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Implications of nuclear Myanmar for South Asia
October 18, 2009, 8:54 am
Filed under: Myanmar/Burma, SubContinent

Implications of nuclear Myanmar for South Asia
by Moin Ansari

THE Indian press is full of stories of China’s ‘string of pearls’ strategy. What it is missing is the simple calculation which shows India surrounded by nuclear Pakistan on one side and now a nuclear Myanmar on the other side. While North Korea keeps Japan at bay, an Atomic Pakistan cuts down India to size. A Burma with nuclear missiles would further reduce Delhi’s designs of hegemony and regional power. Hemmed in by a belligerent Pakistan on the west and a resurgent Myanmar on the east, places Delhi in a bind. Is the military junta in Myanmar trying to acquire a military nuclear capability with North Korean assistance? Or is North Korea trying to shift some of its nuclear facilities to Myanmar to protect them from a possible attack by the US? If either of these scenarios is true, is China, which has a strong and active presence in North Korea as well as Myanmar, aware of it? Has it taken up the matter with the two governments? Has it alerted the International Atomic Energy Agency?

   These questions, among others, come to one’s mind in the wake of a flurry of reports regarding an alleged nuclear relationship between Myanmar and North Korea. These reports hit the international media coinciding with the meeting of the foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phuket, Thailand on July 23. The meeting was attended among others by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who had proceeded to Thailand after a high-profile visit to India. She told a Thai TV channel in an interview on July 21: ‘We worry about the transfer of nuclear technology from North Korea to Myanmar.’ She subsequently reverted to the subject at Phuket where she spoke to the media of ‘concerns being expressed about cooperation between North Korea and Burma in the pursuit of offensive weapons, perhaps even including nuclear weapons at some point.’

   She was not categorical on the question of a possible nuclear relationship between North Korea and Myanmar, but she was on the question of a conventional military relationship between the two countries. Her concerns seemed to be that this might be expanded to cover the military nuclear field, if this has not already happened or is not already happening.

   To what extent her concerns were well-founded? Was the reference to this issue by her meant to exercise political pressure on Myanmar and North Korea, both of which attended the ARF meeting – Myanmar at the level of its foreign minister and North Korea at the level of an official of its foreign office? Was she merely trying to step up the pressure on Myanmar on the question of the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and restoration of democracy and on North Korea on the question of its denuclearisation by using the nuclear co-operation allegations or was there something more to it?
   The Sydney Morning Herald reported recently that Myanmar appears to be establishing nuclear facilities with help from North Korea and Russia, possibly with the intent of producing nuclear weapons. If true, Yangon’s possession of nuclear arsenal will tilt the balance of forces by having in China’s side allies like nuclear armed North Korea, Russia, Pakistan, and, perhaps, Iran too. Quoting two Burmese defectors who had disclosed details of the scheme to an Australian strategic studies analyst, Desmond Ball, and a Thailand-based journalist, Phil Thornton, some reports revealed that Yangon’s military regime has secretly constructed a reactor at Naung Laing that would encompass reprocessing technology designed to extract weapon-grade plutonium. Besides, a command and control facility for a nuclear-weapon program was reportedly prepared at a nearby underground location and members of the military nuclear battalion were working in the area, said one of the defectors.

   The press release issued by the ASEAN secretariat on the ARF meeting and the media briefing did not contain any reference to the nuclear allegation. Did she raise it at the ARF foreign ministers’ meeting or was it confined to her interactions with the media? It is not clear.Even though Clinton confined her remarks only to the alleged co-operation between North Korea and Myanmar and did not refer to the on-going civil nuclear cooperation between Myanmar and Russia, Moscow on its own referred to this subject in response to her remarks in Thailand.

   The RIA Novosti news agency of Russia disseminated the following report on July 21:
   ‘Nuclear cooperation between Russia and Myanmar is not in conflict with the Non-Proliferation Treaty or IAEA requirements, and will move ahead, a foreign ministry spokesman said. Andrei Nesterenko’s comment came in response to US concerns over the cooperation. However, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier on Tuesday that Washington was taking concerns about military cooperation between nuclear-armed North Korea and Myanmar “very seriously”, but made no mention of Russia. “Our cooperation with Myanmar is absolutely legitimate and in full compliance with our obligations under the NPT and IAEA requirements,” Nesterenko said. He added that the IAEA had no problem with Myanmar over its non-proliferation commitments. Russia signed an agreement in 2007 on the construction of a nuclear research centre in Myanmar, and it will stand by this agreement, Nesterenko said. The centre will include a 10 MW light-water research reactor.’

   Reports of Myanmar’s interest in developing a nuclear research capability started circulating after the nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan in May 1998. Before 1998, it had an atomic energy committee, which used to be headed by one of its ministers in charge of industries. The military junta introduced an Atomic Energy Law on June 8, 1998, within a fortnight of Pakistan’s Chagai nuclear tests.

   The interest of the Myanmar military junta in acquiring civil nuclear expertise with Russian assistance came to be known in February 2001. It has had a long history of conventional military relationship with Russia. This relationship was subsequently expanded to cover the civil nuclear field. Myanmar’s stagnant nuclear program was revitalized shortly after Pakistan’s first detonation of nuclear weapons in May 1998. Senior general and junta leader Than Shwe signed the Atomic Energy Law on June 8, 1998, and the timing of the legislation so soon after Pakistan’s entry into the nuclear club did little to assuage international concerns about Myanmar’s nuclear intentions. Some analysts believe the regime may eventually seek nuclear weapons for the dual purpose of international prestige and strategic deterrence. Myanmar’s civilian-use nuclear ambitions made global headlines in early 2001, when Russia’s Atomic Energy Committee indicated it was planning to build a research reactor in the country. The following year, Myanmar’s deputy foreign minister, Khin Maung Win, publicly announced the regime’s decision to build a nuclear research reactor, citing the country’s difficulty in importing radio-isotopes and the need for modern technology as reasons for the move. The country reportedly sent hundreds of soldiers for nuclear training in Russia that same year and the reactor was scheduled for delivery in 2003. However, the programme was shelved due to financial difficulties and a formal contract for the reactor, under which Russia agreed to build a nuclear research centre along with a 10 megawatt reactor, was not signed until May 2007. The reactor will be fuelled with non-weapons grade enriched uranium-235 and it will operate under the purview of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog. The reactor itself would be ill-suited for weapons development. However, the training activities associated with it would provide the basic knowledge required as a foundation for any nuclear weapons development programme outside of the research centre.

   In September 2001, the government of Myanmar reportedly informed the IAEA of its plans to acquire a nuclear research reactor. This was followed by a visit to Myanmar by a team of IAEA experts to study whether Myanmar had the required capability to run a research reactor safely. The team reportedly concluded that Myanmar did not have the required safety standards. Despite its negative report, the Government decided to go ahead with its exploratory talks with Russia on this subject. Moscow, which must have been aware of the negative findings of the IAEA team, had no hesitation in responding positively to the approach for help from the Myanmar junta.

   When US troops occupied Afghanistan post-9/11 after expelling the Taliban from power, they reportedly found evidence of contacts between some retired and serving nuclear scientists of Pakistan and Osama bin Laden They short-listed four names – retired scientists Sultan Bashiruddin Ahmed Chaudhry and Abdul Majid and serving scientists Sulaiman Assad and Mohammad Mukhtar.

   At the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence took into custody the two retired scientists who where interrogated by the FBI. They reportedly admitted having met Laden at Kandahar before 9/11, but asserted that their meeting with him was in connection with the work of a humanitarian relief organisation which they had founded after retirement. They were released as no evidence of their involvement in any activity relating to the supply of nuclear material or expertise to al-Qaeda was found. However, as a safety measure, the ISI, at the request of the FBI, imposed restrictions on their movement outside their home town. The FBI got the bank accounts of their supposedly humanitarian relief organisation frozen by taking up the matter with the anti-terrorism sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.

   Sulaiman Assad and Mohammad Mukhtar managed to flee to Myanmar before they could be detained for questioning by the ISI. There was uncorroborated speculation that the ISI did not want them to be questioned by the FBI as they had knowledge of the proliferation activities of Pakistan, particularly about its nuclear and missile supply relationship with North Korea. It was alleged by some in Pakistan that the Myanmar military junta gave them sanctuary at the request of the ISI. There has been no further reliable news about them.

   ‘I can’t confirm they will have nuclear weapons in a few years,’ said Khin Maung Win, deputy executive director of the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma, which obtained some of the images. ‘But it is the hope of the military regime.’
   The Wall Street Journal in an article by Bertil Lintner, its staff reporter, on January 3, 2002, stated: ‘Myanmar is embarking on a nuclear-research project with the help of Russian and, possibly, Pakistani scientists. Diplomats say the development has upset China, which has heavily courted Myanmar in recent years and resents Moscow for muscling in on its turf. Believed by Western diplomats to be the brainchild of Science and Technology Minister U Thaung, the project was initiated by Russia’s atomic energy ministry, which in February announced plans to build a 10-megawatt research reactor in central Myanmar. In July, Myanmar Foreign Minister Win Aung, accompanied by the military-ruled country’s ministers of defence, energy, industry and railways, travelled to Moscow to finalise the deal. Western diplomats in Myanmar say the groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled to take place at a secret location near the town of Magway in January. The equipment and reactor will be delivered in 2003. Russian diplomats say more than 300 Myanmar nationals have received nuclear technical training in Russia during the past year.’

   On January 22, 2002, Khin Maung Win, Myanmar’s deputy foreign minister, announced that the Myanmar government was planning to build a nuclear research reactor and had entered into talks with Russia on this subject. In his statement, he also said that his government had informed the IAEA of its intention to construct the reactor which would be used ‘for peaceful purposes’.
   His statement further said: ‘The Myanmar government is striving to acquire modern technology in all fields, including maritime, aerospace, medical and nuclear. It is in the light of these considerations that Myanmar made enquiries for the possibility of setting up a nuclear research reactor. A proposal has since been received from the Russian Federation. Under the NPT which Myanmar signed in 1992, it had the right to pursue the peaceful use and application of nuclear technology. All our neighbouring countries, with the exception of Laos, are already reaping the benefits from nuclear research reactors operating in their countries. In this age of globalisation it is imperative that developing countries such as Myanmar actively seek to narrow the development gap so as not to be marginalised.’
   Khin Maung Win denied media reports that Myanmar had secretly brought two Pakistani nuclear scientists into the country to help it fulfil its nuclear ambitions. He said: ‘The Myanmar government categorically states once again that no nuclear scientists from Pakistan have been given sanctuary in Myanmar. However, Myanmar scientists had been trained by the IAEA in the application of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.’

   The same day, the US reacted by warning Myanmar that it must honour its obligations under the NPT. An unidentified official of the State Department was quoted by the media as saying: ‘We expect the government of Burma to live up to its obligations and to not pursue production of weapons grade fissile material.’
   There was no further development with regard to the Russian project for five years. This was attributed to the difficulties faced by the junta in raising the money for it and the Russian reluctance to finalise the deal till Myanmar reached a safeguards agreement with the IAEA. It was only by April 2007 that the junta found the money. It is not clear whether the junta signed a safeguards agreement with the IAEA. In May, the conclusion of a contract between the governments of Myanmar and Russia was announced.

   On May 16, 2007, the US expressed concern over the agreement between Myanmar and Russia. US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said he had ‘no idea’ what Russia’s motivation was for the agreement. ‘Burma has neither the regulatory nor the legal framework or safeguard provisions or other kinds of things that you would expect or want to see for a country to be able to handle successfully a nuclear program of this type. It’s not a good idea.’
   Casey further said Myanmar did not have a nuclear regulatory commission or safeguards in place to prevent accidents, environmental damage or proliferation. According to him, one risk was that nuclear fuel could be diverted, stolen or otherwise removed because of a lack of accounting or other procedures in place to prevent this.
   He added: ‘There certainly would have to be a heck of a lot more work done by the Burmese before I think we would feel comfortable that they could safely deal with having a nuclear facility of this type on their soil.’

   Myanmar is a signatory of the NPT and, according to some reports, has since signed a safeguards agreement with the IAEA. However, it has not yet accepted the Additional Protocol, which would allow the UN nuclear watchdog to conduct more intrusive monitoring of any nuclear operations.
   Myanmar broke off diplomatic relations with Pyongyang in 1983, after alleged North Korean agents bombed the Martyr’s mausoleum in Yangon in an attempt to assassinate the visiting South Korean President, Chun Doo-hwan. The explosion killed more than 20 persons, including the deputy prime minister and the foreign minister, and the South Korean Ambassador to Myanmar. The relations were re-established only in April 2007.

   The re-establishment of diplomatic ties led to the beginning of a military-supply relationship between the two countries and the exchange of visits of military delegations. In 2007 and 2008, there were reports of the receipt of a number of military consignments by Myanmar from North Korea by sea – mostly consisting of conventional infantry weapons. Following the resumption of diplomatic relations, the Myanmar military junta also started allowing North Korean transport planes going to Pakistan and Iran to re-fuel at the Yangon airport.

   North Korean engineers were reported to have helped Myanmar military engineers in the construction of a number of tunnels in the newly-constructed capital at Naypyidaw. They were also reported to be helping the Myanmar engineers in the construction of similar tunnels at a place called Yadanapon, where the junta is planning to have its summer capital. It was presumed by analysts that the North Korean assistance in tunnel construction had the purpose of providing shelter to the members of the junta and other senior military officers in case of an attack by the US Air Force [ Images ]. It was the fear of an US attack which made the junta shift the capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw and it was the same fear which motivated it to seek North Korean assistance in tunnel construction.

   What set off an alarm was reports from Myanmar political exiles that North Koreans were helping in tunnel construction not only in the capital and the proposed summer capital, but also in certain other remote areas. Myanmar political exiles close to Aung San Suu Kyi have been linking the construction of tunnels at a place called Naung Laing in North Myanmar to possible North Korean assistance in the construction of a secret nuclear facility. What kind of a facility it could be is not clear. Western and Australian analysts and journalists seem to be particularly relying on claims made by two defectors. One claims to have been an officer in the Myanmar army who was allegedly sent to Moscow for two years’ training. The other claims to have been a former executive in a company called Htoo Trading, which, according to him, handled nuclear contracts with Russia and North Korea. There has so far been no independent corroboration of their claims.

   The suspicions regarding a possible nuclear supply relationship have been strengthened following a recent incident in which a North Korean ship called Nam Kam 1, which was reportedly bound for a Myanmar port turned back on being shadowed by US vessels. It is not clear what prevented the US vessels from surrounding and searching it. Without searching it, it seems to have been presumed that the cargo on board the ship must have been nuclear-related.

   Political exiles can be sometimes good sources and sometimes unreliable and even dangerous. The information about Iran’s clandestine uranium enrichment plant initially came from political exiles, who were found to have been accurate. The false information about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear arsenal came from political exiles who made a fortune from the US intelligence by planting a series of false reports. In the 1980s, when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister, Indian analysts had over-estimated Chinese military deployments in Tibet on the basis of reports from Tibetan political exiles. These reports were subsequently found to have been highly exaggerated.

   One has, therefore, to be cautious in assessing the reports, claims and allegations from political exiles and army defectors from Myanmar. Their reports must be carefully verified. All one can say with some confidence at present is: firstly, that the Myanmar military junta’s interest in acquiring a civil nuclear capability dates back to 1998 when India and Pakistan carried out their nuclear tests; secondly, that since 2001 Myanmar has been in negotiations with Russia for the acquisition of a research reactor; thirdly, that there has been a long delay in the implementation of this project due to Myanmar’s lack of funds and the time taken to negotiate a safeguards agreement with the IAEA; and fourthly, that there has been an increase in North Korea’s military supply relationship with Myanmar since the two countries re-established diplomatic relations in April 2007.

