by Col. RSN Singh.
Col. RSN Singh is a former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) Officer and author of five books including Asian Strategy & Military Perspective, The Military Factor in Pakistan and The Unmaking of Nepal.
The political churnings of this era raise some important security sector questions. Today we have one of India's foremost security experts, Col RSN Singh, take a closer look at the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party and the potential implications for national security.
Internal security and external security is solely predicated on the politics and the prevailing political chemistry of a country. Without security there can be no stability and consequently no development. The security discourse and foreign policy posturing of a country is therefore intrinsic to the politics and cannot be seen through different prisms.
At any point in history, wars have yielded either new political discourse or new dispensations. Arguably, but for the World War-II, India's independence from the British Rule could have been deferred by a period, which is open to conjecture. The Congress party's nearly unchallenged status in the country began to attenuate after the results of the 1962 war. Conversely, Indira Gandhi's political fortunes not only revived but soared after the 1971 war.
Since then, particularly after the end of the Cold War following the defeat of Soviet forces in Afghanistan by the jihadi war machine, created by the US and Pakistan, the nature of warfare has changed. Today's wars shy away from conventional engagements and use proxy methods, which includes terrorism, to destabilize the target country, to further territorial and economic interests. These wars are called proxy wars or sub-conventional wars. The role of intelligence agencies in the conduct of such wars is paramount. Such wars cannot be successful without subverting segments of population in the target country. The two main specimens of these segments in India are the jihadis in Kashmir and other parts of the country, and the maoists. This kind of warfare critically relies on recruitment and indoctrination of so-called 'intellectuals'.
Proxy war by its very nature thrives on political instability. In India's Red Corridor, Kashmir and in the Northeast; investment, infrastructure and social development are becoming increasingly difficult due to the resistance of those very subverted segments. This segment has unleashed a reign of terror on the population in nearly 40 percent of Indian territory. Things have come to a pass wherein political parties have begun to transact vote-bank business with the perpetrators of terror. One ruling party of a particular state owes more than half its seats to the manipulation by maoists. Another politician, the speaker of a Legislative Assembly, owes his legislative position to maoists.
Similarly, there are enough reasons to believe that some politicians are being blackmailed by the ISI and Hafiz Saeed because of their hawala and other links. This was clearly evidenced when separatists in Kashmir met Sartaz Aziz, Nawaz Sharif's envoy in Delhi. It was in evidence also when Hafiz Saeed shared stage with Yasin Malik in Pakistan.
Politics and Stability
The main objective of the perpetrators of proxy war and agents of subversion is therefore to cause and perpetuate a state of instability in the target country. Any political outfit, which propagates instability for political reasons or as a matter of political faith is 'anti-national', because instability usually results in greater insecurity of the 'aam aadmi'.
India after careful and great deliberation chose the Westminster model of democracy. A hung parliament and assembly is not an unusual occurrence. Cobbling together is a compulsion that cannot only be dismissed as political opportunism. Indeed those who decry Indian democracy, which includes many NRIs should reflect on the bitter and fractious nature of politics in other so called matured democracies, such as Britain, the United States (US), Japan, Israel or Italy. Britain today has one of the most unthinkable coalitions. The last victory of Obama is a matter of fierce debate in the US. Italy has had nearly two-dozen governments in last three decades.
Suspected or alleged immoral considerations or transactions cannot be allowed to derail the very basis of Constitutional and patriotic responsibility. No party, which is patriotic and prides in democracy would prefer instability for reasons of growth. Incidentally, this is what Yogendra Yadav has consistently maintained.
Now, the internal forces of instability in India are the jihadis and their proxies, the maoists and their over-ground activists, and external forces vying for influence in the country for economic and other reasons. The interface of these forces with the 'Aam Aadmi Party' (AAP) will be discussed in detail in the succeeding paras based on unimpeachable evidence.
The Sinister Design of Anti-national Activism
A very cogent anti-corruption movement was launched in India for bringing back Indian money lying in Swiss Bank accounts. This was not merely rhetoric but entirely achievable because many countries during the same period had been able to arm-twist Swiss authorities into recovering the illegitimate money. This was also a period when one mega-scam after another, each overtaking the other in magnitude, had hit the Indian mind and caused revulsion for the ruling dispensation. This movement had the potential to dislodge the government. Now the moot question is where was the need of another movement?
In the first week of April 2011, Anna Hazare sat on hunger strike at Jantar-Mantar demanding a Lokpal Bill. The 'aam aadmi' of the country till then and even now never contemplated this bill, but they definitely wanted the Swiss Bank money brought back to the country. The Lokpal Bill entailed a tortuous constitutional process but recovering Swiss Bank money, given the international environment then was far more convenient. It is not so any longer. The very aim of the Lokpal movement it seems was to kill the movement for Swiss Bank money. Anna Hazare was very-very feeble in raising his voice for this money. Who orchestrated this?
