India’s Myopic Military leaders
Indian Generals like ostriches have their heads in the sand
By Brig Asif Haroon Raja
The Brahman Hindu of today wishes to re-establish the ancient grandeur of the old order in the light of which he basks for he is a child of that culture. The Hindus contemptuously dismiss historic factuality and instead cling to self created myths and legends. The nostalgia for a mythical past acts as a distorting mirror. They strongly believe that Mahabharata extended over an area from including eastern Iran and Afghanistan to Tibetan landmass to Burma in east and up to Indonesia; that India had always been a united country ruled by great Aryan Kings till the invaders from the northwest came and destroyed this unity. They seek to reclaim and reunite all lost territories and emerge once again as a great ‘Mahabharata’. They refuse to admit the historical fact that India was never a united country under Hindu rulers. Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir and later on the British had united India during their respective rules.
It was amidst such figments of imagination that former Indian Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor crowed about Indian military power. He probably got swayed by American backing and continuously rising Indian defence budget which had shot up from $22.636 billion in 2001 to $36.600 billion in 2009 and the array of high tech weaponry flowing in from all quarters. For 2010/11, budget was further raised by 34% placing India in the category of top ten defence spenders. He first claimed that foreign supported insurgency in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) had been successfully crushed. He got misled by the holding of state elections in Kashmir in 2008 in which the voters were dragged to the polling stations by gun and bayonet wielding Indian soldiers.
It was during his tenure that Indian Army assumed the role of a rogue army. Extremist Hindi army officers like Lt Col Srikant Purohit and many others got aligned with Hindu extremist groups and BJP and surreptitiously started targeting Indian Muslims in India. Extremist Hindus had been gunning down Indian Muslims from the time of partition of India. They wanted to cleanse India of the presence of Muslims and to establish Hindutva. Hindu extremist forces started to flourish when BJP emerged as a political force on Indian scene and challenged the hegemony of Nehru dynasty in mid 1980s. Demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhia and killing of Muslims in December 1992 was the first major communal incident patronized by BJP’s LK Advani. State sponsored pogrom of Indian Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 under Chief Minister Modi was the second horrific incident. Wanton slaughter of Kashmiris in IOK is another living example of state sponsored terrorism. Indian Muslims particularly in BJP ruled states are being systematically Hinduised. Those not prepared to dilute their faith and religious beliefs are terrorized through acts of terror.
In order to procure weapons, RDX explosive and training and also to gain protection, Hindu extremist groups succeeded in getting aligned with like-minded officers in Indian Army. Indian military intelligence began to patronize these groups with the aim of maligning Pakistan. They started terrorizing and killing Indian Muslims through bomb blasts and terrorist attacks. The worst part of the gory plan was that all the terrorist attacks were pasted on ISI so as to remain untraced and to keep Pakistan under pressure.
Pakistan was blamed for a terror attack on Indian parliament on 13 December 2001. Some of the terror attacks which took place in India during Gen Kapoor’s command were Samjhota Express train bombing, Malegaon blasts, Mecca mosque blast in Hyderabad, blast in Ajmer Sharif Dargah and German bakery in Pune. Even the suicide blast on Indian embassy in Kabul in July 2008 was pasted on Pakistan. Scandalous Mumbai attacks also took place in his time when the Indian military might stood paralyzed in front of ten terrorists for 72 hours. He had to seek the assistance of Israeli and South African commandoes to overpower and kill nine of them. India kept insisting that the ISI had a hand in all the terror attacks.
Maharashtra chief of anti-terror squad Hemant Karkare who had arrested a gang of terrorists led by Lt Col Purohit was on the verge of exposing the Military-Hindu terror nexus. Fearing that he will be killed, he had sought American protection, not knowing that he had rung the wrong doorbell. He was killed within first hour of Mumbai attacks on 26 November 2008. After his unfortunate murder, the investigations that were in advanced stage have been hushed up.
The trainer of Hindu suicide bombers and death squads retired Lt Gen Hoon had also surfaced in Kapoor’s time. It was a put up show to frighten Pakistan that in case it launched suicide bombers into India, the latter also had similar capability. Presence of Hindu Taliban in India could be link of the same chain.
Soon after the Mumbai episode when India was clamoring for aerial strikes on suspected Jihadi camps in Pakistan, and IAF chief had claimed that the air force was all set to carryout the strikes, Kapoor chickened out. He was rightly judged as a braggadocio, a geek and a strong believer of myths by US Ambassador in New Delhi as disclosed by Wikileaks. This impression was formed because of his fondness of propagating Cold War doctrine and without any rhyme or reason hurling threats to launch a limited war under nuclear overhang. He claimed to have polished and readied the new concept which looked very attractive on the map for peacetime Napoleons.
On 29 December 2009 he haughtily said that Indian Army had revised its five-year doctrine and was preparing for a ‘possible two-front war’. He stated that India had achieved the capability of dealing with China and Pakistan and that it had war-gamed to effectively deal with two-front challenge. He made this haywire statement without consulting chiefs of Indian air force (IAF) and navy. The two being more realistic didn’t corroborate his wonky view. Earlier on when Kapoor had made Cold Start specific to Pakistan, IAF chief had disagreed with his point of view saying it was impractical. Cold Start doctrine is a mixture of myth and reality with myth taking a better of reality.
