Tuesday, July 29, 2008




The possibility of the involvement of Dawood Ibrahim, the Indian mafia leader, living in Karachi,in the serial blasts in Uttar Pradesh in November last year, in Jaipur in May last, in Bengaluru on July 25 and in Ahmedabad on July 26 needs to be looked into for the following reasons:

The so-called Indian Mujahideen, which has claimed responsibility for these incidents first made its appearance after the judgement was delivered by a Mumbai court last year awarding severe sentences in the case relating to the Mumbai blasts of March,1993. The March 1993 blasts were organised by Dawood Ibrahim with the help of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Many of those convicted in the case were his close associates.

All the blasts, which have taken place since November last, have involved the mobilisation of considerable human and material resources.

This is so particularly in Gujarat. There were 20 blasts in Ahmedabad. In Surat, 17 unexploded improvised explosive devices (IED) have been found after the Ahmedabad blasts. Normally, terrorists follow the principle of one perpetrator for planting one IED. That means, there were at least 37 perpetrators. Normally, each perpetrator has at least one person to provide the back-up support.Thus, it is estimated that the total number of individuals involved must have been at least 70 plus.

The group, which was involved in the terrorist strikes in Gujarat, was reported to have procured or stolen at least three motor vehicles in Mumbai and brought them to Gujarat. Two of these were used in Ahmedabad and one with some LNG cylinders was found in Surat.

The mobilisation of such a large number of people plus the procurement of the motor vehicles would have involved considerable expenditure. Only Dawood Ibrahim would have had such resources and the ability to mobilise such a large number of people.

If he had orchestrated these strikes, where did he get these men trained----in Pakistan with the ISI's help as he did before March 1993 or in India? In March 1993, he used only Indian Muslims for carrying out the blasts.

In March 1993, he got all the material for the blasts from the ISI. This time, the material would appear to have been procured in India.

3.An intriguing aspect is why all the IEDs planted in Surat did not explode. Some reports have said that it was because of the rains.The IEDs in Surat must have been planted at the same time as those in Ahmedabad. On July 26, when the blasts took place in Ahmedabad, there were no rains, which came only the next day. If the rains were the reason for the failure, the IEDs in Surat must have been timed to explode a day after the blasts in Ahmedabad.

4. The other possibility is that the terrorists deliberately did not want the Surat IEDs to explode and wanted the police to remain preoccupied with defusing them so that they can carry out blasts in some other town. ( 29-7-08)

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

Monday, July 28, 2008



( Written for “Times of India” of July 29,2008)

India continues to bleed at the hands of jihadi terrorists, indigenous as well as from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The percentage of the indigenous component has been increasing. The religious dimension (Muslims vs infidels) of the jihad has been assuming predominance over the political, economic and other dimensions. The recently-initiated attempts of the clerics and other leaders of the Muslim community to condemn the resort to terrorism is not yet having any impact on the younger elements.

The blasts at Jaipur,Bangalore and Ahmedabad mark the failure of the wiser elements to dissuade the younger elements to give up the path of terrorism. Young religious radicals of the community are determined to keep up their jihad. Whereas in the past, their jihad was motivated by domestic grievances, considerations of global Islamic solidarity against the perceived enemies of Islam have become an additional motivating factor. They perceive the US and Israel as the main enemies of Islam. Since India’s relations with the US and Israel are improving, we have to face the fall-out of the jihadi anger against them.

The blasts have an ominous dimension for India, which has the second largest Muslim population in the world. They mark the success of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence in its efforts to Indianise the jihad by creating Indian versions of organizations such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al-Islami. These are now manned increasingly, if not totally, by Indian Muslim recruits. They are being projected as the Indian Mujahideen.

The Indianisation of the jihad serves the ISI in three ways: it could aggravate the communal divide; it keeps the jihad going with limited Pakistani involvement; and Pakistan escapes pressure from the US to act against the Pakistani jihadi set-up.

Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad are only the beginning of this process. There is a danger of the Indianised jihad spreading to other areas. If they succeed, they would not only add to the political instability, but would also come in the way of our attempts to catch up with China economically. Nervousness in the foreign business community will be an outcome of an atmosphere of insecurity.

The growing and spreading jihadi terrorism is a bleeding ulcer. The solidarity of the jihadis is not confronted by the solidarity of the political class and the civil society. We are frittering away our resources and energy in divisive debates marked by partisan point-scoring. A disunited political class clueless in the face of terrorism cannot provide leadership to the counter-terrorism community, which has been moving from one failure to another.

There is very little understanding of the techniques of counter-terrorism at the political level and very little appreciation of the need of the agencies for special legal powers, better technical capabilities and more human and material resources. Every country gets the counter-terrorism mechanism it deserves. We have what we deserve--- sometimes competent, but often not so. The beneficiaries are the terrorists and the ISI behind them.

The blasts were the outcome of colossal intelligence failures at the Central and State levels. There is a reluctance to admit the failures, which would be the first step towards improvement. Re-vamping the counter-terrorism capabilities of the agencies would call for better human and technical resources, better language skills and more induction of officers from the Muslim community into the agencies There is a need for a special package of measures to achieve this. One should have the courage to let heads roll when a comprehensive package fails to produce results.

The weaknesses and unsatisfactory record of our intelligence agencies have been a long-standing problem. Our record in successful investigation and prosecution used to be good, but it has now been deteriorating due to a lack of special powers for detention and interrogation and for the collection of technical intelligence. If these special powers are not given, the slide in the quality of investigation and prosecution will continue.

Jihadi terrorism is a pan-Indian phenomenon---- striking at different places at different times. The terrorists have a common command and control. The investigative agencies do not have. The investigations are being done in a piecemeal, isolated fashion with no one-point reservoir of data and no one-point mechanism for co-ordination, control and monitoring. The setting-up of a federal agency for investigating terrorism cases would provide that common nodal point, but short-sighted political leaders prefer not to have it more for partisan political than professional reasons.

Terrorism of various hues has become a perennial threat to our national security. The determination and the will to tackle that threat is missing. Only voter pressure and the danger of losing elections if one is perceived as soft and inadequate in dealing with it will improve matters. The voters should use the forthcoming elections to send a clear message to politicians that they will be judged on the basis of their record in dealing with terrorism.

Indianised jihad is assuming a trans-national dimension. The young recruits or volunteers of today are more and more motivated by pan-Islamic issues like the US war against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. While there is no evidence to show that the Indo-US Nuclear agreement had anything to do with the surge in terrorism, the increasing US and Israeli presence in India could induce Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organizations to target their nationals and interests in India. This has to be guarded against. Al Qaeda as an organization is not yet there in India. But many supporters of Al Qaeda---Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims--- are there in our midst. They would be only too happy to act as its Trojan horses.

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

Saturday, July 26, 2008




In response to my article titled "The Indianisation of Pan-Islamic Jihad", I have received a number of queries from readers asking about the impact of Al Qaeda on the Indian Muslim community and its implications. This article, which is in response, is an update of an article written by me on March 20,2006, after the visit of President George Bush to India. That article titled AL QAEDA, THE IIF & INDIAN MUSLIMS is available at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers18%5Cpaper1743.html. This article also incorporates my observations on the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) from my book "Terrorism: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow" published in June,2008, by the Lancer Publishers of New Delhi (www.lancerpublishers.com )

2. The trend towards the radicalisation of the Indian Muslim youth started in the late 1980s.Groups of Muslim youth from Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) started going across the Line of Control (LOC) to Pakistan and were trained and armed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). After the training, some of them were taken to Afghanistan to get an exposure to jihad as practised by the Afghan Mujahideen.

3.In December 1993, coinciding with the first anniversary of the demolition of the Babri masjid at Ayodhya, there was a number of explosions in different railway trains in North India. The interrogation of one of the suspects arrested during the investigation revealed that the SIMI had organised them.

4.The suspect also alleged that C.A.M.Basheer, who was the President of the SIMI in the 1980s, had, along with one or two other members of the SIMI, attended a training course in the use of arms and ammunition and explosives in a camp of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) of Pakistan in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) run by one Salauddin, a Sudanese national, in the late 1980s. During the training, the JEI arranged a meeting between the SIMI activists and Lal Singh, alias Manjit Singh of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), Canada, who was then living in Lahore. Lal Singh was arrested by the Gujarat Police in the middle of 1992.

5.The JEI urged the SIMI and the ISYF to co-operate with each other for the "liberation" of the Sikhs of Punjab and the Kashmiris of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The co-operation project was code-named "K-2", standing for Kashmir-Khalistan. It was also stated that Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Amir of the JEI, had nominated Amirul Azim, the then Propaganda Secretary of the JEI, as the co-ordinator of the project.

6.The suspect also stated that the JEI had asked Basheer to send more members of the SIMI to Pakistan for training, but he could not do so due to logistic problems. In the early 1990s, Amirul Azim, accompanied by Salauddin, the Sudanese instructor, entered India via Bangladesh and met Basheer and his associates for discussing their future plans. They were told that in view of the difficulties experienced by them in sending more activists to Pakistan for training, instructions had been given to the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), the Kashmiri terrorist organisation, which is a wing of the JEI, to train SIMI cadres in its camps in J&K itself. The SIMI was asked to send its future batches to J&K for training.

