Tuesday, May 31, 2011



The brutal murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online, is unlikely to be solved satisfactorily by the investigating agencies of Pakistan.

2. Shahzad went missing on the evening of May 29,2011, while going to the Islamabad studio of a private TV news channel and his car with his dead body was reportedly found at a place about 150 kms from Islamabad on May 31. His body reportedly had torture wounds, indicating he had been severely tortured in order to extract information from him.

3. What was that information? Who was interested in that? The widely believed suspicion in Pakistan is that the information sought to be extracted from him through torture must have had a bearing to the first part of a despatch which he had sent to Asia Times and was carried by it on May 27.

4. This related to the daring attack by some terrorists on PNS Mehran, the base of the Naval Air Arm of the Pakistan Navy, at Karachi on the night of May 22 during which the terrorists destroyed two US-supplied Orion maritime surveillance aircraft which were being used by the Navy to patrol the sea to prevent any Al Qaeda attack on ships bringing logistic supplies for the NATO forces in Afghanistan.

5. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as the Pakistani Taliban is known. It said that it carried out the attack to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden during a raid by US naval commandos at his hide-out at Abbottabad on May 2 ,2011.

6.The investigation into the attack by the local police has not yet made much progress. However, the arrests of some suspects in Karachi and Lahore, including an ex-naval commando of the Special Services Group (SSG), who was allegedly sacked 10 years ago on disciplinary grounds, have been reported.

7.Shahzad did not appear to have believed in the claim of the TTP. His enquiries indicated that the attack was carried out by the 313 Brigade of Ilyas Kashmiri, a former commando of the Special Services Group (SSG), which operates from North Waziristan as an affiliate of Al Qaeda.

8. Shahzad said in the first part of his investigative report: “Asia Times Online contacts confirm that the attackers were from Ilyas Kashmiri's 313 Brigade, the operational arm of al-Qaeda.” He alleged that “Al-Qaeda carried out the brazen attack on PNS Mehran naval air station in Karachi on May 22 after talks failed between the navy and al-Qaeda over the release of naval officials arrested on suspicion of al-Qaeda links.”

9. He had also indicated at the end of the first part of his despatch that the second part would cover “the recruitment and training of militants.”

10.He was the only Pakistani journalist to have visited the headquarters of the 313 Brigade in October 2009 at the invitation of Ilyas Kashmiri. One of the purposes of Ilyas’ invitation was to disprove rumours then circulating in Pakistan that Ilyas had been killed in an American Drone (pilotless plane) strike in South Waziristan in September,2009.

11. Subsequently, after the terrorist attack on the so-called German Bakery in Pune in February 2010, Shahzad was in receipt of a message purporting to be from Ilyas indirectly hinting that the 313 Brigade had a role in the Pune attack. Shahzad had written about it in Asia Times.

12. Shahzad was thus well-informed on the activities of the 313 Brigade and Ilyas Kashmiri. He was reportedly the only Pakistani journalist with good contacts in the 313 Brigade.

13. Who killed him--- the ISI as it is widely suspected in Pakistan or the 313 Brigade or the two acting in tandem? Next to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the 313 Brigade has the closest contacts with the ISI. By virtue of his former association with the SSG, Ilyas is believed to have a network of contacts in the Army, the SSG and the ISI.

14. It is apparent that Shahzad was killed either because of what he reported in his despatch of May 27 regarding the penetration of the Navy by Al Qaeda or because of what he intended reporting about the training camps of the 303 Brigade.

15. Thus both the ISI and the 313 Brigade had a common motive for having him eliminated. Was their decision to eliminate him only related to his story on the Mehran attack or was there more to it? Whoever took the decision to eliminate him was in a desperate hurry. He was kidnapped within 48 hours of the first part being published. He would have most probably despatched the second part in the week beginning May 30. His captors wanted to do away with him before that.

16. Well-informed contacts in the Pakistani Police say that his kidnapping and murder were related not only to his investigation into the Mehran attack, but also his investigation into the local support base of OBL which facilitated his undetected stay for over five years at Abbottabad. His investigations post-May 2 were dangerously moving in that direction. His discovery of the penetration of the Navy by Al Qaeda was only the first step in his investigation. According to these police sources, he was digging deeper into OBL’s support base.

17. To have waited till he found out the details would have been suicidal for the ISI. The Police sources suspect that the ISI joined hands with the 313 Brigade to eliminate him before he made any progress in the matter.

18. The “real” truth will never be known just as the “real” truth behind the murder of Murtaza Bhutto in Karachi in 1996 and behind the murder of Benazir Bhutto at Rawalpindi in 2007 was never known.

19. People will be arrested and prosecuted, but they will not be the real perpetrators. The history of Pakistan is full of such instances of mysterious elimination of inconvenient people. Shahzad is the latest to join the ranks of such mysteriously eliminated people. He has paid with his life for daring to look into two incidents which the ISI wanted to be covered up---the Mehran attack and the stay of OBL at Abbottabad. (1-6-11)

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

Monday, May 30, 2011



How many of you have heard of the so-called Khalistan terrorist movement, which spread death and destruction across Punjab and Delhi for 14 years between 1981 and 1995?

How many of you have heard of the repeated hijackings of Indian Airlines aircraft by the Khalistani terrorists in the 1980s?

How many of you remember the military operation in the Golden Temple, Amritsar, in June 1984, to flush out a group of Khalistani terrorists who had taken shelter there?

How many of you remember the desertions of some Sikh soldiers from the Army and the assassination of a Brigadier by some angry Sikh soldiers after the Golden Temple operation?

How many of you remember the assassination of Indira Gandhi by some of her till then highly trusted Sikh bodyguards, enraged by the Golden Temple operation, in October,1984?

How many of you remember the blowing-up of the Kanishka aircraft of Air India in 1985 and the 1986 assassination in retirement of Gen. A.S.Vaidya, who was the Chief of the Army Staff at the time of the Golden Temple operation?

How many of you remember the assassination of Beant Singh, the Chief Minister of Punjab, in 1995?

These are distant memories now. The Khalistan terrorist movement almost died in the months following the assassination of Beant Singh.

It is 95 per cent dead, but the embers are still there.

In Pakistan in the form of some remnants of the terrorist movement who have been given shelter by the Pakistan Government.

In the West, in the form of some recalcitrant individuals, who are not prepared to say die.

Even in our own country in the form of some individuals here and there in Punjab and Delhi.

They are without influence, without following, but not without lingering traces of the anger which initially gave rise to the movement.

The fact that for 16 years since 1995, the embers have remained embers and are slowly dying their natural death goes to the credit of the people of Punjab, who have ignored them with the contempt they merit.

Is it wise to give these discredited elements a source of new anger that they could exploit in an attempt to give themselves a new lease of life?

This is a question that the Government should carefully consider before it goes ahead with its reported decision to send Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a notorious Khalistani terrorist, to the gallows in implementation of a long-pending death sentence awarded to him by a court.

Even if there is only a five per cent chance that his death could be exploited by the remnants of the Khalistan movement to re-kindle the embers, should we take the risk?

What do we hope to achieve by carrying out his death sentence?

We don’t need to teach any lesson to anybody 16 years after the movement went into a state of living death.

We don’t need to do any justice to the relatives of the victims of the Khalistan terrorist movement years after their painful memories have faded.

Executions have rarely ended any terrorist movement. Living ignominy has.

Like the ignominy of Carlos, the dreaded international terrorist of the 1970s and the 1980s. He was as dreaded in those years as Osama bin Laden was in the subsequent years.

Where is Carlos, the jackal, now?

Nobody knows. In some unheard of jail in France, spending a life sentence, almost forgotten by his old followers and the people. His movement is dead since 1994.

Nothing wipes out the persona of a terrorist more decisively than ignominy.

Let Bhullar die in ignominy and not in the gallows. ( 31-5-11)

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

Sunday, May 29, 2011




Secret commitments by both the political and military leaderships to co-operate with the US in counter-terrorism, ritual denial of such commitments in public statements, dragging the feet in the implementation of the commitments and fresh commitments. That has been the history of Pakistan's counter-terrorism co-operation with the US. That history continues after the death of Osama bin Laden.

2.The US-Pakistan counter-terrorism co-operation, which had stalled following the raid by US naval commandos into the residential hide-out of Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad in the Khyber Pakhtoonkwa province on May 2, has been re-started following a vigorous push given by Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who visited Islamabad for talks on May 15 and 16 and by Mrs.Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who followed up on Kerry’s talks during a short visit to Islamabad on May 27.

3. After Kerry’s visit, the two countries initiated measures to bring down the tensions, which had arisen after the Abbottabad raid. Pakistan handed over to the US the half-destroyed helicopter which the naval commandos had blown up ---- but not completely--- on May 2 when the pilot reportedly lost control and hit the compound wall of OBL’s residence while bringing it down. The US was worried that Pakistan might give the Chinese access to the half-destroyed chopper to enable them to study it. The handing-over of the chopper to the US authorities was one of the demands made by Kerry during his talks with the Pakistani authorities. Before Mrs. Clinton arrived, the Americans were allowed to take the half-destroyed chopper out of Pakistan.

