Friday, September 18, 2009



I have been in receipt of the following comments by E-mail from a knowledgeable reader of my article on K.Santhanam:

"One of the most authoritiative books that have been published recently about the history and evolution of nuclear weapons is "The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and its Proliferation" (Zenith Press, 2009) by Thomas C. Reed, a former nuclear weapons designer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Special Assistant to President Reagan for National Security Policy, and Danny B. Stillman, a physicist-cum-technical intelligence specialist of Los Alamos, New Mexico.

"In the chapter entitled "The Fakirs: India, Pakistan and North Korea" - a somewhat uncharitable title, if one may say so - the authors have, inter alia, dwelt extensively on the Pokhran tests of May 1998 and reached the conclusion that, notwithstanding the claims made by the Indian scientific community at that time, "Shakti-I," the fission-based primary, two-stage thermonuclear "controlled yield," was probably a failure. According to the authors, "the primary went low - 4KT. The secondary did not light." At the same time, they noted that "Given the Indian interest in thermonuclear technology and the status arising from such weapons, given her activities in the production of lithium and tritium as well as uranium enrichment, and given the continuing Indian need for parity with China, it is reasonable to expect and assume that India will test again at the next politically opportune time."



K.Santhanam was one of the Kaoboys of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW). R.N.Kao, the founding father of the R&AW, had very high regard for his professional qualities. He was a delightful person to get along with---a Tamil to his finger tips with a very keen sense of humour, sometimes bordering on unsettling sarcasm.

2.Kao took him into the R&AW shortly after it was formed on deputation from the Atomic Energy Commission. He was one of the small group of scientists and technical personnel in the newly-created Science & Technology ( S&T) division of the R&AW and he ultimately rose to be its head. When Kao joined Mrs.Indira Gandhi as her Senior Adviser after she returned to power in 1980, he persuaded the R&AW to place the
services of Santhanam at his disposal as his S&T adviser. After the assassination of Indira Gandhi on October 31,1984, Kao resigned from the post of Senior Adviser and his small set-up was wound up. Santhanam gravitated to the Ministry of Defence to assist Dr.V.Arunachalam and spent the rest of his career in the set-up of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

3. Even though he never returned to the intelligence profession, he maintained close contacts with his former colleagues in the R&AW and retained his close personal friendship with many of them.

4.In its 50 years of history,one of the success stories of the R&AW was its ability to closely monitor the work of the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission.Santhanam was the first to discover the plans of Pakistan to set up a plutonium reprocessing plant in the 1970s with the help of the French and the Kahuta uranium enrichment plant with stolen and smuggled equipment and technologies from different parts of the world. If one day a book is written on the success of the R&AW's S & T Division , Santhanam would be an important hero of the narrative from the first to the last page. There were other heroes too.

5. Santhanam had a phenomenal memory for facts and figures, a remarkable capability for analysis and the knack of arriving at conclusions, which often proved to be correct.Some of the Tamil officers in the R&AW used to call him "vazha-vazha kozha-kozha" Santhanam meaning "slippery" Santhanam because of his way of talking which could be sometimes incomprehensible and unnecessarily mysterious. The more charitable friends of his attributed his way of talking to his highly-developed security consciousness. There was never a leak from his Division so long as he was the chief.

6. If there is one criticism which could be levelled against him it is that he never built up the institutional memory of his Division. Everything was stored in his memory. He hardly maintained any detailed notes of what he did and how he did it. Th result was that his successors had difficulty in stepping into his shoes when he moved out of the organisation.

7.Santhanam has never been a loose-mouthed or attention-grabbing individual. His recent statement that the nuclear fusion test of 1998 was a fizzle has,therefore, caused considerable confusion and consternation

8.There are some puzzling aspects of his recent statements and the article which he had contributed to "The Hindu" of September 17,2009, on this subject. It is evident that he felt that the test was a fizzle right from 1998. It was not a conclusion reached by him recently after studying some new data, which were not available in 1998.

