed and his aides have been maintaining since the JUD was formed after the January 2002 ban on the LET that the JUD had nothing
to do with the LET. This argument has not been successfully challenged in any Pakistani court.

3. Ever since the Mumbai terrorist attack of November 2008, Pakistani authorities have been repeatedly saying that whatever action they took or sought to take against Sayeed and the JUD such as arresting some of their cadres, seizing their funds etc was in pursuance of the decision of the anti-terrorism sanctions committee of the UN Security Council calling for action against the JUD and Sayeed and not based
on their own evidence.

4.The lawyers for Sayeed have been repeatedly arguing before different courts---with some success--- that no action can be taken against Sayeed and the JUD purely on the basis of a resolution of the UN Committee without any independent evidence supporting such action collected by the Pakistani investigation agencies. The Pakistani authorities have shown no interest in collecting such evidence.

5.Two actions by the Pakistani authorities are required in the wake of the involvement of the LET in the Mumbai terrorist attack. The first is action against the JUD and Hafeez for orchestrating the attack as has come out during the investigation by the Mumbai Police. The second is prosecution of those members of the LET in Pakistan involved in planning the attack and having it carried out.

6. The Pakistani authorities have shown some interest---one does not know how sincere they are--- only in the second action. They have been repeatedly dragging their feet in respect of the first. They are encouraged by the fact that the international pressure ---including US pressure--- on them is only in respect of the second. There is only seeming pressure in respect of the first --- even from the US.

7. A careful reading of the observations by judges of different courts----even by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury of the Pakistan Supreme Court--- before which the lawyers of Sayeed had challenged on different occasions the action sought to be taken against Sayeed clearly shows that there is considerable judicial sympathy for Sayeed ---if not for the JUD. These observations have mainly related to two points. Firstly, that the action against him is being taken purely on the basis of a resolution of the UN committee, which has no relevance for the judicial proceedings against him. Secondly, that the action was also under Indian pressure.

8.Instead of reacting to the goings-on in Pakistani courts on a day-to-day basis through the media, the Government of India should carefully examine the various observations made by the Pakistani courts, decide how to counter them and then pressure Pakistan in a low-profile manner instead of through the media to pursue the cases against him. The high-profile campaign through the media against Sayeed seems
to be proving counter-productive. It is being exploited by his lawyers to contend that the Indian pressure--- and not legal evidence--- is making the Pakistan Govt. act against him. ( 15-10-09)

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2009



Simultaneously with the publication of a strong anti-India editorial by the " Global Times" of China on October 14,2009, the party-run "People's Daily", has come out with an equally-strong anti-India editorial the same day under the title "Indian hegemony continues to harm relations with neighbors." The text of the editorial is annexed.

2.The "Global Times" belongs to the "People's Daily" group of publications of the Communist Party of China. While the "Global Times" seeks to project itself as an independent newspaper not necessarily voicing the opinion of the party,the "People's Daily" continues to be the voice of the party. It is generally believed that the editorials and op-ed articles carried by it have been pre-approved by the party before publication.

3. Ever since the 'Global Times" started coming out with editorials and articles critical of India and making derogatory references to India after April this year, the "People's Daily" followed the policy of occasionally reproducing some of the comments of the "Global Times" without identifying itself with those comments. It did carry opinion pieces on Tibet and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but they were largely free of any negative references to India.

4.Thus, till recently, one saw a three-pronged approach by Beijing in matters relating to relations with India.Governmental spokespersons continued to be conciliatory while referring to issues relating to India. the "Global Times" was increasingly critical of India---even virulently sometimes--- and the "People's Daily" sometimes reproduced the comments of the "Global Times" without any anti-India comments of its own editorial department.

5. This policy seems to have changed from October 13. The comments of the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the recent electoral visit of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh to Arunachal Pradesh are anything but conciliatory. Instead of following its past policy of seeking to lower down the rhetoric in the local media, the Foreign Ministry itself seems to have taken the initiative in stepping up the rhetoric. Taking the cue from the Foreign Ministry, the"Global Times" and the "People's Daily" have come out with no-holds-barred criticism
of India.