7.Despite intensive searches by the police of different States, Basheer and his associates, who had allegedly undergone training in Pakistan, could not be arrested. Basheer, who must now be around 45, is from Parambayam in Kerala. After studying in the Union Christian College, Aluva, near Kochi, he worked for a brief while in the Safdarjung airport of New Delhi before taking to terrorism and absconding. Subsequent reports indicated that he had taken up residence in Saudi Arabia from where he was guiding the activities of the SIMI in India and organising its branches in other countries of the Gulf. In Saudi Arabia, he was also reported to have floated a new organisation called the Muslim Development Force .

8.In 1992, the "Time" magazine of the US had carried an interview with one Commander Abu Abdel Aziz, with a picture of his in his henna-dyed beard and Afghan style fatigue. After the "Time", "al-Sharq al-Awsat", a Saudi-owned, London-based daily, ran a front-page story on Abu Abdel Aziz and his activities in Bosnia. In August 1994, "Al-Sirat Al-Mustaqeem (The Straight Path)", an Islamic journal published in Pakistan (Issue No. 33), carried an interview with Abu Abdel Aziz. The journal, without identifying his nationality, reported that Abu Abdel Aziz spoke perfect Urdu and that he had spent extended periods in Kashmir.

9.Subsequently, this Abu Abdel Aziz appeared at a conference of the LET (Lashkar-e-Toiba) at its headquarters in Muridke, near Lahore, in November,1994. He was introduced to the audience as an Indian Muslim living in Saudi Arabia, who was playing a heroic role in helping the Muslims of Bosnia in their fight against the Christian Serbs and in helping the Kashmiris fighting against the Government of India.

10.Other reports indicated that in May 1995, like-minded jihadi groups had formed a "Rapid Deployment Force" called "Katiba (Kateebat?) al –Mujahideen" (Batallion of the Mujahideen) at a meeting held in the Philippines. The meeting was attended among others by "al-Sheikh Abu Abdul Aziz," described as the Chief Commander of the 7th Brigade of Muslim forces in Bosnia, Salamat Hashan, the Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Philippines), Abdul Karim, Chairman of the Islamic Front (Eritrea) and Prof. Hafiz Mohd Saeed, Amir MDI (Markaz Dawa Al Irshad, the political wing of the LET), Pakistan. "Al-Sheikh Abu Abdul Aziz" and Abu Abdel Aziz were probably identical, but one was not certain on the basis of available evidence.

11.The meeting reportedly agreed on the following---- (a) nationalities and frontiers on the basis of races was an un-Islamic perception; (b) to work in support of Muslims in all those parts of the world where action was being taken against them; (c) the Mujahideen of the newly formed Kateebat Al-Mujahideen would carry out militant operations and fight in Kashmir to eliminate un-Islamic perceptions of nationalities and frontiers.

12.Till 1997, Abu Abdel Aziz either used to attend the annual conventions of the LET at Muridke or his recorded speeches used to be telecast or he used to speak over phone. He disappeared from public view thereafter. There were rumours in Islamic circles in Pakistan that he had been arrested by the Saudi authorities, apparently because of his suspected links with Osama bin Laden, who is against the Saudi monarchy.

13. The real identity of Abu Abdel Aziz still remains a mystery. If he was an Indian Muslim living in Saudi Arabia, as claimed by the LET, what was his real name, to which part of India he belonged, what was his political affiliation, did he have any links with the SIMI? All that one could conjecture was that Basheer could not be operating under the pseudonym of Abu Abdel Aziz because the Pakistani Urdu media projected him as operating from Saudi Arabia since the early 1980s, whereas Basheer was reported to have moved over to Saudi Arabia only in the early 1990s, possibly after the Babri masjid demolition.

14.From the various reports received, one could make the following surmise:

* There were at least two Indian Muslims operating from Saudi Arabia and associated with jihadi terrorism.

* One of them referred to by Pakistani jihadis as Abu Abdel Aziz was linked to the LET. He had played what the jihadis considered as a legendary role in organising jihad in Bosnia and was also closely involved in assisting the jihadis in J&K.

* There was no evidence to believe that Abu Abdel Aziz was connected with the SIMI.

* The SIMI's links were initially more with the JEI of Pakistan than with the LET. Unlike the LET, a pro-Wahabi organisation which does not admit women into its ranks and does not use them for its operations, the SIMI admitted women and used them. There were believed to be about 300 women in the SIMI's ranks, some of them reportedly highly educated. However, it needs to be added that since 2005, there have been reports of developing links between the SIMI and other jihadi organizations unconnected with the JEI such as the LET and the HUJI.

* Basheer co-ordinated the activities of the SIMI in India and the Gulf from Saudi Arabia.

15. After the Gujarat riots of 2002 and coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, reports started circulating in Pakistan that some of the Indian and Pakistani Muslims working in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, had started a drive for the collection of funds to be utilised for assisting the Muslim victims of the riots and for mounting acts of punishment terrorism in India to avenge the killings of Muslims in Gujarat. Compilations of Indian media reports about the anti-Muslim atrocities in Gujarat and video recordings of these atrocities were used as part of this fund collection drive.

16. The year 1993 saw the beginning of the infiltration of the Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisations by the ISI into J&K and their spread to other parts of India. These Pakistani organisations had three agendas---- a Kashmiri agenda to have J&K annexed with Pakistan; an Indian agenda to drive a wedge between the Hindus and the Muslims and to "liberate" the Muslims of North and South India and set up two more independent "Muslim homelands"; and a pan-Islamic agenda to work towards an Islamic Caliphate in South Asia, which would ultimately form part of an international Islamic Caliphate.

17. The Indian Muslim youth looked with suspicion at their pan-Islamic agenda because, in their view, pan- Islamism meant adoption of the anti-US policies of Al Qaeda and the IIF. They were not prepared to do this. The Kashmiri terrorist organisations felt that they would not be able to achieve their political objective without the implicit support, if not the complicity, of the US. This view was shared by the Muslim youth in other parts of India too.

18. The Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisations, which are members of the IIF, as well as Al Qaeda itself, therefore, faced difficulty in recruiting members or supporters from the Muslim youth in India. The first Indian Muslim recruits to the Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisations came not from India, but from the Indian Muslim diaspora in the Gulf where the Indian Muslim youth were easily infected by the anti-US feelings of the Arabs.

19. The LET (Lashkar-e-Toiba) set up branches in Dubai and Saudi Arabia and the HUJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami) in Dubai. Their objective was to recruit Indian Muslims from the local diaspora and to co-ordinate their operations in Western and Southern India from the Gulf. Al Qaeda was not able to get supporters from the Indian Muslim youth even in the Gulf. However, it managed to get the support of two Gujarati Muslims----one living in the UK and the other in South Africa. The Muslim living in the UK (Bilal al-Hindi), whose family had migrated to the UK from East Africa, was frequently used by Al Qaeda to visit the US, Thailand and even India to collect information for possible use in Al Qaeda's anti-US operations. The name of the Muslim from South Africa came up in connection with the London explosions of July, 2005. However, no further details of his alleged links with Al Qaeda are available.

20. Till August, 2003, the success of the LET and the HUJI in recruiting Indian Muslims was confined largely to the diaspora in the Gulf. Since the twin bomb explosions in Mumbai in August, 2003, there are indications that the LET and other Pakistani organisations have made a break-through in overcoming the resistance of the Indian Muslim youth to their joining the Pakistani jihadi organisations. Till August 2003, the SIMI was prepared to take assistance from the Pakistani organisations and the ISI for carrying out its own anti-Hindu agenda, but it was disinclined to help the Pakistani organisations in recruiting members in India for their pan-Islamic and anti-US agenda.

21. Despite some Indian Muslim youth in Mumbai, New Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh joining the Pakistani member-organisations of the IIF, the Muslim youth in other parts of India, in deference to the wishes of the Kashmiri organisations, which still count on support from the US, took care not to adopt an anti-US line. This was evident from the fact that the Indian Muslims by and large did not demonstrate when the US launched its military operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan in October, 2001, and invaded and occupied Iraq in March-April, 2003. The allegations over the violation of the human rights of the Muslims by US security forces in Abu Garaib and the Guantanamo Bay also did not evoke any significant protest demonstrations from the Indian Muslim youth.

22. However, the position started changing in November, 2004, following the US air strikes in Falluja in Iraq. The allegedly extremely disproportionate use of force by the US Marines and Air Force against the civilian population of Falluja in order to allegedly teach them a lesson for opposing the US occupation, sent a wave of anger across the Islamic world. The hundreds of Islamic web sites in the cyber space carried detailed accounts of what the US troops allegedly did in Falluja, with pictures of the suffering of the local population.

23. Since then, anti-US and anti-Western feelings have become an important motivating factor of sections of the Indian Muslim youth. The result: Their gravitating towards the IIF in larger numbers than in the past and their willingness to join in or organise anti-US demonstrations either over the affair of the Danish cartoons caricaturising their Holy Prophet or over the visit of President Bush to India.

