How AAP upsets the Modi versus Rahul format

BY SAEED NAQVI

Meeting a friend in his avatar as a member of the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man’s Party) required cultural adjustment. Where should we meet? Certainly not on the exclusive floors of five star hotels where seasoned politicians seek privacy as do captains of Industry. India International Centre, Habitat, even the India Islamic Centre have the right ambience but they require membership and so cannot qualify as an Aam Aadmi rendezvous. What we, my friend and I, were looking for was the old fashioned Coffee House where teachers, students, journalists, artists, politicians once mingled inexpensively. Shall we look forward to a chain of Aam Aadmi Coffee Houses across the country?

The party, which exploded on the scene with the suddenness of revelation simply does not have the time to stitch together a national organization before the General Elections in May. But there is a spontaneous local growth of AAP in the states in the aftermath of the Delhi results.

Should AAP concentrate on 80 Parliamentary seats or spread itself across 240 in a House of 543? Opinion in the party is divided on this. It already claims some organizational presence across 300 districts. The surge in Delhi had reverberations even in states where its presence was less than rudimentary – Tamil Nadu, for instance, where its helpline crashed because of overloading.

Depending on the demands that Delhi makes on the leadership, the party would like to start working early for state elections in Maharashtra and Haryana due in October. It is particularly well placed in Haryana because some of its better known leaders like Yogendra Yadav live in that state. This is the reason why his name does not figure in AAP Delhi cabinet.

Prashant Bhushan, has also kept himself out of government. He can now organize the party’s informal think tank and cast his eye on a wider turf for the general election and beyond.

Delhi, where AAP has arisen, can be a mean city, with deeply entrenched interests. The rapturous applause with which South Delhi and the club set had received the results, is giving way to caution, a cunning reserve, eyeing both sides of the street.

This lot have been rattled by AAP. These are also powerful vested interests which will fight tooth and nail for their survival. Every trick in the book, social media, stings and manageable news channels will be used to demoralize AAP.

In sharp contrast, are the tribe made famous by Sangeeta Richards in New York – the domestic workers. They sit huddled in groups in the park near my house along with the auto rickshaw drivers who have parked their vehicle outside the Metro station. There is a resolve here to consolidate behind AAP.

A section of the media is already showing its colours. It did not even wait for the swearing in ceremony. It bared its fangs well in advance. At his press conference, Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, promised AAP will fulfill its promises, “but you must realize that I have no magic wand”. No sooner had Kejriwal uttered “magic wand” than the anchor of a channel interjected. “Look how prompt he is with his excuses”. So the honeymoon period with the media may be short lived.

Corporate interests which control the media have gauged that AAP is not just a flash in the pan. It has national potential and could therefore disrupt larger game plans.

A year ago, the media had hyped up a Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi campaign. Modi rose to the bait but Rahul did not. Somehow, the Confederation of Indian Industry roped him in for an hour’s solo performance in April which did not set the Jamuna on fire. Word went out that he would concentrate on building up the party.

The December 8 election results must have disturbed India Inc on several counts. The Congress was sinking; BJP did stand its ground in all four states but there was no discernible Modi magic. Upsetting all calculations, AAP came to power in Delhi within a year of being born.

The scenario is encouraging for regional formations. In this framework, even AAP is a regional force. And yet, unlike the Dravida parties, or caste parties in UP and Bihar, AAP is neutral in terms of caste, community and linguistic regionalism. Since it was born in the nation’s capital, it looks much more cosmopolitan and all embracing.

Against this backdrop, what is the future for the Modi versus Rahul format? And, danger of dangers, should snoopgate catch up with Modi, what future for him?

(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)

Devyani Case: Unequal strategic partnership with the US

BY RSN SINGH

All was well between Devyani and her domestic help Sangeeta Richards. Once settled in New York with her employee and family, she in a letter wrote in very eulogizing terms about Devyani, her husband and their children. She says that the diplomat is very jovial, and her husband a very fine person, who partakes in her work, as a result she has considerable free time. Sangeeta also says that she is treated like a family member and the children allude her ‘tai’ (aunt). Some people living in the same Indian Mission building have confirmed to this author that Sangeeta looked like a family member than a domestic help and appeared to be extremely comfortable and congenial till she disappeared.

A copy of the letter is displayed below:

Sangeeta Richards Letter

The sudden disappearance of Sangeeta and enigmatic bonhomie with an Attorney, Preet Bharara is befuddling. He is known for his ruthlessness in pursuit of his political ambitions by endearing himself to the US authorities by using depraved means. His method essentially involves laying judicial trap for fellow Indians, which begins with judicial blackmail or extortion. The desperation and viciousness in his judicial hunt for Devyani smacked of an US government agenda. Even, as an afterthought, if one were to disregard the fact that she was in the business of siphoning secret documents, the very sequence of events makes the espionage angle compelling. The actions that the Attorney took and statements he made, was beyond the realm of profession of law. When Sangeeta’s husband and family were hijacked from India the Attorney termed it as ‘evacuation’. Does an Attorney use such language bordering on ‘war-mongering’. Does Preet Bharara want to wage a war against his motherland? Should India evacuate David Headley?

