Page 1


editor’s note

DSA IS AS MUCH YOURS,

AS IT IS OURS!

I

In popular wisdom, India is the principle victim of Pakistan-based terror groups. But the reality is rather different, and Indians may be disappointed to learn that fact. The harsh truth is that the longest suffering victim, and one which has lost the most lives to Pakistan-based and sponsored terror groups, is actually Afghanistan. The story of Pakistan and Afghan terrorist groups is enunciated in terms of the Soviet invasion of 1979 and the heroic fight of the mujahideen. The truth lies elsewhere. Pakistan’s meddling in the affairs of Afghanistan began soon after its defeat by India in the 1971 War which led to the liberation of Bangladesh. Thrashed and dissected by India, Pakistan began the process of training and sponsoring Afghan dissidents into terrorism and insurgency in the mid-1970s. The money came from Saudi Arabia, and the motivation from Rawalpindi. Which, in fact, says a lot about Pakistan, for since then, it has had soured relations with both its principal neighbours, India to the east and Afghanistan to its west.

Both neighbours lament the export of terror from Pakistan. Pakistani terror plans in India first came to be implemented through the Khalistan-inspired Punjab-based groups. India’s haphazard handling during the early days only made matters worse. Indian Punjab was set on fire by diverting resources from the Afghan mujahideen campaign, for which by the mid-1980s, there were many countries giving enormous amounts. Pakistan’s ISI took many of their partner countries for a ride on this matter, and successfully harassed India well into the mid-1990s. By that time, Pakistan had played its primary and final card, in igniting the Jammu and Kashmir youth into rebellion. Indian errors led to the ignition in the early days, but they were suitably stoked by Pakistan.  Almost 30 years down the line, the situation remains as it was, volatile, uncertain, and deeply bitter. Indo-Pak relations are currently hooked on to the cycle of violence and retribution, including amongst the diplomats posted in either country. This is such a pity. It is safe to say that India-Pakistan relations are

April 2018

directly proportionate to the level of terrorism that is being pushed into India. As the mountain passes open for summer, expect more of the same. But it also has a substantial impact on Pakistan.  Terrorist groups in Pakistan have metamorphosed into differing directions depending on convenience, conviction, and also, convergence of thinking. Over the years, they have been responsible for killing hundreds of innocent Pakistani Shi’a. The sectarian agenda has become explicit for some groups–once born to make hell in India. Then, there are others who have begun to take on the Pakistani state as well, an illustration of the local version of the Taliban. Countless Pakistan Army soldiers have died combating them. So, the experiment that began more than 40 years ago, to meddle in Afghanistan, and then India, has turned around and is now eating the insides of Pakistani society. This corrosion will continue as long as Pakistan believes that it can run with the hare and also, hunt with the hound. 

Manvendra Singh

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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publisher’s view

An ISO 9001:2015 Certified Magazine

Volume 9 | Issue 07 | April 2018 Chairman Shyam Sunder Publisher and CEO Pawan Agrawal President Urvashi J Agrawal Director Shishir Bhushan Editor-in-Chief Manvendra Singh Copy Editor Vandana Bhatia Palli Copcom & Ops OSD Navjeet Sood Graphic Designer Prem Singh Representative (J&K) Salil Sharma Correspondent (Europe) Dominika Cosic Production Dilshad and Dabeer IT Operations Amber Sharma Photographer Subhash Subscriptions Taniya Sharma Legal Advisor Deepak Gupta

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Defence and Security Alert is printed, published and owned by Pawan Agrawal and printed at Bosco Society For Printing, Don Bosco Technical Institute, Okhla Road, New Delhi-110025 and published at 4/19, Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi (India). Editor: Manvendra Singh

4

PAKISTAN: DESCENT INTO DISASTER

T

he entire world has finally come to accept the self-evident truth that Pakistan is a flourishing hub of terrorism. Terrorism has been raised to the level of an industry in Pakistan. For decades, it has been milking the US of billions of dollars as compensation for fighting the ‘global war on terror’ (GWOT), after being reluctantly brought to heel by President George W. Bush Junior’s blunt query: “Are you with us or against us?” That famous American turnaround came about only after the two symbols of American world economic and military dominance—the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia—were attacked using hijacked aircraft as flying bombs on September 09, 2001 (the infamous 9/11). As part of its carefully crafted ‘industry’, Pakistan fed the American yearning for revenge for 9/11 with small morsels of small and middle level terrorists to help fill Guantanamo Bay penitentiary on Cuban soil. It kept the kingpins of Islamist terrorism like Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda in safe havens in the heart of its military establishments i.e. Osama in Abbottabad house with high walls. It took the equally astute business acumen of President Donald Trump to realise how America had been led up the garden path by Pakistan. He clamped down on military assistance to Pakistan but in the latest round of drone strikes in which several terrorists were killed inside Pakistan, it appears that the Americans are targeting only those terrorists that Pakistan wants to eliminate. The muchwanted Haqqanis are still roaming around free and ‘global terrorist’ Hafiz Saeed is preparing to become the ruler of Pakistan. The distinction between the civil and the military in Pakistan has become totally blurred. It was under the civilian government of Benezir Bhutto that the Taliban was created in Pakistan madrassas to flood Afghanistan and confront the Soviet troops there and create greater strategic depth for Pakistan. The Pakistan military dictatorship under Gen Pervez Musharraf reaped the billions of dollars that the Americans poured into the Pakistani coffers to fight the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. Over the past two years, there has been a major flux in the geopolitics of the region. Both China and Russia have moved closer to Pakistan in expectation of an American withdrawal. Within Pakistan, a coalition is being created inclusive of Hafiz Saeed, the terrorist kingpin who has turned politicians to avoid UN sanctions. He is being supported by former dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan. The emerging paradigm in Pakistan points to an ultra-hardcore Islamist political entity led by Hafiz Saeed supported wholeheartedly in the Wahhabbi military establishment, led by serving and retired military officers. This grouping will have control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Given the history of nuclear weapons proliferation of the Pakistan nuclear establishment, the prospects are horrendous. This edition is well-conceived considering the changing face of Pakistan, and, our distinguished contributors have shared their well-researched thoughts for your best updates on this. I am sure you will like this edition too. Happy reading!

Pawan Agrawal April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT


contents

An ISO 9001:2015 Certified Magazine

MAINSTREAMING TERRORISM: ROLE OF HAFIZ SAEED LT GEN DALIP BHARDWAJ PVSM, VSM (RETD)

04

KASHMIR:EDUCATED YOUTH DRIFTING AWAY PROF SANJEEV BHADAURIA

10

FROM ‘STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP’ TO ‘TRANSACTIONAL RELATIONSHIP’ BRIG GURMEET KANWAL (RETD)

16

RESENTMENT ABOUNDS PAKISTAN P L DASH

22

FINANCIAL SETBACK TO PAKISTAN: US WITHDRAWS ITS SUPPORT BRIG RUMEL DAHIYA (RETD)

26

CAN IT HAPPEN? PROF ARVIND KUMAR and DR NANDA KISHOR

30

MARRIAGE OF TERROR AND POLITICS COL SHAILENDER ARYA

34

STRAINED RELATIONS BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN BRIG (DR) ANIL SHARMA (RETD)

38

Is China Pampering Islamic Radicalisation? COL SANJEEV DALAL (RETD)

44

SELF-SERVING QUADRILATERAL MECHANISM DR ABANTI BHATTACHARYA

48

April 2018

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

5


global terrorist – Hafiz ACQUIRES POLITICAL SANCTITY

6

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT


LT GEN DALIP BHARDWAJ PVSM, VSM (RETD) The writer is a former Director General of the Mechanised Forces, Indian Army.

MAINSTREAMING TERRORISM: ROLE OF HAFIZ SAEED Hafiz Saeed, has, for a long time, been on the most wanted militant list in the region, yet he is living freely in Pakistan despite the $10 million bounty on his head. To most Pakistanis, Hafiz Saeed is a hero, the architect of a long militant campaign to fight against India for Kashmir and a prominent voice for fundamentalist Islam. He enjoys huge popularity in Pakistan, especially in Lahore which will only grow larger once he enters the active political arena.

O

n January 1, 2018, President Donald Trump tweeted a warning to Pakistan “Stop supporting terrorists” and he linked it to US continuing to provide military aid. India, in

May 2001, handed over a list of 50 most wanted fugitives hiding in Pakistan to include Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the chief of Jamaat–ud-Dawa (JuD). The UN designated JuD as a terrorist group and urged Pakistan to take action. Despite the international pressure having been mounted

April 2018

over the past two decades, JuD thrives and gains greater support within Pakistan and Hafiz Saeed roams free to spit venom, preach his vision of fundamentalist Islam and propagate jihad. The consequences of not disbanding JuD and its affiliates and bring Hafiz Saeed to book are horrifying

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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global terrorist – Hafiz ACQUIRES POLITICAL SANCTITY

AFTER EVERY TERRORIST ACTION, INDIA PROVIDED AND SHARED PROOF OF THE INVOLVEMENT OF LeT WITH PAKISTAN AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY and known to all, especially the rational population of Pakistan, yet he is being nurtured and the Pakistan Government seems helpless, in fact abetting and encouraging his actions, especially when directed against India.

Genesis Hafiz Saeed was born in Sargoda (Pakistan) in 1948. His primary education was in the madrassas and, thereafter, obtained his masters’ degree in Islamic Studies from the University of Punjab. He was subsequently employed as an Islamic Studies teacher at the University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan. In the early 1980s, he was sent to Saudi Arabia for higher studies and specialised in Islamic Studies and Arabic language from the King Saud University. While in

8

(FIF), through which funds for terrorism are collected. Over the years, his organisation grew in size and stature ably supported by ISI as his terrorist activities directed in J&K ensured that to maintain law and order, the Indian Army and para-military forces had to be deployed in strength. The LeT is responsible for having conducted three of the major terrorist attacks in India during the past two decades. The first was in 2001 with a daring attack on India’s Parliament building. In 2006, the LeT was responsible for conducting the Mumbai train bombings and lastly, in 2008, the Mumbai terror attack which led to the death of 166 innocent civilians including six foreign citizens.

Saudi Arabia, he met with Saudi

Legal Actions

Sheikhs who inspired him to take

After every terrorist action,

an active role in supporting the

India provided and shared proof

Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. In

of the involvement of LeT with

1987, along with Abdullah Azam,

Pakistan and the international

they founded Markaz Dawa-

community. The reaction from

Wal- Irshad, a group with roots

Pakistan was predictable. After

in the Jamait Ahl-e-Hadis. This

the attack on Indian Parliament,

organisation spawned the jihadist

President Musharraf placated the

group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in

US by detaining Hafiz Saeed for

1990, with the help, guidance

three months and subsequently,

and protection from Pakistan’s

placing him under house arrest

Inter Service Intelligence (ISI)

for the next six months as the

group. LeT’s primary target is

entire armed forces of India were

the state of Jammu and Kashmir

mobilised during this duration.

(J&K). He founded the JuD and

In 2006, after the Mumbai train

subsequently, the financial wing,

bombings, he was once again

Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation

placed under house arrest for

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

three months and thereafter, released on the orders of the Lahore High Court. In 2008, after the Mumbai terrorist attack, India submitted a formal request with proof to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to put JuD and Hafiz Saeed on the list of individuals and organisations associated with terror as LeT was the militant arm of JuD. This was agreed to by the United Nations. Hence, in December 2008, Hafiz Saeed was once again placed under house arrest for six months and released after the Lahore High Court declared the confinement as unconstitutional. On India’s request for Hafiz Saeed’s extradition, the Interpol in August 2009 issued a red corner notice resulting in his house arrest for one month before the Lahore High Court quashed all cases against him and set him free and further stated that JuD is not a banned organisation and can work freely in Pakistan. The US declared two LeT leaders as global terrorists and LeT as a foreign


terrorist organisation, including its alias JuD. The UNSC listed Hafiz Saeed under UNSC Resolution 1267. Subsequent to the arrest of US national David Headley and his confessed role as a LeT operative in the Mumbai terror attack of 2008, the governments of the US, UK, EU and Australia have all banned LeT. In April 2012, the US announced a bounty of $10 million on Hafiz Saeed.

In January 2017, after coming under intense international

charges against him under the Anti-Terrorist Act 1997 along with 4 other terrorists of JuD (a tacit acknowledgement of their links with militancy) were promptly placed under house arrest once again, to deflect the heat. In his absence, the leadership of JuD was shifted to his brotherin-law Abdul Rehman who while addressing his cadre mocked the Pakistan Army that “it was a puppet of the JuD”. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif while in Germany said, “JuD and LeT are a liability to Pakistan and we need to get rid of them”, and further added that “these were the darlings of the US till a few years ago”. In March 2017, the former National Security Adviser Muhammad Ali Durrani said that the 26/11 Mumbai attack was carried out by a terror group based in Pakistan and was a classic case of trans-border terrorist act.

pressure from the UN, US and India, and realising that Hafiz Saeed was the main reason for Pakistan’s international isolation, the Pakistan Government framed

During the hearings in court, the Pakistan Government counsel pleaded that JuD and FIF are engaged in activities that are prejudicial to peace and security.

Despite all the evidence and the fact that a number of international organisations and governments have accepted the same, the government of Pakistan, its army and judiciary are unable or unwilling to take any action against JuD and Hafiz Saeed.

