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SACW #1 (02 January. 02)

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Wire - Dispatch #1 | 2 January 2002 http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex ... #1. India Pakistan: Diplomacy will work, not military action, will
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      South Asia Citizens Wire - Dispatch #1 | 2 January 2002
      http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex

      ------------------------------------------
      #1. India Pakistan: Diplomacy will work, not military action, will
      succeed against terrorism (Praful Bidwai)
      #2. Terrorism and War euphoria (V.K.Tripathi)
      #3. Cold war's many costs (M. B. Naqvi)
      #4. Averting A Ruinous War - What's the way out? (Praful Bidwai)
      #5. "Peace Initiatives between Indian and Pakistan" by the People for Peace
      #6. `Peace be with you' (C.Rammanohar Reddy)
      #7. India: Shiv Sena's rituals for soldiers invites Maharashtra govt's wrath

      ________________________

      #1.


      Published in "The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, December 28, 2001

      Diplomacy will work, not military action, will succeed against terrorism

      Sow seeds of construction

      By PRAFUL BIDWAI

      The United States' inclusion of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and
      Jaish-e-Mohammed in the "terrorist organizations" list will be widely
      welcomed; as will Pakistan's positive response to the move--even if
      that comes out of opportunism, compulsion or coercion, rather than
      sincere acknowledgement of the gravity of the December 13 attack on
      Parliament House. But it would be illusory to think that these
      developments will dispel the war clouds over India and Pakistan which
      are now locked in a fearsome eyeball-to-eyeball military
      confrontation. The present enormous build-up along the border is far
      greater than the preparations that preceded and attended the Kargil
      war.

      What makes the build-up much nastier is not just the deployment of a
      panoply of weapons, including nuclear-capable missiles, but the mood
      of bellicose intransigence prevalent among many of India's
      policy-makers, and their obsession with purely military options with
      which to combat terrorism. Three ironies are in evidence here. Not
      long ago, our generals (and Pakistan's) would take pride in the fact
      that India-Pakistan wars, while brutal, were "gentlemanly", short and
      "clean". Typically, they did not target too many civilian
      installations or population centres.

      Today, the generals are counselling restraint but many diplomats are
      baying for nasty, "decisive", "final-solution" military operations to
      eradicate "cross-border terrorism" once and for all. Some measures
      proposed, like abrogating the Indus Waters Treaty, could cause
      irreversible but horrific damage. This role-reversal signifies a
      terrible coarsening of our public discourse, now contaminated by
      jingoism and bloody-mindedness.

      Second, the government has still not collected or released clinching
      evidence of the Jaish-e-Mohammed's, leave alone LeT's, involvement in
      December 13. Even if one believes dubious witnesses like Mohammed
      Afzal, the evidence still doesn't measure up to a legally tenable
      indictment. But New Delhi has expanded its charter of demands. It
      wants Pakistan to act against all known terrorist organisations
      active in different guises. Evidently, the agenda has got padded up.

      And third, most of our political parties, including the Congress,
      have left to the Vajpayee government's determination the vital issues
      of how, and with what means, to fight terrorism and protect the
      national interest. This is not a government they trust, nor one whose
      security and foreign policies they are comfortable with. They think
      its leading party is sectarian and communal. As the Tehelka and the
      coffin scams show, the government cannot be assumed to act
      responsibly or impartially even in defence matters. Abdicating the
      duty to oppose the government constructively is bad enough. Failure
      to hold its feet to the fire on life-and-death issues like war and
      peace is simply impermissible in a democracy.

      There is every reason why the government should be made to desist
      from military strikes against Pakistan, and from punitive diplomatic
      measures that could wreck the possibility of contact and dialogue,
      and make war likelier. The available military options all appear
      ineffectual and carry inordinately high risks. Most of the
      once-tomtommed 158 terrorist "training-camps" have probably
      disappeared or shifted deep inside Pakistan. There is little reliable
      intelligence on their location. They are beyond artillery range and
      cannot be hit by high-altitude air-strikes. Low-altitude strikes
      entail high casualties. Even "hot pursuit"--itself legally dubious on
      land, as distinct from the sea--risks big losses. As do "pro-active"
      but "limited" strikes.

      There is no such thing as "limited war" in the India-Pakistan case
      any longer. Pakistan is not the Gaza strip. Strategically, it is
      relatively evenly matched with India. In today's circumstances, it
      will surely retaliate. Musharraf, already on the backfoot and under
      flak from his Right for having "lost" Afghanistan, has no other
      choice. There can be assurance that an action-reaction spiral will
      not escalate into a major, protracted, ruinous war, even a nuclear
      conflagration. A major war will almost certainly destroy Pakistan's
      economy and set India's back by many years--exacerbating in both
      countries conditions favouring extreme social discontent, disorder,
      sectarian strife and terrorism.