   Has the military supply relationship been expanded now to cover nuclear supply relationship? The evidence on this is not yet strong enough to permit a categorical answer.

http://www.newagebd.com/2009/oct/17/oped.html



Indo-Bangla Relation: A Strategic Analysis
August 7, 2009, 10:55 am
Filed under: Bangladesh, India, SubContinent
Indo-Bangla Relation: A Strategic Analysis
 
Shah Mohammed Saifuddin
The independence movement under the leadership of Congress was for establishing independent undivided India through eviction of British rulers from the soil of India, but the degeneration of Hindu-Muslim relation into hostility and the demand of Muslim league for a separate state for the Muslims of the region thwarted the dream of an independent undivided India and made the partition of subcontinent inevitable. While the initial proposal for the partition met with steep resistance as most of the senior leaders of Congress namely, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawharlal Nehru, and Moulana Abul Kalam Azad vehemently protested such proposal and termed it as British conspiracy to divide India, the Congress finally gave its nod of approval in the fear that outright rejection of the partition proposal might be used by the British colonial rulers against the independence movement to perpetuate their political domination over the country and in the hope that with a small resource base, peculiar geographic reality that separates both the wings of the country by one thousand miles, and paucity of leaders with political experience, Pakistan would not survive too long and would return to India in the end.

There is no surprise that partition of India came as a shock to Congress leaders and that they could never reconcile themselves to the idea of an independent Pakistan because their freedom struggle was for undivided India, and therefore they wanted to roll back the geographical changes made to Indian subcontinent through partition and their intention was clearly demonstrated to Pakistan from the very beginning, which gave rise to a plethora of problem and a paucity of trust between the two nations.

What Pakistan needed in those formative years was national unity and balanced development in the two wings to ensure security and progress to consolidate its position as a powerful nation in the subcontinent and to thwart Indian attempt to undo the geographical arrangements after partition. But the then Pakistani leaders myopic failure to recognize Bengalis as equal partners and to give them due share of political power and economic resource caused widespread resentment among the East Pakistanis, which was cunningly used by India against Pakistan in the subsequent years. The Indian political leaders in later years used their diplomatic channels and intelligence agencies to cultivate close relations with East Pakistani political establishment in order to involve themselves in almost all political movements in East Pakistan to use the prevailing sense of deprivation among East Pakistanis to their own political advantage and to instigate East Pakistanis against West Pakistanis to accelerate the process of disintegration of Pakistan firstly, to weaken it, and secondly, to bring it back to India’s lap through various political machinations to realize the dream of undivided India.

No amount of political negotiations between the two wings could improve the situation in Pakistan due, mainly, to the stubbornness of West Pakistanis, which gave rise to increasing sense of alienation and deprivation among the people of East Pakistan, and finally when Sheikh Mujib was denied the premiership in 1970, Bengalis decided to get out of the relationship once and for all. So, for the first time and certainly for the last time in history, the disintegration of Pakistan became a common goal for both India and the Bengalis as the former wanted to break Pakistan to realize its vision of undivided India and the latter wanted to establish a separate independent nation to rid themselves of an insensitive and repressive political regime.

As soon as the Pakistani army cracked down on unarmed East Pakistanis, India, under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, took bold steps to help the Bengalis in their just struggle for independence against the fascist regime of Yahya Khan. The Indira government set their objectives to do the following things to ensure a desired outcome in the war for both Indians and East Pakistanis:

  1. To give safe passage to top Awami League leaders to India and to help form Mujibnagar government
  2. To help form Mukti Bahini and to provide necessary training and weapons
  3. To form Mujib Bahini as an alternative force and to use them in special operations
  4. To provide asylum to ten million refugees from East Pakistan
  5. To launch a vigorous diplomatic campaign worldwide through its foreign services to garner support for East Pakistan’s just struggle for freedom
  6. To use its military and intelligence resources to the extent possible to help the freedom fighters sustain a prolonged war against the powerful Pakistan army

India never lost sight of its strategic goal

Some people may argue that India’s decision to help in 1971 was based purely on humanitarian grounds, but the reality is that India’s decision to extend its wholehearted support to Bangladesh’s liberation war was a premeditated one and was primarily based on its own strategic goal of disintegrating Pakistan to undo the changes made through partition. Former Indian foreign secretary Mr. Dixit said, “We helped in the liberation of Bangladesh in mutual interest, it was not a favor,”[1] and a senior RAW intelligence officer said, “Bangladesh was the result of a 10 year long promotion of dissatisfaction against the rulers of Pakistan”[2]. These statements from two top former Indian government officials are testaments to the fact that Indian help for Bangladesh was not an altruistic one, but rather for implementing it’s own strategic goal of disintegrating Pakistan and that the intelligence agencies of India were engaged in fomenting unrest in East Pakistan long before 1971. With their strategic goals in mind, India concluded a seven point agreement with Mujibnagar government to seal the fate of a negotiated settlement between East and West Pakistan and to cripple Bangladesh by depriving it of its sovereign right to raise a standing army and to independently formulate foreign policy. Now, for the benefit of the readers let me briefly describe the points of the ‘seven point agreement'[3]:

  1. Bangladesh government will select only those people for administrative posts who have actively participated in the liberation war and any shortfall therein will be filled by the Indian government officials.
  2. A joint force will be formed comprising of the Indian army and the Mukti Bahini and this force will be placed under the command of the chief of staff of the Indian army who will lead the liberation war.
  3. Bangladesh will have no standing army.
  4. India will help raise a paramilitary force to protect the internal law and order of the country.
  5. Open market will be the basis for trade relation between the two nations and this arrangement will be subject to periodical reviews.
  6. The Indian army will be stationed in Bangladesh for an indefinite period of time, but the time frame for their gradual withdrawal will be determined through annual meetings between the two governments.
  7. Bangladesh will formulate its foreign policy only in consultation with India.

The conclusion of the seven point agreement only ensured that the Mujibnagar government would continue the war until Bangladesh gained full independence from Pakistan, but it did not give the guarantee that China and America would not interfere in the event the Indian army directly intervened in East Pakistan. So, the Indira government approached the former Soviet Union for a security guarantee against impending Chinese and American threats, and it was made available to them in the shape of ’25 year friendship treaty’ by the erstwhile Soviet Union, which was also seeking to play a substantial role in the subcontinent to expand its own sphere of influence.

The signing of the seven point treaty with Mujib Government and the 25 year friendship treaty with the Soviets removed all obstacles for the Indian forces to directly intervene in East Pakistan, and it took them less than two weeks to overrun the defensive positions of the Pakistan army, which was already exhausted by a nine month long guerrilla war against Mukti Bahini and was at the final stages of disintegration and collapse. At the end of the war, Bangladesh got its much cherished independence and India could break Pakistan into two pieces for which it had been scheming since 1947.

Bangladesh steps into a strategic trap

While the public of Bangladesh, in general, and the Mujib government, in particular, was extremely grateful to India for her help and support in the war of liberation and wanted to maintain the best possible relationship with the Indian people, the political and military establishment of India had already done their strategic planning in line with the seven point agreement to reduce Bangladesh’s relevance as an independent nation through limiting her power to formulate national policies. A strategic trap was set for Bangladesh in the form of ’25 year friendship treaty'[4] which took away most, if not all, options for Bangladesh to independently establish foreign, defense, and economic relations with other nations in the world. I would like to briefly mention a few clauses of the ’25 year friendship treaty’ that had deleterious effects on our foreign, defense, and economic interests:

Article 4: Both the nations will hold regular meetings with each other at all levels to discuss major international issues for mutual benefit.

Article 5: Both the nations will cooperate with each other in the field of trade, transport, and communications on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, and the most favored nation principle.

Article 8: None of the nations will ever enter into a military alliance against each other and will refrain from allowing a third party from using their soil for military purposes that could constitute a threat to national security for either of the nations.

Article 9: Both the nations will refrain from providing any assistance to a third party taking part in an armed conflict against either of the nations to ensure regional peace and security.

Article 10: Neither of the parties will undertake any commitment, secret or open, toward one or more states, which may violate the spirit of the treaty.

Article 4 practically eliminated Bangladesh’s power to devise an independent foreign policy and made it compulsory for Bangladesh to consult India about any major foreign policy matter.

Article 5 created an unequal economic relation between the two nations because contrary to India, Bangladesh, being a smaller economy, was unable to avail itself of the opportunities of most favored nation status.

Article 8 ensured that if there was a military conflict between Bangladesh and India, Bangladesh, as a weaker power, could not seek help from outside world to protect its territorial integrity.

Article 9 was included to protect India’s strategic interest in its insurgency infested North Eastern states by imposing restrictions on Bangladesh to provide help and support to the insurgents, but India itself broke the sanctity of this clause by providing military and political assistance to Shanti Bahini in Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Article 10 restricted Bangladesh’s power to sign a defense deal with a third party to improve its armed forces.

By dint of this treaty India was able to diminish Bangladesh’s power to protect herself and the right to establish political and economic relations with other nations independently, and consequently India became the de-facto power over Bangladesh to whom the new born country had to depend for her security and economic development only to lose her relevance as a sovereign nation. Thus the entrapment of Bangladesh was complete.

Political change in 1975 and new equation in Indo-Bangla relationship

After the independence, the war ravaged country needed solid leadership with political maturity to overcome the seemingly insurmountable problems created by nine month long war of liberation and to steer the nation to build a society free from corruption, deprivation, and exploitation through creating national unity, establishing rule of law, strengthening democratic institutions, and creating economic opportunities for the people. Unfortunately, within three years of its rule, the new government banned all but four state owned national newspapers, dissolved the parliament to create one party rule, put incompetent party men in different state owned industrial establishments, neglected and humiliated the military, raised an alternative security agency to suppress oppositions to destroy all hopes for the new born country to establish democracy and to attain economic self sufficiency. One of the leading Indian news dailies in one of its recent reports titled “Fifty years of blood and sweat” summed up Mujib’s rule during the period of 1972-1975 as “The truth, however, is that the League’s popularity seemed to have suffered even during Mujib’s brief rule. The 1974 famine and the Mujib government’s inept handling of the situation led to the country being placed under Emergency. Shaken by a breakdown in law and order, Mujib switched to the presidential form of government in early 1975, imposed a one-party system and banned the publication of all newspapers except government-controlled ones. Mujib the liberator had, to many even in his own party, become Mujib the dictator.”[5] This created widespread discontent throughout the country which resulted in a military coup in 1975 to end the rule of this unpopular regime.

The new government was installed and gradually undertook plethora of measures to restore law and order of the country, to bring back discipline in economic sector, to lift ban on national newspapers and political parties, to increase budgetary allocation for the defense forces, and to change foreign policy direction to establish close and productive relationships with China, the U.S.A., Europe and the Middle East so as to diminish Indian influence over the nation. The inevitable result of such a drastic measure by the new government of Bangladesh was confrontation with India which saw it as an attempt to challenge its supremacy in the region and considered it a security, political, and strategic threat from a country which it helped gain independence from Pakistan. Strategically Bangladesh was too important for India to let it slip off her radar so they adopted a new set of strategies to keep Bangladesh within its sphere of influence in light of new political reality. The next section of this article will discuss the strategic importance of Bangladesh and will elaborate the strategies India had undertaken to get a firm hold on Bangladesh.

Strategic importance of Bangladesh

Despite her small size, Bangladesh does have certain geographical advantages that make her important to regional and extra regional powers which may drag her into a complex strategic scenario of big power rivalries. Bangladesh may be seen as a key player in strategic game plan of India, Pakistan, the U.S.A., and China because of the following reasons:

1. Bridge between India and North East: The unique geographic location of Bangladesh which cuts the troubled North East region of India off from the mainland constitutes a significant security weak point for India for the fact that the region shares border with China and that various insurgent groups are active within the region who are fighting against the Indian government for self determination. In light of their experience in Indo-China war in 1962, the Indian defense planners consider the strategic chicken neck to be inadequate and see Bangladesh to be the safest and the shortest route to transport military logistics to North East region in case of a future military conflict. A strategic corridor through Bangladesh is also seen as important to conduct sustained military campaign against the insurgents in North East.

The corridor through Bangladesh has economic significance as well because it is the most cost effective route to connect North East to the rest of India for the transshipment of industrial goods and to improve the economic condition of this land locked region.

2. Bridge between SAARC and ASEAN: Bangladesh, which is seen as a land bridge between SAARC and ASEAN, has enormous geographic advantages for its proximity to Myanmar and to other South East Asian nations to promote inter regional economic, political, and security cooperation. Once connected via Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway, the South and South East Asian nations will be using Bangladesh as the main transit point to increase economic interactions amongst themselves. Bangladesh with appropriate policies and infrastructures in place will be playing pivotal role in defining the direction of economic relations between the two emerging regional groups.

3. Gateway to Bay of Bengal: Bangladesh is considered the gateway to Bay of Bengal with its 45000 sq. miles of sea territory in which lies valuable marine resources such as hydrocarbon, fisheries etc. Its well developed sea ports offer enormous economic opportunities because India can use the port facilities to increase trade with its land locked North East region while other South and South East Asian countries and China can use the same facilities to increase inter-regional economic interactions. With the ambition to protect the oil transshipment and trade routes in the Indian Ocean, the Chinese navy is making rapid progress in developing relations with coastal nations such as Myanmar and Bangladesh to gain access to their port facilities so as to conduct sustained naval operations in the sea. In light of recently concluded Indo-U.S. Strategic agreement, it can be assumed that the U.S.A might also seek similar facilities from Bangladesh as a response to Chinese naval presence in the Bay of Bengal. Therefore, the military and strategic significance of repair, maintenance, docking, and refueling facilities of Bangladesh’s sea ports is great.

4. Energy security: Because of her burgeoning population, high economic growth rate, and rapid industrialization, India has become the sixth largest energy consumer in the world, but she has to import oil to meet 70% of her domestic demand which cost 40% of her total export earnings. She has to diversify import source for uninterrupted supply of energy, but due to international politics importing hydrocarbon from Iran and Venezuela has become uncertain leaving Bangladesh and Myanmar as only cheap and secure sources of energy supply. While Bangladesh has a speculative gas reserve of 33 TCF, its proven reserve is only 12 -15 TCF which is inadequate to meet its own domestic demand so the government has already decided against exporting gas to other countries unless new reserves are found. Even though Bangladesh has expressed her inability to export gas at the moment, India considers Bangladesh a major source of energy in the long run because of its potentials to discover huge hydrocarbon reserves in the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh also is the most cost effective route for India to import gas from Myanmar, and therefore Bangladesh may emerge as a significant player in regional strategic energy game.

5. Balance of power: Bangladesh is significant because of the complex strategic scenario that has emerged due to India’s strategic alliance with the U.S.A to contain China and its rivalry with Pakistan for regional supremacy. India has to take cognizance of the fact that Bangladesh has established deep military relations with China and has repaired her fractured relations with Pakistan to correct the problem in balance of power situation in her relation with India. So, the possible military role of Bangladesh in case of a war either between India and China or between India and Pakistan could be a strategic concern for India.

