Why is India under attack?

Samba AttackBY RSN SINGH

Why is India under unremitting attack from Pakistan? Does the dispensation have the gumption to answer this straight question in any straight forward manner? In its answer lies the solution to proxy war being waged by Pakistan. It is not just ‘territory’, the honest answer would contain some ‘non-territorial’ reasons, politically dreadful and explosive.

Terrorists attacked an Armoured Unit in Samba in the morning of 26 September. The Second-in-Command (2IC) Lt Col Bikramjeet Singh was killed and the Commanding Officer Colonel Avin Uthaiya received bullet injuries. There was another attack on a police station at Kathua. At least twelve people were killed and four injured in the twin terror attacks. The usual suspect is the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), rather its latest ruse, Shohada Brigade. These attacks were in the region,  located in proximity to the International Boundary (IB), not the least disputed. Simultaneously, from across the Line of Control (LoC) there was brazen infiltration bid in the Keran Sector by at least 30 Pakistan-based militants of which a dozen were eliminated by the Indian Army.

An Act of War!

The attack thus emanating from Pakistan’s soil addressed both the LoC and the IB. The simultaneity and the coordination of the attacks separated by hundreds of kilometers could not have taken place without the orchestration of the Pakistani dispensation. This constitutes an act of war!

The attack on the armoured unit is a perfect paradigm of “proxy war”. An armoured unit equipped with 45 tanks packs enormous amount of fire-power.  It just took three militants to neutralize it, not on physical but strategic terms. It is seldom that in a conventional war, both the CO and 2IC become casualties. Imagine its ripple effect on the Indian Army. The attack unambiguously demonstrated that conventional military superiority bereft of resolute and patriotic leadership can be paralyzed by a sleazy adversary with cowardly reliance on irregular warfare as a matter of strategic faith.

Proxy war or sub-conventional war affords deniability to the perpetrator. Diplomatic visits and engagements serve tools for deniability and diplomatic reprieve to the perpetrator to perpetuate and calibrate ‘proxy war’. Pakistan has mastered this art and India, a country impoverished of strategic wisdom, has allowed itself to be a confounded victim. The cycle of terror and talks hence continues unabated.

Shamelessly, this time too, the  discourse in the country, specially media ,was not on the strategic enormity of the attacks across IB and LoC, not on the sacrifices made by our security personnel, but on the poser ‘whether PM Manmohan Singh would or should meet his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif’. Remember this was no summit meet but on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. They pretended as if the talks were an end in itself. They did not deem, like in past, and part of strategic script , talks would  further fuel the proxy war being waged by Pakistan.

Negligible Peace Constituency

The decision-makers in India, complicit with incorrigible segment of commentators and media establishment were at pains to distinguish between ‘Nawaz Sharif’, the secular political and democratic ‘face of Pakistan’, and the military-intelligence establishment. They with great elan suggested that the two were at cross purposes. Nawaz Sharif, they maintained was part of the constituency desperate for peace. The latest attacks they construed were to derail the ‘peace process’. Nothing could be farther from truth. There is insignificant peace constituency left in Pakistan.

The support provided by the terror outfit ‘Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’ (LeJ) to Nawaz Sharif in the recent elections is common knowledge. It is also documented that Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab, has provided Rs.61 million budget allocation to Hafiz Saeed in the current fiscal. The Punjab Govt also provided Rs.350 million grant-in-aid to ‘Markaz-e-Taiba’ of Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ul-Dawa (JuD) for setting-up ‘Knowledge Park’. The JuD center, which was located at Murdike on outskirts of Lahore, was taken over by the Punjab government shortly after UN Security Council designated JuD a front of the LeT in the wake of Mumbai attacks. In fact, the police in Punjab let all the LeT leaders escape arrest and only a year later the Shahbaz government approved a grant  one million  US dollars to LeT.

Imran Khan’s Tehreek-i-Insaf not only collaborated with jihadi elements in run-up to the elections but runs the government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with Jamaat-e-Islami. The government has restored the violent jihadi content in the school text books in the province, which was removed by the Awami National Party (ANP), when it came to power in 2008.

The stark reality therefore in Pakistan is that apart from the military-establishment, nearly all mainstream political forces are in truck with the jihadi outfits.

In Pakistan, there could be internal differences between the political class and the military on power sharing, but there is near complete unanimity with regard to jihad and its anti-India objectives. Nawaz Sharif, therefore talking to Indian Prime Minister will always prove to be a regressive affair as far as India’s resolve and capability to tailor the response to proxy war is concerned. Such meetings are meant to manipulate and undermine the meaning and acts of war, something which the Indian political establishment completely, and the military establishment to great extent, have failed to discern. This can be ascribed  primarily to the reason that India unlike Pakistan (since 1947) has never waged proxy war against any country, and therefore it does not realize its military, political ,diplomatic and most critically Intelligence, facets.

Jihadi Subversion of Universities

The Punjab province of Pakistan is now emerging as the new epicenter and base of Jihadis. Lahore, as per some reports, is now the hub of al Qaeda in the country. A communication center of the al Qaeda was busted in Lahore in August this year (read ‘Campus Terror’ by Khalid Ahmed, Indian Express, 27 September 2013). This center operating in the name of ‘International Technical Hub’ was receiving signals from Afghanistan. At least, half a dozen terrorists including women were arrested.

The  Arab funded International Islamic University, Islamabad is the key the ideological nerve-center of global jihad. In fact the father of ‘global jihad’ and  the mentor of Osama bin Laden , the Palestinian, Abdullah Azam taught in this university. The universities in Pakistan, as per Khalid Ahmed, are under complete sway of Islamic Jamaat Taliba (IJT), the student wing of JeI. The Lahore University of Engineering and Technology, where Hafiz Saeed served as a lecturer, is the most formidable stronghold of IJT. The Vice-Chancellor of Punjab University has lamented that the hostels in the university are infested with terrorists, but such is the influence of the IJT with the dispensation that nothing much can be done. Teachers betraying liberal outlook are routinely beaten up by the IJT cadres. The IJT and the JeI members have been providing shelter to al Qaeda elements.

It may be recalled that Sheikh Mohammad, one of the planners of 9/11, was arrested from women’s wing leader of JeI in Rawalpindi. Abu Zubayadah, a Saudi Arabian citizen belonging to the al Qaeda, was arrested in Faisalabad from a shelter given by Hafiz Saeed.

Together Hafiz Saeed’s JuD and the JeI command overwhelming influence on the youth of the country. All shades of jihadi organizations in Punjab, Taliban–Punjabinon-Punjabis as per Mr Khalid,are sustained by Al-Zawahiri’s Arab money, and muscle and purse of JuD. Hafiz Saeed is known for his spiritual links to the founder of al Qaeda, Abdullah Azam.

India Has To Go Alone

The operational links between al Qaeda, ISI, LeT and Taliban is well established. Supposedly, the Mumbai 2611 attack was undertaken by the LeT and its sponsors, only after a similar attack planned against Manhattan (including UN headquarters) was abandoned by al Qaeda  because of the infiltration by CIA in the organisation. Was David Headley, therefore, responsible for shift of target from Manhattan to Mumbai? Headley after all, had infiltrated Al- Qaeda and later LeT and became its key operative. Having known the nuts and bolts of the LeT, why does the US soft -peddle on LeT and Hafiz Saeed? Is it because LeT was raised specifically to target India? The US never targeted LeT with drones or otherwise. There are some reports, which believe that there was a secret understanding between the US and Pakistan with regard to LeT.

There ‘global war against terrorism’ is therefore a fraud scripted by US which is evident from its support to al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra in Syria. The bitter reality is that India will have to fight its jihadi rather proxy war all by itself. The much touted strategic partnership India and the US has only served the interests of the latter.

Punjab: New Global Jihad Epicenter

In a shift from Af-Pak region,the Punjab province of Pakistan is being nurtured by the jihadis of all hues as the base for the fresh jihad to be launched against the Afghan regime and its 3,50,000 strong new Afghan Army for takeover of Afghanistan. The province has been consciously chosen, as the Pashtuns in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Waziristan continue to be in an imbalanced state and the men who constituted the mainstay in the war against Soviet Union and later in support of Taliban regime, have suffered considerable attrition. Punjab province therefore is the new recruiting ground and jihadi hub.

