From the very outset, India has been scheming to harm Pakistan which she considers as a thorn in her flesh. Going by the book of Kautilya, India has been befriending the enemies of Pakistan and also trying to spoil Pakistan’s relations with its friends. To start with, India whispered into the ears of Afghan leadership to make Durand Line disputed and to raise the stunt of Pakhtunistan. She warmed up with former Soviet Union and made it exercise veto power repeatedly to block UN efforts to resolve Kashmir dispute on the basis of UN resolutions. Although India leaned heavily upon USSR and practically became her camp follower, she didn’t want Pakistan to establish special ties with other countries.
She played upon the sensitivities of Moscow when Pakistan joined western treaties and later on drew closer to China. When India refused to grant right of self determination to people of Kashmir and also refused to settle Kashmir dispute through dialogue, Pakistan military made an attempt to annex Indian occupied Kashmir through Operation Gibraltar followed by operation Grand Slam. When Pakistani troops were in a position to subdue Akhnur, five-time superior Indian military launched a full-fledged offensive against Lahore sector without declaring war on September 6, 1965 and then fought the decisive battle in Sialkot sector. When Pak forces blunted all attacks and caused heavy casualties on the invaders, India sought ceasefire. It had done so in 1948 war as well. Judging that Pakistan military couldn’t be subdued by force, India changed its tactics and feverishly worked upon people of former East Pakistan to subvert their minds and make them hate people of West Pakistan. India’s RAW, created in 1968, won 75% of 1971 war on the psychological operations plane and paved the way for Indian armed forces to deliver the military instrument and cut Pakistan into two with ease.
In 1973, RAW was assigned the task of subverting the Sindhi nationalists in interior Sindh and soon succeeded in cultivating GM Sayyed and some others who raised the slogan of Jeeay Sindh. In the same timeframe (1973-1978), RAW supported Baloch rebels in Balochistan. Finding that Pakistan had forged special ties with the Muslim world particularly Arab countries, India worked extra hard to capture trade markets of the Muslim world and to disrupt Pakistan’s trade. India couldn’t make any progress in marring Pakistan’s relations with China and Iran under Reza Shah Pahlavi. India kept exploiting apparent coldness that appeared in Pak-Iran relations once Imam Khomeini seized power in March 1979.
When Soviet forces occupied Afghanistan in December 1979, India supported the invasion as well as Moscow installed governments in Kabul and became party to clandestine operations against Pakistan. Throughout the Afghan war which ended in February 1989, RAW in collusion with KGB and KHAD undertook sabotage and subversion against Pakistan. India also supported PPP led MRD movement in 1983 and also trained, equipped and launched Al-Zulfiqar Organization terrorists to destabilize Pakistan. Once MQM came into being in Karachi in 1984, it was soon commandeered by RAW and was directed to gain full control over port city and Hyderabad by resorting to violence and terror tactics. By supporting Sindhi and MQM nationalists, RAW succeeded in creating deep-seated rural-urban divide. From 1990 onwards, MQM activists started receiving training in India.
After the breakup of USSR, India became strategic partner of USA in 1990. Thereon, she directed all her efforts to get Pakistan declared as a state sponsoring terrorism in occupied Kashmir and to make UN Resolutions on Kashmir redundant. India drew closer to Iran when the Taliban captured power in 1996. Between 1996 and 2001, India forged close politico-economic-military ties with Tehran and supplied weaponry to Northern Alliance (NA) Army based in Iran and also imparted training. After 9/11, when the US decided to make Pakistan its coalition partner and a frontline state to combat global terrorism, India kept poisoning the ears of US leaders against Pakistan. She persistently told Washington to reconsider its decision of trusting Pakistan. Her advice was to deal with it the way Afghanistan was to be dealt to solve the problem of terrorism. Washington had its own plans of dealing with the foes one by one and it knew that without active support of Pakistan, Afghan venture would prove very costly.
After NA took over power in Kabul in 2002, India with the assistance of USA proceeded with full speed to reinvigorate her lost influence in Afghanistan and to further expand it. At the same time, India went about creating bad blood between Afghanistan and Pakistan and improving Kabul-Tehran relations. To this end, India undertook the project of development of Chahbahar Port. Later on, India got involved in development of road infrastructure of Afghanistan as well as connecting Chahbahar with Afghanistan both by road and rail and opening a passage to Central Asia. This strategic move was undertaken with a view to reduce the dependence of landlocked Afghanistan on Pakistan, avail the new route for Indian trade with Central Asia and to undermine Gwadar seaport. These sinister moves were aimed at strategically encircling Pakistan.
Once the going got rough in Afghanistan, the US leaders started lending ears to Indian propaganda and became receptive to Indian themes. To start with Pak Army and ISI were accused of being linked with Taliban and al-Qaeda. Pakistan was declared as the nursery of terrorism, a haven for terrorists and the most dangerous country in the world. Pakistan’s nuclear program was projected as unsafe and likely to fall in wrong hands. These and many other suchlike obnoxious accusations gave a sense of satisfaction to hard pressed US-NATO forces fighting a losing war and felt relieved to put the blame of their failings in Afghanistan on Pakistan.
