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COVER STORY

02-07-1999

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Briefing

The bungle in Kargil

The crisis in Kargil has its origins in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government's failure to comprehend the strategic consequences of Pokhran-II and its political blindness and failureto act on military intelligence warnings.

THE spring of 1998 saw the reinvention of George Fernandes as Field Marshal. Fernandes' new image as a hands-on Defence Minister, suitably dressed in combat fatigues and located on the Siachen heights, was carefully manufactured for television. He was a fitting representative of the defence policies of the new, supposedly nationalist regime that had taken power in New Delhi. The saffron-model Defence Minister visited the forward lines to shore up morale, despatched recalcitrant bureaucrats to the darkes t, dingiest basements of the Ministry of Defence, and finally fixed his bayonet to charge the evil dragon threatening India's security - China.

It has taken just over a year for Field Marshal Fernandes and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition he represents to lead India to its most embarrassing military debacle since the war of 1962. Weeks after Fernandes proclaimed that Pakistani intruders would be evicted from Kargil "within two days", Indian soldiers continue to pay with their lives for the failures of their political and military leadership.

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Two principal sets of failures shaped the crisis at Kargil. The principal one of these was the political failure to comprehend the consequences of the nuclear tests at Pokhran last May. Pokhran's many implications for the future of Pakistan's strategy on Jammu and Kashmir were left unanalysed, a consequence of the Hindu Right's bizarre ideological fictions on a nuclear India. The second failure, military negligence, grew directly from the Union Government's unwillingness to accept that the real world ex isted. Hard information was passed over because it failed to form part of the BJP's post-Pokhran vision of India's transfigured relationship with Pakistan.

Union Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani was the first BJP figure to make explicit the linkages between the Pokhran tests and the future of Jammu and Kashmir. On May 18, 1998, days after the Pokhran-II series of tests, emerging from the Government's first major policy meeting on Jammu and Kashmir, Advani argued that India's "decisive step to become a nuclear weapon state has brought about a qualitative new state in India-Pakistan relations, particularly in finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem . Islamabad has to realise the change in the geo-strategic situation in the region and the world" as a consequence of the Pokhran tests. Although "we adhere to the no-first-strike principle", Advani continued, "India is resolved to deal firmly with Pakis tan's hostile activities."

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Several secondary BJP leaders followed in their leader's footsteps, with former Union Minister Madan Lal Khurana inviting Pakistan to join battle "at a place and time of its choosing". Such machismo evaporated rapidly after Pakistan's own nuclear tests a t Chagai, but the ideas which generated it continued to shape policy. Pakistan military strategists clearly understood Pokhran offered them an opportunity to force a conventional military conflagration in Jammu and Kashmir and ensure international interv ention on the issue. India's security establishment, by contrast, largely refused even to engage with this possibility. In some senses, it could not. To acknowledge that the Pokhran tests had been a strategic misjudgment would have been to admit the absu rdities of the BJP's core politics.

Under pressure from the United States, both the Pakistani and Indian governments began what has come to be known as the Lahore Process in February 1999. At the outset, it was clear that the Indian Government was considerably more desperate than the Pakis tani Government for results from the dialogue. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's famous 'half hug' greeting at the Wagah border stood in sharp contrast with his Indian counterpart Atal Behari Vajpayee's soap opera mawkishness. The absence of the Pak istan Army chief, Gen. Pervez Musharraf at Wagah, too, made clear that the military establishment he represented was less than enthusiastic about the new dialogue. But the BJP-led coalition, desperate to mitigate pressure from the U.S. and to claim credi t for at least a diplomatic achievement at a time of profound domestic political discontent, closed its eyes to the warning signs.

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THIS political blindness to Pakistan's emerging objectives had several military consequences. In the autumn of 1998, shelling by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control escalated to levels unknown since the war of 1971. Kargil town was devastated, and 17 civilians lost their lives. In a desperate effort to ensure that the conflict did not escalate, the Indian Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. V.P. Malik, was instructed to ensure that his troops did not respond to Pakistani fire with heavy calibre guns, i ncluding 155-mm Bofors howitzers. Pakistan Army analysts drew the obvious inference. If India was unwilling and unable after Pokhran to risk an escalation along the Line of Control (L0C) despite deliberate provocation, larger enterprises could now be con sidered by Pakistan's military establishment.

Events from August 1998 underlined the absence of a strategic paradigm within which Pakistan's post-Pokhran objectives could be read. Highly placed sources told Frontline that in the second half of 1998, shortly after credible reports emerged that Pakistan-backed terrorists had acquired shoulder-held surface-to-air missiles (SAM), the then Air Force chief, S.K. Sareen, offered the use of Jaguar aircraft with photo-reconnaissance kits for surveillance. Perhaps driven by a misplaced sense that Jamm u and Kashmir was the Army's exclusive concern, Malik declined the offer. Both Vajpayee and Fernandes, the sources said, believed that intelligence inputs on the SAMs were fictitious. While the SAM story may perhaps have indeed been dubious, events after Pokhran should themselves have made the case for heightened surveillance.

Had the use of Jaguars been institutionalised last year, the first movements of Pakistani irregulars and troops across the LoC would almost certainly have been picked up early. And for reasons which have still to be explained, no preparations appear to h ave been made in the Kargil area even for the kind of shelling seen in 1998. Had the Zoji-La Pass not opened early this year, India would have faced serious logistics and troop problems in Kargil. While Malik bears some responsibility for these failures, he was facing his own problems. All through last year, sources say, the Army chief's repeated calls for upgrading India's signals intelligence capabilities and for the introduction of new direction-finding and interception facilities ran into a wall of disinterest in the Defence Ministry. The new equipment that Malik asked for arrived late, and in very small quantities.

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Through this period, the Research and Analysis Wing's (RAW) Aviation Research Centre (ARC), too, proved hostile to requests for border-area surveillance, saying that it needed political clearance for such use of its 40-aircraft fleet. The aircraft are de signed to fly at extremely high altitudes in order to avoid detection. In general, clearance for their trans-border use never came. Within Jammu and Kashmir, the ARC had proved more cooperative. In October and November 1998, just as training for the Karg il offensive was under way at Olthingthang, ARC aircraft were stationed at Jammu to verify reports that large numbers of terrorists had gathered on the mountain heights of Doda. The photographs obtained, sources told Frontline, were "extremely use ful". But no flights were carried out along the LoC, presumably because the ARC was not ordered to do so.

WHAT this set of events makes clear is that in the wake of Pokhran, there was no cogent understanding of the new strategic opportunities for Pakistan. After the initiation of the Lahore Process, the political establishment in New Delhi and an often-plian t military leadership concurred that Pakistan's sustained aggression in Jammu and Kashmir would now be slowly subverted. Pressure from the U.S. and business interests were among the many reasons offered for why Pakistan would choose to ignore the best o pportunity it had in two decades for an international initiative on the future of Jammu and Kashmir. For the BJP, Lahore was set to form a major election issue, one that would both prove its diplomatic credibility and secular credentials. Whenever facts subverted its claims on Lahore, these facts were simply despatched to the Union Government's wastepaper baskets.

Predictably, Defence Ministry officials in New Delhi responded with disdain when reports first came of a major offensive being planned by Pakistan in the Kargil area. As Frontline reported in its June 18 issue, the Leh station of the Intelligence Bureau (I.B.) sent out two specific warnings in the third week of October 1998. The young head of the Bureau's Leh office said in his first report that a group of over 350 irregulars were being trained at two camps adjoining Pakistan's forward headquarte rs at Olthingthang. The group, his report made clear, planned to cross the border in April 1999. The Leh office's second report pointed to the use of remotely piloted photo-reconnaissance vehicles being used by pilots along the Srinagar-Leh National High way.

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More corroborative evidence was to follow. Maps of the Srinagar-Kargil road were found on the body of Ali Mohammad Dar, the Hizbul Mujahideen's supreme commander for the Kashmir Valley, after he was shot dead by the State police's Special Operations Grou p on August 9 last year. The arrest of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Azhar Shafi Mir by the Border Security Force on December 20 threw up more intriguing evidence. Mir said he had been tasked to sabotage the Kangan-Leh route, an act that would have prevent ed Indian troop reinforcements and artillery from reaching Kargil after the April attack. No piece of this evidence was conclusive, but any dispassionate observer would have sought to take precautions on its basis. None were taken, as the Union Governmen t continued to be taken for a ride by Lahore.

