Breaking India by means of proxy war by Pakistan and China?by opinion express December 1, 2016 0 comments
The insurgencies that impacted the Indian landscape till early this decade were generally in isolation. Though, they like all insurgencies had external links, the internal linkages between them were at best tenuous. The Khalistan insurgency could be extinguished because of its unidimensional nature. It was confined to a specific geographic area and was supported by a specific group of people, easy to identify. Their cadre base was low.
The Kashmir militancy had not fully reared its head. The ISI patronage and support was well known. The pioneering ideologues of the movement were based abroad and did not belong to the segment of the community, which provided the foot soldiers. The objective of the insurgency was to carve out another theocratic state. The same can be said about insurgencies in the Northeast (NE). They too were supported by China, but in a manner that the deniability factor could be maintained. A separate country was their objective and not the destruction of the Indian state. The acts of terrorism in these insurgencies were to intimidate the local populace and preempt any support to the security forces.
Over the years, there is fusion of insurgency and terrorism. It first took the shape of proxy war with territorial objectives. Therefore, when the Indian Security establishment was faced with the Kargil misadventure, it initially appeared bewildered because it could not appreciate that a low intensity conflict could assume the shape of a conflict, which was constricted in limit and scope due to internal and external considerations and pressures. The overall military superiority that India enjoyed vis-a-vis Pakistan could not deter the latter.
Convergence of Terror
The proxy war waged by Pakistan and China are now converging on Delhi. This proxy war has various terrorist groups as its main tool. The main instruments of this war are none other but some Indians who are allured by ideology or money or both. They have been convinced that India in its present form is a demonic state and needs to be destroyed.
The Maoists, Pakistan based terrorist groups, and terrorist groups in Northeast, Punjab and J&K are now in collaboration. They have forged a nexus for training, procurement of arms, establishing external linkages and providing safe havens to each other. They are leveraging on one another’s strength and to reach their common objective is to destroy the Indian State.
When the Army Chief talks about a two front situation, he must realize that India is already facing a multi front situation in terms of proxy war being waged by China, Pakistan and other inimical powers. This multi front proxy war is rendering the country hollow from within. The inimical elements within the country are debilitating both our military resolve and our conventional capability.
The security of a country is the harmony between internal security and external security. Pakistan is collapsing because it always viewed internal security from the prism of external security. India on the other hand has been notorious in ignoring the external dimensions of internal security problems and treating them as that of law and order. If the Maoists, who are tramplingthe heart of India, and the Pak sponsored jihadis of Kashmir as well as terrorists groups in Punjab, and the China backed insurgent groups of Northeast, who have been trying to severe the head and limbs respectively, are now acting in concert, the internal security situation is grim.
A Super Power like the Soviet Union with its massive military capability, collapsed because it could not harmonize internal security with external security. India must not repeat the mistake. The Indian Army must revisit its threat perception and the very definition of ‘enemy’.
Joint terrorist training camps
The arrest of two Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) leaders of Manipur Arun Kumar Singh and Dalip Singh in October 2011 exposed the emerging links between the militant organizations in the NE, Kashmir, Let, and the Maoists. They revealed the ongoing effort on part of these groups to form a ‘Strategic United Front’ since they had the common objective to overthrow the Indian government. They reckon that it is only collectively that they would be able to take on the might of the Indian State. They also revealed the plans of setting up a ‘Joint Training Camp’ in Myanmar. The Times of India on 08 October 2011 quoted official sources “ISI and PLA are in touch and supply Maoists with arms. They are supposedly using China as the alternative route.”
The official sources also claim to have photographic evidence of Maoist cadres from six Indian states being trained by the PLA of Manipur, in Orissa and Jharkhand.This author has learnt through top intelligence sources that the Chinese have supplied a weapon manufacturing facility to the Kachin Insurgents in Myanmar. This facility is manufacturing replicas of AK-47, which is being supplied to all terrorist groups in India including the Maoists.
The latest recovery of explosives from a car on 12 October 2011 has also exposed the links between ISI, Lashkar- e-Toiba and Babbar Khalsa. Their objective was to target Delhi.
Taking into consideration, the seizures made by the security forces in the last few years, two important facts emerge – first, that Babbar Khalsa, the militant outfit, which carried out the killing of the Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh has been under the revival mode, under the patronage of ISI, and second, that the organization has no dearth of sophisticated arms and explosives supplied by the ISI.
The revival of Babbar Khalsa and Khalistan insurgency received impetus after the creation of the Pakistan Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee under the Chairmanship of Lt Gen Javed Nassir, former ISI chief. He is instrumental in forging the link between LeT and the Babbar Khalsa.
In October 2010, the Indian government had alleged that the Maoists of Nepal (PLA) had been imparting training to Indian Maoists on Nepal’s soil. Further, the Maoists were receiving training from LeT instructors in these camps. There was information of 234 Maoists training in Nepal under the supervision of Naxalite leaders like Vinod Gurung, Prakash Mehto and LeT members like Razak Khan and Latif Khan, who hail from Karachi.
In August 2010, Karnataka and Andhra Police, following four arrests in Hyderabad and two in Bangalore that the ISI through the ‘D-company’ had managed to establish links with the Maoists terrorists in the country. There were plans to invite Maoist leaders to Dubai to coordinate terrorist activities in India.