      Only a reckless, strategically illiterate super-optimist will rule
      out a possible India-Pakistan nuclear breakout. The two have poorly
      safeguarded arsenals lacking in command-and-control systems. They are
      disaster-prone and have poor safety cultures. Missile flight-time
      between their cities is three to eight minutes. The US and USSR came
      close to nuclear war hundreds of times despite investing nearly $one
      trillion in command-and-control. Sub-continental deterrence is at
      best ramshackle, if not Rambharose. No wonder a clear majority of our
      former generals and admirals, who have commented on the issue, prefer
      non-military options and negotiations.

      This makes eminent sense. There must be a taut, logical, causal
      connection between action and result (countering terrorism). This
      cannot be achieved through coercive (gunboat or missile) diplomacy,
      which breeds resentment and hostility and thus can only encourage,
      not deter, terrorism. Therefore, it is futile to cite the US and
      Israeli examples. These are not instances, certainly not yet, of a
      successful fight against terrorism. As argued earlier in these
      columns, the US was morally, politically and legally wrong to wage
      war on Afghanistan.

      The diplomatic measures that India is taking against Pakistan are
      extreme and won't encourage responsible, reasonable conduct on
      Islamabad's part. Cancelling bus and rail services does not hurt
      Musharraf. It hurts the poor traveller, the small trader, the coolie
      with relatives across the border. These must be reversed. Downgrading
      diplomatic missions or stopping overflights bears little proportion
      or casual connection to what India wants to achieve.

      The threat to abrogate the Indus Treaty and starve Pakistan of water
      is obnoxiously misconceived. The Treaty is one of the few successes
      in a long story of failures. India could become a candidate for stiff
      sanctions if as an upstream state if chokes off the flow of water and
      ruins Pakistan's agriculture. Once abrogated, the Treaty will be hard
      to put together.

      In the final analysis, what's crucial in any "anti-terrorist"
      strategy or measure is proportion, discrimination, balance and
      efficacy. One essential difference between a freedom-fighter and
      terrorist is that the latter kills indiscriminately, equating
      combatants with non-combatants, and mixing up means and ends. India
      can easily cross this thin dividing line--as Pakistan has long done
      in Kashmir. India must desist.

      Everyone in South Block knows that Musharraf, even the ISI, would
      have to be insane to instigate the December 13 assault through the
      very extremists he is now, at last, fighting. The
      terrorist-extremists brand Musharraf a "traitor" and "failure", and
      probably killed his interior minister's brother in revenge. This of
      course is no reason why Musharraf should treat Masood Azhar and
      Hafeez Saeed leniently. But it is also no reason why Musharraf should
      be pushed to the wall--and towards a military confrontation.

      It is not easy to bring terrorists to book in societies riven by
      social strife, numerous discontents, widespread corruption, and poor
      law-and-order. How many terrorists has India successfully brought to
      trial? What is needed is a sustained programme which involves policy
      changes, military revamping, the ISI's restructuring, as well as a
      clampdown on known terrorists. India should cooperate with Musharraf
      on this, rather than depend on US or European Union demarches. There
      is a multilateral forum too, however flawed--the Security Council.
      This has passed a resolution that asks all states to act against
      terrorists, on pain of sanctions. India must invoke Resolution 1373
      to ask Pakistan to take verifiable anti-terrorist action.

      An additional reason why India must return to peaceful diplomacy--and
      reconciliation with Pakistan--is Kashmir. The Taliban's defeat and
      discrediting of many forms of militancy has created an unprecedented
      political opening in Kashmir. Some of India's sharpest critics may
      today be willing to contest elections. But that means saying no to
      war. The BJP alone has a stake in war, which is related to its
      aggressive, belligerent, communal nationalism. Its anti-Pakistan tilt
      has been particularly evidence since September 11.

      The widespread conjecture that the BJP wants war to avert a total
      rout in Uttar Pradesh stands confirmed after a December 20 meeting at
      Vajpayee's residence. Nothing could be more disgustingly cynical than
      such Machiavellian calculation to exploit the current climate against
      terrorism. As citizens, we must all reject it with the contempt it
      deserves.--end--

      _____

      #2.

      [30 Dec. 2001]
      Terrorism and War euphoria

      V.K.Tripathi

      The fidayeen attack on Indian Parliament has escalated tensions between
      India and Pakistan to a dangerous level. The attack was a grave
      misadventure indeed. Nevertheless, the chances of its success were slim as
      the event itself proved. Our reaction to this tragedy has appeared in the
      form of a war euphoria, which I think is an insincere response. War is not
      a conflict between ruling elites. It is havoc wrecked upon the masses, who
      by no strech of imagination can be equated with the ruling elite. In fact
      the contradiction between the elite and the masses is the most
      fundamental one of all. The former wield economic and political power
      while the latter are expolited and meek. We must also remember that the
      masses of different countries are the same. Hence, war must be avoided at
      all costs unless pushed totally against the wall. If we cannot justify
      violence against economic exploitation, how could one justify war against
      sporadic acts of terror?

