WAR GAMES – PART II

 

# chhotebhai

 

In my previous piece I wrote about double agents, piecing together jigsaw puzzles and how pawns are sacrificed in a game of chess.

 

During the height of the Cold War between the USA and the USSR it had been suggested that the Presidents of the two countries sat down to a chess tourney, and points would be awarded to the winner. In that eventuality the egos of nations and their leaders would be assuaged, minus the high price of war or war games.

 

In like manner I would now suggest a game of chess between the Prime Ministers (PMs) of India and Pakistan – Narendra Modi and Imran Khan. They could be coached by Ajit Kumar Doval and Mazood Azhar respectively. Live coverage in India could be by Arnab Goswami of Republic TV who keeps telling us what he thinks the nation wants to know, and Ravish Kumar of NDTV Hindi who tells us what the nation doesn’t want to know! An in depth analysis may be done on CNN 18’s “The Week That Wasn’t” by Cyrus Broacha!

 

This was light hearted banter on a very serious issue, whose import is lost on most citizens, be they rashtravadis (ultra nationalists) or desh bhakts (Patriots). But we need to seriously address the issue of war, especially if it is used to exploit public sentiments shortly before the Lok Sabha elections.

 

India Today’s lead story on 7th January 2019 was “The Fading Power of Two”, about the BJP duo of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Its cover story was on the newsmaker of the year 2018 “The Evolution of Rahul Gandhi”. The import of these two headlines would not have been lost on the concerned persons. Projections for the elections in 2019 have shown a big drop in the number of seats that the BJP is expected to win, less than 200. Even with its known allies it would still be short of a majority. There has also been talk of Nitin Gadkari being a replacement for Modi if the party did not have a majority of its own.

 

On the other hand the Congress is projected to more than double its figure to about 100 seats. Its as yet untested and shaky alliance would also be well short of a majority, with a bunch of regional parties also harvesting a fair share of seats.

 

Till not so long ago the BJP believed that Modi would rule for at least 15 years, with nobody to stop him. However, a resurgent Congress shook him out of his complacency. He found the ground slipping from under his feet. Was he now pressing the panic button?  He had hoped to polarise votes along communal lines through the Triple Talaq Bill and the Ram Temple at Ayodhya. Both got bogged down, either in the courts or parliament. The BJP was now running out of options.

 

What better strategy than to whip up war hysteria that required a strong leader (read Modi)? In my previous article I had shown how two Congress PMs used this time tested ploy to increase their popularity and garner votes. Whenever Indira Gandhi felt threatened or vulnerable she would invariably have recourse to the “foreign hand” trying to suppress the nation.

 

With the benefit of hindsight (though many political analysts had anticipated it) we can now see that the BJP is trying to milk the Pulwama-Balakot strikes to their advantage, with a pliant media playing ball. Several commentators have been asking uncomfortable questions about the sequence of events.

 

Firstly, Pulwama, on the 14th February. Several questions have been raised about the “security lapse”. Others have raised deeper questions. Was this part of the Govt’s dirty tricks department to create war hysteria and an atmosphere of ultra nationalism? Was Pulwama allowed to happen? Did the plan go awry, with many more casualties than anticipated? How did a “strong” Govt and a 56” chest Prime Minister allow such an attack to take place? Had it not learnt any lessons from previous attacks, including on security forces, something unheard of earlier? The Hindustan Times dated 19th January 2019 gave some telling statistics on Kashmir for the 4 years of Modi rule. The figures below speak for themselves.

 

 

Particulars

2014

2018

Percentage

Increase

Terror Incidents

222

614

276

Militants killed

110

257

234

Security personnel killed

3

29

967

(almost 10 times)

Civilians killed

14

30

214

Ceasefire violations along the Line of Control

583

2140

367

 

These statistics could mean one of two things. Either the Govt was incompetent, or it allowed the Kashmir pot to boil, in order to foster communal passions and ultra-nationalism. History will be the judge.

 

Much of what was happening in Kashmir has been attributed to the Doval Doctrine, named after Ajit Kumar Doval (74), the National Security Advisor. He was recently elevated to the post of Chairman, Strategic Policy Group. We need to take a long hard look at Doval, before we answer the question “Was Pulwama a mere security lapse, or was it a desperate gamble to help Modi win the elections, albeit at the cost of some pawns in the game like the 44 CRPF soldiers?”

 

Doval is a retired police officer of the Kerala cadre. He was the youngest ever to receive the Police Medal, followed by the President’s Police Medal and the Kirti Chakra, the second highest bravery award in peace time, usually reserved for the army. He was not just a gallant police officer. He is known as the Indian James Bond, the master spy.

