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Indias interest compromised in Siachen

By Prakash Chandra KatochonOctober 24, 2012

T he Indian government is acting against the interests of the country by surreptitiously agreeing to a deal with Pakistan according to which it will withdraw troops f rom Siachen Glacier, the command of which gives India immense strategic advantages. India is committing a strategic blunder by quietly agreeing to Pakistans demand f or withdrawing f rom Saltoro Ridge in Siachen glacier. T he Indian public and Parliament have been kept in the dark. A backroom deal has been concluded through questionable intermediaries with close ties to Pakistan. Since November 2011, militaries of both India and Pakistan have held several rounds of talks to boost conf idence-building measures. T hese meetings were held in Dubai (20-21 November 2011), Bangkok (2325 February 2012) and Lahore (23-25 September 2012). Additionally, working group meetings took place in Chiang Mai (21 April 2012) and Palo Alto (30-31 July 2012). In the Track 2 round held in Lahore in September 2012, India and Pakistan signed an agreement to demilitarise Siachen despite the grave reservations of some members of the Indian delegation. T he members who expressed reservations include a f ormer ambassador, a f ormer intelligence of f icer and two f ormer of f icers f rom the Army and the Navy. T he decision to demilitarise, or rather withdraw f rom Siachen has been taken arbitrarily at the highest political level disregarding strong objections by successive army chief s including the current chief , General Bikram Singh. He has even made a statement to the media opposing demilitarisation of the glacier. T he agreement mainly includes setting up a joint commission to delineate the line beyond NJ 9842, the map coordinate south of the incompletely demarcated disputed territory; joint authentication of present ground positions; determination of places f or redeployment; disengagement and demilitarisation in a mutually acceptable time f rame, and cooperative monitoring of activities to ensure transparency. T he agreement states that reoccupation cannot be done speedily. T his is absurd as it negates Indias ability to use helicopters f or a lightning occupation. T his gives Pakistan a huge advantage because the western f lanks and glacial valleys of the Saltoro ridge are controlled by Pakistan. T hey do not have snow during summer and can be reached under cover of darkness and on f oot in bad weather. T he provision f or technical surveillance is a red herring because of the tough terrain and extreme weather. It is important to remember that because of these conditions even the US with all its technical resources was surprised by Indias nuclear tests of 1998. T he Indian Government brief ed the Lahore Track 2 team to keep in mind the Armys stand that f urther talks would only be taken up af ter positions of both sides were authenticated on ground. T he Indian Armys concerns have clearly been ignored. T he strategic importance of the Saltoro Ridge, especially in relation to Gilgit-Baltistan, Northern Areas, Shaksgam and Wakhan Corridor has been systematically obf uscated by a Government that retains f ar too much of power over electronic and print media. T he Government has carried out a massive public relations exercise using gullible television channels to transmit the message that Siachen has no strategic signif icance. At one point, one so-called expert claimed that India holds the Karakoram Pass, which is a blatant lie. National dailies have ref used to publish articles highlighting the enormous strategic disadvantage of withdrawing f rom Siachen. Similarly, this issue has not been debated on national television. T here are rumours that the media is muf f ling any discussion on Siachen on the instructions of the Government. T he selection of Indian delegates who visited Lahore was incongruous. None of them had served in

