India’s penchant for false flag operations
By Asif Haroon Raja
India’s notorious intelligence agency RAW has mastered the art of spy warfare and has earned an ill-repute of interfering in neighboring countries through covert means for the achievement of India’s sinister objectives. It carries out covert and psychological operations to weaken target countries and create conducive conditions for the Indian military to deliver the hammer on the internally weakened foe in war. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldive, Bhutan, Sikkim have all been lacerated by RAW. And now it is actively involved in three zones of Pakistan using Afghanistan, Iran and London as bases of operation. Among the many tools employed to unravel the target, RAW employs the tool of false flag operation to put the blame of the crime committed by India at the doorstep of its foe to build pressure and to defame its opponent. RAW has been resorting to this immoral activity against Pakistan since long.
RAW in complicity with former KGB masterminded the creation of Bangladesh. In January 1971, RAW conducted a false flag operation in the form of hijacking of Ganga passenger airplane from India to Lahore supposedly by Kashmiri militants. Purpose behind it was to cut off east-west air flights of Pakistan so as to give free hand to Mujibur Rehman and his cronies to speed up its secession plan and create Bangladesh. Once Mujib created a state within state in East Pakistan in March 1971 and soaked the streets of Dacca and other major towns of East Pakistan with non-Bengalis blood with the help of Indian trained, equipped and brainwashed Mukti Bahini, Pakistan had to send reinforcements through long circuitous air route via Colombo to restore law and order. East Pakistan remained cut off from West Pakistan till the very end and enabled Indian armed forces to barge in against a small marooned and fatigued military force heavily involved in fighting province wide insurgency for nine months. Battle of East Pakistan had been won on the psychological plane before the military instrument was applied.
In 1999, an Indian plane was hijacked to Kabul. The then Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh carried out negotiations while the ruling Taliban became the mediators. Maulana Azhar Mahmood, leader of Jaish-e-Muhammad involved in Jihad in occupied Kashmir and three others jailed in India were released in exchange of releasing the passengers and the plane. This event gave a handle to India to intensify its propaganda that Pakistan was supporting terrorism in Kashmir and India was a victim of cross border terrorism.
Chittisinghpura incident was played in occupied Kashmir on the occasion of visit of Bill Clinton to India in March 2000. A dozen Sikhs were gunned down by RAW operatives but the blame was put on Kashmiri Mujahideen and Pakistan. Objectives were to present Kashmir freedom movement as terrorism, Pakistan as abettor of terrorism and to antagonise Sikhs against Pakistan.
Terror attack on Indian Parliament by a handful of militants on December 13, 2001 was again a false flag operation to extract concessions from Pakistan. Indian propagandists termed the attack as another 9/11 and blamed Pakistan even before carrying out preliminary investigations. India carried out biggest ever deployment of Indian forces along the entire length of the border and activation of forward air bases and moving forward naval battle ships in the high seas. Pakistan military responded with equal grit and determination and forced the fire breathing Indian military to pull back after 10 months military standoff. However, on the political plane, Gen Musharraf gave in to Indo-US pressure.
In order to appease India, he banned six Kashmir-focussed Jihadi groups, ceased their funds, thinned out troops in Azad Kashmir and took effective measures to prevent movement across the Line of Control (LoC). Pakistan also allowed India to build a fence all along the LoC and fortify it. Kashmir desk was made redundant. (This had been done earlier on in 1995-97 when uprising in occupied Kashmir had peaked and Pakistan opted for reconciliation and composite dialogue). This unwise policy had reduced the combat strength of Kashmiri freedom fighters from 15000 to 1500 when Kargil venture was launched). Another fall out was that RAW with the help of Mossad succeeded in penetrating Harkatul Mujahideen and several leading Jihadi groups in Kashmir to defame Kashmiri freedom fighters. Faran group was RAW created which targeted foreigners in occupied Kashmir. India then adopted draconian measures to break the movement.
Musharraf gave a unilateral commitment to India that he will not allow Pakistan soil to be used for cross border terrorism against India or occupied Kashmir, or Afghanistan. All these one-sided concessions were doled out to please USA, appease India and to induce India to sign a peace treaty and resume composite dialogue. Pakistan is paying a very heavy price for those myopic decisions. India silenced the eastern front and made our leaders swim in the pool of smugness that all core issues including Kashmir will be resolved through talks. Having duped them, India then activated western front by opening up four Pakistan-specific Indian Consulates and deploying 14 intelligence units in Afghanistan. Indian Consulates in Zahidan, Siestan and Mashad also became operative in Baluchistan.
From 2001 till 2008, all acts of terror taking place in India which included Samjhota Express train blasts killing over 50 Pakistanis, blasts in Mecca mosque Hyderabad and mosque in Malegaon were all put in the basket of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Pakistan. Purpose was to keep Pakistan under pressure; establish a link between LeT and ISI and brand the latter as a terror abetting outfit. This was done despite the fact that LeT was operating in occupied Kashmir and had been banned in 2003 and its offshoot Jamaat ud Dawa was operating as an educational/technical/charitable institution under Hafiz Saeed in bustling town of Muredke, which was open for all.
