Rohit Kumar's Views

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Indian

India can’t do a ‘Geronimo’

leave a comment »

Lt Gen Harwant Singh (retd).

Consequent to American operation ‘Geronimo,’ at Abbottabad in Pakistan to eliminate Osama bin Laden, many in civil society have been asking whether India can go ahead with a similar operation. ‘Geronimo’ involved painstaking intelligence work spread over many years, though the final ‘fine- tuning’ took seven months or so. Detailed intelligence work and application of cutting edge technology apart, it required an enormous amount of co-ordination among those in the higher echelons of the civil administration and military high command as well as with the one who was to control the mission. The entire planning was closely monitored by the Chiefs of Defence Staff, the CIA chief and the President himself, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

For months they worked on the plan, disseminating information strictly following the principle, ‘need to know’. A mock-up of the ‘Osama house’ would have been erected and an operation rehearsed a number of times by the designated team of helicopter crews and Seals, and the latter had otherwise been undergoing one of the most vigorous training schedules. Only then was it possible to complete the mission with clock-work precision. It was the President who had to take the final call and gave written orders.

Since intelligence is the most essential input for such an operation, can Indian intelligence agencies measure up to this basic requirement? Weaknesses of Indian intelligence have repeatedly surprised the nation, be it the Chinese road across Ladakh, the scale of aggression in 1962, and mass infiltration in 1965 in J and K followed by the attack in Chamb-Jorian. Kargil was a major intelligence failure and so was the attack on Parliament where there were security lapses too. It was repeated at Mumbai, in spite of some early leads. More recent are the cases of lists of terrorists in Pakistan and the CBI team arriving in Copenhangen with an out-dated warrant of arrest. The list is endless.

Accurate and actionable intelligence is fundamental to the success of covert operations, whereas it remains our weakest point. In fact, in the case of Indian intelligence agencies, it is not the case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing but the little finger not knowing whom the index finger, of the same hand, is fingering?

At the national level we have the NSG, especially trained and equipped for such operations. At Mumbai these commandos first took too long to arrive and later too long to complete the operation. Equally, are the NSG commandos equal to the job? Just recall the visuals of a commando holding his weapon well above his head and firing at supposedly some terrorists! This visual was repeatedly shown on the American TV, where we saw the drama unfold. The NSG was commanded by an army officer, invariably an ex-commando, but now it is a police officer with no ground-level experience of commando operations. Grabbing jobs, irrespective of the suitability of the appointee, is another feature of Indian setting.

There was no centralised control over the operation and the entire scene around Taj Hotel appeared one of a ‘circus,’ with apparently no one knowing what to do. The details of ammunition and grenades expended by the commandos in this action would give an idea of the operation and our suspicion of possible collateral damage.

Both the Indian Navy and the Indian Army have special forces which can carry out missions of the type conducted by the US naval Seals at Abbottabad. They are organised and trained for such missions and have the best of leadership. Quality of intelligence inputs apart, it is the joint operations where more than one service is to take part and then problems arise. There are major fault-lines in the field of coordination and meshing together of various aspects of such an operation between the two Services taking part in the operation. This lack of ‘joint-ship’ has been the bane of Indian defence forces, which essentially is the handiwork of the politic-bureaucratic combine. The policy of ‘divide and rule’, and ‘turf-tending’ over national interest has been the dominant feature of the Indian defence apparatus.

In the case of the Abbattobad raid, in spite of the complete integration of the defence forces in the United States, the Naval Seals had their own helicopters to ensure total involvement and commitment of those taking part in the operation. In the case of India, helicopters meant for carrying such troops are with the Indian Air Force rather than the Army! So, the total commitment required on the part of all those taking part in the operation will not measure up to the level required in an operation of the type conducted at Abbottabad. In fact, discord has often appeared when two Services had to operate together. It surfaced in rather an ugly form during the Kargil operations.

In the Indian political setting, a clear direction and the will to go for the kill will continue to be lacking. At Kargil, troops were told to carry out a ‘hot pursuit,’ but were forbidden to cross the Line of Control. This is when Pakistan had violated, on a very wide front and to great depth, India’s territorial integrity and the situation called for and justified a befitting response. However, India’s timid and inappropriate reaction resulted in frontal attacks up those impossible slopes, with avoidable casualties. Pakistan suffered no punishment for its blatant act of aggression. Consequent to attack on Indian Parliament, ‘Operation Parakaram’ kept the troops in their battle locations for months and ended in a fiasco. Indian reaction to these two incidents conveyed to Pakistan that it can take liberties with India and the latter carries no deterrence for the former. At the same time, it demonstrated that Indian political leadership will never have the stomach to order an operation of the ‘Geronimo’ type, no matter how provocative the action of the other country may be.

