Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Why 313? A peek into history with the caveat that history is written by the victors – hence fact and fiction intermingle to make the winner look supreme.


AD 624: The Quraysh first threatened the Madinans, in a letter addressed to ‘Adbullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, to kill their males and enslave their females unless they expelled Prophet Mohammed from Madina.

It was, at last, at the beginning of 624, two years after the Hijra that a large caravan of the Quraysh, escorted by no more than 40 security guards en route to Makka from Syria, arrived at a place within reach of the Muslims. Fearing that the Muslims would stop their caravan and restore their usurped goods, Abu Sufyan, the leader of the caravan, rushed a messenger to Makka and sought help and reinforcements.

This caused an uproar through Makka. The leading chiefs of the Quraysh decided to wage war on the Prophet and about 1000 fighters moved out of Makka with much pomp and show. They had decided to deal a crushing blow to the rising power of the Muslims.

Prophet Mohammad realized that if an effective step was not taken right then, the preaching of Islam might suffer a blow from which it might be very difficult for it to recover. Had the Quraysh taken the initiative and launched an attack on Madina, it might have put an end to the existence of the small Muslim community in that town. (BuA: And the end of Islam as we know it today – and an effective lesson to Indian military planners about the way they sat as Pakistan built up nuclear weapons and now tweaking US money to buy weapons to gain advantage over India – how long will India wait?)

The Makkan army consisted of 1000 fighters, including 600 soldiers in coats of mail, and 200 cavalry. Against the force of the Makkan army, the Muslim army was made up of 313 fighters. Of these, 86 were Emigrants and the rest, the Helpers. (BuA: Hence the reference to the number 313)

The two armies finally encountered each other at Badr. (BuA: Note reference to Badr in another terror outfit: Al-Badr)

Even though the Muslims were outnumbered 3 to 1, heavy downpour the night before the battle was to the advantage of the Muslims, who were on a higher ground. In the lower part of the valley, where the Quraysh army was stationed, the ground had turned marshy.

The battle began. In the first frontline of the Quraysh were ‘Utba ibn Rabi‘a and his brother, Shayba, and his son, Walid. They challenged the Muslims to single combat. Three young men of the Helpers went forward against them. ‘We will not fight with the farmers and spherherds of Madina,’ ‘Utba shouted out of an arrogance which would cause their perishing. This was, in fact, what Prophet Mohammad expected. He ordered ‘Ali, Hamza and ‘Ubayda ibn Harith to go forth for single combat. Hamza advanced against ‘Utba and killed him. ‘Ali killed Walid with two blows. ‘Ubayda, who was old, marched against Shayba. They exchanged blows, and the sharp edge of Shayba’s sword struck ‘Ubayda’s knee and cut it. However Hamza and ‘Ali rescued him from Shayba. They killed Shayba and carried ‘Ubayda away.

The Quraysh were shocked at the beginning of the war. The Quraysh, who had exulted in their power, suffered a decisive defeat at the hands of the ill-equipped Muslims. Seventy of the Quraysh were killed. Almost all the leaders of the Quraysh, including Abu Jahl, Walid ibn Mughira, ‘Utba ibn Rabi‘ah, ‘As ibn Sa‘id, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, and Nawfal ibn Khuwaylid were killed.

Another seventy of the Quraysh were taken as war prisoners. The Muslims were permitted to accept ransom from them. Prophet Mohammad released some of them in return for ransom, and the others who knew how to read and write were enslaved on the condition that they should teach the unlettered Muslims how to read and write.

Such treatment of the captives proved very beneficial for the Muslims. For those people who had expected execution welcomed the chance to pay ransom and paid it. Second, the rate of literacy in Madina was very low, and, in order to propagate Islam, the Muslims had to know how to read and write. Besides, the Muslims had to be culturally superior to the polytheists. Third, those who were kept in Madina to teach the Muslims how to read and write would be able to learn Islam better than before and find the opportunity to be in close contact with the Muslims. This was certain to soften their hearts toward Islam and accelerate their conversion, together with that of their families. Fourth, the families and relatives of those captives had despaired of their lives. But, when they saw them before them unexpectedly, their enmity to Islam was considerably lessened or broken.

The decisive victory gained at Badr made Islam a force to reckon with across all of Arabia, and many hardened hearts were inclined to accept the message of Islam.


Brigade 313 is the coalition of five jihadi organizations that have been the to-go groups for most of Pakistan-based terror operations during last decade (coalition of Lashkar-e-Tayba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Harkatul Jihad al-Islami, Harkatul Mujahideen al-Alami and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi). Brigade 313 members have been known to be working with Bin-Laden as well as the Pakistani spy agency (ISI) and the Pakistani military.

Brigade 313 & Laskhar al Zil

Brigade 313 is responsible for 26/11. I think there is a close connection between Brigade 313 and Lashkar al Zil or the SHADOW ARMY.

