by Ranjit Rai


New Delhi, 26 September 2001

Prefix 末 A Precursor to CDS?

IDC congratulates Lt Gen P S Joshi on his appointment as the Chief of the Integrated Staff (whatever that may mean), it is in lieu of CDS as far as duties go till one is appointed. As a consequence Lt Gen Sihota the DGMO will move as the GOC-in-C Southern Command. We have always had great respect for those who have headed Operations and Intelligence in the three Services. In most cases they have to wait for orders while Committees with bureaucrats, RAW and IB people debate their tasks, and this is a debility in India's security set up. We believed and still do, that a CDS with some operational control over the Services was the way to go, but then the CDS matter is yet to be resolved, more for political than logical reasons.

Maybe our analysis of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, which we paste below, will throw up some lessons and we await your feedback.


WE have received several requests to predict what OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM will entail, hence this analysis.

Changed Scenario

Change is the only constant and the world is seeing it as the equations have changed after 11 September and so has the mode of warfare to deal with the scourge of terrorism. The new wa,r which USA has promised to wage, will be different from any other. It will include information and media warfare which is already unfolding. Use of electronic means to choke the enemy痴 communications, financial squeeze of persons and agencies and their access to their bank accounts 末 which will debilitate the terrorist organizations the most 末 and finally movement of people from the Third World to the West will become more difficult. There will be ostracism of nations, beginning with Afghanistan, which will include shipping and air-services besides the diplomatic pressures never seen before to co-operate with USA and the West, or be placed in the black list. Hence the words below are important.

The New American Policy

鏑et no one doubt the difficulty of the task ahead which may take a long time. This will be a war that will not be won in weeks or months. It will be a long, difficult struggle 末 year in and year out. The objective is total victory 末 to vanquish all those willing to take innocent lives for extremist ideology. Terrorists have long threatened the body politic, but in this era of modern communications and weapons of mass destruction, they pose a new frightening peril that must no longer be minimised or ignored.

的n this effort, the United States asks for the support of all governments of goodwill from all corners of the planet. On September 15, President Bush telephoned Prime Minister Vajpayee to express America痴 gratitude for India痴 offer of assistance. Most of all, America is asking for the support of ordinary men and women everywhere. In the short space of a few minutes on a radiant autumn day two weeks ago, the lives of thousands of innocent people were ended. As a tribute to those who lost their lives, we should all join to end this abomination.

These are not IDC壮 words but those of Ambassador Blackwill, spoken and published in New Delhi. Before coming to India as Bush痴 friend and representative, he was in USA痴 foreign service for 22 years and taught military strategy and diplomacy at Harvard痴 Kennedy School for the last 12.

These statements relate to US policy as he is their spokesman in India and should know what to interpret. Military strategy and tactics are not limited to American brains only, hence our opinion offers a futuristic scenario of what action President Bush and his experienced security team may embark upon, to keep the promise to nab Osama Bin Laden and also get his Lieutenants and destroy his Al Queda network as the first step. Other steps would follow and the world should never underestimate the resolve of USA. Even Promod Mahajan who was in Moscow on 11 Sep admits the power and reach of Americans and has confirmed India will fully support USA in this war.

Crisis Management Systems

At the outset one must compliment America痴 conduct in crises and the way they lay down systems for decision making in emergencies and in disaster circumstances. Laying down clear-cut systems and levels of decision making devoid of personal angles is their hallmark.

On 11 Sep in New York, within 45 minutes of the first hijacked plane hitting World Trade Centre all airports were alerted to be shut, flights were diverted, some 80 fire engines and 500 rescue workers with ambulances were at the site. The Mayor of New York Giuliani took charge. The Chief of Staff alerted the President and as soon as it was possible the National Security Council met. Within days the strategy was formulated, the Armed Forces were mobilized, action to bring America back to normal instituted and battle plans commenced. The media was given full coverage and allowed plenty of freedom in reporting. USA痴 leaders seldom waffled and carefully prepared almost every word they spoke and have still maintained secrecy of their plans. President Bush said he will hunt down the culprits and their organisations and will wage war ECONOMICALLY, DIPLOMATICALLY and MILITARILY and that has begun.