Al-Zawahiri, the present head of al Qaeda, as per some reports, is located in the Punjab province, somewhere in the outskirts of Lahore. The attack in shopping mall in Nairobi,in which nearly 72 people were killed and more than 175 injured, by Al-Shabab group,( affiliate of al Qaeda) and the attack in a Church in Peshawar (72 killed) carried similar signatures as the targets were specifically non-Muslims. There are many Pakistanis apart from Afghans, Iraqis, Yemenese  as well as Europeans in the ranks of Al Shabab. The overall direction is provided by Al-Zawahri.

The audacity of attacks witnessed recently, as per some analysts, suggests a resurgent sense of triumphalism amongst the jihadi groups because of the envisaged withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan. The same sense of invincibility was palpable in the jihadi discourse following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. The series of attacks across the LoC and the IB including the latest in Keran and Samba sector, the attempted ethnic cleansing in Kishtwar, the demand for dismantling the Village Development Committees therein by members in ruling dispensation to facilitate cleansing, the insidious attack on Technical Support Group and the IB, and the devious planting of motivated reports by a bureaucrat in an Indian newspaper, preposterously insinuating a former Army Chief’s designs to dislodge J&K government, appear to be facilitation measures for the Pak sponsored  jihadi project in India, particularly Kashmir. Colluding in this Pak agenda are segments of Indian establishment and press.

As the new global jihadi hub in Punjab grows the heat will be increasingly felt in India. Habib-ur-Rehman, a commander of the LeT, in a meeting of commanders convened recently in Muzaffarabad, exhorted them to carry out attacks in small groups in J&K. The attack therefore in Samba was not an intelligence vacuum. The jihadi threat is not confined to J&K. In this very month, there have been intelligence alerts regarding 26/11 type attacks by LeJ in Delhi and terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and South India.  It is the same LeJ which enjoys effusive patronage of Nawaz Sharif.

Entire India is the Target

Calls made from ten different states including Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra indicate the phenomenon of Indian jihadi volunteers being sent for training with Taliban and al Qaeda. The Popular Front of India (PFI), a South India based organization was reportedly formed at the behest of al Qaeda and LeT. Two years back, four trained PFI cadres were apprehended in Kupwara in J&K. Another Indian from Tamilnaidu Mohammad Niaz Abdul Rashid accused of creating a group for ‘armed jihad’ told his French interrogators that he was part of PFI and was in contact with jihadis in Pakistan. Intriguingly, the PFI  is still not a proscribed organization in India.

The proxy war soldiers and facilitators in India are spread all over the country. The jihadi threat looms all over. No amount of reactive strategies can insulate the people of India from such proxy wars. We will continue to bleed. We may have become blasé or inured because of the incremental destruction and casualties due to the very nature of proxy war, but examined in the totality, the secured space in India is rapidly shrinking even as our precious resources are being increasingly and inexorably being sliced in the name of security, predominantly reactive in character. We have failed to impose any degree of cost and caution on the perpetrator. The proxy war has the ability to neutralize our entire conventional military apparatus. If not immediately bridled it has the potential cause the wreck and cause implosion of the Indian state.

Hit the Nerve Centers

The solution to win the proxy war is to hit the nerve centers. All respectable countries, concerned about security of its peoples and their interests do so. A Pakistani General during a television debate with this author in the wake of the attack in Samba sector was brazen enough to say that in the backdrop of the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear state, India has no option but to talk. This indeed is the dominant strategic discourse in Pakistan. It needs to be disabused. This author told the Pakistan General that nuclear weapons are a ‘reality’ and in deference to the ‘reality’, India accepts the challenge. Tomorrow, a Hafiz Saeed, armed with a Pakistani nuclear weapon, which is a great possibility, cannot bring India to its knees. In that case, India has enough means to ensure that last of such criminals within and outside the establishment are nuked.

Conclusion

And finally, even as we made indecent hype about Manmohan-Obama and Manmohan-Sharif meet, let us not forget that the CO and the 2IC of an armoured regiment took charge and led from the front in dealing with the proxy soldiers of Pakistan. The 2IC lost his life and the CO received bullet injuries to save the nation in the ultimate analysis. The CO, whom I know personally from the days when he was a young boy is the son of one Col M M Ravi, who was awarded the Vir Chakra in the 1971 war. A worthy son of a worthy father! Warriors therefore are not easy to create. The CO’s wife, this author has learnt, never left the company of the bereaved 2IC’s wife, even as her own husband was being evacuated for surgery of his bullet injuries. She is believed to have said that the 2IC’s wife needed her more than her husband. But for such men and women proxy war by Pakistan would have consumed the country. After all it did reach parliament.

All the votaries of ‘uninterrupted talks’ with Pakistan at all costs must reflect on the question as to why India is being targeted? No diplomat, no politician has the moral courage to answer this question officially and formally. They do it in very eloquently in private. It is this duplicity that is killing India. It is this duplicity which kills all initiatives in forging the nation’s resolve in fighting the proxy war.

(RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research & Analysis Wing. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also a Guest Blogger with Canary Trap)

Obama and Rouhani about to clasp on the trapeze

Iranian President Hassan RouhaniBY SAEED NAQVI

The decision making systems in Washington must be saturated with memos, position papers, backgrounders, by dove-nosed hawks and hawk-nosed doves, both in and outside the administration, on the atmospherics required for the initial moves with Iran after the recent signs of a thaw.

President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, must also be casting a glance on the internal dynamics in Iran. That a casual meeting with President Obama on the margins of the UN General Assembly did “not” take place is, by the admission of Iranian diplomats, a “good outcome” because a “casual” meeting at such a delicate juncture would give out misleading signals.

The ball is in play and in the foreseeable future a dour, defensive game should be expected. There are going to be no electrifying, solo runs through the field.

President George W Bush got the United States into a jam in Afghanistan and Iraq. President Obama learnt his lesson the hard way: that was the wrong way to go. His 2009 speech in Cairo was the route he had charted for himself but it took him a full term to realize that there is a Presidency, an establishment and the Deep State, circumventing Obama.

Israeli and Saudis, Washington insiders much before Obama was conceived, began to play that system, fast and loose.

It is commonly recognized in Jerusalem, and elsewhere, that the Likud PM nurses an adversarial chemistry with the US President. He went ahead with Jewish settlements in a most insulting reception to US Vice President, Joe Biden a year ago. That was precisely what Biden had come to prevent.

And, remember the body language of Saudi King Abdullah when he came out of convalescence in February that year. He screamed, like Lear in the forest: what have you done to reliable allies, Zain el Abedin bin Ali and Hosni Mubarak? Who was world’s leader, Obama or the King of Saudi Arabia? He charged back home and rained $135 billion on his people just in case they were tempted by a touch of the Arab Spring. Monarchies and Emirates were quaking. They must hang together or be blown away. Qatar, generally averse to Saudi stance of Gulf hegemon, was also roped in. The Emir came along with the credibility of his Al Jazeera channel.

To reverse the Spring, Security Council Resolution 1973 was brazenly misused for NATO strikes over Libya, a misuse Vladimir Putin has not forgotten to this day.

World’s only super power, the United States, was pinned down like Gulliver throughout this period. Pinned down by Israel, Saudi Arabia and Europe.

A cartoon in the International Herald Tribune shows fire in the distance. Some European grandees, sipping Campari under a garden umbrella, order Uncle Sam, standing in attendance like a butler: “Don’t just stand there; go put out the fire.”

That is what the allies had made of the would-be sole superpower. The US was dragged into a pointless war in Libya which, mercifully, did not drag over two and a half years as the Syrian involvement has.

The US occupied Iraq for a decade, destroyed the Baath structure, the multilayered intelligence apparatus, Republican guards, killed Saddam Hussain and his key comrades. Only then was it able to get away leaving Iraq the embarrassing mess it is today. With this experience, who sold the lemon to Washington that cross border terrorism on a massive scale, financed by the Saudis and the Qataris, would bring about regime change in Syria? The Syrian state structure is every bit as solid as Baathist Iraq was.

When everything else failed, the usual suspects fell back on the ultimate trick: use of chemical weapons. So ham handedly was this card played that everybody ranging from Zbigniew Brzezinski in Washington to Putin in the Kremlin has found holes in Washington’s narrative. Putin called it a “sly provocation” to invite Western military action.

Saddam Hussain once lectured an Indian diplomat on provocation and retaliation. “When provoked, never retaliate with your crack weapons because the purpose of the provocation may be to confirm that you possess them.”