Now it appears that the entire case was fabricated by Bharara. Devyani’s lawyer Daniel Arshack said that it was the US authorities, who could not read the Visa Form (DS-160) in respect of Sangeeta Richard correctly. They deliberately or inadvertently read $4500 a month salary on the form as Sangeeta’s expected salary, when ‘in fact it was reporting the base salary of the diplomat’ as required. The ‘employment contract’ submitted along with the Form DS-160 clearly mentions that $1560 would be paid to Sangeeta. The figure is based as per the wage laws of New York, i.e. $9.75 an hour, 40 hour a week. One can otherwise forgive the Americans for this oversight as substantial numbers of them are uneducated, but this is a deliberate fraud committed for criminal reasons.

It is obvious that the Attorney is in truck with the US State Department or the American dispensation as such. He allowed himself to become a willing tool of the US government in perpetrating physical and mental crime on a woman diplomat. Sans the espionage angle, the matter would have been purely political and diplomatic in import.

From June to September 2013, the matter just simmered beneath a diplomatic lid, as is normally the practice in espionage cases. No diplomatic mission publically admits of being victims of espionage. In September 2013, the Indian Embassy wrote to the State Department that Sangeeta, who was an absconder, should be arrested and restored to the Indian Embassy as she had violated both the Indian and the American laws, and had stolen cash, cell-phone and ‘documents’. The documents that Sangeeta stole are believed to be very vital to India’s national interest. Also, it needs to be highlighted that the entire Indian officialdom based in New York, including country’s representative at the UN are housed in the same building. For Sangeeta, the building was a mine of information.

While the US authorities were engaged in protecting their ‘asset’ by fabricating various legal spins, matters exacerbated due to another development in India. On October 12, 2013 an American vessel MV Seaman Guard Ohio, belonging to the US firm AdvanFort, was apprehended by the Indian Coast Guard for unauthorized presence in India’s territorial waters. The vessel was being replenished with 1600 liters of high speed diesel by an Indian fishing trawler. The vessel with 35 members (10 crew and 25 security guards) in contravention of law, carried 35 assault rifles and 5680 rounds of ammunition. The crew and the guards were of various nationalities, i.e. Estonians, British, Ukrainian and Indian. All the 35 members were arrested for illegally carrying arms in India’s water and lodged at Palayamkottai Central Jail in Tamil Nadu. Even though there was no US citizen on the vessel, three officials from the US Consulate General at Chennai visited them the very next day. The US authorities maintained that the vessel was engaged in anti-piracy operations for protection of American merchant vessels, and were well beyond the Indian maritime territorial limit of 12 nm.

The crew members and the guards of the vessel, the US authorities emphasized, were specialists in anti-piracy operations and had honourable antecedents, having served in the armed forces and security establishments of their respective countries. The Indian authorities have been steadfast on their stand that they would be tried as per the ‘law of the land’. The bitterness between the US and India over the issue only ratcheted in the subsequent days and reached the ‘snapping point’ in the first week of December 2013. Addressing a press conference on the Navy Day 3rd December the Indian Naval Chief Admiral DK Joshi warned: “Unregulated floating armouries carrying combatants of certain countries are a matter of concern and can have serious security implications for the including infiltration of terrorists that can lead to 26/11 type attacks.”

The Admiral also made an impassioned plea for ‘reversal’ of high risk areas for merchant ships plying in the piracy prone zones. Two years back the longitude marking off high risk areas for piracy was moved from 65 degrees to 78 degrees in the Arabian Sea by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) constituted in 2009 following a UN resolution. The new longitude, although away from India’s territorial waters limit of 12 nautical miles, is dangerously close to the Indian coast. Ships in order to be safe from piracy tend to hug the Indian coast from Mangalore to Kanyakumari. The Enrica Lexie incident (February 2012) in which two Indian fisherman aboard a fishing trawler were killed by Italian marines some 22 miles off the coast was primarily because of the eastward advancement of the high risk longitude.

The change in the longitude has made fishing activities by Indian fishermen extremely contentious and dangerous because of intense international shipping activity close to the Indian coast. Indian maritime authorities like the Coast Guard have been complaining that the shift in the longitude was unwarranted and based on exaggerated threat. From the perspective of overall maritime security of India, with the shift in ‘high risk area’ by the West dominated IMO, the threat is pernicious, causing endemic hostile incidents, including two major ones as mentioned. The lament of the Indian Naval Chief is therefore more than apposite. No country with self-respect will tolerate such an international arrangement which impinges on its everyday legitimate maritime activity and is pregnant with misuse by terrorists and maritime hostilities.

It is under these circumstances that the US vessel MV Sea Guard Ohio was apprehended by the Indian Coast Guard. Notwithstanding the US pressure, Indian authorities would be amiss if they did not treat and investigate the vessel and its crew and guards as floating armouries.

It is this very application of the ‘law of the land’ that disconcerted the Italians and now the Americans. It was also the reason for incarceration of Captain James in Togo, an erstwhile French colony.

Having exhausted the leverages at the highest levels, solely attributable to public pressure, the US in a cynical ‘law of the land’ riposte on India converted a simmering espionage issue into a diplomatic bargaining chip. But not before spiriting away Sangeeta Richard’s husband and family to America. It is now established that the US embassy in India facilitated their travel monetarily and otherwise. The US Embassy officials, who effected the escape of Sangeeta’s family committed ‘Contempt of Court’, as the Richard family was facing a court case when they left India.