Though Indians were still figuring out the import of the Lokpal Bill, the movement had its ripples in London, Glasgow, New Jersey, Paris and Huston. But for this new movement by Anna, the government would have never dared to go for a mid-night crack-down on Baba Ramdev's vigil exactly two months later. Lokpal Bill had neutralized the 'movement' over black money in Swiss Banks, but not completely.
Anna Movement and US Factor
During the same period, i.e. in April 2011, the US lost out on the medium multirole aircraft (MMRCA) deal. The $12-15 billion contract was important for the US to generate jobs, as the country was going through an unprecedented downturn of its economy. The US felt that it was politically outmaneuvered by its less deserving rivals. The then US Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said that he was 'deeply disappointed' and resigned citing personal reasons. The grapevine in informed circles was that the Americans had decided to teach India a lesson through its 'Agency' in India. This is again a matter of conjecture but it is an established fact that when Ambassador Timothy left India, there was no replacement for a period of eight months, i.e. June 2011 to first week of February 2012. Mr Albert Peter Burleigh was Chargé d'affaires during that period. Never in the history of Indo-US relations had such a glaring diplomatic hiatus been witnessed, not even during 1971 War when the US openly sided with Pakistan. There have been 23 American Ambassadors to India since Independence. All of them barring Mr Burleigh carried the designation of 'Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary'.
Such long absence of an American ambassador in India was unthinkable because of India's geopolitical importance and geo-strategic location in South Asia and the Indian Ocean. This was also at a time when the so-called 'war against terrorism' had not abated in the strategic agenda of the US in which India was a declared partner.
In the third week of August 2011, Anna Hazare again launched his Lokpal Bill movement from Ramlila Ground. It was during the same period when the Arab Spring had hit one country after another, i.e. Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Morocco and Syria. Most of these had similar signatures, which many analysts allegedly attribute to the Americans. The same method of wielding flags, the same use of musical groups, the same mobilization techniques by internet and similar methods of logistics was clearly discernable. There were allegations that the key figures of these protests including in Tahrir Square in Egypt were trained in Western countries or by their embassies. It may be mentioned that the second largest US Embassy with some 400 personnel in the world is in Cairo.
I would request readers to compare the visuals of the Arab Spring and Anna's protest at Ramlila. The visuals of Tahrir Square and Anna's protest at Ramlila are so similar that one can confuse the two at first instance. The parallel was too uncannily similar, rather a vulgar replication. Again in these protests any clamour for recovering black money from Swiss Banks was conspicuously absent. The government got a reprieve from imminent fall, solely attributable to the new agenda i.e. the tortuous Lokpal Bill which eclipsed the agitation for recovery of black money abroad.
The entire proceedings at Ramlila got 24x7 coverage by the media for more than 10 days. Two media channels, one foreign owned and the other government funded pioneered the strategy and the rest had no choice but to follow for reasons of TRP. Never in the history of India, any movement or protest, had got such sustained media traction. This had an unimaginable amplification effect. It is therefore wrong to suggest that AAP is a new unknown phenomenon.
The spokesman for US State Department Victoria Nuland blamed "some extremely inaccurate reporting out of India" for Indians taking umbrage over the US stand on Anna Hazare's protest. She said: "with regard to the case (Hazare), however you know where we are. We support freedom of expression and assembly and we encourage all countries and all parties to do same. All democratic governments have responsibility to allow peaceful protest and freedom of dissent even as they work to maintain public safety".
One wonders as to how the US would react if there were to be Anna type prolonged sit-in protest by thousands of Americans in the vicinity of White House for change in the form of American democracy, i.e. from presidential system to parliamentary system, or if Anna were to replicate a Jantar-Mantar with NRIs for repatriation of Union Carbide officials responsible for Bhopal Gas tragedy. It may be mentioned that Anna, recipient of the American funded Magsaysay award was in the US in August this year and was accorded star status by NRIs in India Day celebrations.
Arvind Kejriwal too, after being conferred with the Magsaysay award in 2006 had gone on a long lecture tour to the US. The list of Magsaysay awardees also includes Kejriwal's mentor Aruna Roy. Another Anna associate Kiran Bedi is also the recipient of the said award. Prashant Bhushan, a former Anna ideologue and founder member of AAP party has also done his post-graduation at Princeton University in the US and is a regular visitor to the country. So the American imprint on the leadership of Anna movement and AAP is very strong.
Kejriwal not a Bolt from Blue
Kejriwal was far from an unknown commodity to the government when he first infiltrated Ramdev's movement, then recruited Anna in his Lokpal movement as the leader, and then politically hijacked it. Aruna Roy of the National Advisory Council (NAC) has actually nurtured Kejriwal in his career as a professional activist. There are many conspiracy theories, but it is undeniable that the members of NAC associated with Kejriwal are all left leaning and maoist sympathizers and so was the case with the majority of the close aides of Anna before the split with Kejriwal. Now the maoist sympathizing segment forms part of various AAP advisory committees.
