Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pak must destroy terror infrastructure: Doval

Pak must destroy terror infrastructure: Doval
An Interview by Rajeev Sharma
August 6, 2006
Source: The Sunday Tribune

A quintessential “operations” man and the Bhishma Pitamah of the Indian intelligence brass, Ajit Kumar Doval (IPS 1968 batch, Kerala cadre), is viewed as a national asset. A former Chief of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi conferred on him the Kirti Chakra.
Mr Doyal spent years in Pakistan and is credited with breathtaking acts of espionage during his stay there. Incidentally, he was the Centre’s chief negotiator with hijackers of Indian Airlines IC 814 in Kandahar. In an interview to The Sunday Tribune, he maintains that Pakistan must dismantle its terrorist infrastructure at any cost.
Q: What should India do to make Pakistan dismantle the terrorism infrastructure?
A: Pakistan will have to do it and it is bound by international obligations including the UN resolutions 1373, 1455, etc. and bilateral commitments. India has to create compulsions for Pakistan to do it. It has to be forced to realise that this perceived low-cost option to achieve politico-strategic objectives is too costly. It involves putting a stop to recruitment and training, financing and equipping, communication facilities and demolishing collaborative networks of terrorist with gunrunners, underworld, currency counterfeiters, hawala operators, etc. It would also involve ISI dismantling its networks in Bangladesh, Nepal, Middle East etc created to assist terrorists.
Q: Is India justified in postponing the Foreign Secretary level talks with Pakistan following the Mumbai serial blasts? Can the composite dialogue process with Pakistan and terrorism go side by side?
A: Yes. The dialogue process cannot succeed as long as Pakistan’s mindset is routed in what President Musharraf reportedly said on July 15, 2003 to Gulf News that “we don’t trust the Indian Government. Before Kargil, Kashmir was a dead issue” and “another Kargil taking place depends on how the peace talks proceed.” If blood and terror or the threat of it, implicit or explicit, is the only argument that Pakistan has to bring to the negotiating table, the talks have no prospects.
Q: What prevents India from using satellite imagery and other modern devices to nail down Pakistan’s lies?
A: Jurisprudence of covert actions, as also its response, is not governed by the laws of evidence. Evidence, or lack of it, is only an argument used by the players to lend legitimacy to what they want to do or refrain from doing in their perceived self-interest. We do use high technology intelligence capability wherever needed. But satellite imageries can only show you some physical objects on the ground but it cannot connect it with the terrorists.
We have much better evidence in the form of hundreds of Pakistanis and their associates arrested who have given graphic details of how they were recruited, trained, motivated, tasked and enabled to undertake terrorist actions. We have loads of terrorist documents and diaries to prove Pak involvement. Sharing of evidence like Dawood Ibrahim or Salahuddin’s Pakistani passports and identity cards, etc. may be good evidence in a court but not in the game of intelligence. The adversaries insist on evidence not for taking action, but to plug the gaps and bring about correctives.
Q: War with Pakistan will have much less casualties than the number of people who have lost their lives or limbs due to Pakistan’s proxy war. Is this view cynical?
A: I find this view cynical to the extent that we are not living in the medieval age where wars were waged to kill people. Wars are fought to achieve well defined political or military objectives. Loss of lives is just a collateral damage. Pakistan’s nuclear status will not have a decisive bearing on India. However, like many other components, nuclear factor will also be an element that will have to be factored in.
Q: What does Pakistan get out of this proxy war strategy which is out of sync with modern times?
A: Pakistani strategists are fully aware that terrorists cannot dismember or weaken India. It, however, looks at the proxy war as a low-cost and sustainable offence which can bleed India, against whom it harbours a compulsive hostility. It also feels that it commits a large body of Indian troops to internal security duties thereby narrowing the gap of force-level disparities between the two countries. Pakistan also assesses that it may lead to communal polarisation in India increasing its leverage amongst Indian Muslims. In the aftermath of the Afghan war, it also felt that so many trained jehadis and loose terrorist weapons floating around could be a source of serious internal instability and could best be directed towards India. Retarding India’s economic progress was also an objective.
Pakistan has been proved wrong on all counts. India’s military preparedness is as high as ever, Indian Muslims hate Pakistan today more than ever before and India’s economic progress is for the world to see. Ironically, Pakistan today is much more internally unstable today because of the jehadi factor.
Q: Is General Musharraf in total control of Pakistan? Is he no longer capable of reining in terrorist outfits?
A: General Musharraf is in total control of Pakistan like any other army ruler in the past. However, the people’s hearts and minds may not be with him. Nevertheless, he and his army are capable of reining in terrorist outfits, given the will.
Q: Will the Indo-US nuclear deal adversely impact India’s strategic programme?
A: It was a positive move. But the devil lies in the detail. The form it is taking now leaves much to be desired. The fine print is not conducive to our long term national interests.

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