—General Loomba held furtive, yet detailed meetings with Afghan, US and NATO officials
—Delhi plans Afghan military takeover after US/ ISAF pullout
—Indian Military spy master’s stealth Afghan trip conducted ahead of top US defence officials’ India visit
—Holbrook kept Pakistanis busy in futile talks as per Pentagon, Langley plan
—Indian MI boss visited covert Indian troopers’ positions in Afghanistan, met Indian Army instructors of ANA
—Indian government, army resort to cohesive hostile approach towards Pakistan after Loomba’s Afghan trip
—Analysts smell some secret US development in Afghanistan through Indian army
By Makhdoom Babar in Islamabad & Christina Palmer in New Delhi
While the US special envoy on Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrook and US Defence Secretary Robert Gates are paying surprise visits to India, in a rather mysterious move, the Chief of India’s Military Intelligence (DGMI), Lt. General R.K Loomba has carried out a high profile, yet comprehensively clandestine visit to Afghanistan and held detailed parlays with the Afghan, US and NATO officials, a development that was never officially or unofficially reported to Pakistan by either the US, the NATO or the Afghan officials, reveal the investigations of The Daily Mail
The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that this stealthy visit of the Director General of India’s Military Intelligence was carried out last week, just ahead of the visits of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and US Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke to New Delhi
The Daily Mail’s findings disclose that Lt Gen. R.K. Loomba visited the headquarters of the Afghan National Army (ANA) in Kabul and also met with officials of Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the military officials, belonging to the US CENTCOM. Lt. General R.K Loomba, who, apart from being accompanied by some senior officials of the Indian MI, was also assisted by 2 senior RAW officials during all the meetings. These findings further reveal that General Loomba, despite holding discussions with the above mentioned Afghan, US and NATO officials, also visited some positions where India has covertly posted around two companies of regular Indian soldiers of Indian army’s Special Services Group in the disguise of members of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) while he is reported to have held a detailed meeting with the instructors of the Indian army, posted officially in Afghanistan to teach English language to the personnel of Afghan National Army while they actually belong to the Military Intelligence and RAW and are actually training the ANA special units about combat strategies against Pakistan army.
Though a highly credible at the army Headquarters in New Delhi told The Daily Mail that the purpose of the visit of General Loomba to Afghanistan was to assess preparations of the Afghan National Army in the wake of the US announcing a surge-and-exit policy through this year, yet the sources refrained to explain that why the visit was so secret and why the MI Chief had to go to Afghanistan instead of holding same discussions with the relevant officials from the US who were constantly visiting New Delhi.
The sources also say that the Indian military officials assess that the US/ NATO pullout would be gradual and Afghan National Army units would be asked to take over charge of areas sector by sector. India is involved in training ANA officers in India but quiet proposals have been floated for the deployment of Indian instructors in Afghanistan for the Afghan army.
However the findings of The Daily Mail indicate that the things have gone far beyond just appointing some more instructors of Indian Army in Afghanistan but the Indians actually plan to gradually take over the military responsibilities in Afghanistan after the US/ ISAF pullout is completed
The Daily Mail’s findings disclose that a fresh move in this direction was initiated when the Chief of the US Pacific Command, Adm. Robert Willard, visited New Delhi by the end of last year, apparently for discussions on security assessments in South Asia. And held meetings with top Indian officials including the Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kaporr and MI Chief Lt. General R.K Loomba. Admiral Robert is on record to have said that India had to decide if it wanted to expand its role in Afghanistan.
The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that while Richard Holbrooke was engaging Pakistani civil and military as well as intelligence officials in highly unproductive talks and while he was breaking bread with top Pakistani politicians in Islamabad, he knew that his government’s military officials were having secret meetings with Indian Military Intelligence Chief in Kabul but never disclosed it to anyone during his top level meetings in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. These findings reveal that Holbrooke embarked upon recent Pakistan visit with a different agenda this time while the Pentagon and Langley had set a new menu for him. This time he was supposed to read the minds of Pakistan’s political and military leadership and then to go to the Indians to brief them about the same before the US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates’ visit to New Delhi to evolve a new strategy of US President Obama’s that ciphered chapter of his Af-Pak policy which has never been unveiled to Pakistan. Gates would apparently be visiting New Delhi to discuss the deliberations of the upcoming London Conference on Afghanistan but he is actually carrying an entirely different agenda for talks with Indians and thus Delhi dashed its MI Chief to Afghanistan to come up with certain conclusions to finalize the things with the Americans in the direction of India’s military role in Afghanistan.
The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that the Indians and the NATO/ISAF as well as the Americans have been desirous a larger military role of Indian in Afghanistan. These investigations indicate that India has for long, cultivated friendship with Afghanistan in order to encircle Pakistan and to extend its influence in Central Asia . (Indeed ‘non-aligned’ India was one of the only countries in the world to recognize the Soviet-installed communist regime in Kabul. ). There has earlier been little prospect of Indian forces helping the NATO-U.S.-Afghan effort against the Taliban. The top brass in the Indian military now sees Afghanistan as belonging to their expanding sphere of influence, there’s a lot of intoxicated talk of ‘superpower’ status at Delhi and thus they are not much comfortable with the U.S. and foreign military presence in Afghanistan and now desire to take over the matters in their hands.