The West focused on Syria’s chemical weapons for one purpose. Brilliant diplomacy by Russia has transformed the chemical arsenal into a huge bargaining asset. Your allegations that Syria used chemical weapons is false and we can prove it, says Moscow. But now that you have raised the issue, Damascus is willing to surrender its arsenal, sign the chemical weapons convention, and we can jointly proceed towards a Middle East free of weapons of Mass Destruction.

It is in this evolving gameplan that the Washington-Teheran rapprochement must be seen.

Will Riyadh and Tel Aviv fall in line? Riyadh has been allowed an unobstructed run of the Egyptian turf. They hate the Muslim Brotherhood possibly a little more than they do Iranian Shiaism. This because Sunni anti monarchism has a powerful subversive potential.

Ideological Muslim Brothers were anathema to the Israelis too. The Jewish state is comfortable with a brutal military regime which is held on a tight leash by US financial support.

This leaves Qatar and Turkey suspended up there, looking for purpose.

At long last, Obama appears to be his own master in the conduct of foreign policy.

(Saeed Naqvi is a senior Indian journalist, television commentator, interviewer, and a Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. Mr. Naqvi is also a mentor and a guest blogger with Canary Trap)

Maoist War on Indian Economy

Maoist attack on busBY RSN SINGH

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) 30 percent of armed cadres of the Maoists are women. Mr RPN Singh, the Minister of State for Home in the Lok Sabha said: “In recent incident of Naxal attacks participation of substantial number of female cadres have been observed. A large number of female cadres have also died in exchange of fire with the security forces.”

Women are also being used as human shields. In the Maoist attack on 25 May 2013, in Darbha valley of Sukma district of Chhattisgarh in which 27 were killed, a bullet ridden Mahendra Karma, the prime target, was stabbed more than 70 times by the women cadres. Mothers and sisters are being robbed of their natural compassion and turned into killing machines. Children are being denied childhood. The boy, who was handling the radio set of the Maoists during the attack, was no more than 10 years old. As per latest reports, Maoists have recruited nearly 10,000 children including girls for their outfits ‘Bal Sangham’ and ‘Bal Dasta’. These children are between the age of 10 and 15 years. Some students of JNU, recipients of higher education nearly completely subsidized by the State, celebrated the killings at Ganga Dhaba outside the campus. This is what indoctrination can do to the so called educated!

In the third week of August 2013, a former student of JNU ‘Hem Mishra’ was nabbed in Gadchiroli in Maharastra. He was carrying coded information in a microchip embedded in a visiting card. The coded information was from top academic functionaries to the CPM Special Zonal Committee. Only a few days back i.e. on 12 September 2013 Maharashtra cops raided the residence of Delhi University professor G N Saibaba based on the disclosures of Hem Mishra. Delhi University and JNU has many teachers of Saibaba’s ilk. Maoist terror philosophy seeks to destroy the haloed symbiosis between the teacher and the disciple.

Wreck of State and Economy

The Maoists are criminalizing women and children of this country. Their souls are being brutalized. Their souls are crying to be salvaged by the State. The gruesome murder of Mahendra Karma and VC Shukla, has created such terror that no political activity can be carried out without the sanction or collusion of the Maoists. In this atmosphere of unremitting terror, there cannot be free and fair elections. In the Red Corridor there are many legislators in the country, who owe their position directly to the machinations of the Maoists. It runs across the political spectrum. Maoists are hence perverting the Indian Constitution in the name of ‘revolution’. The authority of the Constitution cannot remain in suspended animation. Women, children, student, teacher, Constitution and above all democracy—the Maoists have wrecked every family, societal, and State institution.

In the Maoist controlled areas it is not only the people and democracy are in survival struggle, but macro economy and national development are also being bled to die by unremitting and well calibrated assault by the Maoists at the behest of inimical powers both external and internal. The latter is more redoubtable as it enjoys patronage at the highest levels both by Constitutional and Unconstitutional mechanisms, which intriguingly, the political class including the Prime Minister, are seen too scared to question. One such institution has been the National Advisory Council which has usurped functions which legitimately is the responsibility of the Prime Minister and his cabinet.

Subversion of Mining Industry

As per a report, 203 out of 708 police districts in India are impacted by Maoist terror. In 90 districts killings are endemic and in 27 districts the writ of the Maoists runs uncontested by the State. The Mining industry contributes significantly to the extortion business of the Maoists. All industries including Mining pay something between seven percent and ten percent as levy. Government sources reckon the annual budget of the Maoists between Rs.1,500 and Rs. 2,000 crores. Calculating the government’s total outlays on infrastructure and development and the current levy rates of the Maoists, issued in black and white, this author’s estimates are fivefold more.  The victims of extortion are not only contractors, traders and businessmen but government officials and politicians as well. Those who refuse, pay with their lives. In this kind of environment of terror, can there be any investment and economic growth?

The ‘Red Corridor’ inflicted on India engenders the major economic drag because the corridor embraces the mineral heartland of the country. Is Maoism in India in its contemporary phase predominantly proxy attack on India’s primary sources of growth? Is there a deliberate ploy in scripting tribal narrative to the Maoist terror? Are the Maoists being prodded by inimical powers through a subverted dispensation to ruin India’s economic growth by destroying the very fuel of economy, i.e. the mineral resources? In this regard, figures given by Shekhar Gupta in his article, ‘Current Accountability Deficit’ in Indian Express, are revealing. The salient aspects of the ironical downturn of the mineral rich Indian Mining Industry’s economic story highlighted are:

  • India has been experiencing a continuous negative growth in mining since 2010. Between 2011 and 2013 (till date), the decline has been -2.37 percent.
  • Many steel mills in India are surviving on imported scrap. In fact, between 2010 and 2013, the iron ore and iron scrap import doubled from $7 billion to $14.9 billion. Our Iron ore export from 117.37 million tonnes was down by 87 percent last year.
  • Steel production of China is 780 million tonnes as compare to India’s production of 80 million tonnes.
  • Notwithstanding the fact that India has the third largest Bauxite reserves, aluminum plants may now have to import the same. Again the contrast is stark, i.e. China with no bauxite reserves, produces 20 million tonnes of aluminum as against 1.5 million tonnes by India.
  • India, which has large reserves of coal, is importing the same at a cost of $16 billion.
  • Import of coal and iron ore are substantially responsible for the present Current Account Deficit.

Very significantly, the author attributes a remark by Deng made 30 years ago that within 25 years, China should control 90 percent of world’s rare metals and minerals (gadolinite, cerium, scandium and yttrium), key inputs in modern electronic and telecom gadget. Close to envisaged, China now controls 80 percent and uses it as leverage against Japanese companies like Panasonic and Sony. Of the remaining 20 percent more than half is with India, but cannot be accessed due to the Maoist menace.

Maoists, in order to wrest control of all mining activity, attack mines, instigate strikes and destroy equipment, machinery and transport on fire. Only last week i.e 18 September 2013 they set ablaze the conveyer belt at the Bacheli iron ore mines of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). Bacheli and Kirandul located in Bailadilla hills in Dantewada constitute the largest iron ore mines in India. Together they produce 25 million tons  which dwarfs the second NDMC facility with 5 million tons.

The Maoists endemically disrupt transportation of minerals by railways in the mining regions. The Kirandul-Kottavalsa (KK) line that extends from Dantewada in Chhattisgarh to Vizag in Andhra Pradesh used for iron ore transport  from NMDC’s Bailidila mines to Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd is frequently targeted.  Locals maintain that illegally mined iron ore in the Saranda Forest region and areas around Jamshedpur are routed by Maoists to China. The Saranda Forests has the world’s single largest of iron ore estimated to be around 2000 million tons. Located at the tri-junction of Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh this area is strategically critical for the Maoists. The Maoists, as per some sources, earn Rs.500 crore from this region alone by way of protection money from mining companies. Those companies which are engaged in illegal mining, i.e. beyond their leased areas have to contribute liberally to the Maoist coffers.

For the Maoists the Mining Industry constitutes the main source of supply of explosives used for destruction of human and economic targets throughout India. According to the Government of India, 900,000 kg of explosives between 2010 and 2012, enough to destroy a town, was stolen and diverted to illegal miners and Maoists.