4. Before the arrival of Mrs.Clinton, the Pakistani authorities also allowed a team of the CIA to jointly interrogate the three wives of OBL who were taken into custody by the Pakistani authorities after the naval commandos had left Abbottabad. Originally, the US plan was to take the wives to Afghanistan for interrogation, but this was abandoned by the US after its commandos lost a chopper. Pakistan also accepted another request of the US to allow a team from the CIA to make a detailed inspection of OBL’s residence.While the naval commandos had removed from the residence all documents, computers and computer material which they had found there, they were not able to make a detailed inspection of the house because of the short time at their disposal. They will now be able to do so though belatedly.

5. There were two gestures from the US side. The first was the toning down of the suspicions of possible complicity with OBL at the higher levels of the Pakistani Government---particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) --- which enabled him to live undetected for over five years at Abbottabad and direct the command and control of Al Qaeda from there. Mrs.Clinton has now ruled out the possibility of any complicity at the senior levels, but has continued to stress the need for a thorough enquiry regarding any possible complicity at the lower levels. The Pakistani Army and the ISI do not find any difficulty in accepting this demand.

6. The second US gesture was to agree to downsize the clandestine presence of US intelligence and special forces personnel in Pakistan to co-ordinate the counter-terrorism co-operation with their Pakistani counterparts. The US had agreed to make a small reduction in the number of US clandestine personnel posted in Pakistan even before the Abbottabad raid. This was in response to a Pakistani demand after the January incident involving Raymond Davis, a member of the administrative staff of the US Consulate at Lahore, who had allegedly killed two Pakistanis following his car. This has now been followed up by a reported US decision to cut down its clandestine personnel further. Apparently, after the death of OBL, the US does not feel the need for the persence of a large number of clandestine staff in Pakistani territory.Its decision to accommodate the Pakistani demand for a further reduction should not affect its capability on the ground in Pakistan significantly.

7. Both the Pakistani and the US authorities have been embarrassed by the disclosure by "Dawn" of Karachi of some diplomatic cables obtained from Wikileaks pertaining to the years 2008 and 2009. These cables, which had been sent by Anne Patterson, the then US Ambassador to Islamabad, to the US State Department clearly showed, firstly, that the Pakistani Army had allowed a much larger US clandestine presence than admitted so far not only in the Pashtun belt, but even in the GHQ in Rawalpindi, to enhance US-Pakistan counter-terrorism co-operation, and, secondly, that not only Pakistan's political leadership, but even its military leadership had tacitly allowed the US to operate its Drone ( pilotless aircraft) over the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) while openly criticising them as a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty. If the Army had tacitly agreed to instances of wanton US violation of Pakistani sovereignty in respect of the Drone strikes, is it not legitimate to suspect as many, including me, are doing, that there must have been some tacit understanding relating to the Abbottabad raid too? All this post-May 2 hysterics about the so-called violation of Pakistani sovereignty is a ritual meant to calm public opinion in Pakistan.

8.One of the Wikileaks cables from Anne Patterson in Islamabad to the US State Department in May 2009, as published by "Dawn", states as follows:“We have created Intelligence Fusion cells with embedded US Special Forces with both SSG ( Special Services Group) and Frontier Corps (Bala Hisar, Peshawar) with the Rover equipment ready to deploy.Through these embeds, we are assisting the Pakistanis collect and coordinate existing intelligence assets. We have not been given Pakistani military permission to accompany the Pakistani forces on deployments as yet.”

9.By September, 2009, plans for joint intelligence activities had been expanded to include army headquarters. “Pakistan has begun to accept intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support from the US military for COIN (counterr-insurgency) operations,” Ms Patterson wrote. “In addition … intelligence fusion centers” had been established “at the headquarters of Frontier Corps and the 11th Corps and we expect at additional sites, including GHQ and the 12th Corps in Balochistan.”

10.Even In April 2009, she had reported in a cable that the cell at Bala Hisar assisted in the Pakistan military operation then taking place in Lower Dir. “US Special Operations Command Force are assisting the FC at the Intelligence Fusion Cell at FC Headquarters with imagery, target packages, and operational planning.”

11. A US cable also said:“The 3rd Commando Group of the Pakistan Special Services Group (SSG) exploited the weakened state of the Taliban surrounding Daggar, the main city within Buner, to secure the city early on April 29.Although reported earlier that US officials would accompany the FC deployment to Daggar, a late-night decision on April 28 by the Pakistan Military General Headquarters (GHQ) denied the joint deployment, saying the FC had all the assets needed. Embassy will work with GHQ to determine the reason for the late change and to promote integrated operation support.”

12.In a cable of November 2009, Ms.Patterson said: “On a brighter note,there is the possibility that operations in the northern FATA may provide additional opportunities to embed US Special Operations Forces with FC units to provide ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] support and general operational guidance. If we can expand on what we have recently been doing in Bajaur Agency … with our embeds, it would be a significant opportunity to contribute to the pursuit of the TTP (the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan).”

13. The cable added: “Previously, the Pakistani military leadership adamantly opposed letting us embed our special operations personnel with their military forces.The recent approval by GHQ … appears to represent a sea change in Pakistani thinking.These deployments are highly politically sensitive … Should [they] receive any coverage in the Pakistani or US media, the Pakistani military will likely stop making requests for such assistance.”

14.Another cable has described how, in a January 2009 meeting with Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, then CENTCOM commander Gen David Petraeus explained he “had given instructions that Special Operations Forces would be deployed regularly and constantly, and the US needed to move their soldiers in here, so they could engage productively with the Frontier Corps." “Petraeus noted that the 11th Corps Chief of Staff Brigadier Amir was less cooperative with US forces, and Kayani took note of that.” That is, the US was complaining to Kayani about senior Pakistani officers who were not co-operative with the US and Kayani took note of such complaints.

15. In a post-Abbottabad assessment of the Wikileaks cables, "Dawn" has commented as follows: " Secret internal American government cables, accessed by Dawn through WikiLeaks, provide confirmation that the US military’s drone strikes programme within Pakistan had more than just tacit acceptance of the country’s top military brass, despite public posturing to the contrary. In fact, as long ago as January 2008, the country’s military was requesting the US for greater drone back-up for its own military operations. Previously exposed diplomatic cables have already shown that Pakistan’s civilian leaders are strongly supportive – in private – of the drone strikes on alleged militant targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), even as they condemn them for general consumption. But it is not just the civilian leadership that has been following a duplicitous policy on the robotic vehicles."

16. "Dawn" added: "In a meeting on January 22, 2008 with US CENTCOM Commander Admiral William J. Fallon, Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani requested the Americans to provide “continuous Predator coverage of the conflict area” in South Waziristan where the army was conducting operations against militants. The request is detailed in a ‘Secret’ cable sent by then US Ambassador Anne Patterson on February 11, 2008. Pakistan’s military has consistently denied any involvement in the covert programme run mainly by the CIA. "

17. "Dawn" further said: "The American account of Gen Kayani’s request for “Predator coverage” does not make clear if mere air surveillance was being requested or missile-armed drones were being sought. Theoretically “Predator coverage” could simply mean air surveillance and not necessarily offensive support. However the reaction to the request suggests otherwise. According to the report of the meeting sent back to Washington by Patterson, Admiral Fallon “regretted that he did not have the assets to support this request” but offered trained US Marines (known as JTACs) to coordinate air strikes for Pakistani infantry forces on ground. General Kayani “demurred” on the offer, pointing out that having US soldiers on ground “would not be politically acceptable.”

18.In another meeting with US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen over March 3-4, 2008, Kayani was asked for his help “in approving a third Restricted Operating Zone for US aircraft over the FATA.” The request – detailed in a cable sent from the US Embassy in Islamabad on March 24 – clearly indicated that two ‘corridors’ for US drones had already been approved earlier.

19. According to "Dawn", despite the occasional disastrously misdirected attacks which have fed into the public hue and cry over civilian casualties, there is, in private, " a seeming general acceptance by the military of the efficacy of drone strikes. In a cable dated February 19, 2009, Ambassador Patterson sent talking points to Washington ahead of a week-long visit to the US by COAS Kayani. Referring to drone strikes, she wrote: “Kayani knows full well that the strikes have been precise (creating few civilian casualties) and targeted primarily at foreign fighters in the Waziristans.”

20. In a cable of November 24,2008, Patterson cautioned the State Department as follows: “As the gap between private GOP acquiescence and public condemnation for US action grows,Pakistani leaders who feel they look increasingly weak to their constituents could begin considering stronger action against the US, even though the response to date has focused largely on ritual denunciation.”

21. Citing US media reports, the Pakistani media reported as follows before Mrs.Clinton's visit: Pakistan ordered the departure of up to 20 percent of the roughly 150 U.S. Special Operations forces trainers (SOFTs) in the wake of a series of differences between the two governments.Between 25 and 30 trainers were “told to leave” in the weeks before the U.S. commando raid that killed OBL, apparently in response to the Raymond Davis incident.

