Quoting Caravan as a substantive source?
Exploration of the history of jihadist groups in Jammu and Kashmir, and their activities since 1947
INDIA, PAKISTAN AND THE SECRET JIHAD — The Covert War in Kashmir, 1947-2004: Praveen Swami; Routledge-Taylor & Francis Group, U.K. and U.S.A. Distributed by Foundation Books, Cambridge House, 4381/4, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002. Rs. 495.
History, conventionally, gets reconstructed around the axis of mega events; around towering personalities and their complex relationships. Beneath these high points, however, flows a subterranean stream — invisible but powerful — of unknown events: of intrigues and manipulation, often of dubious legality and morality, which cast their long shadows on the course of history. If historians could have the luxury of access into these backroom operations, written accounts of our near past might look unrecognisably different. But, that rarely happens.
Praveen Swami’s India, Pakistan and the Secret Jihad is one such bold attempt in this direction, connecting the largely-unknown behind-the-scene occurrences to the highpoints of history in Jammu and Kashmir from 1947. The author, as a journalist, has long been covering Jammu and Kashmir, and national security affairs which gives him a deep understanding of the subject.
Jammu and Kashmir’s post-1947 history has been disproportionately influenced by what in Clausewitzian terms could be called as “war through other means”, both in offensive and defensive mode. Right from its inception, Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir led its policy to be dictated by two doctrinal fixations. Firstly, Pakistani strategists assumed that religion, in this case Islam, subsumes all other identities. Given a choice, they believed, Pakistan would be the natural choice of all Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir. Secondly, they believed — as did many colonial military strategists — that India was inherently weak and fragmented, and thus could be coerced to submission through a sustainable sub-conventional warfare despite its apparent military superiority.
Pakistan believed that given its state character and polity, India would find it difficult to respond effectively or make the costs unaffordable for Pakistan in a non-military covert offensive. It assessed that control of Jammu and Kashmir could be wrested through such a low cost offensive. It is most intriguing that despite being proved repeatedly wrong on both the counts, and having paid a heavy price for that, Pakistan’s self-belief in these credos remains largely unshaken.
Swami traces the course of this undeclared war by Pakistan, richly beefed up with authentic historical material and details. His account begins with the “Informal War” following accession of the state to India, subversion in the 1950s, followed by the infamous “Kashmir Conspiracy Case”, infiltration of saboteurs in 1960s under operation “Gibraltar”, and, finally, the sponsoring of high intensity terrorism during the last decade and a half. The trail reconstructed by him brings out an uninterrupted continuity in Pakistan’s thinking and action, bar a brief tactical hiatus following its decisive defeat in the 1971 war. Although the tactics and tools, sophistication and lethality of weapons used, the intensity and extent of logistic and infrastructural support, and selection of targets were upgraded particularly during General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq’s regime and after, the underlying strategy remained unchanged.
Nuclearisation has further emboldened Pakistan to raise the ante of its long-running covert offensive. The Kargil War was a manifestation of this strategic estimate, Pakistan working on the premise that India would confine its response to localised action and not escalate it to risk a nuclear war. India’s response to nuclear blackmail by Pakistan remains an issue that Indian strategists will have to ponder over seriously. Pakistani’s tinkering with Kashmir’s politics through the propping up of outfits and leaders supportive of its position, another issue carefully documented in the book, are also issues that remain sources of concern.
In this well-researched book, Swami uses new facts to build an absorbing and informative account that offers new insights into many landmark events of contemporary Kashmir history. Many years ago, I had seen a researcher’s doggedness and an intellectual’s curiosity in the journalistic exterior of Swami — traits an intelligence professional normally frowns on! His craving to know beyond the obvious and finding a conceptual explanation for what exists, has only sharpened with the passage of time. This is reflected in his book.
However, the study is still far from complete. Much more lies buried within Pakistan wherefrom most of the wily operations were launched, resourced, and controlled. One only hopes that more of the behind-the-scene operators, will, in time, follow Major General Akbar Khan — who commanded Pakistan’s drive towards Srinagar in 1947 — and give us information that can help make the story complete. Even on the Indian side, the author has not been able to conclusively develop many themes, which future historians must address. Among them are the details of precisely why and how Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, despite his almost visceral hatred of Pakistan, wittingly or unwittingly fell victim to its machinations. What exactly was it that went wrong between him and Jawaharlal Nehru despite their long years of friendship? And why was the Kashmir Conspiracy Case, after years of painstaking investigations which led to unearthing of a grave conspiracy to dismember India, not pursued in court ?
Pakistan’s compulsive anti-India fixation and its unshaken faith in the efficacy of covert methods will have to be factored in by India in formulating its security policies. “Let the past be forgiven and forgotten to start life on a clean slate” may be a good slogan — but it is bad doctrine. Presently, Pakistan is under pressure due to internal instability and external pressures, which have forced it to restrain and nuance its anti-Indian covert offensive. To mistake this for a strategic shift that is irreversible would be a grave folly. In an age when conventional wars have become unpredictable and cost-ineffective tools for achieving national objectives, covert wars, as a distinct form of warfare, are there to stay. The faster we internalise this reality and prepare for it, in both defensive and offensive mode, the more secure India will be.
Swami has done a commendable job by underlining this reality and giving new insights into the minds of those who control the real levers of power in Pakistan.
Bengaluru: On a cold and chilly December night in 2014, a low intensity IED blast ripped through one of the city's busiest roads, killing a woman strolling with her family. Many more were injured.
