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Possible Indian Military Scenarios - Part II

Rakesh
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Possible Indian Military Scenarios - Part II

Postby Rakesh » 17 Dec 2004 21:15

Old Thread in Military Scenarios Archive.

Part 1
Last edited by Rakesh on 24 Mar 2006 07:59, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby vishnua » 17 Dec 2004 22:59

sunil s
When MTS returns he will close the story as best he sees it. I will follow YIP's lead till then. I sense public wants to see a big fight - which is not my style - but YIP has that covered so I will support his storyline with side bars.

I can reconcile the story lines placed here but I am baffled as to what to say when someone says "I like to hear Ramayan more than I like the Mahabharat because Mahabharat is too scary and too complicated..."

If people here on BR can't understand the complexity of what goes on in an Indian political system when it is placed under grave stress... as Anoop says... what will you do when the real government faces a problem? how will you deal with that? ... and on BRF you can't do it - then what will those people who can't have access to places like BRF do?

Bhai log - this Bangladesh thing isn't MTS's imagination - those are very real possibilities. Think about it. As soon as 2001 ended, every Pakistani oped talked about the problems of running a Kashmir Jihad and how it was necessary to "open a second front" in "India's troubled North East" from Bangladesh. The Pakistanis have been at work subverting Bangladesh for the better part of 20 years now... this is not entirely a make-believe world we live in on the forum.

We on BRF may be idiots compared to the real people of New Delhi, but even we understand that there is a serious problem with Bangladesh. There is lack of responsiveness in the Bangladeshi polity to the needs of the post-Sept 11 world. People think Bangladesh is some "small nation" that a "big country" like India can "take care of" and so these jingos on BR are jacking off to the idea of beating up "poor Bangladesh"... that is NOT what is going on here. The problems go far deeper than that.

I find it deeply dissatisfying that people on a place like BR still feel the need to percieve a black&white world with clearly delineated "War" and "Peace" spaces. This simply does not happen in reality!

In deference to the peoples' wishes to see a "unified India" in "a time of war" etc... (though I personally think that notion is unsustainable) ... I will not pursue the line of the story which would have led to the examination communal rioting and the underlying factors and its connections to national security. The branch of the storyline which leads us into Juhapura-Vejalpur is now closed. I am no longer confident that the audience can handle that.

I will go where YIP sahab leads us.


If i may Sunil just because there are no of posts questioning the direction in which the story tends to slide doesn't mean there are in majority. I for one which i belive am in the silent majority actually like the direction of which you and YIP were going.

I am sure when MTS returns he will close it the way he sees it but in the mean time please continue with your story line rather than just following YIP lead. If i had a choice i would be little more cynical than what i think is the reality ( not much just a little bit) rather than just having straight forward "wars' or good guys beat the sh*t out of bad guys and nation not having any internal problems at the time of "war" and everybody is unified behind the existing leader (PM).

Once agian PLEASE CONTINUE WITH YOUR STORY LINE RATHER THAN JUST FOLLOWING YIP LEAD

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Postby mody » 17 Dec 2004 23:20

Sunilji and Patelji, as writely interpreted by others please treat my commnets merely as reader feedback. Offcourse since I havn't contributed anything to story so far it gives me much less say on what goes on hence forth and how exactly the story progreses.
The only suggestion from me would be as many others have also felt the same, please keep the story so far in mind and only then add more twists and turns.
Also some one had commented about the style of writing by giving a brief background of the characters and then going ahead with the story. Now though this builds a character and gives it a lot more depth and I really have enjoyed that aspect so far, I just feel that not all characters need to be so well defined. I mean there are many ordinary soldiers(not necessarily military ones only) who just simply perform their duty and we need not know about their peculiar upbringing etc. etc.
By defining each character with more depth, we have to keep track of all of them and bring all of their stories and their roles to a logical end. Agaist this if for some character is not that well defined then we can instead say that some one simply fulfilled his/her role as was expected from them.
So maybe only the important characters, or rather characters which whoever is writing the story, intends to use later on in the story a well, needs to be given a lot more depth. Once again just a suggestion.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios

Postby chola » 17 Dec 2004 23:36

Rakesh wrote:Old Thread in Military Issues Archive.


Can we put the old thread somewhere it won't be deleted in the future? The first chapters of an epic are in there!

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Postby ramana » 17 Dec 2004 23:41

I locked it up in the Mil Issues archives.

Modyji, what about author's freedom to write? Whats the hurry. Did Lord Ganesha critique Maharishi Veda Vyas about the complexity of the characters in Mahabarat?

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Postby Y I Patel » 18 Dec 2004 01:28

Kantibhai Parekh could sense it coming: “What is whitewater rafting, ji?” Gitaben asked, innocuously enough. “Oh, that means going for a boat ride, dear” “Then how come this photo shows Shweta in a helmet and ugly colored jacket, looking like she is about to drown in a flood???” Uh oh. It’s getting menacing now, Kantibhai thought. He gingerly lowered his Gujarat Samachar and braced himself.

Kantibhai was a prosperous wholesale textiles dealer, living in the posh Shahibagh area of Ahmedabad. Ambika Mataji had blessed him with two lovely daughters; instead of pining for a son, Kantibhai and Gitaben had decided to raise their daughters just as they would raise sons. Sunita turned out just fine, but Shweta seemed to take the “just like a son” part a bit too literally!

Shweta’s real problem was not too uncommon among younger siblings of overachievers – Sunita had the Midas touch at whatever she did, and left behind a trail of academic and professional successes that anyone would have been hard put to match. Shweta certainly did not lack the talent or the motivation; it was that she wanted to be her own woman, not just a carbon copy of didi.

So medical school was out, anything to do with the conventional lines of work or academics was out, “culture” as defined by playing sitars and learning Bharat Natyam was out (though tennis, karate, cricket, and bullying the boys of Vallabhbhai Vasahat were definitely in)… this posed a bit of a problem when deciding what to do with life, the integrated PG program in Linguistics at the MS University (Vadodra) offered an esoteric enough alternative while deciding which future trail to blaze. The trip to Mansarowar with the college trekking group was enchanting; when she came back home giddy and sunburnt, she grandly announced what she wanted to do: Papa, Mummy, I am going to join the Army.

The instructors at OTC Chennai soon realized that Officer Cadet Parekh did not like them deferring to her gender. Officer training in the Indian Army is more about mental strength and staying power than brute strength; in these areas, the little sparrow soon left her macho colleagues eating her dust. She had brassily indicated the Mahar Regiment as her preference on commissioning – as expected, gruff Brigadier OP Sharma had turned it down summarily. Not without a twinkle in his eye though. He knew what the Intel chaps were going to be in for, and he did not envy them…

Now Major Shweta Parekh sat in her office in a nondescript building in IAF Station Arjangarh, and poured over the transcript of Subedar Achinto Samanta’s report: “I saw a Bangla Army colonel sitting besides Brigadier Akhtar – the Colonel looked too old for his rank, and his features were more Punjabi than Bengali. He had a very distinctive mole near his left eyebrow”

The description stirred some memory, Shweta punched a few keys to query the database, and the arrogant face of Maj. Gen. Sadiq Hussain (retd.) popped up.

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Postby mody » 18 Dec 2004 01:34

Well I am not advocating taking away the writers freedom, simply giving a small suggestion, just my opinion. Its obviously non-binding, but at the same time I don't feel theres any harm in giving some constructive feedback. I hope all of my comments are percieved as contructive feedback. Even Sunil and YIP as well as others had feedback that didnot agree with the direction or the characters that Daulat had introduced in the story, or had changed nature of the characters. I agreed with that feedback and I stand by mine, atleast for now. I might have a different opinion as the story progresses further.

Just for the sake of putting in a final word about all this.....
Writers enjoy writing and readers enjoy reading.

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Postby Y I Patel » 18 Dec 2004 01:54

Author's note :)

Mody: no probs with your feed back. However, please understand that I am what I am, and my writing will reflect my interests. Sunil said people should know what real India is, and I want to compose a ballad about real India - the Sudhirs, the Sadanands, the Shivinders, and the Shwetas of India make it what it is.

(Note to self: fix alliterative binge :) )

So, no apologies for plots that are thick on background and thin on action. If you read between the lines and into the backround, you will find lots to think about. That I can promise.



PS

Sunil: Urgent expert help needed with biodata of Maj Gen Sadiq Hussain (and please prepare a couple of Bangla and Paki brigs and gens while you are at it, pretty please - don't relase them yet though!)

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Postby Sunil » 18 Dec 2004 02:46

> need bios.

give me the weekend, I'll get them to you.

Mody,

I welcome feedback, and by God... I welcome contributions even more.

As regards diversity and depth - (shrug) Yeh hain India... every single literary work I have seen by an Indian author contains mind numbing details. All the hi-fi summarized history/Pakistan studies type crowd was kind of exported 50 odd years ago.

Let me point out to you and others the underlying theme in the stories.

When people think of India, they think of a poor farmer trying to make a living from subsistence level agriculture - think of literature like Godan or Shyam Chi Aai or the Rai classic Pather Panchali or Do Bigha Zameen. These classics (if I may borrow the word) sent a subtle message - agriculture - a way of life for thousands of years will soon give way to industry. Today that change is increasingly becoming a reality. So if you look at all the stories - they are the stories of *urban India* - the stories of people who left the villages and settled in the bustling cities and towns. As authors we are merely carrying on where the others left off. The stories of urban India are of two kinds,

1) people who found a steady sense of income and social security through government jobs and
2) those that had to fend for themselves for whatever reasons. These people turned to private entrepenuership legal and illegal for their income.

Another aspect of the stories which will stand out is the concept of `integration', the cities forced people of different age, linguistic, ethnic, social, religious background and *most importantly* gender to mix in every possible way. This has created the social soup we see boiling beneath the surface everywhere. It is the boiling of this soup that we are seeing in YIPs narrative about the "pracharak".

Lastly note with some care the histories of the Indians depicted here. Gone are the days of princes and princely states. The people in crucial positions making important calls are *not* the decendants of the "Maharaja of Barrackpore"... instead they are common - "Middle Class"- folk.

Vishnua,

I am not claiming to know the reality of India - that is a bit much to know- I mean 1 Billion people and all that - but thinking that India is a political monolith is bit weird. We have a serious political system that accomodates all kinds of people from diverse backgrounds so we can't expect to churn out sterile stuff... not on BR.