FERNANDES' post-Kargil pronouncements illustrate that the BJP's strategic establishment was taken by surprise when combat broke out in early May. On May 14, eight days after Lieutenant Saurabh Kalia's patrol had disappeared and at a time when Indian reco nnaissance parties were encountering a plethora of Pakistani positions, Fernandes visited Leh for a meeting of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council. He described the shelling that had broken out in Kargil as "sporadic", and said the Indian Army was "well prepared" to deal with the situation. A day later, in New Delhi, he promised that the intruders would be evicted "in 48 hours". One day later, a news agency reported from Dhanbad that Fernandes had claimed that the Army "had cordoned off the a rea entirely" and that India's military objectives in Kargil would be realised "within the next two days".

Given that the Indian Army had just commenced pumping in additional troops, a charitable interpretation of the Defence Minister's pronouncement would be that it was a wilful misrepresentation of the truth. The less-generous explanation was that neither h e, nor the Ministry of Defence, had bothered to find out just what was happening in Kargil. Nor, it is now evident, did anyone else in the BJP. The first meeting of the apex Cabinet Committee on Security was called only on May 25, a day after Jammu and K ashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah visited New Delhi to beg the Prime Minister to take the Kargil issue seriously. It was only after this meeting that the Prime Minister recovered from his Lahore trance to realise the situation in Kargil was "war-like ". More than 50 soldiers were dead by then.

Fernandes now attempted to cover up the errors of his Ministry and the BJP's defence establishment. On May 29, he claimed that Indian troops had flushed out infiltrators from the Drass sub-sector and "restored the sanctity of the Line of Control". This w as completely untrue. On May 28, the Defence Minister attempted to defend the BJP-led coalition government's handling of the Lahore Process by seeking to exonerate the government's dialogue partner, Nawaz Sharif. "In this entire episode," Fernandes said on television, "the Pakistan Army has hatched a conspiracy to push in infiltrators, and the Nawaz Sharif Government did not have a major role. The ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), which we know initiates such activities, has not played any role."

These bizarre claims were debunked when the documents that Fernandes based his claims on - a surveillance tape of conversations between Pervez Musharraf and his Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Mohammad Aziz - were made public in New Delhi on Ju ne 11. The conversations offered little insight into the role of the ISI in the Kargil affair and made clear that the Pakistani political establishment was well briefed on the affair. But what was even more disturbing was the use of classified intelligen ce material to serve a domestic political agenda. Fernandes' purpose in using the conversation between Musharraf and Aziz was not to further India's strategic objectives, but to defend the political position of the BJP-led coalition.

The confusion within the government snowballed as criticism of its handling of Kargil grew. On June 1, Fernandes made his infamous offer of safe passage for Pakistani irregulars and troops back to their side of the LoC. "Get your troops out of our soil," he proclaimed, "or watch them being thrown out." If Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz "wants to discuss how the intruders are to leave, we can discuss their safe passage." The Prime Minister, apparently oblivious to the outrage that Fernandes' state ment had provoked, endorsed this position while commissioning the INS Mysore in Mumbai on June 2. "We can discuss their safe passage if such a request was made," Vajpayee said. "It could be considered." Both statements, despite subsequent denials, served a purpose. They suggested that the diplomatic forces set in place in Lahore offered potential for the resolution of the military conflict in Kargil.

INDIA'S war to regain the Kargil heights had its origins not in simple military errors, but in a larger process of self-delusion set in place with the nuclear tests at Pokhran. Pokhran opened the space for Pakistan to attempt to gain ground in Jammu and Kashmir through international intervention for the first time since 1971. The tests, however, had a curious narcotic effect on India's security establishment, leading it to ignore Pakistan's new objectives in the face of strong intelligence evidence and analytical input. Lahore was not a new beginning in India-Pakistan dialogue, but a desperate response to the international pressure brought to bear on India after the Pokhran tests. The BJP-led coalition was so desperate for the success of the Lahore Pro cess that it indoctrinated itself with the belief that the Wagah bus ride had been an unmixed triumph.

Bandar kya jane adrak ka swad, goes the Hindi saying: how can a monkey know that ginger tastes good? Without a paradigm within which it could comprehend or engage with the new circumstances which emerged from the spring of 1998, the BJP-led coalit ion government could do little to address Pakistan's new offensive in Jammu and Kashmir. Sadly, there are few signs that it has learned from the events of this May. The real danger now is that, pushed to the wall, the right-wing government in New Delhi c ould launch into an election-eve military adventure. The consequences of such a course are too grim to contemplate.

Strategic follies

PRAVEEN SWAMI cover-story

EVEN as Indian soldiers make their way up the Kargil heights, there is growing evidence that certain top military and strategic officials were responsible for some of the early reverses. Officials appear to have failed to respond to changed circumstances after the Pokhran tests of May 1998 and persisted with outdated military deployment procedures.

Highly placed sources said that high-altitude positions in the Drass sub-sector, where some of the worst fighting in the region has occurred, were held through the winter until 1982. The Border Security Force (BSF) was in charge of the Drass sub-sector u ntil that year. Even positions such as Marpo La at 5,353 metres and Sando at 4,268 m were occupied by BSF jawans, although temperatures in the Drass area dropped below -65 Celsius.

A new political and strategic environment appears to have led the Army, which replaced the BSF here in 1982, to conclude that no purpose would be served by holding on to high-altitude pickets in winter. Despite growing border tensions and regular artille ry exchanges in the Kargil area since 1997, an imaginative inertia ensured that there was no review of the 15-year policy. Had troops been positioned on Marpo La and Sando through the winter, the latest intrusions could have been detected early. Also, In dian troops would have then held commanding positions, making it difficult for Pakistan to supply its positions on Tololing, the Tiger Hills and the Mushkoh Valley.

Interestingly, the BSF appears to have continued with its pre-1982 strategy in areas it was assigned in the Kargil area. BSF personnel remained on the Bravo One post on Chorbat La through the bitter winter. Positions over 4,500 m at Alpha Tekri and Punja b Tekri, both in the Kargil sector, were also maintained. Had BSF jawans not been at Chorbat La, Pakistan's effort to cut off Turtok by moving a brigade down the Mian Langpa gully may well have met with success. BSF jawans at Chorbat La have faced sustai ned fire but have repulsed attacks with the aid of hardened high-altitude troopers from the Ladakh Scouts.

For reasons which are not entirely clear, Army regiments to which the BSF's companies are attached chose not to stay at their positions in the winter. The 3 Punjab Regiment, to which the BSF company at Chorbat La is attached, does not for one appear to h ave held any other post in the area. While the soldiers and officers of the regiment can in no way be held responsible for this, their top brass clearly have some answering to do. Military officials disregarded, among other things, warnings issued by the Intelligence Bureau's Leh office in the third week of October last year of an incursion in April by at least 350 irregulars from Pakistan's Kargil area forward headquarters in Olthingthang.

One key reason for the military misjudgment appears to have been the excessive dependence of some top Army officials for their military assessments on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government's perceptions of the Lahore Process. Indeed, there are several recent instances of senior officials finding politics more interesting than army work. In March this year, military officials in New Delhi had issued a document they described as a "concept paper", calling for military representation at all l evels of civilian government in Jammu and Kashmir from the district level to the tehsil level. One reason cited for this was that it would infuse discipline in the administration. Mercifully, the proposal was shot down after a protracted rearguard action by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

A long haul ahead

PRAVEEN SWAMI cover-story

India's strategic paradigm for engaging Pakistan's intervention in Jammu and Kashmir, of which the Kargil offensive is just the latest phase, requires serious consideration.

AT night, the skies across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir light up with the colours of war. The war that began in Kargil now sprawls from there to Uri, and then down south to Akhnoor and Chhamb. The wrenching noise of artillery fire has f orced thousands of villagers of Akhnoor to leave for safer areas. Aircraft have been scrambled from Jammu to intercept Pakistani intrusions in Jammu. The battle for Kargil is getting rapidly transformed into a war for the future of Jammu and Kashmir, one that could have profound consequences for the future of the State. And there are signs that the fighting will continue for several weeks, perhaps months.

Indian soldiers have reached positions that are at small-arms fire range from Pakistan-held posts in some Kargil areas. The 4,950-metre summit in the Tololing mountains in the Drass sub-sector has finally been taken by Indian troops; elsewhere in the are a Indian troops are now so close to Pakistan-held positions that air support is impossible. The bodies of 11 Pakistanis were recovered after the June 13 assault. Fighting in the area had earlier claimed the life of Lieutenant Colonel R. Vishwanathan, but the fact that his body has not yet been recovered suggests that the mountain spur from which he launched his assault on Tololing remains exposed to Pakistani fire. The summit above Tololing, at 5,140 metres, continues to be heavily defended by Pakistani troops and irregulars.