22. During Mrs.Clinton's talks in Islamabad, according to the Pakistani media,Islamabad agreed to intensify operations against Al Qaeda and affiliated groups in its territory, while Washington softened its stance on ‘unilateral action’ against high-profile terrorist targets inside Pakistan by underscoring the importance of acting together against terrorists. While there was no joint statement, Mrs.Clinton told the media at the US Embassy: “We both recognise that there is still much more work required to be done and it is urgent. Today we discussed in even greater detail cooperation to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda and to drive them from Pakistan and the region. We will do our part and we look to the government of Pakistan to take decisive steps in the days ahead. Joint action against Al Qaeda and its affiliates will make Pakistan, America and the world more safe and more secure.”

23. According to the Pakistani media, her media comments wavered between expression of acknowledgement of the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and frustration over the Taliban and other groups continuing to operate from Pakistani soil. Mrs Clinton reminded the Pakistanis that the only way forward in the relationship marred by deep mistrust over counter-terrorism efforts was to redouble efforts in the fight against terrorists. She spoke of “vicious terrorists” having found sanctuaries on Pakistani soil and Afghan militants operating from safe havens in tribal areas and said it was Islamabad’s responsibility to stop that from happening. She added: “There can be no peace, stability, no democracy, no future for Pakistan unless the violent extremists are removed.” Mrs Clinton said she had been assured of “some very specific actions” which Pakistanis would take in coming weeks. She did not give any detail.

24.According to ABC News of the US as quoted by the Pakistani media, the US side demanded immediate action and intelligence sharing on four leading terror names — Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Siraj Haqqani (operational commander of the Haqqani network), Ilyas Kashmiri and Atiya Abdel Rahman (Libyan operations chief of Al Qaeda, who was allegedly a key aide to bin Laden when he was hiding in Abbottabad). "Dawn" claimed that an American source confirmed the list and said that US softening on its position on unilateral action was conditional. “The message given to Pakistani leaders was loud and clear; you either cooperate with us on these four terrorists or we’ll take care of them by ourselves.”

25. "Dawn" further reported: "Something the sceptical Secretary found reassuring was a rare acknowledgement made by the Pakistani side at the talks that Osama bin Laden enjoyed a support network as he spent his years near the Army’s elite training centre. “Our counterparts in the (Pakistani) government were very forthcoming in saying that somebody, somewhere, was providing some kind of support, and they are carrying out an investigation and we have certainly offered to share whatever information we come across.”

26.In return for the promised counter-terrorism cooperation, Mrs Clinton offered “respect for and addressing” Pakistan’s concerns about the political settlement in Afghanistan. She did not elaborate, but said she was convinced that Pakistan had “legitimate” interests in the settlement of the Afghan conflict and its role was indispensable for the success of the reconciliation process. According to "Dawn",Mrs Clinton was particularly critical of the growing anti-Americanism in Pakistan. Although she didn’t explicitly say so, it was evident from her remarks that she thought a segment of the establishment was responsible for promoting it. She said: "In solving its problems Pakistan should understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make its problems disappear.” According to "Dawn", her Pakistani interlocutors complained to her that statements by US officials, leaks to media and unilateral actions were reducing the space for cooperation.

27. Coinciding with her visit, US media has reported that Pakistan has closed down the three joint intelligence fusion cells in Quetta and Peshawar to which there was a reference in the WikiLeaks cables. (30-5-11)

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

Thursday, May 26, 2011


My own adaptation of the words of Julien Clerc's "This Melody" . He was
and is one of my favourite French singers---B.Raman

This melody
Is a melody for you
This melody
Is the ocean between us
This melody
Is the silence between us
This melody
Is a melody for you
This melody
Is the chasm between us
This melody
Is the anguish between us
This melody
Is a melody for you
I am not the greatest
I am not proud or handsome
But I am here
Like this melody
Like this song
Like this sadness
This melody
Is a melody for you



To be read in continuation of the following articles of mine:

April 27,2011, titled " Real Masterminds of 26/11 Still at Large in Pakistan" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers45%5Cpaper4448.html

April 28,2011, titled " Incriminating Spotlight on ISI in the US" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers45%5Cpaper4454.html


The detailed testimony of David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in the case against Tahawuur Hussain Rana and some others being tried in absentia before a Chicago court has received considerable attention in India and Canada. However, the attention received in Pakistan is limited. The focus in Pakistan seems to be more on his credibility as a witness. Questions posed by the defence lawyer of Rana relating to Headley’s background as a narcotics smuggler and his alleged unreliability in money matters have received greater attention in Pakistan than in India. I do not know how the Danish press has been covering the trial.

2.There are two principal charges against Rana relating to his role in the criminal conspiracy to provide material support for the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, which materialized, and a planned terrorist strike in Denmark, which did not materialize. The material support provided by Rana was in the form of purchase of air tickets for Headley, allowing Headley to pose as a member of the staff of Rana’s immigration consultancy firm during his travels to India and Denmark and allowing him to open an office of Rana’s firm in Mumbai to facilitate the collection of operational intelligence required by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the LET for the execution of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

3. Whatever evidence Headley has given in his testimony combined with other evidence such as telephone and E-Mail intercepts independently collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) having a bearing on the charges against Rana will definitely be taken into consideration by the court and the jury in deciding on the guilt or otherwise of Rana. This is a case against Rana and not against Headley. The case against Headley in which he has already made a plea bargain has not yet come up before a court. The FBI has apparently kept it for later to ensure that Headley would co-operate in getting Rana, his close friend, convicted. Headley has been co-operating till now.

4. Rana is only a co-conspirator in the case. The principal conspirators are Sajid Mir , Abu Qahafa, Mazhar Iqbal,Major Iqbal, Ilyas Kashmiri and Major Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha. While the principal conspirators, all based in Pakistan, have been cited by the FBI as co-accused, no action has been taken by the FBI to pressure the Government of Pakistan to arrest them and hand them over to the FBI so that they could be tried along with Rana and Headley. No explanation has been forthcoming so far as to why no action has been taken by the FBI to make Pakistan hand them over for trial in Chicago.

5. A careful study of the proceedings of the trial against Rana since it started on May 23 would indicate a two-pronged strategy by the FBI:

*Encouraging Headley to testify in detail regarding the role of the ISI and the LET without holding back any thing in order to satisfy India and convince it that there would be no attempt to cover up the role of the ISI.
*Not exercising pressure on Pakistan to arrest the persons named by Headley and to hand them over to the FBI in order to spare any embarrassment to the Government of Pakistan.

6. Will the second prong of the FBI’s strategy succeed by sparing the Government of Pakistan of any embarrassment because of the disclosures of Headley regarding the involvement of the ISI? This would depend upon the way the prosecution lawyer and the Judge sum up the proceedings for the benefit of the jury when all the testimonies are over. If they focus only on the evidence relevant to the charges against Rana, they might succeed. On the contrary, if they also focus on the charges against the absconding accused being tried in absentia, it might not.

7. What are the action options for India?

*Draw the attention of the Terrorism Monitoring Committee of the UN Security Council in terms of the UNSC Resolution No 1373 passed after the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US and ask for action against the ISI for violation of the UNSC resolution. The UNSC Resolution has re-affirmed the principle established by the General Assembly in its declaration of October 1970 (resolution 2625 (XXV)) and reiterated by the Security Council in its resolution 1189 (1998) of 13 August 1998, namely that “every State has the duty to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organized activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts.”The testimony in the case against Rana has clearly shown a serious violation of this Resolution by the ISI which should be held accountable. Indian action may not succeed because of a possible Chinese veto in support of Pakistan, but that should not deter us from bringing the evidence to the notice of the UNSC Monitoring Committee.

*Insist that the US should treat the case relating to the involvement of the ISI in the Mumbai blasts on par with the involvement of the Libyan intelligence in an act of terrorism directed against a Pan Am aircraft (the famous Lockerbie case) in 1988, which resulted in the death of all the passengers and crew, many of them US nationals. The US insisted on the trial of the Libyan intelligence officers involved and the payment of compensation to the families of the victims by the Libyan Government. It succeeded on both counts. The Government of India should immediately set up a task force to study how the US handled the Lockerbie case and follow the same procedure in this case. The relatives of the victims---whether Indian or foreign nationals--- should be closely associated with the work of the Task Force. The Government of India should insist on the trial of the ISI officers involved before the Chicago court and the payment of compensation to the relatives of the victims by the Government of Pakistan.
*Re-energise our case for the declaration of Pakistan as a state-sponsor of international terrorism by the US State Department on the basis of the evidence adduced in the trial. The State Department will avoid doing it as it did after the Mumbai blasts of March 1993, but that should not deter us from taking up the case against Pakistan vigorously once again. ( 27-5-11)

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2011



There is still confusion about the total number of terrorists involved in the daring commando-style attack on PNS Mehran, the headquarters of the Pakistani Naval Air Arm, located inside the Faisal base of the Pakistan Air Force at Karachi on the night of May 22,2011. Mr.Rehman Malik, the Pakistani Interior Minister, had estimated the total number as six---of whom, according to him, two were killed in the fire-fight, two blew themselves up to escape capture and two managed to escape. However, in a report lodged with an adjoin8ing Police Station, the Navy has reportedly estimated the total number of terrorists involved as 10 to 12, of whom eight managed to escape.