How can people forget that just when the Kargil war was barely over, the NDA sarkar fell to a no confidence motion? did that come up in a day? that was in the works for a long time. Pata nahi Sir, which world people are living in... this is all part and parcel of India.
Last edited by Sunil on 18 Dec 2004 03:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Jagan » 18 Dec 2004 03:16

"The instructors at OTC Chennai "

That should be OTA Chennai. I like the take on Arjangarh :) very appropriate...

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Postby Sunil » 18 Dec 2004 03:52

Anjangarh..?? okay if you prefer... but I like Mohammedpur.

:D

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Postby vishnua » 18 Dec 2004 07:32

sunil
i am not saying that your are claiming either. if one can correctly (100% or 400%) define the reality in india then why be on BR :D writing stuff like this . you can make heck of lot of dough and do some real things. ..
What am i trying to say please continue with the story which you think resembles the reality . i have to say YIP sir is doing just fine..

no more digression from me..

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some more rope to events ..

Postby rajpa » 18 Dec 2004 16:42

Guru was happy to be released of the back sore from the coarse white cotton hospital bed. He walked out in the sunshine, with his parents following him. He felt like he had had a little vacation, he had needed a break.

Then the shock hit him. Yet again.

Were his friends alive, were they dead? He closed his eyes and told himself in a raw fashion that he will wait for the news to trickle in.

He switched on the tv with his remote, coffee in hand. It was a month later, but the screens were still ablaze with rhetoric, dictators, fbi and chilling calls for war.

He shut down the machine, marched to his bed and crashed on it. He had to talk to someone.

"Farid is here." his father's voice announced.

"I am scared. For you and for me." Farid said. Afsana was talking to mom, seemed a little apprehensive.

"Where were you... on that day.. you ok..?.. hmm.." Guru spoke out haltingly.

Later, Mom offered to let Afsana stay at their place at their care. Farid had to go back to his hometown to make sure everything was ok. They were going back, he said.

His cousins went with him too. It was a little tiring for Guru to see his friends leave.

Guru trudged back to work one day, at the backup facility that his CEO had procured with a certain astonishing foresight. 9/11 he had said made it mandatory. Of course he was proved right.

Guru was asked to make sure that all the backups were restored. He opened up the chronologically ordered optical media containers. He loaded up the utility that listed all the different types of data available. He ticked each element of the checklist as he uncompressed all the last available data back to the servers.

HR, Admin, QA, Development, User data. Arvind sat with him and did some running to and fro, setting up the network, checking the cables, initialising the operating system parameters and stuff.

Guru watched wryly, the data that was flowing into the servers, desktops and the personal folders.

"********." He murmured, when he saw the backups of people's personal email, chat conversations, the cache of IPs surfed of each and every 'associate' at work.

He randomly clicked on some of his friend's data, not to read their email but just to see how much was piled up on them.

Later when he spoke to those suits, he remembered seeing backed up chat conversations with the server katrinasehgal.com somewhere. And he could not recall why that touched a chord in him. Wasn't she that svelte socialite from Delhi? She had died somewhere didnt she. Was it a catastrophe too, he asked himself, with some remorse.

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compilations

Postby rajpa » 18 Dec 2004 16:48

folks:

whoever is editing all this stuff (for the clancy killer epic), should put up a list of chapters and people can take a vote on what to keep and what should go... whaddya think.

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Postby Sunil » 18 Dec 2004 21:12

YIP here it comes. I have borrowed the format from Jyoti Arya's article on Musharraf.

-----

Shweta racked her mind for the exact time that she had come across the name and the photo. Then it hit her... Operation Tufail.. Nepal... fake currency... something about Dilshad Ahmad Beg... and Babloo Srivastava... no wait there was something more.... Arakanese Muslims.. the words floated about her mind... with no clear order to them.

Shweta eyed the photograph, and the first thing that caught her eye besides General Hussain's beautiful and striking mole, was the fact that the photo had a blue border on it. Moving the mouse icon across the blue border showed a pop-up with the date May 25 2002 on it.

This produced a stream of invective from Maj. Shweta as she realized that this meant that the Movements Analysis Section (MAnS) had stopped tracking the Gen. Hussain's movements that year. The invectives grew louder and louder at which point Captain Nugyal and Zubair poked their heads through the door in Maj. Shweta's office... "Is everything okay Ma'am?" Nugyal asked... by which time luckily Shweta had regained her composure and so replied "Yes Nugyal.. everything is fine"...

Nugyal and Zubair walked away from the office looking at each other through the corner of their eyes. "What a complete masterpiece..." thought Zubair - the stories they had heard were true after all.

Shweta then clicked on the biography link and began reading.

Principal Investigator: Maj. A. K. Rahim
Assisting Investigators: Capt. Rajiv Bhowar, Lt. Arpit Rai, Sub. M. Dongre

Name: Sadiq Azhar Hussain
Father's Name: Azhar Mohammed Hussain
Mother's Name: Fiza
Brother's Name: Amir Azhar Hussain
Date of Birth: May 15, 1948.
Place of Birth: Maghiana town, Jhang Tehsil
Last known address: 176B Mall Road, Lahore City.

Childhood Influences:

Azhar Mohammed Hussain was a properous textile trader in the Lahore area. Azhar is believed to be a Sunni Sayyid with family in the Parachinar area. Azhar Mohammed married twice, first to Mehrunissa Alam of Lahore, however as it was soon established that she could not bear a child, Azhar took on another wife, Fiza Akram of Maghiana. From records from Civil Lines Police Station in Lahore, it appears that Azhar Hussain and one Madan Lal had a dispute over a business transaction in the early 1940s. This led to a souring of relations between the two. Their personal feud got caught up in political affairs as partition approached and in early March of 1948 fearing an attack on his family in the charged atmosphere of partition, Azhar Hussain sent his pregnant wife Fiza and her first born son, Amir to her father's house in Maghiana in Jhang District. He felt they would be relatively safe there. Mehrunissa was sent back to her family's house in Lahore city itself.

Sadiq was born in Maghiana at his maternal grandfather's house. Fiza waited for a few months to recover from the delivery and then for the violence in Lahore to subside. In this period there was no communication from her husband and that must have caused some anxiety. What transpired next is a matter of speculation. Per the story told to Fiza when she returned to her house in Mall Road in late december 1948, Madan Lal orchestrated the murder of Azhar Hussain and stole a large amount of wealth. He was assisted in this work by a jatha of local Sikhs who had since moved to India. Upon hearing of this matter the Alam family moved into the house on Mall Road and took charge of affairs. Fiza was now in shock - not only had she lost a husband, she had also no place to live. A kindly Mehrunissa told the distraught Fiza that her cousin Atif who was managing the affairs of the family now would be happy to take her on as his third wife but Fiza declined and returned to her father's house in Maghiana.

Fiza's father, Majeed Akram was an employee in the Irrigation Department and supplemented his income with a small shop in Jhang city that sold agricultural produce. He did not believe Fiza's story but allowed her to return anyway with her distraught children. It may be recalled that the Maghiana area became home to several partition refugees from Bihar. The immediate influx of people into this area led to a severe strain on the area's infrastructure. This in turn led to severe fights that presently manifest as deep divisions along ethnic lines. It is possible that Sadiq grew up under these conditions and met several Mohajirs and picked up their stories of horror. Sadiq had always been told that his father was killed by a cunning Hindu Bania, and upon an impressionable child the horror stories of the partition must have made a credible impact.

Sadiq was initially enrolled in a local madrissa, but subsequent transferred to a government school. Sadiq completed his schooling there in 1963, and went to Government College Lahore to do a Bachelor of Arts. Sadiq's brother had followed a similar path two years earlier and it is believed that Atif Alam paid for the education of both children from the proceeds of their dead father's textile business. Amir graduated a year after Sadiq joined the college, and gave the exams to join the Pakistan Air Force. Three years later he was commissioned as a general duty pilot with 14th Squadron. Sadiq followed in his footsteps and secured admission to PMA Kakul.

Service Record (abridged: see detailed history).

1966: Sadiq joins PMA Kakul as a Gentleman Cadet.

1969: Completes the 39th PMA long course and is commissioned as a second Lt. in 15 Punjab regiment.

1971: Sadiq is promoted to Lt. just before the war and on Dec 3, 15 Punjab attacks and overwhelms Indian formations in Hussainiwala. It is unclear if Sadiq was in the attack or whether he recieved an Imtiazi-Sanad for an unrelated action. A few weeks after this incident, Sadiq learns that Amir has been killed in East Pakistan. Amir was shot by a Mukti Bahini operative as he attempted to shop in the Dhaka market.

1972: Sadiq is promoted to captain, and 15 Punjab is sent to Khuzdar to assist in law and order maintenance there.

1973: Sadiq's unit participates in military operations aimed at crushing the Marri insurgency. Sadiq recieves another Imitiazi Sanad.

1974: Sadiq is transferred to the Military Intelligence Department unit 204 headquartered in Quetta. The unit is assigned to monitor and frustrate Afghan intelligence's efforts to entice a Balochi or Pashtun revolt.

1980: Sadiq is promoted to Major, and placed in charge of an operation in the Jalalbad area. The operation involves identifying sites suitable for construction of defensive complexes in the Safed Koh area.

1983: Sadiq is asked to coordinate the assembly of volunteers from the Jhang district. As a result of Sadiq's advice money is disbursed to Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi's Sipaha Saheba Pakistan and a steady stream of volunteers flows from the corners of Jhang to training camps in the Mansehra, Cherat and Waziristan.

1985: Sadiq is tasked with coordinating the efforts of HeI(K), Al Badr Mujaheddin and Maktab Al Khidmat in building up common training facilities in the Parachinar area. The funds for this activity are believed to have come from Saudi and American funding initiatives.

1987: Sadiq is intercepted by agents of Khad's 9th Directorate responsible for the security of the Jalalbad region after an attack on the Indian consulate killed three staffers there. Sadiq was apparently in the city to meet key Mujaheddin leaders but accidently stumbled upon a Khad search party that was roaming the streets looking for perpetrators of the attacks on the Indian consulate. Sadiq is interrogated by Major Masood Achkazai and Dy Secretary Anil Tambe is also present there during the interrogation. After the interrogation, Sadiq is put in transit to Bagram Airbase but escapes with the help of the HeI(K).

1990: Sadiq is promoted to Lt. Colonel and visits Iran as part of a Pakistan Army delegation. During his visit to Iran he meets Hojatoeslam Ali Fallahian, and Hojatoeslam Younesi both officers of the Iranian Military Intelligence department. It is here that Sadiq proposes that Iranian intelligence avail of the newly developed facilities in Pakistan to assist in Jihad operations.