Long War Journal reports : The presence of the Shadow Army has been evident for some time, as there have been numerous reports of joint operations between the Taliban, al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Hizb-i-Islami, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami, and other terror groups. (NOTE: Same terror modules that make up Brigade 313). “The type of masks worn and the tennis shoes are also strong indicators that these fighters "are non-Afghan fighters," an expert on the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan said. "Those types of masks I have seen, and they are always on the Pakistani side of the border," the expert said. "The tennis shoes and socks are a big indicator that they are non-Afghan fighters, probably Pakistanis or Arab/Central Asian fighters."


Ilyas Kashmiri

Ilyas Kashmiri created Brigade 313. Kashmiri was also an elite commando of SSG (Pakistan) . He was also Pervez Musharraf’s blue eyed boy and received a cash reward of Rs 100,000 for brutally beheading an Indian soldier and bringing his head as a trophy for the then General.

On February 25, 2000, Indian Army troops allegedly crossed the Line of Control and killed 14 people in Nakial in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

On the morning of February 26, Kashmiri conducted a guerrilla operation against the Indian Army in the Nakial sector. He crossed the LoC with 25 fighters from his 313 brigade, surrounded an Indian Army bunker and threw grenades inside. He also kidnapped an injured Indian Army officer who he later killed brutally.

He returned to Pakistan with the Indian Army officer's head in his bag and presented it to senior Pakistan army officers. President Musharraf, who was also then the army chief, awarded his Rs 100,000 for this action.

The Indian side of this sordid saga:

Indian Express reports: "Indian Army records show that the man who was beheaded in 2000 was Sepoy Bhausaheb Maruti Talekar of the 17 Maratha Light Infantry (MLI). While Indian troops in nearby posts launched a counter-attack with heavy rocket fire, the intruders slit Talekar’s throat and left behind his decapitated body."

Lieutenant General Mehmood Ahmad, then the corps commander in Rawalpindi, visited Kashmiri's terrorist training camp in Kotli and appreciated his frequent guerrilla actions against the Indian Army.

His honeymoon with Pakistan's generals ended after the Jaish-e-Mohammad was created. Mehmood wanted Kashmiri to join the Jaish and accept Masood as his leader. But the one-eyed Kashmiri refused to do so. (He lost his eye in Afghan jehad against the Soviets).

The Jaish attacked his training camp in Kotli, but Kashmiri survived that assault. After 9/11, Musharraf banned Kashmiri's outfit.

He was arrested after an attempt on Musharraf's life in December 2003 and tortured during the interrogation.

The United Jihad Council led by Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin strongly protested Kashmiri's arrest. In February 2004, Kashmiri was released, but was a shattered man. He disassociated himself from Kashmiri militants and remained silent for at least three years.

The Pakistan military's operation against the Lal Masjid in July 2007 totally changed Ilyas Kashmiri. He moved to North Waziristan where he had spent many years as an instructor in jihad against the Soviet army. This area was full of his friends and sympathisers. He reorganised his 313 brigade and joined hands with the Taliban.

Many former Pakistan army officers joined him. His 313 Brigade in North Waziristan numbered more than 3,000 fighters; most of them hailed from Punjab, Sindh and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

According to Asia Times Online: An al-Qaeda-linked cell led by veteran Kashmiri guerrilla commander Ilyas Kashmiri had completed all plans for the assassination of Pakistan's chief of army staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani, in 2008, but when the matter was sent to the top al-Qaeda hierarchy for approval, it immediately ordered the plan to be shelved.


The points to ponder are these:

the direct connection of Pakistan commando with Al – Qaeda.

the direct connection of Pakistan Army with nuclear proliferation.

The direct connection of China in supplying nuclear material to Pakistan

The silence of US and NATO for their own gain

The impotence of India in all this!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Much of what is written is already known (click here for more) - now that it has come from a letter written in 2003 by Dr AQ Khan written as an insurance policy so that he is not "eliminated" by Pakistan Army, this letter blows the lid off Pakistan's proliferation record. Not that much is going to change. And US, as usual will say a lot, but do little. It suits US and other powers that Pakistan can checkmate India.

Simon Henderson's article in Sunday Times, London:

"It could be a scene from a film. On a winter’s evening, around 8pm, in a quiet suburban street in Amsterdam, a group of cars draw up. Agents of the Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD, accompanied by uniformed police, ring the bell and knock on the door of one of the houses. The occupants, an elderly couple and their unmarried daughter, are slow to come to the door. The bell-ringing becomes more insistent, the knocks sharper. When the door opens, the agents request entry but are clearly not going to take no for an answer.