24. The number of Indian Muslim youth involved in anti-US activities and in support of the pan-Islamic objectives of Al Qaeda and the IIF is estimated to be still small, but larger than in the past. For the first time, this could provide an opening to Al Qaeda and the IIF to recruit Indian Muslim youth for their terrorist strikes directed against the US. Till now, the Indian Muslim youth, whether in India or the Gulf or in the West, were not subject to the same close surveillance by the Western intelligence agencies as the Arabs and the Pakistanis were. Thus, recruitment of Indian Muslims in India or abroad would provide Al Qaeda and the IIF with the possibility of recruiting volunteers for their anti-US operations, who will be able to evade detection by the Western intelligence agencies much easier than the Arabs or the Pakistanis. This is a danger which should not be lightly dismissed.

25. Al Qaeda has not so far carried out a terrorist strike in India. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who was alleged to have orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, reportedly stated during his interrogation by US experts that Al Qaeda had wanted to attack the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, but could not do so.

26.In a travel advisory on its Hebrew language Web site, posted on December 13,2006, Israel's Foreign Ministry had said: "Within the framework of al Qaeda's terror threats in India, there is now a concrete threat focusing on the Goa region where multitudes of visitors, including Israelis, gather ... in late December. Israel's Counter-Terrorism Authority has recommended that Israeli citizens stay away from sites in Goa popular with Westerners and Israelis over the next few weeks."

27.On December 15, 2006, DEBKA, a well-known non-governmental Israeli think-tank, which disseminates information and analyses relating to terrorism, posted the following comments on its web site (www.debka.com): "Information has reached Jerusalem that al Qaeda is in an advanced stage of preparing coordinated attacks on the big, end-of-year seasonal parties held by Western and Israeli tourists in the Indian province. Israeli travelers are advised to cancel their trips to Goa or at least stay away from the big parties. Some 4,000 Israelis have booked flights to India for the winter season. They will be joining the thousands living there. A standing terror warning is still in force for Egyptian Sinai and Turkey."

28. A query which I have received from the readers is about the possibility of the blasts in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad being in protest against the Indo-US nuclear agreement. There is no evidence to support this. Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda Pakistani organisations have not indicated any sign of anger against the agreement. They are, however, upset over what they see as the co-operation of India with the US and Israel in the war against jihadi terrorism. Al Qaeda has not been able to organise a major terrorist strike against the US after 9/11. It is looking for opportunities to do so in third countries having a large US and Israeli presence where it can launch attacks on US and Israeli nationals and interests. If it manages to develop local support in the Indian Muslim community and concludes that the physical security in India is weak, it may try to take advantage of it to hit at the US and Israel in Indian territory. (27-7-08)

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




Fifteen innocent civilians are reported to have been killed and over 100 injured in 15 serial blasts which struck Ahmedabad in the State of Gujrat on the evening of July 26,2008. This is the third State ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to be struck by jihadi terrorists, who have remained unidentified by the Police and intelligence agencies so far. A few minutes before the blasts, an E-mail message purported to be from "Indian Mujahideen" is reported to have been received by Indian authorities warning them of the impending attacks and challenging them to stop them, if they can. They couldn't. Jaipur in Rajasthan was targeted earlier in May last and Bengaluru in Karnataka on July 25,2008.

2. The blasts in Ahmedabad were of medium intensity meant to kill and the sequencing was well timed and well orchestrated. The fact that some of the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were kept in confined spaces such as inside a bus would indicate that the intention was to kill many though they might not have succeeded in killing more than 15. The Bengaluru blasts were in open spaces.

3. The third serial blasts in succession in a BJP-ruled State would clearly indicate that the blasts were targeting the BJP Governments in particular. It is important to strengthen urgently security in all States in general and in the other BJP-ruled States in particular----specially in Madhya Pradesh and its cities of Bhopal, Indore and Ujjain. Many senior office-bearers of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Police earlier this year.

4. The serial explosions in three cities of Uttar Pradesh last November were not connected with the BJP. They came in the wake of the judgements delivered last year in respect of the Mumbai serial blasts of March 1993 and the Coimbatore serial blasts of February,1998. In both the cases, a number of jihadi terrorists were found guilty and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. They also came after the arrest of three suspected members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) in UP, who were alleged to have planned to kidnap a dignitary in order to secure the release of Afzal Guru, who has been sentenced to death for his role in the jihadi terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in December,2001. His mercy petition is under examination by the Government of India. The arrested JEM terrorists were alleged to have been beaten up by some lawyers when they were brought to court. The local lawyers also reportedly refused to defend terrorists in future. From these circumstances, it appeared that the explosions were meant to intimidate the criminal justice community, particularly the lawyers.

5. An E-mail message purported to be from "Indian Mujahideen" received by some TV channels before the explosions in UP indicated that these explosions were about to take place. However, it referred to explosions in two and not three cities. "Indian Mujahideen" did not refer to any organisation, but it referred to Indian Muslims in general and said that the Indian Muslims had decided to take the offensive and wage a jihad. In justification of this decision, it referred to the severe penalties awarded to the accused in the Mumbai blasts of March,1993, and the lack of action against Hindu police officers, who allegedly committed atrocities on Muslims. It also referred to the Gujrat riots of 2002 and the assault on arrested JEM suspects by some lawyers. The message was not only a warning of their intention to act, but also an explanation of why Indian Muslims had decided to act. The main point, which the sender of the message sought to convey, was that the criminal justice system treated the Muslims severely, but was lenient to the Hindus. The language used was typically Indian, the context and arguments used were typically of Indian Muslims and the issues raised were those which had been agitating the minds of sections of Indian Muslims such as the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December,1992, lack of action against the Hindu police officers of Mumbai who were found guilty of excesses by the Sri Krishna Enquiry Commission, the severe penalties awarded to Muslims who had retaliated in March,1993, and the Gujrat riots.

6.It admitted that the Muslims were responsible for the explosions in Varanasi, Delhi, Mumbai and in a restaurant and park in Hyderabad, but said they were not responsible for the blasts in Malegaon in September, 2006, in the Samjauta Express and the Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad. It was silent on the blast in the Ajmer Sharif, a Muslim holy place famous for its tolerant Sufi traditions.

7. It said that the Indian Muslims had decided to wage a jihad for Islamic rule and talked of a "war for civilisation." It warned that their next targets would be police officers. Almost 24 hours after the blasts in Jaipur in May,2008, two TV channels of New Delhi were reported to have received an anonymous E-mail message claiming responsibility for the explosions on behalf of a group called "the Indian Mujahideen." The message was purported to have been sent by guru_alhindi_jaipur@yahoo.co.uk. The most significant thing about this message was that it had included the picture of one of the cycles alleged to have been used in Jaipur with the number of the cycle readable. The picture was found to be authentic. This gave rise to the possibility that the Uttar Pradesh and Jaipur blasts were carried out by the same group.

8. On the basis of reports received last year, I had assessed on January 30,2008, in an article titled "After HUJI and HUJI (B),Now HUJI (I)" (http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers26/paper2572.html) that while continuing to give financial, training and arms assistance to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan was encouraging the LET to depend for its operations in Indian territory on Indian Muslims only and not to depute Pakistani Muslims for this purpose.

9. It was evident that the ISI had also started following a similar policy in respect of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) by encouraging it to set up a separate organisation for India consisting of recruits from the Indian Muslim community with no involvement of Pakistani Muslims. The headquarters of the HUJI are located in Pakistan. It has an active branch in Bangladesh, consisting of Bangladeshi nationals only of the Afghan war (1980s and 1990s) vintage, which is referred to by US counter-terrorism experts as the HUJI (B). Members of the HUJI (B) were coming to India for organising terrorist strikes with the co-operation of recruits from the Indian Muslim community. I had further assessed that now, a HUJI set-up in India consisting of recruits from the Indian Muslim community has come up, which could be projected in future as a purely Indian organisation with no Pakistani or Bangladeshi involvement.

10.I had further assessed as follows: " It is only a question of time before the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) and Al Qaeda itself set up their own outfits or sleeper cells in India consisting only of Indian Muslims so that these too could be projected as indigenous Muslim organisations of India and not as Pakistani or Arab organisations. The pan-Islamic jihad in India to support Al Qaeda's pan-Islamic objectives is sought to be given an Indian facade with the encouragement of the ISI."

11.The blasts in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad mark a further step in the ISI-sponsored Indianisation of the jihad. The Indianised jihad is presently targeted against the BJP, but it could turn against the US and Israeli presence in India in due course. (26-7-08)

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

Friday, July 25, 2008




Whenever there is a major terrorist strike anywhere in India,I get immediately a large number of telephone calls from journalists and others in India for my comments. After the Bengaluru blasts of July 25,2008, I got more telephone calls and messages from abroad than from India. Some of the callers were from foreign media. Many were the executives of foreign corporate houses having offices in Bengaluru. Among the questions they posed were: Were the blasts meant to convey a message to foreign investors, businessmen and experts working in Bengaluru? How would I quantify the the threat to foreigners working in Bengaluru? Are the Indian police and intelligence agencies capable of preventing and successfully investigating such acts of terrorism? Why they give the impression of being helpless without any comprehensive strategy? I gave suitable replies to reassure them about the effectiveness of the Indian counter-terrorism mechanism. I also told them that while their concerns would be understandable, any nervousness would be unnecessary.