2. Apart from the four terrorists, 10 others were also killed. These included one Naval Lieutenant, one naval rating, three members of a naval detachment of the Special Services Group (SSG), which is an inter-services group of specially-trained commandos, three members of the fire brigade and two from the Pakistani Rangers.

3. The terrorists entered the base from an adjoining residential area by climbing over the compound wall with ladders and cutting the barbed wire on top of it. They rushed to the hangars located about a KM from the wall without being detected by the search lights installed inside the base and blew up two of the three Orion P-3C aircraft and a helicopter parked there with the help of rocket-propelled grenades. About 15 members of a naval detachment of the SSG rushed to the spot and opened fire. The terrorists managed to reach a nearby tower and took shelter there. Thereafter, there was an intense fire-fight between the terrorists and the SSG detachment for nearly 17 hours before the SSG detachment managed to bring the situation under control with the help of reinforcements.

4. Considering that the entire operation lasted about 17 hours, the number of fatalities---particularly of naval personnel---was surprisingly low. The SSG and the Fire Brigade sustained more fatalities than the Navy. They were reportedly killed by gun fire from the terrorists as they were trying to put out the fire on the Orion planes.

5. The biggest damage suffered by the Navy was in respect of the two Orions. It had a holding of six, of which three are in the US for upgradation and are expected back only after November---one in December, one in June next year and one in December next year. Of the remaining three which were being used for maritime surveillance, two have been destroyed by the terrorists. Only one is available now. It is to be seen whether the US will rush to replace the two destroyed as the Pakistanis are hoping it would.

6. The destruction of the two Orions was targeted and not accidental. Even though the Orions, which are armed with Harpoon missiles, were acquired by the Pakistan Navy for use against India, they were currently being used to protect logistic shipments to the NATO forces in Afghanistan, which are unloaded at the Karachi port. Thus, the targeted destruction of the two Orions could have had the tactical objective of preventing their use for protecting the NATO logistic shipments .

7. The attempted attack on Chinese personnel accommodated inside the base, which was initially denied by the Chinese authorities, is since reported to have been admitted by them. Were the Chinese taken hostage by the terrorists? If so, how long were they in the custody of the terrorists? How were they ultimately got released? Answers to these questions are not available.

8. It has been reported that 11 Chinese were living inside the base. In addition, six Americans were working inside the base, but it is not known whether they were living inside the base or in hotels outside. From the fact that there were no reports of any of the Americans being taken hostage, one could infer that the Americans were probably living in a hotel and were not present in the base on the night of May 22 when the terrorists struck.

9. According to unconfirmed reports, the Americans were from the Lockheed Martin company, which has an on-going contract with the Pakistan Navy for the repair and maintenance of the Orion and the Chinese were from the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard of Shanghai, which had supplied three F22P frigates to the Pakistan Navy and is presently helping the Navy in the construction of a fourth one in the Karachi dockyard. In January, well-informed Pakistani sources had reported the death of four Chinese personnel in a road accident near Karachi. It was not known whether they belonged to this company.

10. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack. The TTP had in the past attacked Chinese personnel working in different parts of Pakistan and kidnapped some Chinese engineers working in the tribal areas. It has links with the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan, an organization of Uighurs from the Chinese-controlled Xinjiang province.

11. Was there also an Uighur angle to the Mehran attack? ( 25-5-11)

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


(http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/How-to-keep-Pakistan-nuclear-arsenal-safe/articleshow/8562322.cms )


The daring commando style raid into a Pakistani naval base at Karachi on May 22 by terrorists of the Pakistani Taliban has highlighted once again the poor state of physical security at sensitive infrastructure in Pakistan and the undetected infiltration by extremist elements into the Pakistani Armed Forces.

Since the Pakistani Taliban came into existence in July 2007 , it has organized a number of such raids into the establishments of the armed forces including into the General Headquarters, the sanctum sanctorum of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi. The success of these raids was made possible by the suspected help of insiders, who collaborated with the terrorists, and by the poor state of physical security.

The fact that such raids continue to take place and that the security forces and the intelligence agencies continue to be taken by surprise would add to the concerns of the international community regarding the state of physical security in Pakistan’s nuclear establishments and the dangers of the presence inside them of sympathisers who might collaborate with organizations such as Al Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in facilitating an act of terrorism involving the use of nuclear material seized from such establishments.

There are three possible dangers needing attention. The first is terrorists and their sympathizers wittingly or unwittingly causing radioactive leakages by raiding such establishments and damaging the production process. The second is the terrorists getting hold of easy-to-use nuclear material such as dirty bombs from ill-guarded establishments. The third is the leakage of the technology to terrorists from sympathetic scientists.

To prevent such dangers one requires an effective process for the continuous identification and weeding out of suspicious elements from nuclear establishments, a capability for the collection of human and technical intelligence regarding planned raids into such establishments and a physical security system with multi-layer security that could prevent attacks effectively even in the absence of preventive intelligence.

Repeated physical security breaches in sensitive infrastructure in Pakistan are due not only to poor preventive intelligence, but also to a single-layer security which was not able to stand up to a determined attempt to breach the security.

The Pakistanis claim that such breaches are unlikely in the case of nuclear establishments where, according to them, there is a multi-layer security and there is a constant vetting of the personnel to detect attempts at infiltration. Moreover, according to them, their nuclear arsenal is not kept in a ready-to-use form in one place, but in dismantled parts in a number of places. Thus, to be able to get at a nuclear weapon, the terrorists should be able to raid successfully at more than one place simultaneously, which would be difficult.

The serious failures of intelligence and security at Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden had been living undetected for over five years underlined the dangers of totally depending on Pakistani verbal assurances with regard to security against any kind of terrorism. Unadmitted incompetence and complicity at different levels with terrorists reduce the value and dependability of such Pakistani assurances.

The rest of the world would be as much affected as Pakistan by any breach of the physical security of Pakistan’s nuclear establishments. It is, therefore, important that the international community should not remain satisfied with Pakistan’s oral assurances alone. There has to be a close and continuous interaction between the intelligence and security agencies of Pakistan and those of the US and other NATO countries for ensuring that the security of nuclear establishments in Pakistan cannot be breached.

This means the association of the agencies of these countries in the planning and implementation of security measures in the nuclear establishments. It is believed that US experts in nuclear security already play a discreet, but important role in this matter. Is their role adequate to ensure that what happened in the Karachi naval base cannot happen in a nuclear establishment?

Only the US, which is more knowledgeable than any other country in matters relating to nuclear security in Pakistan, will be in a position to answer this question. India, which has an adversarial relationship with Pakistan, cannot expect to play a role in this matter. But through close interaction with the US agencies, it should be able to reassure itself that whatever needs to be done is being done by the US with the co-operation of Pakistan.

India can play a useful role in helping the US in this matter by strengthening its capability for the collection of human and technical intelligence regarding likely threats to Pakistan’s nuclear establishments and arsenal and sharing it with the US.

There is little scope for a stand-alone Indian role with regard to the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, but discreet co-operation between India and the US can add value to the efforts being made by the US.

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

Sunday, May 22, 2011



The Faisal Base of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) located about 10 KMs from the Karachi internationl airport is what the PAF calls a Joint User airfield. It is used by the PAF and the air arms of the Pakistan Army and Navy as well as by the VVIP squadron. All air surveillance movements over the sea --- whether by the PAF or by the Army or by the PN--- are controlled from this base.

2. Since 1975, the operating base of the Naval Air Arm , called PNS Mehran, is located inside this airfield. All senior officers of the Naval Air Arm operate from PNS Mehran. The Naval Air Arm at PNS Mehran is headed by Commander Naval Aviation (COMNAV). Under him there are four Heads of Department (HOD) designated as Commander Air (Cdr Air), Commander Air Engineering Department (Cdr AED), Commanding Officer MEHRAN (CO MEH) and Officer Commanding Naval Aviation Training School (OC NATS).

3.The squadrons of the Naval Air Arm are stationed in PNS Mehran.These are the P3C Orion Squadron (28 Sqn), the Atlantic Squadron (29 Sqn), the Fokker Squadron (27 Sqn), the Seaking Squadron (111 Sqn) and the Alouette Squadron (333 Sqn).

4. While the Naval Air Arm was raised primarily to provide maritime surveillance capability against India, it has been playing, in addition, a counter-terrorism role since the US started its Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in October,2001. This counter-terrorism role consists of air surveillance to prevent any sea-borne intrusions of Al Qaeda and to detect any terrorist plans for attacks on ships bringing supplies for the NATO forces in Afghanistan. The supplies are landed in the Karachi port and then moved by trucks to Afghanistan.

5.While the Pakistani Army and Air Force have no operational role to play in the US-led military operations in the Afghan territory against Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban, the Pakistani Navy is a member of the US-led international naval force which patrols the seas to the west of Pakistan to prevent any hostile activity which could hamper the operations in Afghan territory. The Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, established at the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, comprises naval forces from France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The task force conducts maritime security operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. The leadership of the Task Force is rotated amongst the participating navies. A Pakistani naval officer has been commanding it off and on when the turn of the Pakistan Navy comes.