1991: Lt. Col Sadiq is asked to coordinate the integration of the Kashmir and Afghan Jihad. He heads a joint committee comprising of representatives from the Muttahida Majlis-e-Jihad in Kashmir and the Shura-e-Amal which coordinates the activities in the Afghanistan. The result is a cross fertilization scheme whereby Mehmaan Mujaheddin/ International Islamists train in camps in Waziristan and travel to Kashmir to carry out operations in the region and the cadre from Kashmiri organizations begins to avail of facilities in Mansehra, Muridke etc... It takes three years to fully implement this scheme.

1994: Sadiq is promoted to full colonel and appointed advisor to the Brig. Gen. Aziz Khan of the Afghan Desk in the ISI. He replaces Brig. Aslam Bodla who is blamed for the discovery of the Pakistani involvement in the Bombay Blasts of 1993. Sadiq is now tasked with the consolidation of Sipaha Saheba units into internal security units aimed at frustrating Iranian prosletysing activities. Sadiq lobbies intensely in this period for an expansion of training camps in Waziristan and at one point he secures the backing of several major drug producers in the Jalalbad area. The producers are interested in security for their production runs. Sadiq's suggestion are not accepted and he is tasked to continue working with existing facilities. Sadiq also directs the Jammu Kashmir Islamic Front to carry out Operation Tufail in Nepal. Op Tufail involves disbursing fake currency to build a stable base for ISI operations in Nepal. Though Brig. Bodla has been removed from his post, Col. Sadiq continues the policy of consolidating the Jammu Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF). The JKIF eventually becomes the grand daddy of major Islamist terrorist movements in India.

1997: Sadiq is promoted to Brigadier and made deputy head of Afghan operations. He also becomes the principal strategic advisor to the DG ISI on International Jihad activities in Pakistan. He is able to secure support for his expansion plans and during this period the training complexes in taliban held territory grow in size and funding for this comes from Saudi Arabia. Op Tufail was also now being used to transit explosive and hi-tech equipment to Indian insurgent groups in the NE. The afghan camps now also train Arakanese muslims for a jihad in South East Asia.

1999: After the Coup by General Musharraf, Sadiq is promoted to Major General and made the head of the Afghan Division of the ISI. Sadiq is believed to have attended the signing of the Fatwa by Osama Bin Laden calling for war against the US and Israel. It is unclear if this had anything to do with his promotion.

2001: Post Sept 11, Sadiq is removed from the ISI's Afghan division after he fails to comply with a direct order from Gen. Pervez Musharraf. The order is withdrawn but Sadiq is "prematurely retired on health grounds" from the service. He subsequently takes on the post of Director of Fauji Wool Works in the Maghiana area and heads up the Afghanistan relief committee in Chiniot.

2002: MAnS ends surveillance and file is tagged as as archival.

Shweta reached for the phone and called her boss, Lt. Col. Arnab, who asked her to come straight to his office.

"Sir, we have a live one that slipped through the cracks." and then proceeded to tell him of the Samanta report and the file on him in the archive. Lt. Col Arnab agreed that Gen. Hussain should be brought back into view.

Shweta suddenly realized that she had missed lunch.

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Postby Y I Patel » 19 Dec 2004 07:14

The War Council - Part 1

Vice Admiral Rizwan Ahmed, PVSM, AVSM, VrC, was still very new to his job as Chief of DIA, so he asked Air Commodore Kambhampati Nageshwar to accompany him to the meeting. Nagesh could not but help getting the butterflies at the thought of who they were going to brief, and what they were going to talk about. How could Admiral Ahmed look so calm, he wondered…

Come, Rizwi. Take a seat! Mahesh Chandran had Rizwi as his defense attaché in Moscow, so he was the one who broke the ice. As they sat down in the plush chairs, Nagesh took stock of the who’s who arrayed informally in front of him: three cabinet ministers, conveners of the ruling and opposition alliances, leader of opposition, speaker of Lok Sabha, Bhishma Pitamah Chandran, and Convener of NSAB (and presumptive NSA nominee) Rajesh Verghese. My oh my, thought Nagesh. Looks like we will be briefing the war council today!

The pleasantries were all too brief – barely an offer for water or nimbu pani, and they went to brass tacks: so tell us Rizwi, how did they pull it off?

“Their tactics were brilliant, sir” began Rizwi. It started out as a shell game with their battalions in FATA. We all know how they were under pressure to turn up Al Qaeda operatives, how they were forced to move almost two corps worth of troops into that hunt. Well, they turned their crisis into an opportunity, and used the battalions sent there to slowly transfer officers and men out of Pakistan via the sea route the Navy recently uncovered.

But why wasn’t anyone able to detect the transfers until now?

Sir, we have pretty decent capabilities of keeping track of units up to battalion level, especially those deployed on our borders. Our assets in NWFP and Balochistan were considered fairly adequate as well, since most of their units over there were passing through the revolving door to Afghanistan. Remember, the US induced movements are unprecedented in Pak history, and the sheer numbers involved swamped our assets. We could not sacrifice our coverage of their deployments on our borders, so something had to give… we assumed that we were doing okay, on the principle that if we lost track of a battalion in that area, it would eventually rotate back to Sindh, Punjab or other places where our capabilities of tracking them are so much better. And this actually did happen – we were able to use this scheme to keep track of units; what we didn’t realize is that only a fraction of the personnel in each battalion actually came back. The rest boarded on PN ships, transferred to freighters shipping cotton to China somewhere in Arabian Sea, then on to Bangla trawlers in Indian Ocean and on to Bangladesh. When we interdicted that fishing trawler recently, the biggest gain was not the actual consignment - it was the information we were able to extract out of the personnel.

How long has this been going on?

At this, Rizwi turned to Nagesh inquiringly…

We assume about two years sir.

Assume son? What do you base that on?

Sir, we estimate that the transfers started around the time the operations in FATA really picked up, which was late 2003 or 2004….

And how many personnel do you think were transferred this way?

We assume about 20,000 personnel sir.

On what basis?

The time frame and PN ship capacity sir.

So it is just estimates, you do not have any actual evidence to back this up.

Yes sir. I mean no sir. We do not have evidence.

Listen son, you are new to this, so take it as a learning opportunity. If you do not know something, say so. We know it’s not your fault, we won’t hold you personally responsible. But please don’t waste our time with bakwaas, okay?

(A very mollified Nagesh) I understand sir. Sorry sir.

Okay. Admiral, how come the almighty US Navy did not pick this up either? Looks like they are not getting their money’s worth!

Sir, if I may, that’s what happens when you have the fox guarding the coop… US gave PN the new Orions so that they would relieve US Navy of part of the patrolling loads, and in consideration of Pak sensitivities, PN ships are never searched by USN. The cotton freighters are, but the transfers happened deep in Arabian Sea, from PN ships that were supposed to be exercising with the new Orions.

Coming back to the number of personnel transfers to Bangladesh, now we realize that our previous estimates of number of Pakistani military personnel in Bangladesh are much higher than what we estimated. We also know, from intel teams infiltrated into Bangladesh, that these personnel are used not in stand alone divisions, but as advisors or to augment the professional quality of Bangla units.

But how about arms? What good are soldiers without weapons?

Sir, the arms transfers are direct from China. We have observed freighters unloading crates with knocked down tanks or combat aircraft, which are then assembled by Pak technicians.

Nagesh could see expressions hardening, when the implications of that sank in…

So is that how the nukes got transferred?

Sir, that’s more troubling. The freighter that transferred the nukes had started out from an Indonesian port.

Does that mean what I think it means?

Yes, sir.

Wow, these old ******** can be inscrutable!

So lay it out for us, Admiral. What are we looking at?

Madam, we really do not have a very good handle on how much the Chinese and Pakistanis have been able to infiltrate. However, if we go by worst estimates that are based on best knowledge on Chinese production numbers and shipping to Bangladesh over our estimated time frame of two years, then we have to assume that we might be looking at the equivalent of at least two anti-tank divisions, significant low to medium level SAM capabilities, at least two squadrons of F-7s, and armoured capacity for four new armoured brigades. Since I took charge at DIA, our first order of priority is to reevaluate all our notions about what we are facing on our eastern and western borders. The primary indicator we are looking at is recalls of first line reserves and delays of retirements in PA – this gives us an estimate on how many regulars they have transferred. Irregulars (terrorists! someone muttered) are another wild card. Some of them are pretty battle hardened and motivated, and constitute infantry standard material.

As for the nukes, the ones we captured had severely degraded explosive lenses and timers. That may be good news if we assume that neither Pakistanis nor Chinese have capabilities to miniaturize explosive lenses to that level of sophistication. However, the utility of any remaining nukes as radiological dispersion devices must not be underrated. Indeed, that’s what our analysis of the one in Guwahati indicates. We have kept our discoveries a very tight secret, so we are constrained by not being able to work out information exchange deals with either the Russians or Americans.

Are you recommending that we approach one of them?

Sir, I do not have a stand either way. I am here to execute policy, not to form it.

Nagesh saw a couple of glances being exchanged at that response. He knew something significant had registered, but didn’t know what!

We understand, Rizwi. But what does your experience with the two tell you? We know you have had many opportunities to get to know people from both sides…

Sir, I believe, the Russians are the more unreliable of the two – our extensive dealings with them over their arms supplies, our knowledge of how they work inclines us to believe that they are very likely to understate their own lack of control over the lost weapons. And I can never forget that contrary to general knowledge, it was Soviet pressure that really constrained us last time Bangladesh figured in an Indo-Pak conflict.

Again those flicked glances. Damn.! What’s all this signaling over here???? Will have to ask the Admiral afterwards! Nagesh thought...

The Admiral continued…

The Americans are better – their rigid rules of engagement vis a vis information exchanges actually serve as a confidence builder. However, the problem with them is that once they get wind of where the intercepted consignment came from, they might take too aggressive an interest, one that may not coincide with our own more urgent concerns. They might end up imposing their own agenda, and we may be powerless to do anything but go along.

What went wrong Admiral? After all the reforms, all the money poured into intelligence reform, why did we end up here?

Sir that is a very difficult question, one that only perspective will give a better answer. But I do know what I want to do, to make sure that we now find out what we are going to face and where. We do have a lot of superb equipment now, and that has proved to be exceptionally useful. But some of this equipment can be fooled – we should know, we have pulled a few victories over hi-tech ourselves! So what I want to do is to make sure that we go the extra mile in verifying all our information – in spying, more than in any other line of work, seeing should not automatically mean believing!

And how are you going to implement that, Admiral?