The most bitter fighting has centred on the Batalik area, some 50 km east of Kargil. Indian Army officials say that they have seized several Pakistani positions, but losses in the process have been severe. As troops seek to move up the mountains, as in D rass, positions held by Pakistani irregulars and troops have been receiving massive artillery and mortar support from across the LoC. And there are disturbing signs that contrary to official claims, Pakistan's resupply and reinforcement lines remain ope n in several areas. Indeed, reconnaissance photographs and field patrols have reported several new Pakistan-held positions, at least three of them in the Turtok area alone.

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There is reason to believe that Indian troops have not been able to advance much in these areas over the last 10 days. The body of Major M. Saravanan, who was killed in combat on May 28, continues to lie at a height of 4,250 m on a mountain in Batalik. T he fact that it has not been recovered means that Indian troops have been unable to gain secure positions on heights above that. The body of mechanised Infantry officer Major Rajesh Adhikari, who was killed in the Mushkoh Valley at above 4,000 m on May 3 0, also lies in the snow. Attempts to bring down the body, too, have been met with heavy fire. As in Turtok, the Mushkoh Valley has seen several new Pakistan positions emerge in recent weeks. Although air strikes have been at their fiercest in the area, their effect has at best been limited.

On June 10 came the direct evidence that the Pakistani irregulars and troops are able to reinforce their positions. That day, troops of the 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry and the Desert Scorpions Paracommando unit took a commanding position on the Yardol ridge. Pakistani irregulars and troops on Yardol, however, had evidently asked for reinforcements before vacating their positions. Late that night, Indian troops found themselves sandwiched between two lines of attack. At least 15 Indian soldiers and 23 Pakistani irregulars and troops were killed in the battle. Officials say that the incident illustrates just how bloody the conflict will be as Indian troops move higher up the mountains.

Further evidence that Pakistan is strengthening its presence in the area has emerged from surveillance. The ridges between Chorbat La and Turtok have been under heavy pressure ever since Pakistan moved up a brigade-strength force along the Mian Langpa gu lly on the LoC last fortnight. There have also been large movements of infantry units from Pakistan's 11 Corps at Sialkot, as well as of artillery from the Skardu area, Pakistan's military headquarters for the Kargil region. Large-scale movement of ammun ition has been reported from the Pakistan Army's Sheikh Khan dump near Kohat, and intelligence reports suggest that fresh personnel have gathered at Pakistan's forward headquarters, Olthingthang. Olthingthang was the base from which Pakistani irregulars and troops were launched in early May.

As the discovery of eight new forward helipads across the LoC suggests, Pakistan appears determined to hold on to the positions it has occupied on the Kargil heights. There is also growing evidence that Pakistan intended to generate terrorist activity i n Kargil, the only predominantly Muslim area in Jammu and Kashmir that has remained unaffected by secessionist violence. On June 7, the Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested 10 terrorists from the Diskit area in Turtok. Their sustained interrogation led to t he recovery of 19 Kalashnikov assault rifles, a light machine gun, a rocket launcher, grenades, ammunition and high explosives. The interrogation, sources told Frontline, suggested that future assaults across the LoCby Pakistani irregulars and tro ops would have been supported by terrorist activity in the Kargil area itself.

Perhaps the biggest problem in dealing with such sustained pressure, particularly as the harsh winter sets in in Kargil, will be in ensuring that the morale of the troops remains high. Soldiers and junior officers are incensed by what they see as an ill- defined and erratic strategic paradigm for Kargil. The sustained fire of contradictory and confusing statements from New Delhi has not helped matters either. The handover by Pakistan on June 11 of the severely mutilated bodies of Lieutenant Saurabh Kalia and five soldiers, who were members of the first patrol which was sent out in the Kaksar area (Frontline , June 18) and went missing, has provoked anger and frustration. Kalia's body showed signs of severe torture, with a sharp object having been pushed through his eye. The other soldiers' bodies, too, showed signs of brutal treatment before they were shot.

Some confusion remains about just when Kalia and his patrol went missing. Army officials first said that the patrol went out on May 5, but Kalia's mother now says she received a letter from him dated five days later. Officials now say that the patrol wen t missing on May 14, but if this was indeed the first patrol sent out, that would suggest that the military leadership in Kargil was even slower to respond to the summer thaw than had earlier been believed earlier. The bodies of an officer and a soldier, members of a second patrol of nine troops that was sent out shortly after Kalia went missing, have been sighted but are still to be recovered. Seven soldiers returned safely from that patrol.

EVEN as the war on the heights continues, the release of the transcripts of conversations between Pakistan's Chief of the Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf and the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Mohammad Aziz Khan has cast light on Paki stan's broad strategic objectives. These conversations took place while Musharraf was in Beijing, where he arrived for a formal visit as the crisis broke out in Kargil. The tapes are believed to have been made by the United States' Central Intelligence A gency (CIA) and routed to the Indian Government through the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The CIA possesses the technological means to monitor traffic through a plethora of communications satellites, although this is not the sole route through which the conversations could have been intercepted.

In the first released conversation, which took place on May 26, Aziz Khan discussed with Musharraf the diplomatic outcomes of India's air campaign. Musharraf made clear that Pakistan's enterprise in Kargil had the support of its political establishment. In an apparent reference to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Musharraf told his junior "so many times we had discussed, taken your blessings". He continued: "And yesterday also I told him that the door of discussion, dialogue must be kept open and (as for th e) rest, no change in ground situation." Aziz Khan also made clear that Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed had been briefed to claim that all the bombs dropped by Indian Air Force aircraft on the first day of the air strikes had fallen w ithin Pakistani territory.

Musharraf made explicit Pakistan's objectives in a second conversation on May 29. This time Aziz Khan told Musharraf that he would ensure that Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz would give "no understanding or no commitment on (the) ground situation" during talks with New Delhi. Aziz would be instructed to argue that "we have been sitting here for long... Like in the beginning, the matter is the same - no post was attacked, and no post captured. The situation is that we are along our defensive Line o f Control. Aziz Khan concluded: "On this line, we can give them logic, but in short, the recommendation for Sartaj Aziz sahib is that he should make no commitment in the first meeting on the military situation. And he should not even accept a ceasefire, because if there is ceasefire, then vehicles will be moving (on the Srinagar-Leh route)."

Pakistan's military leadership clearly understood that sustained pressure on India along the LoC would bring about rapid international intervention. That, in turn, would offer Pakistan its best prospects since 1971 of a Western intervention in Jammu and Kashmir. In the May 26 conversation, Aziz Khan reported that Nawaz Sharif was "confident, just like that. Shamshad Ahmed as usual was supporting. Today, for the last two hours, the BBC has been continuously reporting on the air strikes by India. Keep usi ng this - let them keep dropping bombs. As far as internationalisation is concerned, this is the fastest thing that has happened. You may have seen in the press about United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's appeal that both countries should sit and talk."

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Aziz Khan spent considerable time in this conversation gloating on the secrecy with which the Kargil operation had been planned. He recounts an official saying at a meeting on behalf of the Army that only Nawaz Sharif had been briefed before the operatio n began. Pakistan Army Corps commanders and politicians, he said, had been told of the assault only on May 19, well after fighting had broken out. "The reason for the success of this operation," Aziz Khan said, "was this total secrecy. Our experience was that our earlier efforts failed because of lack of secrecy. So, the top priority is to accord confidentiality, to ensure our success. We should respect this and the advantage we have from this would give us a handle."

CURIOUSLY, these tapes are the same as the ones Defence Minister George Fernandes used to claim that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistani political establishment were unaware of the Kargil offensive. Just how he arrived at these conclusions is unclear, for the tapes make clear that precisely the contrary is true. Nawaz Sharif's endorsement of the military offensive is made explicit. Some dissonances are indeed evident, with a Malik sahib and the official who occupied Aziz Khan' s previous office offering alternative strategic visions. But these differences were extremely narrow. "Those two's views," Aziz Khan reported, "were that the status quo and the present position of General Hassan, no change should be recommended in that. But he was also saying that any escalation after that should be regulated as there may be a danger of war."

Perhaps most significant, there is no reference to any ISI reservations on the broad parameters of Pakistan's Kargil offensive. Since Aziz Khan never occupied a command position in the ISI, the position of the officer who succeeded him was clearly milita ry. There is no reference in the conversations to the position of the ISI's Director-General, Lieutenant General Zia-ud-Din, on the offensive. Fernandes' claims appear to have been driven more by a desire to defend the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalitio n government's Pakistani partners in the Lahore dialogue than by a dispassionate strategic assessment. Indeed, the Union Government will have a few questions to answer on the errors of judgment that opened the way for the Kargil war.