Siachen, not even the six army of f icers who were part of the delegation. T he negotiating team did not bother to visit the conf lict zone despite months of parleys with Pakistani of f icials at beautif ul locations. Two f ormer military of f icers in the delegation are inf amous f or their political connections. It is rumored that the Air Force f our star of f icer is to be rewarded with an ambassadorship or governorship while the one star army of f icer is to be given another bag of carrots f or towing the of f icial line. It is surmised that the Government is aiming f or a Nobel Peace Prize to recover the legitimacy that it has lost af ter a succession of scandals. T he Indian military has been castrated and is not allowed to state its views. Veterans who oppose demilitarisation are denied media f orums. It is inconceivable that any other major power would shut its military out of the decision-making and discourse the way India is doing at the moment. Jehangir Karamat, the f ormer army chief heading the Pakistani delegation, understands the strategic signif icance of Saltoro unlike his Indian counterparts. Under his leadership, Pakistan has grabbed the strategic opportunity to attain all its key goals. T he Atlantic Council of Canada that acted as the peace broker has promptly put out the news on the net. Shuja Nawaz, a Pakistani strategic analyst who heads the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council of the US, has close relations his Canadian counterparts. More worryingly, he has close ties with the Pakistani military and is said to be a trusted advisor to both Genaral Kayani and General Musharraf . Indians have long distrusted the Atlantic Council, which is perceived to be in bed with the Pakistani military and which has never really concluded its cold war love af f air with Pakistan. It is incredible that India should agree to the Atlantic Council as a mediator as it is unlikely to be a disinterested party and, as per the old adage, Caesars wif e must be above suspicion. T he Line of Control between India and Pakistan was originally drawn on a 1:250,000 map with a thick sketch pen without military advice. T his has lef t an ambiguity as to the location of any given point on this line to the tune of about a hundred metres. Furthermore, the line does not f ollow ridge lines creating a source of constant and persisting hostility and acrimony. T he same thick pen may be used once again in Siachen to devastating ef f ect. A withdrawal f rom Siachen would f acilitate f urther Pakistani incursions into Kashmir and put Ladadh, the Buddhist part of the state, under threat. Gen Pervez Musharraf , the f ormer Pakistani president and army chief , mentions in his autobiography In T he line of Fire, that he was planning to put a battalion on Saltoro Ridge. Indian of f icers preempted his move. Since 1984, Pakistan has been trying to control Siachen. Pakistan invaded India in 1999 to control Kargil and cut of f Siachen. Pakistan is attempting to eradicate its strategic disadvantage through both military and non military measures. People in Shia dominated Baltistan, the place close to Siachen Glacier, are being f orcibly converted to Sunni Islam. T he Pakistani state of ten sponsors Shia massacres. T he idea is to create a strong base f or Pakistani troops to advance f rom when they make their next move. If India withdraws f rom Siachen, the new def ense line will need additional troops. T he new number will be many times the number of troops holding Siachen presently and the costs to the exchequer will increase exponentially. T he joint agreement innocuously says in Annexure II, Small-scale intrusions are neither signif icant nor sustainable. T his is absurd. Small scale intrusions can easily take place undetected in areas devoid of snow during summer months. T hey can then be staging posts f or inf iltration. T he Indian army lost the f lower of its youth in 1999 when Pakistani troops intruded to take the heights in Kargil. With no def ense line in Siachen, Ladakh will be open to inf iltration. Irregulars and members of the Taliban will be able to cross into territory that belongs to India, while Pakistan will deny culpability f or non-stateactors. General Musharraf once declared that there would be many more Kargils in the f uture. Withdrawing f rom Siachen will make the generals declaration a reality. T he public and the parliament have the right to ask the government why the Siachen issue has not been debated publicly and in the parliament. What exactly has Pakistan done to earn Indian trust? Has the antiIndia terrorist inf rastructure in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir been dismantled? Has any progress been made in punishing the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks? Has the Government f orgotten that Pakistan has repeatedly double crossed us? During a visit by a delegation f rom Pakistan to discuss conf idence building measures, why was the Pakistan Army breaching the ceasef ire? Why is Pakistan arming and stoking insurgencies in India? Why is the Pakistani intelligence trying to revive terrorism in Punjab? Why do American think tanks repeatedly state that Pakistan is the

most dangerous place in the world? What does India gain f rom giving away Siachen? This article was first published in Fair Observer. (Photo Courtesy: anupkumarchaturvedi.com)

Related Links:
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Indian Defence Review