2. Bengaluru is a favourite destination for foreign investors. One understands it has the largest concentration of foreigners working in South India. Perpetrators of acts of terrorism in Bengaluru would have two audiences. Firstly, the Indian nationals living in Bengaluru, who would take such acts of terrorism in their stride. Secondly, the foreigners who are not used to such frequent acts of terrorism in their home countries. They would tend to get nervous quite quickly if action is not taken to reassure them about the steps being taken by the local administrastion to protect the lives of people in Bengaluru.

3. One noticed a similar nervousness, but on a much smaller scale after the terrorist strike on the participants in a conference of scientists in a hall of the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru in December,2005. Almost all the offices of major foreign corporate houses in Bengaluru have their own security officers. Most of them have recruited retired officers of the Indian Armed Forces and Police for this purpose. Some have brought security experts from their home countries to look after the security of their Bengaluru offices. The executives in charge of security in their corporate headquarters periodically visit Bengaluru to review security arrangements in their local offices and to assess the local security situation. Ultimately, whether investments would continue to flow to Bengaluru or not would depend not only on economic and administrative factors, but also on the assessment of the security officers. It is, therefore, very important for the local adminstration to keep interacting with them on a regular basis in an attempt to remove from their minds any fears or nervousness they may have and to give them any advice the local administration might like to give.

4. I have touched upon this subject in my latest book titled 'Terrorism: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow" (Lancer Publishers, New Delhi) in the following words: "Close interactions between the police and the security officers of private establishments is more an exception than the rule. Sometimes, I am invited to address gatherings of such security officers in different urban areas. Almost all of them complained of a lack of accessibility to senior police officers and the reluctance of the police to keep them briefed on developments having a bearing on terrorism. They complained that it was rarely that police officers took the initiative in briefing them when the media carried sensational stories about the plans of the terrorists. When they asked for a briefing, they were asked to meet junior officers, who often were not in a position to brief them adequately and did not have the required self-confidence to be able to answer their questions. It is important that senior police officers interact with the security officers of important private establishments----particularly those from abroad---- at least once or twice a year as a matter of routine and also on other occasions, when there is a need for it. Senior police officers cannot be expected to interact with the private security officers of all establishments---big or small, important or unimportant. However, such interactions should take place with the private security officers of large establishments, which play an important role in our economy. Perceptions of police indifference towards them could have a negative impact on the investors’ confidence in the security environment in the country and in their particular areas of operation. "

5. Bengaluru has been the favourite destination of foreign investors, businessmen and experts because of its high reputation for efficiency, investor-friendly atmosphere and security of lives and property. If doubts arise as a result of incidents like those of July 25, its reputation for security could be dented, thereby affecting the flow of foreign investments. We must remember what happened to Karachi, which used to be the most favourite destination for foreign investors in Pakistan. When its reputation for security was damaged due to acts of terrorism in the 1990s, foreign investment flows dried up and even many of those, who had invested in the past, wound up their businesses. This contributed in an important measure to the steep deterioration in the Pakistani economy.

6. The local administration in Bengaluru should pay attention to measures for strengthening the police capability for preventive intelligence and successful investigation and prosecution. At the same time, it should have a permanent mechanism for constant interactions with foreign investors, businessmen and experts to discuss their security concerns and remove any apprehensions or nervousness they may have. Avoiding such interactions at senior levels will only add to their nervousness. (26-7-08)

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




Between one and three persons are reported to have been killed and about 15 injured in a series of at least five, possibly six, blasts of high orchestration, but low intensity in Bengaluru (Bangalore) on July 25,2008. The blasts reportedly took place within about 12 minutes around 1-30 PM, that is, after the Friday's mid-day namaz in the local mosques were over.

2. The high orchestration used in timing five to six blasts, with some precision, resembled the serial blasts in Jaipur in May last and in three towns of Uttar Pradesh in November last. While timers were used to activate the improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the explosive material used does not appear to have been of a sophisticated kind. Ammonium nitrate, mixed with a booster, was the preferred explosive in previous terrorist incidents, but one does not know whether ammonium nitrate was used in the Bengaluru blasts too. Some TV reports speak of the possible use of gelatin sticks. If so, these blasts would resemble, from the point of view of the composition of the IEDs, the serial blasts in Coimbatore carried out by Al Ummah, a Muslim extremist organisation of South India, in February 1998 to protest against the alleged police excesses against Muslim youth after the demolition of the Babri Masjid by a group of Hindus at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh in December,1992. Investigation into the Coimbatore blasts brought out that the Muslim youth had fabricated the IEDs with the help of explosive material stolen from the quarries of South India.

3.From preliminary reports, one could make the following surmise: firstly, the terrorists did not want to cause mass casualties; secondly, Bengaluru has the largest concentration of foreign businessmen and experts, but they did not want to target them; thirdly, they did not want to target the foreign tourists either. The blasts would definitely create nervousness amongst the foreigners living in Bengaluru and get additional publicity for the perpetrators, but this was only their secondary objective. Their primary objective was to convey a message that they have the capability to hit when and where they want.

4. After 9/11, the Americans got into the habit of blaming Al Qaeda for every act of terrorism happening anywhere in the world and then collecting evidence. As pointed out by me in my previous articles, we seem to have got into the habit of blaming the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) or the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) every time an act of terrorism takes place even before we have sufficient evidence.

5. We should get rid of this habit and keep an open mind regarding the perpetrators. It is important to probe thoroughly into the activities of Al Ummah, which used to have cells in Bengaluru, the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and other angry elements in the Indian Muslim community.

6. We have had three waves of anger among the Indian Muslim youth--- the first was after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and the second after the Gujarat riots of 2002. These waves have since dissipated. Since last year, one has been noticing a fresh wave of anger after the convictions awarded to a number of Muslims by a Mumbai court in the case relating to the Mumbai blasts of March,1993. A common theme in all their Internet chatter is what they see as the inherent unfairness of the Indian criminal justice system towards the Muslims.

7. While taking strong action against the terrorists, whoever they are, it is important to address this perception that our criminal justice system is unfair to the Muslims.(25-7-08)

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

Thursday, July 24, 2008



On July 22,2008, the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) announced that it would observe an unilateral ceasefire coinciding with the forthcoming summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SARRC) at Colombo from July 26 to August 4. It projected the proposed ceasefire as a goodwill gesture to extend its support to the "countries of our region, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives."

2.However, the announcement added the following warning: “ At the same time, if the occupying Sinhala forces, disrespecting our goodwill gesture of our people and our nation, carry out any offensive, our movement will be forced to take defensive actions.”

3. The Government-owned Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation has quoted Gotabhaya Rajapaksa,the Defence Secretary, who is the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as dismissing the LTTE announcement in the following words: "The Government of Sri Lanka is not prepared for ceasefire with the LTTE. The ceasefire announcement is a ploy by the LTTE when it is being militarily weakened in the war front, to strengthen it militarily under the guise of holding negotiations. There is no need for the Government to enter into a ceasefire agreement with the LTTE."

4. The announcement has come at a time when the LTTE has been facing considerable pressure partly due to the sustained war of attrition imposed on it in its stronghold in the Northern Province by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and partly due to the action taken by many countries to stop the clandestine flow of funds and arms and ammunition to the LTTE.

5. The LTTE has sought to project its announcement in the context of the forthcoming SAARC summit in order to allay any fears in the minds of the leaders of the member-countries regarding possible security threats before and during the summit. The message indirectly sought to be conveyed to them is that they are welcome to come to Colombo for the summit without fearing any security threats from the LTTE.

6. At present, this seems to be essentially a public relations exercise by the LTTE in the hope of thereby creating a positive image of itself in the minds of the participating leaders. It does not seem to have any long-term significance in the context of the continuing fighting between the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the LTTE. It is a short pause in fighting to be observed by the LTTE, provided the Armed Forces do not attack it.

7. The Sri Lankan Government is justified in suspecting that this ceasefire may also be meant to enable the LTTE to re-group its cadres if the ceasefire offer is reciprocated by the Government so that when the fighting is resumed after the SAARC summit, it would be in a better position to defend itself. Its reluctance, if not refusal, to reciprocate is understandable.

8. Can the cease-fire offer be much more than a public relations exercise in the form of a face-saving exercise to seek through the intervention of sympathetic Western powers such as Norway the extension of the ceasefire by both sides even after the SAARC summit is over in the hope of using it for fresh efforts for a resumption of a political dialogue?

9. If that turns out to be the game plan of the LTTE, that would be an indication that the LTTE’s fighting capabilities have been sufficiently damaged by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and that it has started looking for a way out to achieve a stoppage of the fighting without giving an impression of wanting to do so.

10. A clearer indication would come if there is pressure on the Sri Lankan Government from the Western countries to reciprocate the LTTE’s announcement of a ceasefire during the SAARC summit and to extend it further even after the summit is over.

11. The advantage of the ground situation is presently in favour of the Armed Forces and they are unlikely to throw off this advantage by succumbing to any Western pressure on the subject. (24-7-08)

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2008



In a recent article ( June 25,2008), the “Dawn” of Karachi described Pakistan as a bus full of drivers “with no one really at the steering and the bus lurching from one side to the other.”

2. No driver has the courage and the confidence to take the steering in an attempt to bring the bus under control and no driver is prepared to let any other driver do so. It is a bus full of drivers, but with none driving.

