- By Abdul Majid Zargar
India claims it has long suffered violence from extremist & terror attacks based on separatist and secessionist movements, as well as ideological disagreements. In particular, the dispute over Kashmir is believed to have fueled large-scale militant attacks, such as the Parliament attack of 2001 , Mumbai attack of 2008 etc. Kashmir-related militant violence draws international concerns about its possible triggering of a nuclear war between two neighbors.
While India claims from roof tops that it is a victim of terrorist violence which either originate or are supported by Pakistan and has coined catchy phrases like ‘Epicenter of terrorism’, ‘mother-ship of terrorism’ for Pakistan, it conveniently forgets its own role in promoting terrorism in its neighborhood. A look at its historical record of using terrorism in its neighborhood to achieve strategic political objectives makes an interesting reading.
In the 1950s, India collaborated with the CIA in training and arming Tibetan terrorists to instigate the so-called Khampa Rebellion against China just like Pakistan later Collaborated with CIA in training Afghan Mujahideen to counter USSR in Afghanistan . The operation was abandoned after sacrificing thousands of Tibetans. Most of the Tibetans had to flee their homes to find shelter in India which still hosts the Tibetan Govt. in Exile in Dharamsala. India earned China’s wrath, with dire consequences, which were revealed in 1962.
An even more dangerous covert operation was launched in 1965 to place espionage equipment, energized by a plutonium power-pack on the Nanda Devi peak, to monitor Chinese nuclear activities. An avalanche prevented its placement. It has remained untraceable since then, raising fears of radioactive contamination of glaciers, and eventually, the Ganga.
Pakistan’s dismemberment has been on India’s agenda since inception. Metamorphic- ally speaking, even before its creation in 1947, Indian leaders would publicly announce its failure & return to motherland within months ,if not years. But Pakistan stood its ground and survived two wars with India until it was dismembered through a mixture of terror & military action in 1971.
The planning for terror activities to dismember Pakistan started in early 1966, immediately after the 1965 war with Pakistan ended in a stalemate . With disgruntled students & political elements from East Pakistan lending a helping hand, India started training Bengali youth, both Hindus & Muslims in terrorist activities in camps spread over Indian Bengal, Assam & Uttrakhand (then part of UP).
The baton of training these youth was handed over to Brigadier Sujan Singh Uban, who earlier had been handpicked to lead the Special Frontier Force (SSF-also called Establishment 22), a secret irregular force set up decades earlier with the assistance of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency to harry the Chinese forces in Tibet. Uban used this ragtag force of highly trained & committed terrorists along with Bengali youth, now called Mukhti Bahni with deadly effect in Bangladesh. In July 1971, the first batch of 110 of these terrorists were infiltrated across the border at Madaripur to destroy communications between Dhaka, Comilla and Chittagong besides devastating tea gardens, riverboats and railway tracks— acts that tied down Pakistani troops & undermined East Pakistan’s economy.
By September 1971, Indian training operations of terrorists had expanded dramatically in scale, training a staggering 20,000 terrorists each month. Eight Indian soldiers were committed to every 100 trainees at 10 camps. On the eve of the war, at the end of November 1971, over 83,000 Gano Bahini & Mukhti Bahini fighters had been trained, 51,000 of whom were operating in East Pakistan — a terrorist operation perhaps unrivalled in scale until that time. According to secret operational instructions issued by Indian army headquarters, its Eastern Command was directed to ensure that the terrorist forces worked towards “tying down the Pakistan Military forces in protective tasks in East Bengal,” “sap and corrode their morale in the Eastern theatre and simultaneously impair their logistic capability for undertaking any offensive against India in Assam and West Bengal,” There is no doubt that they served to tie down Pakistani troops, and derail their logistical backbone. They were also, responsible for large-scale grave human rights abuses targeting Pakistani sympathizers and the ethnic Bihari population.
In the 1980s, India ,while claiming to help resolve the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, provided armed training to rebel Tamil youths. It allowed the LTTE and other terrorist groups to set up base in Tamil Nadu. These groups received liberal funding and weapons from Govt. of India. The training was imparted by former Indian army personnel who provided Tamil militant youth training in arms handling, swimming, boat driving, handling of light machine guns, handling transport vehicles, guerilla warfare, boat driving and physical training.
Indian Govt’s support to Tamil terrorists was so brazen that on June 5, 1987, the Indian Air Force air dropped food parcels to terrorists holed up in Jaffna under siege by Sri Lankan forces and close to a certain defeat. India dropped 25 tons of food and medicine by parachute into areas held by the LTTE in a direct move of support toward the terrorists . The move gave a new lease of life to beleaguered terrorists which Sri Lanka government denounced and accused Indian Govt. of not only dropping food & medicines but also sophiscated weapons which ultimately consumed nearly a million innocent lives.
So-India is reaping today what it has sowed in the past.