Much water has f lown under the bridge since 2nd October 2012 when Atlantic Council of Ottawa put out the news bulletin titled India-Pakistan experts agree on conf idence-building measures at Lahore meeting. The bulletin stated that since November 2011, militaries of both India and Pakistan held several rounds to boost conf idence building measures, these meetings having been held in Dubai (20-21 November 2011), Bangkok (23-25 February 2012) and Lahore (23-25 September 2012) and that additionally, working group meetings took place in Chiang Mai (21 April 2012) and Palo Alto (30-31 July 2012). With respect to Siachen, the bulletin said, .as a part of the comprehensive resolution of the Siachen dispute, and notwithstanding the claims of each country, both sides should agree to withdraw f rom the conf lict area while retaining the option of punitive action should the other side renege on the commitments. Notwithstanding the f act that above means withdrawing f rom Indian Territory and in ef f ect acquiescing to the absurd Pakistani demand f or the LC be to drawn f rom NJ9842 directly to KK Pass, inclusion of the f ollowing paragraphs too are ridiculous to say the least: Withdrawal from Indian and Pakistani posts within line of sight of each other is to be coordinated so each side can observe the activities of the other. What is the logic (read wisdom) of this when Indian posts dominate the crest-line of the Saltoro Range and Pakistanis are sitting much below to the West? Both sides should agree not to interfere with the others national technical means. Are we na ve enough to believe that Pakistan would own up if she does indulge in such acts? Has she owned up to 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks beyond recent signals that it was the handiwork of LeT? What about Ajmal Qasabs statement of having received training f rom Pakistani Navy? Does Pakistan acknowledge cyber attacks by the Pakistan Hackers Club (PHC) and the G Force under tutelage of the ISI? Has Pakistan owned responsibility f or unleashing viruses like Sea Brain Small-scale intrusions are neither significant nor sustainable. But what about opening the f loodgates f or inf iltration into Ladakh and unlimited opportunities of establishing staging posts? Has our thinking gone so awry that we can now only think of intrusions of the scale that Pakistan made in Kargil during 1998-1999?

The Atlantic Council of Ottawa bulletin listed out all the names of both sides experts groups (incidentally Pakistan ref ers it as good as Track 1), chaired by the f ollowing: General Jehangir Karamat (Pakistan Army, retired) jehangir.karamat@gmail.com Air Chief Marshal Shashi Tyagi (Indian Air Force, retired) sptyagi2001@yahoo.com As the above news bulletin hit the internet, there was plenty discussion in India. While the government remained in the background, a panel consisting of two members of the Track II Team under a f ormer Ambassador made ef f orts to justif y withdrawal f rom Siachen at India International Centre but received a mouthf ul f rom the audience including f rom a f ormer Army Chief and journalists present. It began to dawn on the public why in the preceding weeks the f aade of Siachen having no strategic signif icance had been so caref ully orchestrated in the electronic and print media, particularly obf uscating the strategic importance of the Saltoro Ridge in relation to Gilgit-Baltistan, Northern Areas, Shaksgam and the Wakhan Corridor. Thereaf ter, the web vent viral as expected and so did discussions. The good part is that individually the Track II members now admit that Siachen (read Saltoro Range) is indeed of great strategic signif icance. The Indian Co-Chair also admits privately that the China f actor including the cumulative impact of Chinese presence in Aksai Chin, Shaksgam and proposed leasing of Gilgit-Baltistan region to China by Pakistan f or 50 years (as reported in both Pakistani and US media) had not been taken into account at all. The bad part is that majority Track II members continue to maintain there was no government missive on Siachen and that they took it upon themselves to solve the Siachen tangle, while f ew privately admit that there indeed was a missive to work out how of the withdrawal without questioning the why and when. Majority denying any government directive is apparently to continue enjoying such f oreign jaunts as coming clean with f acts could remove their names f rom hierarchical good books. This became more obvious when a journo member of the Track II Team with military background made pointed personal attacks on individuals highlighting strategic advantage of Siachen and criticizing withdrawal, saying they were aggrieved f or not being part of the Track II and thus denied benef it of f oreign trips as if bending backwards even at the cost of strategic disadvantage to the country is the only way to travel abroad. The bad part also is that while the Co-Chair changed tack f rom this Track II Team being a Private Body to group of Private Individuals, another member (army veteran) wrote in Salute magazine, The uniqueness of the Ottawa dialogue is that this is exclusively military-to-military Track-II process where