Shrinking of Secure Economic Space

The Maoist corridor when viewed in totality with other volatile regions impacted by insurgency constitutes more than 40 percent of Indian territory. It clearly indicates that the secured space in India has shrunk to half. As a consequence the economic space is also becoming restricted. Which respectable industry or business, internal or external, would like to invest in the Red Corridor or the Northeast or in Kashmir? Imagine India’s economic growth and GDP if only peace and tranquility was allowed to prevail in these areas. Just in Chhattisgarh and Odisha investment worth $46.7 billion in power projects and steel plants were expected by 2012. Mining sector accounts only for 2.8 percent of GDP despite vast resources of iron ore, coal, copper, bauxite and other minerals.

Economists have been attributing various reasons for the frightening economic downturn of India. None of them however have considered the aspect of deteriorating internal security in the Indian heartland as a reason for economic downslide. India does not figure in the top 20 destinations for investments by the European Union (EU-27) in the next five years. China continues to be the favourite. An editorial in a very respective German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine, commented about India: “……Supreme Court directives are routinely flouted. Crime rates are up and security of life…… which is the responsibility of every government is at its lowest ebb. India must be more than qualified to be called a ‘Failed State’.”

It appears that the executive head of India has been by design circumscribed by extra-constitutional setups like the National Advisory Council. This cannot happen without subversion by external and internal powers. This was more than apparent when members of the European Commission descended in Chhattisgarh to witness the legal proceedings of Binayak Sen? Till today, not one government functionary has given any reason as to why and how Binayak Sen was appointed member of a Health Committee of the Planning Commission soon after he was granted bail.

This author was invited for an inaugural screening of a documentary at the India International Center in Delhi, on ‘Illegal Mining in Karnataka’. The main purpose of the event seemed to launch ‘Save Binayak Sen Campaign’. In the audience, there were communists of all shades i.e. Maoist sympathizers and those ostensibly part of political mainstream. It raised serious doubts whether the distinction between the two was for convenience and public consumption.

With the shrinking of India’s secured space, agriculture is also suffering acutely. In the Red Corridor, there are huge swathes of agricultural land lying uncultivated because the owners have fled due to Maoist terror.  It is estimated that at least half a million people have been internally displaced. It is the Maoists who are in fact causing food insecurity in the country.

The Mischievous Tribal Narrative

It is a mischievous myth propagated by vested interests that all Maoists are tribal and all tribal subsist on forest produce.

The reality is that a majority of tribal are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. It is again an outrageous propaganda to portray the Maoist corridor as a ‘tribal corridor’. As per the MHA, the ‘severely affected states’ by Maoism are Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand. 32 districts in Bihar are impacted by Maoist terror, and not one has tribal majority. The tribal population in Odisha is 22 percent and in Jharkhand, which was carved out of Bihar has only 26 percent (as per 2001 census). In Jharkhand it is not more than 3 districts, i.e. Lohardaga, Paschmi Singhbhum and Gumla have tribal majority.

India then needs to seriously ponder as to why Europeans are so concerned about tribals of India. The Maoist Communist Party, Manipur in a press release on 09 December 2011 revealed the support by various ultra-leftist outfits based in Philippines, Malaysia, European countries and Canada. There seems to be a convergence of economic and religious agendas in the sudden and hysterical turn to the tribal discourse with regard to Maoist insurgency. By killing all economic activity these western outfits are only improving the fertility of the area for the ‘conversion’ harvest. They resent economic development of this region because it acts as antidote to their religious agenda.

Economy: Victim of Religious Agenda

Some social activists and politicians in the government have been citing traditional religious belief of tribal in denying land for mining, but they have no qualms about the same beliefs being trampled by missionaries engaged in conversion. The missionary influence has in fact eroded much of the tribal cultural heritage, which was linked to traditional mythology, beliefs and rituals. Unlike Mexico and Guatemala where the missionaries fused Christian and tribal practices, as evidenced by representations of Mayan Gods on the walls of some Catholic churches, the emphasis in India has been on altering the entire historical, cultural and religious identity of tribal.

The opposition by Western quarters, directly and through their NGOs, to mining of bauxite around the Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha by Vedanta in the pretext of tribal religious beliefs is crass opportunism and hypocrisy. It may be mentioned under the same pretext and tribal narrative, the Church of England sold its stock in Vedanta, which actually is a UK-based company. It appears that these vested interests have hired ‘supari’ killers within the Indian dispensation to kill Vedanta.

The missionaries have proved to be a curse for social unity of the tribal. This fissure in social unity due to religious conversion resulted in the gruesome killing of Graham Staines in Odisha. It was primarily responsible for the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati in 2008 in Kandhmahal area. This nexus between the Maoists and the Western missionaries explains the visit of a delegation from the European Commission to witness the trial of Binayak Sen. This also explains the kidnappings (allegedly staged) of two Italians; Paolo Bousco (58) and Claudio Colangelo (61). Paolo has been trekking in Odhisa for many years. Both the Italians had gone to Odhisha jungles despite travel advisory by their government. Both were abducted intriguingly from the Kandhmahal area where most Maoist terrorists are Panna caste Christians and the Maoists discourse in the region has strong Church and anti-Hindu elements.

In April 2012, nine French tourists were deported from Bihar as their activities in the interior of the State betrayed Maoist links.

These ultra-leftist groups have been conducting meets in Europe in support of Peoples War in India being waged by the Indian Maoists (Read More Here). These are attended by the Maoists leaders, sympathizers and benefactors of the Indian Maoists.

Communism, which includes the ultra-leftist stream and proselytization, breed and expand only under conditions of poverty, deprivation and lack of self-worth amongst the targeted population. It is the ‘self- worth’ of Indians that is under attack by the current dispensation. Government ‘handouts’ are calibrated in a manner to create a culture of dependency. Poverty alleviation measures are designed to perpetually consign populations to subsistence levels. Poverty can only be perpetuated if developmental efforts and conditions are constricted by politics of terror. It cannot be done without the indulgence of inimical powers and interests.

Conclusion

India’s economy has shrunk to dismal proportions because the secured space in the country is shrinking at a frightening rate. The coalescence of the economic and religious agenda of powers inimical to India is too stark to be denied any longer. The purpose of the creation of extra constitutional bodies is also very clear.

Economic growth and development is anathema to the Maoists and their benefactors. They are competing for allegiance of the same rural population as the State. The State has yielded much ground because the Prime Minister has not led his government with the authority mandated by the Indian Constitution. A German publication, Manager Magazine, in an article observed: “Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has a natural inclination to be a follower, not a leader.”

(RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research & Analysis Wing. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also a guest blogger with Canary Trap)

‘Kashmiri politics is no longer about ideology, it’s all a money game’

This is a second post which exposes how money plays its part in Jammu and Kashmir politics. The previous post, a leaked Wikileaks cable, revealed how money is regularly being paid to political players in the state.

This post is aimed at those naive journalists/editors (or pretending to be naive) who are shocked at former Army Chief Gen VK Singh’s statement that Army paid certain ministers in J&K government to maintain stability in the state. The only surprising thing about his statement is that for the first time the admission has come from an official level and that too from a former Army Chief.

And our Honorable Home Minister wants to know the names of people whom the payments were made so that an inquiry can be made. So he wants to investigate the people who helped maintain stability in the state? Don’t know how this type of people end up at such sensitive positions in the Indian Government.

Read the cable sent to the US State Department by then US Ambassador to New Delhi David Mulford on April 7, 2006.

CONFIDENTIAL SECTION 01 OF 08 NEW DELHI 002365

SUBJECT: KASHMIRI SEPARATISTS LACK CLEAR AIM BUT TERRORISTS STILL TARGET DEMOCRACY

REF: ISLAMABAD 5767
NEW DELHI 00002365  001.2 OF 008

Classified By: A/Political Counselor Atul Keshap, reason 1.4(b,d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: Meetings in Srinagar with Kashmiri  separatists reveal a group that lacks consensus and is divided by a leadership squabble over how to respond to Prime Minister Singh’s launch of a roundtable dialogue process. Most expect to boycott the PM’s planned May roundtable in J&K and are afraid the PM’s moves undercut them, while the Mirwaiz has announced the Hurriyat will host a rival roundtable composed of representatives from all five regions of J&K. Fear also stays the separatists’ hands.  Terrorists continue to kill mainstream Kashmiri politicians, threaten separatists, and stir up mayhem in an effort to undermine the Indian democratic process before Legislative Assembly by-elections April 24. Mainstream political coalitions are also shifting, with the National Conference increasingly comfortable with Congress rule and the PDP increasingly paranoid. The police, meanwhile, are gearing up for spring snow melt and consequent increased terrorist infiltration even as they prepare for the by-election, the PM’s planned May roundtable, and an expected and impressive arrival of one million tourists and pilgrims this summer.