Indian strategies to dominate Bangladesh

In light of Bangladesh’s endeavor to take control of her own affairs and her attempt to seek greater independence in foreign policy matters, India formulated a set of strategies to isolate, intimidate, and coerce Bangladesh to submit to Indian domination to reap the strategic benefits of breaking Pakistan. The following strategies have been put into action by Indian foreign and defense services to create pressure on Bangladesh:

1. Delaying tactics to solve bilateral problems: Having shared land and maritime borders, both Bangladesh and India should have demarcated their borders based on mutual cooperation, trust, and interest for the sake of peaceful co-existence, but regrettably, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by Bangladesh, India refused to respond adequately to resolve border disputes in an amicable fashion and employed a delaying tactics to create pressure on Bangladesh. Bangladesh, on the other hand, showing political maturity and the spirit of amicable co-existence has already ratified the border agreement signed between the two governments in 1974 and has also made several diplomatic moves to demarcate maritime border only to be frustrated by lukewarm Indian response. Non ratification of the border agreement by India[6] and its reluctance to find solution to maritime border dispute have caused a gradual deterioration in bilateral relations giving birth to mutual suspicion and mistrust.

2. Show of force: The aggressive posture of its border security forces along 4096 km. Indo-Bangla border and the deployment of its navy near a disputed Island named South Talpatty in the Bay of Bengal in the 80s to erect illegal structures are signals that in case Bangladesh fails to accommodate Indian interests causing further deterioration in bilateral relations, India will not hesitate to use military power against Bangladesh. Mr. Harun ur Rashid, an ex foreign secretary of Bangladesh, described the episode of illegal occupation of South Talpatty by India as, “While bilateral discussions were pending to resolve the dispute, on May 9, 1981, India sent an armed ship “INS Sandhayak” with one helicopter and some military personnel to the island. Some huts, tents, one aerial mast and one pole bearing the Indian flag were seen erected there. Bangladesh was taken by surprise at India’s aggressive mood to claim the island. Bangladesh on 11 May 1981 lodged a strong protest against such unwarranted, unilateral and illegal action of India that was in breach of the agreements reached at the highest political level.”[7]

3. Policy of supporting secessionist movements in Bangladesh: Chittagong Hill Tracts, which is one tenth of the total size of the country, with its enormous natural resources and strategic geographic location is vital for the existence of Bangladesh. Taking advantage of geographic proximity to its Tripura state and the desire of the local Chakma tribes for greater autonomy with an ultimate goal of creating Jumma land—an independent state for Chakmas— India sponsored the worst kind of terrorism in Chittagong Hill Tracks using its military and intelligence resources. The surreptitious Indian involvement in providing money and weapons to tribal insurgents in the Chittagong Hill Tracks since 1976 was acknowledged by Bimal Chakma—a Shanti Bahini official– in an interview with ‘The New York Times’ on June 11, 1989.[8] India used the insurgents against Bangladesh as a tool to gain political and economic concessions which she would not otherwise be able to extract from the government of Bangladesh. Finally, Bangladesh entered into a peace agreement with Shanti Bahini in 1997 to end insurgency and to restore law and order in Chittagong Hill Tracks, but the security and intelligence agencies of the country are still convinced that a lot of ex-Shanti Bahini members and other terrorists are still getting help from Indian security agencies and are hiding in the North East states of India.

4. Policy of proving Bangladesh as a safe haven for Indian insurgents: Because of India’s step motherly attitude towards its landlocked North Eastern states, a growing sense of deprivation, exploitation, and insecurity is prevalent among the people of this region, which has contributed to give birth to a number of insurgent groups who have taken up arms against their own government for self-determination. India’s myopic decision to crush insurgency through military means without finding the root causes to better understand the problem and the absence of a mature policy of providing economic and social incentives to remove inequalities have created myriad of problems causing further alienation of indigenous people. India in an attempt to portray itself as a victim of terrorism is now trying to find a scapegoat in Bangladesh to blame for the insurgency and to conceal its failure to contain insurgencies in the North East and to disprove its own involvement in secessionist movement in Chittagong Hill Tracks. Bangladesh, however, boldly rejected all such false allegations by India.[9]

5. Media propaganda: Notwithstanding its small landmass, Bangladesh, in terms of population, is the seventh largest country in the world and a home for 130 million Muslims. She has been playing a major role in international peace efforts and war against terrorism through contributing the second highest troops to U.N missions and through introducing tough anti terrorism ordinance with a provision of death sentence for those convicted of terrorism. Bangladesh was termed as a unique example of democracy in South Asia region by the then U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns and as a model for democracy and tolerance by Harry K Thomas—ex U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh. Disregarding the support and appreciation of International community for Bangladesh’s role in the war against terrorism, Indian media keeps inventing fictitious stories about Bangladesh’s alleged inability to respond to the security needs of India, in particular, and the world, in general to create pressure on the government of Bangladesh. But the fact of the matter is, Bangladesh is taking regional and global security matters seriously and is working closely with the international community to stop her soil from being used by elements inimical to regional and global security. It can be mentioned that the international community including the United States has welcomed Bangladesh’s dismantling of the terror network of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and its execution of the top terror leaders after following due process of law and has termed Bangladesh as a valuable partner in the war against terrorism.

6. Trade imbalance: In bilateral trade relations with its neighbors, India follows a policy of deriving maximum benefits by securing duty free access for its commodities, by cornering other smaller regional countries by not allowing them to have similar privileges, and by imposing non tariff barriers on their exports. The SAARC trade leaders have also termed India as the major roadblock in boosting regional trade.[10] Bangladesh is a victim of the same exploitative Indian trade strategy and suffers from a trade deficit to the amount of $2 billion with India which can be attributed to non removal of tariff and non tariff barriers on her exports. To offset the negative impact of this yawning trade gap, India has so far not offered any significant amount of investments and loans to Bangladesh.

7. Water sharing: The Indian strategy of bilateral ism and non implementation of water sharing treaties has caused enormous difficulties to its lower riparian neighbors because India uses prevailing asymmetry of power to its own advantage to deprive its neighbors of their due share of water. This has caused enormous ecological damage to riverine Bangladesh as supply of water during dry season has dwindled at an alarming rate. Renowned water expert, Dr. Ainun Nishat in an interview with a local daily said, “But Article-2 (2) stipulates that India will protect the flow at a specified level. Unless this protection mechanism is in operation the residual flow that arrives at Farakka may not be the flow that matches 40 years average condition. In short, the flow distributed has not been protected by India as per provision of the treaty…………..What India is doing now is that it is supplying residual water to Farakka to be shared by Bangladesh as India is either withdrawing water from upper riparian rivers or diverting water flows to other rivers within India by river linking projects.”[11]

Asymmetry in power and strategic options for Bangladesh

With 20 times larger landmass, 10 times larger population, and 10 times larger military, India is placed in an advantageous position to negotiate with Bangladesh from the position of strength to define the bilateral relation that suits its own political, strategic, and economic interests.

Being the weaker party, Bangladesh has to be creative in devising strategies to utilize India’s geographical and security vulnerabilities to her advantage through using her own geographical advantages, through forming alliances with strong friendly nations, and through being part of powerful international security forums to reduce her strategic vulnerabilities that arise from asymmetry in power vis a vis India and to protect her national interest.

The government of Bangladesh will define the responsibilities of different agencies to design, to implement, and to enforce strategies to deal with existing power inequalities with India, and they will also establish policies to review the current strategies to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to ensure effectiveness to respond to current risks and to adjust to future risks.

No single strategy is enough to deal with a country as big and powerful as India, so Bangladesh has to employ several different strategies to diminish India’s strategic advantages over Bangladesh through identifying India’s security weak points and using them as Bangladesh’s own strategic assets, and through internationalizing bilateral issues to seek help from powerful friends and international forums so as to force India to resolve any disputes on the basis of justice, equality, and mutual respect.

In light of the above discussion, Bangladesh may employ following strategies to protect her national interest vis a vis India:

1. Diplomacy: To use bilateral diplomatic channels to resolve disputes in an amicable manner, and if that fails then use regional forums to raise the issues and involve other regional actors in the dispute resolution processes, and if still that doesn’t work then use the United Nations to take diplomatic actions to prevent disputes from escalating into conflicts.

2. International security forums: To make exhaustive efforts to raise bilateral security issues with India in ASEAN Regional Forum in an attempt to engage all the members of the forum in constructive security dialogues to resolve disputes through confidence building or through preventive diplomacy.

3. Strategic alliance: To form strategic alliance with China to obtain security guarantee in the event of a military conflict with India, and to obtain political guarantee that China will use her veto power to thwart Indian attempt to use the United Nations Security Council to legitimize its actions with respect to disputes with Bangladesh. Bangladesh will also work with China on matters that affect Chinese security interests based on mutual cooperation, interest, and utmost respect for each others sovereignty.

4. Strategic chicken neck: To consider the ‘chicken neck’ as strategic asset and to take political decision based on national consensus to not allow India to get transit rights on a bilateral basis through Bangladesh to transport goods, military or industrial, to its North East region. This will give Bangladesh a clear strategic advantage over India because the latter will be forced to rely on Bangladesh for stability and economic development of its North East region.

5. Military strength: To gain substantial military power to tie the entire Eastern Command of India in a long term war to cause erosion in its ability to fight a simultaneous war against Bangladesh and China or the insurgents in North East region, and to give Pakistan an opportunity to escalate the dispute over Kashmir into a major conflict on the Western side.

To the path of cooperation and partnership:

Despite having divergent strategic and security outlook, Bangladesh and India, being so close neighbors and part of so many regional and international forums, should try to take solid actions to minimize differences to foster understanding and cooperation in various socio-economic and security issues for amicable co-existence and regional stability. The following set of actions are recommended to achieve a peaceful bilateral relation:

  1. To promote regional cooperation to harness water resources for the benefit of agriculture and electricity production
  2. To provide duty free access for each others commodities to promote greater economic cooperation
  3. To take prompt diplomatic actions to demarcate land and maritime borders in the spirit of justice, equality, and good neighborliness
  4. To work closely to combat sea piracy, illegal arms trade, drug trafficking and human trafficking for the sake of regional security and stability
  5. To create culture of non-interference in each others internal affairs to promote trust, confidence, and cooperation

    References

    1. J N Dixit, Congress to follow cooperative policy with Bangladesh and SAARC neighbors
    http://www.bssnews.net/index.php?genID=BSS…-04-11&id=7
    2. RAW: Top-Secret Failures, p: 5
    3. Dr. Kalidas Baidya, Bangalir Muktijudhe Antoraler Sheikh Mujib, p:166-167
    4.
    http://meaindia.nic.in/treatiesagreement/1972/chap452.htm.
    5.
    http://www.indianexpress.com/ie/daily/19990624/iex24073.html
    6. http://www.newagebd.com/2009/jul/25/oped.html
    7. http://www.thedailystar.net/2003/10/01/d31001020323.htm
    8. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/11/world/ba…rting-them.html
    9. http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=64752
    10. http://nation.ittefaq.com/artman/publish/article_34202.shtml
    11. BD deprived of Ganges water as India violates treaty, The Bangladesh Today – February 17, 2009



Osama Bin Laden worked for US until 9/11
August 7, 2009, 10:35 am
Filed under: Islam, SubContinent, USA

Osama Bin Laden worked for US until 9/11

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds dropped a bombshell on the Mike Malloy radio show, guest-hosted by Brad Friedman (audio, partial transcript).

In the interview, Sibel says that the US maintained ‘intimate relations’ with Bin Laden, and the Taliban, “all the way until that day of September 11.”

These ‘intimate relations’ included using Bin Laden for ‘operations’ in Central Asia, including Xinjiang, China. These ‘operations’ involved using al Qaeda and the Taliban in the same manner “as we did during the Afghan and Soviet conflict,” that is, fighting ‘enemies’ via proxies.

As Sibel has previously described, and as she reiterates in this latest interview, this process involved using Turkey (with assistance from ‘actors from Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia’) as a proxy, which in turn used Bin Laden and the Taliban and others as a proxy terrorist army.

Control of Central Asia

The goals of the American ’statesmen’ directing these activities included control of Central Asia’s vast energy supplies and new markets for military products.

The Americans had a problem, though. They needed to keep their fingerprints off these operations to avoid a) popular revolt in Central Asia ( Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan), and b) serious repercussions from China and Russia. They found an ingenious solution: Use their puppet-state Turkey as a proxy, and appeal to both pan-Turkic and pan-Islam sensibilities.

Turkey, a NATO ally, has a lot more credibility in the region than the US and, with the history of the Ottoman Empire, could appeal to pan-Turkic dreams of a wider sphere of influence. The majority of the Central Asian population shares the same heritage, language and religion as the Turks.

In turn, the Turks used the Taliban and al Qaeda, appealing to their dreams of a pan-Islamic caliphate (Presumably. Or maybe the Turks/US just paid very well.)

According to Sibel:

This started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia by a small group in the US intent on furthering the oil industry and the Military Industrial Complex, using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies, furthering this objective in the name of Islam.

Uighurs

Sibel was recently asked to write about the recent situation with the Uighurs in Xinjiang, but she declined, apart from saying that “our fingerprint is all over it.”

Of course, Sibel isn’t the first or only person to recognize any of this. Eric Margolis, one of the best reporters in the West on matters of Central Asia, stated that the Uighurs in the training camps in Afghanistan up to 2001:

“were being trained by Bin Laden to go and fight the communist Chinese in Xinjiang, and this was not only with the knowledge, but with the support of the CIA, because they thought they might use them if war ever broke out with China.”

And also that:

“Afghanistan was not a hotbed of terrorism, these were commando groups, guerrilla groups, being trained for specific purposes in Central Asia.”

In a separate interview, Margolis said:

“That illustrates Henry Kissinger’s bon mot that the only thing more dangerous than being America’s enemy is being an ally, because these people were paid by the CIA, they were armed by the US, these Chinese Muslims from Xinjiang, the most-Western province.

The CIA was going to use them in the event of a war with China, or just to raise hell there, and they were trained and supported out of Afghanistan, some of them with Osama Bin Laden’s collaboration. The Americans were up to their ears with this.”

Rogues Gallery

Last year, Sibel came up with a brilliant idea to expose some of the criminal activity that she is forbidden to speak about: she published eighteen photos, titled “Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery,” of people involved the operations that she has been trying to expose. One of those people is Anwar Yusuf Turani, the so-called ‘President-in-exile’ of East Turkistan (Xinjiang). This so-called ‘government-in-exile’ was ‘established‘ on Capitol Hill in September, 2004, drawing a sharp rebuke from China.

Also featured in Sibel’s Rogues Gallery was ‘former’ spook Graham Fuller, who was instrumental in the establishment of Turani’s ‘government-in-exile’ of East Turkistan. Fuller has written extensively on Xinjiang, and his “ Xinjiang Project” for Rand Corp is apparently the blueprint for Turani’s government-in-exile. Sibel has openly stated her contempt for Mr. Fuller.

Susurluk

The Turkish establishment has a long history of mingling matters of state with terrorism, drug trafficking and other criminal activity, best exemplified by the 1996 Susurluk incident which exposed the so-called Deep State.

Sibel states that “a few main Susurluk actors also ended up in Chicago where they centered ‘certain’ aspects of their operations (Especially East Turkistan-Uighurs).”

One of the main Deep State actors, Mehmet Eymur, former Chief of Counter-Terrorism for Turkey’s intelligence agency, the MIT, features in Sibel’s Rogues Gallery. Eymur was given exile in the US. Another member of Sibel’s gallery, Marc Grossman was Ambassador to Turkey at the time that the Susurluk incident exposed the Deep State. He was recalled shortly after, prior to the end of his assignment, as was Grossman’s underling, Major Douglas Dickerson, who later tried to recruit Sibel into the spying ring.

The modus operandi of the Susurluk gang is the same as the activities that Sibel describes as taking place in Central Asia, the only difference is that this activity was exposed in Turkey a decade ago, whereas the organs of the state in the US, including the corporate media, have successfully suppressed this story.