Apart from espionage, which is an ongoing activity, the Devyani issue has larger strategic and maritime reasons and facets.

Sangeeta’s espionage network is just one of them. American leverages comprises NRIs, influential intellectuals and media establishments, who were issued diktat to divert public attention and vilify the diplomat by associating her name with Adarsh scam and by frantically excavating things having no bearing with the case. This author was on a TV channel and was told that it had been issued an advisory that the agenda for the day was demonizing Devyani and consequently eulogizing the US. India’s strategic engagement with the US is unequal, because some greedy and subverted Indians have lent their weight to the latter. It is for this reason that that the US authorities treated both Devyani and Sangeeta as slaves, one as a bargaining commodity and the other as a captive spy.

(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)

Was Devyani Khobragade's domestic help a Spy?

Sangeeta Richard with her husbandBY RSN SINGH

When the senior officer in R&AW Mr Ravinder Singh was spirited away with his family by the Americans, the then National Security Advisor of India had commented that the issue was not that there was a mole but why was he so important to the US establishment. In the instant case the same question becomes relevant, i.e. why Sangeeta Richard, a domestic help of the Deputy Consul General (DCG) Devyani Khobragade, was so important to the Americans that her family was whisked away to the US two days before the criminal treatment meted out to the DCG by the authorities in that country. Was Sangeeta recruited by the US Intelligence Agencies to gain information of Indian diplomatic mission in the US?

The desperation to protect Sangeeta Richard and her family by the US authorities says it all. Such desperation betrays that possibly Sangeeta had been recruited and had been converted into what is called in Intelligence parlance an ‘asset’. Plausibly this asset was discovered and uncovered by the Consul General. It could be this fact that compelled Devyani to seek intervention of Delhi High Court, which issued an interim injunction against Sangeeta, preventing her from taking legal action in the US. Further the Metropolitan Magistrate of the South District Court issued an arrest warrant against her and requested the US government to locate her. The sudden grant of Visa and escape of Sangeeta’s family members to the US implies that the authorities in that country were closely monitoring the situation with regards to its ‘asset’ and its family. This abrupt development may have been engendered by the imminent possibility of the Indian judiciary tightening its noose on the family members of Sangeeta.

It is therefore evident that Sangeeta was not absconding but in the safe-custody of the American authorities. The exposure of such assets, it must be remembered compromises the entire espionage framework of the hostile country. Any price therefore to protect the framework is less.

Devyani, it seems has paid the price.

The entire family could not have been spirited out of India, the manner in which it was done, without engineering some extremely sensational diplomatic incident, which carried both the stamp of morality and the object of provocation.

In any country in the world such incidents involving diplomats is rare of the rarest. Say in India, if a diplomat, at any level, of any country were to be involved in an accident, for instance running over a pedestrian by an automobile the matter would be reported right up the chain, i.e. from constable to SHO to Assistant Commission to Deputy Commission to Commissioner of Police to Home Secretary to Home Minister and finally to the Prime Minister. It is because the factor of ‘diplomatic immunity’ is of overwhelming consideration.

In Devyani’s case, therefore, it was not a matter of ‘law taking its natural course’, but a clear case of deliberate provocation which entailed hand cuffing and stripping her. India has been provoked and outraged, the Americans have tried to gain a moral high-ground and the US intelligence ‘asset’ or ‘assets’ (Sangeeta and her other family members) have gained sympathy and credibility. A perfect script!

The attempt by the US to acquire a high-moral ground is nauseating. The morality part in favour of the Devyani has been more than upheld by the Court’s stance in India. They would not have taken the position they did, if it was a matter only confined to wages. The espionage angle seems to be very strong in the instant case.

Morality and the US diplomacy have always been contradiction in terms, rather antagonistic. If the US was so concerned about the sensitivities and laws of other countries, it would have extradited David Headley to India. If it was so sensitive about disparity in wages, it would not have outsourced the job of call centers to other countries. Indian youth working in these call centers spend sleepless nights to make America move during the day, for pittance.

Moreover the discerning people of India have abundantly understood the consummate skill with which American spin-doctors create agendas for destabilizing a country so that the economic and other strategic agendas could be pursued. It began with a concept called ‘march of democracies’. It then graduated to ‘human rights’. Then many countries like India were told that they were sitting on the mountain of ‘AIDS bomb’. Now the latest in the inventory is a concept called ‘modern slaves’. This theme is being flogged on Western television channels. It seeks to say that 50 percent of India constitutes ‘modern slaves’, who are hostage to the remaining. This is clever device to drive a wedge right through the middle of the Indian population. It is also a propaganda to convey the impression in the world that most countries including India are despotic, cruel and uncivilized.

With regards to slaves, it is another matter that the Father of America, George Washington, bequeathed his property to his wife, which included ‘slaves’.

The purpose of this article is not to delve into the details of the wages angle being justified to outrage the diplomatic and personal sanctity of Devyani. Nevertheless, it would be pertinent to mention that the arrangement and contract between the DCG and the Sangeeta Richard is laudable by any standards, and anybody who questions it is doing so due to motivated considerations.