2. (C) Most Kashmiris recognize the harsh (for them) global reality following the President’s March visit, and while they now largely renounce violence as a means to an end and seek normalcy and prosperity, they have not yet figured out what to do next. As dialogue with Pakistan and Track II efforts continue, one separatist — Sajjad Lone — may covertly be fielding a candidate for a seat in the legislature. If he succeeds, at least one Hurriyat member will have dipped a toe into the waters of Indian democracy, and more may follow, vindicating India’s long-term policy of giving all peaceful Kashmiris a real say in their affairs, albeit within the parameters of India’s Constitution. Ultimately, the more real democracy the people of all five regions of Jammu and Kashmir enjoy, the more political space there will be for a soft landing, and the less space there will be for the terrorists. END SUMMARY.

LOOKING OUT FOR NUMBER ONE
————————–
3. (C) A/PolCouns’ discussions in Srinagar April 3-5 revealed a moderate separatist faction divided by leadership competitions and unsure about responding to the Prime Minister’s dialogue offer and planned May roundtable in Srinagar. Shabir Shah is fence-sitting not out of conviction but because he cannot bear to defer to Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, whom he views as a young upstart. Yasin Malik continues his effort to outflank the Mirwaiz by engaging in courageous and provocative diplomacy with extremist and terrorist groups across the border to urge them to support dialogue (Ref A). In his own way, this is Yasin’s signal that he, too, does not accept the Mirwaiz as the group’s spokesman and primus inter pares.

4. (C) The Mirwaiz, in turn, meets regularly with Musharraf and makes news-grabbing statements at conferences to maintain his current privileged position. His current proposal, outlined April 6 upon his return from Pakistan, is for the Hurriyat to host a rival roundtable discussion with NEW DELHI 00002365  002.2 OF 008 representatives of all five region of J&K (Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, and Baltistan). Such an announcement, the Indian Express commented, was sure to “unsettle” the PM. Meanwhile, the Indian government further sowed dissension in the group by uplifting Sajjad Lone when it invited him to parley with the Prime Minister in Delhi. The net result is grumpiness and confusion even as India keeps ratcheting up the offers of dialogue. Shabir said consensus was impossible for now; the Jihad Council in Pakistan itself could not achieve consensus about dialogue with India, and Yasin and Mirwaiz remained at great odds with each other.

ISOLATE THE FENCE-SITTERS
————————-
5. (C) Bilal Lone was brutal in dismissing Yasin Malik’s posturing against the Hurriyat, saying that Yasin should give up “a month of his Pakistani salary” to compensate the families of boys killed in Bilal’s home area by the army, instead of urging the parents not to take Indian compensation and jobs (as the Hurriyat had encouraged them to do). As for Shabir, Bilal said his massive ego does not permit him to subordinate himself to the younger Mirwaiz. Bilal was especially dismissive of extremist separatist SAS Geelani, whose Hizb-ul-Mujahedin henchmen he is convinced murdered his father, Bilal said Geelani continues to act on instructions from across the border to sow dissension and fear, along with violence and murder. All of them, urged Bilal, should be isolated by the United States for failing to show the principled courage of the Mirwaiz Hurriyat.

BUT AVOID GETTING MURDERED
————————–
6. (C) Fears of sticking their necks out too far also haunt the separatists. Everyone we spoke to agreed the GOI security they all (including, amazingly, SAS Geelani, though not Malik) enjoy is a joke because even the police do not dare fire back when high-value VIP targets are attacked for fear of subsequent terrorist retribution; how else, they asked, could J&K state government minister Lone get killed in his secure house without even one security man firing one shot There had been 27 guarding him that morning, they emphasized. Moreover, in light of the Mirwaiz’ and Bilal and Sajjad Lone’s losses of immediate family members who went too far in exploring peace with India, everyone has learned the lesson: watch what you say and do or you might be sorry.

7. (C) Omar Abdullah said the Hurriyat was incapable of leadership because of fear. Bilal said extremists tell people the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) are “agents of Satan” and urge crowds to chant, “To Hell with the dialogue process.” Such efforts foster an atmosphere of intimidation in which the moderate Hurriyat thinks carefully before each and every public utterance and decision. Sajjad said Yasin Malik still flirts with the dark side and could “kill people even now” with a word to the right (or wrong?) people. Shabir said, “Fear resides in our heads.” One separatist said he had just paid 30,000 Rupees (USD 750) after receiving a threatening demand for money. He said the money at least kept the threats at bay, but the fear limited the Hurriyat’s freedom of expression. COMMENT: This fear of death may explain why the Mirwaiz Hurriyat never responded to the PM’s plea for a detailed list of demands back in November NEW DELHI 00002365  003.2 OF 008 2005, despite repeated entreaties to table demands as a basis for continued dialogue. Instead, the Mirwaiz went to Pakistan, where he issued statements that echoed Musharraf, infuriating the Delhi security Mandarins.  END COMMENT.

CARNAGE FOCUSES ON DEMOCRACY
—————————-
8. (C) A scan of the headlines reveals that terrorism continues unabated in Kashmir, and the target is clearly Indian democracy and the people who play within its rules. Over the course of three days this April, terrorists killed three politicians, including two municipal counselors and a political party leader. This is in addition to the continued almost-daily carnage of grenade blasts and shootings against police and army patrols, and marks a sinister turn in the violence. Even the traditional (male) dancers who entertain at political rallies are not immune; terrorists are killing them, too, for “collaboration.” The targeting of politicians as the by-election looms indicates the threat the terrorists see if mainstream Indian democratic processes continue to take root in Kashmir. All of our contacts — whether separatist, mainstream, journalists, or security forces — agreed the participation rate in elections is bound to climb, a trend that the terrorists clearly want to reverse. A long standing political section contact — Communist MLA Yousef Tarigami — lives in a virtual fortress these days because terrorists almost killed him when they killed J&K minister Lone, later killed Tarigami’s nephew, and have left no doubt in their threats to him that they find his secularism abhorrent. The conventional wisdom now is that the terrorists had tried to kill Tarigami, not/not Lone. Mainstream leaders like Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullahalso receive “Z category” Indian security at all times despote their relative popularity.

AND A NEW INFILTRATION WORRY EMERGES
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9. (C) The new “get tough” Inspector General of Police, Rajender Kumar, told us that the J&K police’s usually excellent HUMINT had not detected some recent attacks in advance or traced the suspects through the usual channels. Kumar suspects that is because of an ingenious new terrorist tactic. The police and army have seen a surge in young men who appear at the LOC, turn in a rusty AK-47 or grenade, and insist they have surrendered. The army turns the returnees to the nearest local police station, which in turn essentially lets them go. Kumar said the system is idiotic because nobody releases these people into the custody of their parents of into a “halfway house” until the Indians can be reasonably certain that they have sincerely had a change of heart.

10. (C) Given that the alternative to “surrender” is infiltration that the Indians often detect (viz. the large battle in Gurez last summer to kill over 200 as they came across), Kumar thinks this new strategy is brilliant. He is convinced a terrorist cannot get all the way to the LOC without Pakistani knowledge because he has a devil of a time exfiltrating his HUMINT sources from that side without attracting their forces’ attention. As a result, he speculated, the “surrendered” returnees may have hit upon an ingenious way to walk into India and disappear, only to NEW DELHI 00002365 004.2 OF 008 attack again later. Kumar is working to rectify procedures for such surrenders. Meanwhile, he worries about the April 24 election, the PM’s planned May visit to J&K, the expected bumper crop of a million tourists and pilgrims this summer, and the on-going cat-and-mouse game between the police and the terrorists, especially after the snow melts.

11.  (C) IGP Kumar’s assessment seemingly contradicts Yasin Malik’s claim to us April 7 upon his return from Islamabad that Pakistan’s Military Intelligence has closed the terrorist launch camps “to all the groups” and has permitted “zero infiltration” since the beginning of March; Josy Joseph of the new Mumbai newspaper “Daily News & Analysis” on March 30 wrote that “Pakistan has cut funding to the United Jihad Council and guides have been told not to assist infiltrations,” which Malik also told us. However, it is altogether possible that “surrender infiltration” has not been tabulated by Indian security agencies as traditional infiltration, and thus has escaped official reporting.