Mumbai attacks by ten terrorists on November 26, 2008 was yet another false flag operation designed to achieve several objectives. It was aimed at deflecting the attention of the world from occupied Kashmir where armed movement had suddenly transformed into unarmed movement after Amarnath land issue and had flabbergasted the Indian policy makers; to halt composite dialogue which had covered ground and had reached a stage of taking decisions; to get LeT declared as terrorist organization by the UN and the US; to brand ISI as a rogue organization; to carryout air strikes against alleged training camps in Muredke and Azad Kashmir; and lastly to destabilise Karachi with the help of MQM and TTP
The other important objective was to get rid of Maharashtra chief inspector of anti-terrorism Hemant Karkare who had made a stunning revelation that Hindu terrorist group Abhinov Bharat and some other groups under the patronage of Indian military intelligence were directly involved in acts of terror from 2000 to 2008. He had gathered sufficient evidence to get them convicted and punished. In this, Lt Col Srikant Purohit was the main character, who confessed that he was involved in bombing of Samjhota Express. Absconding Jatin Chatterjee belonging to Abhinov Bharat was arrested for his involvement in Mecca Mosque blast that had left 9 people dead.
Karkare was bumped off in Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008. The case compiled by Karkare has been dumped even after Satish Varma of Home Ministry of Manmohan administration submitted affidavit in the Indian court that Hindu terrorists were involved in acts of terror. Hindu priest Aseemanand was another culprit who confessed to the magistrate on December 18, 2010 of his involvement in Samjhota Express incident and other terror acts. He has been released on bail. Former Indian Home Minister Suchil Kumar’s article published in Washington Post dated January 20, 2013 gave detailed account of Hindu terrorism in India. There are over 100 Hindu terror groups in India under the patronage of RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP, Shiv Sena and BJP, all part of Sangh Parivar who have communalized Indian politics and unleashed forces of terrorism. They are patronised by RAW and Indian Military Intelligence to promote Hindutva in India. None has been added in the UN or US terror lists.
Dialogue suspended in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks have yet not restarted since India has made terrorism and not Kashmir as the core issue for discussion to promote peace and friendship between the two archrivals.
In January 2013, another drama of beheading of two Indian soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir was played up to reinvigorate cross border terrorism charge against Pakistan. It was alleged that the attackers dressed in uniform had come from Pakistan. This was made into an excuse to heat up the LoC and carryout merciless firing on the villages located along the LoC and the deployed Pakistani troops. Offensive statements were hurled by the then Army chief Gen VK Singh (the one who claimed to have raised and trained a special technical unit for cross border terrorism in Pakistan, and after retirement joined BJP). That was the year when the incident of Indian spy Sarabjit Singh awarded death sentence since long was drummed up when he was killed by a prison-mate in Kot Lakhpat jail. In reaction, Pakistani Sanaullah Niazi interned in Jammu jail and set to get released was murdered by Hindu prison-mate at the behest of RAW.
After the change of government in India in June 2014, when Nawaz Sharif attended Modi’s coronation ceremony in Delhi and extended a hand of friendship, it was generally opined that the atmosphere had improved and the scheduled foreign secretary level talks in August 2014 would take place under better atmosphere. India however cancelled the talks on the flimsy plea as to why Pak High Commissioner in Delhi had invited the Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders whereas it was a norm. This act infuriated the Indian leaders and on the false pretext that Pak soldiers had carried out ceasefire violation in Kashmir heated up the border and undertook massive firing and shelling all along the LoC as well as Working Boundary in Sialkot sector from August onwards till as late as last quarter of 2015. This offensive military posture was further made vicious by acrimonious statements of Indian political leaders and vandalism of Shiv Sena activists against Pakistani sports persons, media persons, artists, book writers and exhibition holders in India.
During this period, three false flag operations were carried out to keep the charge of terrorism against Pakistan alive. One was in the high seas across Gujarat coast by declaring Pakistani fishing boat as terror boat and destroying it. Indian DG Coast Guard revealed the whole truth for which he was sacked. The next was a manipulated drama in which three gunmen dressed in Army uniforms allegedly crossed the border, and opened fire on a bus and then attacked a police station in Dina Nagar, Gurdaspur District on July 27, 2015. This was followed by another one in Udhampur on August 5 in which two terrorists attacked a BSF convoy. India blamed Pakistan for both but the ill-conceived dramas backfired.
Now the banned Jaish-e-Muhammad has been blamed for the recent attack on Pathankot airbase on January 2, 2016. This was done without carrying out preliminary operations and tackling the eight terrorists. It took the Indian security forces which included commandoes and army four days to clear the airbase. India has been unable to give an explanation to such a poor response particularly when information about the impending attack had been received two days before and 200 commandoes had been deployed for the security of airbase, counter terrorism force and internal security force inside the base kept on high alert and the deployed infantry division made more vigilant along the border.
Indian national adviser Ajit Doval who was personally overlooking the counter operation came under pungent criticism on his abject failure. He is to be held responsible for a blotched up false flag operation if it was so, while Indian security forces are to be blamed for their inept response action. Although Pakistan is extending full cooperation, it is suspected that Pathankot attack was engineered to counter the heavy dozier of RAW’s involvement in FATA and Balochistan handed over to the UN by Pakistan and also to find an excuse to put off dialogue.
India is extremely concerned about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which she says is unacceptable. One cannot over rule the possibility of another false flag operation by RAW on a bigger scale to give India a reason to carry out yet another massive deployment like in 2002 and force Pakistan to do the same at a time when the Army is heavily engaged in the three conflict zones and is also taking care of the CPEC while the politicians are squabbling over petty matters and Pak media is spreading gloom.
The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst/columnist/book writer, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors. firstname.lastname@example.org