9. That being so, why did he keep quiet for so long? He has been quoted in some sections of the media as saying that he decided to go public now after 11 years because he apprehended a US attempt to force India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. His hint is that India needed to carry out more tests to master the fusion weapon. He should be knowing that after India signed the civil nuclear
co-operation agreement with the US and subsequently agreed to the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency of Vienna, the question of its carrying out any more tests just does not arise in view of the commitments, which it has already made not to carry out any more tests.

10. One would have appreciated his action if he had made this disclosure before India signed the agreement with the US. He did not do so. He refrained from joining the other critics of the Indian agreement with the US and the subsequent developments. He thereby gave the impression that he had nothing against the agreemrent with the US.

11. There is another aspect, which is even more puzzling. The first National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) set up by the Atal Behari Vajpayee Government in 1999 a few months after the nuclear tests was given the task of proposing a draft nuclear doctrine. It was headed by K.Subramanian, the strategic analyst. Santhanam evidently did not caution this NSAB that the fusion test was a fizzle. As a result, it reportedly prepared the draft doctrine under the belief that it was a success.

12. One can understand his not doing so because at that time he was still serving in the DRDO under Dr.Abdul Kalam and it might have been embarrassing for him to go over the head of Kalam and sound a warning bell before the NSAB. Santhanam retired in 2001 and was appointed the Director of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, in place of Air Commodore Jasjit Singh. In that capacity, he
replaced Jasjit Singh as a member of the third NSAB in 2002. According to sections of the media, it reportedly suggested some amendments to the recommendations made by the first Board. Despite being a member of this NSAB, Santhanam does not appear to have shared with it his conclusion that the test was a fizzle. As a result, whatever recommendation was made by the third NSAB, of which Santhanam was a
member, was also reportedly based on the belief that the test was a success.

13. To say now that the test was a fizzle and that he knew it all along has caused a lot of concern in the minds of our public. This could unwittingly encourage adventurism by India's adversaries. ( 17-9-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi. E-mail:




In a despatch dated September 17,2009,from Washington, the Agence France Press (AFP) has reported as follows:"One drone attack Monday ( September 14,2009) is believed to have killed the leader of the Islamic Jihad Union, Najmiddin Kamolitdinovich Jalolov, an Uzbek native implicated in terrorist plots and attacks in Germany and Uzbekistan. Officials said they are almost certain he was killed, though a DNA test hasn't yet been performed. A drone attack on Sept. 7 appeared to have killed another prominent Islamic militant, Ilyas Kashmiri, who had been briefly detained in Pakistan for alleged involvement in a 2003 assassination attempt against then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. There is less certainty about his death, however." Both the Drone strikes are reported to have taken place in North Waziristan in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA). Further details are not yet available.

2. 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.

3. Ilyas Kashmiri was among those arrested by the Pakistani authorities in January,2004, in connection with the investigation into the twounsuccessful 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.

4. 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."

5. 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).

6.The name of Jalolov, 37 years old, had figured in 2007 as a suspected ring leader of a plot to attack several targets in Germany, and in 2006 as a suspected ring leader of plots targeting hotels catering to Western visitors in Central Asia. None of these attacks materialised,though. U.S. officials alleged he was an organizer of the 2004 terrorist attacks in Uzbekistan that killed at least 47 people. In this connection, reference is invited to my article of September 6,2007, titled "Global Jihad: Uzbeks To The Fore" at . The article is annexed for easy reference

7.Human intelligence of good quality from Pakistan's tribal belt continues to flow to the US intelligence agencies despite action taken by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to identify and execute suspected agents of the US who have been feeding intelligence to the US forces. Such executions, confined mostly to members of the Pashtun community, have not come in the way of successful strikes by the
CIA-operated Drone (pilotless) planes on targets in the two Waziristans.

8. The success rate of the Drone strikes has gone up after Punjabi jihadis belonging to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) moved to the Pashtun belt from their traditional sanctuaries in Pakistan's Punjab province and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to help Al Qaeda, the TTP, the Afghan Taliban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad
Union (IJU), a splinter group from the IMU, in their operations in Pakistani and Afghan territories. This would indicate that the US intelligence has had better luck in penetrating Punjabi jihadi organisations than in penetrating Pashtun organisations, Al Qaeda and its associates.