His daydreaming made him so swollen headed that he let his imaginations run riot. Cold Start doctrine was projected as the wisest strategy ever conceived by any strategist that had the potential to destroy Pakistan armed forces in a matter of 72 hours. Former Indian Army IGT&E Lt Gen Loomba went a step ahead of his chief and stated that with the induction of T-90 tanks in the planned limited attacks, Indian forces will be able to reach GHQ within 48 hours and takeover Pakistan in 96 hours. Chauvinism and war mongering suited the psyche of Indians and Indian media came with a slogan of ‘Das Kadam Pakistan Khatam’ (ten steps and Pakistan is finished)).
His successor Gen Vijay Kumar Singh desiring to sound equally flamboyant and Rambo-like followed his footsteps. On 15 October 2010, while speaking at a seminar at New Delhi he described Pakistan and China as major irritants for India’s security and talked of possibility of war in a nuclear scenario. He stressed upon the need to further bolster India’s war fighting capabilities to fight war in nuclear scenario. On another occasion he could not restrain himself from indulging in chauvinistic xenophobia and utter falsehood to add spice to US-Israeli-western propaganda campaign to overawe Pakistan.
Seeing that the unarmed movement led by stone pelting teenagers in IOK was assuming dangerous proportions and his predecessor’s claim of quashing Pakistan aided armed insurgency was being exposed, he started singing old songs that militant infrastructure in Pakistan was still intact and that the ISI and Lashkar-e-Taiba were providing the stones to the protestors. He also alleged that tens of training camps were in operation in Azad Kashmir and that movement across the Line of Control had increased. He also put the blame of ceasefire violations committed by Indian forces on Pakistan
Warmongering statements by former Indian Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor and now by his successor Gen VK Singh gives a clear idea about the bent of mind of Indian military. It believes in jingoism and in giving provocative statements without any provocation from Pakistan’s side to keep the temperature on the boil. One thought that Gen Singh would perform more sensibly but he too is fond of rhetoric.
Neither China ever threatened India or Pakistan. Both have been striving to keep the atmosphere tension free and friendly since war is not in favor of anyone. On no occasion China and Pakistan made a threatening statement or took any offensive step which could become a cause of annoyance for India. On the contrary, Indo-China relations have seen a marked improvement over the last one decade and both are cooperating with each other in various fields. Even the troublesome Tibetan border dispute has been placed on the backburner. Like China, Pakistan too has sought friendship of India as is evident from Indo-Pak composite dialogue which was renewed in early 2004.
Pakistan has been following a policy of appeasement despite having learnt that India was stabbing it in the back by indulging in covert operations in Balochistan and FATA. Hundreds of terrorist acts sponsored by RAW have taken place in the last five years but Pakistan avoided blaming India merely to keep the dialogue moving forward. In contrast to Pakistan’s affable attitude, India has been falsely blaming Pakistan for number of terrorist acts in India all of which were committed by Hindu terror groups.
Mumbai episode made Indian leaders mad with rage and even after two years they have still not forgotten the incident and forgiven Pakistan. The incident in which 166 people lost their lives is being compared with 9/11 and anniversary is held each year. Obama during his maiden visit to India was made to stay in Taj Hotel which was one of the places of terrorist attacks to let him shed tears of sympathy in remembrance of the dead and to admonish Pakistan. European leaders visiting India to ink economic agreements and to sell their defence merchandise are also taken to Mumbai and they too perform the ritual. French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel performed these rites recently. One wishes these visitors had spared some tears for over 100,000 Kashmiris slaughtered in Kashmir and for unmarked mass graves in Kashmir.
Whatever accusations made by Pakistan against India have been authenticated by WikiLeaks. It has proved that Indian intelligence agencies are involved in immoral activities in Balochistan and FATA. It has unmasked the true worth of current Indian army chief and his predecessor terming them as show-offs and far detached from reality. In case Gen Kayani had resorted to rhetoric to scare away a bully, he could have been ignored but not Gen VK Singh claiming to be army chief of most powerful Army of South Asia trying to overawe a smaller neighbor through gimmicks. While Gen Kayani has behaved coolly and maturely in testing times, both Kapoor and Singh lost their sense of balance in normal times and behaved irrationally and haughtily.
Brig Asif Haroon Raja, a Member Board of Advisors Opinion Maker is Staff College and Armed Forces War Coursequalified, holds MSc war studies degree; a second generation officer, he fought epic battle of Hilli in northwest East Bengal during 1971 war, in which Maj M. Akram received Nishan-e-Haider posthumously. He served as Directing Staff Command & Staff College, Defence Attaché Egypt and Sudan and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches in Cairo. He commanded the heaviest brigade in Kashmir. He is lingual and speaks English, Pashto and Punjabi fluently. He is author of books titled ‘Battle of Hilli’, ‘1948, 1965 & 1971 Kashmir Battles and Freedom Struggle’, ‘Muhammad bin Qasim to Gen Musharraf’, Roots of 1971 Tragedy’; has written number of motivational pamphlets. Draft of his next book ‘Tangled Knot of Kashmir’ is ready. He is a defence analyst and columnist and writes articles on security, defence and political matters for numerous international/national newspapers/websites.