So too will the Indian Army. For one, while officials have repeatedly claimed that it is near-impossible for them to hold on to mountain posts all winter, Border Security Force (BSF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troopers have been doing exactly that. The BSF position in Chorbat La, which has been under sustained attack, has managed to fight off Pakistani attacks precisely because its personnel were on the heights through the winter. The ITBP, in a separate sector, stays on the crucial Daulat Be g Oldi post through the winter. Neither Chorbat La nor Daulat Beg Oldi are helicopter-supplied. Retired Army officers have carried out something of a propaganda offensive claiming that the Army will have to execute near-impossible logistics in maintainin g high-altitude posts through the winter.

Military Intelligence (M.I.), too, will have some explaining to do. The Brooks-Henderson Report, authored in the wake of the 1962 defeat, specifically charged M.I. with the task of gathering information inside a 10-km belt on either side of India's borde rs. The organisation failed to detect the build-up of Pakistani irregulars and troops at Olthingthang, and appears to have paid little attention to reports by the Intelligence Bureau's Leh office, issued in the third week of October 1998. In January 1999 , M.I. again failed to pay attention to reports that Pakistani helicopters were surveying Indian positions in the Kargil area. M.I.'s evidently casual perceptions of the threat to Kargil appears to have rubbed off on ground troops, some of whom are even believed to have left ammunition in the positions they vacated last autumn.

It appears possible that M.I., like the military establishment at large, chose to be guided by the political perceptions of the BJP leadership on the integrity of the Lahore Process. The Army's outrageous decision to send senior serving officers to brief the BJP National Executive illustrates the disturbing linkages that the Union Government has succeeded in engineering between its political establishment and the military leadership. These linkages are, at the core, responsible for the failure to execut e dispassionate military assessments of Pakistan's objectives this summer. The Army's sole move to bring about accountability has been to dismiss two low-level officials, 121 Brigade Commander Surindar Singh and his Drass-area subordinate, Colonel Pushpi nder Singh. This ritual witch-hunting is no substitute for serious introspection.

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EVEN more serious thought will be required on India's future strategic paradigm for engaging Pakistan's war in Jammu and Kashmir, of which the Kargil offensive is just the latest phase. A senior intelligence official said: "The fact of the matter is that they have inflicted very great costs on us at very little cost to themselves. Indian Army strategies were traditionally built around the idea that any major Pakistani offensive in Jammu and Kashmir would meet with massive retaliation in Sindh and Punjab . But in a post-Pokhran South Asia, scenarios of Indian armour sweeping through the plains of Punjab are unrealistic. For several years, voices within the Indian security establishment have been calling for the development and institution of an effective , covert counter-offensive capability.

Pushing Pakistan's troops and irregulars off the Kargil heights will be the easy part of the battle ahead. Finding new and unconventional ways to fight unconventional wars will be the real challenge.

The other wars

PRAVEEN SWAMI cover-story

Even as the Army takes on Pakistani intruders on the heights of Kargil, the war against terrorism goes on elsewhere in Jammu and Kashmir.

THE grey mountain dawn broke over Malpora village a little after 4:30 a.m. With it, crack police commandos entered the remote forest village, moving down the main path in pace with the protective shield of an armoured car. The night before, field intelli gence had reported that the Ganderbal area's top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Bambar Khan, was in Malpora with five of his men. Now each of the village's 300 homes had to be searched. Any of them could be booby-trapped or each could be an ambush. Two hou rs later it became clear that terrorists had indeed been in the village, but had left the previous evening. "He is just three hours ahead of us," said Srinagar's Superintendent of Police (Operations). "Soon, we will get there first."

As Indian troops fight to regain the Kargil heights, another war against Pakistan-backed terrorists continues through Jammu and Kashmir. Each day of this war, as the one in Kargil, sees the death of both Pakistan-backed irregulars and Indian combatants. Three thousand soldiers, police personnel, paramilitary troopers and pro-India militia members have been killed in combat over the last 10 years. But unlike the battle in Kargil, there is little glory in this war, and even less respect for its soldiers. Their stories are not reported on prime-time television and on newspaper pages. In 1995, two soldiers from the Rajputana Rifles were beheaded in Kupwara, and the mutilated body of a third soldier was recovered shortly afterwards. No government official s aw it fit even to express outrage.

The cordon-and-search operation at Malpora was just one of the many such carried out through Jammu and Kashmir each night. Personnel from the Jammu and Kashmir Police's Special Operations Group (SOG), the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Reser ve Police Force (CRPF) had to wade through slushy paddyfields and scramble over the steep slopes around Malpora to cordon off the village. Although they were weighed down by bullet-proof gear and weapons, the task had to be accomplished, in total silenc e and darkness. A torch, or even a lit cigarette, could invite fire from a lookout's sniper rifle. And then began the wait to dawn, with fingers on the trigger, ready to engage any attempt to escape the cordon.

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With growing numbers of Army personnel on internal security duties being pulled out to the Line of Control (LoC) in Kargil and elsewhere, anti-terrorist operations have slowed down perceptibly. The thinning of troops on the ground comes at a time when tr aditionally terrorist activity escalates through Jammu and Kashmir. At least 400 terrorists are believed to have moved into the State from their bases in Pakistan since the snow melted on the high passes in late March. Their presence compensates for thos e killed in the previous year's operations. "We are very nervous," said one senior police official. "Massacres in Jammu or strikes against high-profile targets in Kashmir would be difficult to cope with, given the forces we have."

That something of the kind has not already happened is a tribute to the police, paramilitary and Army personnel who are still engaged in counter-terrorist duties. However, signs of trouble are growing. Pakistan's unconcealed involvement in Kargil has giv en renewed hope to terrorist groups who, until the Pokhran-II nuclear tests opened up the prospect of international intervention in Jammu and Kashmir, appeared to be heading towards an inglorious defeat. The June 7 arrests of 10 terrorists from the Diski t area of Turtok led to the recovery of massive quantities of weapons, the first of its kind in the Kargil region. Movements of new and large groups of terrorists - one with up to 70 combatants - have been reported from the communally-sensitive Doda area . On June 9, five powerful improvised explosive devices, meant to be fitted in cars, were recovered from south Kashmir. The chances of the relative quiet in Jammu and Kashmir lasting until autumn, appear to be slim.

Morale among the leadership of the Pakistan-based secessionist movement appears to be higher than it was at any point in the recent past. On June 1, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil claimed that his men were responsible for the Kar gil offensive and rejected Defence Minister George Fernandes' ill-advised offer of "safe passage". "We will give the Indian Army safe passage out of Kargil," he said. "I promise we will not attack them if they choose to withdraw." "If the Indian Army has the power," he said, "it should throw us out of Kashmir." The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, the new avatar of the Harkat-ul-Ansar after it was declared a terrorist organisation by the United States' State Department, is among the largest insurgent groups in Jam mu and Kashmir.

Others rapidly joined in where Khalil left off. On June 7, Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, the supreme leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba's parent religious body, the Markaz Dawa wal'Irshad, claimed that his organisation spearheaded the war against Indian troops in Ka rgil. "Our Mujahideen will not withdraw from Kargil and Drass," Sayeed said, "we will not stop until we liberate all of Kashmir." He expressed concern at ongoing moves to bring about a dialogue between India and Pakistan, and criticised Prime Minister Na waz Sharif's Government for releasing Indian Air Force pilot Flt. Lt. K. Nachiketa. Nachiketa, he said, should have been handed over to the United Jihad Council, an apex body of the 14 terrorist organisations operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

Lashkar-e-Taiba officials said that specially trained reinforcements had been sent to Kargil, led by Afghan war veteran Salamatullah Janbaz. Janbaz, they claimed, had been in Jammu and Kashmir since 1994 and had received specialised training in high-alti tude warfare. Indian intelligence officials who are familiar with the Lashkar-e-Taiba's activities within Jammu and Kashmir said that the name was not familiar; however, they agreed that the Lashkar-e-Taiba's cadre contains a significant number of recrui ts who have fought in Afghanistan. Interestingly, reports in the British press suggest that at least six United Kingdom-based recruits have left for Kargil after receiving specialised training in high-altitude combat. It appears that the training was car ried out by a British instructor, who is believed to have received 30 a day per student as payment.

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Mohammad Yusuf Shah, the Jihad Council's head and commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, offered a broader theoretical framework for the events in Kargil. Speaking at Muzaffarabad on June 11, Shah, better known by his theatrical pseudonym Syed Salahuddin, s aid that "the struggle for the freedom of Kashmir has entered a final phase. Internally, economically and diplomatically the issue of Kashmir has entered a decisive stage and within a couple of years it is going to be decided according to the wishes of t he people." "At this time," Shah continued, "the activities of the Mujahideen are spread all over." "The ultimate thing that will decide the issue is the fighting power of the Kashmiri Mujahideen and the tolerance, the Himalayan patience, of the Kashmiri people."