The Daily Mail’s investigations point out that till 2006, NATO, the US led Western military alliance, desperately wanted Indian troops’ deployment for missions in volatile regions like Afghanistan and Kosovo. NATO officials at Brussels-based headquarters, are on record to have said that Indian troops would be part of a wider engagement the alliance envisages with non-member states. The alliance did not expect Indian troops for its missions overnight but as a consequence of a protracted engagement that will drive policy change in New Delhi and reforms within NATO. Beginnings were made at two levels. NATO headquarters briefed Indian diplomats at Brussels . The NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Schaffer met with the then Defence Minister of India Pranab Mukherjee and held detailed discussions over the matter.
The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that India has long been looking for an opportunity to flex its muscles in the Afghanistan imbroglio. It has been traditionally using the Afghan card to spell gloom and doom in Pakistan . As early as the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict, India urged the then Afghan government to deploy its armed forces along the Durand Line to dissuade Pakistan from any adventurism against India and exploit its weakness when it was being routed by the Chinese along Ladakh. During the 1965 and 1971 Pakistan-Indian wars too, Afghanistan sided with India . During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the decade of seventies, Pakistan became a front-line state and with the help of USA and its allies, helped thwart the Soviet invasion and limited to the Durand Line and ultimately force the Soviets into retreat. India aided the Soviet secret service KGB and Afghan spy agency Khad to attempt to destabilize Pakistan through sabotage, sedition, subversion and acts of terrorism. The seeds of rebellion were sown in Balochistan, the fires of which are now again being stoked by Indian spy agency RAW.
The Daily Mail’s findings further indicate that the advent of Taliban Rule in Afghanistan threw a damper on Indian machinations to use Afghan soil to destabilize Pakistan ; however, 9/11 provided a fresh impetus to Indian nefarious aims towards Pakistan . Since its erstwhile allies the Northern Alliance rose to power in Afghanistan , following the US-led invasion, India made the most of it by deploying Indian personnel working on various projects with the Afghan people and government under the grab of the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country. There are approximately 3,000-4,000 Indian intelligence agents, working under cover on several such projects across Afghanistan . India has used its trade centers and its four Consulates to man with RAW and its four Consulates to man with RAW personnel to hatch plots against Pakistan .
“If deployed now, Indian forces will give respite to the ISAF and NATO forces but sink the Indians deep into the Afghan quagmire. The choice is ours if we want to face the humiliation and ignominy of another disaster”, said Major General P.K Singh ( Rtd) while giving his comments over the issue to The Daily Mail
The Daily Mail’s findings reveal that the Indians, around 2008, agreed to make a massive deployment of Indian troops in Afghanistan and planned to send around 120,000 to150,000 soldier to Afghanistan but later New Delhi reversed the decision. Even the current Indian Defence Minister A.K Antony, at one stage clearly ruled out any possibility of sending Indian troops to jointly operate with the US-led ISAF forces in Afghanistan , asserting that it was there for extending humanitarian assistance for reconstruction and rehabilitation of the country. However, it appears that Indians, now are once again desirous of assuming a military role in Afghanistan and perhaps this time they want to make it with a heavy package, but most probably after the US-led/ NATO troops are withdrawn.
The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that the Indian government has recently launched a clandestine media campaign in support of sending troops to Afghanistan . Surprisingly, many Indian writers, intellectuals and media people have suddenly started talking and writing in print and electronic media of India to argue as to why India should not send its troops to Afghanistan . In one such case The Indian national Interest Review in its current edition publishes a report suggesting that “ India has the capacity to equip, station and supply several divisions of its troops in Afghanistan . Many Afghan political leaders from President Hamid Karzai to members of the Northern Alliance are highly likely to welcome India ’s decision. Contrary to the myths that make the rounds in the popular media, the Afghan people do not reflexively oppose foreign troops on their soil; remember they welcomed international troops who came to rid the country of Mullah Omar’s Taliban regime in 2002. Neighbouring countries, including Iran and Tajikistan , will support an Indian military presence in Afghanistan provided their interests are taken into account. So will Russia . And not least, the United States will welcome it for even if Indian troops do not eventually deploy, the very possibility of their arrival will change Washington ’s bargaining terms with the Pakistani military establishment.”
The Daily Mail’s findings further indicate that soon after General Loomba returned to Delhi from his secret trip to Afghanistan , the tones and policies of both the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian army leadership emerged as totally and changed and both became rather hostile towards Pakistan . While the Indian External Affairs Secretary started howling on Pakistan to “Do More” to curb terrorism and stated that there was a huge infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan , the Indian army leadership started snarling that the ratio of infiltration of militants from Pakistani borders had dramatically increased in Kashmir region. This joint premeditated campaign against Pakistan by the Indian External Affairs Ministry and the Indian army leadership simply out of the blue, indicates that Delhi has planned something different for Pakistan now and General Loomba’s covert Afghan trip has a lot to do with it.