Pakistan’s Actions/ Reactions

April 2018

Evidence Disregarded India’s NIA handed over all the evidence that connects the Hurriyat with terror chiefs Hafiz Saeed and Sayed Salahuddin, “under whose guidance”, the separatists in J&K “form strategies and action plans” to create an atmosphere of terror and fear in the valley. However, after ten months of house arrest, in November 2017, the Judicial Review Board of the Lahore High Court released Hafiz and his accomplices due to lack of evidence. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr Shahid Abbasi stated that there is no case against Hafiz Saeed. An attempt was made to charge Hafiz Saeed on certain other diluted charges so as to pacify members of the UNSC Sanctions Monitoring Committee who were scheduled to visit Pakistan in February 2018. The Lahore High Court restrained the government from arresting him till March 17, 2018, and hence, no action can be taken by any party till mid-March 2018. As a result,

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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global terrorist – Hafiz ACQUIRES POLITICAL SANCTITY

combat terror financing. If this

denied the members of the UNSC

happens, and, in conjunction with

Sanctions Monitoring from having

the blocking of $255 million in

any direct access to Hafiz Saeed or

military aid by the US, the financial

his JuD entities. Pakistan’s refusal

situation will be precarious in

to grant permission is a clear

Pakistan, especially with elections

violation of international rules.

due this year. But Islamabad

Qadasiya mosque at Lahore, he

reacted fast and on February 13,

described the US as the biggest

In February 2018, members of the

2018, a Presidential Ordinance

terrorist State and FATF has been

Financial Action Task Force (FATF),

was promulgated that all persons

informed that JuD is working for

an anti-money laundering watch

and entities that are on the UN-

the freedom of Kashmiris. He also

dog based in Paris, voted to place

declared list as terrorists, would

declared that the year 2018 would

Pakistan on its grey list of nations

also be considered as terrorists in

be “dedicated to Kashmiris”.

which are not doing enough to

Pakistan. This ordinance would

THE FACT IS THAT THE JuD HAS REHABILITATED MANY OF THE TALIBAN CAPTURED IN AFGHANISTAN AND DIVERTED THEM TO THE LeT 10

THE ISI FUNDED THESE GROUPS AT VARIOUS POINTS OF TIME

the Pakistan Government has

enable the government to freeze and seize the assets of JuD and 27 other such units. This duplicity of Pakistan is, however, clear as to date despite having been placed in the proscribed list, both the JuD and FIF are working openly under the patronage of the security forces. Hafiz Saeed holds open rallies and meetings across Pakistan and enjoys the support of the Army, the ISI and military intelligence. To cock a snook on the establishment and all international agencies, on March 3, 2018, addressing the Friday sermon at Markaz Al

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

Political Ambitions In August 2017, Hafiz Saeed announced the formation of a political party Milli Muslim League (MML), a subsidiary wing and political face of the JuD. He made it clear to the nation about his intention of contesting the elections in 2018. With this move, Hafiz Saeed is attempting to cover his bloodstained hands with ballot ink and an attempt to rebrand his organisation. The Pakistan Government asked the court to deny clearance to the MML party on the grounds that it is an offshoot of a banned terrorist outfit and


THIS DUPLICITY OF PAKISTAN IS, HOWEVER, CLEAR AS TO DATE DESPITE HAVING BEEN PLACED IN THE PROSCRIBED LIST, BOTH THE JuD AND FIF ARE WORKING OPENLY UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF THE SECURITY FORCES Ambassador to Pakistan Mr Wali Abu Ali attended and was, subsequently, recalled.

it would be legitimising terror if the party is recognised and would create havoc in a fragile political situation. First to jump into the ring and offer support to the MML was none other than their former President Pervez Musharraf who hailed the LeT and JuD militants as true patriots and no one can object to this party. He described the JuD as “A fine NGO” engaged in relief activities. Obviously, Musharraf is planning his political future riding piggy back on a terrorist organisation which he backed during the 1999 Kargil operations. The judiciary has always supported Hafiz Saeed and hence, it is logical to expect that they will not be able to de-legitimise the MML and thus, a new entrant can be expected in the form of a coalition of religious parties. In December 2017, a rally was organised in Rawalpindi by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition of 40 hardline Islamic parties that advocate conservative policies and often target India, led by Hafiz Saeed which created uproar in India as the Palestine

The political atmosphere in Pakistan is getting murkier. In November 2017, a hardline religious party belonging to the Barelvi sect of Islam, under the leadership of Cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi, led a three week violent protest in Islamabad against the proposed changes to the oath taken by incoming lawmakers. The situation was defused after the Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi met the Army Chief Gen Bajwa, who declined to use force against the protestors (remember the repercussions of Lal Musjid) but only guaranteed protection to certain important buildings in Islamabad. The protest was called off only once the law minister, who proposed the changes in the oath, resigned and all arrested supporters of Rizvi’s party were released and the government agreed to pay for all the damages. The army came out in bad light and the DG of Pakistan Rangers, a para-military force openly stated that they were supporting the protestors!!!

Why No Action? Hafiz Saeed, has, for a long time, been on the most wanted militant list in the region, yet he is living

April 2018

freely in Pakistan despite the $10 million bounty on his head. To most Pakistanis, Hafiz Saeed is a hero, the architect of a long militant campaign to fight against India for Kashmir and a prominent voice for fundamentalist Islam. He enjoys huge popularity in Pakistan, especially in Lahore which will only grow larger once he enters the active political arena. For decades Pakistan has cast a benign eye on groups like the LeT which was conceived by the ISI to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir – even as the Pakistan Government battles the other jihadi groups like the TTP (Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan) and the Haqqani groups. The fact is that the JuD has rehabilitated many of the Taliban captured in Afghanistan and diverted them to the LeT. The ISI-funded these groups at various points of time when they were needed. Now, these very organisations have grown very large, financially well-off and independent in ideology, and hence, like the proverbial Phoenix would re-raise its head. The duplicity of Pakistan Government as regards Hafiz Saeed is apparent; they play a double game, keeping the international organisations at bay while lending tacit support within the country. They will pay a heavy price for this misadventure.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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terror recruits JAISH FISHING IN UNEMPLOYED POOL

KASHMIR:

EDUCATED YOUTH DRIFTING AWAY An important issue that receives less attention in the larger framework of policies to fight militancy is related to creating secure and humane societies. Our governments ought to continue to work towards eradicating unemployment, reducing disparities of income and wealth, eliminating corruption and indeed, formulating good governance policies which is the need of the hour in Kashmir.

12

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT


I

t is paradoxical that on the one hand, we have ‘guided missiles’ but ‘misguided youth’ on the other, ready to become terrorists which has been the case in the militancyinfested State of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri unemployed youth like youth across India have talent and are capable of transforming their place into a real paradise again but, unfortunately, are being exhorted by militant organisations like the Jaish- e Mohammad (JeM) to join their rank and file. It is important to note that according to the economic survey of J&K, unemployment in the age group of 18-24 is 24.6 per cent, which is far more than the allIndia unemployment rate of 13.2 per cent. The J&K’s unemployed include MBBS, engineering graduates, post-graduates and post-graduate diploma holders.   

Pan-Kashmir Problem? At the very outset, it must be made clear that the whole of the State is not affected by militancy. It has three main subregions viz. Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Population wise 2.32 per cent reside in Ladakh, 42.64 per cent reside in Jammu and 55.04 per cent reside in Kashmir Valley. For administrative purposes, the State is divided into two main divisions, Kashmir and Jammu. There is relative calm and peace in other districts out of 22 districts with the exception of Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Kulgam, Pulwama, Budgam, Shopian, Ganderbal, Bandipora and Kupwara. There is majority population who also support the ‘Azadi’ or ‘Freedom’ cause (which has a different connotation other than the traditional meaning) in Kishtwar,

April 2018

PROF SANJEEV BHADAURIA The writer is Professor and Former Head, Dept. of Defence and Strategic Studies, Central University of Allahabad, Allahabad (UP), India.

OUT OF ROUGHLY 700,000 YOUTH IN THE AGE GROUP OF 18-30 YEARS, CLOSE TO 50 PER CENT REMAIN UNEMPLOYED DESPITE HIGHER EDUCATION

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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terror recruits JAISH FISHING IN UNEMPLOYED POOL

WHEN THE INSURGENTS WERE OFFERED ARMS BY PAKISTAN, IT SEEMED AN EASIER WAY TO SPEAK AGAINST THE PERCEIVED CORRUPT STATE GOVERNMENT, BESIDES RECEIVING MUCH NEEDED MONEY FOR DOING SO Rajouri, Poonch, and Doda

the youth to be attracted

districts as well. The people on

towards militancy.

the Line of Control (LoC) and

During the 1980s, it was difficult

the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir are being subjected to cross-firing and they are busy dealing with the grim situation.

to distinguish whether the generation of youth that caused the insurgency was motivated by a genuine dissatisfaction

So, it is not appropriate to call it a pan-Kashmir problem. These rioting districts consist of less than half of the total area and population of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. These districts house the separatists who have made so-called ‘azadi’, rioting, terrorism and indoctrination as a big lucrative affair. The youth in the disturbed districts have also been affected and many have joined the ranks of militants which is a cause of worry.

Responsible Factors The approach upheld by a cross section of analysts is that the causes of terrorism are deepseated and multifarious. Poverty, unemployment, political, social and economic deprivation, denial or delay in exercise of democratic rights and foreign support lie at the root of terrorism. In Kashmir triggered militancy, we see many of these factors which either alone or in combination are responsible for

14

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

with the democratic processes of the State, or whether this generation was simply the product of the deliberate propaganda campaign and fundamentalist indoctrination. It is likely that it was a combination of both forces. Ultimately, when the insurgents were offered arms by Pakistan, it seemed an easier way to speak against the perceived corrupt State government, besides receiving much needed money for doing so. Economic backwardness and political corruption and alienation of people are no doubt potential factors of sustaining conflict. But no conflict can be sustained without consciousness of people about the conflict and


this has happened in Kashmir. Kashmir has witnessed growth in education and mass media rapidly, which play an important role in making people aware about the conflict. The growth of educated unemployed youth proved as catalysts for conflict in Kashmir. Almost all Kashmiri educated youth want to get jobs in Kashmir, which are not available in abundance in their State. Educated youths also do not have good opportunities of selfemployment as small scale industries and business prospects have not been developed in Kashmir. For instance, of the National Investment in the public

INDIA’S GOVERNMENT SURELY CAN DO A BETTER JOB BY THE USE OF DIPLOMACY, MILITARY AND SOCIO-POLITICAL OPTIONS sector amounting to rupees 86,000 crore over a period of 40 years after independence, Jammu and Kashmir was accorded a share of only 0.03 per cent. According to this view, therefore, the lack of development in the State led to a paucity of employment opportunities, providing militant groups with ample recruiting space. Whatever development has taken place in this area got

April 2018

devastated since 1989, the year from which militancy started. As a result, unemployed educated youth proved like oil in the fire. Alienated and frustrated, many of them turn their attention towards earning livelihood with innovative means i.e. militancy. Humra Quraishi opines in her book Kashmir: The Untold Story, “Huge numbers of the

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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terror recruits JAISH FISHING IN UNEMPLOYED POOL

young are unemployed, many more are underemployed”. Many analysts have also observed a critical relationship between the phenomenon of militancy and unemployment in their study. In case of Kashmir Valley, the highest rate of unemployment was found in the border districts of Kupwara and Baramulla from where there has been a maximum contribution to the ranks of Kashmir’s militants to JeM.

Specific Incidents As Trigger Various incidents can be cited which have acted as triggers and forced the youth to protest. This led to resistance and high handedness by the security forces resulting in injury or casualties to the protestors leading to alienation and finally, disenchantment. The result was that a few young men were attracted towards militancy. Some widely reported incidents are as under:

16

Firstly, in 2008 and 2009, the youth had actively participated in the protests in the Amarnath Land row, and, alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian, widely believed to have been done by State forces. The inquiry by the CBI gave a clean chit to the forces and the new generation had used stones but the response was repressive. Secondly, in 2010, one incident of an alleged encounter in the remote area of Machil in which three youth were killed by the army triggered a long cycle of violent unrest in the valley in which 120 civilians were killed.   Thirdly, in Pulwama, Rafiq Ahmad Ahangar alias Saifullah was killed in an encounter in May 2013. He had completed his B. Tech. degree from a local engineering college.   Fourthly, in 2016 in Tral, Ishaq Ahmad Parray alias ‘Newton’ died in a gunfight with the security forces. He was a meritorious student.

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

Fifthly, in 2017, the mighty Burhan Wani along with his brother was killed in an encounter, just 40 km away from Srinagar.   The youth views the response of the State as denial of delivery of justice, lack of accountability and transparency and has showed its ugly consequences since the onset of militancy. There is also a sentiment of anger in the valley for the losses caused due to pellet guns, which is genuine. Despite the intent to save lives and maximum restraint, pellet guns did cause grave injuries. When violence erupts in the valley, Jammu does not remain untouched and the reverse can also be true. Thus, one incident has widespread consequences. It is estimated that in 2010 alone, nearly 5,000 youth were arrested for having indulged in stonepelting. A few hundred including some minors were booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) which


is seen to be more draconian

according to police records. This

organisations. The establishment

than the more discussed Armed

trend of local youth joining radical

needs to wake up and tackle the

Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

ranks acquired vigour since 2010,

problem head on before it blows

Selective harassment of Kashmiri

ushering in a peculiar trend in the

up with vengeance.

students in universities in rest of

dynamics of Kashmir.

What’s ‘Normal’?