The spearheads of the modern terror network are people, who enjoy or have been conferred respectability by way of international awards or member- ship of NGOs ostensibly engaged in public cause. Some of these ideologues are active in forging links between various military groups. A noted Human Right activist, based on telephonic intercepts, has come under the scanner of intelligence agencies for trying to bring together various terrorist groups at the behest of Pakistan.
Even in the national capital the ideologues of the Maoists, Kashmiri and NE separatists have come together on a common platform on many occasions. Their agenda is common, i.e. to weaken the resolve of the Indian State to fight terrorism. It is in this backdrop that their diatribes against the state, the security forces, and the Armed Forces Special Power Act should be viewed. This Act, they feel is the most robust tool in preserving the unity of India.
The Maoist agenda
It is pertinent to note that when Anna’s agitation was at its peak, the eternal fast of Sharmila Irom of Manipur, was consistently highlighted. The focus was not she, but the removal of Armed Forces Special Power Act from Manipur. One of the active members during the agitation is known for his ULFA links. During the same period, the so called Lawyer civil activist and core member of the Team Anna, in one of the television channels, had categorically stated that the days of elected representatives are over, thereby implying that the India must jettison multiparty democracy.
He was only articulating the Maoist agenda. He also had then spoken that it is the Kashmiris who should decide whether they want to be part of India or not. Such was the hysteria during that period that these statements were lost in the din and did not receive adequate attention. The same gentleman has now advocated plebiscite in Kashmir and repealing of the Armed Forces Special Power Act.
One of the members of the Team of interlocutors on Kashmir has enjoyed the hospitality of Fai Foundation, headed by Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai the face of the Kashmir separatist cause in the United States. The Fai Foundation is funded by the ISI. It was a foregone conclusion that the team of interlocutors would recommend more autonomy for Kashmir. The timing of the submission of the report and utterances of the lawyer is not a mere coincidence.
The most formidable spearheads for convergence of terror in India are there in the media and amongst people who fancy to be called as intellectuals. The ‘terrorism economy’ is also formidable and has the ability to sustain some big media houses and other public platforms. They decry the Indian State, but ‘Misuse the Freedom of Speech’.
The entire region in the surround of India is in unprecedented geopolitical flux. The US-Pakistan strategic partnership, which ensured the survivability of the latter since its inception is now under tremendous strain, arguably on the verge of collapse. The internal problems of Pakistan seem to be intractable. The specter of the country’s split is haunting. Pakistan’s strategic maneuvre space is getting increasingly constricted. The conventional tools available in the hands of Pakistan in leadership to alter the dangerous geopolitical discourse are in disarray or blunted.
It is not India, but Pakistan’s machinations in Kashmir and Afghanistan,which has brought the country to this juncture. The emerging strategic partnership between India and the US, and India and Afghanistan has unnerved a tottering Pakistan. The only recourse available to Pakistan is to destabilize India by leveraging on all terrorist groups, i.e. the Maoists, who are active in one-third of India, and the terrorist groups in Kashmir, Punjab, Northeast, and Pak based terrorist groups and crime syndicate of the Dawood Ibrahim.
In this there is a congruency of interests between Pakistan and China. China too is not comfortable with the Indo-US strategic partnership and consequently the direction of the geopolitical discourse in the region. It has very high strategic stakes in Pakistan as well as in the Indian Ocean, particularly in the Bay of Bengal, where it is seeking presence by way of ports on Myanmar’s western coast for convenient supply of oil from Gulf for its energy needs. It is for this reason that China is engaged in thwarting India’s ‘Look East’ outreach by increasingly brazen sup- port to Northeast terrorist groups and the Maoists.
The convergence of Pakistan and China backed terror and spearheaded by the ideologues has dangerous portends for India. While the aim of this terror is to paralyze India, its main focus is shifting to its heart, i.e. the National Capital. In all probability terrorist attacks in India are likely to become more vicious, more deadly, more wide- spread and more frequent. This proxy war has disastrous economic consequences. There is a thriving parallel terrorist economy. The Maoists are disrupting train services at will. Bandhs orchestrated by Maoists are having crippling effect on the economy and the livelihood of the people.
Corporate houses are paying ransom to the Maoists because the State cannot enforce its writ in large chunks of the hinterland. The Maoists menace is making thermal power plants starve for coal. India is becoming a dangerous place on this earth. Investors are being deterred. The Indian state machinery has become inured to the insecurity of the people. It probably feels that time itself will resolve the problem. The internal war against terror is being fought in a disjointed and half-hearted manner. The resolve mechanism and instruments to fight this convergence of terror is in disarray.
If this war is not won, India despite its conventional war making capability, will collapse. We are fighting the war with wrong tools, wrong mindset, and misplaced ideas of war, oscillating between law and order approach and internal security approach. While there is convergence of various terrorist groups, the Indian authorities have a compartmentalized approach on the specious argument of federalism. It’s a war and given its import and spread, the internal enemies can only be defeated, if the Indian Army is in the forefront.
– RSN Singh (The writer is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also Associate Editor, Indian Defence Review.)