6.On November 16,2004,the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that it had accepted Pakistan’s request to buy seven P-3C Orion aircraft with T-56 turboprop engines, communications equipment, training devices, medical services, support and test equipment, engineering technical services, supply support, operation and maintenance training, documentation, spare/repair parts, publications, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related support elements. The estimated cost would be $970 million.

7.The DSCA announcement added: "The command-and-control capabilities of these aircraft will improve Pakistan’s ability to restrict the littoral movement of terrorists along Pakistan’s southern border and ensure Pakistan’s overall ability to maintain integrity of their borders. Pakistan intends to use the proposed purchase to develop a long needed fleet of maritime and border surveillance aircraft. The addition of these aircraft will provide Pakistan with search, surveillance, and control capability in support of maritime interdiction operations and increase their ability to support the U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom Operations; anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare capabilities; and a control capability over land against transnational terrorists and narcotics smugglers. The modernization will enhance the capabilities of the Pakistani Navy and support its regional influence and meet its legitimate self-defense needs. Pakistan is capable of absorbing and maintaining these additional aircraft in its inventory.”

8. The first two of these aircraft were delivered in April 2010 and officially inducted into the Naval Air Arm at a function held at PNS Mehran on June 2,2010. Some more of the remaining five have since been inducted, but their number is not known. These planes are generally kept in hangars belonging to the Naval Air Arm and operate from the joint user airfield.

9. The active role played by the Pakistani Navy in support of the NATO operations in Afghanistan has attracted the anger of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). On March 4, 2008, two unidentified suicide bombers, operating in tandem, attacked the prestigious Naval War College located in a high security area of Lahore. They were both on motor-cycles. One of them rammed his motor-cycle against the security gate at the rear of the building breaking it open. The other drove through this opening into the parking area and blew himself up. Their target was the naval institution and not any particular individual or individuals inside. They wanted to demonstrate their ability to penetrate the campus and cause damage. Six persons were killed--- one of them a naval officer, three members of the security guards at the gate and the two suicide bombers.

10.On December 2,2009, an alert official of the Pakistani naval intelligence in plain clothes and a naval security guard in uniform deployed outside the building of the Pakistan Navy Headquarters in Islamabad prevented what could have been a major terrorist strike against the Naval Headquarters by an unidentified suicide bomber. Spotting a suspicious-looking individual outside the NHQ, they stopped him and searched him. He turned out to be a suicide bomber wearing a concealed suicide vest. However, they could not prevent him from activating the explosive device in the vest. One person was killed on the spot and another succumbed to his injuries later.

11.Two Pakistani naval personnel--- a commissioned officer of the rank of Sub-Lieutenant and a sailor--- were among four persons killed in two separate but coordinated explosions in Karachi on April 26, 2011. The explosions targeted two buses of the Pakistan Navy which were transporting naval personnel to their places of work. According to available indications, the improvised explosive devices, which struck the buses, had been planted along routes normally taken by the buses and activated through mobile telephones.

12. According to the " Daily Times" of Lahore ( April 27,2011), the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as the Pakistani Taliban is known, claimed the responsibility for the blasts, and threatened more attacks on security forces. The claim was made in a telephone call to a foreign news agency by a person who identified himself as Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman of the Taliban. He reportedly said: "Security forces will be targeted in the future as well, because they are killing their own people in Waziristan and elsewhere at the behest of the United States.”

13. Since the raid by the Pakistani military commandos into the Lal Masjid in Islamabad in July,2007, there has been a number of retaliatory attacks by the TTP against the Army, the Air Force, the Special Services Group (SSG), the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the para-military forces and the police. It is, however, believed that the attacks on the Navy were connected to its role in providing maritime support to the NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Navy had no role to play in the Lal Masjid raid. The Pakistani authorities have been apprehending a surge in these attacks on the security forces, including the Navy, in retaliation for the raid by US naval commandos into the residence of Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad on May 2,2011, in which OBL was killed.

14. At around 10 PM on the night of May 22, an unidentified group of about 15 terrorists armed with explosives, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and assault weapons was reported to have managed to infiltrate into the PNS Mehran base through a side of the Faisal PAF base where a PAF museum is located and engaged in a fire fight with naval and other security personnel after destroying at least one----according to some other reports two---PC 3 aircraft kept in the hangars. The fire-fight was still going on at 3 AM on the morning of May 23 when last reports came in.

15. It has been reported that the survivors among the attackers have taken some hostages and taken shelter inside a building in the base. According to unconfirmed reports, among the hostages are one or more Chinese military personnel working in the base. It has been further reported that some Americans and Turks were also working in the base. It is not known whether any of them has been taken hostage. At least 11 naval personnel are reported to have died in the fire fight so far. No one has claimed responsibility till now.

16. The daring attack and the inability of the Navy to prevent it are likely to add to the feelings of humiliation in the Pakistani Armed Forces which have been prevalent since the Abbottabad raid. To deflect anger over the security failure at PNS Mehran, attempts could be made to divert suspicion against India. Extra vigilance and extra security would be required along our coast in general and in the Mumbai area in particular. Instructions should be issued to all concerned to avoid any statements and comments which could aggravate the paranoia of the Pakistani Armed Forces and to refrain from exhibiting any sense of glee over the discomfiture of the Pakistani Armed Forces.(23-5-11)

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

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Bonjour Tristesse ( "Hello Sadness") is the title of a novel written by Françoise Sagan in 1954 when she was barely 18. It became a best-seller in France and was shot into a movie in 1958. Francoise Sagan was inspired by a lovely poem written by Paul Éluard, which was titled "À peine défigurée". The poem in French and its free English translation by me are given below:---B.Raman

À peine défigurée - Hardly Disfigured

Adieu tristesse
Bonjour tristesse
Tu es inscrite dans les lignes du plafond
Tu es inscrite dans les yeux que j'aime
Tu n'es pas tout à fait la misère
Car les lèvres les plus pauvres te dénoncent
Par un sourire
Bonjour tristesse
Amour des corps aimables
Puissance de l'amour
Dont l'amabilité surgit
Comme un monstre sans corps
Tête désappointée
Tristesse beau visage.

Farewell Sadness
Hello Sadness
I see you on the ceiling
I see you in the eyes that I love
I see you in the smile that betrays you.
Hello Sadness
Power of love
From which kindness rises
Like a bodiless monster
Unattached head
Sadness has a beautiful face.



China has gone all the way with Pakistan in the difficult situation being faced by Pakistan in the aftermath of the Abbottabad raid by some US naval commandos on May 2, which led to the death of Osama bin Laden.

2. This became apparent during the just concluded (May 20,2011) four-day visit of Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani to China during which he met, among others, President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. The visit had been fixed weeks before the Abbottabad raid to mark the high-profile observance of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, but as it took place a few days after the raid, Pakistan’s much-doubted sincerity in fighting terrorism became the defining and dominating theme of the visit.

3. Even before Gilani’s departure for China, the Chinese authorities had made it clear in no uncertain terms on many occasions that they did not share the skepticism being expressed in the US regarding the sincerity of Pakistan in the so-called war against terrorism. The Chinese also refrained from subscribing to the view that to have been able to live undetected for over five years at Abbottabad, OBL must have had some local support from official circles in Pakistan. They had no hesitation in endorsing the claims made by Pakistan that its security forces had made huge sacrifices in the war against terrorism.

4. These points were reiterated with even greater force by the Chinese during their interactions with Gilani after his arrival in China. It was apparent that the Chinese leaders have had no difficulty in accepting the claims of Pakistan that it was taken by surprise by OBL being found in Abbottabad. While refraining from any comments that could have been misinterpreted as criticism of the unilateral US raid to kill OBL, the Chinese underlined their own preference for joint operations with Pakistan in dealing with the Uighur dissidents operating on both sides of Pakistan’s border with the Chinese-controlled Xinjiang. The Chinese also refrained from any remarks that could be interpreted as an attempt to capitalize on the post-Abbottabad anti-US sentiments in Pakistan to drive a wedge between Pakistan and the US. Chinese analysts stressed the importance of continuing Pakistani counter-terrorism co-operation with the US on the one side and with China on the other.

5. During his meeting with Gilani, Hu promised to increase cooperation with Pakistan on fighting terrorism and cross-border crimes in a bid to create a sound security environment for the economic and social development of both countries. Hu expressed his appreciation of Pakistan’s contribution in the fight against terrorism, and said China would promote security dialogue and coordination with Pakistan. He said China would join Pakistan in the fight against drug trafficking, cross-border crimes and the "three evil forces"--terrorism, extremism and splittism.