Chechnya, Albania & Kosovo

Central Asia is not the only place where American foreign policy makers have shared interests with Bin Laden. Consider the war in Chechnya. As I documented here, Richard Perle and Stephen Solarz (both in Sibel’s gallery) joined other leading neocon luminaries such as Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen, James Woolsey, and Morton Abramowitz in a group called the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). For his part, Bin Laden donated $25 million to the cause, as well as numerous fighters, and technical expertise, establishing training camps.

US interests also converged with those of al-Qaeda in Kosovo and Albania.

Of course, it is not uncommon for circumstances to arise where ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ On the other hand, in a transparent democracy, we expect a full accounting of the circumstances leading up to a tragic event like 9/11. The 9/11 Commission was supposed to provide exactly that.

State Secrets

Sibel has famously been dubbed the most gagged woman in America, having the State Secrets Privilege imposed on her twice. Her 3.5 hour testimony to the 9/11 Commission has been entirely suppressed, reduced to a single footnote which refers readers to her classified testimony.

In the interview, she says that the information that was classified in her case specifically identifies that the US was using Bin Laden and the Taliban in Central Asia, including Xinjiang. In the interview, Sibel reiterates that when invoking the gag orders, the US government claims that it is protecting ” ’sensitive diplomatic relations,’ protecting Turkey, protecting Israel, protecting Pakistan, protecting Saudi Arabia…” This is no doubt partially true, but it is also true that they are protecting themselves too, and it is a crime in the US to use classification and secrecy to cover up crimes.

As Sibel says in the interview:

I have information about things that our government has lied to us about… those things can be proven as lies, very easily, based on the information they classified in my case, because we did carry very intimate relationship with these people, and it involves Central Asia, all the way up to September 11.

Summary

The bombshell here is obviously that certain people in the US were using Bin Laden up to September 11, 2001.

It is important to understand why: the US outsourced terror operations to al Qaeda and the Taliban for many years, promoting the Islamization of Central Asia in an attempt to personally profit off military sales as well as oil and gas concessions.

The silence by the US government on these matters is deafening. So, too, is the blowback.

http://pakalert.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/bombshell-osama-bin-laden-worked-for-us-until-911/



Water Scarcity and the Threat of Water Wars in South Asia – A Bangladesh Perspective
June 6, 2009, 6:29 pm
Filed under: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, SubContinent

Water Scarcity and the Threat of Water Wars in South Asia – A Bangladesh Perspective

MBI Munshi

mbimunshi@gmail.com

 INTRODUCTION

South Asia is known for many wonderful and beautiful things such as its varied cultures, languages, religions, landscapes and peoples but above all it is known for its volatility and sudden outbreaks of violence and often brutal and destructive conflicts. The Indian subcontinent, as it was once known, was partitioned on the basis of religion in 1947 according to the concept of the two-nation theory. Since then several wars have been fought over territory, sovereignty and in one case for independence which eventually led to the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971 as an independent nation-state. As things now stand the next war in the South Asia region could well be over water. This appears almost inevitable unless India adopts a more accommodative attitude towards its neighbour’s claims for reasonable and equitable water sharing rights. Recent history has, however, suggested quite the opposite with New Delhi ignoring the just demands of Bangladesh which as the lower riparian nation is wholly dependant for its survival on the regular and sustained flow of water coming through India from the Himalayas.  

Since 1971 Bangladesh has generally adopted a defensive attitude in its relations with its large neighbour in recognition of the economic and military might of India. However, if New Delhi continues with its policy of draining the life blood of Bangladesh it is more than likely that this small but populous nation would be forced to take on a more assertive role in its relations with India and in realizing its just demands for water, as well as in addition to other contentious bilateral issues, could ultimately lead to conflict in the coming decade. Policy makers in Bangladesh are yet to wake up to this reality but as a new generation of leaders emerge faced with the calamitous consequences of the large scale withdrawal and diversion of water by India they may have few choices but to confront New Delhi in a more aggressive and confrontational manner. This may appear at first glance to be highly unlikely but with millions displaced by desertification and the numerous other adverse effects (some of which has wrongly been attributed to climate change to distract world attention to the actual causes of environmental damage in Bangladesh) of the Indian water withdrawal policy such a scenario cannot be easily dismissed. Fueling this growing animosity would be decades of mistrust caused by an arrogant and duplicitous policy devised and practiced by India’s politicians and diplomats in their dealings with Bangladesh.  

 BACKGROUND TO WATER SHARING DISPUTES

The very geographical location of Bangladesh makes it the lowest riparian country of more than 50 trans-boundary rivers. The waters of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and other trans-boundary rivers have been sustaining the life and living of millions of Bangladeshis. Without these waters, the livelihood of millions of Bangladeshis would come under severe stress. Unfortunately, since independence, Bangladesh has been observing with great concern, the gradual reduction of the dry season flows of the Ganges, Teesta and many other trans-boundary rivers due to anthropogenic interventions across the borders – primarily by India. Since its independence in 1947, India has made intensive efforts to harness and develop the water resources in the Ganges basin. The data indicates that India now has several dozen large barrages and other diversionary structures operating in the basin which are capable of diverting 100,000 cusec flows from the Ganges and its different tributaries. Moreover, India has constructed more than 400 major, medium and small storage dams in the basin area. Of these, the major storage reservoirs have a total capacity of 2221 billion cubic feet or 63 billion cubic meters (BCM). Bangladesh itself could not embark upon any such major development of the waters of the trans-boundary rivers including the Ganges in the face of uncertainties of its dry season availability from across the border. Moreover, the flat terrain of Bangladesh does not allow any storage of excess monsoon waters for use during the dry season and such projects would in any case be extortionately exorbitant for the country at its present stage of development and with its limited financial resources.

The consequences for Bangladesh of India’s policy of diversion and withdrawal of water have been both dramatic and devastating. Upstream diversion of the precious dry season flows of the Ganges has adversely affected the hydrology, river morphology, agriculture, domestic and municipal water supply, fishery, forestry, wildlife, industry, navigation, public health and biodiversity in large areas of Bangladesh dependent on the Ganges water. Western analysts have been duped into believing that these negative environmental affects are caused by climate change that will in a few decades result in the rise of sea waters that will inundate large areas of the country. However, the actual cause of increased salinity in the south-western region of Bangladesh has been India’s diversion and withdrawal of water which allows ingress of sea water from the Bay of Bengal due to the reduced natural fresh water flows in the opposite direction during the dry season. Another extremely serious but indirect consequence of this water diversion policy is the contamination of ground water with arsenic. With the reduction of water from India millions in Bangladesh are now forced to access ground water which if pumped continuously over a prolonged period assists a chemical reaction that oxidizes naturally occurring arseno-pyrites deep in the soil resulting in the release of arsenic into the water – a process which may properly described as almost akin to mass poisoning. This consequential alarming degradation of the environment and water supply in south-western Bangladesh has already forced thousands to leave in quest of survival elsewhere. In the face of deteriorating human health, reduced economic productivity and loss of amenities, life and living in this part of Bangladesh people are becoming increasingly vulnerable, insecure and resentful. These are probably the prime causes of conflict between states if history is to be any guide.

THE FARAKKA BARRAGE PROJECT AND DIVERSION OF THE GANGES WATER

 If we leave aside the period between 1947-1971 when Bangladesh was called East Pakistan and considered by India as a hostile entity the likelihood of agreement on water sharing was obviously limited. However, it was during this period that Indian diplomacy became a byword for duplicity and this approach was to continue in its relations with Bangladesh after it obtained independence from Pakistan with the help of the Indian military – which in hindsight had very little to do with altruism or kind hearted generosity and more to do with Indian geo-strategic imperatives. In any case, it was on October 29, 1951 that the then Pakistan government drew the attention of the Indian authorities to the report of a scheme for diverting large amounts of dry season flow of the Ganges. Four months later, on 8 March, 1952 India replied that the project was only under preliminary investigation and described Pakistan’s concern over probable effects as purely hypothetical. Again on May 22, 1953 India reassured Pakistan that the Farraka and Gandak projects (a tributary of the Ganges) were still being investigated and India would appreciate cooperative development of the water resources of the Ganges. Nine years after the issue was first mooted the Government of India announced that it was going ahead with the plan to build a barrage across the River Ganges at Farraka[i] and Pakistan was formally informed. Talks took place occasionally between 1961 and 1970 but real negotiation and consultations did not. By 1970 India completed construction of the Farraka Barrage. The 24 mile feeder canal was, however, not yet ready.

While the Indian government’s behaviour towards Pakistan during this 19 year period (1951-1970) is explicable on the grounds that both nations were inherently inimical towards each other having just fought two wars within just thirty years it is still not explainable why India would adopt the same negotiating tactics towards the new nation of Bangladesh which it had recently assisted in its liberation war? I have provided my own theory in my book ‘The India Doctrine’ where I draw attention to India’s policy of domination over South Asia and an underlying resentment over the 1947 partition which seemingly allows Indian policy makers to ignore the just grievances of its smaller neighbours and not merely in the area of water sharing but including the whole array of bilateral issues that now bedevil interstate relations in the region.

After Bangladesh gained independence in 1971 relations with India gradually deteriorated and this was reflected in negotiations between the countries over water sharing rights. The Governments of India and Bangladesh decided in March 1972 to set up the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC). One of the major functions of the JRC was to maintain liaison between the participating countries in order to ensure the most effective joint efforts in maximizing the benefits from common river systems to both the countries. The question of sharing the water of the Ganges was, however, kept out of the purview of the JRC, to be settled at the level of Prime Ministers. In this regard, many in Bangladesh felt at the time that the Awami League government of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was too compliant and would easily buckle to Indian demands which actually turned out to be the case. The Prime Minister of India and Bangladesh met in New Delhi in May 1974 and discussed amongst other things, the Ganges issue. Following this meeting, there was a Joint Declaration on May 16, 1974, wherein they observed that during the periods of minimum flow in the Ganges, there might not be enough water and, therefore, the fair weather (dry season) flow of the Ganges in the lean months would have to be augmented to meet the needs of Calcutta port and to fulfill requirement of Bangladesh. They also agreed that the best means of augmentation through optimum utilization of the water resources of the region available to the two countries should be studied by the Joint Rivers Commission. The two sides expressed their determination that before the Farakka project is commissioned; they would arrive at a mutually acceptable allocation of the water available during the periods of minimum flow in the Ganges. The JRC accordingly took up the issue of augmentation of the Ganges flows but was unable to reach any agreement.  

At a subsequent minister level meeting in April 1975 the Indian side proposed a test-run of the feeder canal of the Farakka Barrage for a limited period during that dry season. On good faith, Bangladesh agreed to India’s request and allowed it to operate the feeder canal with varying discharges in ten-day periods from April 21 to May 31, 1975, ensuring the continuance of the remaining flows to Bangladesh. Although India was supposed to divert limited quantities of water from the Ganges for the said test-run up to May 31, 1975, it continued withdrawals from Farakka to the full capacity of the feeder canal during the dry season of 1976 without entering into any understanding or agreement on sharing the flows despite Bangladesh’s repeated requests. The consequences of India’s actions had been tragic. The unilateral Indian withdrawals throughout the dry seasons of 1976 caused a marked reduction in the dry season Ganges flows in Bangladesh. This sudden change in the flow pattern caused an alarming situation in the south western region of Bangladesh.

To cut a long story short, Bangladesh repeatedly requested India to stop the unilateral withdrawals but this bore little fruit. Bangladesh then took the issue to the United Nations in 1976 and the General Assembly urged both sides to seek an immediate solution. Between 1977 and 1988 Bangladesh and India signed several temporary agreements but no permanent understanding could be reached. Between 1988 and 1996 there was no instrument for sharing the dry season Ganges flows between the two countries. In the absence of any agreement, India again started unilateral withdrawals from Farakka. It was not until the Awami League returned to power in 1996 in Bangladesh under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina (daughter of the slain leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) that a treaty between the countries was signed on the sharing of the Ganges Water at Farakka. This treaty has not been viewed favourably in Bangladesh as it was felt to be a subservient arrangement without the usual safeguards and guarantees and contrary to norms of international law. It appears these apprehensions were well founded as recent reports suggest that the quantity of water flowing down from the Farakka point has been declining due to the withdrawal of water by India through various canals in violation of the water sharing agreement.  

The treaty is now under legal challenge in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh on the following grounds amongst others –

  1. That Bangladesh has been receiving lesser amounts of flows at Farakka as its share compared to the quanta it should be receiving as agreed between the contracting parties set out in the schedule contained in Annexure II of the Treaty.
  2. The instruments signed by Bangladesh and India do not provide entitlement to the former to participate or to become party to negotiations on any water course or in any consultations thereof e.g. Bangladesh cannot participate in the bilateral negotiation between India and Nepal which aim to implement projects on major tributaries of the Ganges river emanating from the Nepalese territory like the Pancheswar and Saptkosi High Dam Projects.
  3. Over the last three decades the Bangladesh government has repeatedly requested India for upstream hydro-meteorological data of the Ganges, Brahamputra and other rivers. The Indian side has declined to supply or exchange such upstream data and information. The 1996 treaty and other Indo-Bangladesh agreements are totally silent about the provisioning of this information.
  4. India either unilaterally or bilaterally with Nepal and Bhutan are undertaking planned measures for harnessing and regulating water resources of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna and some of their tributaries without informing or providing notification to the downstream riparian country of those rivers which is Bangladesh.
  5. The 1996 Treaty and other Indo-Bangladesh do not provide for any third-party arbitration on settlement of disputes.  

These are only a few of the grounds that are claimed by the petitioner to be in contravention of customary international law and in particular the provisions of the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses and the Berlin Rules on Water Resources[ii] which both contain internationally accepted safeguards and guarantees that were omitted from the 1996 treaty. In particular, India’s withdrawal of waters in an unreasonable and inequitable manner and the terms of the 1996 treaty appear to be in violation of Articles 7,8,13,17,29,56,57,58,59,60,68,72 and 73 of the Berlin Rules but most importantly and significantly Article 12 which states –

1. Basin States shall in their respective territories manage the waters of an international drainage basin in an equitable and reasonable manner having due regard for the obligation not to cause significant harm to other basin States.

2. In particular, basin States shall develop and use the waters of the basin in order to attain the optimal and sustainable use thereof and benefits therefrom, taking into account the interests of other basin States, consistent with adequate protection of the waters. 

And Article 16 which provides –  

Basin States, in managing the waters of an international drainage basin, shall refrain from and prevent acts or omissions within their territory that cause significant harm to another basin State having due regard for the right of each basin State to make equitable and reasonable use of the waters. 

Regardless of the outcome of the case, relations between Bangladesh and India are likely to deteriorate as agreement on water sharing in an equitable and reasonable manner appear a distant and forlorn prospect making conflict a more likely scenario. In some respects, a low level conflict has already begun as there are frequent and bloody skirmishes between the two countries border security forces and occasionally fighting has occurred over construction of groins and spurs on the Indian side intended to divert the course of rivers so that they encroach further into Bangladesh territory while supplementing the Indian side.