3. On paper, Pervez Musharraf is still a powerful ruler. He is the President of the country, with unimpaired powers to dismiss the elected Prime Minister and the National Assembly. He is the Chairman of the National Security Council (NSC), which has the power to take decisions in all matters relating to national security. He is the Supreme Commander of the Armed forces, who has to approve all senior promotions and postings in the Armed Forces and whose orders on national security matters, including in matters relating to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, have to be carried out by the Armed Forces.

4. Despite all these powers on paper, he has been reduced to being a figurehead, who manages to survive in office not because the people and the National Assembly want him to continue, but because the US wants him to continue---- out of gratitude for what he had done for the US in the past and out of fear as to what could happen in the future if he is replaced by an unknown quantity not amenable to US pressure.

5. The political leadership would like him to go, but does not have the required numbers in the two Houses of the Parliament to make him go. The people had wanted him to go in the euphoria after the embarrassment inflicted on him in the elections of February 18,2008, but the euphoria has since evaporated and the much-heralded Pakistan spring has proved to be short-lived. It hardly matters to them now as to who is the President and who is the Prime Minister. It will hardly make any difference to the nation and the people. So, they think.

6. Degraded, but not discarded, Musharraf has withdrawn into a shell. Only visiting US leaders and officials continue to take cognizance of his presence and keep meeting him for discussions. His own countrymen---except the leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League (Qaide Azam) created by him and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) of Altaf Hussain---- avoid meeting him. Yousef Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister, rarely meets him and briefs him on the proceedings of the Cabinet and on the State of the nation. Musharraf has not convened a single meeting of the NSC to discuss the fight against terrorism because he is not confident that the civilian members of the NSC would attend it.

7. Only the Army continues to show him the respect that is his due in his capacity as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and the former Chief of the Army Staff (COAS). Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the COAS, is still loyal to him and keeps him briefed regularly, but he has turned out to be a weak and vacillating chief. Not as decisive as Musharraf was.

8. How strong a Pakistani COAS is depends on the respect commanded by him and the backing enjoyed by him from the US and his own soldiers. The US has been increasingly disenchanted by the performance of Kayani. He has proved himself to be lack-lustre and risk-averse. He has shown hardly any leadership or initiative in the fight against terrorism. He is not leading the fight from the front. Instead, he is merely doing what he is asked to do by the Cabinet after getting it endorsed by Musharraf. The perception of Kayani as a weak COAS has not endeared him to his subordinates.

9. Prime Minister Gilani is worse than a figurehead. Policy decisions are hardly ever taken in Cabinet meetings chaired by him in the Secretariat.They are taken in informal meetings of Ministers and officials chaired by Asif Ali Zardari, the co-Chairperson of the PPP, in his house if he is in the country or in his hotel suite if he is traveling abroad. Government is where Zardari is. He returned to Pakistan last week after an absence of a month traveling abroad. Sometimes, papers and officials were flown to him to seek his decision. Sometimes, decisions were just kept pending till he returned.

10. When Zardari is absent from the country, the real power is exercised by Rehman Malik, who is designated as the Adviser on Internal Security with the status of a Cabinet Minister. He is a former police officer, who was in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) during Benazir Bhutto’s second tenure as the Prime Minister (1993 to 1996). He emerged as the closest confidante of Zardari and the alleged handler of all his foreign bank accounts. He continues to enjoy Zardari’s trust despite his alleged failure to make effective security arrangements for Benazir,

11. Malik is accused by many in the PPP of playing havoc with the administration and with internal security management. He has been allegedly indulging in back channel talks with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) without keeping either the COAS or the Government of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) informed. A major share of the responsibility for the deterioration in the situation in the tribal belt is attributed to him.

12. Zardari is a man increasingly worried about his security. He apprehends a threat to him not only from Al Qaeda and the TTP, but also from the remnants of Al Zulfiquar, formed by the late Murtaza Ali Bhutto, the younger brother of Benazir, to avenge the overthrow and the execution of their father Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto by Gen.Zia-ul-Haq. The remnants, who blame Zardari for the death of Murtaza at the hands of the Karachi Police in September 1996, have revived their sleeper cells to avenge the death of their leader. The recent explosions by unidentified elements in Karachi and the murder of a private security officer of Zardari at Karachi on July 22,2008, are viewed by Police sources as warning signals to Zardari, who is seen as an usurper not only by the Bhutto clan, but also by many founding members of the PPP such as Mumtaz Ali Bhutto, the uncle of Murtaza, and Maqdoom Amin Fahim. Zardari, who is not confident of the loyalty of the intelligence and security agencies, has been spending more time in Dubai than in Pakistan. He is seeking to rule Pakistan from Dubai.

13. The political and public support for him is declining because of his image as devious. The PML of Nawaz Sharif, which is still a member of the ruling coalition though not of the Cabinet, is increasingly disenchanted with his evasiveness in matters relating to the reinstatement of the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury and other judges sacked by Musharraf in November last year and by his reluctance to break with Musharraf or the US. Zardari feels indebted to Musharraf and the US for the closure of the cases filed against him on various charges relating to corruption and the murder of Murtaza. It is only a question of time before the PML (N) breaks from the coalition. If that happens, fresh elections might become unavoidable in which the PPP is expected to do badly.

14. The jihadi virus is threatening to spread from the tribal belt to Karachi. There has been an increasing movement of internally displaced Pashtun tribals from the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to Karachi. Whenever there is instability and violence in Afghanistan, the displaced Afghan Pashtuns tend to go to the FATA and the NWFP. Whenever there is instability and violence in the FATA and the NWFP, the displaced Pakistani Pashtuns tend to go to Karachi. Altaf Hussain, from his political exile in the UK, has already rung the alarm bells about the dangers of the Talibanisation of Karachi by this internal displacement.

15. The publicly expressed US concerns over the increasing flow of foreign jihadis to Pakistan’s tribal belt and over the increase in infiltrations into Afghanistan from the FATA have stepped up the pressure on the Government either to act to stop this or face the risk of unilateral US action to stop this. Stepped-up action in the tribal belt either by the Pakistan Army or unilaterally by the US would lead to a fresh increase in terrorism in the non-tribal areas, which has come down since the Gilani Government came to office. A solution to this problem cannot be found without a consensus involving Musharraf, Gilani, Kayani, Zardari and Nawaz. Such a consensus does not seem likely in view of Nawaz’s anathema for Musharraf and the US.

16. Pakistan is not yet a failed State, but it is a State with a failed leadership. The only possible way out is for the US to exercise pressure on Musharraf to leave in grace. He is the main stumbling block in the way of a national consensus. Nawaz’s dislike for Musharraf is more than his dislike for the US. Once Musharraf is out of the way and Nawaz’s urge to avenge his humiliation by Musharraf in 1999 is satisfied, he may be amenable for a more co-operative policy with the US in the fight against terrorism. (23-7-08)

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2008




Two persons were killed and 14 others injured early on the morning of July 21,2008, when there were two explosions within an interval of 55 minutes in two buses of the public transport system of Kunmimg, the capital of the Yunnan province of China. Both the explosions took place on two buses bearing No.54 plying on the same route. The first explosion, which took place at
7-10 AM, killed one person and injured 10. The second, which took place at 8-05 AM, killed one person and injured four. All the injured are stated to be out of danger, but the hearing of many of them has reportedly been affected.

2.The local police has characterized the two blasts as deliberate acts of sabotage and announced rewards for any clues regarding the identities of the perpetrators. Security has been stepped up in Yunnan and along its border with Burma to prevent the perpetrators from fleeing into Burma.

3. According to reports carried by the state-controlled media, ammonium nitrate is believed to have been used in both the explosions. The improvised explosive devices (IED) used were not of a sophisticated kind. The first IED had been kept in the front of the bus and the second in the rear. It is not yet clear whether there were two perpetrators or whether the two blasts were the work of the same person.

4. There was a similar explosion in a public transport bus in Shanghai two months ago. The Shanghai police have not indicated the progress of the investigation so far.

5. The two blasts in Kunming, coming in the wake of the earlier Shanghai blast, have added to the concerns of the Chinese authorities, who are responsible for the security of the forthcoming Olympics from August 8,2008. While most of the items will be staged in Beijing, the football matches will be in Shanghai, the equitation items in Hong Kong and the rowing in the Shadong province.

6. While the preparations for the games have been going ahead smoothly and most foreign dignitaries, including President George Bush, have confirmed their acceptance of the Chinese invitation to attend the inaugural function, the Chinese have been disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm by international tourists to witness the games. Hotel bookings by intending games tourists have so far been below expectations. One reported reason for this is nervousness over the effectiveness of the security arrangements made by the Chinese authorities. The nervousness has increased after the violent incidents in Tibet and other Tibetan-inhabited areas in March,2008, and after reports of the rounding-up of alleged jihadi terrorists in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang province bordering Pakistan. Reports of fresh recruitment of Uighurs from the Uighur diaspora in Turkey by Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organizations such as the Islamic Jihad Union, an Uzbek organization, and their training in Pakistan’s tribal belt are a source of additional concern.

7. While the Chinese threat perceptions have been mainly focused on the Uighur and Tibetan organizations, Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organizations, the earlier blast in Shanghai and the blasts of July 21,2008, in Kunming have confused the Chinese. None of these organizations is known to have any presence in these places, though Kunming has a small Tibetan population.