Kashmir triggered militancy poses

The anger of the harassed

The younger generation of

many challenges. But the State’s

youth has been given vent by

Kashmiris has not seen a ‘normal

response to these challenges has

diverting them to take up arms

situation’ as they have not seen

not been adequate and on the

in Kashmir. A fascination with

normalcy in their lives. Those

contrary, the politicians have

the gun amongst the youth has

who have seen militancy in the

exploited it to their advantage

been generated as they look upon

late 1980s and in the 1990s seem

irrespective of the consequences.

militants as iconic figures or

more worried today. Almost every

heroes and take inspiration from

youngster in the age group of 13

It has been recommended by

them. This is one of the most

to 24 seems to be inspired by

worrying feats of militancy in the

militant thought even if most of

Kashmir Valley.  

them are not picking up arms as

India has also added fuel to fire.

The Genesis

The Road Ahead

many that as an immediate priority, militancy in India needs to be handled more as a matter

yet. This inspiration is not coming from Pakistan or its intelligence agencies but from local militant

and no visible investment by

youth icons like late Burhan Wani

corporate houses in Kashmir

and now, Zakir Musa. Unlike in

further increases frustration

the past, there is no moderating

among these youth who make

influence of parents, other family

up about 40 per cent of the

elders or religious leaders on them.

population. According to a survey

The frustration of the youth is

by Oxfam, ‘Kashmir, today, is a

increasing rapidly which apart

sea of unemployed youth, a place

from increasing their alienation

where infrastructure is crippled

is converting them into a

and there is almost no effort to

readymade material for destructive

encourage private enterprise

exploitation by the militant

reveals that opportunities for professional education remain very limited. Out of roughly 700,000 youth in the age group of 18-30 years, close to 50 per cent remain unemployed despite higher education. Almost half a million educated youth feeling under siege without any avenue of gainful and productive employment is surely a recipe for disaster. If in 2013, 31 local youths joined militancy, the number for 2015 jumped to 79,

THE YOUNGER GENERATION OF KASHMIRIS HAS NOT SEEN A ‘NORMAL SITUATION’ AS THEY HAVE NOT SEEN NORMALCY IN THEIR LIVES April 2018

dominated by its trans-national context alone, particularly given

The absence of industries

and self-employment’. The study

of internal security and not be

the existing geopolitical scenario. The militant organisations will continue to take advantage, which will make it difficult to plan security measures around past threats or a few threat scenarios. But India’s government surely can do a better job by the use of diplomacy, military and sociopolitical options besides creating a climate favourable for bringing normalcy to the State.   Another important issue that receives less attention in the larger framework of policies to fight militancy is related to creating secure and humane societies. Our governments ought to continue to work towards eradicating unemployment, reducing disparities of income and wealth, eliminating corruption and indeed, formulating good governance policies which is the need of the hour in Kashmir.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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India-Russia ties MARKED DETERIORATION

18

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT


FROM ‘STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP’ TO ‘TRANSACTIONAL RELATIONSHIP’ Due to economically weak Russia’s unstated but deeply felt apprehensions about wealthy China’s military assertiveness, the China-Russia strategic partnership will be slow to gather momentum. However, in the medium term, it will certainly grow in strength despite the US’ “pivot” or strategy of re-balancing to the Indo-Pacific and the growing strategic partnership between the members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, that is, Australia, India, Japan and the United States.

A

vision statement issued after the summit meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin at St Petersburg in early June 2017, said: “We will upgrade and intensify this (military) cooperation, through joint manufacture, co-production and co-development of military hardware and military spares, with increasing reliance on the adoption and sharing of future technologies, in compliance with the obligations of the sides under the existing agreements on

military-technical cooperation.” Three weeks later, Defence Ministers Arun Jaitley and Gen Sergey Shoigu jointly chaired the 17th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation from June 21-23, 2017, at Moscow. The two sides agreed on a roadmap and signed a protocol to take defence cooperation to

BRIG GURMEET KANWAL (RETD) The writer is former Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) and Distinguished Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi.

MILITARYTECHNICAL COOPERATION REMAINED A BUYER-SELLER, PATRON-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP

a higher level through the joint development of future weapons systems and military equipment, enhanced joint training and the exchange of visits. According to reports, India will acquire arms

April 2018

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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India-Russia ties MARKED DETERIORATION

and equipment worth $10.5

its reliance on Western weapons

billion from Russia including

platforms despite their greater

“five S-400 Triumf advanced air

cost, had not been received well

defence missile systems, four

in Russia and the relationship

Grigorivich-class frigates and 200

had tended to deteriorate into

Kamov-226T light helicopters.”

a transactional rather than a

Russia will also lease its second

strategic one.

nuclear-powered submarine to India after INS Chakra. The

Close Partnership

Indian defence minister invited Russian companies to participate in defence manufacture in India as part of the government’s “Make in India” policy.

The relationship with Russia goes

The meeting helped to arrest the recent drift in the relationship that has been described as a “special and privileged” strategic partnership since 2000. India’s new policy to diversify its sources of defence procurement, especially

20

back to the time when India got its independence. The erstwhile Soviet Union and its successor State, Russia, have stood by India on Jammu and Kashmir over several difficult decades. One-sided UN Security Council resolutions on J&K were vetoed by the Russians many times. The Indo-Soviet Treaty of “Peace, Friendship and Cooperation”, signed before the 1971 War with Pakistan, stood

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

India in good stead. Though the agreement was not a military alliance, India was perceived by the United States and its Western allies to have joined the Soviet camp. The 1971 agreement signalled the de facto end of nonalignment, which John Foster Dulles, US Secretary of State (1953-59), had called “immoral”. As part of its foreign policy, India also did not lag behind in supporting Soviet or Russian positions. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. India was privately opposed to the ill-conceived intervention as it brought the Cold War to India’s neighbourhood. However, because of the long-standing strategic relationship with the Soviets, India


THE INDIAN DEFENCE MINISTER INVITED RUSSIAN COMPANIES TO PARTICIPATE IN DEFENCE MANUFACTURE IN INDIA AS PART OF THE GOVERNMENT’S “MAKE IN INDIA” POLICY

opted not to condemn the invasion publicly. When Indira Gandhi became the PM again in January 1980, she is known to have read out the riot act to PM Alexei Kosygin. Similarly, India is closer to the Russian position on Iran’s violation of its NPT commitments than to the US approach of imposing sanctions and holding out military threats. A negative aspect has been that the two countries have failed to cooperate on peace and stability in Afghanistan despite shared interests.

Defence Technology Cooperation India’s acquisition of weapons and defence equipment from Russia has been the most enduring

part of the India-Russia strategic partnership. (“Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership” was signed in October 2000.) Kanwal Sibal, former foreign secretary and ambassador to Russia, has written, “Because defence supplies constitute the core of the bilateral relationship, defence transactions maintain their rhythm lest the loss of their cementing force affects the entire relationship.” Over 60 per cent of India’s defence acquisitions are still sourced from Russia. According to a SIPRI compilation, between 2012 and 2016, 68 per cent of India’s weapons and defence equipment were imported from Russia, compared with 14 per cent from the United States and 8 per cent from Israel. Russia provided several high-tech weapons platforms to India when India was still subject to technology denial regimes. Civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries has a long history. Russia gave India nuclear submarines on lease and provided assistance for the development of the cryogenic rocket engine for India’s GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle).

The Russians had offered India the S-300/S-300V BMD system as far back as the mid-1990s. During the December 2014 summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin, Russia had agreed

State-of-the-art fighter-bombers, including the MiG-25 strategic reconnaissance aircraft, were sold to India. The two countries cooperated on the Russian GPS satellite system called GLONASS.

ToT was neither promised, nor

April 2018

to supply 12 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 years. Russia also supports India’s quest for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and related groups.

Friendship Prices The Soviet Union sold hi-tech weapons and defence equipment to India at “friendship prices” and on the basis of barter trade as India did not have sufficient foreign exchange reserves. However, military-technical cooperation remained a buyerseller, patron-client relationship. While fighter aircraft and tanks were manufactured under licence in India, no Transfer of Technology (ToT) ever took place and India’s defence technology base remained low. The co-production of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is the only example of a successful joint venture. However, it must be stated in all fairness that contracted for. The decline of Russia’s defence industry – production declined by almost 90 per cent in five years –

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

21


India-Russia ties MARKED DETERIORATION

DEFENCE MINISTERS ARUN JAITLEY AND GEN SERGEY SHOIGU JOINTLY CHAIRED THE 17TH MEETING OF THE INDIA-RUSSIA INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMISSION ON MILITARY-TECHNICAL COOPERATION. THE MEETING HELPED TO ARREST THE RECENT DRIFT IN THE RELATIONSHIP after the collapse of the Soviet

cost escalation… affect combat

Union had an adverse impact

readiness and disrupt planning,

on India’s defence procurement.

prompting calls for diversifying

India found it difficult to obtain

sources of supply. With Israel and

spare parts, get its equipment

France effectively competing

overhauled and seek upgrades.

and the US making steady

There were unacceptable time

headway, Russia’s privileged

and cost overruns in executing

position as a supplier will be

pending orders. The five-year

increasingly challenged.”

delay and the three-fold cost escalation in the acquisition of INS

Now these challenges are gradually

Vikramaditya (Adml Gorshkov)

being overcome, but the Russian

aircraft carrier is a typical example.

defence industry has fallen behind

According to Kanwal Sibal,

the West in the development of

“Serious problems such as those of

cutting-edge weapons technologies.

inadequate product support, non-

A new concern is about the techno-

adherence to delivery schedules,

commercial feasibility of the joint

development and production of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) tentatively called PAKFA or Sukhoi T-50. The Indian perspective for future defence technology cooperation will be shaped by PM Modi’s drive to “Make in India” with ToT. Russian OEMs will need to demonstrate their competitiveness and enter into strategic partnerships by way of Joint Ventures (JVs) with Indian public and private sector companies to bid for future contracts in keeping with the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016. If they are nimble enough to rival the MNCs, India-Russia militarytechnical cooperation will have a bright future. Other facets of defence cooperation between the two countries have included joint military exercises that are held annually. In November 2017, a tri-Service joint exercise was held at the battalion level near Vladivostok and in the Sea of Japan. Approximately, 900 Indian military personnel, two surface warships and two IL-76 aircraft participated. According to India’s Ministry of Defence, “Army exercise tasks involved check point defence and humanitarian convoy escort in the backdrop of threat from armed groups, naval tasks comprised visit, board, search and seizure ... operations besides force protection measures, joint air defence and anti-mining operations… the Indian Air Force and Russian Aerospace Force combined their air crews for combat air patrols, reconnaissance missions, formation flying and slithering operations utilising Russian fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters.”

22

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT


Impact of Geopolitics No bilateral relationship can remain immune to regional and international geopolitical developments. The collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 and the consequent end of the Cold War led to the emergence of a unipolar world order with the

THE ERA OF “COLD PEACE” HAS DAWNED OVER EASTERN EUROPE AND PUTIN’S RUSSIA HAS BEGUN TO GRADUALLY DRIFT TOWARDS CHINA AND ITS ALLY, PAKISTAN

US as the sole super-power. In

Pak Rapprochement

the mid-1990s, Boris Yeltsin’s

Russia’s relations with Pakistan

against Russian nuclear-tipped

Russia and Jiang Zemin’s China

deteriorated when, after the Soviet

missiles, and the pro-active wooing

repeatedly made joint statements

invasion of Afghanistan in 1979,

of erstwhile Soviet States like

favouring a “multipolar world,”

Pakistan recruited, armed and

Ukraine. The era of “Cold Peace”

while denouncing “unipolar

trained the Taliban and began

has dawned over Eastern Europe

domination.” In the post-Cold

to support the mujahideen to

and Putin’s Russia has begun to

War era of strategic uncertainty,

fight Soviet troops. Gradually,

gradually drift towards China and

Russian PM Yevgeny Primakov

after the Soviet withdrawal from

its ally, Pakistan. Russian leaders

floated the idea of the China-

Afghanistan in February 1989,

have repeatedly assured India that

India-Russia “strategic triangle” in

the relationship began to improve.

the improvement in their relations

December 1998. However, China

Zahid Chaudhary wrote in the

with Pakistan will not have any

was disinterested and India’s

Pakistan Observer, “Pakistan

impact on India and Russia’s

stand was one of ambivalence.

and Russia, in November 2014,

“special and privileged” strategic

signed a defence cooperation

partnership. However, many in

At that time, China had only

agreement and subsequently, the

India see a challenge in the growing

recently opened up to the US and

two sides in October 2015 inked

China, Pakistan, Russia axis, with

was building a strong business

military-technical cooperation

Iran waiting in the wings.

relationship. It was following

accord providing for arms supplies

Deng Xiao Ping’s doctrine of

and cooperation in weapons

Due to economically weak

“strategic patience”, expressed

development. Russia has provided

Russia’s unstated but deeply felt

in the well-known 24-character

four Mi-35M combat and cargo

apprehensions about wealthy

strategy to “hide your capacity,

helicopters to Pakistan and the

China’s military assertiveness, the

bide your time…” China gradually

militaries of the two countries

China-Russia strategic partnership

began to integrate itself with the

also held joint drills codenamed

will be slow to gather momentum.

global economy under the cloak

‘Friendship’.” Russia has offered

However, in the medium term,

of its self-proclaimed “peaceful

to sell arms to Pakistan under

it will certainly grow in strength

rise”. However, as part of its

the garb of counter-terrorism

despite the US’ “pivot” or strategy of

quest for world power status,

cooperation. In Russia’s

re-balancing to the Indo-Pacific and

China simultaneously launched

calculations, a balanced security

the growing strategic partnership

a large-scale drive for military

relationship with both India and

between the members of the

modernisation and began to

Pakistan would be beneficial for its

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue,

supply arms and ammunition to

geopolitical aspirations.

that is, Australia, India, Japan

its allies like Pakistan. This made

Russia has been apprehensive

and the United States. Hence, the

its Asian neighbours wary of its

of NATO’s creep forward policy,

leaders of the Quad and their

growing power and influence.

moves towards an enlarged

other strategic partners must get

Some of them see the US as a

European Union, the planned

together early to evolve a

declining power and have begun to

forward deployment of ballistic

cooperative security framework

hedge their bets.

missiles defence – ostensibly aimed

for the Indo-Pacific.