9. Rashid Rauf, a Mirpuri from the UK, who was wanted by the British authorities in connection with their investigation of a plot to blow up a number of US-bound planes, was reported to have been killed in a Drone strike last year. He was related by marriage to Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the JEM, and was associated with the JEM, which has been operating in the Swat Valley along with the
Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM). (18-9-09)

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


Global Jihad: Uzbeks To The Fore - International Terrorism Monitor---Paper No. 273 of 6-9-07

By B. Raman

After the Arabs and the Pakistanis, the Uzbeks have come to the forefront of Al Qaeda-inspired global jihad.

2. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan ( IMU) led by Tahir Yuldeshev now co-ordinates the training of volunteers from different jihadi terrorist organisations of Pakistan as well as from other countries of the world. Till last year, its training infrastructure was located in South Waziristan, but after clashes with some sections of the local tribals, it has shifted its infrastructure to North Waziristan. It enjoys the support of the Mehsud sub-tribe of the Pashtuns led by Baitullah Mehsud and of the former students of the two madrasas run by the Lal Masjid of Islamabad. Reliable police and tribal sources in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan say that many, if not most, of the acts of suicide terrorism and attacks on the Pakistani Armed Forces since the Pakistan Army's commando action in the Lal Masjid between July 10 and 13, 2007, including the killing of three Chinese nationals in Peshawar, were carried out by angry tribals motivated and trained by the
IMU. The IMU consists of Uzbeks recruited from Uzbekistan as well as Afghanistan and has a small number of Chechens, Uighurs and Tajiks in its ranks. Till now, the IMU's acts of terrorism have been confined to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. It has not come to notice for any jihadi activities in other countries.

3. A second Uzbek group operating from North Waziristan, which calls itself the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) or the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG), came into being in Pakistani territory post 9/11 as a result of a split in the IMU following the US military strikes in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It describes Osama bin Laden, Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Neo Taliban, and Maulana Samiul Haq, the Amir of a faction of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam Pakistan, as its mentors. It focusses on training volunteers from the Western countries as well as from Uzbekistan.

4. It came to notice for the first time in April 2004 when it claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings around Tashkent and Bukharo in Uzbekistan which killed 47 people. The attacks targeted local government offices, as well as a crowded market. On July 30, 2004, it carried out simultaneous bombing attacks on the US Embassy, the Israeli Embassy, and the office of the Uzbek Prosecutor General,
killing at least two people and wounding many others.

5. A statement purported to have been disseminated by it said: A group of young Muslims executed martyrdom operations that put fear in the apostate government and its infidel allies, the Americans and Jews. The mujahidin belonging to Islamic Jihad Group attacked both the American and Israeli embassies as well as the court building where the trials of a large number of the brothers from the Group had begun.These martyrdom operations that the group is executing will not stop, God willing. It is for the purpose of repelling the injustice of the apostate government and supporting the jihad of our Muslim brothers in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, the Hijaz, and in other Muslim countries ruled by infidels and apostates.

6. On May 26, 2005, the US State Department issued the following statement: "The Department of State on May 25 announced the designation of the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224. This designation blocks all property, and interests in property, of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the control of U. S. persons. The Secretary of State took this action in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Department of Homeland Security. The Islamic Jihad Group, active in Central Asia, broke away from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization that is listed by the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee. On July 30, 2004,the Islamic Jihad Group conducted coordinated bombing attacks in Tashkent against the U.S. and Israeli Embassies, and the office of the Uzbek Prosecutor General, killing at least two people and wounding nine. The Islamic Jihad Group claimed responsibility for these attacks and indicated that future attacks are planned. The Islamic Jihad Group continues to target Americans and U.S. facilities overseas and is a dangerous threat to U.S. interests. After an explosion at a safehouse in Bukharo, Uzbekistan, IJG suicide bombers attacked a popular bazaar and other locations in Tashkent in March and April 2004, resulting in the deaths of more than a dozen police officers and innocent bystanders and dozens of injuries. The attackers in the March and April 2004 attacks, some of whom were female suicide bombers, targeted the local government offices of the Uzbekistani and Bukharo police, killing approximately 47 people, including 33 terrorists. These attacks marked the first use of female suicide bombers in Central Asia. Those arrested in connection with the attacks in Bukharo have testified to the close ties between the IJG leaders and Usama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Kazakhstani authorities have declared that IJG members were taught by al-Qaida instructors to handle explosives and to organize intelligence work and subversive activities. Kazakhstan has arrested several IJG members and put them on trial."