“INDIANS PLAYING GAMES”
———————–
12. (C) As bad as the violence remains, Bilal also was dismissive of the Indian dialogue process, saying it is a sham composed of “paid agents” who attended the February session in Delhi. Also, by convoking J&K state residents and categorizing them as Paharis, Gujjars, Ladhakis, Hindus, etc, the GOI was practicing classic “divide and rule” strategy, he muttered. Bilal also complained that National Security Advisor Narayanan, whom he painted as the Svengali who orchestrates Delhi policy, was very dismissive of the Hurriyat and needed to “stop talking shit about us.” Narayanan, Shabir concurred, lacked imagination and did not take the Kashmiris’ aspirations seriously. Bilal said the Kashmiris should at least talk to Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has a direct political line to Sonia Gandhi, instead of a “cop” like Narayanan.

13. (C) Omar Abdullah balanced these views by saying the Hurriyat is incapable of dialogue due to its lack of a political base, its lack of experts who can delve into details, and its lack of a knowledge base. Omar said the PM had told him personally how disappointed he had been that the Hurriyat had never responded to his request for a list of demands.

14. (C) Regarding the PM’s roundtable process, Yasin Malik complained to us that the GOI publicly engaging such a large group of Kashmir stake-holders undercut the authority of the Hurriyat and other separatist leaders like himself. Diluting their status in the eyes of the rest of the separatist community, particularly the jihadist terrorist groups, would result in compromising his ability to “deliver” the jihadis to the table, or even to engage with them, if he is viewed by them as irrelevant, Malik continued. “There should be more behind-the-scenes work, not media events like in February and coming next month in Srinagar,” he added.

15. (C) GOI J&K expert NN Vohra affirmed that the separatists have yet to reach any consensus among themselves of what they want — autonomy, self-governance, “azadi” (freedom) — let alone what those terms mean, Vohra continued.  When asked if the Hurriyat separatists could be mainstreamed, he emphasized NEW DELHI 00002365  005.2 OF 008 that “especially the ones under 40 see themselves as future ministers or Chief Ministers, are well-educated, and even if you disagree with what they say they are well-spoken and could easily enter politics.” First, however, pressure from Islamabad and the terrorist groups themselves must be lifted or nullified before the moderates could safely contest a vote.

ONE RAY OF SUNSHINE
——————-
16. (C) Sajjad Lone, upbeat following his attendance of the Pugwash conference in Islamabad, was the only positive separatist voice we encountered. He said Musharraf is saying amazingly bold things lately, and the Pakistani mainstream was abandoning long-cherished sacred cows in the hope of finding a solution. Lots of good momentum was building, he felt, and Pakistan was taking big risks; it was neat to see National Conference leader Omar Abdullah treated “like a film star” instead of an Indian sellout. Sajjad thought the Hizb-ul-Mujahedin might just endorse dialogue with India, but the LeT/Hafez Saeed/foreign contingent of terrorists would never do so. Sajjad said he had told all he met in Pakistan that Kashmiris did not want to see even one more drop of blood spilled for the cause. Sajjad was also pumped about his meeting with the Prime Minister, explaining that the PM sincerely wants only the best for Pakistan and stiffens visibly when anyone berates Musharraf or Pakistan. Sajjad also opined that now that the PM has expanded the dialogue to include Kashmiri mainstream political parties, the APHC will eventually be obliged to contest the 2008 state elections in order to keep their influence. If not, “the process will leave individuals behind.” Sajjad also predicted 2008 turnout would be higher than in 2002, already a marked improvement over the election before.

AND EVEN THE VIOLENT ONES ARE MULLING DIALOGUE
——————————————— –
17. (C) Malik — who told us he met again with Hizb-ul-Mujahedin commander Salahuddin (Ref A) and with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba supremo Hafez Saeed during his recent one-month sojourn in Pakistan — said that although he continued to preach in favor of “the microphone over the gun,” “the (terrorist) groups will need the green light from Pakistan before they agree to anything like a cease-fire, which would be the first step to integrating them into the peace process. He suggested that “your people should lean on Musharraf” to clear the way for such a gesture; it would also require some ground work to move attitudes before Islamabad could politically sell a cease-fire, Malik concluded.

BUT THERE COULD BE A CATCH
————————–
18. (C) Sajjad’s confidence may stem from the attention he has received from the PM and Musharraf, but PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti had a darker explanation. Mehbooba complained that the Congress-led government in J&K had reverted to its customary bad old ways in the build-up to the April 24 by-elections. The Intelligence Bureau, she alleged, had given Sajjad a crore of Rupees (10 million Rupees equal to USD 250,000) to support an independent candidate secretly affiliated with him who Qas going to run in one of the constituencies. If so, Sajjad’s happiness may stem in part NEW DELHI 00002365 006.2 OF 008 from tapping into new streams of Indian money.

CHURN IN MAINSTREAM PARTY POLITICS
———————————-
19. (C) Mehbooba, whose PDP party increasingly finds itself isolated as Congress and the National Conference look to each other to forge a coalition in 2008, is feeling isolated and vulnerable. She said the central government is terrifying people in PDP areas, acting more arrogantly than usual, and seeking to intimidate PDP supporters from voting on April 24. She said arrests in PDP areas were also up. Most importantly, Mehbooba felt that the GOI was going to use money to defeat PDP candidates and hand Congress and National Conference victories in the by-election. If so, she said, the GOI would have depleted the “bank account of goodwill” that her father, former Chief Minister Mufti Mohamed Sayeed, built up during his three year term of office.

20. (C) Mehbooba has a right to feel jilted. Her ostensible Congress coalition partner is openly courting the National Conference and she feels trapped.  When we dined with Omar and Farooq Abdullah of National Conference, they seemed as content as could be, lending credence to reports of a budding Congress/NC alliance. Omar’s NC has also decided not to contest the election that Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad will seek in Doda, a decision “Greater Kashmir” newspaper termed akin to giving the Chief Minister a “cakewalk.” We checked with Tarigami, however, who said he had seen no evidence of the activities Mehbooba reported. Moreover, Tarigami and others told us PDP had royally screwed up its candidates list by giving detested PDP Deputy Chief Minister Mustafa Beig’s nephew the party ticket in the seat vacated by Minister Lone’s murder instead of giving it to Lone’s son. Also, importantly, Azad made a clear statement on April 6 condemning any effort to interfere in the democratic process and threatened severe penalties to any state actor found to have subverted the process.  NOTE: We will urge the Indians to avoid recidivism of any kind in this most crucial of areas, and will ask to view the April 24 polls to show our interest in clean elections.  END NOTE.

SHOW ME THE MONEY
—————–
21. (C) A recurring theme throughout all of our interactions with Kashmiris is how Indian and Pakistani money has made all Kashmiri political actors dependent on handouts. Omar and Farooq Abdullah, descendants of the Shaykh who first figured out Delhi’s money game, live in fabulous houses in Srinagar and Delhi, wear matching Panerai watches, serve Blue Label to the guests, and travel all over the world first class courtesy of the Indian government. Mirwaiz is alleged to have real estate in Dubai courtesy of Pakistan. The state administration gets rivers of money for development but the streets in J&K are appalling, even by Indian standards. Army officers, we have heard, allegedly bribe their superiors for postings to J&K to get their hands on the logistics contacts and “hearts and minds” money.  Sajjad lamented that the conflict remained lucrative to many, and he is right. CPI(M) legislator Tarigami also told us too many people have a stake in the conflict’s perpetuation. Praveen Swami, reporting in “Frontline” revealed that a terrorist killed March 10 had 43 receipts for 18,000 Rupees (USD 450) each in “donations.” NEW DELHI 00002365  007.2 OF 008 Fifteen more had paid 48,000 Rupees (USD 1100) apiece. The money associated with the conflict clearly remains a collective disincentive to its resolution and should not be underestimated as a factor in decision-making across the board; according to Malik, “Kashmiri politics is no longer about ideology, it’s all a money game.”