After successfully diverting the attention of USA from its primary theatre of war in Afghanistan towards Pakistan, RAW in collusion with five other intelligence agencies based in Kabul unfolded a comprehensive program of launching covert operations in FATA and Balochistan so as to destabilize, de-Islamize, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan. To this end, RAW used Afghan and Iranian territories as bases of operation and CIA-FBI facilitated its entry in areas of interest in Pakistan. Jundullah group based in Balochistan and handled by CIA was facilitated by Indian mission in Zahidan. This group was used by the duo with a dual purpose of destabilizing Iranian Balochistan and to tarnish Iran-Pakistan relations. In order to create misgivings between China and Pakistan, CIA and RAW lent support to Uyghur movement in Sinkiang and its members advised to operate from North Waziristan. The TTP was told to provide assistance to Uyghur.
The overall game plan was to weaken, defame and discredit Pak Army and ISI by pitching TTP and its affiliates against them, encircle and isolate Pakistan and make it friendless, puncture its economy and then launch operation Cold Start followed by full-scale war if required. Covert war was first unleashed in FATA, then in Balochistan and thereafter the flames of terrorism were spread to other parts of Pakistan with the help of terrorist groups on their pay roll. The US installed dream team of PPP-MQM-ANP in March 2008 facilitated entry of CIA agents, security contractors, US Special Forces and Blackwater into Pakistan in thousands and NGOs in dozens to stoke terrorism in major urban centres. Karachi was made restive in 2008/09 with the help of MQM and it was planned to make it another Beirut and cause economic death to Pakistan. Fazlullah’s men in Swat-Malakand had become so powerful that they were bracing to swoop down and besiege Islamabad. 18 administrative units had come under the sway of TTP. In Balochistan, Baloch insurgency aided by foreign agencies had converted into separatist movement and their cause was supported by the west and India.
It was under such grim security environment that the Army under Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and ISI under Lt Gen Shuja Pasha began to roll back the militants in the two major restive areas and recaptured 17 administrative units in northwest and put Baloch rebels on the back foot in 2009. Foreign powers based in Afghanistan once again reinvigorated the militants and converted North Waziristan into another strong bastion of power. This base has been successfully dismantled by the Army under Gen Raheel Sharif who took over in November 2013. He is leading Operation Zarb-e-Azb from the front since June 2014 and has produced excellent results. He is ably assisted by new DG ISI Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar and his Corps Commanders. He has created desired shock and awe and militants of all hues are in disarray. He has infused new life in Karachi operation and for the first time MQM terrorists are being hooked up in large numbers and startling disclosures of their anti-state activities and crimes are coming to light.
It is satisfying to note that Gen Raheel has shown total commitment to eliminate scourge of terrorism once for all. His grit and forthright style of doing things has uplifted the morale of the nation and has also deeply impressed foreign powers. Biggest diplomatic achievement is a breakthrough in Pak-Afghan relations that had remained at lowest ebb throughout the 13-year rule of Hamid Karzai. The other is China’s agreement to invest $46 billion in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will change the complexion of Pakistan and defeat the evil designs of adversaries of Pakistan. These fast changing geopolitical environments have nonplussed Indian leaders. Modi, Manohar Parrikar, Sushma Swaraj, Ajit Doval and others shamelessly say that political stabilization and economic progress of Pakistan assured by CPEC are unacceptable. They say that they will cause pain and teach Pakistan a lesson which they will remember for the rest of their lives. Feeling nervous and scared, they have expressed their resolve to use terrorism as a tool to accelerate terrorism in the three restive regions of Pakistan and to scuttle CPEC. In other words, for the first time India has admitted that she resorts to terrorism against her neighbors to achieve her ends. Besides terrorist groups in Pakistan, RAW is also connected with ISIS.
Gen Raheel has sounded a warning to India and has given appropriate messages. It is heartening to note that for the first time our civil and military leaders are boldly naming RAW and expressing their determination to meet the Indian challenge squarely. India’s admission of indulging in terrorism and Pakistan in possession of tons of proofs of RAW’s involvement in Balochistan, FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi, places Pakistan in commanding position to bring Indian terrorism to the notice of the UN, UNSC and international community and to expose India’s ugly face. Internal efforts alone will not succeed; Pakistan also has to mount a serious counter-intelligence challenge to blunt RAW’s efforts to destabilize and disintegrate Pakistan. Pakistan has to try and stabilize Afghanistan to deny India what former US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described as “India’s second front against Pakistan”. Pakistan must also cause equal amount of pain to India if not more. India must be clearly told that she is sitting on a powder keg which needs few matchsticks to implode. She must be firmly told that if she gives pain to Pakistanis, Pakistan can reciprocate by causing much greater pain. While people of Pakistan bravely withstood the pains inflicted upon them by India and her strategic partners for 12 years, we know for certain that Indians would not be able to bear the pain even for a week. We know how Mumbai attacks had terrified and paralysed them, although the episode was masterminded by RAW. Peace with Pakistan is the only option India has.
The writer is a war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors TFP. firstname.lastname@example.org