7. In October, 2005, the British Government declared it as a terrorist organisation despite strong opposition from human rights groups, which alleged that the Uzbek Government was projecting political dissidents opposed to it as pro-Al Qaeda terrorists.

8.The IJG, which was formed in 2002 to oppose the co-operation extended by the Government of Islam Karimov to the US in its operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, projects the US and Israel as the main enemies of Islam and all Muslim countries co-operating with the US as apostates, which need to be opposed. The stated political objective of the IMU is to rid the Central Asian Republics (CAR) and the Xinjiang region of China of the lingering influence of Communism and make them part of an Islamic Caliphate. The IJG, which also has the over-all objective of a global Islamic Caliphate, projects itself as a global jihadi organisation and not a basically Uzbek organisation. It says that since Islam does not recognise nationalities or ethnicities, any Muslim can become its member irrespective of where he or she lives. Since it describes the US and Israel as its principal enemies, it welcomes volunteers from countries where the US and Israel have a large presence.

9. In an interview on May 31, 2007, Ebu Yahya Muhammed Fatih, who describes himself as the Commander of the Islamic Jihad Union, stated as follows:

"After the fall of the Afganistan Islamic Administration,we who shared the same opinions came together and decided to organize groups which will conduct jihad operations against the infidel constitution of cruel Karimov in Uzbekistan. The sole aim of all the emigrant-mujahedeen brothers was to find war-like solutions against the infidel constitution of cruel Karimov. For this aim our Union was established in 2002.

"Our Union's aim is, under the flag of justice and Islam Dominancy, to save our Mslim brothers who have been suffering from the cruelty of pre-Soviet period and Uzbekistan, and to take them out of the swamp of cruelty an infidelity, as well as to help other Mslim brothers all around the world as per God and his Prophet's orders.

"Members of our Union are not members of a specific tribe or a nation. As there is no nationalism and tribalism in Islam, our Union is formed of the believers from all over the world and multi-national emigrants travelling to praise the religion.
"Today we proceed according to our targeted goals with all our means. Muslim youth in the republics of former Soviet Union who found the path of Allah and are ready to fight for their religion have been trained in various fields in the training facilities of the Union. One of the armed forces of the Union is active in Afghanistan. Besides, we have been in contact and also been working on our common targets together with Caucasian mujahedeens. We have also been working together on plans and aims against the infidel regime of Uzbekistan which is one of our major targets."

10. In April, 2007, the US Embassy in Berlin announced that it was strengthening security at US facilities in Germany in response to what it described as an increased threat of terrorism. Mr. August Hanning, a former head of Germanys foreign intelligence agency known as the Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND), who is now Deputy Interior Minister, said in an interview that 14 German Islamists had gone to Pakistan for training. He also said that in recent months the Pakistani authorities had detained at least seven German Islamists who could have been involved in planning attacks.

11. On September 5, 2007, German Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms announced the arrest of three persons and the recovery from them of 700 kilos of chemicals capable of being converted into explosives. German media reports said that they were planning attacks against a US military base in Ramstein and the Frankfurt airport. Two of the arrested persons have been described as white converts to Islam, both
German nationals, and the third as of Turkish origin. The Federal Prosecutor named the three persons aged 22,28 and 29 as belonging to the German cell of the Islamic Jihad Union. It has been reported that seven more members of the cell are still at large.