The US has used this device of Sangeeta Richard to propagate this concept of ‘modern slaves’ and thus cause disaffection in the Indian society. In this bid they are being served by many Indian-Americans, who love to decry their motherland at the slightest behest of their adopted fatherland. Echoing the same ‘modern slaves’ concept but in different tenor, is a newly created political party, known to be receiving huge funding from American entities. Apart from the Maoists, the Church and the jihadis this is a new political US leverage.

This author has taken the opportunity to stick his neck out and proclaim with all the emphasis that Devyani issue is only a veneer to protect a espionage network.

(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)

Exclusive details of India’s surveillance system ‘NETRA’

Two news developments in last few days have been significant with regard to India’s cyber warfare capabilities. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on December 15 urged the IT professionals of Bangalore to join the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) team. On December 16, a newspaper report based on a Telecom Department note revealed that the Indian government was ready to launch a spy system for internet surveillance.

Canary Trap brings you exclusive and never known before details about this super secret project.

Nearly 24 months ago the Government of India embarked on an ambitious development of an integrated cyber warfare platform to counter the enormous threats and real-time challenges mounted by the elite Chinese Cyber Command housed in the Peoples Liberation Army, General Staff Department — Third & Fourth.

The Indian initiative to counter Chinese cyber warfare is being led by Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Bangalore and CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team, India) located within the Department of Electronics & Information Technology in the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Delhi. Over 200 scientists from CERT-In, CAIR and several bright Indian techie consultants have been working to for two years to set up the Indian Cyber Warfare Command, called the ‘NETRA’.

This system, besides tracking voice traffic from softwares such as Skype and Google Talk, will also detect content based on keywords (eg: attack, blast, bomb) within seconds from social networks (eg: twitter, Facebook), emails, instant messagaing, blogs and forums among others.

In the past, various of kinds of surveillance platforms have been talked about in public domain, such as NATGRID and CMS (Central Monitoring System). But what holds all of this together is NETRA. Indian techies who broke down the Stuxnet Virus code and several techies from the IT sector in Bangalore were motivated to join this national effort.

So while Indian cyber warfare platform is certainly something to cheer about because it rivals the best platforms available in the world today, the fact is like most such endeavours, even this effort was allegedly used or abused by unscrupulous politicians and corporate leaders.

Even as India’s best and brightest set about setting up complex complicated interception and surveillance systems, the government reached out to select corporate entities to garner funds for this project. In the process, the UPA-II government, compelled by its falling political fortunes, used the same system being built for India’s cyber warfare to allegedly snoop on political rivals. Soon certain fat-cat corporates who survive on crony capitalism used the same system for over two years to collect corporate intelligence.

So much so that a particular influential politician in the UPA-II government allegedly traded surveillance information to make money. In fact, some individuals in an Opposition party, scared by the tremendous rise of a state politician in their party, used the same surveillance mechanism being developed by patriotic Indian techies to keep an eye on this meteorically rising politician.

However, apart from this corruption and abuse of the Indian Cyber Warfare platform, the basic architecture of the Cyber Warfare Command is in place and ready to be deployed by the end of December 2013. This command will finally be housed in a new high security zone within a Border Security Force facility at Yelahanka, Bangalore.

The Security of Aam Aadmi

BY RSN SINGH

Internal security and external security is solely predicated on the politics and the prevailing political chemistry of a country. Without security there can be no stability and consequently no development. The security discourse and foreign policy posturing of a country is therefore intrinsic to the politics and cannot be seen through different prisms.

At any point of history wars have yielded either new political discourse or new dispensations. Arguably, but for the World War-II, India’s independence from the British Rule could have been deferred by a period, which is open to conjecture. The Congress party’s nearly unchallenged status in the country began to attenuate after the 1962 war. Indira Gandhi’s political fortunes not only revived but soared after the 1971 war. Rajiv Gandhi’s unprecedented victory in 1984 was also a massive endorsement of the country’s government decisiveness in handling Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Punjab.

Since then, particularly after the end of Cold War following the defeat of Soviet forces in Afghanistan by jihadi war machine, created by the US and Pakistan, the nature of warfare has changed. Today’s wars shy away from conventional engagements and use proxy methods, which includes terrorism, to destabilize the target country, to further territorial and economic interests. These wars are called proxy wars or sub-conventional wars. The role of Intelligence Agencies in conduct of such wars is paramount. Such wars cannot be successful without subverting segments of population in the target country. The two main specimens of these segments in India are the jihadis in Kashmir and other parts of the country, and the Maoists. This kind of warfare critically relies on recruitment and indoctrination of so-called ‘intellectuals’.

Proxy war by its very nature thrives on political instability. In India’s Red Corridor, Kashmir and in the northeast; investment, infrastructure and social development are becoming increasingly difficult due to the resistance of those very subverted segments. This segment has unleashed a reign of terror on the population in nearly 40 percent of the Indian territory. Things have come to a pass wherein political parties have begun to transact vote-bank business with the perpetrators of terror. One ruling party of a particular state owes more than half the seats to the manipulation by Maoists. Another politician, the speaker of a Legislative Assembly, owes his legislative position to Maoists.