      The cries for war are imanating from privileged sections. I am afraid,
      none of these people would ever like go to the battle field and risk their
      lives. Nor would they like to face any inconvenience or discomfort. They
      look for fanciful wars, to watch their excitement on TV screens. They are
      unmindful of their lack of courage and insensitivity. They quote unjust
      examples of USA's war on Afghanistan and Israel's attacks on Palestinians
      to justify their thirst for war. Both instances, however, represent gross
      conditioning. These have weakened the inner vitality of their own
      people. I think this is a very heavy price any poor country would like to
      pay. We do not have wealth or weapons. Soul is our strength and its
      vitality rests on truth and sensitivity. Let us feel the agony of Indian
      and Pakistani masses and see beyond temporary irritants.

      We live in a world of contradictions where intelligence agencies of
      different countries work at cross purposes against each other and at times
      target political leaders. Aggrieved parties, criminals and mafia dons also
      target them. Hence VIPs always run a higher risk. Any flaws in their
      security must be addressed forth with. However, security of VIPs is not
      made out a case for war. We lost Rajeev Gandhi but we did not attack LTTE
      bases in Sri Lanka. Numerous coups were carried out by big powers in third
      world countries but none of the sponsoring countries were attacked. In
      1979 a bomb blast killed 70 top leaders of Iran. In Cuba several attempts
      were made on President Castro's life. But there were no wars. Tighter
      security arrangements were indeed made and these were helpful to a
      significant measure.

      As far as fidayeen attacks are concerned we must examine the nature, cause
      and strength of these groups dispassionately. The fidayeens are not the
      criminals like Veerappan or Mafia dons who do it for money and to reign
      their authority. They are intoxicated by the sectarian view of Kashmir
      problem as also of the strife in Bosnia, Iraq, Palestine and other places
      where lakhs of Muslims have indeed perished. Their commitment has been
      reinforced by religous fundamentalism to the level of self
      sacrifice. However, fidayeens do not have the shrewdness of communalists
      who strive to capture political power by polarising people. Communalists
      do not attack the mightiest but the armless and the weak to create an
      atmosphere of mistrust and hatred. Communalists of all religious
      shades have been subservient to the interests of rich nations in last
      fifty years. Now they wield enormous political power in many countries
      including India and Pakistan. The fidayeens' leaders also served the
      interests of big powers till a few years ago. Now they indulge in mafia
      operations for their financial support. This is their weakest point
      contrary to their hyperbole idealism. Their utter disregard for the lives
      of fidayeen youth and forcing them to hit against the might of the state
      with no chance of success will eventually break them. At a subdued level
      terrorism will always continue as long as Kashmir remains a dispute
      between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri people, and no genuine initiative
      emerges to break the deadlock.

      A year ago the Government of India had invited Hizbul Mujahideen, the
      largest terrorist outfit in Kashmir, for talks saying that they are the
      indigineous group, i.e., of Indian origin. In September 2001, The Hindu
      published a report that in last 11 years of militancy in Kashmir 1087
      militants of foreign origin have been killed. This is only a small
      fraction of total number of militants killed in Kashmir. These facts imply
      that militancy in Kashmir to a very significant extent has roots in
      Kashmir. Only by winning over the people of Kashmir we may conter
      terrorism over there. As far as ISI support to militants is concerned
      it must be broken by intelligence and by political and diplomatic means.
      To revenge seekers I may add that the people of Kashmir, for no
      fault of theirs, have already paid a heavy price of 40,000 innocent lives
      to terrorist violence and the armed repression of it by the State.

      The present situation has another dangerous dimension too. An air of
      suspicion is being buit up against the Muslim masses. The forces who
      raised terrorising slogans like "Babur ki auladon se badla lenge" a
      decade ago are branding an entire community a terrorist. This must be
      resisted resolutely. Terrorists beyond the frontires of disturbed states
      have merely sporadic contacts which can be identified tactfully without
      torturing the innocent. It is in this atmosphere that POTO would prove
      disaserous.

      At times I wonder whether there is room for nonviolent activism
      against terror. Armed resistance of terror by the state is fraght with ill
      effects for the masses leading to their alienation. Nonviolence can
      succeed if the activists can overcome the fear of death like the
      fidayeens and develop a nonviolent mode of struggle against the genuine
      grievances of the masses. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan had created valiant
      nonviolent fighters from the land known for warrior instincts as he
      addressed their basic problems. Kashmir and Assam pose a serious challenge
      for nonviolent activism. So does the growing menace of sectarianism and
      economic exploitation.