Shah's casting of the events in Kargil was more than a little significant. Only recently did All-Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman and Jamaat-e-Islami political chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani say that the struggle for Jammu and Kashmir could continue, "f orever, if need be". The Islamic right saw an opportunity where real pressure could be brought to bear for international intervention in Jammu and Kashmir. Secondly, Shah's assertion that his cadres were "spread all over" mirrored a second key Pakistan o bjective. Pakistan could now claim that terrorist activity had spread to all the Muslim-majority areas in Jammu and Kashmir, strengthening moves for a final partition of the state along communal lines. These moves have come from U.S.-based thinktanks suc h as the Kashmir Study Group, and from a curious spectrum of Muslim and Hindu chauvinist politicians within the State.

Hurriyat Conference leaders, for their part, are delighted that events are moving their way. On June 10, the organisation's Working Committee condemned the talks between Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz and his Indian counterpart Jaswant Singh. Such talks, he said, were unacceptable because "the Kashmir issue is not confined to the Kargil flare-up alone." Significantly, senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone, who was speaking on behalf of its Working Committee, said that the organisation "does not hold the Line of Control sacrosanct and rejects it, considering it to be a sanguinary partition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir." "The Working Committee of the Hurriyat wants to make it clear to the international community in general and to the United Nations Security Council and major powers in particular that just as the ceasefire line (of 1948) was not made binding upon the people of the State, they do not accept the Line of Control either."

It is evident that events will probably move in two ways. Should Indian forces succeed in evicting Pakistan troops and irregulars within a reasonable period of time, terrorist groups within Jammu and Kashmir would receive a severe setback. The prospect o f Pakistan's support resulting in a meaningful resolution of the status of Jammu and Kashmir to their benefit would unravel as fantasy. However, pessimistic outcomes are also possible. Should the violence in Kargil escalate and terrorist activity within the State grow, India will have to fight a war on two fronts, not just one. A third front would soon open up, that of Western diplomatic pressure. Given the incompetent way in which the Bharatiya Janata Party-led caretaker government has managed the cris is so far, it is unlikely that it will be able to contain these multiple pressures.

Challenges in Indonesia

JAYATI GHOSH columns

The new government in Indonesia will need to bring about major changes in the economic policies that have in the past brought immense hardship to the country.

FOR a while it seemed as if violence would dominate one of the most exciting democratic developments in any country in the recent past. But the first "free and fair" elections in Indonesia for more than three decades turned out to be relatively peaceful, and remarkably participatory given the odds. And so the immediate sensation seemed to be one of sheer relief and even joy generated by the fact that after more than a generation people could actually express themselves through the ballot box. But this h as also given rise to very high popular expectations, which the new government is likely to find it difficult to match.

For 32 years, the authoritarian and repressive regime led by President Suharto and enforced by his Golkar Party not only dominated Indonesian politics but instilled so much fear into potential voices of dissent that many citizens took refuge in apolitica l apathy. And even when he was forced to step down last summer and his chosen successor, B.J. Habibie, announced that genuine elections would be held by the middle of 1999, the sceptics who doubted that this would actually happen were in the majority.

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In fact, the elections themselves do appear to have been conducted in a fair manner, although the subsequent counting of votes has been so delayed, and the nature of the counting process has been so tortuous that allegations of fraud have already been ex pressed. At the time of writing, the party of Megawati Sukarnoputri, the PDI-P, appears to be ahead with more than one-third of the vote, which should normally be a winning margin in an election involving 48 parties and in which the PDI-P has been offere d the support of two of the three other largest parties. But Golkar - which was earlier thought to be a poor third, may emerge as the second largest party. Golkar has been associated with major corruption, authoritarianism and misrule in Indonesia, but it also has advantages because of its sheer spread, vast organisation and money power, and because control over the state machinery gave it great powers of patronage which it has used extensively.

Megawati's own political strength derives from the dynastic factor which plays such a strong role in Asian politics. Her father, Sukarno, is still revered among the Indonesian people as one of the main fighters for independence from the Dutch, the creato r of a secular state bringing together more than 13,000 islands, the President of the fledgling country who dared to stand up to the Americans and a prominent founder of the Non-Aligned Movement in the 1960s. Sukarno was overthrown in 1965 in a military coup whose aftermath saw one of the bloodiest episodes in living memory as the Army under Suharto cleansed Indonesia of all actual and suspected communists. It is interesting that despite all of Suharto's efforts (or perhaps because of them?) to dislodge Sukarno from public memory, he continues to occupy such a large role in the popular imagination.

Megawati herself displayed little interest in politics until a few years ago, when she became the focus of attention as the regime tried to manipulate the internal election in her own party to oust her from its leadership. Her current popularity has as m uch to do with the general public dissatisfaction with the Golkar Party as it does with the fact of her being seen as the inheritor of her father's mantle.

THE apparent docility of the population during the years when a dictatorial and harsh government determined their lives and destroyed all opposition has been a source of surprise to outside observers. It has even been attributed to the patriarchal cultur e of the Javanese, which emphasises obedience to the father-figure. But this clearly was a mask put on by most people in order to avoid the unpleasantness that would otherwise ensue. From the outbreak of the financial crisis in July 1997, this mask began to disintegrate, and the students' protests became hugely popular movements that eventually dislodged Suharto.

When the local counting of votes occurred, this became very evident. Golkar candidates across Java and Sumatra were shocked to realise that the very voters who had stood outside the polling station and listened meekly to their perorations, went off to vo te against their party within a few hours. And still, most voters are jealously guarding their precious secret of the vote, which for the first time in more than three decades offers a genuine choice.

However, the nature of the Constitution is such that the party that wins the majority may still not be in a position to lead the government and choose the President. Habibie - who is himself a Suharto protege - made the free elections possible, but he di d not change the Constitution of the Suharto regime, which effectively loads the dice against complete electoral democracy.

Under Suharto elections were held periodically, but each election was little more than a farce, since the Golkar Party candidate always won. In addition, the military and government appointees made up one-third of the seats in the electoral college which voted for the President. Under this Constitution, once voted in the President has overarching powers. Clearly, therefore, a new government that genuinely desires more democracy would first seek to amend or change the Constitution. Already, because of pu blic pressure and the need for legitimacy, the military has agreed to reduce the number of seats it has to half of its previous level.

THE vote that has just been concluded will elect 482 people to Parliament. But another 238 (38 representatives from the still powerful military and 200 government appointees) will also form part of Parliament that elects the President. This means that u nless one party can get an overwhelming majority in the freely elected seats, it is unlikely to be able to choose its preferred candidate as President. And it also gives the military and the nominated government members the power to block candidates they do not wish to see as President. This is why many Indonesians are saying that General Wiranto, the chief of the armed forces, may be the one who ultimately decides who will be the next President of the country.

Furthermore, even the popular vote may not be very clear-cut. Megawati's party is clearly dominant in Java and Sumatra, two major islands that make up more than half the population, as well as in Bali. But in the outer islands, including Sulawesi and oth ers, Golkar is thought to be in the lead.

The Indonesian regime had the same attitude to the outer islands as that of the Dutch colonialists before them, viewing them as the sources of rich natural resources to be exploited. The little development that did occur was generally directed towards re source extraction, and did little to improve the living standards of the people. But just as they were left out of the economic growth process, so they also avoided the subsequent crisis: nothing much has changed in the material lives of most people livi ng in the outer islands. Here Golkar has the advantage simply because of its wider organisation and experience of rule.

So, even after the votes are counted the political outlook is likely to remain foggy for some time. The new President will certainly have the sweeping powers that the current Constitution provides, but she or he will still have to negotiate a thin tightr ope to ensure legitimacy from the people and keep the military and the existing political elite satisfied at the same time.

This task is especially difficult because one of the crucial issues relates to the way in which Suharto is to be treated. The popular desire is that he and his family be brought to book for the blatant manner in which they have reportedly siphoned off pu blic resources into their private purses. But both the military and the bureaucracy fear this, since any proper investigation would definitely unearth information that would indict many others besides the Suharto family.

Megawati herself has been relatively uncommunicative on this matter, giving rise to rumours that she may turn out to be "soft" on Suharto. Indeed, she has been remarkably non-committal on most important policy issues, in a manner eerily reminiscent of he r counterpart, that is, our own current contribution to dynastic politics in India. Megawati's chief appeal has been emotional and general rather than focussed and detailed. And with respect to the area that is really likely to matter, that is, economic strategy, she has so far shown little imagination or expertise; she has blindly agreed to toe the International Monetary Fund (IMF) line as far as possible.