Similarly, there are enough reasons to believe that some politicians are being blackmailed by the ISI and Hafiz Saeed because of their hawala and other links. It was clearly evidenced when separatists in Kashmir met Sartaz Aziz, Nawaz Shariff’s envoy in Delhi. It was in evidence when Hafiz Saeed shared stage with Yasin Malik in Pakistan. It was also in evidence when certain mainstream politicians tried to label 26/11 as an act of so-called ‘Hindu terror’.

Politics and Stability

The main objective of perpetrators of proxy war and agents of subversion is therefore to cause and perpetuate a state of instability in the target country. Any political outfit, which propagates instability for political reasons or as a matter of political faith is ‘anti-national’, because instability results in insecurity of the ‘aam aadmi’.

India after careful and great deliberation chose the Westminster model of democracy. A hung parliament and assembly is not an unusual occurrence. Cobbling of a majority is a political compulsion based on national and imperatives of the ‘aam aadmi’. Those who decry the Indian democracy, which includes the NRIs should reflect on the bitter and fractious nature of politics in other so called matured democracies, such as in Britain, US, Japan, Israel or Italy. Britain today has one of the most unthinkable coalitions. The last victory of Obama is a matter of fierce debate in the US. Italy has had nearly two-dozen governments in last three decades.

Suspected or alleged immoral considerations or transactions cannot be allowed to derail the very basis of Constitutional and patriotic responsibility. No party, which is patriotic and prides in democracy would prefer instability for reasons of growth. This is what Yogendra Yadav has consistently maintained.

The internal forces of instability in India are jihadis and their proxies, the Maoists and their over-ground activists, and external forces vying for influence in the country for economic and other reasons. The interface of these forces with the ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ will be discussed in detail in the succeeding paras based on unimpeachable evidence.

Sinister design of anti-national activism

A very cogent anti-corruption movement was launched in India for bringing back the Indian money in Swiss Banks. This was not merely a rhetoric but entirely achievable because many countries during the same period had been able to arm-twist the Swiss authorities in recovering the illegitimate money. This was also a period when one mega scam after another, each overtaking the other in magnitude, had hit the Indian mind and caused revulsion for the ruling dispensation. This movement had the potential to dislodge the government. Now the moot question is where was the need of another movement?

In the first week of April 2011, Anna Hazare sat on hunger strike at Jantar Mantar demanding a Lokpal Bill. The ‘aam aadmi’ of the country till then and even now never contemplated this bill, but they definitely wanted the Swiss Bank money back to the country. The Lokpal Bill entailed a tortuous Constitutional process but recovering the Swiss Bank money, given the international environment then was far more convenient. It is not so any longer. The very aim of the Lokpal movement it seems was to kill the movement for Swiss Bank money. Anna Hazare was very-very feeble in raising a demand for this money. Who orchestrated this?

Though the Indians were still figuring out the import of Lokpal Bill, the movement had its ripples in London, Glasgow, New Jersey, Paris and Huston. But for this new movement by Anna, the government would have never dared to go for a mid-night crack-down on Baba Ramdev’s movement exactly two months later. Lokpal Bill had neutralized the ‘movement’ over black money in Swiss Banks, but not completely.

Anna movement and US factor

During the same period, i.e. in April 2011, the US lost out on MMRCA F-16 deal. The $11 billion contract was critical for the US to generate jobs, as the country was going through unprecedented downturn of its economy. The US felt that it was politically outmaneuvered by its less deserving rivals. The then Ambassador to US in India Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer said that he was ‘deeply disappointed’ and resigned citing personal reasons. The grapevine in informed circles was that the Americans had decided to teach India a lesson through its ‘Agency’ in India. This is again a matter of conjecture but it is an established fact that when Ambassador Timothy left India, there was no replacement for a period of eight months, i.e. June 2011 to first week of February 2012. Mr Albert Peter Burleigh was Chargé d’affaires during that period. Never in the history of Indo-US relations such a glaring diplomatic hiatus had been witnessed ,not even during 71 War when the US openly sided with Pakistan. There have been 23 American Ambassadors to India since Independence. All of them barring Mr Burleigh carried the designation of ‘Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary’.

Such long absence of an American ambassador in India was unthinkable because of India’s geopolitical importance and geo-strategic location in South Asia and the Indian Ocean. This was also at a time when the so-called ‘war against terrorism’ had not abated in the strategic agenda of the US in which India was a declared partner.

In the third week of August 2011, Anna Hazare again launched his Lokpal Bill movement from Ramlila Ground. It was during the same period when the Arab Spring had hit one country after another, i.e. Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Morocco and Syria. Most of these had similar signatures, which many analysts allegedly attribute to the Americans. The same method of wielding flags, the same use of musical groups, the same mobilization techniques by internet and similar methods of logistics was clearly discernible. There were allegations that the key figures of these protests including in Tahrir Square in Egypt were trained in Western countries or by their Embassies. It may be mentioned that the second largest US Embassy with some 400 personnel in the world is in Cairo.

I would request the readers to compare the visuals of Arab Spring, Ramdev’s agitation and Anna’s protest at Ramlila. The visuals of Tahrir Square and Anna’s protest at Ramlila are so similar that one can confuse on the flags in the first instance. The parallel was too uncannily similar, rather a vulgar replication. Again in this protests any clamour for recovering black money from Swiss Banks was conspicuously absent. The government got a reprieve from imminent fall, solely attributable to the new agenda i.e the tortuous Lokpal Bill which eclipsed the agitation for recovery of black money abroad.