      _____


      #3.
      The News International
      Wednesday January 02, 2002

      Cold war's many costs

      By M. B. Naqvi

      It is clear that while a war is still possible through miscalculation,
      escalation or accident, neither New Delhi nor Islamabad wants it. For
      one thing, it may force nuclear strikes on both. For, it will be odd for
      any general or government to risk heavy losses or defeat and not use the
      weapon that can reduce or avoid them; even a winning side may wish to
      shorten the war or reduce the costs by nuking the enemy. However, the
      rest of the world is horrified by the prospect and appears to be putting
      effective pressure on both sides not to let the cold war become a hot
      one. Hence this stultifying stand off may continue in some form ---
      until the two see its futility and make peace.

      Meanwhile both peoples should re-asses the policies of their respective
      government that have resulted in this endless deadlock. Apart from the
      initial specific disputes over territory, states, stores and cash, both
      India and Pakistan inherited attitudes rooted in culture, circumstances
      and interests that made them rivals. Thus they had peculiar but similar
      illusions. India, drawing upon six thousand years-long heritage, staked
      a claim to leadership; ‘light comes from the east’. Pakistan, almost as
      second best, wished to be the leader of Islamic World to the annoyance
      and even derision by most Muslims. Later, the dynamics of Kashmir
      dispute made the two states cold warriors and before too long became
      nuclear powers.

      One cost of this disputation that became unending military confrontation
      from around 1986-87; it clearly had a nuclear dimension. Indians thought
      that given their nuclear status, Pakistan would desist and stop
      challenging it militarily over Kashmir. That did not happen and Pakistan
      acquired its own nuclear capability; it has gone on challenging it.
      Pakistanis considered their new capability to be an invincible shield
      which they can go on needling India through a Jehad without it being
      able to use its superior military strength to bear on itself.

      The denouement, sort of, is this paralysis of will on either side. This
      stand off has brought quite a few things into relief: their common
      militaristic approach to disputed problems has resulted in both states
      becoming national security states par excellence. A large proportion of
      their people has stayed poor, unlettered in indifferent health, with
      high birth rates. Future will not be bright for both until they do not
      extend the meaning of national security to achieve high levels of human
      development; indeed human development has to be seen as most of national
      security. Politics in both countries has been distorted by a jingoistic
      nationalism that benefits the elite classes and chauvinistic approach.

      But first consequence is the un-sustainability of peace and stability in
      South Asia so long as the two rival nuclear deterrents exist eyeball to
      eyeball. Nuclear weapons in Pakistan are designated for India. Indian
      Bomb, too, can only be oriented for use in Pakistan; there is no other
      conceivable use for it. Defenders of which country can trust the
      intentions of the other so long as this weapon of offence is sitting
      there? The Bomb’s actual utility between India and Pakistan is either
      nil or, in exceptional circumstances, lies in a surprise attack of a
      massive kind. It has no defensive role.

      Earlier illusions about these weapons being status symbols or currency
      of power have to be discarded. Look whether nuclear bombs have made
      India or Pakistan any whit more respected than before? The world is
      excoriating both for it and an attempt is on to push them away from the
      confrontationist path.

      On particular illusion was, and is, particularly pernicious: it is the
      Bomb’s deterrence. Was Pakistan deterred from supporting the Jihadis in
      Kashmir because of Indian nuclear capability? India is threatening to
      take offensive military action despite the Pakistani Bomb; that is the
      heart of the current crisis. Should India invade, Pakistan has now
      proclaimed that it would not make a nuclear response. Or else it stands
      to suffer totally unacceptable damage from the expected Indian riposte.
      The Bomb has thus proved to have no deterrent power nor is it any
      practical use. Let Indians make their own assessment of their Bomb’s
      cost effectiveness. India’s wish to make war, or its noises, is
      predicated on Pakistan’s Kashmir policy and apparently the presence of
      the Pakistan Bomb has made no difference.

      The conclusion emerges: both countries, all things considered, cannot go
      to war. So why are their forces deployed on forward positions? Why incur
      the extra costs? The BJP government’s wisdom in scrapping agreements and
      established trading practices regarding normal visas, rail, road and air
      links or MFN status is open to question. Who will suffer most? Not the
      ruling elite in either country but the common Indian or Pakistani ---
      mostly members of divided families or small traders shall suffer. Denial
      of air space to Pakistani aircrafts will do what? How will it change the
      policies that India dislikes? It is claimed that common Indian sentiment
      is being responded to? It bears examination from which Indian quarter is
      this pressure coming? Could it be that political and electoral benefits
      are seen by the spin doctors of the ruling Parivar? The true human and
      economic costs need to be seen.