RIVER LINKING PROJECT

 If the Farakka Barrage dispute had been the only bone of contention between the two countries then some minimum resolution to the dispute may have been forthcoming but with India (in total disregard of the environmental harm that would be sustained by Bangladesh) now undertaking the massive River Linking Project (RLP) a further serious deterioration in relations is inevitable. Quite astonishingly, the RLP concept was conceived not by an expert committee or by the relevant government department but instead by the Indian Supreme Court which ruled (in relation to a Public Interest Litigation hearing) that there should be interlinking of rivers to offset drought and flooding in various parts of the country. Justice Kirpal set a 10 year deadline for implementation of the project. A brief six-page order passed on October 31, 2002 formed the basis on which the Indian government set up a high powered task force which devised a Perspective Plan comprising two components –

  1. Peninsular Rivers Development; and
  2. Himalayan Rivers Development

The Peninsular Rivers Component envisages the inter-linking of several major rivers at several different points along their course. The Himalayan Rivers Component which poses more serious difficulties for Bangladesh envisages construction of storages on the principal tributaries of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra in India, Nepal and Bhutan. Also, canal systems are to be inter-linked to transfer surplus flows of the eastern tributaries of the Ganges to the West apart from linking the (main) Brahmaputra and its tributaries with the Ganges and the Ganges with Mahanadi.

The effect of the RLP on Bangladesh has been variously described as devastating, catastrophic and also causing incalculable and irreparable damage to the country’s environment and ecological balance. This unfortunately is not mere exaggeration since the Brahmaputra and the Ganges provides more than 85% of the total surface water available in Bangladesh during the dry season. Of the two, the Brahmaputra provides 67% of the water. The diversion and withdrawal of these waters under the RLP would constitute a similar proposition to Bangladesh as the Iraqi WMD program did (under the Saddam Hussain regime) for the United States and the United Kingdom. In the present context the threat to Bangladesh is not hypothetical.

In the face of this looming crisis the Government of Bangladesh has already lodged protests to the Government of India expressing serious concern over the RLP and has urged India to refrain from implementation of the plan. The Government has also communicated Bangladesh’s serious concern over the Indian plan to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank and requested them to desist from providing any support to India relating to this plan. The matter was also raised during several meetings of the JRC where India was urged to desist from such a move without the consent of Bangladesh. It appears, however, that the Indian political leadership is committed to go ahead with this plan at the cost of its neighbours. The feeling is intensifying in the minds of the general public in Bangladesh against the Indian plan and their voice of protest is growing louder with the passage of time.

Considering that the Farraka Barrage and the RLP are only two of the many projects being undertaken by the Indian Government to divert and withdraw waters from the common rivers indicates that water sharing disputes with Bangladesh will progressively increase and naturally lead to growing tensions between the countries. The other major disputes on water sharing now include the Teesta, Feni, Meghna, Mahananda, Monu, Khowai, Gumti, Muhuri and Kodla Rivers and also construction of the Tipaimukh Dam in Manipur district of India. This last mentioned project has had the effect of eroding a large portion of Sylhet district in Bangladesh with almost 5000 acres drifting towards the Indian side following erosion of the riverbanks due to an artificial change in the course of the rivers Surma and Kushiara. All these water sharing disputes and the continued disregard for the concerns expressed by Bangladesh about these projects and the continuation of diversion and withdrawal of water in an unreasonable and inequitable manner is being viewed as an attack on the sovereignty of the country which if not restrained and outstanding issues settled amicably could lead to conflict in the coming decades.    

THIS PAPER WAS WRITTEN AS A SPEECH AND HEAVY RELIANCE WAS MADE ON CERTAIN EXPERT PAPERS THAT WERE NOT NOTED AT THE TIME OF WRITING. THE NOTES AND REFERENCES BELOW IS THEREFORE PARTIAL AND IF ANYONE RECOGNISES ANY ELEMENT OF THEIR WORK IN THIS PAPER PLEASE INFORM THE WRITER SO INCLUSION MAY BE MADE IN THE REFERENCE SECTION. ANY OMISSION ON THE PART OF THE WRITER WAS COMPLETELY INADVERTANT. THE PAPER IS BEING RELEASED MERELY FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES AND NOT FOR PROFIT.   

NOTES


[i] India constructed the Farakka Barrage on the Ganges to divert the water flowing through Bangladesh to maintain navigability of the Calcutta Port 260 km away, whereas Crow et al. support that stagnation of the Port of Calcutta was due to the decline of the industrial activity and overall economic activity, and that a minimum research efforts or unfinished investigations for possible alternative to the construction of Farakka Barrage was performed. The growth of the Calcutta Port was one-fortieth of the growth of other Indian ports. It was at the acme of development during the British rule in India (1870-1947) when the port carried 40-50% of India’s exports and imports. The port growth had declination of 23%, 11%, and 10% in the mid-sixties, late seventies, and in the late eighties of the last century, respectively. Dredging of the port was the best solution since the port failed to demonstrate convincingly the importance of the Farakka Barriage.

[ii] The Rules present a comprehensive collection of all the relevant customary international law that a water manager or a court or other legal decision maker would have to take into account in resolving issues relating to the management of water resources. These Rules set about to provide a clear, co-gent, and coherent statement of the customary international law that applies to waters of international drainage basins, and to the extent that customary international law applies to waters entirely within a State, to all waters as well. These Rules also undertake the progressive development of the law needed to cope with emerging problems of international or global water management for the twenty-first century.

REFERENCES –

Dr. Miah Muhammad AdelUpstream Controller’s Dual Benefits at the Cost of Downstream Drainer’s Double Trouble (NFB – August 13, 2007)

Megh Barta – River linking project of India (4-August-2007)

International Law Association – BERLIN CONFERENCE (2004)  WATER RESOURCES LAW (

The Daily Star – Rivers dying as Ganges project remains in limbo (January 26, 2008)

The Daily Star – Tipaimukh dam to destroy ecology in Meghna basin (October 28, 2007)

The Daily Star – Unilateral withdrawal of Brahmaputra waters? (June 8, 2007)

The Daily Star – We can’t assure availability of water due to climatic reason (May 29, 2007)

The Daily Star – New courses of frontier-rivers changing Bangladesh’s map (May 7, 2007)

The Daily Star – Bangladesh loses land due to erosion by Sylhet border rivers (July 5, 2008)

New Age – Debunking the ‘NASA’ doomsday climate prediction for Bangladesh (July 5, 2008)

New Age – India’s violation of water sharing deal hampers irrigation (April 5, 2008)

New Age – Water should be used to unify South Asian people: experts (July 13, 2008)

The BD Today – Natural catastrophe apprehended along river Padma (May 23, 2008)

The BD Today – Unilateral withdrawal of waters threatens ecology in Padma basin :Indo-Bangla treaty grossly violates water sharing (November 14, 2007)

The News Today – River navigability in southern region on decrease (June 13, 2008)

The News Today – Death of the Rivers (May 23, 2008)

The News Today – Indian Tipaimukh dam to be death trap for Bangladesh (February 12, 2007)

The New Nation – Structure on other side blamed: Ichhamati shifts into Bangladesh (July 6, 2008)

The New Nation – Indian HC’s remark repudiated: Bangladesh deprived of dry season river flow (May 8, 2008)

The New Nation – Damned hearings on Tipaimukh Dam (May 5, 2008)

India Express – River sutras :The river interlinking project is another disaster waiting to happen (April 26, 2005)

John Vidal – India’s Dream, Bangladesh’s Disaster (The Guardian – 24 July, 2003)

Shailendra Nath Ghosh – Interlinking Rivers -The Millennial Folly (Countercurrrnets.org- 15 May, 2003)

Abdur Rahman Khan – Bangladesh drying up as India withdrawing Ganges water (HOLIDAY – April 1, 2008)  

NFB – India provides less Ganges water for Bangladesh : Dhaka’s protest remains unheeded  (February 17, 2008)

NFB – River Linking Project of India- Expectations (May 16, 2008)

Priyo – Bangladesh drying up as India withdrawing Ganges water (April 3, 2008)

 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhakamails/message/3596



South Asian Terrorism: All Roads Lead To The British Empire
March 31, 2009, 10:32 am
Filed under: Bangladesh, India, Muslims, Pakistan, SubContinent

South Asian Terrorism: All Roads Lead To The British Empire

By Ramtanu Maitra


This is the first part of a two-part series. Next week:“Baluchistan and FATA in Pakistan.”


The growing violence throughout Pakistan since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in the Winter of 2001, the November 2008 attack on Mumbai, India, and many other smaller terrorist-directed killings in India, and the gruesome killing of at least 70 top Bangladeshi Army officers in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed last month, were evidence that the terrorists have declared war against the sovereign nation-states in South Asia. The only bright spot in this context is Sri Lanka, where a powerful terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), better known as the Tamil Tigers, are about to lose their home base. That, however, may not end the LTTE terrorism, particularly since it is headquartered in London, where many South Asian terrorists are maintained in separate cages for future use by British intelligence, with the blessings of Her Majesty’s Service.

 

Since none of the South Asian countries, where the terrorists are gaining ground, have, so far, shown the ability to evaluate, and thus, eliminate, the growth of this terrorism, it is necessary to know its genesis, and how it has affected the leaders of the South Asian nations to the detriment of their respective security. What is evident is that the South Asian terrorism has little to do with territorial disputes among nations, but everything to do with the past British colonial rule which poisoned the minds of the locals, so they have become disloyal to their own countries.

 

In this article, we will deal with the terrorism that continues to prosper in India’s northeast; and the terrorism in Sri Lanka, brought about by the British-induced ethnic animosity among its citizens. This history is the narration of a tragedy, since those who fought for independence in these South Asian nations, made enormous sacrifices to bring about their independence; many of those heroic figures turned out to be mental slaves of the British Empire, and pursued relentlessly the policies that the British had implemented to run their degenerate Empire.

 

India’s Northeast

Six decades after India wrested independence from its colonial rulers, its northeast region is a cauldron of trouble. Located in a highly strategic area, with land contiguous to five countries—Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China—it is full of militant separatists, who take refuge in the neighboring countries under pressure from Indian security forces. Since most of these neighboring countries do not have the reach to control the border areas, the separatist groups have set up armed training camps, which, over the years, have attracted international drug and gun traffickers. As a result of such unrelenting terrorist actions, and violent demonstrations over the last five decades, this part of India remains today a dangerous place.

 

These secessionist groups were not created by New Delhi, although New Delhi failed to understand that the promotion of ethnic, sub-ethnic, and tribal identities were policies of the British, who had come to India to expand their empire. The British Empire survived, and then thrived, through identification, within the subcontinent, of various ethnic and sub-ethnic groups and their conflict points; and then, exploited those conflict points to keep the groups divided and hostile to each other.

 

India and the other South Asian nations failed to comprehend that it was suicidal to allow a degenerate colonial power to pursue such policies against their nations. As a result, they were carried out by New Delhi for two ostensible reasons: One, to appease the militants, and the other, to “allow them to keep” what they wanted— their sub-national ethnic identity. The policy deprived the majority of the people of the Northeast of the justification for identifying themselves as Indians.

 

The die was cast in the subversion of the sovereignty of an independent India by the British Raj in 1862, when it laid down the law of apartheid, to isolate “the tribal groups.” The British came into the area in the 1820s, following the Burmese conquest of Manipur and parts of Assam. The area had become unstable in the latter part of the 18th Century, following the over-extension of the Burmese-based Ahom kingdom, which reached into Assam. The instability caused by the weakening of the Ahom kingdom prompted the Burmese to move to secure their western flank. But the Burmese action also helped to bring in the British. The British East India Company was lying in wait for the Ahom kingdom to disintegrate.

 

The Anglo-Burmese War of 1824-26 ended with a British victory. By the terms of the peace treaty signed at Yandaboo on Feb. 24, 1826, the British annexed the whole of lower Assam and parts of upper Assam (now Arunachal Pradesh). The Treaty of Yandaboo provided the British with the foothold they needed to annex Northeast India, launch further campaigns to capture Burma’s vital coastal areas, and gain complete control of the territory from the Andaman Sea to the mouth of the Irrawaddy River. What were London’s motives in this venture? The British claimed that their occupation of the northeast region was required to protect the plains of Assam from “tribal outrages and depredations and to maintain law and order in the sub-mountainous region.”

 

The ‘Apartheid Law’

Following annexation of Northeast India, the first strategy of the British East India Company toward the area was to set it up as a separate entity. At the outset, British strategy toward Northeast India was:

 

• to make sure that the tribal people remained separated from the plains people, and the economic interests of the British in the plains were not disturbed;

• to ensure that all tribal aspirations were ruthlessly curbed, by keeping the bogeyman of the plains people dangling in their faces; and,

• to ensure the tribal feudal order remained intact, with the paraphernalia of tribal chiefs and voodoo doctors kept in place. Part of this plan was carried out through the bribing of tribal chiefs with paltry gifts.

 

Lord Palmerston’s Zoo

The British plan to cordon off the northeast tribal areas was part of its policy of setting up a multicultural human zoo, during the 1850s, under the premiership of Henry Temple, the third Viscount Palmerston. Lord Palmerston, as Henry Temple was called, had three “friends”—the British Foreign Office, the Home Office, and Whitehall.

 

The apartheid program eliminated the Northeast Frontier Agency from the political map of India, and segregated the tribal population from Assam, as the British had done in southern Africa and would later do in Sudan. By 1875, British intentions became clear, even to those Englishmen who believed that the purpose of Mother England’s intervention in India, and the Northeast in particular, was to improve the conditions of the heathens. In an 1875 intelligence document, one operative wrote: “At this juncture, we find our local officers frankly declaring that our relations with the Nagas could not possibly be on a worse footing than they were then, and that the non-interference policy, which sounds excellent in theory, had utterly failed in practice.”

 

Apartheid also helped the British to function freely in this closed environment. Soon enough, the British Crown introduced another feature: It allowed Christian missionaries to proselytize among the tribal population and units of the Frontier Constabulary. The Land of the Nagas was identified as “virgin soil” for planting Christianity.

 

“Among a people so thoroughly primitive, and so independent of religious profession, we might reasonably expect missionary zeal would be most successful,” stated the 1875 document, as quoted in the “Descriptive Account of Assam,” by William Robinson and Angus Hamilton.

 

Missionaries were also encouraged to open government-aided schools in the Naga Hills. Between 1891 and 1901, the number of native Christians increased 128%. The chief proselytizers were the Welsh Presbyterians, headquartered in Khasi and the Jaintia Hills.British Baptists were given the franchise of the Mizo (Lushai) and Naga Hills, and the Baptist mission was set up in 1836.

 

British Mindset Controlled New Delhi

Since India’s Independence in 1947, the Northeast has been split up into smaller and smaller states and autonomous regions. The divisions were made to accommodate the wishes of tribes and ethnic groups which want to assert their sub-national identity, and obtain an area where the diktat of their little coterie is recognized.

 

New Delhi has yet to comprehend that its policy of accepting and institutionalizing the superficial identities of these ethnic, linguistic, and tribal groups has ensured more irrational demands for even smaller states. Assam has been cut up into many states since Britain’s exit. The autonomous regions of Karbi Anglong, Bodo Autonomous Region, and Meghalaya were all part of pre-independence Assam. Citing the influx of Bengali Muslims since the 1947 formation of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh in 1971, the locals demand the ouster of these “foreigners” from their soil.

 

Two terrorist groups in Assam, the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic front of Bodoland (NDFB) (set up originally as the Bodo Security Force), are now practically demanding “ethnic cleansing” in their respective areas. To fund their movements, both the ULFA and the NDFB have been trafficking heroin and other narcotics, and indulging in killing sprees against other ethnic groups and against Delhi’s law-and-order machinery. Both these groups have also developed close links with other major guerrilla-terrorist groups operating in the area, including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Muivah) and the People’s Liberation Army in Manipur. In 1972, Meghalaya was carved out of Assam through a peaceful process. Unfortunately, peace did not last long in this “abode of the clouds.” In 1979, the first violent demonstration against “foreigners” resulted in a number of deaths and arson. The “foreigners” in this case were Bengalis, Marwaris, Biharis, and Nepalis, many of whom had settled in Meghalaya decades ago. By 1990, firebrand groups such as the Federation of Khasi, Jaintia, and Garo People (FKJGP), and the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) came to the fore, ostensibly to uphold the rights of the “hill people” from Khasi, Jaintia, and the Garo hills. Violence erupted in 1979, 1987, 1989, and 1990. The last violent terrorist acts were in 1992.