The year was 2004. The raid went unreported but was part of the worldwide sweep against associates of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist and “father of the Islamic bomb”, who had just been accused of selling nuclear secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea. The house belonged to one of his brothers, a retired Pakistani International Airlines manager, who lived there with his wife and daughter. The two secret agents asked the daughter for a letter she had recently received from abroad. Upstairs in her bedroom, she pulled it from a drawer. It was unopened. The agents grabbed it and told her to put on a coat and come with them.

The daughter, Kausar Khan, was taken to the local police station, although, contrary to usual practice, she was neither signed in nor signed out. The Dutch agents wanted to know why she had not opened the letter and whether she knew what was in it. She didn’t; she had merely been asked to look after it. Inside the envelope was a copy of a letter that Pakistan did not want to reach the West. The feared Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had found the letter when they searched Dr AQ Khan’s home in Islamabad. He had also passed a copy on to his daughter Dina to take to her home in London, as rumours of Khan’s “proliferation” — jargon for the dissemination of nuclear secrets — swept the world. The Pakistani ISI were furious. “Now you have got your daughter involved,” they reportedly said. “So far we have left your family alone, but don’t expect any leniency now.”

Dr Khan collapsed in sobs. Under pressure, he agreed to telephone Dina in London and ordered her to destroy the documents. He used three languages: Urdu, English and Dutch. It was code for her to obey his instructions. Dina dutifully destroyed the letter. That left the copy that was confiscated by the Dutch intelligence service in Amsterdam. I know there is at least one other copy: mine.

Just four pages long, it is an extraordinary letter, the contents of which have never been revealed before. Dated December 10, 2003, and addressed to Henny, Khan’s Dutch wife, it is handwritten, in apparent haste. It starts simply: “Darling, if the government plays any mischief with me take a tough stand.” In numbered paragraphs, it outlines Pakistan’s nuclear co-operation with China, Iran and North Korea, and also mentions Libya. It ends: “They might try to get rid of me to cover up all the things they got done by me.”

When I acquired my copy of the secret letter in 2007, I was shocked. On the third page, Khan had written: “Get in touch with Simon Henderson… and give him all the details.” He had also listed my then London address, my telephone number, fax number, mobile-phone number and the e-mail address I used at the time. It has been my luck, or fate, call it what you will, to develop a relationship with AQ Khan.

Khan became an idolised figure in Pakistan from the 1980s onwards because of his success in building a uranium-enrichment plant at Kahuta, near Islamabad. In February 2004, three years after his retirement, he was accused of proliferating nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, and made a televised confession.

General Pervez Musharraf, at the time the ruler of Pakistan, pardoned Khan for his “crimes” but kept him under house arrest and largely incommunicado in Islamabad until February this year, when a court ordered his release. He was declared a “free man”, but in practice nothing changed.

His freedom lasted a day or so before international protests, mainly from the United States, locked him back up again. A few months ago, he was refused permission to attend his granddaughter’s high-school graduation. “I continue to be a prisoner,” Khan complained.In Washington, a State Department spokesman said that Khan remained a “proliferation risk” but, after being shut away for five years, that seemed hard to imagine. So why was he silenced? Was it because of what he did, or because of what he knows about Pakistan’s active role in spreading nuclear technology to some of the world’s worst regimes?

Any relationship with a source is fraught with potential difficulties. One doesn’t want to be blind to the chance of being used. Government officials and politicians in any country are seldom interested in the simple truth. They all have their particular story to tell. In this context, I am frankly amazed that Khan has chosen me to be his interlocutor with the world.

I have been writing about Pakistan ever since I arrived there in June 1977, sent by the BBC to be a stringer because the local man was considered to be under the thumb of the then prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (the father of the assassinated Benazir), who had held disputed elections and was facing widespread street protests.

At the time I had never heard of AQ Khan, although, it turns out, he and his family had also lived months earlier at the same small hotel in Rawalpindi where I had lodged for a while. Pakistan was already vying to be a nuclear power and America was pressuring France to stop the sale of a reprocessing plant which would have enabled Pakistan to acquire plutonium, a nuclear explosive.

I returned to London in 1978 to join the Financial Times, and was replaced by a journalist who latched on to a bigger story: that Pakistan was building a centrifuge enrichment plant to make highly enriched uranium, the alternative route to an atomic bomb. A Dutch-trained previously unknown Pakistani scientist, Dr AQ Khan, was leading the project.My intrepid replacement went to visit Khan’s nuclear construction site at Kahuta. He also found out where Khan was living and went to his home. Khan’s security guards beat him up before he reached the front door.

The FT sent me back to Pakistan to help broker a deal whereby my replacement could leave without being prosecuted. At that point, I began my own investigations of Khan, which led to a front page story about his purchasing network in Britain. I doubt that either Khan or the Pakistan government was happy to see the exposé.