INDO-PAK CONSIDERATIONS
———————–
22. (C) Nobody we spoke to bothered to mention autonomy or troop withdrawal, leading us to conclude the rhetoric among the separatists regarding those demands is largely for public consumption because their realization is so remote. Certainly the latter remains a total non-starter for the Indians. What sparks the imagination more seems to be the ideas developed at Track II events such as Pugwash. Separatists and mainstream politicians like the regional approach to J&K problems, especially if it includes Baltistan, Gilgit, and Muzaffarabad/Sialkot. Sajjad said he hoped Kashmiri pessimism would not bury Pakistani and Indian optimism, and Shabir and Omar said the Pakistan-based separatists also needed to be wrapped into the dialogue process.

23, (C) Omar Abdullah said Musharraf was under pressure to show something soon, and if by December 2006, he predicted, the Indians did not give him anything to show for his risky gambits, Nawaz and Benazir would ratchet up the Kashmir-related election rhetoric to such an extent that he would have to return to the old anti-India formulas, and an opportunity would be lost. Kashmiris are very aware of the revolutionary changes in attitudes in Pakistan, and wary of the PM’s dialogue offer.  We have counseled them to remain engaged in dialogue because we keep hearing — even from Kashmiris — that the PM is totally sincere, no matter what the IB or other security agencies in Delhi may conspire to achieve.

24. (C) GOI Interlocutor on J&K NN Vohra allowed that Pakistan President Musharraf faces “many domestic compulsions” and that Musharraf would have great difficulty maneuvering “the Kashmir issue” within his domestic constituents, notably the Pakistan Army. This is why, he continued, the GOI has held back from trying politically to “wound” Musharraf over the past two years; instead, Delhi knows it must work with Musharraf or risk Indo-Pak rapprochement irrevocably losing ground. Vohra said that, from his conversations with Kashmiris, he has learned that “They are fed up with a generation of violence, even the Kashmiri Muslims.” He pointed to two things he said he learned Kashmiris wanted while he observed the PM’s February 25 roundtable on J&K: there is no support for further splitting Kashmir (especially not along communal lines), and all groups attending sought an end to violence.

COMMENT: IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO MORE AND BETTER DEMOCRACY
——————————————— ———–
25. (C) Kashmir remains as muddled as ever. The separatists do not see a clear way forward, the mainstream power structure is in flux, and terrorism continues to blight the land. The GOI continues to make soothing dialogue noises even as it remains firm in its long-held positions.  Mehbooba NEW DELHI 00002365  008.2 OF 008 is right that her father’s “Healing Touch” policy and greater respect for the ballot did much since 2002 to make Kashmir escape the upheavals of the past; the million tourists who plan to visit this summer are evidence of that, but the relative normalcy of Kashmiri politics is another. While 45 percent voted state-wide in 2002, the GOI must work hard to keep the April 24 by-elections clean if it wants to sustain that participation or even make it grow in 2008. Yet, it is encouraging that at least one Hurriyat separatist — Sajjad Lone — may be covertly fielding a candidate in the April by-election.

26. (C) After so many decades of mistrusting Kashmiris and denying them their democratic rights, Delhi remains on the right track in making sure Kashmiris express their wishes at the ballot, notwithstanding terrorists’ violent intimidation. We will work to view the April 24 polls in person so we can show Kashmiris and the Indian government how important continued exercises of real democracy are to defusing tension in Kashmir and giving the Kashmiri people a say in their governance. We will also continue to encourage the moderate separatists to talk to the Prime Minister. The more dialogue there is, the more room for both sides to maneuver, and with that room may come more willingness to compromise on difficult issues. In that sense, democracy for the people of all five regions on both sides of Jammu and Kashmir state is vital, no matter how badly terrorists seek to destroy it. END COMMENT

'Politically-connected Kashmiris take money from both India and Pakistan'

KashmirWe are a bit surprised to see so many prominent people being shocked at former Army Chief General VK Singh’s statement that Indian Army paid money to certain Jammu and Kashmir government ministers to maintain stability in the state. This is an open fact in Jammu and Kashmir.

Below is a US State Department Cable originating from its Delhi Embassy on February 3, 2006. The cable, titled ‘Kashmiri Politics as filthy as Dal Lake’, was released by Wikileaks.

KASHMIRI POLITICS AS FILTHY AS DAL LAKE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2016
TAGS: PGOV PTER PREL KCRM KISL MOPS ECON IN
SUBJECT: KASHMIRI POLITICS AS FILTHY AS DAL LAKE

REF: A. 05 NEW DELHI 8791
B. 06 NEW DELHI 556

NEW DELHI 00000804  001.2 OF 003

Classified By: PolCouns Geoff Pyatt for reasons 1.4 (B,D)

1. (C) Summary. The GOI recently broadened its Kashmir dialogue by holding several public and private meetings with non-Hurriyat leaders. These discussions are intended to broaden the GOI’s set of separatist interlocutors beyond the Hurriyat, while also conveying the GOI’s displeasure at the Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat’s recent endorsement of Pakistani proposals on Kashmir.  Little substantive progress has been made, and cynical observers discount the entire process as little more than “chaff” meant to fragment Kashmiri politics further. In Kashmir itself, the success of Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections has engendered an editorial page debate about whether local terrorists will make a move towards the ballot box. Beneath the surface of these political developments, the corrosive combination of money and corruption continues to strengthen its grip on the lives and calculations of politicians, separatists, terrorists, police, army, and civilian administration officials, raising the question of whether the Kashmiri elite has an incentive to find a lasting political settlement. End summary.

NEW FACES, SAME OLD RESULTS?
—————————-

2. (C) PM Singh and his top advisors on Kashmir policy met with Sajjad Lone of the People’s Conference in early January. This was the first time that the Prime Minister had met publicly with a non-Hurriyat separatist leader. GOI sources tell us that PM Singh privately met with Yasin Malik of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in November 2005. Malik told us this himself, saying that PM Singh embraced him for reportedly speaking out against violence when Malik visited Pakistani Kashmir after the earthquake (ref 05 New Delhi 8791). In a press conference on February 1, the PM admitted to meeting Yasin, sparking a brou-haha when Yasin’s own JKLF criticized the meeting. The GOI expects this Kashmiri dialogue process to continue, with Shabir Shah of the Democratic Freedom Party being widely tipped as the next non-Hurriyat leader to meet with the Prime Minister.  JNU Professor Riaz Punjabi told us the meetings were an attempt to broaden the J&K dialogue process, while also demonstrating the GOI’s unhappiness with the Hurriyat’s trip to Pakistan in early January 2006. While there, Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq endorsed positions on Kashmir that were almost identical to those put forward publicly by General Musharraf, and rejected by India, including “demilitarization” and increased autonomy.

3. (C) Kashmiri politicians met by PolOff had no confidence in the dialogue process and viewed it as a cynical attempt to divide politics further in J&K. PolOff met with National Conference Lok Sabha MP AR Shaheen, for instance, who dismissed the ongoing discussions as “nonsense,” and said that the PMO sponsored dialogue was meant to “tire us out” and further divide Kashmiri politics. He said that the Hurriyat was upset by the GOI’s decision to reach out to Sajjad Lone and others, but there “was nothing they could do.” Sunil Sakdhar, President of a Kashmiri Pandit (Hindu) organization called Kashmir Samiti, also dismissed the ongoing talks, which have included meetings with Kashmiri pandit groups, by saying that it was “clear cut” that nothing was coming from talks. He agreed that the further division of Kashmiri politics was the GOI’s endgame, and argued that the GOI was using the twin carrots of funding for favored NEW DELHI 00000804  002.2 OF 003 political leaders and public meetings with the PM to create divisions between and amongst Kashmir’s political parties and separatists.

FINDING INSPIRATION IN HAMAS?
—————————–
4. (C) The Hamas victory in the recent Palestinian elections resonated in J&K, but the practical impact may be minimal. J&K media focused heavily on the Hamas election results, and speculated that the way was now clear for terrorists in J&K to enter the political process. Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz remained noncommittal, however, saying only that the Palestinians had moved from confrontation to a more peaceful alternative, and that a similar transformation was possible in J&K. Others took a darker view, with Hurriyat hard-liner Syed Ali Geelani taking heart in Hamas’ apparent victory without compromise.

5. (C) Political Section contacts had a more muted private response, noting that the parallels made for a good story, but did little to alter the on the ground reality in J&K. All our sources noted the long-standing emotional connection to the Palestinian cause felt by many Kashmiris. As a result, Tahir Mohi-du-din, editor of Chattan, felt that any impact would be psychological rather than practical. Comparisons between Hamas and separatist organizations in J&K are strained, according to commentators.  Newspaper editor Bashir Manzar and Prof. Punjabi both stressed the fact that separatist groups had far less popular support in J&K than Hamas enjoyed amongst the Palestinian population.