      The immediate political costs are borne by secular democratic parties
      and forces in India, while Hindu chauvinist parties stand to profit from
      the aroused anti-Pakistan sentiment in the February polls. Ideas of
      equity and fairplay are forgotten in the jingoistic propaganda of ‘let
      us punish Pakistan’. In Pakistan war psychoses work wonders for the
      ruling Junta of generals. All talk of immediate elections and true
      reform are relegated to the background and what becomes ostensible is to
      ‘stand united behind the Army because the enemy stands menacing at the
      door’. The generals cannot ask for a better gift from India than this
      cross-border tension. May be the two ruling groups are helping each
      other’s political longevity.

      What Messrs Vajpayee, Fernandes and Jaswant are doing is to politically
      strengthen the anti-Hindu religious parties and groups and other
      anti-India Rightwing groups in Pakistan. This preempts the politics of
      dealing with the concrete problems of common people. In fact all social
      and economic reforms --- except those suggested by IMF, WB and WTO ---
      is being preempted by the politics of jingoism on both sides. Economic
      progress is being downgraded as a value.

      The politics being pursued has an international dimension:
      Automatically, the Americans are being invited to come and separate the
      two --- who want to get at each other’s throat but dare not do so. The
      US leadership role in Asia is being immeasurably strengthened and
      helped. Pari passu, others’ role is being diminished. Even the Indians
      and Pakistanis are showing themselves to be unable to keep peace --- so
      necessary for maintaining stability sought by all major powers ---
      without outside help.

      _____

      #4.

      The Praful Bidwai Column for the week beginning December 31

      Averting A Ruinous War

      What's the way out?

      By Praful Bidwai

      New Delhi has upped the ante twice within a week by taking stiff
      diplomatic measures against Pakistan, signalling that it is playing
      for extremely high stakes in the mounting confrontation. By all
      indications, India has broadened its demands upon Islamabad and now
      wants "effective action" against a wide range of militant groups
      besides the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. It has also
      declared that Pakistan's December 26 moves against them are
      "cosmetic". More punitive diplomatic measures are in the offing.
      Worse, a military confrontation seems likely. Indeed, it may well
      have begun before these lines appear in print.

      Nothing could be more unfortunate in strategic terms, undesirable in
      social, political and economic consequences, or more unproductive in
      countering terrorism, than an India-Pakistan war. A military attack
      on Pakistan, however limited, must be averted at all costs--in favour
      of diplomatic means. To say this is neither to minimise the gravity
      of what happened in Delhi on December 13, nor to ignore Islamabad's
      overall complicity in terrorist activities, especially in Kashmir.
      Rather, the argument's rationale is that India's diplomatic options
      are far broader and worthy of trial. It is India's duty to explore
      and exhaust them before even considering armed action.

      The top brass of our armed services is opposed to the use of military
      force in the present circumstances. It has repeatedly expressed this
      reluctance in the Cabinet Committee on Security and even in public
      statements. This is also the mood among a majority of retired
      generals and admirals who have spoken, including V.P. Malik, L.
      Ramdas, Shankar Roychowdhury, V N Sharma and V.R. Raghavan. The
      restraint they advocate contrasts sharply with our political leaders'
      sabre-rattling and daily quota of hostile anti-Pakistan rhetoric. In
      fact, we may be witnessing the first disconnect since Independence in
      perceptions between our political and military leaders. Even when Gen
      Sam Maneckshaw offered to quit in early 1971 over pressure to
      prematurely attack East Pakistan, he disagreed with Indira Gandhi not
      over the basic military strategy, but only the timing.

      The services chiefs believe that attacks on Pakistani territory will
      yield poor results and carry high risks. The forces lack accurate
      information on the location of such few "training camps" as remain of
      the originally claimed 158; most were shifted deep into Pakistan.
      (Most Kashmiri militants do not undergo rigorous training which needs
      elaborate permanent facilities, as opposed to temporary parade/drill
      grounds and firing ranges.) Given information constraints,
      high-altitude air strikes will be largely ineffective. Low-flying
      planes will be vulnerable to ground fire. Heavy artillery won't work
      because most suspect camps are beyond its range.

      That leaves the options of "pro-active" ground attacks and "hot
      pursuit". These too are chancy and fraught with high casualties. "Hot
      pursuit" over land, as distinct from the sea, is legally problematic.
      Any ground-troops operation will escalate. Today, there can be no
      such thing as "limited war" or swift "surgical" strikes between India
      and Pakistan. Given their relative strategic parity, any military
      confrontation will be prolonged and last several weeks. This means
      opening up more fronts than the Jammu & Kashmir LoC. India is
      vulnerable on some of them, e.g. in the Chicken's Neck in Jammu.

      An Indian military attack will certainly trigger retaliatory strikes.
      Gen Musharraf cannot afford to be seen cowing down to India. After
      the Taliban's defeat and collapse of Islamabad's quarter-century-old
      Afghanistan policy (including his reversal of it), he has no option
      but to hit back hard. Already, he is under flak from the religious
      Right for "selling out" to the Americans and losing Afghanistan's
      "strategic depth". A protracted war will all but destroy Pakistan's
      fragile economy and prove unaffordable for India. Our economy will be
      set back by many years. Besides, there is a strong likelihood that
      the war will escalate into a mutually suicidal nuclear conflagration.