f or once diplomats take a back seat. The continuing mystery was that when every Army Chief (including General Bikram Singh) had categorically stated that the Army was not in f avour of withdrawal f rom Siachen (read Saltoro) and a f ormer Army Chief even gave it in writing to the government that post withdrawal, it would not be possible to retake Saltoro Range if re-occupied by enemy, why did this Track II Team (especially the eight f ormer Indian Military of f icers including the Co-Chair out of the overall eleven strong Indian experts group) agree to withdrawal, notwithstanding reports that a select two-three members were brief ed by the NSA prior to proceeding to Lahore. The questions that the Track II Team got bombarded eventually ranged f rom: Why should we withdraw f rom Indian Territory? Are we f orsaking all claims to POK including Shaksgam Valley? Post withdrawal, will Sub Sector West (SSW) west of Siachen Glacier and Sub Sector North (SSN) east of Siachen Glacier and below KK Pass not become untenable? Will def ence potential of SSN not be totally degraded with western f lank exposed and KK Pass to north? With the wedge between India and Pakistan (Saltoro Range) abandoned in this sector, how many new Divisions will India need to def end Ladakh, at what cost and what will be the cost of establishing the new def ence line; Will the next line of def ence f or India perf orce not be south of Shyok River? Will we abandon Sub Sector Hanif (SSH) also since its route of maintenance is along the Shyok River? Are we prepared to abandon the population in Nubra and Shyok Valleys? Why is the area north of Shyok River (thousands of square kilometers) not viewed in conjunction Gilgi-Baltistan (being leased by Pakistan to China f or 50 years), Shaksgam Valley (over 6,000 square kilometers ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963) and the 38,000 square kilometers of Indian territory of Aksai Chin in occupation of China as continued belt and implications this large ChinaPakistan meeting ground? With our next line of def ence on Ladakh Range, will Leh not be within enemy artillery range, as is Kargil town today? With the wedge between India and Pakistan (Saltoro Range) abandoned in this

sector, how many new Divisions will India need to def end Ladakh, at what cost and what will be the cost of establishing the new def ence line; new posts, bunkers, gun positions, helipads, administrative echelons, communications inf rastructure with increased quantum of troops, maintenance and recurring expenses. What will be the quantum of reserves that India will need including f or counter inf iltration since Ladakh and Zanskar region will be targeted f or terrorism by ISI nurtured groups while Pakistan will say they are out of control, ISI having been nurturing Shia terrorist outf its since late 1990s? In 1990s, Musharraf , much bef ore becoming Army Chief , gave a presentation to Pakistani Def ence Ministry that the per capita availability of water in Pakistan f rom 6000 cusecs of water in 1947 had already come down to 1000 cusecs per capita and this was reason enough f or Pakistan to annex J&K. Consequently, Pakistan started claiming the LC f rom NJ9842 directly to Karakoram Pass so that entire Siachen Glacier becomes Pakistani territory. India constitutes 16% of world population but has access to only 4% of the worlds f resh water sources. By 2025, we will be a water starved nation if we do not manage water on war f ooting (of which there are no apparent signs). Yet, our military heavy Track II Team (8 in overall 11 members) wants India to withdraw f rom Siachen, which is one of biggest f resh water reserve that India has. A major reason why China took over Shaksgam is enormous f resh water sources. Ironically, India gives 80% of waters to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 f ar in excess to global water sharing norms that are dependent on the size of the basin; we should actually give just 50% of what we are giving. We may not be advanced in stealth technology and Japanese may have developed invisible cars but our archives and f iles have hidden cuckoo birds since ages. Besides, if Chinese are unsuccessf ul in capping social media can we? So, it now emerges that during 1992-1993, the Narasimha Rao government, with him also holding the Foreign Minister portf olio, in a moment of weakness gave political signals of possible withdrawal f rom Siachen. Ignoring military advice has been the bane of Indias blunders, this is not the only misdemeanor / strategic blunder that Narasimha Rao Government did. How does one Congress led Government align the public with an arbitrary and strategically disadvantageous decision taken by another Congress led government of the past? It would have been so easy if military advice was sought but that is not the culture in India and the advisory coterie perhaps thought of steps that could pull wool

