INDIA DEFENCE CONSULTANTS
WAR ON TERRORISM –– SEMINAR REPORT
An IDC Analysis
Delhi, 08 October 2001
FREEDOM has moved in to a first decisive phase of military attacks by B 1s
from USA , B 52s from Diego Garcia , Cruise missiles and F 18s from the
Aircraft carriers. Tony Blair cleverly toured Russia, Pakistan and India
to share and sound leaders on how the coalition is moving diplomatically
and economically also and President Bush rang up Vajpayee just before the
attacks . The Taliban Government will be certainly be destabilized
and militarily Osama Bin Laden and his net work has been raided to show
some modicum of success . IDC sees the role of Pakistan crucial to all
this and the mood of its Anti West Lobby and Clerics as the key to success
or failure . So far Musharraf has walked the talk and tight rope very
cleverly. His team of Abdul Sattar , Shaukat Aziz and ISI Chief Lt Gen
Mohammed Aziz and spokes men are doing a creditable job and the Pakistan
media so far is very fair but apprehensive . The military has moved in to
curb any large violent protests and if the 9 Corps Commanders are with
Musharraf Pakistan will come out safely . Now Musharraf has money to throw
and that works in Indian and Pakistan .
USA has presented evidence on the involvement of Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda network to Pakistan and other countries. The articulate and shrewd Foreign Minister of Pakistan Abdul Sattar, a former Ambassador to India, was eloquent on CCN on 3 October and felt there was meat in the evidence and it needed to be publicised by USA. Sattar is a clever diplomat and knows well that Pakistan's interests will be served by releasing the evidence. He seemed confident that the evidence would convince the hardliners in Pakistan that what the Government under President Musharraf was doing was correct and in Pakistan's interest. The Taliban may also relent and he put it nicely "innocent lives were lost.” He even mentioned the 1st October Srinagar Assembly suicide attack.
IDC learnt that Tony Blair’s visit to Pakistan on Friday 5th was significant and he assured Musharraf of all support if he played ball. There will be no major attack but technological and Special Forces strikes should begin any day next week. The War on Terrorism is moving along the lines IDC predicted being fought with the tools of Intelligence, Economy, Diplomacy and Military coercion and engagement.
This is some thing India must learn and not grovel by writing letters only to America. Hence IDC juxtaposes an illuminating and engaging seminar's proceedings which was held at the India International Centre on 1 October 2001 on this current and most relevant subject of "War On Terrorism" where India's concerns dominated the discussions which took place just a few hours after the suicide bombers of Jaish E Muhammad (JeM) killed 38 persons and injured many more at the J and K Assembly premises in Srinagar.
The veritable panel of speakers were introduced by Former home and defence secretary N N Vohra who authored the landmark report on the nexus between politicians and the underworld and that also needs to be published in parts. Maj Gen Afsar Karim a former Divisional Commander who has served in the valley spoke of the challenges. Bramha Chellaney a US Trained academic who shoots from the hip was critical of India's efforts and has written the same in the HT. The seasoned and elder statesman-cum-journalis,t Inder Malhotra echoed the same with his experiences. Academic turned Editor Sanjay Baru spoke on economic issues and former diplomat and admirer of Indira Gandhi Ambassador Rasgotra, spoke out and said, “A large Nation that seeks help from others in security will never be respected”, and IDC agrees.
This dastardly killing added to the already surcharged atmosphere in the South Asia region sparked by the 11 September Black Tuesday hijackings and attacks in USA. However do note next day SRINAGAR OPEN GOLF with tight security and prize money of 35,000 dollars, sponsored by Farooq Abdullah who loves Golf, went on normally while he cried in the Assembly. This will be how life will carry on in terrorist ridden areas and shows the spirit of man.
The continuous live reporting and analysis on Radio, TV and print media has today enabled the common man and the specialist equally to be aware of the live situation as it is unfolding and there is a prediction that if and when the US and the coalition forces do carry out overt attacks in Afganistan to get at Osama Bin Laden and his Al Queda net work, some of these actions could well be witnessed in our drawing rooms itself as part of information warfare. USA may be funding and feeding net works accordingly.
IDC learns that when we commenced www.indiadefence.com after the Kargil war, the Indian Government supported a private site, worried that we may be critical, but time has proved we are fair and professional and will continue to be so. Hope Government supports us too!
The reactions of the hardline Islamic community are unpredictable and so President Musharraf is telling the Taliban to consider USA's request via the media too.
The role of the media and information warfare, which are now contiguous, has become a powerful tool for use by all players and even the Indian defence establishment sent former journalist B G Verghese all over the world to study the subject and report on it. The Navy has published a paper on it available in the USI library and it used some IW techniques in the Kargil war with success in what is called the Naval Maneouvre, which is scripted in the British Maritime doctrine. The Navy has commissioned a squadron of Dornier IW planes with specialized equipment for this purpose. Disinformation is part of the scheme of things. Today Western Forces are poised in the area ready for the Naval Maneouvre.