      We must pause and ask what New Delhi will achieve even if, short of a
      nuclear holocaust, it "wins" the war--leading to Gen Musharraf's fall
      (or assassination), a general collapse of Pakistan's state, and its
      disintegration along ethnic lines. A failed state collapsing on one's
      borders is disastrous enough--as Pakistan discovered with
      Afghanistan. A nuclear power so disintegrating would be catastrophic.
      The legitimate purpose of a military operation against "terrorism"
      cannot be the disintegration of Pakistan. What's needed is effective
      action to curb extremism and put Pakistan on the road to moderation
      and normalisation.

      By embarking on an open-ended confrontation, New Delhi will have
      pushed Pakistan's extremists further down the terrorist path. This
      would be horrendously self-defeating. One cardinal lesson of
      September 11 is that all states, no matter how powerful, are
      vulnerable to terrorist attacks on their homeland. We must therefore
      recognise that our military options against Pakistan are limited,
      fraught with grave danger, or ineffectual. Instead of discouraging or
      deterring terrorism, they will, at minimum, further encourage
      extremist, irresponsible conduct on the part of an embittered
      neighbour.

      However, tragically, India's present rulers are
      contemplating--indeed, they may be on the verge of--such a course,
      driven by a bloody-minded, vengeful attitude. Their motivation is
      profoundly irrational. It is to teach Islamabad a US or Israeli-style
      "lesson". Yet, they know that Gen Musharraf probably did not order
      the Parliament attack. He would have to be insane to do so when he is
      on the backfoot and under American scrutiny. His interior minister's
      brother was recently killed in revenge by extremist groups. They
      today describe him as a "traitor" and "sellout". In all probability,
      December 13 was an amateurish operation by a group acting
      independently of Gen Musharraf. Even assuming that some rogue
      elements of the ISI were behind it, a military misadventure would
      only strengthen them.

      Yet, the Vajpayee government is planning just a misadventure because
      it is under Right-wing pressure. There is strong evidence of this. On
      December 20, Mr Vajpayee was grilled for two hours by Mr Rajnath
      Singh at a meeting attended by top-notch BJP-RSS leaders including
      Messrs L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Jana Krishnamurthy and
      Kushabhau Thakre. (The Telegraph and The Asian Age, Dec 22.) They
      reportedly told him that all of Mr Singh's pro-Hindutva work in Uttar
      Pradesh would be wiped out unless India launches military strikes to
      show it is not a "soft state". If the BJP loses UP, the fractious and
      ramshackle NDA could itself come tumbling down nationally.

      Mr Vajpayee has repeatedly capitulated to the hardliners. He is now
      under pressure to make a further "graduated" response by ratcheting
      up hostility till war becomes likely, even inevitable. The measures
      being contemplated (e.g. cancelling Pakistan's most-favoured-nation
      trade status) are even more extreme than halving the staff strength
      of diplomatic missions or banning Pakistan Airlines overflights. The
      government is thinking of abrogating the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty to
      starve Pakistan of much-needed water.

      All such measures will progressively erode India's diplomatic
      leverage and inflict heavy punishment upon Pakistan, thus breeding
      more resentment and hostility--without encouraging moderate,
      reasonable, conduct on its part. For large numbers of Pakistanis who
      stand for moderation, they will signify a mendaciously unreasonable,
      bloody-minded, penalty. Abrogating the Indus Treaty would be
      tantamount to laying economic siege to a country, which is
      impermissible under international law. (We once almost invited stiff
      Security Council sanctions for choking off the flow of the Ganges to
      Bangladesh).

      There is a saner, rational, cool-headed alternative to such
      destructive moves. India should take the December 13 terrorist issue
      to the wider world, in particular to the Security Council, on the
      basis of solid evidence, and invoke Resolution 1373, mandating
      anti-terrorist action by all states--on pain of sanctions. This will
      generate the right pressure on Gen Musharraf to take effective,
      verifiable measures, including the arrest of extremist leaders,
      clampdown on their facilities and assets, and destruction of their
      ISI links. There is no earthly reason why Masood Azhar and Hafiz
      Saeed should be freely roaming Pakistan's streets.

      This course has the merit of winning--and retaining--the support of
      the international community and of coaxing and coercing Gen Musharraf
      into eradicating a menace for which Pakistan has paid heavily. This
      will help New Delhi build upon today's favourable situation in
      Kashmir. The Taliban's defeat has had a huge impact on the Valley.
      This creates a big opening to revitalise the political process and
      get the All-Party Hurriyat Conference to participate in the next
      Assembly elections. War will close that opening. Good diplomacy will
      enlarge it and create conditions in which terrorism gets thoroughly
      discredited, foreign militants get isolated, and a peaceful Kashmir
      solution becomes possible.