Sir, I have started some new projects the first day I took charge. I relied on some Naval assets because I have personally been involved in similar projects before. We do not have any Mukti Bahini this time over to help us, but there are a lot of Bangla migrants on our hands. Information flows both ways, and I have some ideas I want to develop…

Nagesh wondered why anyone didn’t ask for more details…

What is our intel like in Bangladesh, Admiral?

I am afraid we lost several assets in the first days after the coup, Sir. We have to begin from square one almost.

What are your men saying, Admiral?

Sir, the general feeling is that this is turning into another Kashmir. Buzz is about divisions being identified for counter insurgency work, much as the Army was rushed into J&K in the early nineties. Even many higher level officers are commenting on the parallels with Kashmir in the early nineties; the ones who differ say we are looking at a Kargil of massive proportions.

And what is your view?

Sir, my agency is constrained in the amount of intelligence we can gather on our own soil outside of J&K. Information that we have obtained from RAW and IB does indicate that infiltration is picking up alarmingly. Alert orders to Army divisions have prevented any vital lines of communication from being cut off, but there is no gainsaying that something big is building up with all those infiltrators pouring in. Once this gets intertwined with the insurgencies in that region, there’s no saying where it will lead to.


To be continued

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Postby Y I Patel » 20 Dec 2004 08:02

The War Council – Part II

The questions were still coming relentlessly:

This working arrangement that you mention, Admiral – Pakistani personnel mixed in Bangla divisions… is it workable?

That is certainly an issue, sir. The two armies obviously have a lot of commonality, but language has always been an issue. This looks like the honeymoon period, but we have not observed any major exercises in Bangladesh that would enable us to evaluate how effective the working arrangement is.

Does that mean that under pressure the arrangement could come apart? Is there anything we can do to encourage potential fissures?

That is a very interesting question, sir. We are still in the initial phase where we are recovering from the shock, but that is certainly an area for further exploration.

How about integration with the large number of jehadis that seem to be pouring into Bangladesh?

Again an unknown area, sir. As you can see, we have our work cut out. Our experience in Kashmir is that the integration was more between ISI and jehadis rather than regular army units and jehadis. If the same model is ported to Bangladesh; a reasonable starting point in assessing the possibilities, then we would expect the two to remain separate and to be used for differing strategic purposes: the jehadis to destabilize India and the regulars to act as a defensive shield for any Indian retaliations. This distinctive demarcation has worked well for them in Kashmir, and there is no reason they would not want to apply it in Bangladesh.

What about leadership? Are Pakistanis going to take commands from Bangladeshis now? That would be a first!

No sir. We made a very significant discovery recently that we have not been able to share even with our sister intel agencies.

Nagesh could see the ears pricking up at that! So finally the Admiral is playing our trump card!

Oh? What would that be?

Sir, one of our infiltrated teams reported the presence of a retired PA Major General with extensive ISI connections. He was the head of the Afghan Department in ISI, and was retired prematurely in 2001 over some falling out with Gen Musharraf.

And why was he not tracked before?

Sir, tracking senior leadership falls under RAW’s purview. We were fortunate to chance upon him while he was accompanying a Bangla Brigadier we were tracking in our efforts to locate certain formations.

When are you going to share this with RAW then? Shouldn’t you have done that already?

Absolutely sir. We have been trying extremely hard to keep our sister agencies updated, as per our mandates in JTIC. However, all agencies have been inundated with demands, and setting up a principals meeting to share this kind of information has been very difficult.

Well we hope information keeps flowing. Any blocks to that would be most unfortunate. So tell us, what does the presence of that particular General mean?

Sir, his name is Sadiq Hussain, and as the head of the Afghan Operations he was the Taliban’s minder. So he has done this type of work before. He has also been involved with supporting insurgencies in the NE, so he is not unfamiliar with that area either. All in all, this is very serious news that he is involved. Very likely he is the hidden power behind the throne, even more so than the clerical players that our sister agencies have been keeping track of.

So Admiral, do you see any blocks to your work that we can help remove?

(Rizwi thinks for a while, then responds)

Sir, as you know, I am still very new at my job; I am still learning the ropes so to speak. I have a very fine team, and I look forward to getting to know my colleagues in the sister agencies much more closely.

Thank you, Admiral! Do let us know if there is anyway we can help. Thank you Commodore. You may go now.

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Postby Y I Patel » 20 Dec 2004 08:55

The War Council – Part III

The news keeps getting better and better, Dighe said grimly. Now it seems we have some ISI zealot running the show. Just what we needed. So Vergheseji, what do you think of Admiral Rizwan?

Very sharp, but that’s to be expected for Khursheedji’s son! Notice how he has already leant to play departmental politics?

Yes, that was so obvious it would have been funny if the stakes were not so high! Who is Khursheedji?

Chandran joined in. Madam, our Rizwi here is a blue blood: grandson of Diwan Sir Badruddin Ahmed who was Chancellor of AMU, and son of ICS icon Khursheed Ahmed. Khursheedji was Chief Secretary of UP, then went on to become Agri Secretary. Would have made it to Home or Defense, maybe even CabSec bur for the unfortuanate cardiac arrest.

So he has connections?

Oh a lot of people know Rizwi, madam. But I assure you he has risen on his own steam! The VrC was for port security at Kanekesanturai, and there are rumors he knows the Makran coast better than most smugglers.

How about the other services? Will they accept the post going to the juniormost service at a time like this?

They had better, if they want to get their hands on all the Navy EW equipment! (chuckles) The Navy is miles ahead of the other services in some of these areas, and they really got behind their man for this issue. They think he is future Chief material..

Now the speaker joined in.

He seems okay, but sounded very pro-American.

Chandran responded to that one. Shilendra babu, all three services have traditionally been pro-western. Army in particular always wants to fight like the Brits. Only now they are over the Brit fixation. And the kind of treatment some of these officers received in the Soviet Union when they had to go there as junior officers really left its mark…

They were treated shabbily?

Oh yes. That’s the thing with Russians – they flattered the politicians no end, even greased up the top brass, but the junior officers they treated like scum. And being pro-Western, you have to remember all those exercises the Americans in particular will leave their effects. Professionals always respect other professionals, and all three services agree that the exchanges with western military forces have been very useful. So that adds to the pro-American feeling as well…

Interesting digression, but I believe Dhavalji has been waiting. Should we ask him to come in now?
Last edited by Y I Patel on 20 Dec 2004 21:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Aditya_M » 20 Dec 2004 09:02

"Not good, not good"

At times of stress, he always lapsed into English - ten years of education Kolkata's (then Calcutta) St. James' School under Catholic "fathers" and "sisters" had left their indelible mark on him. A Gujrati native tongue, years of living in Bengal, and now three years of having shifted base to navi Mumbai (New Bombay) would not change that.

And just how did those two men know exactly where to find him? The very reason for shifting to Navi Mumbai back in 2005 was that he could control the entire network via mobile phone (he thanked Reliance and Tata indicom even as he said that). In fact now that all his men (and women) had their own cellphones, they had become not just easy to coordinate but hard to track. So business was booming.... demand for "foreign" goods across the border in Bangladesh was at its highest, and his entire network (why did the police call them a "gang"!) worked hard in satisfying this demand, of course with the help of a few security persons and a few policemen and a few boat operators on either side....

He knew this was exactly why he was chosen for this job. And their threats were veiled, but not hollow. They knew the details of his entire operation, and that was enough for him. Now they wanted to use it, and though the shorter chap said a lot about "doing it for a good cause", it was obvious that when the time came, $hit was going to fly.

And so Sohanbhai, the son of Gujrati parents who had settled in Kolkata, picked up his phone and made his first phone call of many, to Rashid in the outskirts of the City of Joy.

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Kargil war and vote of confidence

Postby HarshS » 20 Dec 2004 15:50

Sunil,

Small correction. Vajpayee was voted out on April 17. Kargil was in end-May.

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Postby Rakesh » 20 Dec 2004 18:53

Your username has been changed to HarshS. Any questions or concerns just email me. Thank You.

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Postby Sunil » 20 Dec 2004 22:28

Hi Harsh,

You are right I had the dates backward.

The point I was trying to make was that the politicking doesn't end in India. Even during Kargil there was a constant flow of assorted political nastiness. AFAIK That is life in India.

****

War Council IIIA

Verghese watched the dicussion go around and around.

Rizwi had been very smart, he had neatly dumped the can of c*ap at the RAW's door, giving the current decline in the agency's political fortune, no one would ever seriously investigate who exactly was responsible for the mess and the mud would stick.

Rizwi knew full well why the MAnS people were shifted. He knew full well that during Parakram the Pakistanis had played a shell game with their regular army battalions, they had used Harkat-ul-Ansar cadre and other irregulars running from Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban and raised atleast four new divisions for the defence of the LoC. Each time around because of the political fallout of Kargil, the R's people on the ground had been chasing battalions trying to bump up the efficiency of the OrBat calculations. The MAnS section had been inundated with requests for bios of new formation commanders. The groups forming the MJC and the assorted Jihadi paramilitaries in Pakistan had also splintered as the Pakistanis attempted to decieve the Americans. That had added to the section's workload. To top it all off the entire intelligence cooperation deal with the Americans had gone south after a powerful energy lobby in the US had stymied US-India cooperation in a bid to leverage India on Energy issues by leaning towards Pakistan. So that is why Sadiq had slipped through the cracks. The data pertaining to him was most likely there in the labyrinth of intercepts and reports that R's people collected - it was just not analysed....

Rizwi knew all this and yet he had chosen to speak in that way... the word would definetely get out... Rizwi also knew that if he so desired he could simply call up the people in the Military Intelligence Advisory Group of the the R and ask them to expedite the bio of Sadiq and yet he had chosen not to do so. This caused Verghese to think - a chasm was opening up.

Verghese was largely a spectator to this game played out in the shadows of India's establishment but he was by no means powerless. Scarcely a day passed without some aspect of interdepartmental politics playing itself out in the public eye. To some extent the game was a carefully created media illusion, fostered by the departments themselves in a bid to give themselves flexibility but then there was a disconcertingly real side to it also. Verghese decided that he would have a talk with the chief of the R and Rizwi possibly at the same time... always better to ensure that there was communication... despite what Rizwi might have thought - his present performance had not inspired confidence in the otherwise unremarkable Mr. Verghese.
Last edited by Sunil on 21 Dec 2004 20:04, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Y I Patel » 20 Dec 2004 23:54

The War Council - IV

The reception for Shri Rajit Kumar Dhaval was very different from the one accorded to Admiral Rizwi. When Rajitji was ushered in, Chandran and Varghese got up to receive him, and escorted him to a chair. Some chairs were rearranged, and the group was now in a rough circle of equals.