Even so, the first time I contacted Khan, he was civil to me. It was 1986 and he had just won, on a technicality, an appeal against a Netherlands court judgment that he had attempted to steal centrifuge secrets. Although my story was not a whitewash, it did quote him accurately, and Khan wrote to me with some more information about his case. I replied, and he reciprocated. It started a “penfriendship” that has continued for 23 years and has included two visits.

At the time, I thought Khan might make a good subject for a book. I amassed material, but never thought I had enough, and was not even sure if he was interesting enough for a biography. For his part, Khan was cautious. “When I write my autobiography, Mr Henderson, I shall ask you for your help.” It wasn’t the answer I wanted.

Frankly, in news terms, there wasn’t a great deal of interest in him, even in 1998, when Pakistan first tested its 1,500-kilometre-range Ghauri missile, a Khan-directed copy of the North Korean Nodong rocket, and went on to test two nuclear weapons. In 2001, when he turned 65, he retired. We kept in touch, but it was mostly Christmas cards.

Then, in late 2003, he became the story again. I was in London, on a bicycle ride by the River Thames, when my mobile phone rang. A voice said: “I am a friend of your friend in Pakistan.” I knew my “friend” must be Khan. The voice on the line said he had been asked to call.

My “friend’s” associates were being arrested — former colleagues at KRL, the Dr AQ Khan Research Laboratories, as the Kahuta centrifuge plant was known. I asked why. The voice said “Iran” — which was attempting to go nuclear. I asked what my friend wanted me to do with the information. The voice said I should try to publish it. It might help.I explained that I was happy to listen to what I was being told, but I needed some corroboration. I told him that my friend should call or e-mail me; he didn’t have to go through the details again. As far as I was concerned, he could just say “Merry Christmas”. I cycled home quickly and took a shower. Thirty minutes later, Khan rang from Pakistan and wished me merry Christmas.

The next few weeks were turbulent. A week or so after Khan’s call to me, Libya announced that it would abandon weapons of mass destruction. Shortly afterwards, in December 2003, The Wall Street Journal revealed that a German cargo ship called BBC China had been intercepted on its way to Libya with thousands of centrifuge components, and diverted to Italy. There was a Khan link there as well, but Khan declined my request for an interview. His “friend” called to say the time was not right and Khan was exhausted after long bouts of interrogation.

Khan was placed under house arrest on February 1, 2004, and since then he has rarely been able to leave his house. What do you do when under house arrest in Islamabad? You watch the BBC on satellite television. I knew he would. So, in 2006, when Panorama came to me saying they were making a film about Khan’s role in nuclear proliferation and would I be interviewed, the answer was simple: “Yes”. I told them that, from my knowledge of Pakistan and Khan, he could not have acted without the permission and collaboration of the government.

Khan watched the programme. After that, one thing quickly led to another. I came to know of the existence of the letter, and also learnt that its contents were known to Dutch intelligence, and also to anyone they might have passed details on to — including, in all likelihood, the British and Americans.Why were Dutch intelligence agents so keen to seize it? On the face of it, the letter’s contents are a damning indictment of a generation of Pakistan’s political and military leadership, who used Khan’s nuclear and missile skills to enhance Pakistan’s diplomacy.

It was not rocket science to work out a plausible explanation for the Dutch seizure. Bloggers will probably err on the side of more imaginative conspiracy theories, but the truth is probably simpler. After the September 11 attacks, the West in general, and the United States in particular, had to work with Pakistan to counter Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in neighbouring Afghanistan. That meant that they had to work with President Musharraf, even though he was no democrat. As part of the bargain, Pakistan’s nuclear sins also needed to be placed to one side.

As sins go, they were big: Pakistan had been spreading nuclear technology for years. The first customer for one of its enrichment plants was China — which itself had supplied Pakistan with enough highly enriched uranium for two nuclear bombs in the summer of 1982.


There it was in the letter: “We put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (250km southwest of Xian).” It went on: “The Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us 50kg of enriched uranium, gave us 10 tons of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%).” (UF6 is uranium hexafluoride, the gaseous feedstock for an enrichment plant.)

On Iran, the letter says: “Probably with the blessings of BB [Benazir Bhutto, who became prime minister in 1988] and [a now-retired general]… General Imtiaz [Benazir’s defence adviser, now dead] asked… me to give a set of drawings and some components to the Iranians…The names and addresses of suppliers were also given to the Iranians.”

On North Korea: “[A now-retired general] took $3million through me from the N. Koreans and asked me to give some drawings and machines.”

In late 2003, with Al-Qaeda far from vanquished in Afghanistan and Pakistan-linked centrifuge components heading towards Libya, President Musharraf was under tremendous pressure from Washington. In all likelihood, he was offered a way out: “Work with us and we will support you. Blame all the nuclear nonsense on AQ Khan.” Although Musharraf had lavished praise on Khan at a banquet in 2001, he didn’t like him personally. So the choice was simple. Khan was made a scapegoat.