      However, a precondition here is that the government abandons the
      military-adventurist approach. That's why Centrist parties like the
      Congress, Samajwadi, Bahujan Samaj and the NDA's "secular" components
      must not lend the government's "anti-terrorist" fight uncritical,
      unconditional support in the name of a nonexistent "national
      consensus". Such life-and-death issues are too precious to be left to
      any one group, especially to the devious, cynical politicians of the
      BJP-RSS. The Opposition, indeed the general public, must exercise its
      rational judgment and demand that there be no war. It is imperative
      to give peace--and wise diplomacy--a chance.--end--


      _____

      #5.

      Action Plans:

      1. A meeting has been organised on "Peace Initiatives
      between Indian and Pakistan" by the People for Peace.
      Venue: Indian Social Institute, Lodi Road, New
      Delhi
      (Near Sai baba temple)
      Date: 2.1.2002 (Wednesday)
      Time 4.00 pm
      2. Attempts are made to contact leaders of political parties
      to elicit their support for peace initiatives.

      People for Peace

      We are alarmed and immensely saddened at the disturbing
      developments following the deplorable December 13
      terrorist attack on Parliament House, which has triggered a
      dangerous round of India-Pakistan hostility. The two
      governments have become increasingly belligerent. There
      is a fearsome military build-up on the border, reportedly
      including deployment of nuclear-capable missiles. This
      bears no logical relationship to the stated objective of
      countering terrorism, or of bringing the culprits of December
      13 to book.

      It is imperative to immediately cool the fevered hostility and
      defuse the eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation. India must
      forthwith reverse the harsh diplomatic measures imposed
      on Pakistan. Pakistan must reciprocate. Breaking
      communication links, and severely downgrading diplomatic
      missions, can only impose hardship upon peace-loving
      citizens and further vitiate today’s climate, without
      encouraging a cooperative response from either
      government.

      Nobody has a greater stake in fighting the scourge of
      terrorism than Indian and Pakistani citizens. State-
      sponsored and militant-group terrorisms have both taken a
      huge toll of their life and liberty. However, wars, driven by
      devious or jingoistic agendas, cannot combat terrorism, nor
      can draconian measures crush freedom.

      At the centre of the confrontation is Kashmir. The problem
      cries out for a peaceful, non-sectarian, democratic
      resolution through consultation with its people.

      South Asia stands at a historic crossroads. If sanity and
      wisdom prevail, we could begin a new humane era of
      cooperation, peace and prosperity. Or else, over one billion
      people will become hostage to unending enmity and
      destruction, even a nuclear holocaust. We appeal to our
      leaders to pull back from disaster’s brink.

      signed:

      Nirmala Deshpande Syeda Hameed
      Praful bidwai Dinesh Mohan
      John Dayal Prakash Louis
      Aurobindo Ghose Prabir Purkayastha
      Kamal Chenoy Brinda Singh
      R.M.Pal Felicio Cardoso
      N.D. Pancholi Azra Rizvi
      Iqbal Ansari Vasum
      Tapan Bose Somen Chakravarti
      Mary Scaria Naheed Tabam
      Mahi Pal Singh Vijayan


      For – People for Peace

      Prakash Louis
      Indian Social Institute
      Lodi Road
      30.12.2001
      prakash@...

      _____

      #6.

      The Hindu
      Sunday, Dec 30, 2001
      Magazine

      `Peace be with you'

      C.RAMMANOHAR REDDY

      BY the time this short piece appears in print we will know if we have
      taken one step closer to a war with Pakistan or taken two back from
      the edge. There cannot be a more depressing note with which a
      newspaper column ends the year: there can be no certainty about even
      a few days of "peace" in South Asia. The unfortunate part is that
      even if better sense prevails and an open war is avoided, this does
      not mean that India and Pakistan will be any closer to living in
      peace. It only means that we return to a situation which we seem to
      have become inured to over the decades: open animosity and permanent
      low-level conflict.

      The strange thing about the widespread anger that has followed the
      December 13 terrorism is that while most middle or upper middle class
      Indians are usually contemptuous about politics and politicians, they
      have lost no time in displaying a hurt pride about the terrorist
      attack on Parliament. If only such anger was regularly channelled
      into making our democracy work better, perhaps we would be in much
      better shape. What we have instead is the frightening ease with which
      many of the defence (un)thinkers, media commentators and the
      jingoists have been able to whip up a war hysteria in which all of us
      are either active participants or silent accomplices.