SEVERAL outside observers have noted with some surprise how little the economic issues have become a focus of electoral politics. It is surprising because economic failure was the clear proximate catalyst for the downfall of Suharto, and the country is c urrently in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis. The IMF strategy that has been in operation in the region since late 1997 is now widely discredited, so much so that the IMF itself has changed some of its parameters, allowing larger government deficits and slightly looser monetary targets.

Nevertheless, the impact on the Indonesian economy of the crisis and the subsequent harsh stabilisation measures has been nothing short of disastrous. Gross Domestic Product fell by an estimated 19 per cent in 1998, and continues to fall even into 1999. Industrial production in the first quarter of 1999 was down by 14 per cent over the same period in 1998, which was already lower than the previous year. Meanwhile, the currency depreciation and cutting of government subsidies on food and fertilizer have led to high inflation, with consumer prices up by more than 30 per cent over the year.

It is true that since January the Indonesian currency, the rupiah, has stabilised and even recovered slightly from its lowest level, and is currently at around Rp. 8,000 a dollar. Also, the stock market index has risen by 44 per cent since January 1, 199 9. These indicators, which are usually all that international fund managers are interested in, have led to the belief in some circles that the Indonesian economy is on a recovery path.

In reality, recovery is still a distant dream. The real economy is still in deep depression, made worse as the negative linkage effects of large-scale job losses make themselves felt throughout the economy. The World Bank's estimates for Indonesian pover ty, which have traditionally been lower than other estimates, suggest that the number of people living below the poverty line doubled to 20 per cent of the population, amounting to 20 million people, in just one year between 1997 and 1998. Other estimate s suggest that the incidence of poverty has increased to as much as 40 per cent. The World Bank also found that the average standard of living of the people (that is, per capita consumption) fell by as much as 25 per cent in 1998 alone.

In this vast country, with a multiplicity of linguistic and ethnic groups, geographical diversity, highly unequal incomes and regional inequalities, social tensions are always just below the surface. The economic crisis has blown the lid off these tensio ns in the past year, with growing incidents of violence between ethnic and religious groups and greater frequency of crime. And now, people's expectations of a democratic government are much more than before, as they look eagerly towards a state that wil l guide them out of their current mess.

All this means that the tasks confronting the new President will be far from easy. And if the new government continues to carry on the economic strategy which has already brought the country so much hardship, it could lose its popular legitimacy quite ra pidly. A new economic vision may well turn out to be the necessary condition to avoid a descent into political and social chaos in Indonesia.

High stakes, hardening positions

Diplomacy fails to make any significant headway on the Kargil front.

FEW people expected the meeting between Jaswant Singh and Sartaj Aziz, Foreign Ministers of neighbouring countries which stood on the brink of full-scale hostilities, to produce any dramatic initiatives. And the outcome in New Delhi on June 12 was very m uch as expected. There were no efforts to contrive a scene of cordiality for the media, none of the customary exchange of courtesies. The atmosphere bristled with hostility as the two Ministers stated their respective positions and parted ways, each to b rief the media separately on what had clearly been a futile effort at dialogue.

Earlier, India had rebuffed repeated suggestions from Pakistan that talks represented the only means to defuse the sharpening conflict in the Kargil region. An initial offer from Sartaj Aziz to visit on June 7 was spurned, before the Indian government in dicated that June 12 would be a convenient date. The acerbic tone was unmistakable. India's official spokesman was at pains to underline that there was neither a request being made nor an invitation being extended. Rather, the intimation was only of Indi a's "convenience".

Pakistan's ardour for negotiations was transparent in its motivations - to broaden the terrain of discussions, to utilise the vantage heights it had gained in the mountains around Kargil to prise open the long-settled question of the disposition of Jammu and Kashmir. India's disdain was in these terms entirely predictable and understandable. The early reckoning was that international public opinion had tilted India's way quite decisively, giving it the moral ascendancy in diplomatic engagements with its truculent neighbour.

The U.S. State Department spokesman had early on recognised that the Kargil events spoke of a qualitatively new type of military engagement by Pakistan-aided insurgents. Infiltration through the porous terrain along the Line of Control (LoC)had been a co mmon occurrence, but for the insurgents to take a position and seek to hold it on the Indian side was entirely new. Posed in this fashion, the problem admitted of only one solution - that the Pakistan-aided intruders should fall back where they came from .

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The U.S. Ambassador in India then proceeded to quash all thoughts of international mediation in the issue, insisting that it was for India and Pakistan to resolve the matter between themselves. With no effort at subtlety, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary was then quoted as saying that the country would feel free to use "any weapon" in its arsenal in order to defend territory that it legitimately regarded as its own. Although the government subsequently insisted that this had been a wrongful attribution, the dimensions of the Pakistani strategy were clear enough by then.

In the Pakistani narration, the events in Kargil were of a piece with a 10-year long history of insurgency in the State of Kashmir. India alone bore responsibility for the escalation of the conflict by bringing in its Air Force and heavy artillery. The l ogic of the conflict meant inevitably that the newly acquired nuclear expertise in the region would become a factor to reckon with at some point of time. This made it incumbent on the international community to intervene to cool down matters first and th en address the underlying causes of tension in the region.

The global response to this rather crude move was tepid at best. Nuclear weapons have gone so far beyond the pale of legitimacy that defence analysts worldwide have not as yet begun to factor it into calculations on the potential scope of the current con flict.

Rather, what has been accepted as the legitimate basis for negotiations in the current context is the military line of control between India and Pakistan. In this respect, Pakistan's initial effort was to question the clarity of demarcation of the LoC. W hen this manoeuvre failed, Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz entered the qualification that there was a difficulty in reconciling the demarcation on the map with the actual realities of a terrain dominated by sheer peaks and ridges.

By early June, Pakistan's international standing had clearly taken a beating. All hopes of a favourable response were scuppered when Bruce Reidel, the U.S. President's special assistant for national security with responsibility for the region, lent his a uthority to the demand that Pakistan pull back its raiders before any further progress could be achieved.

The conspicuous tilt in international public opinion stiffened India's determination not to open negotiations without its minimum condition being met. By June 8, there was a slight relaxation in this posture. That this was more formal than substantive wa s underlined by Jaswant Singh's own intervention in the matter on June 11.

RARELY has a government engaged in border skirmishes that threaten to explode into full-scale hostilities released sensitive intelligence material in its possession, least of all when it involves the chief of staff of the opposing army and one of his pri ncipal aides. Questions remain about the source of the transcripts that Jaswant Singh released on June 11, documenting two telephone conversations between the Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Army, General Pervez Musharraf, and his Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant-General Mohammad Aziz. But apart from a rather feeble effort by Pakistan's Information Minister Mushahid Hussain and the fine technical point drawn by Sartaj Aziz about the inadmissibility of tape-recordings as evidence, there has been no conv incing rebuttal of their authenticity.

On the face of things, the two transcripts seem to lend support to the early reading put forward by Defence Minister George Fernandes that the Pakistan Government and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate are innocent of culpability in the Kargil affair. But in Jaswant Singh's hands, the evidence that Fernandes had enigmatically referred to on occasion acquired a whole new thrust. While Fernandes had used it to absolve the civilian establishment, Jaswant Singh used it as an accusation: "Th is establishes beyond doubt the involvement and complicity of the Pakistani establishment in this misadventure... It raises doubts about the brief that Minister (Sartaj) Aziz carries and at whose dictates he is actually working."

Jaswant Singh's references were clearly to the directions that Lt-Gen. Aziz thought it appropriate to convey to the Foreign Minister, as revealed in the transcript of his conversation with General Musharraf on May 29: "...in short, the recommendation for Sartaj Aziz Saheb is that he should make no commitment in the first meeting on military situation. And he should not even accept ceasefire, because if there is ceasefire then vehicles will be moving..."

Public utterances from the Pakistan military command hierarchy have revealed that the strategic purpose behind the Kargil incursion may be to cut off logistical support for Indian troops stationed in the Siachen region. Lt-Gen. Aziz's rather blunt "recom mendation" to his government underlines these provocative statements by Brigadier Rashid Quereshi of Pakistan's Directorate of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

CURIOUSLY, the Kargil operations have led to some public disquiet in Pakistan over the army seeking to dictate terms to the civilian government. Asad Durrani, a retired Lieutenant-General and former ISI Director-General, sought to set at rest these appre hensions in an article in The Nation (July 12): "We must have faith in our military brass, that they would not land the political leadership in lasting trouble for temporary gains. And by the way, it is time that we started believing that the mili tary in Pakistan (is) firmly under political control... Frankly, does it really matter 'whodunit' in Kargil, as long as it serves our purpose; and as long as we can get away with saying what suits us the best?"

