TIC Analysis |
16 December 2018 marked the 47th year since the fall of Dhaka to the Indian Army in the war of 1971. The war which started with the backing of terrorist elements known as the Mukti Bahini culminated in an illegal Indian invasion of Pakistan’s vulnerable eastern portion then called East Pakistan. The tactic of terror used by the Indian government is used to this day by New Delhi to inflict damage upon its western neighbor.
India has largely relied on violent proxies since its creation in 1947. The blueprint document on which these actions are based is known as the “Kao Plan”, which had two major aspects: to create insurgency in East Pakistan, abet it to separate from Pakistan and second to incite Baluch people to rebel and declare independence.
Despite, New Delhi’s own numerous ethnic uprisings, across its territory, it continues to use terrorism and separatism as a means of power politics to attempt to mold the region in its image.
Indira Gandhi who was elected as Prime Minister in 1968, was thrilled with the “Kao Plan” and appointed RN Kao as RAW’s first Director General and gave the go-ahead for phase one. Baluchistan has long figured in Indian designs for Pakistan. Following the failure of India to subdue Pakistan in the 1965 Pak-India War, RN Kao, a Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) of India was tasked to create a blueprint for the dismemberment of Pakistan.
The Bangladesh operation, began with sowing seeds of dissension, the creation of Mukti Bahini and under its cover sneaking into East Pakistan for guerrilla operations to blow up bridges and other installations, damaged the morale of Pakistani troops and paving the way for a separatist victory.
Bangladesh is a nation that is highly dependent on India. In fact, it may be asserted that India was the single greatest factor in the creation of Bangladesh through its arming, training and instigating of the Mukti Bahini. However, soon after its secession, Bangladesh tried to formulate an independent foreign policy. In response, India formed the Shanti Bahini to wage a guerilla war in the Chittagong Hill tract region against Dhaka like the Mukti Bahini before them.
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On January 14th, 2017, an Afghan activist by the name of Daud Khattak launched the ‘Pashtunistan Liberation Army’, an armed group along the lines of the Balochistan Liberation Front and the Sindhudesh Liberation Army.
Sri Lanka, another major South Asian country has also had a tumultuous relationship with India. The Island nation is a stone’s throw from Southern India and hosts a substantial Tamil population which also holds in a dominant position in India’s Tamil Nadu. Sri Lanka has followed a foreign policy largely free of Indian influence; it has cooperated with different foreign powers such as the US and Israel.
Sri Lanka’s closeness to Islamabad was one major irritant to New Delhi, an instance being the provision of refueling facilities to the Pakistani military during the 1971 war. India under Indira Gandhi tried to enact the Mukti Bahini success in Sri Lanka by arming local Tamil separatists. This resulted in different armed Tamil outfits who in the end culminated into the organization known as the Tamil Tigers. Due to this, Sri Lanka was forced to enter into the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 causing an Indian Peace-Keeping-Force (IPKF) to be stationed in Sri Lanka.
However, the landing of an Indian military force had an opposite reaction to Sri Lankan society. Anti-India sentiment rose both in the majority Sinhalese and ethnic Tamils which caused the Tamil Tigers to turn against their makers. Indian atrocities on ethnic Tamils such as the 1989 Valvettiturai massacre and the Jaffna hospital massacre also contributed to this. In 1989, the Indian government was forced to recall the IPKF but still, India meddled in the Sri Lankan campaign against the Tamil Tigers.
India under Indira Gandhi tried to enact the Mukti Bahini success in Sri Lanka by arming local Tamil separatists. This resulted in different armed Tamil outfits who in the end culminated into the organization known as the Tamil Tigers.
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The Indian government has been lately vocal in espousing the cause of these sub-nationalist groups and has been discovered funding them the world over. On March 3rd, 2016, a serving Indian officer named Kulbhushan Yadav was arrested by Pakistani authorities inside Pakistani territory. Through him, Pakistan was able to smash a network of separatists who had been working on splitting Baluchistan away through violent and non-violent means.
Baloch separatists are not the only ethno-nationalist force being exploited by New Delhi. A campaign for a separate Sindhi nation has long been waged by Sindhi immigrants based in India. Most of these separatists undertaking violent actions were based in Afghanistan often under the protection of the pro-Indian government.
Not only Pakistan but the rest of the subcontinent has also faced off with Indian proxies and incurred losses of life and property. Perhaps the greatest example of Indian proxies was in the two nations of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
On 17th January, Police in Gilgit Baltistan busted a terror cell sponsored by the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), to sabotage projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and generate anti-Pakistan feelings in Gilgit-Baltistan. Police arrested 12 workers of the Balawaristan National Front (BNF) from Yasin Valley of Ghizer district and seized a lot of weapons during a raid.
Despite, New Delhi’s own numerous ethnic uprisings, across its territory, it continues to use terrorism and separatism as a means of power politics to attempt to mold the region in its image. Such attempts have accelerated in recent times owing to two major factors: the rise of the extremist thought Hindutva to power in India and the CPEC project in Pakistan.
India fears a stronger, stable and prosperous Pakistan, as this would stand in its way to be the regional hegemonic power in South Asia. To this end it needs to destroy CPEC and any ancillary benefits to the region. To do so it is relying on its time tested tactic of terrorist proxies to destabilize Pakistan.