April 2018

at Iran but of equal effectiveness

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

23


polarised Pakistan RESENTMENT ABOUNDS

RESENTMENT

ABOUNDS PAKISTAN Resentment prevails everywhere save Punjab. If the ruled resent all across, can the rulers in Punjab be safe and far behind? The failed State syndrome augurs danger in the face of a possible debt trap for Pakistan. The combustible combination of resentment, terrorism and radical Islam would prove to be a tinderbox to explode in the face of the country anytime soon.

24

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT


D

esigned by the welter of events since independence in 1947, Pakistan is perhaps the most volatile country of its own deeds in South Asia. When a country fails to understand its position in the comity of nations, nurtures ambitions of a great regional power with nuclear weapons, harbours terrorism, indulges in narcotic business, designs its geography the way it suits its whims and fancy, misinterprets Islam by aligning State policies with aspirations of mullahs and gets guided by the military on each major policy development without caring for what the future augurs for the country, resentment is bound to overwhelm. Among the most important reasons of resentment in the country is the very political system that has remained synonymous with the military through all the years of its independence. That’s why whenever political exigencies arose in Pakistan; military coup was the best available alternative. The only country in South Asia that was member of two American sponsored military alliances— CENTO and SEATO—in the Cold War years, Pakistan has a unique military culture that rules the roost in any given situation.

Thus, it is in an advantageous

Punjab Vs Rest

Pakistan and there is no respite,

In the years since independence, Pakistan has over-arched the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from three sides – from the west what we call PoK and they call Azad Kashmir; from the north Gilgit Baltistan, a piece of land of which Pakistan has gifted to China adjacent to Chinese occupied Aksai Chin in the east.

position to keep Jammu and Kashmir in ferment. However, this policy has boomeranged. Pakistan is polarised, its polity is fractured, the society is hopelessly divided along religious and nonreligious lines, and the political divide is along civil and military. Farmers and the poor sections stand starkly opposed to the landed military and bureaucratic elite, who are mostly Punjabis.

P L DASH

Thus, Baluchistan in the west

The writer is former Professor and Director, Centre for Central Eurasian Studies University of Mumbai and ICCR Chair Professor in International Relations, University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Tashkent. He is also the visiting Professor, CRRID, Chandigarh.

and south of the country is resenting Punjabi domination; Sind in south does equally so, the newly created Pakhtunkhwa and the centrally administered tribal areas in the west of Pakistan resent their miserable predicament accentuated by narcotic problems, cross-border terrorism from Afghanistan and the Gilgit Baltistan areas resenting pervasive Chinese presence in building roads, railways, pipelines, telecommunications, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure. The locals resent government patronised Chinese presence. Thus emerges a picture that portrays Punjab versus the rest and China versus all but Punjab. Intensity of resentment is high in Baluchistan followed by Sind and third comes what was earlier called NWFP. Thus, the trouble cup is full for despite tall claims of tranquillity beneath resentment.

THE LOCALS RESENT GOVERNMENT PATRONISED CHINESE PRESENCE. THUS EMERGES A PICTURE THAT PORTRAYS PUNJAB VERSUS THE REST AND CHINA VERSUS ALL BUT PUNJAB

Plagued Resentment and discontent abound not only in Baluchistan, but everywhere in Pakistan due to underdevelopment and deprivation. When severe floods affected Pakistan in 2010 with

April 2018

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

25


polarised Pakistan RESENTMENT ABOUNDS

heavy rainfall occurring in KhyberPakhtunkhwa and Punjab, and, the flood victims exceeded 2,000 dead and  20 million displaced the number of  affected surpassed the combined total of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake taken together. Similar holocaust in September 2011 claimed lives of 361 people and over five million rendered homeless. The 2011 Sind flood was Pakistan’s harvest of sorrow. Similar flood devastated Pakistan in September 2012, 2013 and 2014. Public resentment was obvious. This author was once asked in a conference how to deal with Pakistan and the reply was: “Pray God to flood visit Pakistan every year for another five years.”

26

The audience laughed but the reality remained.

Terror Boomerang One is known for the company one keeps. Pakistan keeps company with Islamists and terrorists – two abominable elements of modern times that generate widespread resentment even with its closest ally for years – the United States. The US has lately realised that in the fight against international terrorism, Pakistan has been running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. It seeks a course reversal from Pakistan and has squeezed various aids. The US had created Pakistan as a regional military leviathan with nuclear power in the Cold War years, thus a creator; it had aided Pakistan in

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

preserving the Taliban, terrorists and Islamists to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and thus a preserver; now time has come for the US to be a destroyer. The US is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva—all together as one for Pakistan—and it is going to act accordingly when its interests are hurt, no matter how much foul Pakistan may cry. Three clusters of resentment – Baluchistan, Sind, PoK and Gilgit Baltistan – have been brewing in Pakistan over the years although predictions of a failed State have not yet materialised.

Baluchistan Baluchistan occupies 44 per cent area and 5 per cent population of Pakistan and is rich in resources. Almost half the size of Pakistan


with a miniscule representation in national Parliament due to small size of its population, Baluchistan harks back to its past, when it was not part of Pakistan in 1947. The Baluch resent their forcible occupation, while Islamabad asserts its rule through force. Nawab Akbar Bugti’s killing in August 2006 was a stark reminder of the truculence Musharraf had meted out to a national leader. Baluchistan’s concerns are many: Chinese occupation of Gwadar, gold mines, and other infrastructure projects in Baluchistan.  Job for the locals dries up, legitimate price for its natural resources like oil and gas does not come handy, precipitating the issue of freedom from Pakistan. Pakistan’s reply: ignorance about the problem, use of more force to quell Baluch uprisings and blame India hand for the trouble.

Sind Sind is the second most populous province in Pakistan, comprising about 23 per cent of the total population and their contribution to the national economy is weighty with Karachi port and city being the financial hub. However, there is a glaring urbanrural divide: Karachi has all cultural, educational, medical and entertainment facilities; while rural Sindh does not have anything. Karachi has 32 per cent of the total number of industrial establishment of the country, generating 15 per cent of national GDP, 25 per cent of federal revenues and 62 per cent of income tax. Other districts of the province have none of these, thus entailing poverty and unemployment as the central issues of public resentment.

THERE IS A GLARING URBANRURAL DIVIDE: KARACHI HAS ALL CULTURAL, EDUCATIONAL, MEDICAL AND ENTERTAINMENT FACILITIES; WHILE RURAL SINDH DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING The Sindhu desh – a nationalist movement and foreign-based World Sindhi Congress have been demanding independence from Pakistan for years now.

PoK/Gilgit Baltistan The PoK and Gilgit Baltistan are by far the remote mountain areas – less populated but geostrategically significant. It is the Gilgit-Baltistan where borders of former USSR met with Pakistan, India, China and Afghanistan. By putting powerful radar on the mountains, one could observe the developments in China and India, and now in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, too. It is through these areas the Karakorum Highway runs, it is the place where the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is projected, and also, the Chinese telecommunication networks prevail on the ground. It is from here Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the centrally administered tribal areas as well as Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir are proximate. These mountains are hub of terrorists. Routes of narcotic trafficking crisscross in the mountains.  Hundreds of radical Kyrgyz and Uzbek Islamists, who fled Central Asian valleys to a safe haven some five years ago, have not returned to their home. It is a place for Stateless citizens to roam free. Millions of refugees from Pakistan have no legal papers of their existence. They have left their

April 2018

homes behind in Afghanistan to flee Soviet invasion and Pakistan has not accepted them as citizens. Pakistan has administration but no effective control over the region. Pipelines, highways and railways run here – all through Chinese investment and all through the territories illegally occupied by Pakistan in India.

Underdevelopment

The core of popular resentment is, however, underdevelopment and unemployment, Chinese intrusion into the area and spreading Chinese investment everywhere. People and their leaders apprehend that a Chinese debt trap would one day engulf the region, forcing the country to lease it out to China, similar to Hambantota port in Sri Lanka. The only province seemingly problem free is Punjab – site of the ruling elite from where rest of the country is controlled. Pakistan’s efforts to surround India by its occupied territories from all possible sides in connivance with China have boomeranged on itself – resentment prevails everywhere save Punjab. If the ruled resent all across, can the rulers in Punjab be safe and far behind? The failed State syndrome augurs danger in the face of a possible debt trap for Pakistan. The combustible combination of resentment, terrorism and radical Islam would prove to be a tinderbox to explode in the face of the country anytime soon.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

27


terror funding DESPITE FINANCIAL SETBACK

FINANCIAL SETBACK TO PAKISTAN: US WITHDRAWS ITS SUPPORT So far there are no signs of a rethink at the institutional level in Pakistan; particularly in the Army, on use of terrorism as a foreign and security policy tool. And, unless, Pakistan takes care of American sensitivities on Afghanistan that allow it to leave with some sense of achievement and without loss of face, the US is expected to keep the pressure on.

U

S President Donald Trump, in his tweet on the New Year day, accused Pakistan of taking billions of dollars in aid and in return giving “nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our (US) leaders as fools”. This was followed by an official announcement from

28

Washington on January 04, 2018, that the Trump Administration was suspending its entire security assistance to Pakistan until it proved its commitment to fight all terrorist groups operating in the region. It was clarified that the cut-off was not permanent and only affected military assistance to include: equipment and the transfer of security-related funds,

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

with possible exceptions for US national security reasons. The economic aid of US $211 million was still on the table.

Largesse Reduced In 2017, the US Administration had already suspended US $255 million of security assistance from the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) fund, which is used to


provide military equipment and training to a friendly country. The US Congress had also reduced by half the US $700 million of Coalition Support Fund (CSF), used to reimburse Pakistan for logistical and operational support for US-led military operations in Afghanistan. The latest decision will affect the remaining US $350 million on this account. This suspension of aid appears to be part of the South Asia Strategy unveiled in August 2017. Between 2002 and 2011, the US is estimated to have provided civil and military aid of about US $22 billion – including US $8.8 billion towards CSF and US $5.7 billion in security-related aid. As per Congressional Research Service, the US provided US $14.6 billion in military assistance and US $15 billion in non-military assistance between 2002 and 2016; an annual average of above US $2 billion. However, it was reduced substantially to US $526 million in 2017.

remained on the FATF ‘Black List’ during 2008-2010 but restrictions were not imposed on it in the same manner as they were on North Korea and Iran. It was on the ‘Grey List’ during 2012-2015. But US’ aid to it continued to flow and it launched bonds in the international market besides getting loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. This time the situation is different because US President Trump, despite his proclivity to shift positions abruptly, appears determined not to be cheated by Pakistan anymore. Getting on the grey list will further affect Pakistan’s poor reputation as a terror-sponsor besides affecting its banking transactions and creditworthiness.

Fragile Economy

After suspending aid proposals, the US, supported by UK and later joined by Germany and France moved a nomination proposal

The squeeze will have a serious impact on already fragile state of Pakistan’s economy. Despite raising US $2.5 billion through global bonds and US $1 billion via commercial paper in the current fiscal year, gross official foreign currency reserves have fallen to US $12.1 billion enough to cover less than 90 days of imports, at the end of January 2018 due to rising Current Account Deficit (CAD).

against Pakistan to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its Paris meeting in February 2018. Pakistan has been asked to submit its action plan for controlling financial flows to terror groups and is expected to be placed on the ‘Grey List’ in June. Its financial system will be designated as posing a risk to the international financial system because of “strategic deficiencies” in its ability to prevent terror-financing and money-laundering. Pakistan had

The CAD hit a record high of US $12.4 billion in the financial year ending June 2017 and is expected to grow further this year. In the first half of the current financial year (July-December 2017), the CAD widened 59 per cent to $7.41 billion compared with $4.66 billion in the same period of the previous year. Other than the investments from China as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), there is very little direct and portfolio investment in

Terror Funding

April 2018

BRIG RUMEL DAHIYA (RETD) The writer is a strategic analyst and a former Deputy Director General, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

NO BAILOUT IS LIKELY NOW UNLESS PAKISTAN CHANGES ITS BEHAVIOUR DEMONSTRABLY AND SUBSTANTIALLY ON TERROR FRONT

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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terror funding DESPITE FINANCIAL SETBACK

Pakistan. Admittedly, on foreign currency reserves, the situation is not as bad as it was in 2013 – merely sufficient to cover 45 days of imports along with a budget deficit of 8.5 per cent of GDP. But then Pakistan could get a bailout package of US $6.6 billion from International Monetary Fund (IMF) as it was supported by USA and its allies. Repayment of this loan, US $800 million annually, will commence this year. No such bailout is likely now unless Pakistan changes its behaviour demonstrably and substantially on terror front. Only an eternal optimist would hope for such a change given Pakistan’s DNA and the current domestic political situation. In November 2017,

the World Bank also slowed down the process of policy loans for budgetary support due to a deteriorating macro-economic situation.