 

His accomplishments speak for themselves. He is credited with having destroyed the Mizo National Front by infiltrating it, and winning over 6 of its 7 commanders. He facilitated the merger of Sikkim with India. In 1988 he rescued a foreign diplomat from the Golden Temple, Amritsar, during Operation Black Thunder, by posing as an ISI agent. In 1999 he was one of the three negotiators at Kandahar, Afghanistan, where Indian Airlines Flight No IC 814 was hijacked; and Jaish-e-Mohammed head Masood Azhar was released. He reportedly had a hand in the negotiations of all 15 hijackings of Indian Airlines aircraft. He is credited with getting 46 Indian nurses released from Tikrit, Iraq. He had a hand in resolving the recent Doklam standoff with China. He is considered the mastermind behind the strikes in Myanmar and Uri. Why then could he not find a negotiated settlement in Kashmir?

 

This very competent super spy and strategist spent seven years in Pakistan, but little is known of his role there. It is again reported that he “changed his religion”’ to penetrate the other side. So I wonder if he had to get himself circumcised, or ate Pakistani beef, in order to prove his genuineness? The Economic Times called him the most powerful man in India, after the Prime Minister. As for the Balakot strike, the newspapers reported that only 6 persons other than the PM knew about it in advance – the three Service Chiefs, the heads of Raw and the IB, and Doval.

 

So he could verily be the mastermind behind the Balakot strike as well. After his retirement in 2004 he had written a paper “Indian Black Money Abroad in Secret Banks & Tax Havens”. So was he the mastermind of the demonetisation strike also? It was again reported that the then CBI Director Alok Verma was investigating the Doval angle in a sensitive case. So was the latter behind the midnight strike on the CBI offices as well? As a Garhwali did he prevail upon the PM to leapfrog over two other senior generals to appoint his fellow Garhwali, Bipin Rawat, as the Chief of Army Staff? Can we put the jigsaw puzzle pieces together to see the “Face” of the master spy and strategist?

 

This then begs the question, how could such a strong man allow Pulwama to happen? Worse still, did he allow it to happen? As with the Purulia Arms Drop, and several other unresolved murder mysteries, we may never know the answer. But circumstantial evidence points in one direction.

 

I have another observation. Conspirators always keep an alibi ready. The best way to disprove their involvement is to prove that they were far from the scene of the crime. They also use this ploy to avoid answering embarrassing questions. For example, if there is a municipal demolition drive, it is first ensured that the elected representative is far away. So when he gets calls for help from his constituents he expresses his helplessness, being far away. Modi had the perfect alibi. He was shooting for a documentary in Corbett National Park. His political adversaries have alleged that even after being “informed” about Pulwama he continued with the shoot. The next morning he was flagging off the over hyped Vande Bharat Express, followed by a spate of political rallies. It makes one think. Is such nonchalance true to human nature?

 

Would not a PM, no matter how big a chest or war chest he had, not flinch at the massacre of his soldiers? Would he not cancel all other arrangements to take stock of the situation and make contingency plans? Sometimes when we are much too clever we give the game away.

 

Had Pulwama been a security lapse heads would have rolled. There would have been a clamour for the resignation of the Defence Minister and Home Minister (the CRPF comes under him). After the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai several ministers resigned. Honourable men like Lal Bahadur Shastri and V.P. Singh resigned as ministers when things went wrong. Ironically, both went on to become PMs of the country. So why did no minister resign? Why was the entire Pulwama-Balakot episode treated as business as usual?

 

All the evidence points to foreknowledge of the same. The subsequent surge in the popularity of the BJP just before the elections is proof enough. Yeddurappa in Karnataka let the cat out of the bag when he boasted that the BJP would now sweep the elections in that State. The writing is on the wall. Can the people of India read it?

 

I am aware that my observations could land me in trouble. For me it is immaterial who wins the coming elections, as long as it is fair play, not fought over the dead bodies of our brave soldiers. May peace reign in our country, our neighbourhood, and the entire global village. May truth prevail. Satyamev Jayate.

   

* The writer is a social activist and political analyst

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2 Responses

  1. Denis Daniel says:

    A very well researched article. Chhotebhai indeed excels in his job. I hope all concerned officials in our country read this exceptionally revealing article and do their very best to arrive at the truth.

  2. denisdaniel630@gmail.com says:

    A very well researched article. Chhotebhai indeed excels in his job. I hope all concerned officials in our country read this exceptionally revealing article and do their very best to arrive at the truth.

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