Civil society has suddenly woken up and is now seeking answers to searching questions on these issues, having closed its eyes and switched off its mind to national security issues all these decades. The inescapable fact is that the full potential of various components of the defence forces just cannot be realised without adopting the concepts of Chiefs of Defence Staff and “Theater Commands” along with the integration of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Services headquarters on the lines of the Pentagon. What has currently been carried out by way of amalgamation of Defence Headquarters with the MoD is a joke and a fraud on the nation. Yet civil society has remained a silent spectator. The Arun Singh Committee Report continues to gather dust, as it stands consigned to the archives of the Indian government.

Besides the above fault-lines in the Indian security establishment, it is the watertight compartments in which various organs of the state work. Foreign policy is evolved and practised in isolation of national security considerations and consultations. Intelligence agencies are never made accountable and have inadequate interaction with the defence Services.

Advertisements

Advani: bring back black money stashed away abroad

leave a comment »

MUMBAI: Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani on Sunday welcomed the Supreme Court’s move to make public the details of black money stashed away abroad by Indians.


Senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani at the ‘Mahasangram’ rally in Mumbai on Sunday. Others in the photograph are, from left, JD (U) president Sharad Yadav, BJP president Nitin Gadkari and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray.

Speaking at the Mahasangram rally of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) against corruption and price rise here, he said, the Supreme Court pulled up Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam and asked him why the government could not divulge the details of those who had kept black money abroad.

Mr. Advani said that he would appeal to the court to take the steps on this front to a logical conclusion. The Indian government must ensure that all the money abroad was brought back and it must punish the people involved and make special laws, if necessary on this issue. He called on the Congress which had belittled him when he raised key questions on black money and said it must reply to NDA’s letter on this issue and called the party to account.

This had happened in other countries, the U.S. and Germany got back money and there was a law on this subject, he said. Linking the issue of black money in foreign banks to corruption and scams, Mr. Advani said this was the key issue related to corruption.

“In 2009 I said black money by those who have earned it through nefarious means, is kept in countries like Switzerland, where banking norms allow having secret accounts and no one will even ask you. Banking secrecy laws are there in many countries. Now there is a chance, the U.S., Germany felt that their money should return to their countries during the time of the economic slowdown. The United Nations passed a Convention on corruption and now laws are being drafted for the repatriation of money,” he pointed out. “When NDA raised the issue, the Congress reacted by saying no country will change laws for us, how will they give us back the money and they made fun of me,” he added.

Before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had created a task force, and Vaidyanathan who was a member, gave examples of how much money was stashed in foreign banks. Global Financial Integrity, an international group published a small booklet and estimated that Indian money abroad at Rs. 20.85 lakh crore, Mr. Advani said.

The NDA rally on corruption and scams came down heavily on the Congress and the Maharashtra government. BJP president Nitin Gadkari, said this was a government which looted its people by making laws to suit them. For instance, for the Commonwealth Games, there was a rule that contractors had to have previous experience with such games and thus all the Indian contractors were ruled out.

Suicide by farmers

He said lakhs of farmers have committed suicide, and there were reports which said that in India 70 per cent of the people spend less than Rs. 20 a day. On the one hand, while Mr. Pawar was Agriculture Minister, foodgrains were rotting, there was no storage facility, gas prices were spiraling, he said.

Calling on the Congress to reply to all allegations of corruption, Mr. Gadkari said that he had all the evidence of Win Chaddha’s son’s accounts, and also proof that Quattrochi had deep relations with the Gandhis. He also had information on Mr. Quattrochi’s bank accounts but refused to divulge more details.

He also reiterated the NDA’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into 2G scam and asked the Congress “what is wrong thing we have done by asking for a JPC?” The Congress was afraid because their faces were already blackened and they were afraid that more scams would spill out. Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav said this was a fight for justice. He said a majority of the parties wanted a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum and the Commonwealth Games scam, even the Congress allies were game, but the Congress with 206 seats was not relenting. “Even during the meeting with Pranab Mukherjee all of us had agreed to the JPC probe from 1998. It is the Congress which by its refusal has put a lock on Parliament,” he said.

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said, the Congress and its allies had no shame. He said “an economist heads the country and a farmer’s son is the Agriculture Minister. Yet farmers are committing suicide and prices are going out of control.”

Referring to the Adarsh Society, he said, while the Environment Minister suggested that the building be demolished, the question of the Lavasa remained to be seen. Mr. Sharad Pawar’s ‘connections’ with the Lavasa implied that little was said about it, he alleged. He dared the Environment Ministry not to clear the Lavasa. If the Adarsh was not demolished by the government then common people would take the law into their hands, he warned.

The Congress wanted to target Hindutvawadis as terrorists, said Mr. Thackeray. “Action must be taken against whoever is against the State. But why give a colour to terrorism,” he asked. How did Aseemanand’s confession came to the press and Digvijay Singh first, he wondered.

