Ruminating Pathankot

January 13, 2016

By Muhammad Saeed

India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is somewhat famous for his Pakistan centric professional espousal notably for a breed of covert surgical strikes to target so called anti-India elements either inside or outside Indian Territory. After assuming the coveted position, Indian NSA made a unique entry into this sphere of his business by conducting a sort of covert strikes under the phenomenon of false flag operation into Myanmar as well as Bangladesh. Noticing this unique know-how of Doval even the Indian PM advocated the use of covert force anywhere including across the border, at least more than once after coming into power. In an article, written in 2012 by Ajit Doval, the NSA spoke in length about the significance of covert actions. His descriptions of the usefulness of false flag operations in words such as “a low cost sustainable offensive with high deniability followed by superimposing a barrage of accusations supplemented with fabricated evidences against the adversary aimed to bleed the enemy to submission,” are living examples of what would have been the actual story behind recently managed Pathankot incident.

According to Doval, surgical strikes, notably curbing infiltration and taking the ‘terrorists’ face-on are far more advantageous than conventional war, which are expensive and risk-prone. Frankly speaking Indian NSA had planned this covert operation in effect to kill two bird s with one stone, first to send a strong message to slackness of India’s security and intelligence apparatus and secondly, while taking advantage of its occurrence, to accuse Pakistan’s security and intelligence apparatus in addition to create a wedge within ever fragile civil-military relations and amongst intelligentsia of civil society. According to Indian media reports personnel deployed on the security of Pathankot airbase have been in effect were responsible for taking a menial illegal gratification of Rs.50 for allowing grazing of cattle inside the airbase and that was the opportunity Doval capitalized on befittingly.
Interestingly a small section of Pakistan’s intelligentsia like Mr. Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, a seasoned diplomat who has an eminence within domestic and international diplomatic circles as well as within civil society and academic circles, has taken this cleverly and intricately woven episode of Pathankot so simply while writing his ideas published in DAWN of January, 12, 2016, that does not commensurate with his proven wisdom and insight gained during his brilliant career in foreign service of Pakistan. Some of his analysis and personal opinions though having substantial weight, at times lack the astuteness once it concerns to the Indian mastery of treachery and skills of exploitation of events to their advantage.

To qualify this fact Mr. Qazi may like to look into a last year’s news report published in the Hindustan Times which had indicated that Indian Armed Forces under the strict counseling of RAW and expert direction of NSA, have carried out a number of covet operation within Indian and Pakistani territories. It was proudly believed that the units responsible for operations had carried out morel covet operations within Indian territory as compared to trans-frontier ventures, such as three consecutive covert strikes in Indian held Kashmir under the code name of Operation Rehbar 1, 2 and 3, more than one covert strike was undertaken in Northeast under the name of Operation Seven Sisters while a new venture code named as Operation Deep Strike was conducted in border area of Azad Jammu & Kashmir. Amongst these five celebrated covert operations, four were carried out well inside the Indian Territory; last operation against Pakistan was repulsed befittingly. This means Indian NSA is understandably more adept in planning covert operations within Indian environment; though he claims success in case of operations inside Myanmar and Bangladesh. Pathankot is yet another feather in Doval’s cap.
Few years back, a senior Israeli security official in India was asked what was needed to mimic his country’s success in targeted operations against Palestinians. He replied, “It all boils down to political will. If you send soldiers to hunt down one man, they must know that they will be supported by their government irrespective of elections happen, prime ministers change. If that isn’t there, then it can never happen.” Indian PM and NSA are surely flabbergasted by this Israeli anecdote and Pakistan’s intelligentsia appears a bit ignorant when it comes to serious issues like propagation and accusations against the country.

We know that events on the subcontinent are moving too quickly and intricately, although with uncertain outcomes. In short order, India is successful in attracting global attention and gaining international and regional support on a single narrative of Pakistan sponsoring extremism and violent terrorism under state umbrella; this needs serious contemplation at all levels to include veteran diplomats. Honorable Ashraf Jahangir Qazi might have so far gone through the pages of Mr. Adeerus Ghaya’s novel, The Scriptwriter, which is true reflection of the US covert effort for another war on terrorism this time with DAISH and covert attempts to include Pakistan as cannon fodder in this venture.