2ndlook

What should India’s counter terrorism plan look like …

Posted in Current Affairs, History, Indo Pak Relations, Media, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on December 1, 2008

The Blood letting

The Indian media (especially English) and the India’s Westernized elite has been hounding for blood ever since the terrorist attacks on Mumbai’s upper class business centres for the first time. After the 26/11 attack on Mumbai prime centres, they have been able to force the resignation of Shivraj Patil, India’s Home Minister. Maharashtra’s Home Minister, RR Patil has also resigned. Maharshtra’s Cheif Minister is expected to be replaced also – soon.

Rafiq Zakaria, a Westernized Indian, now a US citizen, said on CNN, at the Global Public Square program.

This crisis has highlighted one of the peculiarities about India. Its society, economy, private sector are amazingly dynamic. The same cannot be said of the Indian state. Government in India is too often weak, divided, incompetent.

The Times Of India, desperately sombrely, thinks, “it is time to ask our politicians: Are you going to go back to playing politics with our lives? Or are you going to do something worthwhile with yours?” The normally incisive, MJ Akbar, falls into the trap of blaming politicians, latching onto politico bashing, by saying, “We have been defeated by incompetent governance, both in Mumbai and Delhi … ineffectual leadership (is) turning a tough nation into a soft state. We should have been world leaders in the war against terrorists, for no nation has more experience Instead we are wallowing in the complacent despair of a continual victim.”

The normally vacuous Lord Baron Meghnad Desai,writing in the Indian Express, continued with his inanities, “It is a test of leadership. Can India‘s political parties, tested for 60 years in the crucible of democracy, rise to this occasion and save our country?” Hindustan Times joins in with its own two bits. Inderji Hazra, in a very superior fashion writes, but does not see the contradiction when he talks about ‘Frankly, the ‘lack of form’ shown by our political class isn’t a big deal for me … The two things: political meddling and the law of averages.” Prabhu Chawla, at India Today magazine, shed some more darkness with some empty words “Our politicians never get the message. The fury of a nation betrayed by its political class knows no bounds. Our discredited politicians are protected with the most sophisticated arms when the ordinary cops have only antiquated guns to save the citizens. Soon, the netas may have to be protected against their own people.”

How can politicians become effective without ‘meddling’, and if they don’t ‘meddle’, we will then blame them for ‘inaction’.

Apportioning blame

Blaming politicians, who are temporary office bearers, is escapist and is a well tuned strategy by the entrenched Westernized bureaucracy, which bears a significant, though partial responsibility, for this – the success of this operation and the lack of efforts to kill this problem at its root.

The Indian Government (Central and State together) have an employee base of about 55 lakhs. The number of elected representatives total around 5,500. The Indian population totals 110 crores (1100 million). It makes no sense to make scapegoats of 5500 politicians.

Blaming 5500 politicians is the knee jerk reactions by the intellectually devoid. Taking down Shivraj Patil is small consolation.

The responsibility (for not taking actions) and the credit for the brilliant commando operation is with the bureaucracy. The rewards should go to the various people for handling this operation so well, starting with the Mumbai police – and the culpability of those who have twiddled for years, starting with the Indian diplomatic community, the IFS and the Finance Ministry bureaucrats, who have not earmarked enough attention to these areas, is more important.

Who gets killed determines actions

India Today reports,

‘1,202 have been killed in 23 terrorist strikes in the country since the attack on Parliament. Five of them took place between December 2001 and May 2004 when the NDA was in power and the rest during the last four-and-a-half years of the UPA Government.’

Millions were affected in Bihar, when the Kosi river changed course and flooded Bihar.

As the overall flood situation in Bihar registered significant improvement with the water level all major rivers flowing below the danger mark, Bihar government today launched distribution of money for relief and succor on a war footing.

The water level of Kosi, Ganga, Burhi Gandak, Gandak, Mahananda and Bagmati were maintaining receding trend and was flowing below the danger mark along their course in Bihar, Central Water Commission sources said. The death toll in the current spell of floods stood at 217 in 18 districts, official sources said.

How come no one resigned till now? Not after the train blasts in 2006. Not after the bomb blasts in 1993. What is the difference this time around? The difference is that the rich and famous have been affected this time around.

We cannot afford the rich and famous to get affected, can we? But that is another discussion and another place.

Round up the usual suspects

One idea that has now been floating around is the creation of a central agency for coordinating intelligence and anti-terrorist activities – much like the FBI and the CIA. The many failures of the FBI and the CIA is usually overlooked – against its few successes. While there may be a case for such an agency, this cant be the winning idea between 1993 to 2008.