The entire proceedings at Ramlila got a 24×7 coverage by the media for more than 10 days. Two media channels, one foreign owned and the other government funded pioneered the strategy and the rest had no choice but to follow for reasons of TRP. Never in the history of India,any movement or protest had got such sustained media traction. This had a unimaginable amplification effect. It is therefore wrong to suggest that ‘aam aadmi party’ is a new unknown phenomenon.

The spokesman for US State Department Victoria Nuland blamed “some extremely inaccurate reporting out of India” for Indians taking umbrage over the US stand on Anna Hazare’s protest. She said: “with regard to the case (Hazare), however you know where we are. We support freedom of expression and assembly and we encourage all countries and all parties to do same. All democratic government have responsibility to allow peaceful protest and freedom of dissent even as they work to maintain public safety”.

This is the same US which had jailed Charlie Chaplin for his communist leanings. One wonders as to how the US would react if there were to be Anna type prolonged sit-in protest by thousands of Americans in the vicinity of White House for change in the form of American democracy i.e. from presidential system to parliamentary system, or if Anna were to replicate a Jantar Mantar with NRIs for repatriation of Union Carbide officials responsible for Bhopal Gas tragedy. It may be mentioned that that Anna, recipient of American funded Magsaysay award was in the US in August this year and was accorded star status by NRIs in the India Day celebrations.

Arvind Kejriwal too, after being conferred with Magsaysay award in 2006 had gone on a long lecture tour to US. The list of Magsaysay awardees also includes Kejriwal’s mentor Aruna Roy. Another Anna associate Kiran Bedi is also the recipient of the said award. Prashant Bhushan, a former Anna ideologue and founder member of AAP party has also done his post-graduation at Princeton University in the US and is a regular visitor to the country. So the American imprint on the leadership of Anna movement and the AAP party is very strong.

Kejriwal not a bolt from blue

Kejriwal was far from an unknown commodity to the government when he first infiltrated Ramdev movement, then recruited Anna in his Lokpal movement as the leader, and then politically hijacked it. Aruna Roy of the National Advisory Council (NAC) has actually nurtured Kejriwal in his career as a professional activist. Sandeep Dixit has also been his close associate in an NGO for several years. It is rather strange and despicable to put banners at the back of auto rickshaws calling a friend’s mother ‘beimaan’. There are many conspiracy theories, but it is undeniable that the members of NAC associated with Kejriwal are all Left leaning and alleged Maoist sympathisers and so was the case with majority of the close aides of Anna before the split with Kejriwal. Now the Maoist segment forms part of AAP.

Some analysts are of the belief that close aides of Anna (before the split) combined in them the agenda of external forces out to destabilize India and political manipulators within, who were desperate to stave the threat to government posed by the Ramdev’s movement against corruption and repatriation of Indian money from Swiss banks. Plausibly Kejriwal and his coterie had exceeded the brief given by political manipulators within the government; but their external benefactors, which includes larger than party and government elements within, had different long term plans. These elements within the NAC which does not share its agenda with the government and the State, were responsible for foisting of Binayak Sen in a health committee of the planning commission no sooner he was granted bail. He has been charged for assisting the Maoists in ways more than one.

Swami Agnivesh’s lament on phone that the Anna team had gone mad like wild elephants and were no longer amenable should be seen in this backdrop. It was caught on camera. The same can be viewed by clicking on the link here: Swami Agnivesh betrayed Anna Hazare sensational video exposed by News24

Forces of Destablisation

The two most vicious proxies of external forces of destabilization in India are the Jihadis and the Maoists. The Jihadis are the proxy soldiers of Pakistan who feed on religious fundamentalism. The Maoists are not only the proxy soldiers of China as is generally understood, they also draw their sustenance from Church organisations and the Western world. In 2008,he killing of social worker Laxminanda Saraswati was allegedly engineered by the Church through Christian Maoists. In March 2012, again in Odhisa two Italian tourist, Bousco Paolo and Claudio Colangelo, in a poorly staged drama got themselves abducted, to be used as bargaining chip for release of other Maoist leaders. Later in April 2012, a group of ten French tourists were deported from Bihar for their collusion with the Maoists. In November 2012 an International Conference in Support of Peoples War in India was held at Hamburg in Germany and was attended by delegates of more than two dozen countries. Members of European Commission swooped on the Chhattisgarh to watch trial of Binayak Sen. It was a blatant insult to India, but such is the level of blackmail and influence the West that goes beyond the Indian establishment, that it did not even whimper.

The congruency of agenda of Jihadis, Maoists and their international benefactors, has impelled them to collaborate. The US and the West has been using all these leverages to destabilize countries to further their strategic and economic interests. The US supported the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Al-Qaeda in Syria (Al Nusra) and Iraq. It has been using ultra-leftist groups to destablise target countries in Latin America and South America. The umbrella organization of ultra-leftist groups, ‘International Revolutionary Movement’, is headquartered in Chicago.

The overwhelming presence and influence of alleged Maoists and their over-ground activists in Team Anna was palpable. Later these elements drifted to AAP. The US imprint on AAP has already been discussed. To arrive at a proper assessment is imperative that the views of AAP on other destablising forces like Jihadis, Separatists, Pakistan, Terrorism and Islamic Fundamentalists are also considered.