Years earlier, Khan had been warned about the Pakistan army by Li Chew, the senior minister who ran China’s nuclear-weapons programme. Visiting Kahuta, Chew had said: “As long as they need the bomb, they will lick your balls. As soon as you have delivered the bomb, they will kick your balls.” In the letter to his wife, Khan rephrased things: “The bastards first used us and are now playing dirty games with us.”

George Tenet, the director of the CIA at the time of 9/11, has described Khan as “the merchant of death” and “as bad as Osama Bin Laden”. Khan has been accused of unauthorised nuclear proliferation, motivated by personal greed. On top of this, he has been depicted as overstating his contribution to Pakistan’s success in making nuclear weapons and missiles with which to threaten the whole of India.

These themes, which were repeated endlessly across the world, are now accepted as universal truths. But Khan was a government official and an adviser with ministerial status even after he retired in 2001. If his dissemination of nuclear secrets was authorised by the government, it could not be illegal and he would enjoy sovereign immunity for his actions. Pakistan is also not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), so its nuclear trades, however reprehensible, were not against international law.

Khan is adamant that he never sold nuclear secrets for personal gain. So what about the millions of dollars he reportedly made? Nothing was confiscated from him and no reported investigation turned up hidden accounts. Having planted rumours about Khan’s greed, Pakistani officials were curiously indifferent to following them through. General Musharraf told a British newspaper at the time of Khan’s arrest in 2004 that “He can keep his money”. In another interview a few months later, he said: “We don’t know where his funds are.”

But was there any money? Much was made of a “hotel”, named after Khan’s wife, Henny, built by a local tour guide with the help of money from Khan and a group of friends in Timbuktu, west Africa. It is a modest structure at best, more of a guesthouse. A weekend home at Bani Gala, outside Islamabad, where Khan went to relax, is hardly the palace that some reports have made it.

In fact, there seemed to be no money. By summer 2007, Khan was finding it difficult to make ends meet on his pension of 12,200 rupees per month (at the time about $200). After pleading with General Khalid Kidwai, the officer supervising both Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and Dr Khan, the pension was increased to $2,500 per month and there was a one-off lump-sum payment of the equivalent of $50,000. I have copies of the agreement and cheques.

As for his role in the development of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile forces, I have little doubt that Khan won the race between his KRL organisation and the official Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission to develop both a nuclear bomb and a missile system, a rivalry deliberately constructed by the dictator General Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s and sustained by later governments.

But there is a simple way to clarify matters. Pakistan’s system of national civilian honours is topped by the Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence), abbreviated as NI. A second tier of honour is the Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Crescent of Excellence), or HI. Khan was awarded the NI twice, a distinction never achieved before or since. He was also earlier awarded the HI. It is stretching one’s imagination to think that Khan could hijack the country’s honour system and the judgment of successive presidents.

Although the West continues to condemn Khan, Pakistan’s own energy to do so is fading, particularly since the departure of Musharraf in 2008. Frustrated by his house arrest and legal limbo, Khan has repeatedly this year pressed for remedy by the courts.

Khan was supposedly freed from house arrest in February, but the terms of that freedom were detailed in a secret “annexure A” of the court judgment, the final version of which Khan only saw later. One of the lines in the original draft that he was asked to sign was: “That in case Mr Simon Henderson or anyone else proceeds with the publication of any information or material anywhere in the world, I affirm that it would not be based on any input from me and I disown it.”

That line was eventually deleted and replaced with a more general prohibition about unnamed “specific media personnel”. Despite the court judgment specifying that the contents of the annexure “shall not be issued to the press or made public in any manner”, a copy reached me in the West.

Khan went back to court last month to challenge the terms of the annexure that he never accepted. Justice Ejaz Ahmed, the presiding judge at the Lahore high court, lifted all the curbs on his movement. “Dr Khan can come and go anywhere he pleases and no one should prevent him from doing this,” he ruled. “There should be no limitations.” Two days later another Pakistani court reimposed the ban.

America is pressing hard for Khan’s continued confinement. Deprived by Pakistan of the opportunity to interrogate Khan, the US is concerned that he may revive his old networks. Echoing the official view, The New York Times called this month for restrictions to remain on Khan for his “heinous role as maestro of the world’s largest nuclear black market”.

If Khan is free to travel and speak openly, there is a danger that he will give his own account of events, opening up a can of worms and complicating relations with Washington. Now his letter has been revealed, he hopes his story will be told differently. "

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Nestled between India and China at an altitude of 14,500 feet, and 4 hours bone shaking drive from Leh, lies Pangong Lake (also known as Lukung Lake). 45 kms of this lake lies within Indian territory while the remaining 90 kms lies within China.