6. Pakistani journalists who had accompanied Gilani have claimed that during his meeting with Gilani, Wen said that Pakistan had made great sacrifices in the global war against terrorism and urged the international community to understand and support Pakistan' s efforts to maintain domestic stability and advance the economic and social development. They also quoted Wen as telling Gilani that "Pakistan' s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected," and as disclosing that China had asked the US to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty, understand its problems, address its concerns and acknowledge the sacrifices rendered by it in the war against terror. China was reported to have made this point to the US during a recent strategic dialogue between the two countries in Washington DC

7. The strong Chinese support for Pakistan on the counter-terrorism issue was also underlined in the joint statement ussued by the two countries at the end of the visit on May 20. The statement inter alia said: “China believes that Pakistan’s efforts for promoting peace and stability in South Asia need to be recognised and supported. The Chinese side recognised the tremendous efforts and great sacrifice that Pakistan has made in fighting terrorism and reiterated its respect and support for Pakistan’s efforts to advance its counter-terrorism strategy and safeguard its security.”

8. In a commentary on the visit carried on May 18, the Party-controlled “People’s Daily” said: “Due to special causes in various aspects, such as historical and tribal influences, the "three forces" headed by the "East Turkistan Islamic Movement" have existed for a long time in the tribal areas at the Pakistani-Afghan border. However, China has always respected Pakistan's sovereignty when combating the "three forces" jointly with Pakistan and understands Pakistan's enormous sacrifices and significant contributions in the forefront of the international fight against terrorism. Pakistan has also always supported China's sovereignty and territorial integrity in major issues related to the Taiwan region, Tibet Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.”

9. In a commentary published on May 20 in the Government-controlled “China Daily”, Han Hua, associate professor at Peking University's School of International Studies, said : “Instead of creating a gulf in relations, the death of bin Laden has offered a chance to Pakistan, the US and China to work together to combat terrorism. After all, the three countries' anti-terrorism mission is still very much on.”

10. Thus, the following points relating to the Chinese position have come out loud and clear from the visit:
• China welcomes the death of OBL as a result of the US raid.
• Despite the success of the raid which was organized unilaterally by the US, it stresses the importance of respecting Pakistan’s sovereignty.
• Pakistan’s failure to detect the presence of OBL at Abbottabad does not detract from the sacrifices made by it in the war against terrorism. These sacrifices have to be recognized.
• China has no intention to capitalize on the US misgivings about Pakistan to wean Pakistan away from the US.
• Continuing counter-terrorism co-operation between Pakistan and the US would benefit the war against global terrorism which continues despite OBL’s death

11.Though India has not figured in any of the statements and reports emanating from China on Gilani’s visit, reading between the lines one could infer that Pakistan’s concerns over its ability to prevent any Indian air intrusions into Pakistan must have figured in the discussions. The reported Chinese agreement to expedite the supply of 50 JF-17 Thunder aircraft to the Pakistan Air Force during the next six months strengthens this inference.

12.The “Daily Times” of Lahore has commented on this as follows in its report: “According to official sources, these aircraft will be equipped with sophisticated avionics. Not only will the aircraft be handed over within weeks, China will also foot the bill initially. Although Pakistan and China have been jointly developing this multirole combat aircraft in the past, in the aftermath of the US operation in Abbottabad, serious questions have been raised about Pakistan’s defence capabilities. According to a strategic expert, the speedy delivery of 50 pieces of this aircraft, originally to be done over two years, is expected to allay apprehensions of not only the Pakistani public but will also send a message to the world that Pakistan’s defence is not weak. It might be remembered that not only has the Indian military chief speculated on the possibility of a US-style strike from the Indian side to take out jihadi outfits in Pakistan, there has been escalation on the Pakistan-India border near Sialkot recently. Also, observers believe that in a situation when the speculations are rife that Pakistan may not be able to resist another US attack inside its territory if it so decides, this agreement will send a clear message to the world on which side China stands.” ( 22-5-11)

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

Friday, May 20, 2011



In March, our Ministry of Home Affairs had given to its Pakistani counterpart a list of 50 terrorists----Indian as well as Pakistani nationals--- who were suspected to have been involved in acts of terrorism in India. The Pakistani authorities were requested to have them arrested and handed over to India for trial.

India had been giving such lists to Pakistan ever since the Khalistani terrorists hijacked some aircraft of the Indian Airlines to Pakistan in the 1980s. Initially, the lists included mostly the names of Khalistani terrorists who were operating from Pakistan. Subsequently, the lists were expanded in the 1990s to include the names of some terrorists from Jammu & Kashmir and the absconding accused of the 1993 blasts in Mumbai, including Dawood Ibrahim and his associates.

Till about 2004, this list had a total of about 20 names. It has since expanded to 50 due to the search for the absconding accused in post-2004 jihadi acts of terrorism. Pakistan used to deny the presence of any Indian national in its territory. In respect of the Pakistani nationals figuring in the Indian lists, its response used to be that India had not been able to produce any evidence regarding their involvement in terrorism.

This exercise had been going on for nearly 30 years without Pakistan taking any action to trace those wanted by India and arresting and handing them over. Before handing them over to Pakistan, the lists used to be vetted by a joint committee consisting of officers of all agencies and the State Police. A senior officer of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) used to chair this committee. The representatives of the State Police were required to confirm that the lists were correct.

No errors in the preparation of these lists had occurred in the past due to the systematic vetting of the lists by all agencies sitting jointly for the purpose before handing them over to Pakistan.

This procedure does not appear to have been followed in the case of the latest list of 50 wanted terrorists. As a result, the names of at least two suspects, who had been arrested in India and hence were not absconding, found their way into the list which showed them as hiding in Pakistan.

The US naval commando raid into the hide-out of Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad on May 2 and his death during the raid have given rise to considerable criticism in the US regarding the alleged role of Pakistan in sheltering wanted terrorists. Presumably to capitalize on the growing public criticism of Pakistan for giving shelter to terrorists, the MHA apparently decided to make the latest list available to the media in order to highlight Pakistan’s non-cooperation in tracing and arresting terrorists wanted in India.

Journalists of the “Times of India” and NDTV, who scrutinized the list, found out that two of the terrorists shown in the list as hiding in Pakistan were actually in India.

This has created considerable embarrassment for the Govt. of India. Though there was no mala fide intention on the part of the MHA, its failure to detect these errors before the list was handed over to Pakistan indicated a certain casualness in the maintenance of records relating to absconding accused in the Govt. of India and in the preparation of the list. The usual process of vetting of the list by a joint committee of the officers of the agencies and the Police was apparently not followed.

There was an unwise haste in preparing the list, handing it over to Pakistan and releasing it to the media in order to capitalize on the growing suspicions in the international community about Pakistan’s non-cooperation in counter-terrorism.

The embarrassment faced by the Government of India cannot be easily undone. The professional and diplomatic faux pas is likely to damage the reliability of our professional standards regarding investigation and documentation. It is going to take us some time to have the damage to our credibility repaired.

The episode will also enable Pakistan to reinforce its argument that Indian allegations of Pakistani support to terrorism are motivated propaganda and hence cannot be relied upon.

Three corrective steps are required to avoid a repeat of this embarrassment. Firstly, to act against the officers who have contributed to this embarrassment by their sins of commission and omission. Secondly, to revamp the process for the preparation of such documents in future to rule out errors. Thirdly, to avoid undue haste in preparing such lists and going to the media with them, in the hope of thereby embarrassing Pakistan.

If the international community has to be convinced about the correctness of our allegations against Pakistan, it must develop confidence in the reliability of our documentation and in our due diligence process in preparing such dossiers. ( 20-5-11)

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

Thursday, May 19, 2011


My tweets (@ramthink ) of this morning on P.Chidambaram, the Union Home Minister, in the wake of the embarrassing faux pas regarding two terrorist suspects, who are in India, being shown in a dossier given to Pakistan as hiding in Pakistan. To be read from bottom upwards. B.Raman

the system to go to seeds.Supervision shockingly poor. So is co-ordination in key matters.His professional leadership no longer legendary..
3 minutes ago

His mediocrity seen in way he has allowed agencies deteriorate administratively & failed to co-ordinate them.He has allowed CONTD
6 minutes ago

Today's PC is intriguing mixture of brilliance & mediocrity.His brilliance seen in way he has kept agencies on their toes operationallyCON
6 minutes ago

A man of tremendous command & control.A man of very great attention to detail.A supervisor par excellence. A no nonsense type.CONT
11 minutes ago

When I was in service I had closely interacted with PC. He handled CT & VIP security. Used to attend his weekly meetings.A pleasure.CONT

Wednesday, May 18, 2011



More than two years after the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai and the setting-up of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Government of India continues to have a shoddy counter-terrorism data-base.

2. That is the inevitable conclusion from the current controversy over an embarrassing professional and diplomatic faux pas relating to the alleged inclusion of the name of Wazhul Kamar Khan, a terrorism suspect living on bail with his family in Thane in Maharashtra, in a list of 50 terrorism suspects allegedly enjoying sanctuary in Pakistan. This list was reportedly given by the Government of India to the Interior Ministry of Pakistan some weeks ago and had remained a secret till now. This list was released to the media by the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India after the Abbottabad raid by US naval commandos, which led to the death of Osama bin Laden. The belated release of the list was seen by many as an attempt by our Home Ministry to step up pressure on Pakistan to act against terrorism suspects wanted in India and allegedly sheltered in Pakistan.