The joke in Secretariat circles was that some guys had tried to sell the bio of Rajitji for a movie starring Rajnikanth, but it had been turned down as being unbelievable. There was also sharp difference of opinion as to whether Rajitji was greater in stature than Ramji; some young upstarts claimed that Ramji lived in far simpler times! In any case, Rajit Kumar Dhaval was one of those unreported Ratnas like Chandran sahib. But even legends have to superannuate, and Rajitji had retired after his climactic effort to integrate functioning of all intel agencies. His Bhagirath efforts, however, succumbed to the departmental rivalry that was so evident now. The original intel reforms envisaged during Atalji’s tenure had called for the secretary of NSAB as being the focal point for integrating all intelligence; later, there was talk that the NSA would fulfill that function. But the memories of Kargil started fading all too quickly, and bureaucratic inertia took over in spite of valiant efforts by people like Rajitji and Billy Bedi. Now, as yet another massive intel failure stared India in the face and intel agencies scrambled to limit damage to themselves, the leaders turned once more to the legend. The grey wolf had been called back, to lead the pack on one more hunt – he was now secretary of NSAB, and the man charged with unifying intel agencies much in the manner done by the Americans in early 2005.

Of late, the post of secretary of NSAB had been regarded as a sinecure for retired bureaucrats. So the news of Rajitji’s appointment raised no eyebrows – here was another retired warhorse being given some supplemental pension, the Delhi watchers concluded.

The conversation was started by Rajitji himself, this time over. I saw young Rizwan scooting out as I was coming in. Has he been bragging about his department’s latest coup by any chance?

There’s no keeping secrets from you, Rajitji! Varghese laughed.

Well, we are like this only Vargheseji! Since Independence, the first priority of all intel agencies has been to keep an eye on our generals. Used to be because we were afraid of coups, now it’s usefulness is limited to scoring brownie points! The sage mused.

But how does it reflect on DIA and interagency cooperation, Rajitji?

All agencies are in a state of shock right now. Rizwi is batting for the three services, so his chaturai (gamesmanship) is not unexpected. You have to expect that different agencies will be talking in contradictory voices until they settle down. That’s what my first task is going to be – knocking their heads together until good sense reasserts itself!

Solanki (the leader of opposition): But why did it happen again, Rajitji? We thought we had covered so much ground, invested so much into all the fancy gadgets? Why do these failures keep repeating?

I call it the CIA syndrome, Solankiji. Agencies get bigger and bigger, bureaucratic instincts take over, the bigger picture gets lost in the daily battle of developing the product. Intel agencies need regular shock therapy to keep them honest, especially with the minimal oversight they are subjected to!

Sen: But this shock therapy is at such tremendous cost! How are we going to get out of this mess now!

Don’t worry, Sen babu. At least we are not fighting our people now! Remind me to tell you about my time in Harmandir Sahib while Vijayantas were taking pot shots at Akal Takth! This mess is standard operating procedure for us – we screw up, we wake up to grim reality, and then we slug it out until we regain some kind of messy status quo. Won’t happen in a day, but we will prevail eventually!

But isn’t that the wrong comparison? Looks like China is involved now, and we know what happened last time!

Tab hum chote bachhe the, janaab! (We were kids then, sir!) Some of us have grown up learning and relearning the lessons of 62. Maybe this is a good time to put some of them to good use? He twinkled conspiratorially.


To be continued.

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Postby Y I Patel » 21 Dec 2004 02:15

The Thwarted Bull of Manipur

While the War Council dragged on, VCOAS Darshan Singh Negi, PVSM, SM, had just completed a surprisingly easy meeting. He had been charged by the chief to break the news to Lt. Gen. Bishnu Mohanty, AVSM (with Bar), Vr.C., YSM, VSM, SM; GOC 14 Corps, that he had been passed over for the post of Director, DIA. Bishnu had taken it very quietly, but knowing The Bull, Negi was not counting on this being the end of the matter…

When Rizwi’s predecessor moved on to become DG Pensions and Resettlement, the three services had been asked to provide their recommendations for the new Director. This was a time of crisis, and military men always look upon crisis as an opportunity. There was a long line of people who were very interested and quiet but intense lobbying for the post had begun.

The Navy was on a roll thanks to Sudhir Govil’s breakthrough; besides, a lot of the Navy’s systems and platforms were suddenly in high demand. The Navy’s star was on the ascendant, and its leadership had decided that this was the right opportunity to start playing with the big boys. So they identified their candidate with the Right Stuff, and got down to selling him aggressively. The CNS had personally met with the COAS and had quietly hinted that the Army’s cooperation would be really appreciated and remembered…

The COAS was keenly aware that the previous incumbent had not exactly burnished the DIA’s or the Army’s reputation; he sensed that the Army needed to bide its time a bit… the new director would need good political cover to handle the aftermath of this crisis, and he knew Rizwi’s connections would take care of him. So he went along, and entered a “dummy” candidate – a candidate who did not stand any chance of getting the slot. That candidate was Bishnu, The Bull of Manipur.

The Bull had all that it would take to make a great director of DIA. The problem was, everyone feared that if he became director, he would start a war. Either with the chaptas (Bishnu-speak for Chinese), the beedis (as he affectionately called Bangladeshis), or the subars (his pet name for Pakistanis). Failing that, taking it all out on RAW or IB would suit Bishnu just fine.

The Bull looked about as warlike as the old-time Bollywood director and thespian Guru Dutt: the same soulful eyes, the same mournful expression. Afghan jehadis in Papa I sniggered when he first entered the room. But not for long. The record for lasting out against him stood at 44 minutes 19 seconds. The Bull was pretty meticulous about keeping good records.

The moniker itself came from his gatecrashing a dinner party being held by a senior Manipur politician – the guests, it is murmured, were not very happy at the desserts that were served. A long line of harried Military Secretaries knew they had their job cut out – the Army could not do without his talents; yet the Army could not afford to let him loose for the fear of what he would do.

Negi reflected on the strange unpredictable ways people respond to crisis, as he watched The Bull depart. Negi new Bishnu as a wet behind the ears cadet at NDA – he was all Indian gentility and meekness; he cried rivers at the early ragging to the disgust of his seniors. But put that person in counterinsurgency situations for close to twenty years, and see what you get. Some responded by going all quiet – Negi knew his old CO’s son started out as a big hell raiser, yet somewhere along the line he went all reflective and nerdy. The Army gave the most sensitive posts to such quiet level headed types – Negi seemed to recollect that the hell raiser was now commanding a formation that would likely be the tip of the spear in any coming conflict… and then, some people like Bishnu responded by becoming hard and volatile.

How does one shelter such people? They give their life to the country, for fighting a thankless and dirty battle. Through most of their careers they are encouraged; no, required to lead from the front, to show courage and initiative. The selection process was weighted that such people get rewarded. And then, when they rose high enough, they were expected to behave; to grow subtle, controlled, politically aware. Some, like the Admiral who made to DIA, make the transition. And some, like Bishnu, have to be shuttled to the safest possible tenure where they are likely to do the least amount of damage.

14 Corps continued to be stationed in Ladakh. Since the peace process with Pakistan and LAC delineation with China were progressing smoothly, the area had become a lot quieter than it was in the earlier parts of the decade. There never had been an insurgency in the area, and none was expected to develop. Even Siachen had stabilized as logistics got simplified by new pipelines, roads, and transport helicopters. So it was thought to be a safe haven for a very capable but volatile warrior. Bishnu did not want to go there. He wanted 4 Corps, but giving him that post would have thoroughly antagonized every underground and overground group in the NE; it would have shot the promising peace talks with ULFA and Bodos to pieces. So Bishnu got persuaded to take the 14 Corps post, and was told to wait for a more high profile posting at a later stage. He thought he had it, when DIA opened up. But that was not to be, either.
Last edited by Y I Patel on 21 Dec 2004 20:35, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby daulat » 21 Dec 2004 02:35

It took a while for the image to focus. Perhaps it was the pain killers, but whatever it was, her head was light and her eyes blurred. She noticed the scar immediately in the mirror as it came into focus. it would be with her for ever. Her forearm with a big weal across the length where the bullet had skidded across her flesh. Perhaps she could hide it with make up? Perhaps like everything else about her?

she looked at her self in the mirror. katrina sehgal was dead, best to leave her that way. but her face? surely they would recognise it? in delhi perhaps, but not in her new haircut and clothes. not where she was going.

pappa was behind bars. his time had come. he knew what he had done wrong. he would have to pay the price. atleast anderson was now gone too. and gul mohammed, he had to go. there would be others. they would also have to be found.

she missed rakesh. it would be a long time before they could meet again. arora had thought up the new situation. it was a smart move, katrina was as good as dead in this line of work. she needed a fresh start, oh yes, and a new mission.

time to get ready and have something to eat. and then start her lessons. she made her way downstairs. a thin middle aged scholarly man was waiting in the drawing room of the unpretiontious quiet suburban house beneath a whirring fan sipping water and leafing through notes. beside him a text book - "Bahasa Indonesia for Beginners".

kamini stood in front of the man, felt odd to think of herself as kamini... she would get used to it.

"selamat pagi perempuan" he said quietly and smiled at her

she smiled back and sat down, not sure what to say

"apa kabar?" he paused as his eyes twinkled, "kabar baik lah!" he laughed, like a favourite uncle

"makan?" he asked her as he passed a plate of parle biscuits on the table, sitting next to his cooling cup of tea

she smiled again, he would be a good teacher. she would learn fast from him. there was much to do...

(to be continued)
Last edited by daulat on 21 Dec 2004 20:12, edited 1 time in total.

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party time

Postby rajpa » 21 Dec 2004 19:01

"It's time for a break, buddy." Arvind yawned and walked out for a smoke.

Guru had finished installing the backups. He logged out of the admin account, and tried a test login. Strangely enough, he typed in Farid's id.

Username: fashukoor
Password: ***********

They knew each other's passwords. Farid had said that only Guru knew his.

He clicked on the home drive, saw some directories for Farid's source files, personal folders, downloads, installed software. And then a folder called guru-hyatt.

He double clicked guru-hyatt. Two executable files. sim.exe and im.exe.

He double clicked sim.exe.

Password: ***********

Sorry.

Password: humdohamaaredo

Connecting [Secure DES_3_SHA, Daffy] to katrinasehgal.com... Please wait.... Connected.