Mr. Modi And The Ghosts Of Gujarat 2002

leave a comment »

By Dr. Shah Alam Khan,

I don’t believe in ghosts. I think they are the folly of a fearful mind. But yet I find ghosts to be funny characters. They hound you at the most awkward of hours and at the most awkward of places. Having said this, some ghosts are not funny, they can make life miserable. Ask Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat. Mr. Modi is alleged to have mastermind or rather orchestrated the genocide of Muslims in Gujarat during the 2002 communal riots. It was this orchestration of communal massacre which earned him the title of modern day Nero by the Supreme Court of India. The ghosts of Gujarat 2002 keep returning to him. The more he tries to ostracize these nefarious characters, the more they return with new force and vigor. Ghosts of young men & women, small children, pregnant mothers and even the little Caspers, the fetuses who were torn out of the cozy comfort of their mothers’ bellies and thrown into soaring infernos. All are back. Some ghosts are obstinate, pigheaded to get justice for getting them into this indiscernible state by Mr. Modi and his riot manufacturing machine which runs on human blood.

I am sure these ghosts will accompany Mr. Modi on March 27th 2010, when we are made to believe,

that he presents himself to be questioned by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court of India to probe the Gujarat carnage. It is important to note that Mr. Modi will be testifying only in the case of Mr. Ehsan Jafri who was murdered, sorry, dismembered, in the Gulbarg society carnage in Feb 2002. I am amused to imagine that as Mr. Modi will sit in the big leather chair in front of a tight lipped committee of polished bureaucrats, there would be a thousand eyes popping over his shoulder, jostling to get space, pushing and elbowing each other to make their presence felt. The SIT interrogation room will be full of ghosts. Frail elderly ghosts, who will be pushed further back in the chaos, the naughty little ones who will dodge their mothers to go and pee on Modi’s white starched kurta and the pregnant ghosts, the most difficult to control; they start cursing and bellowing at the top of their voices whenever they see Mr. Modi. Probably they were too much in love with their babies-to-be the day they were raped and cut opened. Then there would be those who are unnamed, unidentified – the faceless ghosts. These are the ones who resided in bodies which were charred beyond recognition in the spring of 2002 across different locations of Gujarat. Bodies scorched so badly that even their spirits are now faceless.

It will be interesting to note how these ghosts will react as Mr. Modi is put through what I feel will be scratchy questions. Well surely uncomfortable for people with a heart and soul! I had always felt that Mr. Modi should be invited to an episode of Sach ka Samna, the popular Hindi version of a more suave Moment of Truth. Seeing him answer moral (and immoral) questions in a true or false pattern would be fun. In fact it might be much easier for him as well; at least he will not have to give bizarre and whacky explanations which make us judgmental on his intelligence and astuteness. So, if the host asks, “Mr. Modi you ordered the best bakery carnage – True or False?” he, with all the straightness of face (resembling the election face mask he distributed in 2007) will answer, “False”. The not so always accurate lie detector machine says: False. No more explanations, no more shame. Well, no more shame particularly for Mr. Modi and no more shame for us, Indians, in general.

History has a peculiar knack of catching up with its characters. On March 27th India’s history will catch up with its most pernicious of politicians. In the company of three thousand invisible yet tangible ghosts, Narendra Modi will undergo a scrutiny of his deeds. His acts of commission and importantly his impotence of omission, everything will go under the scanner. And all this in the presence of those to whom he owes an explanation. He owes an explanation to all of us. To me, to you, to those who love our freedom and our country. To those who bow before the god a bit differently and also to those who bow in the same way as he does. He owes an explanation to the nameless ghosts who wander through the land of Gandhi awaiting their moksha and to those who were left alive and mourn the dead.

I am sure Mr. Modi will perspire as the SIT questions get difficult and will sigh as the easier ones follow. Watching him quietly in the room with three thousand ghosts will be a smiling Ehsan Jafri in white kurta-pyjama; still soaked in blood. His body was dismembered, but his spirit is cohesive. He has identified his killers. He has recognized the perpetrators. His death has not gone waste. His wailing from that fateful day in Gulbarg society haven’t gone unanswered. The Day of Judgment is closing in. He does not want to blink. He wants to capture each and every second of this hearing into his fluid state. The pain of getting dismembered by a crowd of assassins must surely be not greater than the pleasure of seeing Narendra Modi in the spot light. The spot light of shame and ignominy.

Narendra bhai Modi, as he is popularly called, has a task cut out. Either he faces the SIT to answer questions he has been evading since February 2002 or he continues to live in the shadow of ghosts. His party feels that he is a popular chief minister who always respects law. It makes me laugh – law and Modi in the same voice? A sarcastic oxymoron for those who saw law raped in Gujarat in the 2002 carnage. An ironic antithesis for those who saw their children thrown in fire in the February of 2002. An iron-cold apathy for those who saw policemen betray their trust.

Mr. Modi, it’s not easy to live with ghosts. They create ruckus, they can be hysterical. They don’t let you sleep peacefully and above all they do not forget or forgive.

Written by rohitkumarsviews

March 29, 2010 at 9:15 am