over the eyes of the public: play out Siachen as a wasteland with nil strategic value, costly af f air, weather casualties without comparison to Indian Army deployments elsewhere; get a set of gullible military veterans who agree to work out how to demilitarize without raising any questions on why and when; keep the Experts Group / Track II Team military heavy so that eventually it gets interpreted as military advice; keep playing f or time with ploys like ceasef ire, authentication of ground positions / AGPL and the like; spring the surprise on the nation once the stage is set. If a peace prize comes in the process all the better as that would optimize on capitalizing on the human of the state of mind in which elation has the better of rational judgement. What actually needs to be done is simple bend it like Beckham read imitate your neighbours. Pakistan and even Musharraf are in the f oref ront championing demilitarization while simultaneously harping on plebiscite in J&K. UN Security Council Resolution of 1948 had asked Pakistan to demilitarize f rom J&K remove all security f orces. Did they? China having got Tibet on a plate has in recent years sprung the surprise of claiming Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet. There numerous other examples besides the million dollar question on what basis are we rewarding Pakistan at cost of our national interests? Saying no is so very simple. The circumstances under which whatever political signals were given during 1992-1993 have drastically changed on f ollowing major counts: Chinese had not made strategic f orays in Pakistan / POK; Pakistani inf iltration, terrorist strikes and anti-India terrorist inf rastructure was not of that magnitude as it is today; China and Pakistan had not been meddling with insurgents in Indias hinterland (Maoists,n otheast insurgents) as they are doing today. The government should muster the courage to tell Pakistan (and the US if necessary) that India will not withdraw f rom Siachen. If considered necessary, Pakistan can be told that we will not roll down the Saltoro Range to attack them, till they behave.

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Indian Defence Review


A recent article in a prominent Indian daily last week talked of non-state actors who bring nations closer and the Ottawa Dialogue; the now well known issue of Demilitarization of Siachen. T his has been promptly put on a blog by participants of Track II saying Track II Explained. But this can hardly be end of the story. T here is plenty that is unexplained about this particular Track II. T here is no doubt that Track II processes have their relevance and they do have government level interaction, brief ings and debrief ings. Much has happened since the India-Pakistan Track II agreed to a proposal to Demilitarize Siachen in September 2012 and the press release by the Atlantic Council of Ottawa hit the web on 02 October 2012. Acquiescence by the Indian members of the Track II to withdraw f rom Siachen was naturally met with amazement and shock in India. Prior to this agreement of the Track II at Lahore in September last, articles and T V discussions came up portraying that Siachen was strategically irrelevant. T he government chose to remain tight lipped and continues with that stance albeit in the af termath of f urore post the Atlantic Council of Ottawa press release, a panel consisting of two members of the Track II Team under a f ormer Ambassador and Secretary MEA (who had nothing to do with the Track II Team but is known to be close to the political hierarchy) made ef f orts to justif y withdrawal f rom Siachen at India International Centre but were shocked at the unanimous opposition f rom the audience including f rom a f ormer Army Chief and journalists. Why this f ormer Ambassador and Secretary MEA tried to justif y the proposed withdrawal f rom Siachen and on whose instructions remains a mystery. T here is no doubt that Track II processes have their relevance and they do have government level interaction, brief ings and debrief ings. To this end, they do provide signif icant inputs that f acilitate the Track I dialogue while not being binding on the latter. T his is an accepted norm. Track II dialogues can also be at multiple levels, even simultaneously. However, this particular Track II agreement raises several questions that require clarif ications and transparency. Interaction with the participants reveals that none of them is aware as to how they were selected, who sponsored them and who the Indian coordinator was. T he Co-Chair described the status of the Track II Team as a Private Body, later changed to Group of Private Individuals over whom he had no control. Signif icantly, Indian members of the Track II Team comprised eight f ormer Indian Military of f icers out of the total eleven members. While the meetings were held over a period of months, one member stated in an article that f or once the bureaucrat members were in the backseat and the f ormer military members in the f oref ront. Surprisingly, not one of the f ormer eight military of f icers had served in Siachen and the team made no ef f ort to visit the area under discussion despite months of parleys. T his raises a question mark on the motive of the Indian coordinator who gave these names to Atlantic Council of Ottawa. Was it by design? Surprisingly, not one of the f ormer eight military of f icers had served in Siachen and the team made no ef f ort to visit the area under discussion despite months of parleys. T he Indian Co-Chair of the Track II Team maintains that the MEA brief ing made no mention of Siachen and no questions were asked by any members with regard to Siachen. T he logic being given is that the Track II Team took upon themselves to work out HOW Siachen can be demilitarized without going into WHY and WHEN, which is laughable. Forget net assessment, every young military of f icers know how a military appreciation is done, what its nuances are and what f actors need to be considered to arrive at the logical course of action. T he logic, theref ore, can hardly be bought; a body of Private Individuals working out without any higher direction whatsoever HOW Siachen should be demilitarized. Who was the driving f orce in this body of private individuals on which the Co-Chair admits he had no control and what was the motivation? What