      A day or two after the December 13 attack, there was one of those TV
      shows in which pundits of different kinds answer questions from an
      audience. These programmes seem more useful for what they reveal of
      the minds of the (selected?) audience than for any informed debate.
      This one was true to form. A college student asked a question which
      went like this,``If the United States can bomb Afghanistan, if Israel
      can bomb Palestine, why do we hesitate to bomb Pakistan?''As I have
      subsequently learnt this is a widespread view. Even our former Prime
      Minister Mr. V.P. Singh, who these days likes to wear the cap of a
      wise senior statesman, has posed a similar question. There are many
      things horrifying about such a query. It takes for granted that the
      U.S. bombing of Afghanistan is just retribution for the murders of
      September 11. It says that Palestine deserves to be bombed and that
      Israel has nothing to answer for. And that all this applies as well
      to any Indian attack on Pakistan. (If it was disconcerting that a
      young Indian in his teens could articulate such a view, it was just
      as worrying that none in that TV panel of pundits even bothered to
      debate the premises of the question.)

      The U.S. war on Afghanistan will henceforth confer legitimacy on the
      action that any country may take any where in the world in revenge
      for attacks on itself - real, imagined or threatened and irrespective
      of whether or not the "target" country is guilty. That is the real
      legacy of the U.S. bombing - not the end of the Taliban or the
      Al-Qaeda network. As an aside, do we know what the civilian
      casualties in such a war are? A friend recently referred me to a
      careful compilation of the civilian deaths in the bombing of
      Afghanistan. (Readers may want to see the site
      http://www.media-alliance.org/mediafile/20-5/index.html for this
      compilation.)

      On a very conservative basis, the barest minimum number of innocents
      killed in Afghanistan between October 7 and December 3 was 3,752. The
      actual toll is likely to have been much more. Nobody is raising any
      questions about these dead civilians. Not the world media. and
      certainly not the United Nations. The Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi
      Annan, may have won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, but this year will
      also go down as one in which the U.N. finally lost its fig leaf of
      independence.

      The civilian dead in Afghanistan number the same as the people
      murdered in the terrorists attacks in the U.S.. An eye for an eye
      then, except that we know that this is not going to end terrorism by
      fundamentalists. In much the same way, we all know that a limited war
      against Pakistan is not going to bring peace to Kashmir. Even when it
      comes to destroying training camps, senior Army officers tell us that
      these camps are little more than squares for drills and target
      practices. Bombing the camps will not wipe out terrorism. It only
      makes more likely the possibility of an open war between two nuclear
      powers and with that the eruption of an Armageddon in South Asia.

      There must be something wrong when peace becomes a contrarian theme.
      But gloomy as such times are, one can only pray for peace in 2002.
      Miracles may indeed happen.
      _____

      #7.

      Shiv Sena's rituals for soldiers invites Maharashtra govt's wrath

      By Shiv Kumar, Indo-Asian News Service

      Mumbai, Dec 26 (IANS) The Shiv Sena party and the Maharashtra government
      have locked horns after the former began ceremonies at temples here to pay
      homage to those who were killed in the Parliament attack on December 13.

      Since Saturday, a number of units of the party have been holding a series of
      mass prayer meetings in the neighbourhoods of Dadar, Parel, Prabhadevi,
      Kurla,
      Dharavi.

      Residents in these neighbourhoods are mobilized to attend the religious
      ceremonies that are preceded by political speeches, according to police
      officials.

      The congregation is then called to pay homage to the security people and
      other who died fighting terrorists attempting to storm Parliament.

      The Maharashtra government has however warned that strict action would be
      taken against Shiv Sena activists if they violated the Supreme Court ban on
      playing loudspeakers after 10 p.m.

      Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal, who is in charge of the
      state's home department, told reporters here that police stations have been
      ordered to enforce the orders of the apex court.

      Inquiries with police stations, however, indicate that the court's orders
      are observed though the congregation usually leave the premises in large
      groups.

      "We, however, ensure that no clashes erupt between the Shiv Sainiks and
      people of other communities," a police officer at Dadar police station told
      IANS.

      Shiv Sena leaders have told newspapers that the ceremonies or "maha-artis"
      would continue till peace returned on the India-Pakistan border. Relations
      between the two countries are tense with India and Pakistan placing their
      armed forces on full alert.

      Activists of the Shiv Sena had earlier organized these maha-artis in October
      when the Maharashtra government decided to strictly enforce the 10 p.m. ban
      on loudspeakers during the nine-day Hindu festival of navratri.

      The Shiv Sena put an end to these protest rituals after it was pointed out
      that such moves could be construed as contempt of court.

      Home department officials say the term maha-artis used by the right-wing
      parties has negative connotations.

      Maha-artis conducted by the Shiv Sena during the Hindu-Muslim riots of
      1992-93 resulted in rampaging mobs from both communities clashing on the
      streets of Mumbai leaving scores of people dead, according to police.

      --Indo-Asian News Service

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