3 November 2016

* Is Pakistan Worthy of Diplomacy?

By RSN Singh
01 Nov , 2016

The recent busting of espionage network being run from Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi should not be viewed with the ordinary prism of spies and espionage. Yes, it is true that even friendly countries gather information and intelligence to assess the capacities of concerned countries. Yes, it is true that embassies and foreign missions have their network of informers, assets and leverages at all levels, repeat all levels. Probably, this is very much part of the statecraft in an international system based on nation-states.

The Pakistani spy-network operating from the Visa Section of the High Commission was probably the nerve center. This author refuses to buy the theory put in public domain that the culprits who were apprehended were in possession of maps depicting deployment of armed forces or the BSF as part of routine espionage. To assess in that manner would amount to inflicting grievous injury on India. We, it seems, have not yet comprehended the entire dimension of proxy war from Pakistan. Espionage by Pakistan in India is for terror and sabotage. Targets are acquire d and accorded priority by the military-intelligence establishment of Pakistan for their vulnerability to jihadi attacks. It is orchestrated by the military-intelligence apparatus, but are carried out through agents embedded within the Indian system.

It is therefore not at all surprising that the thread of the recent espionage incident runs into strategic assets like the ISRO and the political system. The PA of one of the Members of Parliament is just one small and pathetic example. It runs far wider and deeper. The grave inroads that the Pakistan-ISI has made into the recesses of the Indian system were barefacedly exposed during the hanging of YakubMenon. More than 15 firms specializing in lobbying were pressed into service. Most institutions of the Indian system stood naked. Lately what is most disconcerting is that the elements in the Pakistan High Commission have been trying to create disaffection in the military establishment of India by fabricating fissures and dissatisfaction. It has pressed some spin-doctors to generate divisive and destructive online stories for the purpose. These have been flying thick and fast over the last two years, one story on the tail of the another story. It has been trying to take advantage of the ghettoization of the retired security personnel in metros. This ghettoization is a process that has gained momentum in the last decade or so. This is a dangerous development given the fact that the ISI through the aegis of Dawood Ibrahim has substantial inroads into three major aspects of India’s national life, i.e. Bollywood, Cricket and Politics.

Embassies and High Commissions of Pakistan have been serving as centers for proxy war against India. They are engaged in recruitment, subversion, jihadi attacks, support to insurgent groups and peddling of fake Indian currency. Not only India, countries like Bangladesh have suffered equally, if not more, at the hands of Pakistan’s diplomatic missions. Many assassination attempts on Sheikh Haseena have been the handy work of the ISI operating out of Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka. The deadliest among these was the attempt in the garb of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutiny in February 2009. Sheikh Haseena’s zero tolerance to jihadi terror is a manifestation of she having reached the limit of tolerance of Pakistan’s jihadi manipulations.

Only recently in Bangladesh, two out of four JMB terrorists arrested in Dhaka were caught with Pakistani passports. In the judicial confession, one of them testified his links with the Second Secretary, Farina Arshad, in Bangladesh High Commission. Farina Arshad was involved peddling fake currency into India. She was finally withdrawn on charges of terror financing.

The Pakistan High Commission in Bangladesh during KhaledaZia regime was actively engaged in promoting terror and insurgency in India’s east and northeast, and that too with a fair measure of success. The level of this proxy war through diplomatic bases in Bangladesh by Pakistan reached to a level wherein Musharraf, the then President, during his state visit to Bangladesh in the year 2002 secretly met Indian insurgent leaders of northeast. Once this input has come, this author while serving in one of the intelligence agencies was aghast at the diplomatic brazenness of Pakistan and the criminal collusion of Khaleda Zia. The matter was analyzed and reported at the highest levels.

If Pakistan’s ISI has been using Bangladesh High Commissions for its operations in East part of India, for the Southern part it is its High Commission in Colombo in Sri Lanka. In 2014, a plot to launch attack in the US Consulate in Chennai was being planned and coordinated from the High Commission. Indian security apparatus, however, foiled the attempt. The Visa Office in the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo has also acted as center for recruitment, human trafficking and peddling of fake Indian currency. The Visa Officer was also involved in recruiting and sending many youths from Sri Lanka and Maldives to Pakistan for jihadi training in Madrasass. Most terrorist attacks witnessed in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu had links to the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo.

The Pakistan Embassy in Nepal has been used by the ISI for infiltrating terrorists into India. In the year 2000, when Nepal security personnel made an attempt to raid the residence of an ISI officer posted in the Embassy for peddling Indian fake currency, the then Pakistan Ambassador stood at the entrance and said that no raid would be permitted because the ISI man enjoyed diplomatic immunity. Meanwhile, the ISI operative got enough time to burn the notes. The anti-India riots in Nepal in 2000, which centered around Bollywood actor, HrithikRoshan, as is well-known was orchestrated by ISI elements within the Embassy.

Most Pakistan Embassies in South-Asia and Southeast Asia are being used for economic terrorism against India. Embassies in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh have been desperately circulating fake Indian currency through underworld conduits. As per one estimate, Pakistan has been printing Rs.10,000crore worth of fake Indian currency.

The Pakistan High Commission in Delhi therefore is an agency of jihadi terrorism and economic terrorism against India. Can diplomacy be allowed to sabotage the host country? It may be reiterated that when Vienna Convention was signed the world had no inkling about jihadi terror. The ideology did exist but had not developed into a tool of proxy war during times of so-called ‘peace’.

We have passed the stage of debate on liberal or radical approach to the ideology of terror. Pakistan, which is the fountain of jihadi terror cannot be a worthy dialogue partner. Cricket, people-to-people contact, Bollywood — however much hyped cannot be a substitute to the hard-diplomacy between India and Pakistan.
© Copyright 2016 Indian Defence Review

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