The other idea is of course war with Pakistan! A direct war with quasi-nuclear power is something that India cannot afford, is unprepared for and raises more questions than it answers. Post war scenarios are of course much worse. India will neither be able hold onto Pakistan or let go of a truncated Pakistan. It may well turn out to be another Bangladesh – where the HuJI is emerging as another terrorist force threatening the East and North East India.

Then there is perennial loser idea of international and UN intervention. These are defensive ideas whose value is limited. India now needs to become more aggressive.

A street scene in Pesahwar?

A street scene in Pesahwar?

What can India do!

India must follow a five point agenda.

One – Close down the Peshawar arms bazaar. This one-time small arms bazaar has became the sourcing centre for terrorists all over the world. Initially, stocked up with arms from the CIA funded jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, Peshawar, has become a problem that never ends. If required, there should be a UN mandate to send in a multinational force to surround, capture and destroy this centre for arms and armaments.

Two – Pakistan precarious financial position does not allow it the luxury of an arms race with India. The world must withdraw all technology from Pakistan for all arms and ammunition. No RDX, no tanks, no F-16s, no APCs. Pakistan must be put on strict diet of military technology blockade by the world. No less.

Pakistan’s suspected role in counterfeit currency operations must also be put under the scanner. Controlling Government’s of the 12 companies that dominate the currency printing business must be made to choose. Between India and Pakistan. If the German Government can arm twist their companies to suspend currency supply to Zimbabwe, there is no excuse for them to not to lean on dealings with Pakistan.

Pakistan’s (valid) security concerns should be met with a tripartite agreement between China, India and Pakistan which will guarantee Pakistan’s current borders. No disputes, no claims from Pakistan have any legitimacy any more. Let Pakistan take care of its current territory and people. POK will remain with Pakistan – and current LOC will remain unchanged. So, Pakistan will not lose.

Three – Pakistan is at the crossroads of a jihadi, terrorist, criminal elements who have joined together and created an incendiary mash-up. Fueled by a drugs trade worth billions, arms trade worth millions and respectability, as they are ‘carrying out a religious jihad’.

The leadership of these gangs has to be de-fanged. LK Advani, as the earlier Home Minister, forwarded a list of ‘Most Wanted 20′ to Pakistan nearly 7 years ago. Not one has come to India. The US has not co-operated on this one important Indian requirement.

Four – Zardari wants to export cotton (raw, yarn, gray cloth, finished cloth), cement and sugar to India. India has a large market for all – and can easily absorb Pakistani exports. Tie these Pakistani exports to quantitative achievements in shutting down terror camps in Pakistan.

Five – Pakistani Hindus (especially Dalits) are crucial to Pakistan. Announce a scheme for Hindu immigration from Pakistan to India. The loss of this 2% of Pakistani population can make life difficult for Pakistan. Facilitate Pakistani Hindu immigration to India.

How can India make this happen

It has to be realpolitik. India can no longer give away benefits without quid pro quo. Make P&G, ABB, Alsthom, Renault, Unilever, Siemens, Pepsi and Coke earn their living. The Indian operations of these companies pack a mean heft. They must join in to secure the markets they wish to exploit. The US has to deliver. Peshawar markets must close down. The Pakistan defence production cannot be used against India. Pakistan has to deliver the criminal elements – dead or alive.

Indian co-operation with the West on the new world financial system will be based on co-operation by the West. India should move to create systems which allow political and social stabilization a rule – and not an exception.

These strategic elements of using Indian advantages to gain our ends is the way to forge ahead.

Indo Pak Relations – What Will It Take

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, European History, History, Indo Pak Relations, Media, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on August 17, 2008

The Detritus

As Britain (and the West) was forced out of various colonies, left behind was the garbage of colonialism. This post-colonial debris has become the ballast, that is dragging down many newly de-colonized countries. The Cyprus problem between Turkey, Greece and the Cypriots has been simmering for nearly 100 years. The role of the Anglo Saxon Bloc, in Indonesia, the overthrow of Sukarno, installation of Suharto and finally the secession of East Timor is another excellent example. The many issues in the West Asia and Africa are living testimony to the British gift to the modern world. The entire Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a creation of the Anglo-French-American axis.

Closer home is the Kashmir problem. After 60 years of negotiations, India-Pakistan relations have remained hostage to the Kashmir issue.

Jagmohan Dalmiya

Jagmohan Dalmiya

A Precedent

Till the 1983, world cricket was run by the UK and Australia. These countries, of course, had veto power, had the funding, to control the game. In 1983, however, Britain and Australia hit a financial roadblock – the 1987 World Cup sponsorship. They did not have a sponsor in place for the 1987 World Cup. And then India stepped in. India roped in Dhirubhai Ambani for the sponsorship. India roped in Pakistan to put in a joint bid for the 1987 World Cup.