are the participants hiding? Why has the Indian Co-Chair clammed up and ref using to take any questions? Additionally, if only HOW was being looked at then vital issues like Pakistan sponsored terrorism and the China f actor were obviously not discussed or discussed in most perf unctory manner. T he press release by Atlantic Council of Ottawa is totally silent on China. Terrorism is supposedly discussed but was it discussed in relation to Demilitarization of Siachen that this will f acilitate Pakistan launch Kashmir Valley like proxy war in Ladakh with dire consequences to our national security? It is not without reason that Musharraf had declared T here will be many more Kargils. T he vehemence with which the participants were articulating that Siachen has no worthwhile strategic signif icance has blown of f with the wind especially af ter the anger f aced during the hurriedly organized panel discussion at the India International Centre in early October 2012. Participants now admit individually that Siachen (read Saltoro Ridge) indeed has great strategic signif icance, admitting this even in interactions with military wings of political parties post the public f urore. What then was the motivation f or our Track II Team to ignore the strategic signif icance of the Saltoro Ridge particularly with China sitting in our territory in Shaksgam Valley and Aksai Chin and Pakistani and US media indicating Pakistan is leasing out Gilgit-Baltistan region to China f or 50 years, plus the f act that withdrawal f rom Saltoro would open the f loodgates of inf iltration into Ladakh by Pakistans state sponsored non-state actors. Why was the Track II Team ignoring the reality of the strategic signif icance of Siachen? Why was the advice of every f ormer Army Chief and the present one that India should not withdraw f rom Siachen ignored? A f ormer military of f icer cum journalist participant even as late as 12 April 2012 was passionately vindicating Indias right to hold on to Siachen on national T V; that India should never withdraw f rom Siachen because of its strategic signif icance. What happened in just f ive months to make him do a 180 degrees turn. Why was the Track II Team ignoring the reality of the strategic signif icance of Siachen? Why was the advice of every f ormer Army Chief and the present one that India should not withdraw f rom Siachen ignored? What was the role of the Indian coordinator and his mentors in making the Track II Team adopt such stance? What are the participants hiding? Musharraf admits in his autobiography that India pre-empted the occupation of Saltoro Ridge by Pakistan Pakistans planned move was obviously f or strategic reasons and not to establish a winter retreat. T he f act that Pakistan launched the Kargil intrusions to cut of f and grab Siachen has been poohpoohed by many in India. Now Lieutenant General, Shahid Aziz, f ormer Corps Commander of Lahore recently wrote about Kargil in his blog saying, T he whole truth about Kargil is yet to be known.. It was a total disaster.. We didnt pre-empt anything; nothing was on the cards. I was then heading the Analysis Wing of Inter Services Intelligence Our clearly expressed intent was to cut the supply line to Siachen and f orce the Indians to pull out T here were no mujahideen, only taped wireless messages, which f ooled no one. Our soldiers the boys were comf orted by their commanders assessment that no serious response would come. Cut of f and f orsaken, our posts started collapsing one af ter the other, though the General (Musharraf ) publicly denied it. Here, the f act that the Track II agreement is only a proposal and not binding on Track I is not the issue. T hat Pakistan considers its high powered Track II Team as good as Track I is also not the issue. T he issue is that f or eternity, Pakistan will quote this military heavy Indian Track II having agreed to withdraw f rom Siachen. More signif icantly, this can also be exploited by the politician-bureaucrat maf ia within India that is working at cross purposes to Indias national interests. Why are we calling slimy Musharraf time and again f or leadership summits when he is a f ugitive in his own country and has been stabbing us repeatedly? Why are the anti-India Hurriyat members given access to the Pakistani Embassy including every time some Pakistani of f icial comes to Delhi? Why is the this bunch given visas to go and meet the mullah-terrorist Haf iz Saeed when India has been exhorting Pakistan to indict him as the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008? Why is the IB f unding the Hurriyat, with what purpose and why without ref erence to the Army? It may be recalled that the FBI caught on to Ghulam Mohammed Fai only in 2011 af ter he had already pumped in some $350 millions f unded by the ISI into US over several years f or moulding perceptions in