6.Whereas the editorial of the "Global Times" was Arunachal Pradesh-centric in the context of our Prime Minister's visit to that Indian State,the "People's Daily's" criticism is focussed on the general directions of the Indian policy towards its neighbours. It tends to be critical as well as derogatory. It does not contain the kind of warnings to India that one noticed in the editorial of the "Global Times", but the bluntness of its depiction of India and its attitude to its neighbours recalls to one's mind the similar depiction of India by the Chinese media and party
circles before Deng Xiao-ping introduced a more nuanced and a more conciliatory policy towards India starting ftrom 1978.

7.The "People's Daily's" projection of India as a hegemonistic power, its underlining of the common experiences and common difficulties of China and Pakistan in dealing with India with which both have pending border disputes and its references to India's war with China and Pakistan disturbingly indicate a reversal to the pre-Deng projection of India in negative terms and to the pre-1978 rhetoric.

8. Its description of India's policy of "befriending the far and attacking the near" is unmistakably a reference to the developing strategic relations between India and the US the foundation for which was laid by the previous US President George Bush. Since President Barack Obama assumed office, he has been trying to exclude from this relationship aspects which could cause concern to China. Despite the positive attitude of the Obama Administration to China, Beijing continues to view the India-US strategic relations with suspicion and continues to suspect a common Indo-US objective of countering China.

9. The anti-India rhetoric in the party-controlled media and even from the Foreign Ministry has come at a time when there has been speculation of a weakening of the position of President Hu Jintao following the July outbreak of violence in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang province, which forced him to cancel his participation in the G-8 summit in Italy and return ahead of schedule to Beijing to handle
the situation in Xinjiang.

10. Reports from Tibet and Xinjiang indicate that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been increasingly in the driving seat of decision-making in matters relating to these two provinces and China's relations with India. The more hawkish line adopted by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the party media indicate that the hawks in the PLA and the party have started influencing the policy towards India.

11. It is important for the leaders of the two countries to get in touch with each other to eliminate the possibility of trans-border incidents caused by a misreading and misinterpretation of each other's intentions and moves.

12. It is clear from the present campaign against India that Beijing has come to the conclusion that it has made whatever concessions it could to India and that it is India's turn to make concessions to China in the negotiations on the border dispute. (15-10-09)

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


"People's Daily" editorial of October 14,2009

Indian hegemony continues to harm relations with neighbors.

Nobody can deny that today's India is a power. In recent years, Indians have become more narrow-minded and intolerable of outside criticism as nationalism sentiment rises, with some of them even turning to hegemony. It can be proved by India's recent provocation on border issues with China.

Given the country's history, hegemony is a hundred-percent result of British colonialism. Dating back to the era of British India, the country covered a vast territory including present-day India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh as well as Nepal. India took it for granted that it could continue to rule the large area when Britain ended its colonialism in South Asia. A previous victim of colonialism and hegemony started to dream about developing its own hegemony. Obsessed with such mentality, India turned a blind eye to the concessions China had repeatedly made over the disputed border issues, and refused to drop the pretentious airs when dealing with neighbors like Pakistan.

Many Indians didn't know that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, had once said that India could not play an inferior role in the world, and it should either be a superpower or disappear.

Although the pursuit of being a superpower is justifiable, the dream of being a superpower held by Indians appears impetuous. The dream of superpower is mingled with the thought of hegemony, which places the South Asian giant in an awkward situation and results in repeated failure.

Throughout the history, India has constantly been under foreign rule. The essence for the rise of India lies in how to be an independent country, to learn to solve the complicated ethnic and religious issues, to protect the country from terrorist attacks, to boost economic development as well as to put more efforts on poverty alleviation.

Additionally, the hegemony can also be harmful in terms of geopolitical environment. The expansion of India is restricted by its geographic locations. It has Himalaya Mountain to its north, a natural barrier for northward expansion; it has Pakistan to the west, a neighbor it is always at odds over the disputed border issues.

To everyone's disappointment, India pursued a foreign policy of "befriend the far and attack the near". It engaged in the war separately with China and Pakistan and the resentment still simmers. If India really wants to be a superpower, such a policy is shortsighted and immature.