On Batla House encounter Kejriwal categorically says that it was fake and questions the sacrifice of security forces only to tone it down later. To hear his belief click on the links here: Batla Encounter was a fake – Arvind Kejriwal

Prashant Bhushan’s pro-Maoist proclivities and posturing has been witnessed many times on television. At the peak of Anna agitation the views expressed by him on Kashmir on television were shocking. He was administered some rough treatment by young patriots for his separatist remarks. Subsequently he tried to mitigate his statement which had no takers. His clarification was unconvincing and can be heard here.

Members of AAP have never responded on questions on Maoism, Jihadi Terror and Pakistan. Insinuations have been made about their links with jihadi outfits in Pakistan and Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt through fundamentalist groups in India. Arvind Kejriwal in fact took umbrage when queried about his approach on Pakistan and terror. His hostility to the queries on security of India can be heard by clicking on the link here.

Kejriwal has been hobnobbing with Islamic Fundamentalists to further his political career. His political transaction with a rabid Islamic Fundamentalist, Tauqeer Raza Khan, accused of spreading communal hostility, can be gleaned by viewing the video here.

Conclusion

Whatever the actual conduct, at the core of a political party is its nationalist ideology, which is accepted or rejected by the people during elections, depending the manner in which translates into governance. A political party which does not divulge its foreign policy and security agenda is anti-national.

Any political party which relies on country’s instability for growth is anarchist and anti-national. Activism can be national and anti-national, creative and destructive. Negative and anti-national activism destroys concepts of hard work, production and progress. It creates cynicism amongst the populace and negates demographic dividends. This is what the inimical forces are doing to India through their proxies which include terrorist outfits, NGOs and political parties. If the agenda of AAP was purely nationalistic it would have never split from Anna.

A number of organisations like the RSS, Bharat Swabhiman Manch and Art of Living made the Anna agitation in Ramlila Maidan in Delhi and their absence wrecked it in Mumbai. Each of these organisations departed suspecting the political and anti-national agenda of the core members who now constitute AAP.

To know the consequences of instability and anarchy caused by subverted extremists one has to look only at Nepal wherein the forces of destabilization were the same as in India. The people realized the anti-national agenda of the Maoists and have thrown them out in the recent elections. The disaffection caused by the Maoists, nevertheless, continues to cost something as basic as Constitution in Nepal.

(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)

Keran intrusion: Three-fold aim of Nawaz Sharif

India - PakistanBY COL (RETD) RAJINDER SINGH

KERAN EPISODE, KUPWARA, J&K in September/October 2013 raised a question in my mind i.e. Is this episode not bearing typical signature of Nawaz Sharif, as Prime Minister of Pakistan? Wasn’t it a similar attempt as was done in Kargil in 1999?

Let me at the outset say, all Line of Control (LoC) violations by Pakistan military are the attempts to gain advantageous ground positions through silent nibbling acts without any major military conflicts. The purpose of the nibbling is to straighten the LoC so as to insulate its soft underbelly of Northern Areas (FCNA), which is vulnerable from Keran Sector and Kargil sector on the Indian side. Therefore his hidden motive is to obtain dominating ground features in these areas for future negotiations of LoC as an International Border.

I am of the view that if Pakistan military allows Nawaz Sharif, he would seek a solution to Kashmir problem along the modified LoC. Businessman in Nawaz Sharif is particularly keen to do so. This is why he had invited Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Indian Prime Minister, to Lahore in February 1999. No doubts, he had cleared Kargil operation but only for a limited extent of 2-3 kms east of LoC. But Pakistan military, led by General Pervez Mushareff, out-smarted him then and put paid to his plans by infiltrating some 8-10 kms. I personally feel that he had double aim, then, in clearing Kargil operations. One was to get into advantageous position along the LoC for ultimate negotiations on it as a border. Second one was to get his army’s wings clipped by engaging them with Indian Army and making them suffer loss of face by a strong countervailing act by it.

Coming back to Pakistan intrusion in KERAN Sector in September 2013, when Indian soldiers battled it out for 15-20 days to clear five square km area, infiltrated by some alleged militants. All sort of claims were being made to say that some 30-40 militants backed by Pakistan Army had infiltrated and 12 -15 had been killed, though bodies have not been recovered. Even today, there are different versions both by Army and civilian intelligence agencies. My question is: Were they really militants or Pakistani soldiers in the garb of militants who had occupied Shallabatho post in KERAN Sector? This village dominates the Neelam Valley road on Pakistan side.

Some newspaper reports had also stated that the strenght of the militants could be around 100 and their supply lines were intact, even 14 days after the counter offensive by Indian Army. The scene of action was around an abandoned Shalobatho village near the LoC. The area, as I stated was around five square km. I know the terrain backwards. But wait.

Was the Indian Army hiding something as it did during Kargil incident? Strange that the present chief General Bikram Singh was then posted as a Colonel in the DGMO branch of Army HQ and he briefed the Indian media daily along with his mentor, General JJ Singh. Is history repeating itself after 14 years?

I had served for three years in the KERAN Sector during Kargil operations in 1999. I was Deputy Commander of KERAN Sector, located at Pharkiyan Gali. I know the terrain fully and no one can fool me. It is a fact that the terrain is difficult but not so difficult that it can disallow the might of the Indian Army to ferret out some 30-40 militants. There is something more to it.