Two days after the blast, around 10 am, the DC team rushed to the spot on the Church Street off busy Brigade Road where the blast took place. It had been barricaded and cordoned off. Scores of journalists were jostling for the perfect spot to get the perfect shot, the perfect quote.
We had rushed there as the bomb disposal experts from National Security Guard (NSG) Elite Commandos from the Indian Army had flown in, to examine the site of the blast. The cordoned off area was crawling with men in uniform armed with gadgets, scouring the area, sifting through the debris, looking for clues.
Amidst the hustle and bustle my gaze through the lens settled on the tall and imposing figure of a young man who was intently watching the proceedings. Sporting a pair of slender reading glasses, and holding an I Pad, his keen gaze didn't miss a trick. He could have passed for any of the hundreds of IT geeks who throng our streets. But there was something different about him. His calm demeanour, his stance, well inside the cordoned area! And that's when it hit me - he was either an investigating top cop officer or from the Indian Army. As an army kid, I recognized the breed!
The other plainclothes men sporting bomb disposal gadgets were silently following his every command. When he came up close, I asked him "Sir, are you from the Armed Forces?" Without missing a step, he said that he was a technical consultant working with a major multinational company , and moved back into the cordoned area. That's when he shed his techie persona completely, and took charge. He gestured. A junior officer handed him a pair of rubber gloves and a gadget. This man with a charm of the boy-next-door must be important, I thought as I clicked away.
I made one more effort to engage him in conversation, and told him "you are definitely from the Army". And he asked why to which I said "I was passionate about defence and services and though I am a Photo-Journalist I am a son of a person who wore the uniform of the Indian Air Force". He replied "such passion is everywhere, the real passion is when you join the services." As he was leaving though, he made a point of walking right up to me and saying, pointing at my chest, "Soldier, No Rank, No Details, but I am NIRANJAN.!”
It was not until Sunday when I entered the house of the Pathankot martyr, elite NSG Commando Bomb Disposal Unit’s Chief Lt.Col. Niranjan Kumars' house at Doddabommasandra and saw his photograph hung up on the wall that I realized that this was the same super-smart man I had met on the night of December 30 at Church Street.
This man, who put his life in jeopardy for all of us, is my real hero, the star of our own "Hurt Locker" Story. How many valiant and brave Lt.Col.Niranjan Kumars', Major Unnikrishans', Lt.Col Jojan Thomases and Col. Vasanths from Bengaluru must we lose to the marauders who cross our borders with such murderous intent.
Lt Col. Niranjan, we doff our hats to you!
sum wrote:^^ There is no denying though that PS has very good and deep sources in IB and lot of his "peak scoop stories" were when Doval was IB director, meaning Doval-ji did nothing to block him from accessing IB folks. So maybe they do have some sort of good relationship with the occasional PS leftist/Aman-ki-Asha tendencies being given the go-by
In the aftermath of the Pathankot terror attack, Indian Air Force plans to raise 10 additional squadrons of Garud commandos, consisting of about 1,000 personnel, to protect its 950 flying and non-flying establishments across the country.
rkhanna wrote:Members of 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) and Indian Army Special Forces conduct combat water survival training at Soldiers Field House, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Jan. 19, 2016. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Sarah Jane Roberts)
Taking the first step towards reverting to its original role of undertaking counter-terror operations, the NSG has pulled out over 600 commandos from its VVIP security unit and used them for the first time during the recent Pathankot attack.
According to the new blueprint, which has been in the making since the last two years, two teams out of the total three of the 11th Special Rangers Group (SRG) stand withdrawn from VVIP security duties and have been tasked to undertake counter-terror operations along with and in assistance of the primary strike units — the Special Action Group (SAG).
While each of the two SAGs (51and 52) are tasked with counter-terror, counter-hijack and hostage rescue operations, the SRGs (11, 12 and 13) were used to render logistical support to the SAGs during such operations and have been primarily deployed for guarding high-risk VVIPs.
Officials said the results of the first experiment at Pathankot have been satisfactory, with about 300 commandos commandos deployed to undertake door-to-door sanitisation at the station that was attacked on January 2.
NSG commanders said the force, has the least number of 15 such protectees under its cover and, after its request to not burden it further in this regard, the government has not given it any additional responsibility for over two years now. While one team of the 11th SRG and two units (12 and 13) are still tasked with security of high-risk dignitaries, commanders of the elite force foresee a time when even these units will be gradually pulled out of VVIP duties.
"Not in the very near future but NSG is on it way to go back to its original charter of being a specialist counter-terror and an exclusive commando force," the officials said.
Karan M wrote:We are basically using our SF as elite light infantry. The SF in typical insurgent uniforms above would be leveraged within J&K, but I wonder how long would it before we set up Delta/DevGru style multimission capability teams with embedded intel analysts, comms specialists, etc.
SUDIPT wrote:To all pundits the casualties of IA is killing me right now, just two days back we have lost two son of soil, right now a young cap of 10th para of my age.Why this rate is so high 3 soldiers in a couple of days
Isn't the right time for the RRs and PARAs or CRPF deployed in valley should revisit there SOPs. What about introducing APCs in room/building intervention process.
Aditya G wrote:
Dear Concerned Citizen,
We must first review your appreciation of the "rate" being "so high". Please observe the data for past 15 years at this link:
http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries ... alties.htm
In 2000, we lost 640 security personnel including policemen and armymen @ 1.5-2 per day.
In 2015, we lost 41 men.
We are not loosing the war in J&K as long as the Army is in control*. Confidence about the war in Delhi's JNU and like is much lower.