Corruption, Terrorism and National Security

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Of late, the Indian media has become quite active in targeting corruption, terrorist-mafia-politico links, Pakistan’s direct involvement in destabilizing J&K, the ‘enemy within’ and the like; all essentials to India’s progress. The string of exposes in Arnab Goswami’s new TV channel ‘Republic’ has also created much interest in the public. The coverage of the homage paid to Lt Umer Fayaz was particularly good albeit whether it pricks the conscience across the board is questionable, given the fact that Yasin Malik who publicly bragged of killing four Indian Air Forces personnel, is enjoying life out of jail (given bail on medical grounds) with further prosecution in limbo past several months-years.

The opposition cries ‘political vendetta’, forgetting Congress used to put the CBI on tail of the opposition from day one of UPA coming to power. Actually, corruption being deep rooted across the board, its eradication must be vigorously pursued as ‘Swachh Bharat 2.0’. It is all the more important with mounting threats to our security that cross-border links are exposed and broken quickly. Speedy follow up by the Supreme Court on mafia links of Lalu Prasad Yadav exposed in media indicate good tidings.

In news is also controversy of Sunanda Paushkar’s death, with the concerned pathologist admitting he was pressured politically to submit false report? Whether judiciary was also involved is unknown but judiciary goes by evidence provided – partial or complete. Take the Babri Masjid case that recently resurfaced in news. MK Dhar, in his book ‘Open Secrets – India’s intelligence unveiled’ published in 2005 wrote that based on Congress directive, all BJP and RSS meetings were secretly audio-video taped by IB two years before Babri Masjid demolition – total 123 tapes in IB archives. But when the Babri Masjid demolition investigation opened, only those 26 odd tapes that had element of doubt were produced before the Court. So the question is was the Court aware of the other tapes, were they asked for and scrutinized?

Gandhi Ji said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” There is no dearth of money in India, if it is not misutilized. And this is not about just Delhi CM hiking pay of his flock by 400% which the Lt. Governor shot down. There are millions of such cases. An RTI recently exposed in Uttar Pradesh, erstwhile Samajwadi Party Government under ‘Yash Bharti’ has been paying monthly pension of a whopping Rs 50,000/- to over 250 affluent and wealthy persons (Bollywood actors, TV stars included), and that Rs 4.16 crores were already sanctioned for such payments in first five months of 2017. There is obviously crying need to stamp out such wanton misuse of tax-payers money.

Overall, the media is doing great in exposing cases of corruption, radicalization, terror-mafia-hawala links, the proxy war in Kashmir, albeit taking such cases to their logical conclusion is contingent on the judiciary. At the same time national security must also be addressed holistically and speedily. For example, closure of the Army’s Technical Support Division (TSD) was perhaps the biggest national security scam of UPA-II, which has direct bearing on the current situation in J&K (http://www.newindianexpress.com/magazine/2013/oct/06/The-great-betrayal-523409.html). The manner in which the episode was orchestrated, appeared by design to help Pakistan – not surprising with recent tweet by a Rajya Sabha MP that some 15 India politicians are in net of Dawwod Ibrahim. The bugging of Defence Minister AK Anthony’s office, plus deployment of mobile interceptors, were fed to media as ruse to shut down the TSD, whereas the TSD held ‘NO’ mobile interceptors, while these were deployed (for political monitoring?) by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) directly under command MoD.

Above mobile interceptors costing around Rs 40 Lakhs were imported by then DG DIA ‘without sanction of MoD’ by showing purchase in parts, every part below Rs 10 lakhs, which did not require MoD approval. But, obviously such imports were with blessings of Anthony. When the scandal of deployment of mobile interceptors emerged, media was fed these were held by TSD, which was complete lie. The acrimony between two army chiefs was exploited as deliberate diversion to shut down the TSD that was giving sleepless nights to Pakistan’s ISI and the politico-bureaucratic-terrorist nexus. Whether this was done under ISI blackmail for having used hawala is anybody’s guess but the orchestration of this entire episode without doubt was at the highest level of the political dispensation of that time, compromising national security in the process.

The army hierarchy was used to shut down the TSD, drastically curtailing its own intelligence capacity in the process. But this is not surprising considering the same political dispensation also orchestrated military veterans to recommend India’s withdrawal from Siachen through the infamous Indo-Pak Track II despite grave strategic disadvantage to India. Ironically, it was PM Manmohan Singh wanting India to vacate Siachen, as disclosed by Sanjay Baru in his book ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’. Public is perhaps also unaware that between PM Manmohan Singh and NSA Shiv Shankar Menon, the mention of Balochistan was inserted in the draft sent by our mission in Islamabad for the Indo-Pak meet at Sharm-el-Sheikh, which then became source of embarrassment for India. Whatever the definition of treason, can there be greater treason than this – including closure of the TSD? Hopefully such issues will not remain under wraps under euphuism of being “sensitive”, especially when there is dire need to revive the TSD to cover our borders; not just border with Pakistan but also the northeast, with China threatening she can increase sub-conventional heat in that region depending on how we tackle Pakistan’s proxy war in J&K.

Prakash Katoch is third generation army officer hailing from Himachal Pradesh. He is former Lieutenant General from Special Forces and post retirement has published over 1300 articles on international affairs, geopolitics, military, security, technical and topical issues besides authoring two books. He is active in seminars at both national and international levels.

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