CORRUPTION PERVASIVE WITHIN THE VALLEY
————————————–
6. (C) Behind the political theater in J&K lurks the equal-opportunity threat of corruption and terrorist penetration of politics, business, and security forces. Corruption cuts across party lines and most Kashmiris take it as an article of faith that politically-connected Kashmiris take money from both India and Pakistan. For instance, a Kashmiri businessman told PolOff that Mirwaiz had acquired property in Dubai and the Kashmir Valley as a result of payoffs to him by various intelligence agencies (both Indian and Pakistani). We hear allegations such as these about politicians of all stripes in Kashmir.

AND IN THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF
—————————-
7. (C) Nor is the administration exempt from corruption. Rumor has it that some security force officers bribe their way into Kashmir assignments that give access to lucrative civil affairs and logistics contracts. On the civilian side, a recent newspaper article reported that the retired Minister of State for Irrigation and Flood Control is accused of embezzling funds and then using the money to construct two large homes in Srinigar.

TERRORIST TENTACLES REACH INTO POLITICS AND BUSINESS
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8. (C) As previously reported, recent arrests indicate that wanted terrorists have secured positions in prominent Kashmiri political parties, including the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, and even Congress (ref 06 New Delhi 556). Their positions as councilors and elected party representatives allowed them special security access NEW DELHI 00000804  003.2 OF 003 that gave them the ability to plot and carry-out the assassinations of several Kashmiri politicians. Media reports also indicate that terrorists have infiltrated several leading business institutions.  One of the principal suspects in the October 2005 Delhi bombings, for instance, worked as a senior sales representative for Johnson & Johnson in J&K. More recently, two officials of the Bombay Merchantile Cooperative Bank were arrested for being suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives.

AND EVEN THE POLICE ARE NOT IMMUNE
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9. (C) Kashmiri newspapers report that terrorists have even penetrated specific J&K police units, in addition to long-standing concerns about overall police performance. The J&K police, charged to protect Valley political leaders, have looked the other way when terrorists struck in the past. One close Political Section contact who was in the room when four assailants killed Kashmiri state education minister Ghulam Nabi Lone in October, and was himself almost killed, told us that over 27 security men had been patrolling the compound that morning, yet attackers entered, killed, and escaped unmolested. Doubts about the police worry the wife of the Mirwaiz, who told us her husband was much safer when he had his own private bodyguards prior to receiving GOI protection. Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad recently replaced the head of police in the Valley for being too soft on terrorists. Two members of the Special Operations Group of the J&K police (District Pulwama) were arrested in late January 2006 for being Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HM) terrorists. They admitted to having conspired with HM to kill not only police informers but also the head of the Special Operations Group, all for $10,000 USD.

COMMENT – SURFACE PROGRESS, TROUBLE BENEATH
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10. (C) The expansion of the dialogue process to include non-Hurriyat separatist groups is unlikely to produce any immediate substantive gains, and underscores the increasingly fragmented nature of J&K politics. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister is trying in his own way to ease tensions and widen the circle of dialogue, reflecting his instincts as a peacemaker. Kashmir’s internal political divisions make the Hamas victory an unlikely vision of the future of Kashmiri politics, as no separatist group currently commands widespread popular support. The spread of corruption further undermines popular support of existing political parties and separatists. Money from Pakistani and Indian intelligence agencies and from Saudi and other foreign extremists has further distorted Kashmiri politics, incentivized leaders to perpetuate the conflict, and perverted state and central government institutions. While this river of dirty money has led to a boom in Kashmiri household income and real estate prices, it also calls into question whether the Kashmiri elite truly want a settlement to their problems. The minute a deal is struck, some must surely worry that the funds will dry up.

Israel and Saudis cannot be amused at the Obama-Putin pirouette

Barack Obama - Vladimir PutinBY SAEED NAQVI

The Cuban Missile Crisis produced great scholarship. A classic of the period, ‘Essence of A Decision’ by Prof. Grahame Allison, is a study of decision making in the Kennedy administration during a crisis when the world came close to a nuclear collision.

By that reckoning, research proposals must be in the process of being cleared as to who ordered the two ballistic missiles towards Syria which Russian intercepts brought down in the Mediterranean? The whole episode is frightening.

It was therefore a chastened Barack Obama who turned up at G20 Summit in St. Petersburg. The Russian suggestion that Syria sign the chemical weapons Convention and surrender its chemical weapons was a practical idea which would also be a face saver for Washington which had painted itself into a corner on surgical strikes in Syria.

In the whispering gallery of diplomatic leaks, it has been suggested that if Syria acquiesced in some highly restricted missile attacks on its territory, to satisfy US, Israeli, Saudi hawks, the crisis would be over. Bashar al Assad said he would have none of it. Unspecified retaliation would follow.

Why has Assad now agreed to surrender his strategic chemical weapons?

First, the advantage in his willingness to surrender the nasty arsenal is clear in Putin’s article in the New York Times and later in Obama’s weekly address to the nation.

Putin said: “No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists.”

Putin then issues a warning. “Reports that militants are preparing another attack, this time against Israel, cannot be ignored”. This last sting is enough to set the cat among the pigeons. The implication is straightforward. Having failed to provoke foreign intervention after the August 21 chemical attack in Ghouta on the periphery of Damascus, the Syrian Opposition were planning an even bigger provocation by attacking Israel. Putin clearly knows more than he has revealed. Note his cocky assertiveness a few days ago: “It is a sly provocation by the Syrian Opposition.”

That is how worrisome the Syrian chemical arsenal has become. The opposition can either use its existence as a cover to obtain supplies of lethal agents like Sarin from across the border or to find defectors from the regime with access to Syrian chemical weapons.

It therefore becomes a critical item in its inventory that Syria is surrendering.

In his address, Obama said: “Until recently, the Assad regime would not admit that it possessed chemical weapon”. “Today, Syria has signaled a willingness to join with 189 other nations, representing 98 per cent of humanity, in abiding by an international agreement that prohibits the use of chemical weapons”. And, Obama proceeds to pay a compliment to Moscow. “Russia has staked its own credibility on supporting this outcome”.

Washington’s new found reliance on Moscow to navigate it out of the Syrian minefield, is a historic new development. For this very reason it is a fragile arrangement. Israel and Saudi Arabia, for instance, would scream murder if a Washington-Moscow entente sidelined their interests in the eventual outcome in Syria. How does Washington square this circle? This is the pressure on Washington.

Now that clouds of war have cleared a bit, Syria is beginning to feel self confident with the hand it has been dealt to play. So what if it has to surrender its chemical weapons. The gesture will enhance Russian profile in the region which is useful for the entire team – Hezbollah, Iran.

In any case, the strategic shortfall on account of its chemical weapons, would be made up by Russian SS300s or 400s, which have already shown their effectiveness in bringing down US missiles over Syria.

This one act of statesmanship will be seen to have saved West Asia from a calamitous conflict. Would it not boost Assads regional profile? Within Syria, he will seen to have defeated the regime’s opponents and as a national leader who prevented the breakup of his country into autonomous regions.

All of it seems to be fitting nicely into the Russian aim of Middle East free of weapons of Mass Destruction, an aspiration which has implications for Israel too. Iranian Supreme leader, Ayatullah Khamenei obliged on this score at a meeting with commanders and officials of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. He said Iran’s opposition to the possession of nuclear weapons was based on the beliefs of the Iranian nation. This, was more or less reiterated by President Hassan Rouhani who, while in the US for the UN General Assembly, is also expected to meet President Obama.

Does the script appear to be proceeding advantageously for one side?

To restore balance, how does Russia work closely with the US in ensuring Israeli security, which is the cornerstone of US policy in the Middle East? Moves of interest to Saudi Arabia could be in the works after US diplomat, Jeffrey Feltman, turned up in Teheran recently wearing a UN cap.

After all, Tehran and Riyadh have been on talking terms some years ago. Remember the Mecca Summit?

(Saeed Naqvi is a senior Indian journalist, television commentator, interviewer, and a Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. Mr. Naqvi is also a mentor and a guest blogger with Canary Trap)