Negative Reserves There is a serious difference of opinion between Pakistan and the IMF on the state of Pakistan’s economy that makes likelihood of another bailout package difficult. On March16, 2018, the IMF said that the country’s net international reserves, after excluding its foreign exchange liabilities, stand at negative US $724 million. The current gross official US $12.1 billion reserves are largely maintained by double booking of reserves and taking Chinese

THE JUDICIARY, SUSPECTED TO ACT ON ARMY’S BIDDING, IS COMING IN THE WAY OF IMPLEMENTING EVEN COSMETIC MEASURES SUCH AS ARRESTING UN DESIGNATED TERRORISTS 30

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

deposits under the currency swap arrangements. The IMF said Pakistan’s foreign exchange liabilities were $13.5 billion as against its gross official reserves of $12.8 billion as of February 14, leaving it with negative $724 million as reserves. Besides, there are huge outstanding liabilities like subsidies in the power sector and tax refunds. Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Miftah Ismail has already admitted that the government did not have fiscal space to clear all these obligations before general elections. External debt payments capacity weakened due to contraction in exports for three consecutive years.  Pakistan may soon become ineligible for financial assistance from the IMF and the World Bank, although, Pakistan claims that its GDP is likely to grow by about 5.5 per cent this fiscal and it will not default on its repayment obligations.  

China/Saudi Bailout

Pakistan may hope to overcome its economic difficulties through enhanced exports, remittances


been generous with any country in providing bail-outs for free. It will leverage Pakistan’s weakness and extract a high price in terms and conditions attached to any debt, policy changes to favour its companies, recognition of Yuan as the preferred currency of trade with China and greater management control over ongoing projects. Pakistan will be forced to devalue its currency, reduce power subsidies and permit unrestricted imports from China. It will also

CHINA WILL LEVERAGE PAKISTAN’S WEAKNESS AND EXTRACT A HIGH PRICE IN TERMS CONDITIONS ATTACHED TO ANY DEBT

have to abide by China’s diktats on controlling Uighur nationalists.

and seizing the properties of

terror organisations. One can

Saudi Arabia‘s own finances are

safely assume, therefore, that

under severe strain due to its

despite heightened pressure

involvement in war in Yemen.

from the world community and

The localisation programmes

very likelihood of Pakistan being

like Nitaqat in the Gulf region

placed on the grey list of FATF,

will cap the number of Pakistani

Pakistan would not blink for next

workers going abroad and

three to four months. It would

recently introduced taxes in those

try to leverage America’s lack of

countries will only reduce workers’

options for maintaining its forces

ability to send money back home.

in Afghanistan, diplomatic and

At the very least, depreciation of

investment support from China,

Pakistani currency to push export

renewed military support to

growth will become necessary.

Saudi Arabia, difficult

That will increase inflation and

US-Russia relations and latter’s

social disquiet. There will be some

interest in engaging with Pakistan

impact on Pakistan’s defence

for controlling Islamic State

budget as well.

in Afghanistan to ward off the

pressure temporarily.  So far there

The current domestic political

are no signs of a rethink at the

situation and impending elections

institutional level in Pakistan;

to the National Assembly

particularly in the Army, on use

make it very difficult for the

of terrorism as a foreign and

weak government in place to

security policy tool. And, unless,

take tough measures against

Pakistan takes care of American

terrorist or extremist groups

sensitivities on Afghanistan that

for fear of annoying their hard

allow it to leave with some sense

Pakistan fail because of the

line supporters. On top of that,

of achievement and without

huge investments it has made,

the judiciary, suspected to act

loss of face, the US is expected

and is making, as part of CPEC,

on army’s bidding, is coming in

to keep the pressure on.

flagship project of the larger

the way of implementing even

Pakistani economy will face

One Belt One Road project. At

cosmetic measures such as

serious challenges in the

the same time China has never

arresting UN designated terrorists

months to come.

from Pakistanis working abroad, grants or loans from China and Saudi Arabia and overall improvement in its economy. The options also include incentives for expatriates to invest in Pakistani dollar-denominated bonds, restrictions on imports and steps that will encourage exporters to bring back export proceeds. However, Pakistan’s exports – textile group constituting about 60 per cent of the total; food group another about 20 per cent; and leather and sports goods about 15 per cent – are highly vulnerable. The EU and the US absorb about one third of these exports and the Gulf region another about 20 per cent. Pakistan’s economy will be doomed if these exports are priced out; not a difficult thing to do.

Chinese Vassal State At one level, China cannot let

April 2018

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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de-Wahhabisation TURNING THE TIDE

?

CAN IT HAPPEN

The prospects for de-Wahhabisation of Pakistan remain bleak because of the existence of a number of organisations including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), the Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jama’at, previously known as Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with strong base and support. The Wahhabi ideology will remain the hallmark of Pakistan’s social construct. With weaker civilian governments and weaker opposition in Pakistan, the Wahhabi ideology will flourish and rule Pakistan as a quasi-State.

D

espite Pakistan becoming a victim of its own State’s policy of crossborder terrorism, it has not shown any sign of genuine commitment to get rid of terrorist’s networks and their tentacles. There seems to be a long history of Pakistan nurturing a completely different philosophy and transitioning from Sufism to Sunni Wahhabism. The latter has

32

become more common in Pakistan in recent times. Sunni Wahhabism has become a central pillar of Pakistan’s strategy. The changes in the politicocultural-economic contexts experienced by Pakistan have found resonance in a very hardheaded fundamentalist thinking. The 1979 Iranian revolution as well as the Soviet’s invasion of Afghanistan in the same year undisputedly provided geopolitical

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

contexts for Wahhabisation of Pakistan’s thinking.

Saudi-Pak-US Nexus

The nexus built between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia over the decades provided an impetus to enlarge the scope of Wahhabi thinking. The petrodollars provided the economic impetus and enhanced the necessary resources to finance Wahhabi imperialism. India was always there at the back of mind


of Pakistan, especially, during the transition from Islam-based Sufi philosophy to a hard-headed Wahhabi thinking. Hence, Pakistan kept working with a single-minded aim to destabilise India. The 1979 Iranian revolution did politicise Shia Muslims who basically have been seen as a threat by the Sunnis. The Soviet’s intervention in Afghanistan resulted in complete chaos and provided space for both the United States and Saudi Arabia together to fund and support anti-Soviet war post-1979. Such actions of the United States and Saudi Arabia resulted in the creation of militarised thinking among Islam. The pace at which the militarisation of Islam happened in Pakistan was phenomenal. The sole credit to Wahhabise Pakistan goes to the military dictator, Zia-ul Haq. The hardline Islamisation of the country technically happened in Pakistan during Zia’s tenure. He hanged democratically elected leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Had Bhutto been in power, the Wahhabisation in Pakistan would have taken a different dimension altogether. Martial law in Pakistan under Zia also led to lot of divisions in Pakistan’s society, mainly on Shia-Sunni thinking. The division became more prominent because of the rise of Wahhabi Sunni Islam in Pakistan which was exported from Saudi Arabia. One of the studies on Pakistan’s sectarianism estimates that there

are 15-25 per cent of Shia Muslims in Pakistan as against 75-80 per cent of Sunnis and it is home to the second largest Shia population after Iran. The highest numbers of the Shia population are found in the Gilgit-Baltistan province in the northern region, where they form the majority. Cities in Pakistan like Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Multan are also home to large Shia communities. There are numerous Shia mosques and dargahs, or shrines, located across Pakistan. The Shia sect is further subdivided into the majority being Twelver school of thought; other sub-sects are the Ismailis, Khojas and Bohras. Among Twelver Shias, however, the most vulnerable is the Hazara community in Quetta region. Attacks on Shia population is very much deep into the Wahhabi thought of ‘Tawhid’ meaning monotheism which was propagated by Al-Wahhab and subsequently, held onto as a religious and political tool by the Saudis to control the society. As the reverence to Ali and Hussein finds a greater place within the Shia communities, the month of Muharram becomes the most important time for the Wahhabis in Pakistan to attack the Shia Muslims as Wahhabism propagates it as haram.

Wahhabi Ascendancy

It was Zia-ul Haq who introduced clerics in Pakistan’s society. Over the decades, the Wahhabi clergy has provided religious justification for acts of extremism and terrorism. For the first time, the United States attempted to de-Wahhabise Pakistan in 1993 during Clinton

PROF ARVIND KUMAR The writer teaches Geopolitics and International Relations at Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal.

DR NANDA KISHOR The writer is Assistant Professor (Senior Scale) at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal.

IT WAS ZIA-UL HAQ WHO INTRODUCED CLERICS IN PAKISTAN’S SOCIETY. THE WAHHABI CLERGY HAS PROVIDED RELIGIOUS JUSTIFICATION FOR ACTS OF EXTREMISM AND TERRORISM

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de-Wahhabisation TURNING THE TIDE

Administration by placing Pakistan for six months in a list of suspected state sponsors of terrorism. There were evidences with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States on having linkages built between the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Afghan Mujahideen. The then chief of ISI, Lt Gen Javed Nasir had, by then, built a strong foundation and base for Wahhabism in Pakistan. The United States, however, could not do much other than making rhetoric. If the United States would have acted tough with Pakistan, the origin of Taliban with inherent fundamentalist and radicalised thinking would not have seen their genesis. The United States could not stop the birth of Taliban in 1994. The Wahhabisation of Pakistan kept growing its influence across the region. The mushrooming of madrassas of every kind happened in Pakistan. There are roughly 20,000 religious schools—the so called madrassas in Pakistan. Many of these schools have acted as the incubators of radicalism and fundamentalism. The roots of Islamic extremism are found in many of these madrassas where the misinterpretation of Islamic teaching is rampant.

ISI Control

Technically speaking, the Government of Pakistan has always fallen short on its promise to police the madrassas and that the most extreme among these institutions have allowed a radical and violent view of Islam to grow and percolate in the society. In

2015, Pakistan released a twentypoint action plan which included the registrations and regulations of madrassas. However, these action plans so far have not yielded any dividends both for Pakistan and the region; on the contrary, these institutions are posing a direct threat to peace and stability. The ISI, in particular, has built a very strong nexus and provides all the logistical support to the madrassas. Can Pakistan’s Government, under such conditions, become aggressive and confront the country’s powerful network of Islamic religious teachers and leaders who remain a major part of the discourse? Islamic study having tilt towards Wahhabism remains a key characteristic of Pakistani society. The preaching on intolerance with militant and the radical thinking has been detrimental to the peace and stability. The fomenting of extremist ideas in most of the madrassas has been a key feature in the current context. Jihad has become a major part of the curriculum in most of the religious schools. These developments are not only antithetical to India’s or global interests but also Pakistan’s interests.

Madrassa Nurseries

The decade of 1990s witnessed an intensification of madrassas serving as pipelines for militants associated with Pakistan supported crossborder terrorism. India remains a victim of Pakistan-backed terrorism. More recently, the head of the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) Moulvi Abdul Aziz has openly declared his support

THE EMERGING CONTRADICTIONS IN POLITICO-SOCIAL CONTEXT IN PAKISTAN WILL OBVIOUSLY NOT EASILY SHED AWAY THE WAHHABI THINKING 34

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

for ISIS and the Taliban. Under his guidance, the radicalisation of young women and men with the ideology of Jehad is highly disturbing. Some of the notable groups that believe and propagate Wahhabism in Pakistan are the Barelvis, Deobandis, Jamaat Ahl-e Hadith (party of the Tradition of the Prophet) and Ahmadiyyas. All these groups work in tandem with the larger principlesof Wahhabism. The emerging contradictions in politico-social context in Pakistan will obviously not easily shed away the Wahhabi thinking. It will, in turn, keep intensifying all their efforts in expanding the nature and scope of Wahhabism. It must be emphasised here that Pakistan alone will not be able to address the issues relating to de-Wahhabisation. The ISI has been losing its grip and in no way can control the growing sphere of influence both at the domestic as well as regional level. Pakistan has been paying the price for the policy it evolved during Zia’s time. It will be important to note that by imposing a radical creed that represents a distortion and perversion of true Islam and continues to claim that it is the true Islam which should be unacceptable and avoided. The prospects for de-Wahhabisation of Pakistan remain bleak because of the existence of a number of organisations including Lashkare-Jhangvi (LeJ), the Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jama’at, previously known as Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with strong base and support. The Wahhabi ideology will remain the hallmark of Pakistan’s social construct. With weaker civilian governments and weaker opposition in Pakistan, the Wahhabi ideology will flourish and rule Pakistan as a quasi-State.


Pakistan LEGALISING HORROR

MARRIAGE OF TERROR AND POLITICS

The marriage of politics and terror in Pakistan is a systematic failure of Pakistan’s democracy. It will lead to a greater tolerance for terror, as terror is now mainstreamed. After the military-mullah nexus which is still flourishing, the politics-terror nexus shall be the new kingmaker in Pakistan. The army is out to remove the political heavyweight Nawaz Sharif from politics which may leave Punjab open to the influence of new parties.