3. The fact that Wazhul Kamar Khan's name was mistakenly included in the list was discovered not by the counter-terrorism agencies of India or Pakistan, but by Mateen Hafeez, a well-reputed journalist of the " Times of India". His investigative report was carried by the paper on May 17,2011.Our MHA and retired officers of the intelligence and investigating agencies appearing in TV debates have uncomfortably tied themselves in knots in trying to explain away or rationalise this faux pas. They have been projecting it as a clerical or human error, which does sometimes take place in Government and urging that one should not make a mountain of a mole hil and captalise on this unfortunate error to discredit our agencies.

4. There is nothing mala fide about the inclusion of the name of this suspect. It was not an instance of a fabrication of evidence against him or Pakistan in an attempt to fix Pakistan. At the same time, this error indicates serious deficiencies in our counter-terrorism data-base which should cause concern to our policy-makers. It would also cause concern to the international intelligence and investigating community and add to the suspicions that they already have about the credibility of our investigation process and about our allegations regarding Pakistan giving shelter to Indian terrorists.

5. Our credibility as professional counter-terrorism experts will be weakened by this serious error. A terrorism suspect had been arrested in Maharashtra. He had been gven bail by a court. He was living with his family. And, yet, the Government of India in New Delhi was not aware of it and its data-base indicated that he had been sheltered in Pakistan. That is why his name found its way into the dossier given to Pakistan.

6. At the time the dossier was prepared for being handed over to Pakistan, none any of the agencies of the Government of India or of the Government of Maharashtra would appear to have detected this embarrassing mistake. This would clearly show that there was no co-ordination in the preparation of the dossier. Nor was there any effective supervision of the process and any proper vetting of the dossier before the decision to hand it over to Pakistan was taken. In our anxiety to embarrass Pakistan, the whole exercise seems to have been handled in a very casual manner.

7. Other countries would be greatly concerned by this faux pas and by our casual approach for one very important reason. After the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, there was a demand in India for a retaliatory strike on the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan from which these attacks had emanated. The Government of Dr.Manmohan Singh managed to resist the demand from some sections of the public for a retaliatory strike.

8.If there is another 26/11 ( God forbid), the demand for a retalitory strike against the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan could be revived. For such a strike to be effective, it has to be based on an accurate data-base of the infrastructure in Pakistan. If this incident indicates the shoddy state of our data-base, by ordering a retaliatory strike on the basis of a shoddy data-base we might create a messy situation and find ourselves in an indefensible position before the international community.

9. Instead of minimising the implications of the faux pas and dismissing it as a human error sometimes unavoidable, we must tale the matter much more seriously than we seem to be doing so far, try to find out how the whole thing happened and take the required corrective action. Our reputation as professional CT experts is at stake in the eyes of the international community. ( 19-5-11)

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



I completed my quarterly anti-cancer evaluation on May 18,2011, after undergoing a series of lab tests ---blood, urine, ultrasound of the entire abdomen, chest X-ray etc--- since May12. At the end of them all, I had my seventh quarterly shot.

2. The progress is encouraging. My body has been responding well to the therapy and tolerating it without any major side effects. Twenty months after the cancer was detected, it has remained confined to the urinary tract and is showing no tendency to spread outside. Even in the urinary tract, it is showing signs of shrinking. My prostate, where the roots initially appeared, is free of them now. My doc told me today that the big-size, high-grade cancer in my prostate has miraculously disappeared.The lab had mentioned in the report that there is a lesion in my bladder, which needed investigation. The doc feels that it could be the scar left by the diagnostic procedure which he had done in October 2009. He would wait for a few months more before coming to any conclusion. My next hospital visit will be on August 18. I have been advised to continue with the hormonal therapy as before.

3. I feel happy. I feel good. But I am avoiding any feelings of exaltation. As one reaches the age of 75, the health gets into a zig-zag mode, whatever be the illness. One can never say when a zig can turn into a zag and vice versa.

4. Keep going so long as the going is good. I have been leading a normal life from the day the cancer was detected 20 months ago. The only two changes I have made are to drastically cut down my drinking ---only on social occasions now --- and to avoid foreign travels. The doc has been encouraging me for over a year now to resume my foreign travels. He has repeated the recommendation. Will decide in July.

5. Let me thank all of you in the real world of flesh and blood as well as in the world of tweets who have held my hand in these months. God bless all of you. (18-5-11)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011



The May 16,2011, issue of the "Global Times" of China, which is controlled by the Communist Party of China, has carried an utterly delightful article on the state of journalism in China. Many of the telling observations in the article apply with equal validity to the state of journalism in India. I am annexing below the text of the article. (18-5-11)


Journalism trapped in web of special interests

Source: Global Times
May 16 2011]

By Li Xiguang

Like me, many people in China decided to become journalists because they had neither the brains for math and logic nor the talent to be doctors and engineers.

The moment for me to decide becoming a journalist came in the summer of 1982 when I had just graduated from university and was assigned to work with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

One day, Professor Qian Sanqiang, the father of the Chinese atomic bomb, asked me to go to the Indian embassy, acting as an interpreter at the dinner. During the dinner, the Indian ambassador stood up and gave a speech. He said, "Standing in front of Qian Sanqiang, I feel so humble. He knows everything about nothing but I know nothing about everything."

I was totally confused and did not know how to translate the sentence into Chinese.

Later, a particle physicist explained to me that "nothing" here referred to dark matter, a substance inferred to exist from gravitational effects on background radiation. Dark matter constitutes 80 percent of the matter in the universe, while ordinary matter makes up only 20 percent.

At that moment, it was not just the Indian ambassador who felt humble in front of science, but me, a formerly self-conceited young man.

My fiasco in translating the word "nothing" was a decisive moment for me to leave the scientific community and enter the unscientific world of journalism.

Journalism in China is certainly unscientific. Perhaps it's even pseudo-scientific. Reporters are like the blind men groping at the elephant, only seeing part of the picture.

Since today's Chinese society is divided into different interest groups fighting for political power, the media have become a propaganda weapon serving different political and economic camps. These mouthpieces rely upon the "worthy sources" from their political camps for reporting. For example, the media love victim stories. But in most victim stories, the victim should be in "our camp." The victim should not be in "our enemy's camp."

Most media pay little attention to events that aren't deemed newsworthy, however important or truthful. Only stories that capturereaders and sell the newspapers are seen as worthy. War is a story, and peace isn't.

Many Chinese journalists act like judge of truth. Reporting the truth has always been a high-sounding motto for both journalists and journalism educators.

But who gives the media the right to be the arbitrator? Do journalists have the scientific ability to judge the truth or report a truthful story?

In news coverage of big events in China today, reporters are working under the pressure from their audience, advertisers, investors and their political bosses. They can't escape these forms of control.

Many Chinese media outlets pretend to be neutral. But their so-called objective reporting is pseudo-balance and pseudo-neutrality.

If you watch some Chinese TV talk shows, you see those star TV anchors invite their imagined enemy into their talk shows and set him or her up to be ridiculed or shouted at by their audience to achieve dramatic effect.

Good journalism means giving equal broadcast time and newspaper space to reports from the other camp so that your audience will get to know how their imagined enemies are talking and thinking.

But in Chinese journalism practice, no one could survive by being neutral. Chinese editors know it too well that it is a suicide to be objective or neutral in reporting because all media, whether CCTV, Phoenix TV or Southern Weekend, must meet the needs of their audiences and their financial and political supporters with their anticipated news and views.

In an informed society, people have the right to know who is behind the media in creating and spreading rumors and to whose benefit public anger being manipulated. But in China today, the media is run like the mafia, and one never knows who is behind it. There is no media transparency in China.

Many journalists would argue that the goal of a free press is reporting truth. But where is the truth in journalism? Perhaps it only exists in theoretical physics.

The author is a professor of journalism at Tsinghua University Center for International Communication



A dangerous mix of humiliation and desperation is the prevailing mood in the Pakistani Armed Forces and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden in a clandestine chopper-borne raid conducted by US naval commandos on a huge house next to the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) at Abbottabad in the Khyber Pakhtoonkwa province.

2. The humiliation of the ISI arises from the fact that OBL was living undetected at Abbottabad for over five years. The international community and large sections of public opinion in Pakistan itself believe that without the complicity or the silent connivance of the ISI he could not have lived that long in that area.

3. In his secret testimony before an in-camera session of the Pakistan Parliament on May 13, Lt.Gen.Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the Director-General of the ISI, tried to shift part of the blame for this huge intelligence failure on to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Police, both of which come under the control of the Ministry of the Interior. His efforts have failed following allegations by leaders and officials of the Khyber Pakhtoonkwa province that the responsibility for intelligence collection and security in garrison towns vested exclusively in the ISI and that the IB and the Police had no role in the matter.

4. The humiliation of the Armed Forces has arisen from the fact that neither the Pakistan Air Force ( PAF) nor the Army was able to detect and prevent the intrusion of the US choppers into the Abbottabad area to kill OBL and escape with his body and a large quantity of documents, computer material and other evidence which could ultimately help the US intelligence , inter alia, to trace the links of OBL with influential people in the Pakistani civil society and the Government.