Green Users: rakeshji, mrsehgal [Idle], barbiedoll
Red Users: sepuktakraw, fshucks

sepuktakraw: You should have invited me from the clear. Not straight into secure.
fshucks: what?
sepuktakraw: log out right now.
fshucks: why?
sepuktakraw: where are you right now?
fshucks: i am a friend of Farid. My name is Guru. I have logged in from his account.
sepuktakraw: ok. nice talking to you.

* sepuktakraw leaves channel.

And later then, the suits came.

"How do you know Katrina Sehgal?" they asked.

"Met her at a few parties, when Farid was around."

"Are you in contact with her?"

"What? She is dead. I dont know how to do that."

"We are from the GOI. You must come and meet us at D4 police station tomorrow at 4pm. Do not be late."

4pm.

"Login to the server." Farid's box was lying on a desk, attached to an old 12'' monitor.

He double clicked guru-hyatt. Two executable files. sim.exe and im.exe.

He double clicked im.exe, remembering last time and making a guess.

Password: humdohamaaredo

Connecting to kat server... Please wait.... Connected.

Users: mrsehgal [Idle], vasundhara, locsmith

locsmith: hi shucks
fshucks: hi.
locsmith: hows rakesh taking it

Guru looked at the suits. "Act normal."

fshucks: he is good.
locsmith: we are doing a mourning gig. the usual.
fshucks: where, i forget
locsmith: what? go sec.

* locsmith leaves channel.

Password: humdohamaaredo

Connecting [Secure DES_3_SHA, Daffy] to kat server... Please wait.... Connected.

Green Users: mrsehgal [Idle], vasundhara
Red Users: locsmith, fshucks

locsmith: hyatt jungle room, you idiot.

* locsmith leaves channel.

"I dont know any jungle room in the Hyatt." Guru mumbled.

"We do."

Debriefing:

"Welcome to the India's Counter Intelligence, Mr Guru. We are a little disappointed that we have to involve you in our operations. But as a proud citizen of this country, I am sure you will like to do your piece.

Coming to the point, Katrina Sehgal and your friend Farid are a part of a silly secret society called the Junglees. Well, I am not going to introduce you to the finer details, but you must go and visit. They know that you went to a lot of parties with Farid. You must try to be normal with them.

And that is all. Are you ready to party, Guruji?" asked the paan chewing bureaucrat.

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Postby daulat » 22 Dec 2004 04:06

In the afternoon, after language lessons were over and a light lunch, Kamini started on her next set of studies. An atlas and some ordanance survey maps. Port Bintang, a small off the beaten shipping lanes fishing port and ferry terminal just a little eastwards along the north Javanese coast from Jakarta.

It has to be here, she thought, cross referencing the map with the satellite imagery that Arora had arranged to be delivered. Somewhere like Jakarta the Americans would have had under surveillance, it had to be near enough so that the skilled people would be able to hide amongst the teeming masses, but far enough away to be unobservable. And then there was the army of course.

The generals used to be very secular, but lately... there had been some leanings towards the clergy. The Hambali affair, the Sari club bombing... the military had not been left untouched by the upheavals. And ofcourse there was all that Saudi money, lubricating the wheels. General Subarnoputra, commander of the Nusantara Division, sitting pretty across the approach roads and catchment area, and only last year photographed with an associate of Hambali's. Someone had put the pieces together. If it worked in Bangladesh, it could have worked here.

Commander Arora picked up the receiver of his office phone and punched in a number. On the lush green lawns of Tanah Mera golf club and the late afternoon heat hum and unheard rumble of impending thunderstorms a shrill mobile ringer went off. Geoff Tan, Chief Superintendent Singapore Police Special Operations, that someone, rested his golf club and answered.

"Prakash! Good to hear from you" Geoff smiled, wiping the sweat off his brow

"Geoff, how are you?" Arora smiled too, briefly recollecting their last meeting and drinks at the Long Bar in Raffles and Nasi Goreng in the Pasar Malam afterwards and more drinking later on Bugis Street. They talked in simple sentences, pre-arranged.

"I think my wife will love to entertain, she likes to have guests lah!" Tan spoke simply, his mind calculating carefully. The ship had been tracked by his boys, they suspected what might be on board, hoping it was just guns, but never had enough... evidence to intervene. Besides, there was that Chinese Communist submarine that suddenly showed up in the vicinity that had the Navy guys all worried and diverted the Airforce surveillance as it passed by Singaporean waters.

Tan nodded at the couple standing by the golf bags. Mike Chang and Lai Lai Ng looked passively at the boss, comprehending the coded conversation, they now had to get things ready. Their house guest would be on her way soon.

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Postby daulat » 22 Dec 2004 19:57

The S.S. Bandicoot, registered in Panama, crewed by Philipinos, recently spotted in Jakarta. She had been suspected but nothing was proven. For a mysterious 24 hours she went missing before she returned under observation off Sumatra.

Time enough to get to Port Bintang at night? Kamini poured over the faxes of the manifests. Philipino crew was significant, could be Abu Sayaf loyalists? So far, all the analysis that Arora had provided her made sense. She thought about the options presented:

1. Transfer at Port of 'special package' and 'caretakers' - what nationality?
2. Transfer at Sea, possibly from a Sub, The Singaporeans had reported PLAN sub activity, but would they leave such clear fingerprints?
3. Transfer at Sea from speedboat? - would that have come out of Bintang? How did the package get to Bintag? Subarnoputra?

There were lots of ways, but only a few people who could do it, and fewer who could also be trusted - and would they pass off as locals? Perhaps they could? Perhaps they had help? Did Arora want the smoking gun, or the hand holding it? These thoughts blended into others and then to a tired sleep.

She awoke startled and sweating, aware that she had cried out. An image of Gul Mohammed eyes rolled upwards, sliding to the ground amidst dark spurts in the night had woken her. She calmed her self forcefully and stood behind the shutters and looked out at the sleeping city. Doctor (Major) Mukherjee had told her that it would take time before the night terrors eased following combat. She would have to get used to that. There was no aircon in this house, unlike her home - she smiled, wiping the sweat off her neck, she would have to get used to that too.

Two and a half time zones away, Lai Lai was already at her desk. There was a lot to get organised before the guest arrived. She was anxious to prove her self to Tan, she wanted to make a mark. Perhaps she could volunteer for a field posting? A thought was coming into focus. She would have to think about it. She looked up to find Raghavan - a new member of the team looking at her.

"Sorry lah!" Raghavan stammered, embarrassed to be caught staring at Lai Lai. She looked at him sternly - nice guy, but don't want to give the wrong signals. Not at work.

"Get me this mornings reports" she ordered

"Yes maam" Raghavan replied and got on with it.

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Postby daulat » 23 Dec 2004 17:58

Inspector Lai Lai Ng scanned the reports brought over by Raghavan. One caught her eye - it had to.

"S.S. Bandicoot spotted off Sulawesi, heading east. Last known port call was in Surabaya, East Java."

She scanned further, anything else from Surabaya? She looked down the pages... bingo

"Yusuf Abdallah, a.k.a. Raymond. Ships hand S.S. Bandicoot, from Zamboanga province, Philippines, died in Surabaya General Hospital from unknown illness. Buried in municipal graveyard. Further action required?"

"Raghavan?" Lai Lai spoke curtly

"Maam?"

"Does our friend in Surabaya have access to a geiger counter?"

"I'll see what we can do" Ragahavan left the room to speak with logistics department down the corridor.

--------------------------

"I'm never going to learn enough!" Kamini protested to the middle aged scholarly man

"No, maam", he paused, aware of her importance, "But I believe that fluency or mastery is not required in this case"

"No... I suppose not" she relaxed a little and puffed on her cigarette

Commander Arora would be here soon, with instructions. She had better get ready.

--------------------------

Tan reviewed the plans put in front of him by Ng. He thought carefully.

"I can see why you are volunteering Lai Lai... but..."

"Sir, I am prepared for danger"

"You know how the Indons view Chinese, don't you? Especially in the countryside? Even us from the Straits?"

"Yes sir, I am aware"

Geoff puffed hard on his cigarette and looked at Chang. Nothing was said. Ng waited anxiously in front of the desk.

"Let me think" he said at length, "you may leave now"

----------------------------

Arora stepped out of the auto rickshaw and walked slowly up the street with a nylon shopping bag. Ostensibly on his way back from INA market. Just another family man in the big city, making ends meet. Quietly he turned the corner and made his way towards the little house, where upstairs, behind shutters, a nervous woman awaited him.

-----------------------------

Alfonso Rodrigue, a Malaccan christian, walked through the streets of Surabaya. Unnoticed, undistinguished. He looked Indonesian enough to blend in. The instructions had arrived, but it was going to be too difficult to get a geiger counter here. There was only one other way to do this. It had not been too difficult to find the grave, but getting the soil sample from close enough to the body had been difficult. Made his stomach turn and convinced him that he was on his way to hell. Still, the higher ups would know what they wanted and why they wanted it. Anyway - this would ensure he got closer to his Singaporean citizenship after having migrated from Malaysia three years ago. He headed towards the Golden Sarong Airline office.

--------------------------------

Raghavan walked into the office and headed for Ng's desk. He caught himself from staring at her as she reached up to a cabinet to get some files. He really had to not think about her so much. He handed her a sealed envelope.

"Report from the lab, maam"

"Thank you, you may go now"

"Maam"

Lai Lai opened the manila envelope. Soil contents anslysis... ph level... salinity... ah here it... radiological tests... 500 x normal levels of caesium and strontium... damn! The Indians had been right she thought.

The Bandicoot was carrying a hot load allright but.... so much leakage? Surely not a PLA weapon? They had been making them long enough to know how not to screw it up. Who then?

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Postby daulat » 23 Dec 2004 18:30

By the time Commandant Vinh received his instructions on the deck of the Tarantul class boat "Dien Bien Phu", the origins of the request and the route by which it came had become suitably obscure.

"S.S. Bandicoot, due to enter Vietnamese waters 0330 Hanoi Time. Suspect drugs, arms and pirates. Board and search. Advice caution."

Vinh assumed it was a routine stop and search, but something worried him. This was not entirely normal. Supplementary orders - "leave cargo areas intact, isolate crew and interrogate. Report initial findings. Await further orders."

"Comerade helmsman!" Vinh shouted to the dozing junior officer, who stirred into action as the rest of the orders were barked out and the Dien Bien Phu powered up and headed out towards dark choppy waters.

-------------------------

SIGNAL: INS Delhi to NavHQ: 0445 IST: Patrol location South China Sea. Report: Vietnamese Navy vessel Dien Bien Phu reports skirmish with armed pirate ship off Spratleys. Signal surveillance suggests routine stop and search being resisted. Possible that target has been sunk. Sending Ka28 to investigate.