P

akistan has always been known for defying the normal. From the odd circumstances during its creation to its ability to balance relations with rivals, US and China, Pakistan is not a usual State. Military coups are routine in Pakistan. It is normal to support terror groups like Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network, while being a ‘major NonNATO ally’. Therefore, a merging of the interests of political parties and terror groups in Pakistan comes as no surprise. A precedent existed as early as 1980s wherein Pakistan used Mujahedeen fighters as a political tool against the Soviets in Afghanistan in a first-ever convergence of political and terror interests. Politically,

36

it then became a close US ally, earned goodwill of the domestic voters for fighting the ‘infidels’, and prevented the expansion of communism. On the other hand, it was a God-sent opportunity for all religious fanatics and insurgents; from Sudan to Saudi Arabia, they all flocked to Peshawar to participate in the covert war against the Soviets. Even the Pakistanis concede to the toxic after-effects of this unholy alliance, most recent being their COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa who stated the same at the Munich Security Conference in February 2018. Another marriage of politics and terror is now taking place in the domestic politics of Pakistan. The children of this marriage shall haunt the sub-continent for many decades.

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

Deep Background The nexus between political parties and terror groups is not entirely new. There was broadbased political support for the Mujahedeen in the 1980s. In the 1990s, Naseerullah Khan Babar, the interior minister, was the prime architect behind the creation of Taliban, with full backing of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. In fact, he infamously called them, ‘Our Boys’. The marriage between politics and terror is based on three compelling factors. Firstly, there is increased radicalisation of the population and the political parties are forced to adopt a hard-line stance, which often aligns with the stance of the terror groups on many issues. The radicalisation is a cumulative effect of a systematic process


COL SHAILENDER ARYA

which commenced in Gen Zia’s years, the growth of a radical Taliban, as well as a manifestation of the growing Wahabi influence in Pakistan. Secondly, some terror groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), are forming political fronts to use politics solely as a tool to gain legitimacy to avoid legal and international sanctions, without dismantling their terror network in any manner. Thirdly, the army encourages this marriage of politics and terror to control the political narrative of the country. The army remains uncomfortable with any popular civilian leader. Earlier, the army would simply move in and eject a civilian government in the old fashioned coup d’état. The direct

coup is now passé and the army has developed more sophisticated methods of removing elected prime ministers. Towards this, the tools available with the army are alliances with religious parties like Jamaat-e-Islami, supporting Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to act as counter-weight to the dominant political party in power, and allowing the LeT to morph into a political party which shall do their bidding and control any politician who intend to make peace with India, by orchestrating protest movements. It is commonly believed that the January 2013 protests led by Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri and the November 2017 protests in Islamabad organised by Tehreeki-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan, had the approval of the army.

April 2018

The writer is an alumnus of RIMC, Dehradun and NDA, Khadakvasla. He has served as GSO 2 of a mountain artillery brigade on the Line of Control, a company commander with Assam Rifles in Nagaland and as a Staff Officer with the United Nations. He is an MSc in Weapon Technology from Poona University and an MSc in Defence and Strategic Studies from Madras University. He has served as a GSO 1 (Operations) of a newly raised AR Sector HQ in a counter-insurgency environment in South Manipur and commanded an artillery regiment on the Line of Control in J&K. He is presently posted in the faculty at DSSC, Wellington.

THE ENTRY OF LeT MORPHED AS MML IN ELECTIONS WAS NOTED BY WASHINGTON. THE US EMBASSY SENT A FORMAL PROTEST NOTE ABOUT MML TO THE GOVERNMENT

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

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Pakistan LEGALISING HORROR

THE SECOND TERRORMASTERMIND TO JUMP INTO THE POLITICAL FRAY IS FAZLUR REHMAN KHALIL, AGAIN A ‘GLOBAL TERRORIST’ Trying To Wriggle Out Of these three factors, second factor is the most crucial. Pakistan has come under increased international scrutiny and the funding to the terror groups is being closely monitored. The country faced the humiliating grey-listing by the Financial Action Task Force in 2018. Under pressure to demonstrate some progress, the Pakistan Government has seized control of the charities run by Hafiz Saeed’s banned outfits of Jammatud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-iInsaaniyat Foundation (FIF). In January 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan

barred companies and individuals from handing out doles to JuD and its affiliates. Therefore, LeT is focussing on its new political front while one of the co-founders, Maulana Amir Hamza has broken away, forming an outfit named Jaish-e-Manqafa. These are tactics to evade the money-laundering and terror-financing laws. As soon as a political party is launched, all members of a banned terrorist group switch over to being the members of a legal political party, and then challenge the ban in the courts. They often win, as LeT has recently, with some support from the army, which ‘leans on’ the judiciary for a favourable verdict.

Pakistan, thereafter, pleads helplessness to India or US, citing judicial processes or the lack of evidence, which was invariably never produced.

Terror Goes Mainstream The first mainstream terror group in Pakistan is the LeT. The LeT is essentially an anti-India terror organisation, with its political arm being the JuD. It is a hardline Sunni organisation having over 2,200 offices in Pakistan, a sprawling headquarter at Muridke near Lahore in Punjab, a distinct Wahabi ideology, radical worldview and links with terrorists the world over. The LeT has created a political front named as Milli Muslim League (MML). The MML is an Islamic party, established in August 2017, with Saifullah Khalid as its president. It has tried to gain legitimacy by fielding proxy candidates, pending its recognition by the Election Commission. In August 2017, the party supported Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, contesting as an independent candidate, for the by-election of constituency National Assembly-120 in Lahore. Muhammad Yaqoob ended fourth mainly by using the photos of Hafiz Saeed on his campaign posters. In October 2017, the MML announced support for an independent candidate named Alhaj Liaqat Ali Khan for by-elections at Peshawar.

Saeed’s Political Calculus The entry of LeT morphed as MML in elections was noted by Washington. The US Embassy sent a formal protest note about MML to the government. Hafiz Saeed remains designated as a ‘Global Terrorist’ by the US and carries a US $10 million bounty. In spite of objections by the Pakistan’s

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April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT


Interior Ministry, the court-ordered release of Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in November 2017 was a legal victory for the LeT. It was followed by another legal victory in March 2018 wherein the Islamabad High Court directed the government to register the MML. It remains yet to be seen whether Hafiz Saeed shall swear by the constitution of Pakistan, whose loopholes he has been utilising but prefers the Sharia laws rather than any ‘man-made laws’. In any case, his immediate strategy is to optimise the existing organisational structure of LeT, a so-called charity wing (FIF), the 16 Islamic institutions and nearly 200 secondary schools, to garner support. Saeed aims to convert the support for the terror activities and hard-line ideological positions into measurable political gains for the MML. The LeT hopes that a backing from the army, pseudocharitable actions like assistance during Kashmir earthquake of 2005, and support among the radicalised sections of the society shall convert into votes for the MML across the country.

Khalil Factor The second terror-mastermind to jump into the political fray is Fazlur Rehman Khalil, again a ‘Global Terrorist’, who has informed the Pakistani media that his political party would be named Islah-e-Watan. Fazlur Rehman Khalil was the founder of terrorist outfit Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen which operates in J&K, and was put on the US State Department’s list of ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorists’ in 2014. He was one of the founders of Harakatul Jihadul Islami in 1980, and is the man who signed the fatwa issued by Osama bin Laden calling for jihad, against the West. Khalil was

arrested in 2004 on charges of providing assistance to militants in Afghanistan but was released later. The political outfit, Islahe-Watan, is his latest venture to obtain a political cover for his terror activities. It adopts a shrill anti-India and anti-West political strategy to garner votes.

has also slammed Pakistani establishment’s attempt to mainstream Hafiz Saeed by letting him engage in electoral politics. According to India, Pakistan’s duplicity in taking action against terrorists operating from its soil has been exposed by this action.

Trend Setters

Faint Hope

This shall lead to more terrorist groups creating political fronts to disguise their activities. It enables them to divert their funds, or in case of seized funds, to obtain access to them as a legitimate political party. The MML can access funds which have been otherwise denied to JuD and FIF, being banned under the Pakistan Security Council Act 1948. The groups which are likely to form political fronts are the sectarian groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. They are mainly based in southern districts of Punjab and already have some popular support. This unholy alliance between political parties and terror groups has not gone unnoticed. The previous Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali red-flagged this issue and stated that certain political and religious parties supported foreign-funded terrorism due to their vested interests and called for severing linkages between terrorists and the parties. India

The marriage of politics and terror in Pakistan is a systematic failure of Pakistan’s democracy. It will lead to a greater tolerance for terror, as terror is now mainstreamed. After the military-mullah nexus which is still flourishing, the politics-terror nexus shall be the new kingmaker in Pakistan. The army is out to remove the political heavyweight Nawaz Sharif from politics which may leave Punjab open to the influence of new parties. If these terrorists-turned-politicians occupy this crucial space, it shall be a disaster. Alternating between strong military rulers, the last one being Gen Pervez Musharraf, and weak civilian governments including the current one led by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pakistan has been unable to develop robust political institutions, an impartial judiciary and an ability to reject terror in all forms. This has negative connotations for India-Pakistan relations. These terror-based political parties, with covert support from the army, shall politically sabotage any peaceinitiatives with India. They shall act like non-state actors, albeit in political domain, over which there is apparently no control. Some hope lies in the US banning the MML, as it has banned all LeT affiliates till date, and in political maturity of Pakistani voters who may give thumbs down to Hafiz Saeed in the upcoming 2018 General Elections.

SOME HOPE LIES IN THE US BANNING THE MML, AS IT HAS BANNED ALL LeT AFFILIATES TILL DATE April 2018

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Af-Pak salient STRAINED RELATIONS

STRAINED RELATIONS

BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN

It can be concluded that solution to contentious problems between Afghanistan and Pakistan will begin with economic cooperation, and a political dialogue will follow suit. After solving easier problems first, the more difficult ones will be tackled later on. Once the economic interests are intertwined, the most difficult issues such as the Durand Line and Kashmir conflict will be resolved in a peaceful environment.

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April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT


BRIG (DR) ANIL SHARMA (RETD) MMS from Osmania University, PhD (System Dynamics Modeling of National Security Strategy and Force Restructuring), the writer is Fellow of Army War College. He has been Head of Office of Net Assessment and Professor and Director at University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun. He has published number of papers on strategy and security. He is currently working with Vivekananda International Foundation.

T

he strained Afghanistan–Pakistan relations have invariably been affected by the direct or indirect policies/ actions of external powers. This continues till date and is likely to extend into foreseeable future. Hence, the foregoing snapshot includes the impact of external stakeholders on their bilateral ties. Relations between the two countries have been strained since 1947, when Afghanistan was the sole country to vote against Pakistan’s admission into the UN. Afghanistan immediately armed separatist movements in Pakistan, and made laid claims to large swathes of Pakistani territory -

which prevented the emergence of normalised ties between the two countries.

The Rocky Path Further strains have occurred with various issues related to the War in Afghanistan, and the millions of Afghan refugees who sought shelter in Pakistan since the war’s outbreak in 1978. Water rights, the growing relations of India and Afghanistan, Pakistan’s support of Taliban forces in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan’s continued refusal to accept the Durand Line as an international border—are some issues which have further complicated the ties. Afghanistan has been blamed for sheltering various terrorist

April 2018

AFGHAN RELATIONS WITH PAKISTAN ARE, THUS, INEXTRICABLY TIED TO THAT OF US-PAKISTAN DYNAMICS, TREADING ALONG THE SAME TRAJECTORY

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Af-Pak salient STRAINED RELATIONS

CHABAHAR IS CRITICAL FOR IRAN. FOR LANDLOCKED AFGHANISTAN, THE VENTURE REPRESENTS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BREAK ITS RELIANCE ON PAKISTANI PORTS. INDIA, MEANWHILE, WANTS TO USE CHABAHAR TO GAIN INROADS INTO AFGHANISTAN groups which launch attacks in Pakistan, while Pakistan’s ISI has been blamed by Afghan authorities for funding warlords and the Taliban, and for basing terrorist camps within its territory to target Afghanistan. There is a large antiPakistan sentiment in Afghanistan, based in large part on Pakistan’s on-going support of the Taliban, while negative sentiment towards the Afghan refugees is widespread in Pakistan, even in Pashtundominated regions. Yet, there are historical, religious, and ethnolinguistic connections between the Pashtun people and other ethnic groups of both countries as along with trade and other ties. The two countries are also amongst each other’s largest trading partners, and Pakistan serves as a major conduit for Afghan transit trade.

Afghanistan in 1989. Washington soon followed suit, leaving the rival mujahedeen to vie for control of Afghanistan. The ensuing Civil War paved the way for the Taliban to rise to power in southern Afghanistan in 1994.

Afghanistan’s Dilemma After the Soviet-Afghan War began in 1979, the United States helped Pakistan project power into Afghanistan through proxy forces as part of its wider struggle against communism. The CIA, along with Saudi Arabia, funnelled money and arms to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency to train, arm and dispatch the mujahedeen, against the Soviets. While the mujahedeen prevailed, the Soviets withdrew from

42

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

For Pakistan, the Taliban presented an opportunity to run down rambunctious mujahedeen. By supporting the organisation, Islamabad wanted to use the country as a conduit for energy from neighbouring Turkmenistan. Pakistan began funding the Taliban, helping the group take control through its conquest of Kabul in September 1996. Now, Pakistan’s and US’ interests began to clash. Then 9/11happened, and prompted the United States to invade in October 2001. The Pentagon’s main objective in Afghanistan was to prevent militant groups from using the country as a base for launching transnational attacks. Pakistan, meanwhile, maintained its links to


its proxies in the Taliban to keep its stake in Afghanistan.