5. Even though the Armed Forces and the ISI have managed to force the political leadership into expressing its solidarity with them despite their shocking sins of commission and omission, their credibility has been badly damaged in the eyes of the people of the country as well as of the international community.

6.The Army and the ISI have thus far managed to avoid any out-of-house enquiry into the huge intelligence failure that could have arisen from suspected complicity of serving and retired officers of the ISI. The only comprehensive enquiry by an independent commission to which they have agreed is into the security failure which enabled the US to conduct its spectacular commando raid right under the nose of the Army and the Air Force.

7. The vaunted professional reputation of the Army, the Air Force and the ISI is in ruins. The desperation seen is in salvaging the severely damaged reputation in the eyes of the Pakistani people and junior and medium level officers of the Armed Forces. There is a danger of the military and the ISI leadership concluding that without an external adventure against India they may not be able to salvage their reputation and restore the morale of the Armed Forces and the ISI at junior and senior levels.

8. The Government of India should be alert to the danger of such an adventure directed against India through the usual surrogates of the ISI such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba ( LET), or the so-called 303 Brigade of Ilyas Kashmiri or other anti-India jihadi organizations. The Pakistan Army and the ISI might calculate that re-kindling acts of terrorism against India in J&K and outside might benefit them in two ways. Firstly, to salvage their reputation and restore the morale of their personnel. Secondly, to direct the anger of the LET and other jihadi organizations towards India instead of towards the Pakistani Armed Forces.

9. The jihadi organizations seem to suspect that the spectacular raid at Abbottabad by the US commandos might not have been possible without the knowledge, if not the complicity, of the Armed Forces. This anger against the Armed Forces among the jihadi organizations has already led to two simultaneous acts of suicide terrorism by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against a group of young recruits to the Frontier Constabulary, a para-military unit, on the day they completed their training in a training centre in the Charsaddha District of the Khyber Pakhtoonkwa province.

10. To avoid more such attacks on the Pakistani security forces, the anger of the jihadi organizations may be diverted towards India. There is considerable anger against the US in the Pakistani Armed Forces as well as the civil society. This anger could dilute the ability of the US Government to exercise any restraining influence over such adventurous actions directed against India.

11. The prevailing mindset among senior officers was evident from a reported claim of Pasha before the in-camera session of the Parliament that any Abbottabad-like attack by India would invite a befitting response from Pakistan as targets inside India "had already been identified" and "rehearsal" carried out. It was likely he was indulging in bravado, but one should not minimize the danger of the Pakistani Armed Forces and the ISI provoking border incidents in order to give themselves an opportunity for a retaliatory strike against India. There is a need to mobilize and step up our intelligence collection efforts so that we are not taken by surprise.

12. The spectacular chopper-borne commando raid would be studied not only by the special forces groups of other countries, but also by terrorist organizations in order to see whether similar chopper borne raids could be organized on our territory. Indian targets which could be vulnerable to chopper-borne commando style raids have to be identified and action taken to reduce their vulnerability. (17-5.11)

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

Monday, May 16, 2011



Here are my replies to three questions received from a British journalist:

Thanks for your E-mail. Here are my replies to your three questions. Regards. B.Raman

1. How important is this trial for those who watch the India-Pak relationship. Are we really going to learn something new?

Answer:In the case of Headley, who has made a detailed plea bargain fully admitting his role in connection with the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai and the planned terrorist strike in Copenhagen, we are unlikely to learn anything new during the trial. In the case of Rana, he has not made a confession and hence is not the beneficiary of a plea bargain. We already know a lot about his role based on the confessions made by Headley and the FBI's interceptions of Rana's phone conversations. What we do not know as yet is what defence Rana is going to take. Media reports emanating from Chicago on April 12,2011, had indicated that his main defence would be that he had no links with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and hence he was not involved in terrorism. At the same time, it was reported, he would admit his links with the ISI and his performing some tasks in India at the instance of the ISI.His defence would most probably be that his helping the ISI would not amount to his helping LET terrorism If he takes up such a defence, as reported in the media, we may get a little more about the ISI's role in addition to what has already come out.

2. Manmohan Singh has gone out of his way to reach out to the Pakistanis; do you believe those efforts could be undermined by any revelations from the trial?

Answer: I do not expect the Chicago trial to have any impact on Dr.Manmohan Singh's peace initiative towards Pakistan. He took the initiative in the last week of March. By that time, the Govt. of India had already known what Headley had been saying. It might have already been told by the FBI of what Rana might be telling the court. The fact that MMS took the peace initiative in spite of the considerable details regarding the role of the ISI already known at that time would indicate that he may not allow the Chicago trial to come in the way of the peace process

3. How possible is it for there to be good relations between India and Pakistan while the military continues to back militant groups.

Answer:The Pakistani military and the ISI are not going to give up the use of the LET and other anti-India jihadi organisations as strategic weapons against India so long as they don't achieve their objective of forcing India to agree to a change of the status quo in J & K. The Govt. of India knows fully well that the end of Pakistani sponsorship of anti-India terrorism is not for tomorrow. I do not expect any renunciation of this weapon by Pakistan at least for another five to 10 years.What India would be hoping for is that even if Pakistan continues to retain this weapon of terrorism, it will refrain from using it so long as it sees the peace process as moving forward. The hope would be that a tactical process of incremental improvements in bilateral relations could ultimately acquire a strategic dimension, resulting in Pakistan giving up the sponsorship of terrorism. Many skeptics of MMS policies feel that his expectations would be belied. His skeptics would want a flexible peace process to go side by side with a robust, activist counter-terrorism response. MMS appears to be disinclined to accept any advice for a robust and activist counter-terrorism response to give teeth to the peace process.



All eyes in Pakistan are on the four-day visit to China from May 17,2011, by Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani. The dates of the visit were finalized some weeks ago to enable him to participate in the year-long observance of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. It has since acquired special significance in the eyes of Pakistani analysts as it is taking place at a time when Pakistan has come under severe criticism in the US for failing to detect the presence of Osama bin Laden for over five years at Abbottabad, the cradle of the Pakistan Army, where the Pakistan Military Academy is located. OBL was killed by helicopter-borne US naval commandos on May 2.

2.According to Chinese sources, the documents and computer records seized by the raiding party at OBL’s residence do not appear to have yielded any evidence so far to indicate that Osama was in touch with any of the Pakistani agencies. However, the examination of the records and computer documents is still on. In the meanwhile, the Pakistani political leadership, at the urging of the Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has kept the focus more on the security failure which enabled the US naval commandos to raid OBL’s place without being detected by the Pakistan Air Force and the Army than on the intelligence failure that enabled OBL to live at Abbottabad for over five years.

3. The anger over the clandestine US raid has been widespread in Pakistan and has led to demands for a re-examination of Pakistan’s relations with the US and of the intelligence and counter-terrorism co-operation between the intelligence agencies of the two countries. A resolution passed during an in camera session of the two Houses of the Pakistan Parliament on May 13 has also reportedly threatened to stop the flow of logistic supplies to the NATO forces in Afghanistan from the Karachi port if the US continued with the Drone (pilotless plane) strikes in the two Waziristans and carried out any more unilateral raids by its commandos in other parts of Pakistan.

4. According to reliable Pakistani sources, Gilani is expected to raise with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao two issues which were not originally on the agenda---namely, the possibility of an increase in Chinese economic assistance to enable Pakistan to resist the US pressure and Chinese military assistance for the strengthening of the air defences near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Even though Pakistan Air Force officials have attributed the non-detection of the intrusion of the US choppers to the USA’s superior stealth technology, there is also a feeling that the air defences on the Afghan border were not as good as they are on the Indian border and hence there is a need to strengthen them.

5. In the present estranged atmosphere, the US is unlikely to help Pakistan in this regard. The Pakistani sources say that Gilani is expected to request the Chinese for urgent assistance in this connection. Pakistani expectations of an enhanced Chinese role to enable Pakistan to reduce its dependence on the US have put the Chinese in an embarrassing position. Though they would like to oblige Pakistan to the extent possible, they would not like to do anything which could come in the way of the fresh initiatives under way for improving China’s military-military relationship with the US.

6. After a gap of seven years, Gen.Chen Bingde, the Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) , is on a week-long visit to the US from May 15. The Chinese would not like any jarring note in the military-military relations with the US during Gen.Chen’s visit due to any special gesture shown by them to Pakistan. The Chinese are also keen that the US Drone strikes should continue since some of the strikes in the past were directed at the training camps of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) in the Waziristans, which were also training Uighur jihadis from the Chinese-controlled Xinjiang province of China.

7. Since the May 2 Abbottabad raid, the Chinese have maintained a high level of oral support for Pakistan on the counter-terrorism issue, highlighting the sacrifices allegedly made by the Pakistani security forces in the fight against jihadi terrorism. At the same time, they have avoided any dramatic gestures of a concrete nature such as increasing significantly their economic assistance to Pakistan or giving additional military assistance.

8. While they may give some concrete assistance of a limited nature during Gilani’s visit, they are likely to advise Pakistan to cool it and not to let its relations with the US and its counter-terrorism co-operation with the US reach a breaking point. ( 16-5-11)

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