8. Were the blasts of July 21 intended to cause more nervousness among intending foreign visitors or were they merely expressions of local anger against the Chinese authorities unrelated to the Olympics?

9. While the evidence available so far does not permit a definitive answer to these questions, two factors need to be noted. Firstly, the perpetrators of the two blasts did not want many casualties. This would be evident from the fact (confirmed by the local authorities) that two hours before the blasts many local residents having Internet access had reportedly received anonymous messages advising them not to travel by buses on this route.

10. Secondly, there have been many local grievances among the non-Han tribal population of Yunnan, many of whom are Christians---mainly Baptists with some Roman Catholics. Before the Communists captured power in China, Yunnan, then known as China’s Baptist belt, used to have the largest concentration of Baptists in China among the local tribals who are spread out along both sides of the Sino-Burmese border. Many American Baptist missionaries used to work among these tribals. After the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered Yunnan, these missionaries fled to the Kachin State of North Burma and from there to India. They then proceeded to Chiangmai in Northern Thailand from where their successors, many of them Lishus of Yunnan and Burma, have been looking after the spiritual needs of the tribals of Burma and Yunnan.

11. There have been allegations of the suppression of the human rights of the Christians. Just as the Chinese do not allow the construction of new mosques in Xinjiang, they allegedly do not allow the construction of new churches in Yunnan. To circumvent these restrictions, the Uighurs have been holding their community prayers in their houses by turn. The Chinese have declared many of these houses as illegal mosques and forcibly closed them.

12. Similarly, the Baptists and the Roman Catholics have been holding their prayers jointly in the houses of members of the community. Since last year, the Chinese have allegedly declared these houses as illegal churches and acted against their tenants.

13. In January last, China Aid, an organization, which monitors the human rights of the Christians in China, had disseminated the following report: “On December 5, 2007 at 2:00pm, policemen and members of the Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs disrupted the house church meeting in Kunming, and detained several members. After searching the building, police seized several hundred Christian books including Bibles and note-pads, and proceeded to burn them outside of the residence. Police also destroyed the identification cards of three of the church members and instructed the landlord of the building to cease rental agreements with the congregation. Chinese law requires officials to issue certificates documenting items taken during seizures. The church members have requested documentation of the items several times, but have been turned away by police officials every time. Any Government which displays such blatant disregard for human rights and religious freedom demands to be held accountable. Government officials have now resorted to the burning of Bibles in order to hinder the growth of the House Church in China. We urge the international community to demand an accounting of these officials for the egregious acts committed against the house church members in Yunan Province. Members of a House Church in Yunan Province were severely beaten by police officials on the morning of January 23, 2008. The incident occurred after two church members walked into the Xishan District’s Public Security Bureau office to request an account of the items, including Bibles, that were taken from the church and burned by police officials in early December of 2007. After ignoring the members’ request, officials proceeded to violently remove them from the office. One female church member 54-year-old Ms. Liang Guihua was thrown into a wall and rendered unconscious for more than 10 minutes.”

14. According to Western news agency reports, the Kunming blasts came two days after the Yunnan police opened fire and killed two rubber farmers in the province's Menglian county in a clash that also saw 41 police officers injured. The clash occurred when police tried to arrest five people in Menglian for allegedly attacking a local rubber company in a long-running dispute between farmers and the private firm, state media said.

15. It has been reported that the Chinese authorities in Beijing have issued instructions to all provincial Governments to be more sympathetic to local grievances and to redress them so that they do not lead to violent incidents damaging the image of China at the time of the Olympics. As one has been seeing in Tibet, Xinjiang and Yunnan, these instructions are not being followed by the local authorities, who continue to conduct themselves like Red Guards. (22-7-08)

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

Monday, July 21, 2008




In the wake of the recent upsurge in the activities of jihadi terrorists in the tribal belt on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, US military commanders have been talking of the arrival in Afghanistan via Pakistan of a large number of jihadis from Iraq, the Central Asian Republics, Chechnya in Russia and Turkey to step up the fight against the US and other NATO forces.

2. After an unidentified jihadi group (about 200 strong) attacked a US-commanded outpost in the Kunnar-Nuristan area of East Afghanistan and forced its withdrawal on July 13,2008, Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, was reported to have stated as follows: “We’re seeing a greater number of insurgents and foreign fighters flowing across the border with Pakistan, unmolested and unhindered. We simply must all do a better job of policing the border region and eliminating the safe havens, which serve today as launching pads for attacks on coalition forces. The group that launched the attack trained in safe havens in Pakistan. We see this threat accelerating, almost becoming a syndicate of different groups who heretofore had not worked closely together.” (The “News” of July 17 and the “Financial Times” of London of July 18)

3. In preparation for his visit to Washington DC later this week, accompanied by Asif Zardari, the co-Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), for talks with President George Bush, Yousef Raza Gilani, the Pakistani Prime Minister, was reported to have convened a special meeting with his senior officials to get himself briefed on the ground situation. Zardari was also reportedly present.

4. During the briefing, the officials were reported to have painted an alarming picture of the infiltration of foreigners into the tribal belt. They reportedly stated that the total number of foreign jihadis in Pakistan’s tribal belt could be as high as 8000. However, Rehman Malik, the Advisor on Internal Security, who has the rank of a Cabinet Minister, later estimated their number as about 1000, while talking to journalists.

5. The “News” of July 21,2008, has carried a detailed report on this subject by Hamid Mir, the well-informed Pakistani journalist. There are some references to India in his report, which should be of great concern to our national security managers. These references are indicated below:

· “A few years ago, Pakistan was the safest route for foreign fighters to enter into Afghanistan but now they rarely use this old route. Most of them come as tourists and traders directly from Dushanbe, Baku, Istanbul, Dubai, Sharjah, Delhi and Frankfurt to Kabul by different airlines. Many Afghans in Kabul, Karachi, Dubai and Delhi are working for them as travel agents. It is also very easy to make a new Afghan passport for them in Kabul.
· “Two American-born Al-Qaeda operators Adam Gadhan alias Azzam al Amriki and Abu Ahmad alias Amir Butt are known in the Afghan Kunar province for making travel arrangements of these young and educated Muslims from the US, UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Canada and Australia.
· “It is also learnt that many fighters from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Libya, Iraq, Syria and some from India and Bangladesh prefer to stay in the warmer areas of southern Afghanistan which is a safe haven for the Taliban. The fighters from Morocco, Algeria, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and from western countries like to stay in the eastern Afghanistan provinces of Kunar, Nuristan, Paktia, Paktika, Khost and Pakistani tribal areas bordering these areas. “

6. The full text of Hamid Mir’s report is annexed. (21-7-08)

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



Monday, July 21, 2008

By Hamid Mir

ISLAMABAD: In a disturbing report presented to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, days before he travels to the United States, the latest figure of foreign fighters present in the tribal areas of Pakistan is estimated to be more than 8,000 but the government is reluctant to officially confirm this number.

At a special cabinet briefing on Sunday in which Asif Ali Zardari was also present, besides the prime minister and Adviser to the Interior Ministry Rehman Malik, said the government will have to use force if the process of dialogue does not produce the results but his view was opposed by the minister from FATA Hamidullah Jan.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his key ministers will visit Peshawar on Monday for a special meeting, which could decide the launching of a major operation against foreign fighters in Fata, Interior Ministry Adviser Rehman Malik told The News on Sunday.

It would be a short and effective operation like the one in Bara recently, officials told The News. Information Minister Sherry Rehman confirmed the briefing to The News without giving any number for the foreign fighters but expressed the determination of the government to pull them out. Mr Zardari listened to the briefing without making any comment.

Although officially the government of Pakistan accepts that foreign fighters are present, their unusually large number has set alarm bells ringing in Islamabad and possibly in other capitals as well. Interior Adviser Rehman Malik, when pressed by this correspondent, however, conceded that the number of foreign fighters was about 1,000.

According to the report presented to the PM, a majority of these foreign fighters are living in North and South Waziristan and Bajaur. Prime Minister Gilani has also been informed that some foreign intelligence agencies are pushing their agents into the Pakistani tribal areas from Afghanistan under the cover of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters. These under-cover agents are trying to instigate the local population to fight against Pakistani forces as part of a “great game” in the region.

Taliban sources on the other hand are not ready to confirm that they are hosting thousands of foreign fighters in their areas. They claim that the number of foreigners is just a few hundred and most of them are living in the tribal areas from the time when the American CIA and Pakistani ISI encouraged them to come and fight against the Soviet Union.

Independent sources in both the Pakistani tribal areas and eastern Afghanistan have, however, claimed that number of foreign fighters started increasing in 2007. The biggest attraction for these young militant guests from the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe was the increase in the number of US troops in Afghanistan. A lot of young Muslims are coming to Afghanistan to fight the US troops who, they believe, have come to Afghanistan not to fight terrorism but to occupy more Muslim lands, including Pakistan, and to plunder their

According to some Afghan sources, foreign fighters are welcomed not only in the Pakistani tribal areas but also in eastern, southern and western Afghanistan. The rising number of civilian causalities has created lot of hatred and resentment against foreign security forces in these Afghan and Pakistani areas. Angry locals believe that the foreign fighters are coming to avenge these killings.