Jaswant Singh's dramatic disclosures of June 11 focussed attention rather ruthlessly on this cleavage in Pakistan's apparatus of governance between the military command and the elected civilian establishment. They also served as advance intimation that t he Foreign Minister of Pakistan as also the government he represented enjoyed little freedom to negotiate with India.

In making these points Jaswant Singh also went further. The bodies of six Indian Army personnel who had disappeared while on a patrol mission on May 14 were returned to India on June 9. Initial examination revealed that all the bodies bore torture marks. On June 11, Jaswant Singh had the autopsy reports with him, which confirmed in his words, "that the soldiers were tortured and then shot at close quarters". "Such conduct," said the Indian Foreign Minister, "is not simply a breach of established norms, or a violation of international agreements; it is a civilisational crime against all humanity; it is a reversion to barbaric medievalism."

ISPR in Pakistan was quick with its denials. It was simply inconceivable, said a military spokesman, that the Pakistan Army would return the bodies of soldiers killed in action if they bore the incriminating evidence of torture. But in the heightened cli mate of suspicion and unease about the Pakistan Army's determination to set the agenda in the neighbourhood, these proved rather unconvincing. Rather, the impression only gained ground that the Pakistan Army had provocatively chosen the moment to subvert the process of dialogue between the governments.

At his media conference in Delhi, Sartaj Aziz repeated the denials that the ISPR had issued. But the Indian Foreign Minister provided a different construction: the issue of torture had been raised in discussions and there were no denials from the Pakista ni side.

Facts were clearly being tailored to suit conflicting agendas. Sartaj Aziz insisted that he had provided concrete proposals to the Indian government to defuse the tension in Kargil. Jaswant Singh claimed that no such suggestions had come. On landing in I slamabad, the Pakistan Foreign Minister spelt out the nature of these proposals: that India should stop its air-strikes and artillery firing. The Indian side, however, had only one point to make: that the incursions across the LoC should be reversed.

IN the reading across the border, these incursions are a natural outcome of a 10-year-long insurgency in the State of Kashmir, which the Pakistan government has little control over. While responding to questions in English, Sartaj Aziz used the term "fr eedom struggle", though in his native tongue he chose the more provocative characterisation of jehad , to describe the Kashmir insurgency. These are imbedded features of the official discourse in Pakistan which it would be a folly for any Ministe r to depart from. But they convey rather starkly what precisely is at stake in the Kargil offensive.

Afghanistan is the theatre where the Pakistani Army and the ISI most recently lent their muscle to the cause of jehad. Even there, the fatal consequences of rivalry between different wings of the military establishment and the political dispensation were always apparent. The ISI, for instance, was committed, till very late, to supporting the Mujahideen fac tion headed by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, even when it launched a campaign of devastation against the civilian population of Kabul and the regime headed by a rival grouping of 'holy' warriors. In the mid-1990s, over the objections of the ISI, the Pakistan Army switched its patronage to a little known cabal of Islamic radicals called the Taliban. The ISI resisted for a while but then gave in. The consequences, in terms of the complete collapse of the Afghan state and the reversion of the entire country into th e brutish conditions of medieval barbarism are today apparent to even the Western powers which sponsored the Taliban's rise.

It is this rather baneful record of meddling in neighbouring states that underpins Pakistan's international isolation today. And Afghanistan is a monitory warning for Kashmir and the entire region of what is at stake in the Kargil conflict.

Dissonant voices

V.VENKATESAN cover-story

A CERTAIN propensity for indiscretion in his utterances has landed Defence Minister George Fernandes in many a controversy. At times it has even had the effect of souring India's relations with friendly countries and undone years of patient diplomacy, as happened in April and May 1998 with Sino-Indian relations.

Yet, on June 10, at a press conference convened to disclose the Samata Party's electoral strategy, Fernandes was uncharacteristically reticent even when newspersons pressed him for details on the situation in Kargil. He told mediapersons that they would find answers to their queries at the regular briefings by the Army. At a time when the authorities had placed restrictions on the movement of journalists in the conflict zone in Kargil, it appeared that crisis managers in the ruling coalition had thought it fit to place similar curbs on Fernandes to keep him from shooting his mouth off. Evidently, elements within the ruling coalition felt that some of Fernandes' utterances ever since the situation worsened in Kargil had dented the government's image. Th e government had come under trenchant criticism for speaking in many voices on the Kargil dispute and of lacking cohesion in its prounouncements and actions.

On May 28, Fernandes seemed to exonerate Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of involvement in the infiltration of Pakistani irregulars and troops into the Kargil area. The bizarre claim was unsubstantiat ed, and in fact shown to be wrong when the BJP-led government released transcripts of a tele-conversation between two top officers of the Pakistan Army. Subsequently, Fernandes made an offer of "safe passage" for the infiltrators to enable them to return to the Pakistani side of the Line of Control. At a time when the Indian Army was suffering casualties in seeking to regain the Pakistani-held positions, his unilateral statement, which was seen as an indication of the government's willingness to conside r a non-military solution, only served to undermine the morale of the defence forces.

Following a barrage of criticism, Fernandes denied that he had exonerated Nawaz Sharif and the ISI of involvement in Kargil. He said that the entire Pakistani establishment was involved, but he reiterated his theory that it was the Pakistan Army which ca lled the shots. And even his offer of "safe passage" for the infiltrators was a hypothetical one, he said: if Pakistan asked for it, it would be considered. Clearly sensing the need to change tack, he said:"Those who have been pushed into our country by Pakistan have to go back, dead or alive." The government's official spokesperson too denied that the government was considering a ''safe passage'' offer.

Fernandes received flak also when he led a team of Army officers to brief the BJP National Executive meeting on the Kargil issue. The move has been criticised on the ground that it violated the convention of keeping the defence forces entirely free of po litical association.

Significantly, the government secured the unstinting support of all Opposition parties, despite their reservations about its initial handling of the infiltration and the political and intelligence failure that led to the crisis in the first place. The ru ling coalition, however, was evidently incapable of exhibiting unity in thought and action. A meeting of the National Democratic Alliance, which comprises the BJP and its allies, helped to rein in Fernandes for a while but it was not long before he was f iring away again.

Even as External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh was preparing to convey to Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz the country's outrage at the torture, murder and disfiguring of six Indian soldiers by the Pakistan Army, Fernandes declared that India "will reply at all levels" to the barbaric treatment of the soldiers.

A special, winning partnership

The success and strength of the Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi team, the greatest Indian doubles pair, springs from their belief in each other.

IT was a historic occasion for Indian tennis when Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won the men's doubles title at the French Open championships. The four Grand Slam tournaments - the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open - are ack nowledged as summits of the tennis world and winning a title in any one of them brings international acclaim and recognition. Paes' and Bhupathi's feat - they are the first Indian pair to win a Grand Slam title - is a matter of great pride and joy.

So often in the past year have Paes and Bhupathi failed narrowly to win a Grand Slam doubles title that one was beginning to despair and wonder if they would ever pull it off. In 1998, which was a big year for them, they were in the semi-finals of three Grand Slam tournaments - the Australian Open, the French Open and the U.S. Open - and won a record eight events on the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour. This year, at the Australian Open, they were a step closer to the summit but fell at th e last hurdle, losing narrowly to the strong combination of Patrick Rafter and Jonas Bjorkman in the final. During the ATP tournament in Chennai in April, there was talk of a possible split between Paes and Bhupathi. Happily the boys stayed together, won the title in Chennai and have now won their first Grand Slam men's doubles title.

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The Paes-Bhupathi team's record is proof of the fact that this victory was no flash in the pan, and the two deserve the highest praise for their perseverance and application. In their last three matches in the French Open, they achieved victories with a mark of authority rarely seen in the highly competitive world of doubles tennis. In three successive rounds, they beat Ellis Ferriera and Rick Leach, Nicklas Kulti and Mikael Tillstrom, and finally Goran Ivanisevic and Jeff Tarango in straight sets. Thes e matches were won not on chancy tie-breakers but with breaks of serve, which emphasised their dominance in all the six sets they played.

In the rain-interrupted final on June 5, Paes and Bhupathi were a set up (6-2) against Ivanisevic and Tarango, with Bhupathi to serve at 4-5 in the second set. Not wanting to start the next day serving to save the set after spending a sleepless night thi nking of what fate had in store for them, the Indian boys wisely hustled through a quick game, in which Bhupathi plonked down four first serves to tie the score at 5-5, at which point play was abandoned for the day. The overnight pressure told on the vol atile Tarango, and the next day the Indians broke his service and wrapped up the match within a few minutes.

After this victory, top-ranked Paes and Bhupathi are a whopping 270 points ahead of the second-ranked team of Leach and Ferreira. Their No.1 position seems unassailable for some time as they will not be defending any points until October. If anything, th ey are bound to pick up more points during this period.