Things deteriorated in 1999 after China, taking advantage of the Indian Army’s buildup in Kargil, built a 5-km permanent track into Indian territory along the lake.

The Chinese have led incursions into India because they know that they can – and can get away with it. It’s as simple as that. Our politicians refuse to acknowledge even today the Chinese threat. Reminds one of the 1962 debacle when Krishna Menon ordered COFFEE PERCOLATORS to be made in ARMS FACTORY – thinking that the Chinese aggression is a myth, only to be proved wrong at a catastrophic cost to the country.

In July 2008, an Indian motorboat on regular patrolling duty along the perceived border in the lake, was surrounded by three Chinese naval crafts. Things started turning tense as the Chinese crafts approached the Indian boat (which was sufficiently armed with two machine guns and a 20 -member contingent). The situation calmed down only after the quick thinking operator swung around the larger Indian boat in circles to disperse the Chinese crafts.

The Chinese Navy operates close to 22 armed patrol boats in the lake — mostly smaller vessels seating five to seven soldiers. India, on the other hand, has two patrol boats that are operated by the Army. While these boats are bigger — carrying up to 21 soldiers — the numeric superiority that China enjoys is undeniable.

Stuck in the corridors of South Block is a proposal to ferry in an additional 10-12 boats for better patrolling of the lake.

BACK TO 1962: The Govt of India, with Krishna Menon as Defence Minister, was least interested in defence preparedness. Ordnance factories were manufacturing coffee percolators and toasters, because they had “extra spare capacity”. But as they all shouted in Parliament, “ ------every inch of our land will be defended to the last man.” With what?

The analysts from Jane’s Information Group, believe that the Chinese Communist Party can only continue to rule the country if it maintains economic growth at more than 10 per cent. It is already investing heavily in Africa for food and natural resources but this could lead to a CONFLICT WITH INDIA with the trade route that crosses the Indian Ocean.

Are we ready for this future conflict?

China, historically has been a land power, barring the dynasty of Zeng He in 15th century, when China had famed treasure fleets. Then, it was more for explorations rather than expansions or even guarding any trade lanes. As threat of invasion from north increased, China quickly abandoned its ocean going enterprises – considering them to be expensive.

However 21st century is panning out quite the opposite. China has found itself increasingly dependant on resources and markets accessible only via maritime routes. Where US and Japan are dominant naval powers, China is stepping up its naval capabilities quite dramatically. Chinese navy is seeking to project powers not only throughout East and South China seas but also to Indian Ocean basin and beyond, to West Africa and Latin America.

By 2015 China is expected to have six Jin-class submarines capable of firing the JL2 ballistic nuclear missile that could threaten both the western and eastern American seaboards acting as deterrent to any US intervention if Taiwan or other areas erupted in conflict.

China’s nuclear attack submarine force is expanding “quite considerably” with six T93 hunter killers and more than a dozen Kilo class boats.

Fast attack craft, each carrying eight anti-ship missiles, are to increase from 40 to 100 giving the navy “a considerable capability. There had been a major build up of assault ships including 30 large tank landing craft that would allow long range operations.

2009 – Chinese navy pilots will begin training for aircraft carrier operations, that are expected to become operational early next decade.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009


A message to Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs Mr SM Krishna who stated "India's borders with China is most peaceful" - are you smoking OPIUM or are you suffering from delusions that your namesake (Krishna Menon - then Defense Minister) suffered from and ordered Indian Army ordnance to manufacture coffee percolators instead of arms (because he too foresaw a peaceful border with CHINA) prior to the 1962 war with China.

Hon'ble Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee - thank you for kicking Mr Krishna and his sidekick Mr Shashi Tharoor out of their 5 star confines which is taken from my tax money and make them smell coffee if not the dry smell of the Chinese gunpowder.

On a tactical sense, India and China can never go for an all our war - more out of geography than anything else. Will cover this in later articles. However a short decisive war is never ruled out. China is licking its wounds with India's forceful moves in Tawang and these are pressure tactics - the innumerable border incursions into India by China.


13th November 2008 : China made a direct request to India for blocking the six-day meeting organised by the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala from November 17 to discuss the future of Tibet. Significance of Tibet.

Qin Gang, the Foreign Ministry spokesman stated: “Anyone who participates in the meeting being organised by the Dalai Lama will not be liked by the Chinese people. The Chinese government is against anyone trying to split the nation or raise such an issue in the international arena. The Indian government has made solemn commitment about not allowing any anti-China activities on its soil. We hope that the commitment will be implemented.”

The Dalai Lama invoked article 59 of the Tibetan Charter that empowers him to call a 'Special Meeting' to discuss the future course of action as his envoys returned empty handed after secret meetings with Chinese government representatives. The past few weeks has seen the Tibetan leader complaining that he had "given up" on China and that his "faith in the Chinese government is thinning."