India, which vows to be a superpower, needs to have its eyes on relations with neighbors and abandon the recklessness and arrogance as the world is undergoing earthshaking changes. For India, the ease of tension with China and Pakistan is the only way to become a superpower. At present, China is proactively engaging in negotiations with India for the early settlement of border dispute and India should
give a positive response.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009



As the time approaches for the proposed visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh next month to declare open a hospital built with contributions from the Tibetan exile community, China has stepped up its rhetoric against India. The recent visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Arunachal Pradesh to canvass for the candidates of his party in the just concluded elections to the State Assembly of Arunachal Pradesh on October 12 has been used as a pretext for the renewed criticism of the Indian policy on Arunachal Pradesh. Dr.Manmohan Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh has been projected as his visit to the so-called Southern Tibet.

2. China never fails to bring on record its protests and concerns over the visits of Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh for whatever purpose.The fact that it has done so after the recent electoral visit of Dr.Manmohan Singh should not, therefore, have been a matter of surprise and undue concern. What is disturbing is the kind of language used by a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Office in commenting on the visit and the even stronger language used by the "Global Times", in an editorial on the subject on October 14,2009. The "Global Times" is a sister publication of the Party-controlled "People's Daily".

3. The fresh campaign against India on the subject was triggered off by the comments of a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.Ma Zhaoxu, the spokesperson, was quoted by the "Global Times" as saying on October 13 that China was "seriously dissatisfied" by the visit of the Indian Prime Minister, who was accused of "ignoring China's concerns by visiting southern Tibet". The "Global Times" quoted the spokesperson as saying further as follows: "China and India have not reached any formal agreement on the border issue.We demand that the Indian side pay attention to the serious and just concerns of the Chinese side and not provoke incidents in the disputed region, in order to facilitate the healthy development of China-Indian relations."

4.There has been a difference in the translation into English of the spokesperson's remarks by the BBC and the "Global Times". While the BBC quoted the spokesperson as telling India "not to trigger disturbances in the disputed region", the "Global Times" spoke of the spokesperson telling India " not to not provoke incidents in the disputed region."

5.The editorial of the "Global Times" titled "Indian PM's visit a provocative move" described the Indian Prime Minister's visit as a "provocative and dangerous move" and alleged that the visit was designed to put the area under India's de facto administration. It accuses India of encouraging the "immigration of more than one million Indians to the region" and warns: "India, however, will make a fatal error if it mistakes China's approach for weakness. The Chinese government and public regard territorial integrity as a core national interest, one that must be defended with every means......The disputed border area is of strategic importance, and hence, India's recent moves – including Singh's trip and approving past visits to the region by the Dalai Lama – send the wrong signal. That could have dangerous consequences."

6. The text of the editorial is annexed.

7. The conventional wisdom is that since any military confrontation could affect China's economic development and its aspirations of rising as a major power on par with the US, Beijing will restrict itself to angry rhetoric and will not indulge in any ground action in the Arunachal Pradesh area. This wisdom has some validity, but overlooks the fact that China is feeling increasingly insecure in its peripheral areas because of the recent violent uprisings by the Tibetans last year and the Uighurs this year. Its increasing nervousness and feelings of insecurity in its border areas could lead to irrational and unpredictable reflexes vis-a-vis the Arunachal Pradesh issue.

8. We should avoid countering China's renewed rhetoric with our own rhetoric. While maintaining our cool, we should press ahead with the construction of the infrastructure in the Arunachal Pradesh area and strengthening our defensive capabilities there without talking about them from the roof-top. We should not advise His Holiness not to visit Tawang. When he visits Tawang, we should pay close attention to his personal security. The period before and after the visit of His Holiness to Tawang should call for extra vigilance from our side. China may not
indulge in any ground action till the visit of President Barack Obama to China next month is over. What it might do after Obama's visit is a matter which needs close monitoring. (14-10-09)

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


"Global Times" editorial of October 14,2009

Indian PM's visit a provocative move

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made another provocative and dangerous move by visiting the East Section of the China-India Boundary, which India calls Arunachal Pradesh, on October 3 ahead of a local legislative election.

The visit is designed to put the area, a disputed border region between China and India, under the de facto administration of India.

China has completed land border demarcation with all of its neighboring countries but India.