What was Special

This was, simply, without a precedent. For three reasons.

Imran Khan

Imran Khan

First, this was a unique case, where rich and developed countries could not find a sponsor for a sporting event, which they dominated. And a poor country could.

India, in 1987, still had a waiting period for Bajaj Scooters. Maruti cars had just been introduced. Colour TV sets were rare and colour TV transmission had started a few years old – and a luxury. Competitive bidding for TV rights was not possible – and could be sold only to a public sector TV transmission monopoly. Computers in India were rare and far in between. Private sector as we knew it was non-existent. Licenses were required for everything. Foreign exchange situation was precarious. Hence, for a poor country to bid for a World Cup was unprecedented.

Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar

The second major challenge was the organization. Indian bureaucracy was then (much more than now) a minefield. Myriad laws made any kind of complicated organization a nightmare. Private sector was seen with suspicion. Indian films still portrayed businessmen as villains. Indian software industry was nowhere in sight. India did not have even one (private sector) company in the Fortune 500 list. To say the least, it was audacious, at a time when India dominated by stereotypes (more then than now).

But the third element that has remained unrecognized was the working of the India Pakistan partnership. The World Cup bid was a joint bid (1985) by India and Pakistan. No one would have bet that India Pakistan could have worked together. But together they did. And successfully. This Indo-Pak relationship has now survived for more than 20 years.

What Changed

India and Pakistan, went ahead and moved cricketing headquarters from UK to Dubai. Unlike Bro.Manmohan Singh at the high table, BCCI and Pakistan just took away the veto powers of UK and Australia over cricketing matters. In spite of best efforts of ‘divide-and-rule’ by the ECB (UK’s cricketing authority) and Cricket Australia. UK, in a case of sour grapes, went ahead and stopped its players from participating in the Indian Premier League. Australia broke ranks, and participated. South Africa started with its first official post-apartheid series in India – the post-apartheid ‘coming out’ party.

In the UK and Australia, this loss of power rankles.

Shahriyar Khan

Shahriyar Khan

Use The Experts

This India Pakistan Cricketing relationship is very healthy – and has been managed by four people. Of course, there has been no case study, or a book or even a news report on this partnership. So some of this is my perception based on media interaction.

The four people in this complex relationship have been Jagmohan Dalmiya and Shahriyar Khan at the administration level. Between these two, they have managed a consensus between the Asian cricketing countries and South Africa. Jagmohan Dalmiya has a business background – and a career in cricket administration. Shahriyar Khan is a career diplomat and also a cricket administrator.

The other two are Sunil Gavaskar and Imran Khan – two well known and respected players in each of the countries. Between, these four, they have managed this complex cricketing relationship. Some of it is visible – but mostly, below the line. Especially, significant is the management of agreements. Recently, Asif Ali Zardari dismissed written agreements with his coalition partners, PML (N) headed by Nawaz Sharf, claiming agreements were not “holy like the holy Koran.”

The Learning

Now, if these four can overcome the complex political situation and the minefield of history, is there a learning for others? Especially, for those who manage the India-Pakistan political relationship.

Hidden in this cricketing relationship, is the solution to the sub-continental peace.

Post Script

This lesson seems to be dawning. Seven months after this post, a leading Indian newspaper carried an article on how Asian cricket needs to continue on the India Pakistan axis, which has been so successful in the last two decades. It points out how when cricket Indian administrators like

“I S Bindra … suggested that India is capable of hosting the 2011 World Cup on its own … (they) have sacrificed the much-used paradigm of subcontinental unity, which has seen India and its neighbours dominate international cricket politics for almost a decade.” It furthers links how ” it is inevitable that the West, rocked by the Stanford disaster recently, will try and regain composure and mount a counter-attack. Statements like English players may not be released for the IPL by the English Cricket Board and Tim May’s urging that a thorough security assessment is necessary to convince international cricketers to consider playing in IPL are evidence that such an offensive has already begun.”(ellipsis and bold text mine).

It is time that the Indian Foreign Service establishment took this learning – and start running.

Come June 2009, Shahriyar Khan (mentioned and pictured above) alongwith Shashi Tharoor came out with a book on Sub-continental cricket. Indian media, since it was not led by the nose, have this book cursory coverage.

Shashi Tharoor and Shahryar Khan in Shadows Across the Playing Field tries to provide answers by analysing 60 years of this intense cricketing rivalry, one, which has, on occasions superseded the intensity of the Ashes. (via something to hope for, and look forward to).

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