Chinese aggression on ground and verbal diktats are no longer welcome. It is time India behaved like a powerful nation and rapped the knuckles of these "interfering" Chinese.

30TH September 2008: The wall of mistrust continues to be an impediment in Indo-China relations. Intrusions by the Chinese forces continue unabated into Indian territory despite attempts by a red-faced South Block to brush them under the carpet.

The most recent incursion occurred on September 30 at the Burste post in the Ladakh sector along the Sino-Indian boundary. Soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army entered 15 km into India.

While the transgression itself was unacceptable, the Chinese captured the patrolling base hut of Indian forces who were not present at the outpost. The patrolling base was burnt and rations and other equipment stolen. In another incident a fortnight ago, the Chinese PLA confronted Indian soldiers and asked them to “vacate Chinese sovereign territory”.


Recent example of this. Chinese Premier himself gave assurances to the Indian Prime Minister that China will not obstruct India's entry in the Nuclear Supplier's Group but it did exactly that. Instead of being in the forefront, China aligned itself with countries that were opposing India's entry into the NSG by playing an active role inside the room with these dissenting nations. When Indian PM tried calling up the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao - Jiabao refused to take the call - such was the audacity. It was only when George Bush telephoned the Chinese Premier, that China relented.

While an all out war with China is a very remote possibility,more so to do with Himalayas and geography (as opposed to history), however there are clear Scenario 1 and Scenario 2 of possible local "war" with China.

Alarmingly, according to a report sent to National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, the incursions tally has increased to 213 incidents, up from 170 reported last year. While the Chinese continue to maintain an aggressive posture, India’s diplomatic response has been weak and tardy, which is certainly not the way an aspiring power behaves.”

The Chinese foreign ministry recently challenged external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee's claim that Arunachal is an integral part of India. Foreign Minister Qin said that Mukherjee's statement was contrary to historical facts as China does not accept the MacMohan Line and the border between the two nations has not yet been demarcated.

McMahon Line : The McMahon line runs through the eastern Himalayas and constitutes a psychological border between India and China. Drawn up and agreed to during by British India and Manchu China, its subsequent repudiation by China made it the major irritant plaguing the relations the two countries. Sir Henry McMahon, British India’s foreign secretary, drew this 1,360km border on a map at the 1914 Simla Convention attended by British, Tibetan and Chinese delegates, thereby adding 129,500 sq km to India. Though Mr Chen I-fan, the Chinese representative, initialled the map, his government disavowed it. China has never recognised the McMahon Line.

Chinese duplicity is its stock foreign policy. For example China’s stance on India’s annexation of Sikkim: the Chinese government did not accept India’s annexation of Sikkim for over two decades in spite of the fact that Sikkim was nowhere near the McMahon line which China first accepted and then unilaterally repudiated.

Bhutan incursions: There is a deep-seated fear in Indian defense circles that Chinese troop movements in Bhutan near the strategic Chumbi Valley are dangerously close to the Siliguri Corridor, aka India's chicken neck, which separates India proper from its restive northeast and is a mere 13 miles to 25 miles wide, making India extremely vulnerable to a territorial cutoff. A Chinese move into Dolam means that India’s border with China gets distorted at Sikkim’s tri-point with Bhutan. It also means that Chinese forces move a few kilometres south from where they originally were. It brings them closer to North Bengal’s Siliguri Corridor. China has always laid claim to Dolam. There is a suspicion that it has now extended its claim line.


Through out the brief history of territorial dispute between India and China, India chose to be on the defensive side for all the wrong reasons. India failed to use the ‘Tibet card’ as a bargaining chip in the territorial negotiation with China. China knows it very well that India would not dare raise the issue of Tibet either on international plate form or in bilateral talks. The Chinese claim over Arunachal Pradesh was based on the history of Tibet, not on Chinese history. Historically Tibet owned the large territories of present day Arunachal Pradesh, especially the Tawang district. However, India on the other hand also has a historically attested reason to claim over Arunachal Prasesh. Ironically it is also based on Tibetan history.

With the demise of the Manchu dynasty in China in 1912, the Thirteenth Dalai lama drove out the Ambans, the Manchu emperor’s representatives in Tibet and their security forces out of Tibet and declared Tibet as an independent sovereign nation.


In 1914 British tried to mediate a negotiation between Tibet and China to settle the political status of Tibet and territorial dispute between Tibet and China. China declined to sign the treaty. With a failure to resolve Sino-Tibet dispute, British decided to settle the Indo-Tibet border directly with Tibet. On July 3rd 1914 the British foreign secretary Sir Henry McMohan and the Tibetan government representative Lonchen Shatra signed the Simla Convention. They accepted the McMohan Line, which accorded Tawang to British India, as an officially accepted boundary between the two nations. The actual map showing the McMohan Line as a boundary between Tibet and India was published by Survey of India in 1937. In 1954 India officially called the territories accorded to her side of the McMohan Line NEFA- North East Frontier Agency. To consolidate her claim over NEFA, in 1972 India gave it an Indian name, Arunachal Pradesh, which remained a Union Territory of the Central Government of India until 1987. In 1987 Arunachal Pradesh formally became an Indian state.