Swami Agnivesh's lament on phone that the Anna team had gone mad like wild elephants and were no longer amenable should be seen in this backdrop. It was caught on camera. The same can be viewed by clicking on the link below:
Swami Agnivesh betrayed Anna Hazare sensational video exposed by news24 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-bYwFnuxvs)
Forces of Destabilization
The two most vicious proxies of external forces of destabilization in India are the Jihadis and the Maoists. The Jihadis are the proxy soldiers of Pakistan who feed on religious fundamentalism. The Maoists are not only proxy soldiers of Chinese interests as is generally understood, they also draw their sustenance from some Missionary organizations and the Western world. In 2008, the killing of social worker Laxminanda Saraswati was allegedly engineered by a certain missionary organizations through Maoists. In March 2012, again in Odisha, two Italian tourists, Bousco Paolo and Claudio Colangelo, in a poorly staged drama got themselves abducted, to be used as bargaining chips for the release of other maoist leaders. Later in April 2012, a group of ten French tourists were deported from Bihar for their collusion with the Maoists. In November 2012 an International Conference in 'Support of Peoples War' in India was held at Hamburg in Germany and was attended by delegates of more than two dozen countries. Members of the European Commission swooped in on Chhattisgarh to watch the trial of Binayak Sen. It was a blatant insult to India, but such is the level of blackmail and influence of Western organizations that the Indian establishment did not even whimper.
The congruency of the respective agendas of Jihadis, Maoists and their international benefactors, has impelled them to collaborate. Elements in the West have been using all these leverages to destabilize countries to further their strategic and economic interests. The US till very recently supported the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Al-Qaeda in Syria (Al Nusra) and Iraq. It has been using ultra-leftist groups to destabilize target countries in Latin America and South America. The umbrella organization of ultra-leftist groups, 'International Revolutionary Movement', is headquartered in Chicago.
The overwhelming presence and influence of maoists and their over- ground activists in Team Anna was palpable. Later these elements drifted to AAP. The US imprint on AAP has already been discussed. To arrive at a proper assessment it is imperative that the views of AAP on other destabilizing forces like Jihadis, Separatists, Pakistan, Terrorism and Islamic Fundamentalists are also considered.
On Batla House encounter Kejriwal categorically says that it was fake and questions the sacrifice of security forces only to tone it down later. To hear his belief click on the links below:
Batla Encounter was a fake - Arvind Kejriwal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7-xxVqAppE)
Prashant Bhushan's pro-Maoist proclivities and posturing has been witnessed many times on television. At the peak of the Anna agitation the views expressed by him on Kashmir on television were shocking. Subsequently he tried to mitigate his statement which had no takers. His clarification was unconvincing and can be heard by clicking on the link below:
Kashmir Issue Clarification by Prashant Bhushan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3rg7VZFC_M)
Members of AAP have never responded to questions on Maoism, Jihadi Terror and Pakistan. Insinuations have been made about their links with jihadi outfits in Pakistan and Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt through fundamentalist groups in India. Arvind Kejriwal in fact took umbrage when queried about his approach on Pakistan and terror. His hostility to the queries on security of India can be heard by clicking on the link below:
Inspirational opinion of Shri Arvind Kejriwal on Pakistan. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbam0bT7Jas)
Kejriwal has been hobnobbing with Islamic Fundamentalists to further his political career. His political transaction with a rabid Islamic Fundamentalist, Tauqeer Raza Khan, accused of spreading communal hostility, can be gleaned by clicking on the link below:
ArvindKejriwal met TauqeerRaza Khan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DANJSYTvfTo)
Very recently, a power intoxicated AAP leader Gopal Rai and former leader of the student wing of 'parliamentary revolutionaries' a.ka CPI(ML), the All India Students Association (AISA), insulted a former Army Chief. To watch this violent streak in the AAP leader click on the link below:
Former Army Chief insulted by AAP Leader (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO-tK4Arcnc)
Whatever the actual conduct, at the core of a domestic political party has to be a nationalist ideology, which is accepted or rejected by the people during elections, depending on the manner in which it translates into governance. A political party which does not divulge its foreign policy and security agenda will obviously raise a lot of questions.
Any political party which relies on the country's instability for growth is anarchist and anti-national. Activism per se can be national and anti-national, creative and destructive. Negative and anti-national activism destroys concepts of hard work, production and progress. It creates cynicism amongst the populace and negates demographic dividends. This is what the inimical forces are doing to India through their proxies which include terrorist outfits, NGOs and political parties. If the agenda of AAP was purely nationalistic it would come clean on where it stands on key issues.
To know the consequences of instability and anarchy caused by subverted extremists one has to look only at Nepal wherein the forces of destabilization were the same as in India. The people realized the anti-national agenda of the maoists and have thrown them out in the recent elections. The disaffection caused by the maoists, nevertheless, continues to cost something as basic as the constitution in Nepal.
The views expressed by the author are his own.