A few years ago, Pakistan was the safest route for foreign fighters to enter into Afghanistan but now they rarely use this old route. Most of them come as tourists and traders directly from Dushanbe, Baku, Istanbul, Dubai, Sharjah, Delhi and Frankfurt to Kabul by different airlines. Many Afghans in Kabul, Karachi, Dubai and Delhi are working for them as travel agents. It is also very easy to make a new Afghan passport for them in Kabul.

Two American-born Al-Qaeda operators Adam Gadhan alias Azzam al Amriki and Abu Ahmad alias Amir Butt are known in the Afghan Kunar province for making travel arrangements of these young and educated Muslims from the US, UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Canada and Australia. Most of these Western Muslims tell their Afghan and Pakistani hosts that they will take not only their revenge from the “occupying forces” but they will also take the revenge for the sacreligious cartoons of their prophet from Western governments who encourage such cartoonists in the name of freedom of expression.

Some of these foreigners have married into the tribes of Kunar, Nuristan, North Waziristan and South Waziristan. German-born Turkish fighter Saad Abu Furqan is also known in the Pakistani tribal areas for attracting young Turks to organise Jihad against what he calls the “crusaders” in Afghanistan. A very well known Taliban leader Ustad Dawood is working as coordinator between these foreign fighters and locals from Afghan Paktika province. Dawood speaks English and Arabic fluently.

A source who knows Ustad Dawood revealed that Al-Qaeda and Taliban are now slowly moving foreign fighters to areas round Kabul for a big attack on the Afghan capital Kabul in near future. Some of the foreign fighters have already entered Kabul as vendors and shopkeepers and provide a lot of intelligence to their commanders.

Ustad Dawood has also established contacts with his old friends in the Northern Alliance and is working with Jalaluddin Haqqani for an alliance between the Taliban, some Northern Alliance groups and the Hizb-e-Islami to jointly fight the foreign forces in Afghanistan.

An independent source said many experienced and hardened Al-Qaeda fighters were coming from Iraq to Afghanistan via Iran by road.These fighters enter the Afghan provinces of Herat and Balkh from Iran illegally.

The Nato forces are aware of this infiltration from Iran and have started bombing civilian vehicles moving close to the Iranian border indiscriminately. The bombing killed nine Afghan policemen in southwest Farah province on July 20 and seven civilians on July 17. Nato was also accused of killing more than 50 civilians in the Shindand area of Herat on July 17.

It is also learnt that many fighters from Saudi Arabia,Yemen, Egypt, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Libya, Iraq, Syria and some from India and Bangladesh prefer to stay in the warmer areas of southern Afghanistan which is a safe haven for the Taliban. The fighters from Morocco, Algeria, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and from western countries like to stay in the eastern Afghanistan provinces of Kunar, Nuristan, Paktia, Paktika, Khost and Pakistani tribal areas bordering these areas.

Sources say that fighters from African countries are not encouraged to come to Afghanistan or Pakistan as Al-Qaeda wants them to go to Darfur in Sudan or Iraq. The foreign fighters in the Pakistani tribal areas and Afghanistan are aware about the presence of some undercover agents in their ranks. Recently, they arrested two Uzbeks, three Afghans and one Pakistani for spying and executed them in North and South Waziristan when they confessed during interrogation that they were working for the CIA and ISI.

Foreign fighters avoid getting in touch with non-tribal Pakistani fighters because they suspect them of having links with Pakistani intelligence. Pakistani officials are putting pressure on the Taliban leadership not to encourage foreigners to cross the border into Afghanistan to fight US and Nato troops. The Taliban are also asking them to put down their guns and register themselves with the local political administration.

While some Taliban leaders in North Waziristan have started discouraging foreigners from crossing the border, some in South Waziristan are not ready to listen to the Pakistani government. Their defiance has created a lot of confusion and resentment in Islamabad because the Pakistan government is already under lot of pressure to use heavy force against the Taliban.

Defiant Taliban leaders are of the view that it is the right of every Muslim to join the Jihad against “crusaders” in Afghanistan and they will not ask any foreigner to leave their area or stop fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. A Taliban leader said: “We are not against all the Jews and Christians, but we are against crusaders and Zionists, who should leave Afghanistan first and then we will ask our foreign Muslim brothers to leave the area but if the Pakistani rulers want to fight with us, we are ready.”

Saturday, July 19, 2008




The Neo Taliban of Afghanistan has demonstrated a dual capability---- as a terrorist organization specializing in suicide terrorism and as a conventional guerilla force capable of conventional set-piece battles involving attack-stand-and fight tactics.

2. Its capability as a terrorist organization has remained unimpaired for the last two years. So far this year, it has already committed 73 acts of suicide terrorism as compared to 137 during the whole of last year.

3. Its acts of suicide terrorism are almost as numerous as those witnessed in Iraq, but not as deadly due to the poor training of the suicide bombers.

4. It demonstrated its capability for set-piece conventional battles involving the engagement of large forces during the fighting season of 2006-07. The Taliban units engaged in many of those battles in Afghan territory were trained, motivated and led by Mulla Dadullah.

5.The death of Mulla Dadullah in Afghan territory in an incident in May,2007, impaired its conventional capability. It faced difficulty in finding a suitable replacement for him. This had an impact on the ground situation during the summer of 2007. The much-threatened (by the Taliban) and much-dreaded (by the NATO forces) summer offensive did not materialize.

6. As the NATO commanders were hoping that the tide has started turning against the Taliban, it is showing signs of a second resurgence of its conventional prowess. One has already seen two instances of this. The first was its audacious attack on the Kandahar prison on June 13,2008, during which it took the NATO and Afghan National Army (ANA) forces totally by surprise and rescued about 400 imprisoned Taliban cadres and took them away in motor vehicles without being intercepted by the Canadian forces deployed for the security of this area.

7. The second instance was on July 13,2008, when an estimated 200 jihadi fighters , who had taken shelter, without being detected, in a village called Wanat in the Kunnar province in Eastern Afghanistan managed to attack and over-run an outpost jointly manned by US and ANA forces, after killing nine US soldiers. The US has since vacated this indefensible area, which has reportedly been occupied by the jihadi fighters.

8.What should be worrying is not the occupation of this area by the jihadis, but their ability to keep their movement, assembling in the village and preparations for the attack a secret and the tenacity with which they reportedly fought despite the US outpost calling for air strikes to disperse them.

9.The identity of the fighters and their commander is not yet certain. The Taliban, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Gulbuddin Heckmatyar’s Hizbe Islami and Al Qaeda are known to be active in this area-----with greater activity by the Hizbe Islami than others. There have also been reports from tribal sources in Pakistan that the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), which has been operating in tandem with Maulana Fazlullah’s Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) in the Swat Valley of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), has now moved some of its trained cadres to the Kunnar province to fight along with the Hizbe Islami. However, the JEM is essentially a terrorist organization with very little conventional capability.

10.The kind of conventional capability, which was exhibited during the 2006-07 fighting season and is being exhibited now, could come only from either serving or retired Pashtun soldiers of the Pakistani and Afghan armies and those trained by them.

11. In a report carried by it on July 18,2008, the “Financial Times” of London has quoted Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, as saying that the July 13’s “well co-ordinated” attack by hundreds of insurgents against a US military outpost near the border with Pakistan demonstrated that the enemy in Afghanistan had “grown bolder, more sophisticated, and more diverse”.

12. He added: “We’re seeing a greater number of insurgents and foreign fighters flowing across the border with Pakistan, unmolested and unhindered. We simply must all do a better job of policing the border region and eliminating the safe havens, which serve today as launching pads for attacks on coalition forces.”

13. An agency report carried by the “News” of Pakistan on July 17,2008, has quoted Admiral Mullen as further saying as follows: “The group that launched the attack trained in safe havens in Pakistan. We see this threat accelerating, almost becoming a syndicate of different groups who heretofore had not worked closely together.”

14. Till recently, Al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), another Uzbek group, were content with keeping their role confined to training the jihadis of the Taliban, the various Pakistani organizations and volunteers from outside. They were not participating in actual battles due to their small number, which they wanted to conserve for operations outside this region. There have been reports that their number has now been bolstered by the arrival of not only experienced fighters from Iraq, but also fresh recruits from the Central Asian Republics, Chechnya and Turks and members of the Uighur diaspora from Turkey.

15. The Pentagon is reported to have ordered an enquiry into the July 13 fiasco in order to establish the identity of the jihadi forces which attacked the outpost, how the outpost was taken by surprise and how the intelligence agencies failed to detect the movement and assembling of the jihadis near the outpost. It has been reported that the jihadis managed to plan and carry out the attack within two days of the outpost being set up.

16. The US forces should re-examine their present policy of setting up thinly-manned outposts in apparently indefensible areas. They only hand over a seemingly spectacular victory on a platter to the jihadis. They should reverse this tactics and inveigle the jihadis into setting up their presence in such areas and then attack and kill them with superior force. The objective in such isolated areas should be not territorial control, but inflicting heavy attrition on the jihadis.

17.The jihadi battles presently going on in Pakistan’s tribal belt and in Afghanistan have serious security implications for India. Mehsuds, Wazirs and Afridis were the tribals used by the Pakistan Army in 1947-48 to capture what is now called the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK). The Pakistan Army again used them before and during the war of 1965. Zia-ul-Haq used them for suppressing a Shia revolt in Gilgit in 1988.