 

Similar “anti-foreigner” movements have sprouted up across the Northeast, from Arunachal Pradesh in the East and North, to Sikkim in the West, and Mizoram and Tripura in the South. Along the Myanmar border, the states of Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram remain unstable and extremely porous.

 

While New Delhi was busy maintaining the status quo in this area by telling the tribal and ethnic groups that India is not going to take away what the British Raj had given to them, Britain picked the Nagas as the most efficient warriors (also, a large number of them had been converted to Christianity by the Welsh missionaries), and began arming and funding them. The British connection to the NSCN existed from the early days of the Naga National Council. Angami Zapu Phizo, the mentor of both factions of the NSCN, had led the charge against the Indian government, spearheading well-organized guerrilla warfare. Phizo left Nagaland hiding in a coffin. He then turned up in 1963 in Britain, holding a Peruvian passport. It is strongly suspected that the British Baptist Church, which is very powerful in Nagaland, is the contact between British intelligence and the NSCN terrorists operating on the ground at the time.

 

‘Dirty Bertie’ and the Nagas

Once Phizo arrived in Britain, Lord Bertrand (“Dirty Bertie”) Russell, the atheist, courted Phizo, and became his new friend. Russell was deeply impressed with Phizo’s “earnestness” for a peaceful settlement. What, perhaps, impressed Russell the most is that Phizo had control over the militant Nagas, who had launched a movement in the mid-1950s under the Naga National Council (NNC) to secede from the Indian Republic. In a letter dated Feb. 12, 1963, Sir Bertrand told Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, “I find it hard to understand the difficulty of coming to an agreement which would put an end to the very painful occurrences incidental to the present policy of India.”

It is believed in some circles that New Delhi’s 1964 ceasefire with the Nagas might have been influenced by the letter from Russell that was handed to Nehru by Rev. Michael Scott. Scott later went to Nagaland as part of a peace mission, along with two senior Indian political leaders.

 

While Russell was pushing Nehru to make the Nagas an independent country through peaceful negotiations, British involvement in direct conflict continued. On Jan. 30, 1992, soldiers of the Assam Rifles arrested two British nationals along the Nagaland-Burma border. David Ward and Stephen Hill posed as members of BBC-TV, and were travelling in jeeps with Naga rebels carrying arms. Subsequent interrogation revealed that both were operatives of Naga Vigil, a U.K.-based group. Both Ward and Hill claimed that they started the organization while in jail, influenced by Phizo’s niece, Rano Soriza. Both have served six-year prison terms for various crimes in Britain. Naga Vigil petitioned for their release in the Guwahti High Court. Phizo’s niece took up the issue with then-Nagaland Chief Minister Vamuzo.

 

Sri Lanka’s Violent Ethnic Strife

In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tiger terrorist group is in its last throes. Ousted by the Sri Lankan Army from almost all of its “claimed” territories, the militants are now holding on to about 19 square kilometers of land, with about 70,000 Sri Lankan citizens, mostly of Tamil ethnic origin, as their hostages. It is evident that they will be totally routed by the end of this month.

 

While the U.S. Pacific Command personnel in contact with New Delhi are formulating an evacuation plan for the hostages, London and the European Union are trying to protect the last vestiges of Tiger territory by urging Colombo to work out a cease fire with the terrorists.

 

The emergence of violent conflict between the Tamil Sri Lankans and the Sinhala Sri Lankans, which gave birth to the London-backed Tamil Tigers, was yet another product of the British colonial legacy. This ethnic conflict, which has engulfed this little island, and unleashed unlimited violence in the region for almost three decades, is, as in the case of Northeast India, due to the British mindset of the Sri Lankan and Indian leaders involved in “resolving “the crisis.

 

To begin with, Sri Lanka (then, Ceylon) had the misfortune to be colonized by three brutal European colonial powers—the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. Nonetheless, it is to the credit of the locals that they withstood these brutes and prevented the break-up of the country.

 

After the Dutch ceded Sri Lanka in the 1801 Peace of Amiens, it became Britain’s first crown colony. Immediately, the British colonials started setting up the chess pieces. The ruling Kandyan King, of Tamil ancestry, was ousted with the help of local chieftains of Tamil and Sinhala origin. The coup set up the British crown as the new King.

 

As part of the “divide and rule” policy, the British colonials promoted the Buddhist religion, resulting in the 1817 Uva rebellion. The Buddhist religion was given protection by the Crown, and the people were told that Christianity would not be imposed on the unwilling masses as had happened during Portuguese and Dutch rule. Following the quelling of the rebellion, the British did what they do best: They carried out one of the worst massacres of the 19th Century, wiping out all able-bodied Sinhalese men from the Hill Country, and 80% of the native population of able-bodied, according to one report. The Kandyan Kingdom was the kingdom of both the Tamils and Sinhalas—both these groups came from India to settle on that island.

 

One specific impact of the British colonial presence was the emergence of English as the local language, undermining both the Sinhala and Tamil languages. According to one historian, the two most important effects observed during British rule were: one, by the start of 20th Century, the English language became the passport to getting employment; and those who had an English education became dominant in Britain’s handcrafted Sri Lankan society. Due to input of the Christian missionaries, more minority Tamils could read and write English, as opposed to the southern Sinhalese and Kandyan Sinhalese.

 

The other observed impact on Sri Lankan society of British colonial rule, was the reconstituting of the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly of 1921 had 12 Sinhalese and 10 non-Sinhalese, at a time when the Sinhalese constituted more than 70% of the population. Things changed in 1931, when, out of 61 seats, the Sinhalese won 38. This troubled the Tamils, because they had had special privileges under British, and never wanted to accept the dominance of the Sinhalese majority.

 

In addition, the British also brought to the island a million workers of Tamil ethnic background from Tamil Nadu, and made them indentured laborers in the Hill Country. This was in addition to the million Tamils already living in the provinces, and another million Mappilla Muslims, whose mother tongue is Tamil. Thus, the British sowed seeds of ethnic discord. During the colonial rule, the minority Tamils had a disproportionate representation in the bureaucracy.

The Role of British Assets in Independent Sri Lanka

However, when in 1948, the British finally left the island, they left behind their assets, in powerful places, many of whom were educated at Oxford-Cambridge, and some of whom had adopted Christianity, on both sides of the ethnic divide London had so carefully created.

 

Instead of seizing the opportunity to build the nation and set about undoing the misdeeds they were forced to carry out under British rule, beginning in the 1950s, Sinhalese-dominated governments implemented public policies that would institutionalize the majority community’s dominance. Sinhala was declared to be the country’s sole official language; Buddhism was favored as the state religion; and the unitary nature of the state ensured Sinhalese political domination. Major Sinhalese-Tamil riots in 1956, 1981, and 1983 further heightened Tamil insecurities.

 

Meanwhile, the Tamils began to press for autonomy. Political parties, such as the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), utilized conventional means, which included participating in coalition governments. Militant Tamils, the LTTE, sought the creation of an independent Tamil state, referred to as Tamil Eelam, which would comprise the North and East of the country.

 

Throughout the 1980s, various Tamil rebel groups engaged in attacks against the Colombo government and its security apparatus. However, the situation worsened on that island because of the British mindset of New Delhi, which made a number of attempts to intervene in the violent Sri Lankan situation. Besides helping the Tamils to get armed training and intelligence, New Delhi, under late-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, deployed around 50,000 Indian peacekeepers (IPKF) in Tamil areas in Sri Lanka to help ensure peace. In return, the Sri Lankan government agreed to devolve power to the North and East through the creation of autonomous provincial councils.

Neither Colombo nor the Tamil militants were sincere about the deal; both were looking at the Indian troops as the barriers against their independent state. The failure of the Indian intervention led to more deaths and the assassination of Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa, and India’s Rajiv Gandhi, among many other high-level Sri Lankan officials, by the terrorist Tamil Tigers.

London: Break Up India into 100 Hong Kongs

But, the British were in the middle of all this. Besides the fact that the LTTE was headquartered in London, and raising most of its illegitimate funds from Britain and its former colonies in Australia, South Africa, and Canada, within ten days of Gandhi’s death, Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa, who would be assassinated by the LTTE in May 1993, forced the hasty departure from Sri Lanka of British High Commissioner David Gladstone. The charge was that Gladstone, a descendant of the Victorian-age Prime Minister William Gladstone, was interfering in local election politics. But he had also been criticized earlier for allegedly meeting with known drug traffickers in Sri Lanka. Gladstone, who had previously spent years in the Middle East, was a known British intelligence link to the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad, which was involved in training both the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the LTTE

Britain’s continuing intent to break up India was also expressed openly in this political context. On May 26, 1991, only five days after the British-controlled LTTE-led assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the Times of London, the premier voice for the British Foreign Office, put forward this view in an editorial entitled “Home Truths”: “There are so many lessons to be learnt from sorrowing India, and most are being muttered too politely. The over-huge federation of almost 900 million people spreads across too many languages, cultures, religions, and castes. It has three times as many often incompatible and thus resentful people as the Soviet Union, which now faces the same bloody strains and ignored solutions as India. . . .

“The way forward for India, as for the Soviet Union, will be to say a great prize can go to any States and sub-States that maintain order without murders and riots. They should be allowed to disregard Delhi’s corrupt licensing restrictions, run their own economic policies, and bring in as much foreign investment and as many free-market principles as they like. Maybe India’s richest course from the beginning would have been to split into 100 Hong Kongs

http://www.countercurrents.org/maitra250309.htm



Sinister designs on Sri Lanka
March 16, 2009, 1:00 pm
Filed under: India, Sri Lanka, SubContinent

Sinister designs on Sri Lanka

By Dimuth Gunawardena

“By attacking something your enemy holds dear he can be forced to surrender to your will”Art of War-Sun Tzu

Much has been said about the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore and the basic details are common knowledge. The “who” and “why” are not clear yet, but what is generally accepted is that there were serious security lapses on the part of Pakistan, especially in terms of security guarantees and undertaking given by the PCB prior to the tour.

Pakistan probably realises that such lapses only gives ammunition to its archrival India and of course the USA in whose interest (more than anyone else’s) it is to portray that country as being blown apart by terrorism.

Interestingly, and indeed commendably, neither Pakistan nor Sri Lanka engaged in any immature blame game like what happened in the aftermath of the 11/26 attack on Mumbai. Neither the Sri Lankan people nor the Sri Lankan media made a Bollywood spectacle of the Lahore attack. There was no mass hysteria. That’s a kind of political maturity that the Indian masses and mass media are yet to attain, one is forced to observe. Such a course of action would have only serves the interests of the terrorists. On the contrary, Sri Lanka, very responsibly condemned those in the world media baying for Pakistan’s blood in its hour of greatest need, even as carefully ‘placed’ video camera footage and stories planted in the press in foreign capitals sought to play into the hands of the terrorists.

To put ‘Mumbai’, ‘Lahore’ and of course, the countless such terrorist attacks that Sri Lanka has suffered at the hands of the LTTE in it’s proper context, an analysis of the Lahore attack in depth in a geo political sense is essential.

It is pertinent to note that 60-70 percent of the Afghan parliament is occupied by former mujahedin, ex-communists, drug-barons, and warlords who individually and collectively do their utmost to prevent the Central Government’s writ being established across the country. There are serious conflicts between Pashtuns and Non-Pashtuns, especially the Tajik population of the country. The Afghan National Army (ANA) is seriously short of manpower to the tune of an 80,000 troop inadequacy. The Afghan dilemma contains, as such, the reality of Indian ‘advisors’ and intelligence officers littered along the Pakistani border and ‘consulates’ functioning as intelligence gathering networks along the 2,560 km long Durand line border. The Indians and Americans have essentially ensured that Hamid Karzai is hapless with presidential elections declared in August (term expires in May). Development in Afghanistan is a non-starter.

Yet, instead of finding a viable exit strategy like in Iraq, the new American administration announced the induction of 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan even as it made noises about not winning the war in Afghanistan and talking of initiating talks with the Afghanistani Taliban.

This is how the West in general and the US in particular dismembers countries in the guise on waging its war on terror. India has lifted a page from that pernicious handbook, it seems.

To return to Pakistan, the Obama administration has announced an intention to increase the intensity of the drone bombings inside Pakistan and in the same breath, advocates talks with the Afghanistani Taliban.

The Zardari Government is certainly not doing itself any favours either. Depriving Nawaz Sharif of contesting elections or holding public office and sacking his popular brother Sheka Sharif (which probably led to the costly security lapses at Lahore), not restoring the independence of the judiciary as promised during the election campaign and remaining mum on the exposure by US Senator Dianne Feinstein that the US drones that bomb NWFP took off from Pakistani bases has strengthened the perception that the regime is made up of a bunch of pro-American agents. Given history, one cannot be blamed for wondering if the Pakistani military military is waiting for the usually nod of approval from the US embassy for yet another coup to restore the image of stability in Pakistan.

The Pakistani Government signed a peace accord in the Swat Valley region for the return of Shaira law. This lead to a hail of criticism in the western media, Is it not another face saving Bajaur type truce that the Americans so desire in Afghanistan to pull out its troops one needs to ask?

Elsewhere the Pakistani government is following the military option and it is useful to note that attacks between Pakistani security forces and terrorists have intensified in Nawagai and Mohamand regions since the 3/3 attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers.

Let’s remember that China will remain determined to be a part of the regional and of course major part of the global equation. The Gawadar Port (China’s biggest overseas construction undertaking) would give China direct access to the Indian Ocean. This is unacceptable to both the Indians and the Americans (India, because of its aspiration to be an up-and-coming blue water navy and dominate the region and the US, due to the given concerns about China’s close accessibility to the strategic Straits of Hormuz). “Terrorism in Pakistan” therefore is a subject that has to be included in such considerations.

Perhaps this is the reason why Basit-ul-Ullah Mahsud who was held in Guantanamo for 2-3 years has been attacking targets detrimental to Pakistan’s interest ever since he was released and subsequently disappeared in Pakistan. His first major action was to kidnap some Chinese engineers attached to the Gawadar project.

It is also pertinent to remember that a nuclear armed Iran and Pakistan pose a common strategic military threat to not only US/western interests in the region but also to Israel and India.

Slieg Harrison of the Centre of International Policy in Washington predicted the breakup of Pakistan into three sovereign states all along ethnic lines: Pashtunistan (comprising Pashtuns of North Western Frontier Provinces, NWFP, and Afghanistan as one country), Free Baluchistan (a federation comprising the Sindh and Baluchistan provincial regions) and Pakistan (comprising the nuclear armed Punjabi rump state), with Baluchistan being the high priority target for both Indians and Americans due to General Musharraf’s efforts to marginalise mischief making tribal leaders with the help of China.

General Aslam Beg, Pakistan’s former Army chief in an article about the “Strategic Partnership Deal” says that it led to the creation of a joint espionage network comprising CIA, Mossad, MI6 and RAW that is now engaged in destabilising Pakistan, Iran, China, Russia and other Central Asian States such as Tajikistan.

As part of this plan in the NWFP the main terrorist group called Pakistani Taliban is fighting a proxy war in the tribal belt. By engaging Pakistani Taliban and terrorist insurgents in Baluchistan, the Pakistani armed forces are stretched to its maximum limit and unable to concentrate on the Indo Pakistani border or on Kashmir terrorists.

As Rahman Malik (special advisor to Zadari) clearly pointed out that theydo not rule out the possibility of a foreign hand in the cricketer’s incident.