Territorial disputes stand as a seemingly intractable issue between the two largest emerging economies in the world.

Though in similar developmental circumstances, China and India seem to have more confrontations than common ground.In the past decades, more than 10 rounds of negotiations held at various levels and through different mechanisms

The 120,000 square kilometers of the so-called Arunachal Pradesh, around the size of South China's Fujian Province, is at the center of the controversy. India currently occupies 90,000 square kilometers of the area.

Over the years, India has intensified its effective control over the area by encouraging the immigration of more than 1 million Indians to the region, and applying for loans from international bodies for public facilities projects in the region.

India is also increasing military deployment, along with sophisticated equipment, in the area. India's hawks are dangerously fanning public sentiment fearing a "China threat."

China favors peaceful resolution of territorial disputes through negotiation and consultation with its neighbors.

In the past the Chinese government has sought to build consensus in border negotiations through making concessions in exchange for reciprocal action.

China has maintained that same approach with India. India, however, will make a fatal error if it mistakes China's approach for weakness.

The Chinese government and public regard territorial integrity as a core national interest, one that must be defended with every means.

A stable border is crucial to the economic development of both China and India.

The disputed border area is of strategic importance, and hence, India's recent moves – including Singh's trip and approving past visits to the region by the Dalai Lama – send the wrong signal. That could have dangerous consequences.

Furthermore, India's actions add to the difficulties that have stalled negotiations on the region in the past.

It looks as if a breakthrough in talks is unlikely to happen any time soon.

Monday, October 12, 2009




The interrogation of Muhammed Aquil alias Dr.Usman, the only surviving member of the group of nine terrorists, which launched a commando-style attack on the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters (GHQ) at Rawalpindi on October 10,2009, which lasted a little over 20 hours, has not yet started. He is reported to have been seriously injured, when he tried to blow himself up inside the GHQ to avoid being captured. He is presently under treatment in a military hospital, where army doctors are desperately trying to save his life. The Pakistani authorities now believe that he was the leader of the commando group, which attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March last and the GHQ on October 10-11.

2. On the basis of a record check, Pakistani investigators say that he is a Punjabi from the Kahuta Tehsil of the Rawalpindi District. He had served as a sepoy in the Army Medical Corps. He resigned from the Army after some years and joined the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ). When the Pashtun-dominated Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) came into existence after the Pakistani Army commando raid in the Lal Masjiid of Islamabad in July,2007, some of the Punjabi members of the LEJ , including Aquil, floated a new organisation called the Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab. Its leader's name is given as Farooq. Not much is known about him.

3. In the 1990s, the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), which came into existence with the encouragement of the late Zia-ul-Haq, floated the LEJ. The SSP and the LEJ projected themselves as different organisations with no links, but Pakistani police officials believed that the SSP was the political wing of the clandestine LEJ. They further believe that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab is a newly-created united front of theLEJ, which seeks to bring together the various anti-Shia and pro-Al Qaeda groups of Punjab to act against the Army as well as the Shias.While the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) is part of this united front, the Laashkar-e-Toiba (LET) is not.

4.The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), now headed by Hakimullah Mehsud, and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab share a Wahabist ideology and a common objective of fighting against the Pakistan Army's co-operation with the US. The two organisations share each other's training facilities and sanctuaries. They keep using each other's trained and motivated cadres for their operations. However, the operations of the
Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab are largely confined to the non-tribal belt. The LEJ Sometimes acts as the fighting arm of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab and sometimes independently. Al Qaeda acts as the mentor and motivator of all these organisations.

5. Police sources say that Aquil's name had earlier figured in the investigations into the assassination of the Surgeon General of the Pakistan Army Hafiz Mirza Muhammad Mushtaq Baig last year, the firing of a rocket at a plane carrying Pervez Musharraf in July,2007, and the attack on the SL cricket team in Lahore in March last.

6. Both the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and the LEJ are members of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People. Both are strongly Wahabi organisations, but whereas the LEJ is strongly anti-US, anti-Israel, anti-India,anti-Iran and anti-Shia, the LET is only anti-US, anti-Israel and anti-India, but not anti-Iran or anti-Shia.