Economic War

The trail of how money flowed into USA is becoming clearer by the day to the Intelligence agencies and the assets of 27 Individuals/Agencies in America have been frozen. Since many transactions in Asia take place via the 滴awala Route, some Indian, Pakistanis and Middle Eastern names can be expected to show up. Already one Indian, Abdul Caber Jyabsu involved in money laundering millions has been arrested in Thailand. Many more will squeal and US$ 25 million placed on the head of Osama bin Laden, which is a lot of money to tempt his enemies and even friends to give him up.

Bush had promised an economic war against terrorism and this shutting off of funds and investigation of accounts will be harmonised with other nations help. The second step already taken in USA was to freeze accounts of those who have been taken-in as suspects for aiding in the WTC attacks. With computerisation of banks in USA and a law to make Banks cooperate, the picture of the money route that makes the terrorists merry go round will unfold. Even in India we were able to track into which accounts the millions of Bofors money went, but Banks refused to disclose the names of account holders and the money fled out of the country, and an equal amount has been squandered on investigations. This shows it is possible to nab suspects from the banks route. Reports now coming in, point fingers at Imad Mughneyeh of the Hizbullah, but then IDC did say this was a big cooperative effort of many terrorist agencies and we are not surprised.

Diplomatic Offensive

On the diplomatic front, Afghanistan is being squeezed against its neighbour and benefactor Pakistan, as this will cripple Afghanistan痴 already battered economy and stability. Even if many Muslims the world over have a secret admiration for Osama痴 achievements, they will be forced to lie low. Pakistan has similarly been squeezed to cooperate and India痴 National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra is calling on Dr Condolezza Rice in Washington to discuss help from India. Lo and behold sanctions have been lifted against India and Pakistan equally thanks to this new war. The National Security Council seems to be hijacked by the CCS and India痴 offer and USA痴 response are still cloaked and will emerge when Brajesh Mishra returns. USA痴 diplomatic push to get support of as many nations as possible and of the UN with the carrot and stick policy is in high gear. Intelligence cooperation is being sought and Secretary of State Colin Powell says with confidence that USA will present evidence of the Bin Laden痴 involvement at the NATO meeting on 27 Sep.

Military Offensive

Finally the huge military machine of USA is now ranged in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean as a force in being and need not attack, but will put pressure on nations all round to remain alert. Australia has cancelled its Fleet Review but IN Ships Mumbai and Jyoti (Fleet tanker) will continue on their cruise to Sydney and Freemantle. Britain has sent its carrier and nuclear submarines to yhe Gulf. The information war has begun by saying British troops were in Afganistan already. Putin has also come on board in support.

So IDC will lean on Ambassador Blackwill痴 statements on military predictions. He is knowledgeable and is aided by his full time Security Adviser Ashley Tellis from Rand, who has come to his home of old, at an interesting time in history.

Our Views

The first step already taken in USA was to step up intelligence and rounding up of suspects and illegal immigrants who can indicate military targets in Afghanistan. This is in sharp contrast to the late 80痴. One recalls the Indian Navy痴 Intelligence Directorate asking the US Embassy in Delhi and Admiral Studeman, US Navy痴 DNI in Washington, to track down four Indian sailors who had deserted a naval ship on a visit to New York. The Navy had successfully secured their whereabouts and addresses in USA and knew they did not possess passports and provided all details to get them apprehended but got a terse reply 末 展e do not hound people in USA. However if they commit a criminal act, they will be caught and if they are guilty then we can talk of their deportation. Till then we are sorry to be of no assurance. 

This policy has let USA down in this act of hijacking. It is a very free country but then that is also the beauty of USA. This attitude will now change. A renewed Act will ensure that illegal immigrants are now rounded up and with a new law the noose on many aliens including Indians will tighten. American citizens who were thus far, non-interfering will be more vigilant and report untoward activity and new faces in the neighbourhood. Just watch America get this into gear.