The discussions at IIC on Terrorism unfolded diverse views and opinions but the main consensus was that the war against terrorism will be long, arduous, beset with difficulties and could lead to the clash of civilizations predicted by Samuel Huntington, as there is no defined enemy state or one organization but a network. Speakers avoided using the word Islam or Muslim as we Indians are careful in public but surprisingly PM Vajpayee used it in his speech with Tony Blair.
It was agreed at the seminar that Religion and Drug money feeds terrorism and the reach of those involved has become global in nature and Jehad is the call for the mind of some to even accept suicide. The WAHABI sect seems to be the cradle. The monetary aspects of terrorism and how it feeds via the international banking system were also discussed and even American banks were not free from laundering drug money it was revealed. Recently money links of remittances sent to Mohammed Atta from Pakistan and money sent by two Indian suspected accomplishes to Hyderabad has been discussed in the media. Money is provided from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and UAE, and the illegal narcotic trade it would appear and the HAWALA, by air route used from South Asia as Black Money is flush in the area.
USA may have provided some details in its evidence docket on Bin Laden and IDC feels it will come out in the open. IDC has experience of how LTTE's funds were tracked but then India has never been sure whether it needs to support the LTTE or Sri Lanka, because of ethnic politics.
In Intelligence the enemy has to be defined for the intelligence operative to use means to gather his data. USA has defined the organizations and put out photos of the suspects. The hallmark of the IIC evening was that the participants were well prepared, knowledgeable and were experts in their respective fields. Because of their vast repertoire they were able to educate the audience and share many insights into terrorist events gone by in India, which were never called terrorist actions viz. Mrs Gandhi’s and Rajiv Gandhi's assassinations or the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993. These were terrorist acts.
It was opined there had been soft responses so far to tackle the menace with seriousness and the Command and Control by the unified command with Army, BSF, Police and Intelligence agencies in Kashmir may be lacking. There have to be no negotiations with terrorists (India resorts to it every so often) and very tough measures to remove the scourge. One speaker even ridiculed the fact that India still calls the 1993 terrorist attacks on the Mumbai stock exchange as serial bomb blasts, and another alluded to how our external affairs Minister accompanied terrorists to Kandahar and delivered them safely for the release of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC 814. This has become the talk of media shows. But except for Mrs Gandhi, most Indian leaders from Nehru's Bhai Bhai vision to Gujral's doctrine and now Vajpayee's actions –– have a via media approach to resolve India's terrorism by softer means. They may be right too but IDC feels it is because as a coalition democracy, which feeds on corruption, consensus on any issue is never built up –– and the speakers hinted at that.
Some speakers raised the nuclear issue, which precludes action and Chellaney wanted India to call Pakistan's bluff. He wanted India to adopt the principle of hot pursuit and it seems to IDC that Tony Blair may have cautioned PM Vajpayee on this at this juncture. IDC is however convinced that the Army methodology of camps, fall-ins and convoys is unsuited to combat terrorism, if they do not have full control of the area. They must be permitted to train a handful of go-getters and have control over the Intelligence actions and be authorized some hot pursuits.
They Navy did that in OP Pawan but it was in International waters and hence the LTTE never tried to attack the Navy. The Army with human rights restrictions and orders emanating from Delhi and the CM of Kashmir as Unified Commander, who is a politician, will always be at the receiving end. This goads the Army Chiefs to say there has to be a political settlement and they become helpless. There are too many agencies involved in Kashmir and ploys like Shri K C Pant's mission, Lahore bus ride and Agra summits with no permission for counter attacks, makes the fine Indian Army's position awkward and uphill. It is India's bad luck that hot pursuit and counterforce in POK, which seems to be the Indian Leaders' thinking post, the Srinagar Assembly attack may lead to further complications for India, at this juncture.
IDC notes USA has no option but to seek Pakistan's help to get Osama Laden and put the Taliban into the back ground for starters, and Kabul is the target. Even as it knows Pakistan is an abettor of terrorism it has to go along. Jaswant Singh on his visit to USA with PM's two letters complaining to Bush about Pakistan's involvement may be putting Kashmir again into USA's hands.
IDC believes now is the time once again for USA to ask India and Pakistan to agree to finally settle along the LOC and keep powders cool along that line. IDC predicts one day a third party will solve this insolvable problem. But the WAR ON TERRORISM is on and IDC will keep you updated with our analysis –– as we learn that military aid by way of gunships and ammunition are on their way to Pakistan, and Senator Brownback is again backing Pakistan and Ambassador Maheela Lodhi is an asset for Pakistan in Washington.