US Now Wants Indian Presence The US has now also called on India to assume a larger role in rehabilitating Afghanistan’s economy. However, Washington has failed to coerce Islamabad into cutting ties with the Taliban, where the United States’ own cost-benefit calculation is partly to blame for this failure. Afghan relations with Pakistan are, thus, inextricably tied to that of US-Pakistan dynamics, treading along the same trajectory.   The inevitable post-NATO situation looms large over the current political dispensation. For the longest

time, Kabul has tried to use its close ties with New Delhi to shape Islamabad’s behaviour. In recent years, Afghanistan has realised that this approach has offered limited gains. While Afghanistan shares a long border with Pakistan, it has no land connection with India, making the later both unable and unwilling to go beyond a limited involvement in the country. However, opening of Chabahar port in Iran would provide a new avenue to continue its countervailing engagement with India.

of Pakistan about India and Afghanistan, due to shared economic interests. This would further strengthen Afghanistan-India connect as well. The TAPI is estimated at $10 billion with the capacity to transport 33 billion cubic meters of Turkmenistan gas over 30 years over 1,800 km through Turkmenistan – Iran, Pakistan and India. It is now expected to become a reality soon. A successful completion of the project will imply, at least, a reduction in total dependence on Chinese gas purchases.

The TAPI Connect

Enter China

More than a decade-old proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-PakistanIndia (TAPI) pipeline project could change the geostrategic perceptions

China offers seemingly far better options for Afghanistan due to its leverage over Pakistan. With Chinese concerned about their security in

April 2018

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Af-Pak salient STRAINED RELATIONS

post-NATO situation, Afghanistan is trying to get China to press Pakistan into cooperating against the Taliban. Afghanistan has offered to actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Opening of Khyber Pass, when extended, the ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) could proceed toward the north, crossing the Amu Darya River and onward to the South Aral Sea and Central Asia. Reconstructing this traditional route would link Central Asia with South Asia and open up new possibilities for all three countries. Adding Afghanistan to CPEC could end friction between Islamabad and Kabul after other mediation has failed. Seen as an olive branch, this reaching out of the BRI has the potential to benefit both neighbours and quell differences by adding common interests. Thus, CPEC could become the Pakistan-Afghanistan-China Economic Corridor. There are places in China that are affected by terrorism, and narcotics related issues. Afghanistan and China share common problems that need to be addressed before it gets too late. Chinese intervention is more to do with finding a solution to these persistent problems. Afghanistan believes China will help in the rebuilding process and not try to imbalance the situation.

Iranian Outreach

For Iran, Chabahar is critical to diversifying the country’s port

access beyond Bandar Abbas, which currently processes 85 per cent of its seaborne traffic. For landlocked Afghanistan, the venture represents an opportunity to break its reliance on Pakistani ports. India, meanwhile, wants to use Chabahar to gain inroads into Afghanistan. The presence of the Islamic StateKhorasan chapter in Afghanistan has compelled Iran to continue offering support to the Taliban. At the same time, Iran will maintain its outreach to the Afghan government because of their cooperation on the Chabahar port project. Afghanistan’s instability will ensure Iran’s continued involvement in the country, complicating the United States’ attempts to wind down its long-running war there. Whatever its ideological differences with the insurgent outfit, Tehran has every reason to maintain its tactical partnership with the Taliban, while also keeping its ties with the Afghan government and also nudging Taliban to have negotiations with Afghan government in concert with Pakistan.

Refugee Strains Another continued strain in bilateral relations is the issue of Afghan refugees.  The future of 2.7 million Afghan refugees is in peril amid a continued downturn in bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan has virtually stopped renewing the refugees’ stay permits for an extended period while relevant authorities have put

ALL THESE PROJECTS WILL REQUIRE A HARMONIOUS SECURITY ENVIRONMENT IN AFGHANISTAN THAT WILL ULTIMATELY BENEFIT ALL COUNTRIES INVOLVED IN THESE PROJECTS 44

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

the renewal of Proof of Registration (PoR) applications on hold. By slowing down the process of renewal, Pakistan actually want to pressurise the US and Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s India Phobia Pakistan is unlikely to change its behaviour towards Afghanistan. So long the country’s perceived survival is at stake in the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan will bear the costs of the United States’ rebuke and probably seek alternative sources of funding, namely China. Pakistan has a strong strategic objective to keep New Delhi from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan, and hence, it supports for the Afghan Taliban as terrorist groups operating in Kashmir. It is a unique example of unreined export of terrorism under nuclear umbrella by a nation-State.

Afghan Taliban Sanctuaries Their movement across the southern border in a long and harrowing trip to a region of Pakistan kept under close watch by the Pakistani military is far different from the situation in the north. The Afghan Taliban, do maintain a presence in Pakistan. Their political leadership is believed to be somewhere in the greater Quetta area, where they have sought sanctuary from Western military forces in Afghanistan. Afghan Taliban leaders in Baluchistan blend with fellow ethnic Pashtuns and stay away from border areas.  They do not directly cause violence in Pakistan, though, and since, they are in Baluchistan, an official Pakistani province, they remain safe from US-operated UAV strikes. 


For Pakistan, all militant groups are not created equal. Groups such as the Afghan Taliban and its ally, the Haqqani network help Pakistan’s Army advance its objectives in Afghanistan. They are assets to Islamabad’s foreign policy, and the Pakistan government treats them as such. Pakistan’s accommodations, moreover, discourage these groups from attacking Pakistan, enabling the country to focus its scarce resources on the organisations that pose a more serious threat to its security, including the Tehriki-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic State’s Khorasan chapter.

THE ENSUING CIVIL WAR PAVED THE WAY FOR THE TALIBAN TO RISE TO POWER IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN IN 1994 part of a plan to pacify and fully absorb the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, so the army can turn more of its attention toward India. The army has also sponsored a proposal to start giving militants an outlet in mainstream politics as a way to exert greater control over them. 

and imbibed by the people with nudging support of other external stakeholders like USA, China, Russia, Iran and India. Various economic projects such as the Chabahar port infrastructure which will pass through Afghanistan and connect India to the Central Asia - TAPI and CASA1000, will provide economic

Pakistan’s objective in the region is to eliminate domestic threats that challenge the State and national security. This objective puts Pakistani forces squarely at odds with the TTP and its allies that have a sizeable presence in the FATA, which have increased

Pakistan’s response plan could be

development to Afghanistan as

as follows:

well as to other countries in the

•  If India increases its involvement

region. But all these projects will

in Afghanistan, Pakistan will

require a harmonious security

strengthen its opposition

environment in Afghanistan that

to pushing the Taliban into

will ultimately benefit all countries

negotiations.

involved in these projects.

•  Pakistan will continue

attacks across a larger part of

supporting the Taliban to

Also, adding Afghanistan to

Pakistan over the past two years.

prevent an alliance between

CPEC would open up landlocked

However, it is in Pakistan’s

Afghanistan and India.

Afghanistan, by providing access

interest to maintain influence in

•  Pakistan’s and US’ threats

to Gwadar Port in Pakistan.

neighbouring Afghanistan in order

against one another would limit

Immensely convenient, this could

to shape the political environment

the punitive measures both

prompt Iran to connect with the

and ensure that pro-Islamabad

sides impose.

CPEC further down the road, with

factions hold power there. This means that Islamabad largely

•  Support Afghanistan to join BRI.

Chabahar complementing Gwadar as a sister port.

supports the Afghan Taliban

Future Prognosis

and the Haqqanis, as well as the

Afghan-Pak region, from time

It can be concluded that solution

Afghan Taliban assets and allies

immemorial, has been a land

to contentious problems between

in Pakistan who supports them

where fighting and violence is not

Afghanistan and Pakistan will

without stirring up trouble for

only a way of life but a means

begin with economic cooperation,

Islamabad. These are the forces

to earn livelihood. The trend

and a political dialogue will follow

that Americans want to eliminate.

continues to this day through

suit. After solving easier problems

Of course, both of them want to

terror/radicalism with covert

first, the more difficult ones will

root out Al Qaeda and ISIS.

and nuclear support of nation-

be tackled later on. Once the

States, one of them exploiting

economic interests are intertwined,

Strategy Underway

nuclear overhang. For this state

the most difficult issues such as

The Pakistan Army is currently

to change, credible alternatives of

the Durand Line and Kashmir

building a fence along the border

moderate life-style and prosperity

conflict will be resolved in a

with Afghanistan. The initiative is

in the region have to emerge

peaceful environment.

April 2018

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

45


Islam and China PAMPERING ISLAMIC RADICALISATION

IS CHINA PAMPERING ISLAMIC RADICALISATION? There is enough evidence that ETIM has training bases in Pakistan but China continues to downplay the role of its all-weather ally, Pakistan. While China, unlike Pakistan, may not be supporting Islamic terrorism as a policy tool across the board, but is certainly using it selectively against India for a number of reasons.

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

46

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT


I

slam has been present

its annexation to the People’s

in China since early 7th

Republic of China, the name

century and the attitude

Xinjiang was changed in

of Chinese rulers towards

1955 to Xinjiang Uyghur

Islam and Muslims has

Autonomous Region.

varied over the ages. The

Muslims in China have been

Demographic Manipulation

oppressed, discriminated against

The Hui, the majority Muslim

and persecuted, while tolerated

group in China, is totally

at other times. In recent times,

integrated at all echelons of

during the Cultural Revolution

Chinese society and allowed

(1966-76), many Islamic mosques

to practice their religion with

and institutions were destroyed

almost no interference from the

and copies of Koran were burnt.

authorities. On the other hand,

COL SANJEEV DALAL (RETD) The writer served in the Corps of Engineers, Indian Army for 26 years before proceeding on premature retirement in 2012.

China continued to oppress

Uyghur Uprising

and exert harsh measures to

As per official statistics, China

control the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

is home to roughly 22 million

The Chinese authorities settled

Muslims. They are divided

increasing number of Hui Muslims

into Hui, the majority Muslim

in Xinjiang to completely alter

group; while Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Uyghurs, Tatars, Kyrgyz, Bonans and Tibetans are other minority groups. The dominant among these minority groups is the Uyghurs, a Sunni population which speaks a Turkish dialect and live in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, home to 10 million Chinese Muslims. Unlike other Muslim groups, Uyghurs have demanded their independence and have sought to establish a separate political and religious entity in Xinjiang. In 1931 and 1944, backed by the then-Soviet Union, the Uyghurs effectively achieved independence for very short periods. The 1944 East Turkestan Republic, established by Uyghurs, was a Soviet-puppet State that lasted until 1949 when Mao announced the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on October 01, 1949. The same year, Chinese troops invaded the Xinjiang Province and following

the demographic pattern in the State. The Uyghurs in Xinjiang have been reduced to 45 per cent of the Muslim population in the province. The Chinese Government pitted the Hui against Uyghurs and simultaneously, perpetrated a repressive policy against Uyghurs demanding greater religious and political autonomy. Hostilities between Han Muslims and Uyghurs result in frequent violence. The PLA and armed police have been deployed on number of occasions to

The resentment among Uyghurs has been increasing and it resulted in growth of radical Islamic separatist organisations

suppress Uyghur demonstrations resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests. Simultaneously, young Uyghur women have been transferred and relocated in eastern provinces to further change the demographic pattern. Chinese authorities in Xinjiang have banned all signs of Islamic culture; by placing posters banning use of public transport by men and women wearing long beards, hijabs and burqas or

April 2018

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

47


Islam and China PAMPERING ISLAMIC RADICALISATION

and more than 100 of them returned to China and participated in number of typical terrorist attacks, like 2011 Kashgar attacks, leaving more than 20 dead besides bombings in Urumqi and Kunming. More terrorist attacks have been observed in China by the end of 2016. The attacks perpetrated by the Uyghurs follow almost the same patterns as those conducted by Islamic radicals in other places such as car-ramming, suicide bombers, and knifewielding attackers. But the attacks are not publicised by the Chinese Government, which keeps a tight grip on the information. It is also any other clothing with Islamic star and crescent. Movement of Uyghurs is severely restricted and passports are forcibly controlled by the state. At times, students have been arrested for reading Koran on charges of anti-state activity. In mid-2015, the PRC banned Muslim Uyghur party members, civil servants, students, and teachers from fasting during Ramadan, while halal restaurants were encouraged by food safety officials to stay open during the day on Ramadan. Those who acted accordingly were supposed to be rewarded by fewer visits from food safety inspectors.

Islamic Separatist Movements The resentment among Uyghurs has been increasing and it resulted

in growth of radical Islamic

feared that defeat of ISIS in Syria

separatist organisations with

and Iraq may potentially result

affiliations to radical organisations

in return of these well-trained

in West Asia. One such major

guerilla fighters to China. This

organisation called East Turkestan

could greatly impact the way the

Islamic Movement (ETIM)

Uyghurs have been waging their

was designated as a terrorist

fight in China.

organisation by USA, funded by Osama Bin Laden. Twenty-two

China And Masood Azhar

Uyghurs were also arrested by US

Against this background of

Marines in Afghanistan in 2006

increasing threat of growing

for suspected links with Al Qaeda.