--------------------------

SIGNAL: INS Delhi to NavHQ: 0730 IST: Patrol location South China Sea. Report: Ka28 reports debris in area of suspect action, expect to be pirate vessel. Not known if Dien Bien Phu has picked up survivors. Contact on radar heading north, expect to be DBP going back to base. Bird has collected samples from area.

--------------------------

Rizvi picked up the signals on his desk and pondered for a while. "Trigger happy Vietnamese? Or did they have something to hide?"

his ADC stood silently, thinking hard.

"Get me Commander Arora"

"Yes sir"

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Postby daulat » 23 Dec 2004 20:38

By Maruti van out of Karol Bagh, slowly through the city out towards Hindon. In the night, onto an IAF 737 and then out in Subhash Bose International and quietly to the Black Cat barracks.

At 1330 IST, Kamini Sinha, employee of Golden Sarong Airways, boarded the Singapore Airlines A310 flight from Kolkata on a crew standby ticket and headed for Singapore Changi International.

Why had the Bandicoot's crew resisted? They stood no chance against a Tarantul - Arora had explained the discrepancy in firepower. She tried to sleep, but images of Rakesh, of Arora, Gul Mohammed and her father washed through her head, disturbing her.

Ng met her at the exit. "Welcome to Singapore"

"Nice to be here, looking forward to working with you"

"Have you been with Golden Sarong long?"

"Oh, about three years... mostly in Kolkata"

"Ok lah! Come, we'll go to the staff hotel and check you in"

The taxi sped along the straight highway in the humid evening. After an 'unscheduled change' to the Mass Transit System, they emerged in the quiet streets of Dhobi Ghaut and headed quickly into an apartment block.

Mike Chang was waiting inside, "Welcome to Singapore" he smiled. Despite the shabby clothes and the drab hair, he couldn't help noticing her looks. Lai Lai had been right - the only way to hide her would be to put her with someone similar. The two of them together would be noticable, but perhaps not attract 'official attention'.

The phone rang, which Mike picked up. "Ok... all clear. Thanks lah!" He spoke to the counter surveillance team, just in case someone was wise to what was going on.

--------------------------

The ADC brought the report to Rizvi's desk and handed it to him.

"High levels of Caesium and Strontium..." he frowned, "What does BARC make of it?"

"They're working on it sir"

"Are our boys ok? You know, the one's who retrieved the sample?"

"Yes sir, it was a brief exposure only"

"So, Ambekar - why do you think the Bandicoot slugged it out?"

"Don't know sir..."

-------------------------------

"Commandant Vinh...." The Admiral looked at him sternly, "Why the firefight?"

Vinh paused long and hard trying to figure it out himself. "Sir.... Nham and Luoc were shaking down the Philippinos on the deck when someone else appeared out of the cargo area..." he thought carefully, "and then all hell broke loose".

"Someone?"

"An Arab, or perhaps a little darker.... certainly not a Phillipino. Much taller, bulkier. We had to return fire. Luoc caught some rounds early, but Nham managed to jump. Then a second... Arab or ... other westerner appeared and he... exploded sir".

"I see..."

"Within seconds, the ship was on fire. I don't think the Philippino's knew sir, they were screaming in terror for us to help them."

"And... "

"It was too late sir, by the time we picked up Lt. Nham, she had multiple explosions going off. We had to back off".

The Admiral pondered, losing a new Tarantul would not have been good for Vinh's or his career. Too bad about the Bandicoot. He picked up the phone to Military Intelligence in Hanoi...
-------------------------

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Kamini wouldn't take a IAF 737

Postby HarshS » 24 Dec 2004 09:20

Daulat,

Kamini wouldn't have taken an IAF 737. They're assigned to the Communication Squadron ferrying the President and PM around. She'd have taken an IL-76 that would probably have been taking other troops to Kolkata.

The B737s is not based in Hindon. They're at Palam. By 2008, they'd have been replaced by Embraer's, which have been contracted for. By 2008, the B737-200 would be over 20 years old and not flying.

Or why the stealth. Kamini would have been sent to Kolkata by a regular IA flight, in which case she'd have flown by A320, not B737. So, depending on whether you like the French or the Russians, you can put the sexy Ms. Kamini into a plane of your choice, but certainly not an American plane, especially after she's bumped off an American in her earlier life.

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Postby Denis » 24 Dec 2004 10:14

Admins! Sirs, this is to register my plight with you. A few of the Authors (MTS, Sunil, YIP, rajpa) have of late been remiss in their delivery schedule. A die hard addict like me is having severe withdrawl syndrome. Even the good stuff provided by Daulat on regular basis is not helping me recover- accustomed as I am to very high doses of this lethal stuff.

A request to you to kindly use your influence with the authors and get them to supply on a regular basis. Otherwise to get out of this trauma, I may have to seriously ponder over the much poorer alternative (but life saving) - emigrate to Afghanistan.

I hope everyone concerned will take a sympathetic view of my situation and help me recover from my trauma.

Yours in turmoil
Denis

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Postby daulat » 24 Dec 2004 13:28

Captain Harsh of the logistics cell attached to Admiral Rizwan Ahmed's staff looked through the manifests again. It didn't make sense. In the end, he called Sqdn Ldr. Kamat, his old NDA batch mate attached to Arora's staff.

"Yaar, why did you requisition a slot on the 737?" he had to reconcile against the department's budgets and the boss did not like too many loose ends

"It was flying that night, thats why"

"Why not at Palam?"

"Yaar, what to do? It was going to be at Hindon to take the Air Commodore to Kalaikunda via Kolkata to drop off the mail for you pongos at Fort William"

"It's not... regular..."

"I know - but boss wanted to be different"

"Arre, why?"

"Nothing yaar, can't talk about it"

"Why no name? Who was it?"

"Can't talk yaar..."

In a room close by to Kamat, Sqdn Ldr. Rakesh Rao listened in to the conversation. He was glad that the idle chatter had stopped there. Katrina was too well known in Delhi. Coming in via Palam had the slight chance of her being recognised, even by some glitterati loving ground crew. He made a note to keep a watch on Harsh's communications, just in case. He was asking too many questions.

:D
Last edited by daulat on 24 Dec 2004 15:42, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby daulat » 24 Dec 2004 13:46

SIGNAL: BARC Liaison Cell to NSB: 1043 IST: Report: Radiological profile does not match known Chinese warheads. Sample was diluted, however sufficient to create 80% confidence levels in analysis. Also can rule out known US, Ru, GB, Fr profiles. Some similarities with Chagai #4 and Chagai #5 test samples. Additional analysis required for definite match.
---------------------

"Do you believe in coincidences Ambekar?" Rizwi smiled as he put the note down.

"Sir?"

"Atleast we know what we are not up against now" he stopped smiling

"Sir..."
----------------------

General Nguyen pondered the meaning of the Bandicoot incident as Admiral Tranh sat quietly opposite him.

"Arabs? In our waters?"

"Could be... South Asians..."

"Tamils?"

"No... don't think so" the Admiral replied

"You mean... " the sentence trailed off as Nguyen thought about the words of the Indian Defense Attache.

"Have the tests been run?"

"Yes... the Dien Bien Phu is hot. We don't have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, but we know when the counters are active at least. Its not enough to worry about, but we've isolated the crew and are running tests on them."

"Do the Americans know?"

"If they did... would they not have intervened by now?"

General Nguyen closed his eyes and went into deep thought

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Postby daulat » 24 Dec 2004 16:37

Arora put the phone down and thought for a moment. His suspicion had been right. Put the pieces together and there it was... Gauhati, Bandicoot, Port Bintang and now the cryptic response from Ho Chi Minh City.

There was another shipment somewhere out there. On its way.

It was probably not on the Bandicoot, it was just dirty with the residual rubbish left over from the first shipment. It was probably being sailed deliberately away to draw attention away. The Philippinos were sacrificial lambs, their minders - certainly not Arabs, were on a decoy mission.

His hunch was right. It was important to get Kamini into Jakarta. He hoped that Tan's people had done their homework correctly. It was not coming off the PLAN subs, and it had Khan's fingerprints on it... and it sure as hell was not inside Iraq, Afghanistan nor in Pakistan... somewhere quiet, out of the way... hidden, with a kindly supervisor...

Port Bintang?

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Postby Y I Patel » 24 Dec 2004 21:36

The War Council - V

Mahesh Chandran caught the twinkle in the Old Wolf's eyes and all its attendent meanings. He knew the balance was begining to tilt, that it was time for the "other side" to be heard. The best kept secret of modern Indian geopolitics is the quiet but steady rise of a constituency that seeks to establish a relationship with the Chinese. This constituency was shot to death by Chinese infiltrators on the Namka Chu; for the longest time and for obvious reasons, India-China relations continued to be defined by security considerations. But the minute constituency refused to die. And it continued to be nurtured quietly in South Block, by a small group of dedicated Sinologists. Successive prime ministers lent it vital support - Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee all kept this constituency alive with their respective overtures and openings to China. And then, a force lager than any politician or lobby started asserting itself: mutual interests in development, the all powerful call of economics, the undeniable reality of shared geography and shared destiny. By the time the "NE issue" blew up, India-China trade exceeded $20 billion, that too with a healthy trade surplus favouring India. Places like Nathu La and Jalep La that used to see Indian and Chinese soldiers glowering at each other now bustled with the unfamiliar sight of gawking toursists and hustling traders, there was even talk of opening up another trade portal at a place called Karakoram La...

India's military and intel agencies had their share of blame for the debacle of 62 - these proud institutions felt the shame keenly, "never again" became second instinct for them. Thus the visceral reactions at anything to do with Chinese. Thus the twinkle in Rajitji's eyes, at the thought that maybe, just maybe, this might be a chance for intel and security agencies to cleanse themselves of the ghosts of Namka Chu, Rezang La and a dozen forgotten places.

Mahesh Chandran knew that no such redemption was necessary, that times had changed. And so he turned to that relatively unkown diplomat who had ascetically eschewed the high profiles of the Dixits and the Parthasarthis; who had quietly laboured away to preserve the Indian establishment's knowledge and insight of Chinese politics; who had taken advantage of his diplomatic immunity and his Chinese contacts to observe first hand China's equivalent of Blue Star... "Varghese ji, can you tell us what the Chinese are thinking right now?"