Pakistans f avour with regard to Kashmir. Why is the Centre mute to anti-India activities in states, one example being total inaction on non-bailable warrants issued against Akbaruddin Owaisi way back in 2009? Why has the government been f ooling the public since 2010 saying the Maoist insurgency will be over in two-three years? Coming back to Siachen, why such a decision was taken by the Indian members of the Track II Team and with what motivation remains a question mark. As per the Atlantic Council of press note, militaries of both India and Pakistan held several rounds to boost conf idence building measures, these meetings having been held in Dubai (20-21 November 2011), Bangkok (23-25 February 2012) and Lahore (23-25 September 2012) and that additionally, working group meetings took place in Chiang Mai (21 April 2012) and Palo Alto (30-31 July 2012). T hese were f ollowed by the meeting in question in Lahore on 23-25 September 2012. Given the f ive star culture of such meetings, the expenditure involved would have been enormous. Were the decisions of the participants inf luenced advertently or inadvertently? It may be recalled that the FBI caught on to Ghulam Mohammed Fai only in 2011 af ter he had already pumped in some $350 millions f unded by the ISI into US over several years f or moulding perceptions in Pakistans f avour with regard to Kashmir. Obviously, ISI would have transf erred such f unds through several f ronts and not directly. In the instant case of the Track II, an agreement to withdraw f rom Siachen without any governmental direction to the ef f ect (as maintained by participants) and in direct contrast to military advice not to demilitarize raises serious questions. Silence and lack of transparency only reinf orce apprehensions. What exactly has Pakistan done to deserve this largesse killing and threatening Panchayat members in J&K, f ailing to punish perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack, continuing its proxy war to destabilize India, arming Indian Maoists through the LeT, blatantly denying ISI and LeT links despite solid evidence given by David Headley in 2011, what? Hopef ully, the recent barbarianism by Pakistan at least should open the eyes of the blind men. Yet, participants of the Track II have been harping that Demilitarization f rom Siachen is doable. Well, so are whole of Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and much more all doable if one is prepared to pack up ones bags, move back and vacate our own territory. Silence and lack of transparency only reinf orce apprehensions. Coming back to the Track II, a much wider debate on the above issue is def initely warranted. To this end, the United Services Institution of India of f ered its premises to the sponsors of the Track II f or holding a discussion on the issue along with the Track II Team, giving them opportunity to also interact with a wide cross section of scholars, diplomats, military personnel etc. However, this has been declined by the sponsors saying the process is well established and it would be disruptive to change it now. Strangely, all meeting of this Track II have been held abroad including at Lahore in Pakistan. Was this by design to not let the Indian public get the whif f of what was cooking? T he Indian public deserves answers including whether we have moles in the establishment working f or f oreign intelligence agencies, which is not new. An open public debate including with the sponsors and the Indian members of the Track II Team is certainly warranted, not on a pliable T V channel but at an autonomous T hink Tank like the United Services Institution of India. While the sponsors may shy of f the suggestion, what about a wider debate within the county minus the sponsors? Will the government at least speak up now with Pakistan having bared her f angs?