Islamic radicalisation at home,

Since the revival of Islamic

China, for the fourth time in

radicalism in the form of Arab

November last year, blocked a bid

Spring and beginning of Civil War

at the UN by the US, France, and

in Syria and Iraq, the Uyghurs

Britain to list Masood Azhar as

have joined various militias and

a global terrorist, citing a lack of

ISIS fighting the government

consensus among the members of

forces in Syria and Iraq. The

the Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee

Chinese Government has claimed

of the UN Security Council. This

that more than 1,000 terrorists

is not the first time that China

have been trained in Afghanistan

has played truant when India has sought a ban on terrorists from

China, along with Pakistan and Russia, which has recently been warming up to Pakistan, is trying to cobble up regional forums on security, keeping India out of it 48

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

Pakistan. While the bid to block a ban on Azhar has been done several times, similar actions have been seen in the cases of HM chief Syed Salahuddin, LeT operatives Abdul Rehman Makki and Azam Cheema. China has also blocked


questions on how the likes of Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, have been able to access funds in Pakistan despite a UN ban. The Chinese stand against Azhar ban continues despite the

China has already been declared as “next enemy number one” of Islam by Al Qaeda and ISIS which support the ETIM

fact that in September, China had, for the first time, relented to

continues to protect Azhar with

add terrorist groups like JeM and

including specific criticism of the

the larger aim of preventing

Taliban to the list of its enemies.

JeM and other Pakistani terror

international community from

Finally, the basic reason for

outfits in the statement issued

declaring Pakistan as a State that

the block of course is regional

at the BRICS Summit in Xiamen.

sponsors terrorism. This is one of

supremacy and China-India

During the BRICS Summit, Brazil,

the reasons that China continues

rivalry. China does not want India

Russia, India, China and South

to undermine India’s efforts in

to have its say at UN and other

Africa had named Pakistan-based

this direction. And for the same

international forums and that

terror groups like the LeT and the

reason, China is continuously

explains its stance on Masood

JeM for causing violence in the

trying to involve Pakistan in

Azhar or the Indian bid to

region. They had also asserted that

various international forums and

enter NSG.

those responsible for committing,

regional dialogues to protect it

organising or supporting terror

from international isolation, more

China’s Double Standards

acts must be held accountable.

so after change in US policy

Since, Beijing is already well

While China also faces protracted

towards Pakistan.

aware of the risks of increased connections between Uyghur

Islamist insurgency in Xinjiang but Beijing and New Delhi are not

Another reason for China’s stance

terrorist groups and more

on the same page over Islamist

is the threat, that strict action

established organisations

terrorism. This is because China’s

against Pak-based terrorist

such as Al Qaeda, ISIS or the

counter-terrorism measures

groups like JeM could turn them

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

exclude the US and India. Chinese

against Pakistan State with

(IMU), India had expected China

authorities have historically

grave implications for Chinese

to be more understanding of the

treated New Delhi as a geopolitical

investments in terms of CPEC in

danger posed to all countries

rival. India’s growing ties with the

Pakistan. Indirectly, it may not

by terrorism, but its stand to

US are also perceived as a threat

be incorrect to say that Masood

continually block the move to ban

in Beijing; therefore, China prefers

Azhar is providing ‘protection’ to

Azhar showed the “prevalence

not to cooperate with India. China,

Chinese assets in Pakistan

of double standards in the fight

along with Pakistan and Russia,

and Taliban does the same in

against terrorism.” There is enough

which has recently been warming

Afghanistan. China has a major

evidence that ETIM has training

up to Pakistan, is trying to cobble

stake in Afghanistan as well and

bases in Pakistan but China

up regional forums on security,

statements have been made by the

continues to downplay the role

keeping India out of it.

Taliban in the past that it would

of its all-weather ally, Pakistan.

not target infrastructure projects

While China, unlike Pakistan,

in Afghanistan. China has already

may not be supporting Islamic

As per Siegfried O. Wolf, a

been declared as “next enemy

terrorism as a policy tool across

researcher at the University

number one” of Islam by Al Qaeda

the board, but is certainly using

of Heidelberg’s South Asia

and ISIS which support the ETIM.

it selectively against India for a

Institute, China’s diplomatic

In such circumstances, China

number of reasons analysed by

support for Pakistan-based

finds it more suitable to neglect its

Indian and Western experts

militants is multi-faceted. China

relations with India rather than

on the subject.

China’s Strategy

April 2018

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

49


China’s ploy NEW COUNTER-TERROR COALITION

SELF-SERVING QUADRILATERAL MECHANISM

Clearly, China’s counter-terrorism measures are self-serving. This could be gauged from the current issue of putting Pakistan in the ‘grey list’. China, Pakistan’s closest ally, withdrew its objections to the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) decision to put Islamabad on its terrorist financing watchlist. This move was essentially to push Pakistan to sever its links with the terror groups operating in Afghanistan. Apparently, China weighs its interest in distancing itself from Pakistan owing to its deep-rooted vulnerability on the Xinjiang issue and the pressing requirement of stability in the region that would support and sustain its BRI strategy.

O

n August 3, 2016, a new antiterror coalition was formed in Asia, called the Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism (QCCM) among China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan to combat international

50

terrorism. The first meeting of the four countries took place in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. The inauguration meeting clearly established the centrality of China’s role and leadership of the body. More importantly, it demonstrated China’s self-serving anti-terror measures geared

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

towards meeting its domestic security needs and foreign policy ambitions.

SCO In Limbo

To analyse the rationale behind the QCCM, it would be worthwhile to look at the previous experiments of China, if any, in the region. And immediately, the example


of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) comes to the forefront. It may be recalled that in 1996, a five-nation group was formed, called the Shanghai-Five, whose initial goal was to create Confidence Building Measures (CBM) on the border. From 1998 onwards, with a summit in Almaty (Kazakhstan), the group shifted its emphasis from traditional security to non-traditional security and took upon the task of combating international terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism in the Central Asian region. In 2001, the group graduated to form the SCO, and by June 2002, an antiterror centre at Bishkek came up. However, with the 9/11 terror attacks, the organisation shifted its goal to tackle the US challenge in the region. Over the years, the focus of the SCO has got frittered away amidst conflict of interests among the Member States. Seemingly, thus, the need for a more dedicated organisation to the problem of terrorism precipitated the creation of the QCCM.  

Securing BRI

Besides the urgency of a dedicated mechanism to tackle terrorism, a more pressing factor has been the dream project of the President Xi Jinping, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that necessitated an organisation like that of the QCCM which could squarely devote itself to the issue of counterterrorism. Arguably, the BRI comprises China’s most ambitious investment and infrastructure projects covering more than 68 countries linking Asia to Europe and Africa. According to one news report, the Chinese firms have so far invested $560 billion overseas under the BRI since 2013 and paid over $100 billion in taxes. [1] With China’s growing footprints overseas, security of its assets has become critical and requires an expansive foreign security goal.

Interestingly, while the BRI was formulated in September and October 2013, for the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and the ocean-based Maritime Silk Route respectively, in August itself, the State Council had established a Leading Small Group (LSG) on counter-terrorism which acted as a core body led by the minister of Public Security. Further, with the establishment of the National Security Commission in January 2014, headed by Xi Jinping, counter-terrorism acquired a priority policy focus at the highest level. These counter-terrorism measures culminated with the adoption of a first counterterrorism law in Chinese history in December 2015. The law, which came into force in January 2016, paved the way for Chinese military and para-military to operate abroad.

Internal Security

While the BRI has emerged as the single-most factor behind the founding of the QCCM, one must keep in mind that the primary security objective of China on the issue of terrorism is stability of Xinjiang. China’s interests are driven by the predominant goal of ensuring domestic stability in Xinjiang and China as a whole. Since the 1990s, separatism and ethnic nationalism has fomented in Xinjiang and has become a recurring security concern for China. Especially, with the outbreak of ethnic unrest and violence in Xinjiang in 2009 and a spiral of terror attacks within China, including a suicide bombing at the Tiananmen Square and a mass knife attack in Kunming, China’s sensitivity to the potential impact of terrorism has escalated.[2] In particular, China has fears about the Uyghurs joining the international terror organisations, such as the IS, and returning to China and spread havoc to domestic

April 2018

DR ABANTI BHATTACHARYA The writer is an Associate Professor at the Deptt of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi and a member of the editorial board for the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) journal. She was also an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi and had been a member of the editorial board for the IDSA journal, and part of many specialised projects on China, including those from the MEA and the DRDO. She holds a PhD from JNU, New Delhi.

ONE MUST KEEP IN MIND THAT THE PRIMARY SECURITY OBJECTIVE OF CHINA ON THE ISSUE OF TERRORISM IS STABILITY OF XINJIANG

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

51


China’s ploy NEW COUNTER-TERROR COALITION

security. Therefore, response of the Chinese government to the menace of terrorism has been primarily shaped by the need for domestic stability and territorial integrity. This self-serving goal has undergirded China’s approach to international terrorism.  

Fallout Of Syria

Arguably, the growing needs for counter-terrorism approaches point out to the changing nature of terrorism worldwide that has called upon the Chinese leadership to unfold a strident

security policy geared towards adoption of preventive and crisis management strategies. [3] So far, for the threats emanating across the border, China has relied on the SCO. Coupled with it, the US War on Terror provided a convenient shield to its economic engagements in the Af-Pak region. However, with the outbreak of the Syrian War and the growing menace of Islamic State (IS), the Middle East has become the “forward front for China’s War on Terror”.[4] The threat of the IS and its palpable influence on

THE CHANGING NATURE OF TERRORISM WORLDWIDE THAT HAS CALLED UPON THE CHINESE LEADERSHIP TO UNFOLD A STRIDENT SECURITY POLICY 52

April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

its largest Muslim dominated Xinjiang region has emerged as new worries for Beijing. These worries compounded manifold with the uptick of terrorist attacks in China (Beijing 2013, Kunming and Urumqi 2014). These were seen as the handiwork of Uyghur terror groups operating abroad. This terror menace required urgent steps for recalibrating security measures not only in its restive ethnic region but in the neighbourhood, as well. In response, the Chinese leadership, in tandem with modernising its security forces, has adopted regional institutional mechanisms to further its security policy, and thereby, enhance stability in the region. The founding of the QCCM is, thus, to be understood from this new face of international terrorism. It may be pointed


out that China has always taken a multilateral or regional institutional path while dealing with terrorism worldwide. It has so far avoided donning on the US’ high-handed anti-terror approach lest it should be seen as pursuing unilateralism and hegemonism in its neighbourhood. While supporting the international Istanbul Process of regional cooperative security in stabilising Afghanistan, which was launched in November 2011, China has initiated its own efforts in combating terrorism. While the SCO has been one of China’s earliest regional institutional mechanisms, the QCCM is Beijing’s new and concerted counter-terrorism approach primarily to serve Xi Jinping’s foreign policy goals in the present era. The nature of the QCCM can be gauged from the joint statement produced at the end of its inauguration on August 3.[5]  One of the highlights of the joint statement mentioned is that “the four parties agreed to establish the ‘quadrilateral mechanism’ to coordinate with and support each other in a range of areas, including study and judgment of counter-terrorism situation, confirmation of clues, intelligence sharing, anti-terrorist capability building, joint anti-terrorist training and personnel training, and that the coordination and

cooperation will be exclusive to the four countries.” This suggests that while the SCO functioned in a bilateral manner, the QCCM is multilateral in orientation, albeit exclusive to the four parties. The second highlight is that “the four parties agreed that all decisions under the ‘quadrilateral mechanism’ should be made on the principle of consultationbased consensus.” This suggests that China’s interest is more towards preventive diplomacy and crisis management. The third highlight is that “the four parties agreed that the ‘quadrilateral mechanism’ should abide by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and other recognised principles and rules of international law, especially the principles of preserving international peace and security, maintaining independence and equality, mutual respect to

THIS SUGGESTS THAT CHINA DOES NOT ENVISAGE ANY PATH-BREAKING OR ALTERNATIVE MECHANISM TO COMBAT TERRORISM.

sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression and mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.” This suggests that China does not envisage any pathbreaking or alternative mechanism to combat terrorism but rather work within the broad international framework and existing norms, like that of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force. In other words, we would not expectedly see China taking a unilateral approach on terrorism. Rather, it would limit itself to be bound by the counterterrorism laws that iterates “preventing and punishing terrorist activities according to law, for safeguarding national and public security, and for protecting people’s lives and property.”[6]   Clearly, China’s counter-terrorism measures are self-serving. This could be gauged from the current issue of putting Pakistan in the ‘grey list’. China, Pakistan’s closest ally, withdrew its objections to the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) decision to put Islamabad on its terrorist financing watchlist. This move was essentially to push Pakistan to sever its links with the terror groups operating in Afghanistan. Apparently, China weighs its interest in distancing itself from Pakistan owing to its deep-rooted vulnerability on the Xinjiang issue and the pressing requirement of stability in the region that would support and sustain its BRI strategy.

Reference Notes:

China dismisses reports about problems in ambitious BRI projects, The Indian Express, November 3, 2017.  Dawn Murphy, “China’s Approach to International Terrorism,” Peace Brief, Unites States Institute of Peace, October 2, 2017, http://www.usip.org [3]  Christina Lin, “The Changing Nature of Terrorism in China,” The CIPHER Brief, December 27, 2016,  https://www.thecipherbrief.com [4]  Ibid. [5]  Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan issue joint statement on anti-terrorism, China Military Online, Ministry of National Defence, August 4, 2016, http://eng.mod.gov.cn/DefenseNews/2016-08/04/content_4707451.htm [6]  Full text: Work report of NPC Standing Committee, Xinhua, March 19, 2016, http://www.china.org.cn/china/ NPC_CPPCC_2016/2016-03/19/content_38069149.htm [1] [2]

April 2018

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

53


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April 2018 DEFENCE AND SECURITY ALERT

Defence & Security Alert April 2018 Edition  

The April 2018 edition of DSA is focused on “Pakistan: Changing face of terrorism”

Defence & Security Alert April 2018 Edition  

The April 2018 edition of DSA is focused on “Pakistan: Changing face of terrorism”

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