Michel Chossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalisation in his article “The Destabilisation of Pakistan” says (unashamedly) “Washington’s foreign policy course is to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanisation of Pakistan as a nation”. He goes on to say “The course consists of fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial break up of Pakistan”. Familiar? Yes, it is not too different to the American/Indian policy preferences with respect to Sri Lanka and quite similar to the ‘proposal’ to devolve power in areas freed from terrorism.

If a hostage take over was the terrorist objective then wouldn’t one or two dead bodies of cricketers’ executed by them have had the desired impact on Colombo and have forced a ceasefire to pacify an outraged Sri Lankan population?

According to reports in newspapers like the Hindu and Times of India, India had told the Sri Lankans not to go to Pakistan, but Sri Lankans outrageously defied that Indian “order”. Perhaps Sri Lanka needed to be taught a lesson in obedience. Indian rulers were not too pleased at all. They expressed their displeasure to Colombo in no uncertain terms. The effectiveness of their boycott of Pakistan was being neutralised by Sri Lanka. The Times of India was bold enough to say “India is not happy with Sri Lanka’s cricket tour to Pakistan”. The Sunday Times opined that Ranatunge’s decision to tour Pakistan “had irked the Indian authorities” and reported that the matter had been discussed at the highest levels in Colombo. To appease the Indians, Ranatunge and his administration had to be fired and the Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge said “the tour had become a diplomatic issue”.

It is always pertinent to examine whether the diplomatic closeness between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and it’s perceived strategic threat on the interests of other nations could have been the main factor for the targeting of the cricket team.

RAW has been structured and designed to primarily serve the imperial and expansionist needs and more than the national security needs of India. It has a Special Ops Division in all SAARC countries with a large network of local agents specialising in assassinations, sabotage and raids and paramilitary style operations. Propaganda and deception are integral elements of the overall RAW modus operandi. Covert operations and fuelling clandestine warfare in neighbouring countries is another area of RAW specialisation.

It must be noted at this point that the Daily Mirror newspaper in Sri Lanka reported how the RAW is supporting cross border terrorist groups such as the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) to separate the largest province from Pakistan.

The Indian media was quick to point a finger at Lashkar-e-Taibar (LeT) and its front organisations such as the Lashar-e-Jhanvi (LeJ) and attempted to establish a close link between these groups and the LTTE. However the LeT spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi was quick to deny involvement in the attack. He rejected media reports of their involvement in the attack and said “The attack on Sri Lanka’s team was an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty and Kashimiris could never think of that”. He went on to accuse the Indian agencies of trying to defame Pakistan and to bring instability to the region. Imran Khan speaking to Times/UK opined that the Lahore attack was not perpetrated by ideological terrorists. He argued that there was a pattern in such attacks and that in his view a “foreign element” was almost certainly involved.

Indian intelligence sources have also gone to great lengths to establish a connection between the Marakat-ul Mujahideen (MuM) and the LTTE. They have said that the former leader of the LTTE “Mahattaya” was killed by the LTTE due to his connections with the RAW (result of RAW efforts to indoctrinate Sri Lankan Tamil prisoners, which backfired). Some analysts like Ram Madhav have even argued LTTE was equipping Indian terror outfits like the Maoists and the United Liberation Front (ULF) of Assam.

It is also a well known fact that RAW operations in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are mostly about Human Intelligence (HUMINT) unlike those of the CIA, SIS and MI6, whose Intelligence gathering forte are in areas of Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT), Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Sophisticated Signal Intelligence (SIGINT), Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) etc. HUMINT is a very difficult and sometimes costly affair for any intelligence agency such as RAW and they often resort to financing outside of the normally allotted governmental finances. With a total budget of appx. Rs. 2,500 crore it is well known that RAW has had to resort to drug smuggling from India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan using Sri Lanka as a transit point to finance certain special operations. It had close connections not only with the LTTE but Pakistani terror groups from the times of the Mujahedeen/Jihadist operations against the Soviet Union.

It is also worth pointing out that 70 % of the funding requirements of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan come from the opium trade.

One must also look at cases like Massood Az Har of Jaish-E- Muhammad who was being held without charges by India and was subsequently released following a deal done in a hijacking drama. He has since been targeting subjects detrimental to Pakistani interests. It would be interesting to see where the strings that control Muhammad Aqil who is one of the prime suspects on the attack of the cricketers will lead to.

On the other hand some analysts had concluded that the attack on the cricketers may have been precipitated due to the fact that Sri Lanka now represents a success story in ” Miitarily defeating terrorism”. They also say this was a danger to the Taliban’s ambition of acquiring conventional military capability in the Fata region.

There is one contradiction in all this however, after yesterday’s bomb attack in Matara, RAW agents such as Hariharan says “with the LTTE, there is no love lost for Muslims”. How true they chased out and ethnically cleansed the entire Northern Province of Muslims numbering more than 100,000 within 48 hours. Some of those subsequently worked with the Sri Lanka Army intelligence.

These all remain in the realm of ‘machinations’ at this point and nothing conclusive can be said. It is heartening that in spite of all the pressure Pakistan has quite correctly maintained a tight lid until the investigations are complete. One can only hope for all concerned that these investigations are swiftly concluded and the culprits are punished for their crimes.

Meanwhile Chidambaram has been making some “queer and ludicrous” statements before and after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team: “the ISI were training Tamil armed group in the North and East of Sri Lanka and sending them as refugees to Tamil Nadu to ferment terrorism”. “The ISI can infiltrate India through Sri Lanka” he said, adding that “cricket is safe in India, but security forces are required to make it more secure”.

The RAW analyst Raman in his attempts to whitewash his organisation’s involvement in cross border terrorism made the most hilarious statements of all in his assertions “That ISI had links with the LTTE since 1990” so it was all the ISI and not the RAW ?

Whoever was responsible for attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team succeeded in achieving a multitude of objectives, some of which are given below:

– Pakistan is a country in anarchy; Pakistan should not only be isolated in sports but also no foreigners should visit the country.

– The weakening economy will be further destroyed with no foreign investments or lending forthcoming, creating both political and economic instability.

– This will increase Pakistan’s foreign debt significantly.

– It was clearly a signal to Sri Lanka not to get too cosy with Pakistan after the end of it’s conflict.

All this points to a singular design on Sri Lanka: push the island nation into a ceasefire situation that benefits no one but India.

Perhaps India’s has it’s own reasons to demand that Sri Lanka gets directly involved in the investigation into the attack.

India has not exactly been Sri Lanka’s friend. Pre-1987, India actively trained terrorists. Later, India played only lip service to Sri Lanka by giving the usual training, some naval intelligence information and obsolete 2D radar (to block the supply of 3D radar being purchased from China which proved to be a costly error in the early days of the LTTE air raids).

They have once again violated Sri Lankan sovereignty and independence by landing Indian forces (or some say those RAW agents with “stethoscopes round their necks” or as “betel-chewing nurses in white uniforms”) to take control of Pulmoddai under the false guise of setting up a field hospital to treat the injured civilians and who knows, perhaps even terrorists. We note, with grave concern that these so called ‘doctors’, have effectively taken control of Sri Lanka’s most valuable mineral resources. Already the South Block defence and external affairs officials are working on several plans to increase the number of these so-called “military medical teams”. It is said India hopes to force Sri Lanka to expand these unwelcome military teams to cover other areas such as road building, de-mining etc. India seems to have put a foot into a situation that will see a number of other foreign forces landing on Sri Lankan soil on India’s back on the pretext of ‘assisting Sri Lanka’.

Are we seeing the first moves in a concerted “American-Indian” led invasion of Sri Lanka on the pretext of ‘evacuating’ that magic number of “quarter of a million civilians” that the LTTE and it’s propagandists claim are trapped in the Wanni. The many visits by officials of PACOM (US Pacific Command) could not have been just to sample arrack and papadam, one notes.

Robert Kaplan writing to the latest issue of the American Foreign Affairs journal says “we will have to do so not as in Afghanistan and Iraq as a land-based, in-your- face meddler …but as a sea based balancer lurking just over the horizon”. Sea power has always been less threatening than land power; as the cliché goes navies make port visits and armies invade.

So once again just like in 1987 the Indian army and US Navy are poised to invade Sri Lanka and save the day for the terrorists. We note, again with concern and a keen consciousness of history, that several other countries such as the UK, France, Switzerland, have also “offered assistance” to this invasion force.

They are also encircling the naval dockyard from the North and the South (where you find Indian military personal operating from NIOC facilities in Trincomalee) and are now able to have a stranglehold grip on the Trincomalee port. This was the identical strategy the RAW must have advocated to the LTTE when they too encircled the naval dockyard from the South and brought their artillery guns within range of the base and the fleet, targeting thus the lifeline of all economic activity of the North and the East. This is probably what Clinton and Menon discussed for 45 minutes on Monday. Is this what they call “US-India counter-terrorism collaboration”?

The conventional Indian body politic has begun threatening Sri Lanka by crying for Sri Lanka’s blood in mass hysteria just like they did for Pakistani blood after the Mumbai attack.

India has offered the Northern and Eastern provinces massive development assistance. It is also useful to take note of the the Indian demand to develop the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the Indian High Commissioner’s attempts to bypass the Central Government and assist the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council.

According to Pillyan it was not the LTTE that shot his private secretary, who happened to be awell known RAW operative. Pilliyan has had meetings with the Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad and the officials of the PACOM. It is quite possible that he is the Sun-God-in-Waiting that India is nurturing for the next 3 decades!

Indian bids to develop and control the KKS cement plant, control Sri Lanka’s energy though NIOC and oil exploration of the Gulf of Mannar and control of Sri Lanka’s power sectors by the marine cable power line and the two coal power plants in Trincomalee have to be viewed as the regional version of the Trojan Horse.

India will no doubt do it’s all to fleece and wheedle out from the people of the north and the east if not the whole of Sri Lanka dry and of all its resources before creating another terrorist monster like the LTTE to deflect the focus of its Tamil Nadu parasitic separatist militancy in order to maintain its own union. India will never give anything of substance back to Sri Lanka without an ulterior motive that benefits her.

Like that what has happened in Pakistan, the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims of Sri Lanka will once again end up killing each other for another 100 years in order to keep “Mother India” intact. When all the election rhetoric is over, the flames of separatism in South India will have to be doused, what better way to do so than with the time tested method of deflecting it towards Sri Lanka in the form of a LTTE-2.

Sri Lanka must never again allow the ugly head of another RAW sponsored terrorism to raise its head. It has cost Sri Lanka enough. She has bled for far too long. The LTTE surrendees or the common man in the north or the east today have no interest in the devolution of power to break up Sri Lanka like in the case of Pakistan or anything else that the India/USA/NGO-Mafia, the LTTE apologists or those “Colombians” pandering to foreigners are trying push down the throats of Sri Lanka.

It is these very same forces that had not too long ago convinced the Sri Lankan population that LTTE terrorists were an invincible military force which could never be defeated, that India would never allow it to be defeated, and therefore this country was asked to negotiate with these terrorists and separate the country on mono ethnic lines to appease the terrorists.

In a post conflict Sri Lanka her citizenry should always remember who helped her to defeat the most powerful terrorist group in the world, and on the other hand which were the forces that bullied her to act against her self-interest. Who was the friend in need who shipped arms to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces on a mere phone call, or who helped her armed forces in their most critical hours? Who, on the other hand, refused to provide necessary weapons citing various excuses but always tried to exercise control both strategically and economically for their own selfish reasons.

Apart from extending “real” help to Sri Lanka to free her land from the Indian-Made, West-Supported LTTE terrorism” China also remains the 2nd biggest aid provider in real terms. Countries like China and Japan have offered help without strings attached, unlike the western donors (USA, UK, EU, Norway). The USA, EU, and India, who give a pittance to Sri Lanka and never fail to bully, intimidate, and pressurise Sri Lanka on various issues to subscribe to their agendas. The hostility of US Ambassadors (Schafter, Lumstead and now Blake) towards the Sri Lankan state constitute a good case in point. Countries like China, Japan, and Russia help Sri Lanka when the west tries getting Sri Lanka on to the agenda of the UN Security Council.

Taking all this into consideration, perhaps the time has come for countries like Pakistan and Iran too, to learn a lesson or two from the bitter Sri Lankan experiences with the USA/EU and their India to save their independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

The new world order is changing rapidly, Obama or no Obama,

The recent developments in India and particularly in Tamil Nadu should hold valuable lessons for Sri Lanka. It clearly shows that in a post conflict Sri Lanka, it is essential to build very fruitful mutually beneficial stronger bilateral relationships with countries such as China, Russia, Iran, and Pakistan. These relationships should go beyond the traditional areas of trade, cultural, and economic, cooperation to extend to cooperation in areas such as military, power generation, communications and other strategic areas as well. Strong bilateral “all weather” relationships with these countries is an essential prerequisite for the peaceful survival, stability, and growth of Sri Lanka.

It is obvious that Sri Lanka has little choice due to the sinister designs of India and USA.

http://www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/16047



Does India – U.S. alliance threaten South Asia?
February 23, 2009, 12:50 pm
Filed under: India, SubContinent

Does India – U.S. alliance threaten South Asia?

By Dimuth Gunawardena

“The peace dividend for South Asia is the creation of new hope & opportunity for its billion and half people…….” -Hon. Atal Bihari Vajpayee – former Prime Minister of India

Sri Lanka is on the verge of destroying the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world. Even the most extreme elements in the South of Sri Lanka accept that upon completion of this task certain genuine grievances of the Tamil people and a certain degree of devolution envisaged in the current constitution should be implemented in the Northern Province as it is now being done successfully done in the Island’s East. India knows all this too well. Nevertheless New Delhi and explicitly its South Indian clique is again attempting to repeat their attempts of 1987 save LTTE which is on the verge of defeat.

Sri Lankans have a right to decide their own future free any more foreign interference. They have suffered enough for the past 25 years because of Indian meddling the island’s internal affairs. The time has some to say enough is enough categorically and firmly.

Much has been written about India’s gross interference in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs and violation of her sovereignty and territorial integrity in the recent past supposedly due to political pressure from Tamil-Nadu. However it is important for all Sri Lankans to comprehend and appreciate the behaviour of Indian politicians in a more holistic context, India has a very loose and fragile regional federal structure (unlike the strong federal systems of government in their new found western allies like USA).

Furthermore the fundamental psychology of India’s foreign service and intelligence services operating in the region must be clearly understood. The contemporary developments in the region merit a complete re-evaluation of regional bilateral and multilateral policies that all SAARC countries follow vis-à-vis their giant superpower and neighbour India.

In Sri Lanka’s case, India’s strategic objectives has been satisfied with most Sri Lankan’s being absolutely ignorant and unaware of the real status quo – Sri Lanka’s Governments “flying to brief” New Delhi and Sri Lanka Government’s readiness to meet India’s wishes.

Even world powers with the exception of China of course, never dare interfere on India’s decisions on Sri Lanka. The trade between Sri Lanka & India places the latter at a greater advantage even where the Free Trade Agreements are concerned. Under the Free Trade Agreement between the two. (24-25 % of Sri Lanka’s imports come from India. And this excludes contraband like sarees, gold, drugs etc. If these added they would change the percentage significantly).

In US$ millions

Indians can travel to Sri Lanka without a visa while Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry has not demanded reciprocal gestures from India.

It has been to India’s advantage that the bulk of Sri Lanka’s domestic commerce is again in Indian hands. This too can be used as a strategic tool when the need arises. India has also ensured that it has in Sri Lanka a group of errant politicians, corrupt public officers and diplomats, powerful mainstream political parties like Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), Up Country Peoples Liberation Front (UPLF), and even the LTTE proxies like the so-called Tamil National Alliance (TNA) chirping in India’s favour.