18. President Bush often says with some validity that if the US troops withdraw from Iraq without defeating Al Qaeda, the Arab terrorists now operating in Iraq could move over to Europe and the US and step up terrorism.

19. If the US and other NATO forces fail to prevail over the jihadis in the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal belt, these tribals, fresh from their victories in that region, would move over to Kashmir to resume their jihad against India. What we are now seeing in Kashmir is the beginning of the end of one phase of the jihad involving jihadis of the 1980s vintage. We might see the beginning of a new phase involving better-trained and better-motivated jihadis of the latest stock. (20-7-08)

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




The suicide car bomb blast outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008, was meant to convey a message to India----thus far and no further in assisting the Hamid Karzai Government.

2.One has to painstakingly collect evidence to identify the originators of the message, but one can even now make a reasonable surmise of their identity. It could have originated only from the Pakistan-backed and Al Qaeda-trained Taliban, which has been acting in tandem with the Hizb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Heckmatyar, and the Government of Pakistan itself acting through its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

3.India is in Afghanistan not to fight against jihadi terrorism. It is there to help the legally-elected Afghan Government and people recover from over two decades of continuous strife and put them back on the road to economic recovery, better governance and a better quality of life for the people.

4.But the Taliban and Pakistan do not look at it that way. The Taliban looks on the Indian presence as no different from the presence of the US and other NATO forces--- meant to strengthen the influence of the “infidels” and propagate the ideals of a liberal democracy, which are seen by it as anti-Islam.

5.Pakistan looks upon it as meant to revive the historic relationship between the people of India and Afghanistan to the detriment of the Pakistani interests and influence built up over two decades of jihad----initially against the Soviet presence and now against the Western presence.

6.The Taliban and Pakistan see a convergence of interests and objectives between the two in resisting what they view as the growing Indian presence.

7. There is a convergence of interests and objectives between the Governments of Afghanistan and India too, namely, to resist the spread of religious extremism in this region and the use of the extremist forces by the ISI to destabilise the two countries.

8.The Kabul blast marked the opening of a second front by the Taliban at the instigation of the ISI. Its first front has been against the US and other NATO forces. Its newly-opened second front is against Indian nationals and interests in Afghanistan.

9.The Taliban owes its recovery from the post-9/11 set-back suffered by it during the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom to the protection and patronage extended to it by the ISI. It had its survivors and fresh recruits re-motivated, re-trained and re-armed in Pakistani sanctuaries with the complicity of serving ISI officers and the active assistance of retired officers.

10.It has staged a remarkable come-back since 2005 and has been able to make the US and other NATO forces bleed continuously since then. The US committed a mistake of viewing its on-going war against Al Qaeda and the fight against a resurgent Taliban as two different ball games. So long as Pakistan was collaborating with it against Al Qaeda, it closed its eyes to the ISI’s role in the resurgence of the Taliban.

11.Only now, after six months of mounting NATO casualties in Afghanistan is the realization slowly dawning on the US and other NATO powers that they cannot defeat Al Qaeda without defeating the Taliban and that they cannot prevent the return of the Taliban without acting against its mentor and protector.

12.To realise past mistakes is one thing and to devise new policy options free of the mistakes is another. In an election year, re-crafting new policy options has been a slow process. Moreover, the desire to make Pakistan change without hurting it continues to be a strong motivating factor in US policy-making. Pakistan continues to take advantage of this ambivalence of US policy-makers and strategic thinkers to continue with its policy of seeming action against the Taliban and actual nursing of it.

13.The impact of the Western ambivalence can be seen in Western perceptions of the Pakistani use of the Taliban to counter the Indian presence in Afghanistan. Deplorable, but understandable. That has been the underlying American thinking----whether in Governmental or non-Governmental circles.

14.The West realizes the benign role which India has been playing in Afghanistan. At the same time, it is unable to rid its policy-making of the malign influence of Pakistan, which sees Afghanistan as in its sphere of influence where India has no business to be active.

15.Under these circumstances, the second front opened by the Taliban at the nudging of the ISI against India would continue to be a major preoccupation of our policy makers. We should not allow the tragic death of our officers in Kabul to induce second-thoughts on our policy in Afghanistan. The policy is right and to the mutual benefit of the two countries and in the long-term interests of the region.

16.Our ability to press ahead with our policy will depend on our ability to protect our nationals deputed to Afghanistan to carry forward our policy. Their protection is the joint responsibility of the two Governments.

17.How to strengthen the protective security for our nationals and establishments in Afghanistan? This is a question, which deserves the immediate attention of the leaders and the security bureaucracies of the two countries.

18. Protective security alone is not sufficient. It has to be combined with a deterrent capability. The deterrent capability comes from our proclaimed willingness and ability to switch from the mode of passive defence to one of active defence.

19. When terrorists sponsored by another State and operating from sanctuaries in that State attack your nationals and interests , you have the right of self-defence---which can be passive or active. In passive defence, you confine your retaliatory action to your own territory. In active defence, you take the retaliatory action to the territory of the State from where the terrorists are operating, if left with no other way of deterring further acts of terrorism. The US and Israel have a publicly proclaimed doctrine of active defence against State sponsors of terrorism posing a threat to their nationals and interests. The US doctrine was enunciated by George Shultz, the then Secretary of State in the Ronald Reagan Administration, in a public speech after the attack on the US Marines in Beirut in 1983. Many other States have a similar doctrine, but it is not publicly admitted.

20. The doctrine of active defence followed by the US and Israel is applicable whether their nationals and interests are attacked in their homeland or in third countries by terrorists sponsored by a State. Reagan ordered the bombing of terrorist training camps in Libya in 1986 after terrorists sponsored by Libya killed some American soldiers in a West Berlin discotheque. Similarly, Israel has retaliated when its nationals were killed in West Europe.

21. India has had in the past a covert action capability which had been used in active defence in foreign territory for the protection of its nationals and interests, but it never had a publicly proclaimed doctrine of active defence through covert actions for the protection of its nationals and interests from terrorists sponsored by another State.

22. The recent comments of M.K.Narayanan, the National Security Adviser, about evidence being available regarding the involvement of the ISI in the Kabul blast and India’s readiness to go into the active defence mode should it become necessary is the first publicly proclaimed doctrine of active defence since 1947. It is similar in principle to the Shultz doctrine, but not as detailed.

23. While Narayanan’s public proclamation has to be welcomed, it has one important deficiency. It is Pakistan specific and thus does not allow for flexibility. The US and Israeli doctrines are applicable to any State, which uses terrorists against their nationals and interests. Their doctrines do not refer to any country by name. Our nationals and interests face threats from terrorists sheltered and sponsored by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Any doctrine should, therefore, be capable of being applied to both the countries, if necessary, and convey a clear message to them.

24. Publicly proclaiming a doctrine is the easiest part of active defence. The more difficult part is the creation of the required capability for active defence through covert actions. In the past----before 1997--- we had the capability which had served us well, but we did not feel the need for a publicly-proclaimed doctrine. Now, we have a publicly-proclaimed doctrine, but one does not know how good is our capability to enforce this doctrine should it become necessary. Creating or re-creating such a capability and keeping it in a permanent state of readiness to move into the active mode is the next immediate priority. We must have a small core of capability, which is permanent whether we intend using it or not, with a provision for its rapid expansion when the time for action comes.

25. I had made a detailed analysis of active defence through covert actions in my book titled “Intelligence---Past, Present& Future” published by the Lancer Publishers of New Delhi in 2001. (19-7-08)

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

Friday, July 18, 2008


Shelfari is a social cataloging website where members can catalog, tag, review, and discuss books.. Shelfari is the first product from Taste Makers, Inc., a company created by Josh Hug, Kevin Beukelman, and Mark Williamson. Shelfari was launched on October 11, 2006.Individuals are able to sign up for free and register an unlimited number of books.Shelfari users build virtual bookshelves of the titles they own or have read, and can rate, review, and tag their books. Shelfari's use of dimension in its books and shelves is intended to bring a real-world feel to the experience.Commercial tie-insIn February 2007, Amazon.com reportedly invested $1 million in Shelfari. In May 2007, Shelfari partnered with BookExpo America (BEA) to create Lit Insiders, combining the online Shelfari experience with an event at BEA.On June 7, 2007, Shelfari updated the "Book pages" to increase the social aspect of the site and user experience.In September 2007, Shelfari introduced its updated blog widget, which allows bloggers display the books from their Shelfari account. The widget comes in two forms: a graphical shelf widget in three styles (wood grain, ebony, and steel/cherry), and a text widget that adopts the styles of the page it is on.External CriticismsShelfari has received bad press for its "Invite Friends" page. Jesse Wegman, writing in The New York Observer in October 2007, complained that because he had "accidentally failed to uncheck the approximately 1,500 names in my Gmail address book that Shelfari had helpfully pre-checked", the system caused invitations to be sent, contrary to his intentions but "ostensibly" from his own address, to his entire network of contacts. In November 2007, Shelfari was accused of astroturfing by Tim Spalding, the creator of LibraryThing, a competing social networking book site. In a comment on another blog critical of Shelfari (primarily critcizing the "invitations" system), Josh Hug, the CEO, blamed the astroturfing on an intern not knowing better, and said that it had stopped.