Calculated Approach 末 Militarily

USA痴 military might that runs on budgets of US$ 329 billion (almost equal to India痴 GNP) is poised all over the Middle East and in the Indian Ocean, ready to strike. Special forces of Britian and America, who are professionals are pouring over maps and data provided by UAVs and satellites for tactical appreciation for hit and run missions, not a normal war at all. The major forces and aircraft will give cover and V-22s vertical take off planes may even be used at some point. Afghanistan痴 military targets are being pin pointed and the Taliban made to take shelter and scatter and get hysterical even before a shot is fired. Time is on USA痴 side and it can squeeze the Taliban by providing military equipment, intelligence and guidance to the Northern Alliance to further squeeze the Taliban mullahs and fighters. The process has begun. Four military advisers are in Pakistan to discuss the facilities. The National Security Council team of USA with Dick Chenney, Don Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Condelezza Rice are a battle tested team and all have experience in Defence. (unlike our Mulayams and Georges and defacto CDS痴 from the IAS.)

Human Approach 末 Concern For Lives

Americans also treasure lives as opposed to us in India who have little time to go into why we are losing so many in insurgencies. Lose lives USA will and all militaries are paid to, but then not so many as we do in India with no sensitivity from the leaders. We are beginning to have cases of soldiers going berserk and killing their own and recent incidents have been reported but many incidents are hushed up. USA will plan overt and covert operations with mathematical appreciation of the risks to lives and use technology to the hilt to minimize loss of lives.

Therefore IDC predicts there is no hurry. The military operations by the special forces should take shape in the next few weeks and the British Forces may be conjoined and a UN type of resolution attempted, to make the actions get a legal face.

Local Support

The attacks by the Northern Alliance will be stepped up and USA is ready to provide all its old equipment to Gen Dostum and other Afghan leaders, which has been a US policy. Reports are coming in to say Russia is selling arms to the Northern Alliance and this is a great support policy. India has always supported the Islamic Northern Alliance. It supported Late Najibullah, Gulbudin Hekmatyar and Masood who were opposed to the Taliban and gave them succour and now India痴 policy to assist is on test. If USA gets an airfield in the Northern part of Afghanistan they will take it and make it secure, as the Taliban has no air assets of consequence. Control of the air space as in the Gulf war will be the first prerogative. Civilian targets will be avoided and real time imagery is being mapped by UAVs and experimented. This will be used to advantage especially by night to get at the Taliban痴 military assets.

Testing New Weapons

USA will test to the hilt all its new weaponry by way of parachute bombs, new bombs, night vision equipment and lethal devices and aerial advances it has made. But as Ambassador Blackwill says there is no hurry. This new war has economic and diplomatic weapons too which will be played out first and USA hopes to get Osama bin Laden and others without firing too many shots.

Let us hope for the free world they succeed. India too must put on its thinking cap to see how it can benefit and learn from what happened on 11 Sep and be alert to what may happen in the future on our soil 末 thanks to OP. INFINITE JUSTICE or OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM or whatever USA wishes to call this new war.


As opposed to this India does not have the experience or the will to lay down any systems 末 or the leadership skills to permit devolution of powers, whether it be for emergencies like hijacking Indian Airline痴 plane or a war situation like Kargil, which needed rules of engagement, or disasters like the Gujarat earthquake, when the Republic Day parade in Delhi went on and the Indian Air Force from Bhuj was radioing the size of the calamity. The 舛halta Hai spirit, to think we are intelligent, breeds an attitude of 層e will act when it happens. This is the way we wish to go and our bureaucrats love it and military men are subservient to it. In such cases no one can be blamed for things going wrong 末 and many a time pockets get filled along the way. It was especially evident in the hijacking of IC 814 to Kandahar.

It is now revealed that it was India that hurried the Army Chief Malik into Kargil, for reasons of its own, many say, because the elections were looming.

Also in India the IAF have not said anything about their proposed Review on 17 October at Chandigargh, but important Air Chiefs are unlikely to attend.

India痴 Commander-in-Chief (the President) and PM are conspicuous by their silence and the media say Jaswant Singh has had enough of Defence. The Asian Age speculates that KC Pant will take over. He is a survivor and has been in Defence before, but IDC cannot recall what mark he left earlier, as Seshan Sahib was his Defence Secretary, whose personality and closeness to Rajiv stole most shows.

Jaswant Singh must be the busiest Minister with two key portfolios that matter most at this juncture.

War could be a possibility for India too and we must be ready. IDC gives great emphasis to Musharraf痴 statement that the PAF is ready and he meant ready for nuclear strikes and hence his confident words to India 銑AY OFF.

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