India’s RAW has even been able to control various INGO celebrities and even some sections of the so called free Media to comment in support of India’s involvement direct or otherwise in Sri Lanka.

What can we expect if the Government of Sri Lanka’s resolves to give India complete economic and political facilities in the strategically significant Northern and Eastern provinces? Could the Government of Sri Lanka not be aware of the implications of allowing India to economically control two of the most significant regions that India had been eyeing for so long? The KKS Cement plant, the Trincomalee Harbour and the oil tank farm, mineral sands in Pulmoddai (some of which can be refined into Thorium) and oil exploration in Mannar basin…etc reflect the importance of these regions. RAW also made deep inroads to newly emerging political forces in these provinces too. These include the TULF and TMVP in what could be seen as a deliberate move to control the vital Northern and Eastern Provinces as a response to Chinese investment in Hambantota.

With all this being the case India’s certain errant strategic policy makes still believe that it is to the advantage of Delhi and her new found U.S. and other Western Allies such as France to keep Sri Lanka permanently on the boil. Can this be permitted? Why should it be so?

In considering the strategic importance of Sri Lanka to India, there is also the need to look deeper into the reliance India places on energy and power as a tool of control and these are the interests that spurs India’s ambitions to control the energy and power sectors of her neighbours like Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh.

Could it be sheer coincidence that the issue of Katchativu islet that India conceded to Sri Lanka has resurfaced with India accusing Sri Lankan Navy of harassing Indian fisherman in the vicinity? Let us view this new attitude from the point of view of India’s nuclear plants (for military & civilian purposes) coming around Sri Lanka, in Goa, Cochin, Ennore, Chennai Vizzak and even Nagappatnam all in the back yard of the so called “Eelam” which may one day could well be India’s Chernobyl. Sethu Samudram Canal Project (SSCP) is more of a military project to protect these high security zones by Naval patrolling rather than a civilian commercial project as it has been made out to be. As a matter of fact SSCP is all about India’s Submarine Base in Ramanathapuram. Kachchativu not under Indian control but is too close for comfort for this whole grand design.

As a matter of fact some Sri Lankans naively talk about a nuclear free zone in the region. Hence the Tamil Nadu politicians singing their Katchatvu ‘song.’ If ever India goes to war with any of her enemies I hope Sri Lankans know that stray missiles will all rain on them. Therefore Sri Lanka should not get tied down to any agreement with India on Kachchativu at this juncture. There should be no repeat of what happened with Trincomalee under the Indo-Lanka Accord. Perhaps Sri Lanka having listening post on Katchativu with China’s collaboration might not at all be bad idea considering India current interference in Sri Lankan affairs.

Therefore in this context the LTTE’s total disappearance from the political scene would be of distinct disadvantage to India’s long term strategic objectives. Now we come to the real paradox of India’s Sri Lanka policy. The LTTE, the baby they gave birth to and fed, and allowed it to kill more than 2,000 of their own Indian soldiers and also their own Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi have now evolved to be a powerful Global Suicide Terror Organization led by Prabakaran and Pottu Amman – both wanted men on Indian soil.

It is intriguing to know how the RAW, their initial handlers will find a way out of this dilemma – Will it be a case of helping the Government of Sri Lanka kill the LTTE’s current leadership and replace it with a more India friendly 2nd tier leadership but still force the Sri Lankan Government to hand over that “Eelam” territory? Such a move perfectly fills the India-USA allied strategic objectives in the Indian Ocean. Filling this void must be the next task of the RAW. India cannot allow a 3rd Navy and 3rd Air force, under the LTTE, due to India’s own regional strategic objectives and thus these too will have to be destroyed by the Sri Lankan armed forces. Hence the Indian manned radar systems no matter the opposition of Tamil Nadu politicians.

This is why we should not be too surprised over Karunanidhi and his boys agitating over Sri Lanka’s Tamils – the New Delhi’s nod of approval must have been silently given for the present agitation which never arose when the IPKF went on a rampage killing and raping innocent Tamil civilians – was that not some form of “genocide”? We are all aware that these crocodile tears will never materialise in any of them actually giving up their status as MPs. All the Tamil Nadu MPs have been guilty of following pro-LTTE stands – ‘Vaiko’ Gopalaswamy one of the LTTE’s strongest supporters who has been arrested – for the 2nd time.

Before discussing further as to why a country like Sri Lanka needs to seriously re-evaluate its policy since independence especially the policy towards India and the SAARC member nations of which it is the Chairman, let us examine policy of de stabilization in the region carried out by India’s intelligence agency the RAW.

Amidst the Indo-Lanka crisis breaking out we saw newspaper reports of the arrival in Sri Lanka of a RAW big wig by the name of S. Chandrasekaran, alias Chandran (Who was an LTTE handler) who coordinated several terror attacks and civilian massacres such as the Anuradhapura massacre of innocent pilgrims. But this should have come as hardly a surprise to the people of Sri Lanka. The fact that he has been operating in Tamil Nadu to facilitate the bail out of the LTTE also should not come as a surprise. The RAW has played a far more significant role in all regional conflicts and terror organizations than what has been thus acknowledged. These reports however do not mention Chandran’s other accomplices in the RAW like B.Raman…etc whose names have been previously mentioned in news reports as being instrumental in various civilian massacres using – in addition to LTTE – organizations like EPRLF.

“Stephen Phillip Cohen” in his career as a South Asian Political Scientist and one who strongly lobbied within the US for the current US-Indian Political & Strategic Military Alliance was responsible for the deep influence he had on most of the modern Indian strategic thinkers and policy makers. One such person who was heavily influenced by Stephen and specifically one of his works on “Brahamin-Kshatriya relationship of India” was “Swarna Rajagopalan”. Who in the writings titled “Security Ideas in the Valmik Ramayana” illustrates the Indian policy makers thought process and gives a better understanding for the reasons for its regional hegemony.

“Today, if any of us were to see our destiny as lying along the path engagement with others outside the region as well as with our neighbours within South Asia, it cannot reasonably be argued that thereby South Asian unity would be denied or diminished……..” Late Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar – Former Minister of Foreign affairs, Sri Lanka assassinated by the LTTE.

According to the “Jain Commission” report on the killing of former Premier Rajiv Gandhi it becomes amply clear of the RAW hand in the whole sordid affair of cross border global terrorism – networks financed by intelligence operatives. It has also created major politically dissenting movements in poor neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and even Pakistan.

Seeking regional expansionist hegemony and its ambition as a major global actor – since independence – has been a corner stone of Indian foreign policy. India’s dirty work has always been delivered by the RAW. One must keep in mind that perhaps officers like N.K. Narayanan who is the current National Security Advisor under whose purview agencies like the RAW currently comes under was in late 1980’s officially assigned as the Director of the Intelligence Bureau in Tamil Nadu had close links with all terrorist group in Sri Lanka as well as Tamil Nadu politicians from MGR to Karunanadhi and even personally attended to Prabakaran’s visit from Tamil Nadu to New Delhi. (“Assignment Colombo”by J.N. Dixit) Hence his famous statement Sri Lanka will win the battle against the Tamil Tigers but not the war as they haven’t got the Tamils on to their side” sets in motion the current chain of events in India.

The RAW had a major role to play in the Tibetan dissident movements of China and the pro-democracy movements in Myanmar due the the Military junta’s closeness to China. In Bangladesh the RAW has been involved with destabilisation of the country since 1965. They created a network of ‘Separatist Teroriist Cells’ all over the country. RAW set up training camps in India – camps that trained the LTTE & “Mukti Mahimi’s” men, (reference “RAW & Bangladesh” by Zainal Abedin) preparing for the arrival of Indian troops into that country. Over the years they also created several other terrorist forces in Bangladesh such as “The Shanti Bahini” for fighting between Hindu’s & Buddhist’s tribesmen thus keeping the Bengali military fully occupied. In Bhutan the RAW created an ethnic crisis led by people of Nepalese origin.

In Nepal itself just like in Sri Lanka, the RAW follows an active policy of pushing pro-Indian Nepalese politician on their pay roll to the forefront of the political sphere in order to make Nepal an official Hindi state as a prelude to merging with India in the future. RAW quite successfully followed this strategy in Sikkim (the tiny Himalayan state bordering Bhutan). RAW was actually able to use various groups to oppose Chohyal and actually merge with the Indian Union in 1975.

In the Maldives the Gayoom government was contemplating handing over the “Marao Islands” to the Chinese govt. who could have used it as a submarine base for 5 submarine battle groups and two aircraft carrier battle groups enabling the launching of Feng-44 missiles. Here in Maldives however more than any other South Asian country the RAW had engineered the ultimate coup through one of the RAW funded terrorist groups called the EPRLF. India was at hand to help, and Gayoom was eternally grateful and till today the Chinese base in Marao Islands remain only but a pipe dream.

The only country in the region with counter intelligence capability of any form to counter the threats from the RAW activities is the Pakistani ISI, however Pakistan has been the biggest recipient of terror attacks, subversion, political and judicial dissent orchestrated by the RAW again but specific details will require a longer version of this article. If one were to weigh the activities of ISI activities of subversion against India against those committed by RAW against Pakistan the scale will be heavily tilted on to the RAW.

Today Pakistan is being bombed in its Afghanistan border by US and NATO forces indiscriminately, under the guise of attacking Al-Qaeda and the Taliban these American forces on the instructions of some 10,000 Indian troops currently operating in Afghanistan (part of military force of 150,000 Indian troops to be stationed in Afghanistan in the US-Indian plan to encircle Pakistan) are effectively eroding the power of Pakistan’s federal government has over its border provinces. If one were to study the sequence of events form the time of Mushraff firing the Pakistani Chief Justice and clashes with the judiciary to the assassination of Bhutto to the weak pro-western Zadari and Giliani where the end result is the break of the Islamic state one could now see similar agenda being carried out in Sri Lanka. Perhaps one day we will see all the federal political forces of Sri Lanka rallying round a populist retired judge as a presidential candidate to carry out the agendas the LTTE cannot get on a negotiating table through a political executive and legislative power with Indian auspices. Let me quote from an article titled “The Destabilisation of Pakistan” by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research

Quote… “Washington will push for a compliant political leadership with no commitment to the national interest, a leadership which will serve US imperial interests, while concurrently contributing under the disguise of “Decentralization”, to the weakening of the central government and the fracture of Pakistan’s fragile federal structure…..US Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence official justification and pretext …to extend “war on terrorism”. Concurrently, to justify its counter –terrorism program, Washington is also beefing up its covert support to the terrorists………..”
….Unquote

If these are the games of USA on Pakistan then what must their ally India be up to in Pakistan. The RAW together with CIA operatives in the region was instrumental in setting up and sponsoring the perfect terrorist group for this plan in “Tehrik Taliban Pakistan” (TTP).

These are the machinations unparalleled and unseen anywhere in the world, with the exception of USA and its manipulation of Cuba such as the Bay of Pigs invasion. India has to and should behave like the great power she really and truly is.

“The United Front Government’s neighbourhood policy now stands on five basic principles, first with neighbours like Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, India does not ask for reciprocity but but gives all that it can in good faith and trust, Secondly no South Asian country will allow its territory to be used against the interest of another country of region, Thirdly none will interfere in the internal affairs of another, Fourthly all South Asians must respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and finally they will settle all their disputes through peaceful, bilateral negotiations…..” Hon. I. K. Gujral Former Minister of External Affairs at the Royal Institute of International Affairs/ London.

One of the best strategic thinkers in India “Kanti Bajpai” has described three schools of Indian Strategic thought. The paradigms briefly are Nehruvian School, Neoliberal School, and the Hyperealist School. Fundamental to Neruvianism is argument that people come to understand each other better and thereby make and sustain peace. They believe that in the International system the threat of war to settle disputes is but only as a last resort.

Neoliberals accept the characterisation of international relations as a state of war and coercion important role in their world, while hyperrealists believe the surest way of achieving peace, and stability is by the accumulation of military power and the willingness to use force.

The last few years saw the growth of the two latter schools of thought within the Indian Public and Foreign services and hence it’s behaviour towards its neighbours. Everybody knows that the warships sent to Sri Lankan territorial waters during the SAARC summit in Colombo was not to protect the Indian PM from their own LTTE but the usual Indian “Gunboat” diplomacy (like in 1987 airdrop, and fleets that came to Sri Lankans waters) of flexing it’s muscles and sending messages to a defiant Sri Lankan President to behave himself and any fancy ideas that countries like Russia, China or Pakistan may have of getting too close to Sri Lanka.

India’s nuclear agenda too should be cause of great concern to her neighbourhood. The “Nuclear Suppliers Group” of 45 countries, which up until now had barred any nation that refused to accept international nuclear standards wilted under tremendous pressure from the new western alliance of Bush-Sarkozy. This position reversed even the penalties in the event of resumption nuclear testing by India too has not been clarified with regards to regional stability and coexistence. Dangers of proliferation by terrorists like what happened to India just before signing of the accords poses significant threats to its neighbours.

If India espouses to provide security to all of the Indian Ocean and is to genuinely win over its neighbourhood as it slowly matures into a great power that she really is, then she must rethink some of her foreign policy options with her neighbours. For India to respond to regional strategic threats to her defences like Gwadur, Chittagong, Hambanthota with the kind of Air bases in Tajikistan, they do not come with an “everything for me, nothing for you” policy but more of a “win-win” with a lot of mutual trust that is built up over time. Mutual consultation and diplomatic compromise cannot be one sided however powerful one maybe, One cannot replace constructive engagement with acts of browbeat and manipulations on the world stage in anyway.

If the rest of the South Asian countries (Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, & the Maldives) together with China and Myanmar do not wake up to the impending disaster on them by this “US-Indian alliance” most countries will be splintered into tiny pieces and will most surely become protectorates of the greater Indian Union…………

Sri Lanka should now call for Karunanadhi and his 50 of so MP’s to honour their deadline and their promise of resignation without now changing their usual face saving acts of deceit. Sri Lanka should also seriously reconsider to join “Shanghai Cooperation Organisation”(SCO) without any further delay in face of the threat she is facing from India.

But she must be sensitive to the domestic political compulsions of the Indian governments while at the same time making clear distinction between friendly advice and diplomatic Demarche’s using flimsy excuses. One cannot keep out “international players in the backyard” simply by paying lip service to the needs of Sri Lanka.

There is much more than meets the eye where Indian foreign policy is concerned. SAARC members have suffered greatly as a result of the hunger for India to dominate the region. It behoves all sovereign Governments to ensure they do not sleep with the enemy and develop a plan on how to counter India’s covert operations that has done little good to the region including India itself which is presently having to deal with terrorism in its most brutal forms. Delhi seems clueless on how to handle it though it perfected the art of creating terror in neighbouring countries.

If India is not interested in creating a separate state in Sri Lanka, then Sri Lanka needs a categorical assurance that it will not use the LTTE as a destabilisation force in the country.

If India takes the position that her neighbours take “Belligerent anti-Indian positions” in their dealing with her due to “bellicose patriotism” peace and prosperity would no doubt would be the furthest thing for all the people of South Asia. India needs to lead the way in cultivating TRUST, understanding, benevolence, harmony and peaceful coexistence with all its neighbours. It must display its maturity as a world power in dealing with all its smaller neighbours

Perhaps The Chinese and Indian Prime Ministers should have in their agenda South Asian Stability and Peaceful coexistence, besides common border issues and bilateral economic cooperation during the forthcoming visit to China by the Indian PM…………

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Isha Khan     bd_mailer@yahoo.com