Certainly, Chandran sahab. A lot of us tend to think of the Chinese as some monolithic entity, but the reality is that the facade of communist unity hides increasingly deep fissures. What we are seeing in the Chinese involvement is the playing out of the divide between the "old guard" comprised of the communist apparatchiks and PLA elements on one hand and the new breed of "technocrat" politicians on the other. Let me give some well known examples to bring this to life: some of the best known of the old guard are people like the retired premier Li Peng, who ordered the clam down on Tiananmen Square. But they are a dying breed - even PLA, which used to be the vanguard of Maoist rural mobilization, is now like a commercial enterprise that coexists with a modernizing and professional military force. The group whose power has been growing with China's economy is the technocrat politicians like Jian Jhemin, Zhu Rongji and Hu Jintao. Significantly, the last communist leader with any ties to PLA was Deng Zhiaoping. The new breed all rose through civilian ranks, and many have engineering or professional rather than political achievements that propelled them to the top. They function not unlike India to some extent - the conservative or nationalist drives have been accomodated within the broader consensus that accords higher priority to growth than ideology. So the intense demonstrations against the Americans, when a US Navy plane was involved in a collision with a PLAAF aircraft and was forced to land in Chinese territory.

What has happened is that the old guard used to dictate policy towards India, this can be seen in how the principal contacts between Pakistan and China have always been between PA and PLA. In contemporary times, this relationship has been sustained by the deep inroads the Chinese have been able to make in the Pakistani economy. Some of the deals they have been able to come up with would have done old East India Company proud! But that dynamic got rapidly swamped by the burgeoning trade relationship between India and China, and the old guard is seeing its monoply on subcontinental affairs slipping away rapidly. So this is their desperate gamble to divert the flow of this mighty river of goods, to block civilizational intercourse between two civilizations that have enjoyed mostly peacable relations.

It is important to note that the alliance of the Chinese old guard is with Pakistan Army. Now combine that with what we just heard from Rizwi - that the show in Bangladesh is being run by generals with ISI background. This may seem a meaningless distinction to us since we think of PA and ISI as being interchangable, but the Chinese view it very differently. Their major interests in SE Asia are to see a stable, China friendly region that would permit growing outlets for China's goods and services in the region. Any terrorists inspired instability would work against Chinese interests, and ISI's activitities are considered by the Chinese to work towards just such instabilities.

So Vargheseji, you are saying that there may be a disconnect between Chinese and Pakistani objectives in Bangladesh?

Very much so, Jha Sahab (Jha is convener of the opposition alliance). There is a major disconnect between the Chinese themselves, and between the Chinese and the Pakistanis. Moreover, some parties to the coalition are actually working against each others' interests - the Chinese probably did not bargain for the amount of jihadi involvement in this affair. They may not say that to us directly, but they are looking for a way out of this affair if we give them a face saving exit.

There were a lot of thoughtful expressions as that sank in...



[added later]



Now Dighe turned to Rajitji again, “What are those jokers up to this time?”

Digheji, what we are seeing is the result of Parakram. Parakram forced the world to look at Pakistan’s terrorism squarely in the eye, and see how state sponsored terrorism could derail even the mighty global offensive against terrorism. (Solanki and Jha sat up straighter at that) So the Americans pressed the Pakistanis quietly to come to some understanding on Kashmir, and we were pressed to not rub their faces in by gloating. The successful winding down of hostilities over Kashmir is in no small measure due to the “peace” initiatives all Indian governments have undertaken since then. We all know we would be more than happy with the status quo, and basically that is what has been reestablished over the last few years.

But there is still a very strong constituency in Pakistan that can not live without hostility towards India. They also have a big problem of a massive terrorist population that is all dressed up with nowhere to go. The situation is not dissimilar to what happened at the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan – at that time, the army of terrorists was unleashed against India with Kashmir as the platform. Now, with Kashmir winding down, the jehadis need greener pastures. So the Pakistanis solved their problem the only way they know how to – by exporting terror, this time to our NE via Bangladesh.

But what about the Banglas? How did they buy into this?

Saudi funded madrasas have been preaching their brand of hatred, and the poison has started spreading into the Bangla populace. So there is some local constituency, fed on Islamist bigotry and sustained by a vague, undefined sense resentment of against a seemingly overpowering neighbor. The local resentment has not translated into a material sense of grievance due to lack of motivating issues such as Kashmir, so the anti-India constituency primarily continues to thrive because they know there is no payback for their hatred. They continue dishing it out, we continue turning the other cheek, and that makes them seem stronger to a general public that does not know what to make of the entire situation.

So the motivations are more pan-Islamist?

Yes, for the Bangladeshis they are. For Pakistanis it has always been about India, and will continue to be about India. This is a subtle but vital difference in the motivation of the two partners.

And again, something for us to try to widen?

Absolutely. The majority of Banglas just go along with whoever is strongest. If they are made to feel the consequences, fissures will start opening up between them and the Pakistanis.

[to be continued]
Last edited by Y I Patel on 25 Dec 2004 07:40, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Sunil » 24 Dec 2004 22:55

YIP,

Sidebar: (I think our friends from Beijing are going to love this).

The Sinologists should not be confused as they often are with the Left Wing of the Indian political spectrum.

The Indian Left is no different from any other political formation in India. Though it shares a sense of Leftist ideology - it is primarily a vehicle for political opportunism. The Indian Left at one point swore allegiance to the greater good of humanity as advocated by the leadership of the Soviet Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union, they shifted their international focus to China. At various points of time, the Indian Left has overtly supported China, even when the stance was terribly unpopular in India but this is merely to maintain their engagement with the Maoists. The Indian Left is intellectually beholden to the Chinese but this has more to do with the fact that the Chinese are economically far more successful than any "Leftists" heretofore. Indian Leftists are followers by nature - they are not ones to contest the leadership of a world order led by China (or any other great power that sings the Communist gospel) and this is what makes them highly suspect in the eyes of the rest of India's political elite. In an India where capitalist urges are allowed a full run, and individual initiative is encouraged in the greatest possible way, the Indian Left finds itself clinging to outmoded notions that are increasingly out of line with what is acceptable thinking in India. This forces the Left into desparation. They come to rely increasingly upon political issues that appeal to capital deficient sections of India, and under the guise of "speaking for the poor" the Left further alienates itself from the culture of capitalism that is spreading far and wide across India.

The Sinologists may talk to the Indian Left - now and then... but they are not "leftists". The Sinologists are first and foremost - students of Chinese history. They see China as an ancient civilizational force, that has for the past thousand or so years remained largely dormant. When they look at a Chinese person - they do not see a communist - but they see a member of a superculture that has pervaded the Asian region since time immemorial. Unlike the Indian Left - Sinologists actually know the language and are very well versed in the cultural nuances of China. Lacking an ideological weakspot - the Sinologists are not beholden to the mental mercies of China's communist leadership. This gives them considerable flexibility. If the Indian Left views China through the lens of ideology - the Sinologists view China through a lens of culture. Carefully analysing trends in Chinese history - they make bold predictions of the nature of social change in China. This makes them leaders by nature - something that fundamentally sets them apart from the Indian Left. A number of Sinologists are former members of the security policy community both inside and outside government. As India-China trade grows, Indians are now being exposed to Chinese culture at a high rate, and as with any other place, this "culture" goes beyond the limits of ideology stated by the Indian Left. Thus in the ongoing engagement of China - the Sinologist with their nuanced view of China are increasingly playing a dominant role.

Y I Patel
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Postby Y I Patel » 25 Dec 2004 00:51

instead of adding a new post to the war council series, I just added a big chunk to the last one. This to maintain continuity of sorts.

Thanks everyone for hanging in with the series. I see my intention of using it to provide a foundation for structuring Indian responses is begining to pay off in some very interesting ways ;)

Y I Patel
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Posts: 489
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Postby Y I Patel » 25 Dec 2004 08:26

Bhishma Pitamah

Think of India's nuclear might, and several images pop up - Homi Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai, Abdul Kalam, Raja Ramanna, R. Chidambaram... they all belong to the pantheon of those who made India the nuclear power it is today. They were all dreamers and doers, but the simple fact of life is that all dreams come to naught without finances to bring them to fruition. India's nuclear ambitions are a reality due to the inspirational leadership in the strategic science community; a major debt of gratitude is also owed to the Bhagirath efforts of some unsung heroes who performed wonders of financial jugglery and bureaucratic finesse to sustain these programs. They were so successful that the whole world was stunned on 11 May 1998 - and they were so successful that even most fellow Indians do not know of their deeds.

These unsung warriors never quite got admitted to that public pantheon, but anyone truly in power in India knows of their service. Their efforts, their talents, their unimpeachable integrity in playing nursemaid to India's strategic jewels did not go not go unrecognized or unrewarded. The ones who made it happen were called back again and again when crises beckoned.

And so, when the NE looked like it was teetering on the edge, the phone in an unpretentious New Delhi residence started ringing off the hook. The old bureaucrat had settled in the quiet neighborhood after the last round of batting for his country. Unmarried and with brothers equally wedded to serving India, the legend had chosen to retire among others of his tribe to give him company. They knew who he was, the nodded respectfully whenever the crossed him on his punctual morning walk. They knew of the cars that would often draw up outside his residence, and they looked the other way.

****

When Rajiv Gandhi took the fateful decision of reviving India's nuclear weapons and IGDMP program, he needed a person of unimpeachable integrity and unrivalled competence to nursemaid those programs. The person would have to work wonders with a limited budget; the budget would have to be hidden from prying eyes; would have to be pried from the hands of a very unwilling military; and most of all, everything would have to be done without committing any constitutional or financial impropriety. The person would have to have the respect of the bureaucrats, the trust of the scientists, the cooperation of soldiers, even trust of the very suspicious and cynical Comptroller and Auditor General of India. It is India’s good luck that Rajiv Gandhi had no difficulty in identifying that person – Mahesh Chandran.

Maheshji became Rajiv Gandhi’s Defense Secretary sometime after the actions leading to the Bofors scandal started getting reported, so he already had his task cut out. His actions then and later on became the stuff of awed legend – how he rammed the plan to fund Prithvi missiles through an uncooperative Army’s budget and over the strident protests of a future COAS, how he antagonized and helped circumvent an uncooperative and pompous Cabinet Secretary (who later became a famous Chief Election Commissioner) in getting the Agni off the ground, how as Cabinet Secretary he helped Narasimha Rao regain control over a Kashmir teetering on the edge, how he smoothened ruffled Russian feathers as an ambassador when Pokhran II stunned and antagonized the whole world… in every step of their development, India’s nuclear and missile programs had the quiet and unstinting support of men like Mahesh Chandran, Bhishma Pitamah.

[NOTE: any resemblance to living or dead personalities in this post or others is entirely intentional. Names have been changed (somewhat) to preserve the impression that this is a work of fiction. ]


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