India must be aggressive diplomatically with a fresh and more insightful foreign policy in dealing with China. The best card India can use to bargain with China is Tibet. Nothing perturbs China diplomatically more than Tibet and Tibet is not a dead issue yet. India is a host nation to Tibetan government in Exile and home to the Dalai Lama, accepted leader of the Tibetan people inside and outside Tibet. With India’s initiative more and more countries will come forward to join India to raise Tibet on the international platform. Hollywood is smitten with Tibet - need to bring it to realistic levels to choke CHINA.

BACK TO 1962: Nehru was smitten into the "Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai" concept. The Govt of India, with Krishna Menon as Defence Minister, was least interested in defence preparedness - he and Nehru refused to believe that China is an enemy. Ordnance factories were manufacturing coffee percolators and toasters, because they had “extra spare capacity”. (CAN YOU IMAGINE THIS - COFFEE PERCOLATORS AND TOASTERS AND NOT AMMUNITION).


Look at the population map of China above. See how sparsely it is populated around Tibetian region. The Chinese fear is this: If China were to withdraw from Tibet, and there were no military hindrance to population movement, Beijing fears this population could migrate into Tibet. If there were such a migration, Tibet could turn into an extension of India and, over time, become a potential beachhead for Indian power.

It is the Chinese fear that is forcing them to behave aggressively around their weakness. India should play around these Chinese fears and make it a reality for them.

8 steps :

1. Air force multiplers to be based in North East & Ladakh: Status – In Progress (The IAF is on course to base two squadrons (some 40 aircraft) of Sukhois, which have a cruising speed of 3,200 km, at Tezpur to counterbalance a Chinese threat on the eastern front. The air force has contracted some 230 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters from Russia in orders totaling over US $ 8.5-billion. The Ladakh sector has come to occupy lofty status in the IAF’s calculus as was evident when it reactivated the 2.1-km airstrip at Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) in northeastern Ladakh after 43 years.)

2. Army commando units based in forward positions – Done

3. Strengthen Tawang area by infrastructure, dams etc. Status – Not happening

4. Cross over to Chinese side and cause incursions – Not happening.

5. Internal sabotage through Tibetians and false flag recruitments of Uighur Muslims. Tibetians have a valid fear : that the Chinese have tried to alter the demographic balance of Tibet by settling Han Chinese there, that it wishes to assimilate the religious and cultural distinctiveness of Tibetan identity into a larger Chinese identity.

6. Give Brahmos and other top range missiles to Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, S.Korea, Taiwan (countries that view China with animosity).

7. China is pushing 500 million people from farms and villages into cities too soon. Although it gets almost no publicity, China is experiencing hundreds of demonstrations around the country, which is unprecedented. These are not students in Tiananmen Square. These are average citizens who are angry with the government for building chemical plants and polluting the water they drink and the air they breathe. India should extend help to FALUN GONG and many other anti-establishment groups (incl martial arts groups, theatre & arts groups etc) and create dissension.

8. How can India take over Mt Kailash – ordained as a religious site in Indian Vedic texts, now in Tibet (China)? Well India will not, Tibet will. And Tibet being hostlile to China will lease or hand over the region to India. Hence India should start preparing the Tibetians for armed struggle against the Chinese. Tibet is the soft underbelly and a strong guirella force of 50,000 battle hardened (taken from ITBP and infiltrated back to China) would cause enough unrest. Simultaneously help mass uprisings in Chinese villages against mainland city centric China. India's goal should be Tibetian independence.

Chinese navy is today weaker than Japanese navy and of course the US Navy. However, in 15 years, Chinese navy will be a force to reckon with. Gwadar is a port in Pakistan that can base Chinese naval ships and play three roles:

i) safeguard Chinese oil shipment to mainland China,
ii) threaten Indian navy and mainland India and
iii) provide a security blanket around Pakistan.

Do we wait for this to play out and forever alter our dealings not only with China but also Pakistan? The clear answer = NO.

Ancient Indian thinkers produced two schools of war, diplomacy and interstate relations; the dharmayuddha (ethical warfare) school; and the kutayuddha (devious warfare) school. The two schools were, however, not mutually exclusive. Chanakya scores of Sun Tzu many times over.

Buddhism is India’s cultural gift to Tibet and China. We win nations through culture and that is our primary way. Kutayuddha as a means of last resort - with China we have come to that last resort !