7.There is no confirmed instance of the LET indulging in planned anti-Shia violence in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but the LEJ has been responsible for most of the targeted attacks on Shias and their places of worship in Pakistan and on the Hazaras---who are Shias---in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

8. The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), which are also members of the IIF,strongly share the anti-Shia feelings of the LEJ, but they do not indulge in targeted attacks on Shias and their places of worship. Many of the leaders of these organisations, including Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the JEM, started their jihadi career in the SSP, but later drifted away from it since they felt uncomfortable with its targeted attacks on Shias and their places of worship. Despite being separate now, they
do co-operate with the LEJ in its operations directed against US interests and the Pakistani armed forces. The LET prefers to operate independently without getting involved with the SSP or the LEJ. The LET avoids attacks on Pakistani security forces.

9.The strong action taken by the international community against known and suspected Arab members of Al Qaeda created difficulties for them in travelling freely and in carrying out operations in non-Muslim countries. Consequently, it started depending increasingly on the Pakistani members of the LET for its operations. Post-9/11, the LET opened its sleeper cells in countries such as Australia, Singapore, the UK, France and the US to help Al Qaeda in its operations by collecting information, motivating the members of the Pakistani diaspora and other means.

10. The discovery of LET sleeper cells in the Western countries post-2002 brought increased focus on the LET in the West.Next to the Arab members of Al Qaeda, suspected Pakistani members of the LET were placed under close surveillance in many countries. This created difficulties in the movement and activities of the LET. The LET is no longer able to operate outside the Indian sub-continent and the Gulf
countries as freely as it used to do in the past.

11.Moreover, the LET started feeling uncomfortable over the anti-Shia violence unleashed by Al Qaeda and its surrogates in Iraq. While continuing to be a member of the IIF, it tried to avoid being associated with Al Qaeda's anti-Shia and anti-Saudi policies. Saudi charity organisations have been one of the main funders of the LET, which has an active branch in Saudi Arabia to recruit members from the Indian
Muslim diaspora in the Gulf countries.

12.In view of these developments, Al Qaeda has started increasingly using the LEJ for its operations in Pakistan itself as well as in the non-Muslim countries. The LEJ was actively involved in supporting the students of the two madrasas of the Lal Masjid of Islamabad before they were raided by Pakistani military commandoes in July, 2007. Many of the women, who were targeted by the girl students for allegedly
running a call girl racket, were reportedly Shias. It has been actively backing the tribals, who have taken to arms against the Pakistani security forces in North and South Waziristan and in the Swat Valley in the Provincially-Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of the North-West Frontier Province. Under the influence of the LEJ, the tribals have been beheading or otherwise killing only the Shias among the security forces personnel captured by them. Well-informed Police sources say that all the para-military personnel beheaded so far by the tribals were Shias. According to them, there has not been a single instance of the beheading of a Sunni member of the security forces though many Sunnis have been killed in explosions.

13. The JEM is also actively involved in supporting the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) in its fight against the security forces in the Swat Valley. There have been targeted attacks on members of the local Shia community. The anti-Shia dimension of the current violence in the tribal areas was also corroborated by the well-informed "Daily Times" of Lahore in an editorial titled "Two Oppressions"
carried by it on November 10, 2007. The editorial said: ' The latest news from Waziristan is that a well-known Shia personality has been gunned down. This is a part of the sectarian violence that Al Qaeda commits in the territories it captures. Earlier, Shias among the captured Pakistani troops were casually beheaded while the Sunnis were returned. In the Shia-majority Parachinar in the Kurram Agency,
suicide-bombers have been killing indiscriminately."

14.Al Qaeda's use of the LEJ is not confined to Pakistani territory. Police sources say that in view of the difficulties now faced by suspected LET members in Western countries and in South-east Asia, Al Qaeda is encouraging the SSP and the LEJ to gradually take over the role of the LET as the motivators and mobilisers of members of the overseas Pakistani diaspora for assisting Al Qaeda in its operations.
They claim that some sleeper cells of the SSP and the LEJ have already come up in the US, the UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Singapore and Australia. Since the foreign intelligence agencies do not have much information about the SSP and the LEJ, they are able to operate without creating suspicions about them. ( 12-10-09)

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