In the early 90s, Pakistan Army had in the same sector occupied GURJARTUR FORWARD (called Ramazan by Pakistan) post across the LoC in a similar manner. Somehow this was never reported. Similar thing had happened in the MAHCHAL sector, adjoining KERAN, and there is no secret about Point 5230 in Gurej sector. The Pakistan Army has been deliberately nibbling at some tactically advantageous positions along the LoC in North Kashmir whenever Nawaz Sharif has come back as PM. He has a clear and well defined aim.

You will ask me why? My answer is very simple. Nawaz, being a clever businessman, has realized that for Pakistan to grow economically it has to be at peace with India. His own business house would grow multifold if Indo-Pak relations are normalized and good business relations were established. But this was not possible till solution to Kashmir was found. To do so, he looks for an advantageous solution to Kashmir issue within its present realities rather than emotional strains of 1947. In so doing, he has further concluded that only solution to Kashmir problem was to accept the LoC with modifications as IB, which would also insulate his Northern Areas (FCNA), from any Indian misadventure in future.

It is this principle which made him invite then Indian PM Vajpayee to Lahore in 1999 for peace talks, while he asked his army to get into an advantageous position along the LoC to be able to negotiate better, when settlement talks begin. It is a different matter that then Pakistan COAS General Pervez Musharraf outsmarted him and went beyond his permission, which led to Kargil.

I have a lurking feeling that Nawaz Sharif plays a double game in such peace talks initiatives. I feel that he wanted his army to be sorted out, then as well as now. Therefore, he might have sounded to Atal Bihari Vajpaee, who along with his then Generals had exuded confidence that there was no intelligence failure. Lt General HM Khanna, then Northern Army commander, had boasted that he would throw out the intruders in 48 hours. Alas! he realized later that he was not only fooling himself but the entire nation.

Was it the same boast this time too when the present 15 Corps Commander claimed that there were only 30-40 militants, while 12-15 had been killed. What a laughable excuse he gave that to save own casualties his troops were going slow! Generals engaged in battle do not talk of caution, unless they were faking. How come they took 14 days to sanitize the five sq km area with everything at their disposal. Learned military minds would not buy this argument. Certainly, I won’t because I had choked LNVR (Lower Neelam valley road, life line for Pakistan troops in Northern Areas) of the Pakistan during Kargil.

It is no doubt that Pakistan Army had launched a well planned operation in KERAN. The operation had typical Nawaz Sharif signature for nibbling at the LoC. Therefore, though he makes noise for peace, whenever he becomes PM, he asks his army to straighten the LoC to Pakistan’s advantage.

His offer must have been so tempting that Manmohan Singh, and Vajpayee before him, could not say no. Therefore Singh went ahead and met him in New York despite a lot of hue and cry in the country. I wonder if the US had a hand in it.

Readers should know that KERAN sector dominates Neelam Valley Road of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), which was the life line of Northern Areas of Pakistan. However in the early 90s, the Indian Army guns went silent and Pakistan constructed a shunt of 22 km outside the range of small arms fire of Indian troops. They made an alternative route and this was a tactical blunder by the Indian Army and its Generals then (Gujral Doctrine was in operation at that time, with the central theme of Love Thy Neighbour. This is emotional baggage of all refugees, whether it was IK Gujral, Kuldeep Nayyar, Manmohan Singh or even LK Advani. They all want to live in their past).

A village ATHMUQAM, along the banks of Neelam river (Kishanganga in Indian context) opposite KERAN Sector is the launching pad for the terrorists. This village is some 20 km from Muzaffrabad, capital of PoK. The shunt of 22 km takes off from ATHMUQAM village and joins the old Neelam Valley road at DUDHNIYAL, just short of KEL military base of Pakistan Army, which feeds Gultari and forces opposite Kargil. It is this shunt which is now under threat from enhanced weapon ranges of Indian Army. If it can be choked, Northern Areas of Pakistan can be effectively isolated because the only other route is a circuitous one from an inaccessible terrain in the winters.

This intrusion by Pakistan in KERAN sector is to safeguard its lifeline to Northern Areas, which can be easily cut off, as and when Indian Army desires. And it will result in areas like Gilgit, Hunza, Baltistan and Dardistan becoming untenable. Therefore, I personally feel this KERAN intrusion by Pakistan, under the garb of militants, is to give life to Sharif’s proposal to get into better position before he begins talks for peace with Indian leaders. Maybe the intrusion is by mix of militants and regular soldiers. This might be Sharif’s way of diverting militants and Taliban from Pakistan and let them be engaged with India. He achieves his triple aim:

  • Get militants and Taliban off his back;
  • Clip the wings of his army by getting it humiliated by Indian Army;
  • And most importantly get into an advantageous position to negotiate with India along the LoC. Thus find a peaceful solution by asking India to act like a big brother and be magnanimous.

I am of the opinion, Indian Army should tell the truth about KERAN intrusion to the nation. It will lose credibility if it continues to mask the truth with white lies.

(Colonel Rajinder Singh is a retired Indian Army officer from the Bihar Regiment. He is also a Guest Blogger with Canary Trap)