Wimbledon is near at hand and much will be expected from Paes and Bhupathi. But the fast grass courts with a low bounce are not their best surface. Bhupathi's lethal and consistent double-handed backhand, which makes the openings for Paes' interceptions, is at its best on high-bouncing slower surfaces. On grass, Paes and Bhupathi are vulnerable against big-serving teams which can hold serve comfortably and then blast away and 'go for broke' on their service returns hoping to string a few returns togethe r and make the vital breakthrough. This is what happened to them in Wimbledon last year, when they lost in the first round.

When I asked Leander about the areas of their game in which there is scope for improvement, he said, "I think my service can improve, and Mahesh could move better and intercept more." But there is something special about their partnership, although it is difficult to identify just what it is. It goes beyond just combining well and runs deeper than the high-fives and chest butts we have seen them do. Possibly the strength comes from their belief in each other.

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Normally, doubles partners have different, complementary roles to play. One partner is solid and keeps the partnership on an even keel with consistent play (Bhupathi), while the other is the opportunist who puts pressure on the opposition with frequent i nterceptions and takes chances - a swashbuckling role tailor-made for Paes. The fact that Paes is considered to be one of the quickest men on the circuit, if not the quickest in the world, more than makes up for any of his other shortcomings. Together th e Indians are a formidable team.

For Paes and Bhupathi, their present position in the doubles world is rich with promise. The 'Woodies' - Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde - had a long reign, but are now showing signs of cracking up: they have been losing to scratch pairs. Jacco Elting h and Paul Haarhuis are no longer around: Eltingh has retired and Haarhuis is looking for a new partner. Rafter and Bjorkman are good, but being top-class, highly ranked singles players they cannot focus exclusively on the doubles. If Paes and Bhupathi c an stick together and keep working hard they could dominate the doubles world for a couple of years or even longer.

Soon after the Indian pair's victory in France, the BBC rang me up to ask me if in my opinion Paes and Bhupathi were the best Indian doubles team ever. "Are they better than the Amritraj brothers, Mukherjea and Lall, and Ramanathan Krishnan and Kumar?" I was asked. I repeated what Harry Hopman had told me many years ago: "The final verdict is given by the record books," and so far Paes and Bhupathi are the only Indian duo to have won a Grand Slam title.

Only one other performance, which can compare with a Grand Slam title, comes to my mind. This was when Ramanathan Krishnan and Jaideep Mukherjea teamed up to beat Tony Roche and John Newcombe, one of the greatest doubles teams of all time, in a Davis Cup final against Australia in Melbourne. That too was a summit of the tennis world, but one swallow does not a summer make, and Paes and Bhupathi must be rated as the greatest Indian doubles team.

Naresh Kumar is a former Davis Cup player.

The Pokhran-Kargil connection

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THE hostilities raging in Kargil between India's armed forces and an undetermined number of "infiltrators," that is, well-trained irregulars and troops sent, supplied and supported militarily by Pakistan across the well-recognised Line of Control (LoC), could escalate into a major crisis for the two countries. This, in fact, is likely to happen if political sobriety and good sense do not assert themselves - and prevail - in Pakistan and if the Indian Army does not, fairly quickly, achieve tangible re sults on the ground, in some of the world's most inhospitable terrain. What is clear amidst the conflicting claims is that Pakistan's shockingly undetected push across the LoC with fargoing politico-military objectives was daringly conceived, cunningly t imed and skilfully executed; that in both military and political terms, it sprang a nasty surprise; that its results pose a live threat to the territorial integrity of India; that it has already imposed a punishing cost on India, especially in terms of s oldiers' lives, and this cost is likely to rise distressingly; that the infiltrators are strongly positioned, fanatically motivated and well supplied; that they are set, but dispensable pieces in a deep game; and that it will be months before India's pro claimed military objective, the liquidation or driving back over the LoC of the Pakistan-sponsored force, can be accomplished. What raises the stakes enormously for India is the possibility of the Kargil crisis intensifying and escalating during the run- up to the thirteenth general election, due in September 1999. The Bharatiya Janata Party may be fantasising about a 'Falklands factor', but continued mishandling of, and the fall-out from, the Kargil crisis will, in all likelihood, seal the communal part y's fate in the big contest ahead.

The origins, development, handling, implications and lessons of the Kargil crisis have been discussed at length, and usefully, in political forums and the media in India, even if the tone of much recent newspaper coverage has been propagandistic, and eve n shrill. But one aspect of the crisis has clearly failed to get the attention it demands - the connection between the crisis brought on by Pakistan's adventurist push across the LoC and BJP-triggered nuclear weaponisation in India and Pakistan. This re al connection is explored and analysed in Frontline's Cover Story.

To quote from Praveen Swami's insightful lead article: "Two principal sets of failure shaped the crisis at Kargil. The principal one of these was the political failure to comprehend the consequences of the nuclear tests at Pokhran last May. Pokhran's man y implications for the future of Pakistan's strategy on Jammu & Kashmir were left unanalysed, a consequence of the Hindu Right's bizarre ideological fictions on a nuclear India... Pakistan military strategists clearly understood Pokhran offered them an o pportunity to force a conventional military conflagration in Jammu & Kashmir... India's security establishment, by contrast, largely refused even to engage with this possibility. In some senses, it could not. To acknowledge that the Pokhran tests had bee n a strategic misjudgment would have been to admit the absurdities of the BJP's core politics... This political blindness to Pakistan's emerging objectives had several military consequences..."

One of the political tenets that became entrenched in the BJP's strategic thinking after the Pokhran-II and Chagai nuclear explosions was that Indo-Pakistan relations had become more assured, more predictable and more stable. Various ideologues and perso nages belonging to the BJP-led camp, notably Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and K.C. Pant, publicly articulated this belief as received wisdom. Vajpayee's late-twentieth-century embrace of deterrence theory went to the extent of making the astonishi ng claim on the floor of the Lok Sabha, on March 15, 1999 that "the nuclear weapon... is the kind of weapon that helps in preserving the peace." This was no rhetoric; the political belief played the same role as blinkers so far as India-Pakistan relation s were concerned.

Nuclear deterrence has become increasingly discredited. The reasoned objections pressed against deterrence theory by some of its major former practitioners, notably General George Lee Butler who used to be the head of the U.S. Strategic Command (for an i nterview with him, see Frontline, June 18, 1999), enable us to understand, at least to a useful degree, why the Kargil crisis arose, why it was not averted, the calculations behind it, why it is in a dangerous process of escalation, and why more s uch crises could surface, unexpectedly, in India-Pakistan relations. They enable us to appreciate that instability, not stability, will be the determining element in South Asia's security, if nuclear weaponisation is not checked and rolled back.

IT has long been the Pakistan state's interest to portray Kashmir as a flashpoint and to use this to internationalise the issue. What is interesting is that some real deterrents to this course seemed to operate prior to Pokhran-II and Chagai. Following n uclear weaponisation, Pakistan has been emboldened to raise the stakes - at a time and place of its choosing. The Kargil crisis is not the result of some creeping 'infiltration'; it is the outcome of a calculated decision to push extensively across the L oC in the vicinity of Kargil, undo a notable Indian gain made in the 1971 conflict and guaranteed in the 1972 Simla Agreement, militarily and politically challenge India's control over J & K, and threaten to cut off Ladakh from the rest of the State. The onus of preventing escalation while at the same time not losing territory or strategically advantageous positions rests with India.

Thus, India's options are curtailed while the Pakistan state and Army are free to raise the stakes and escalate. The latter can also raise the tempo of the proxy war in the knowledge that, under conditions of nuclear weaponisation, India needs to remain committed to non-escalation of the crisis into a full-blown conventional conflict, in which Pakistan is likely to find itself at a disadvantage. The disturbing truth is that Kargil could well be the first in a series of crises and confrontations provoked by chauvinistic elements in Pakistan that might oblige India to respond with a reduced, if not foreclosed, set of options.

Infiltration from across the border into J & K in the season when the snow melts is not exactly a new phenomenon. Nor is the 'Kargil fixation' of the Pakistan military a secret to the Indian armed forces and intelligence set-up. In fact (as Praveen Swami points out), in the autumn of 1998 Pakistan's shelling along the LoC "escalated to levels unknown since the war of 1971" and Kargil town itself was attacked, virtually with impunity. On the other side, the BJP-led government, which has a loose cannon in charge of Defence, has been a victim of its own hype following bus diplomacy and the modest results achieved during the Indian Prime Minister's visit to Lahore. The deeply flawed Lahore exercise, which was characterised chiefly by the failure to take th e minimum steps necessary to ensure non-deployment of India's and Pakistan's nuclear weapons and to reduce the risks posed by nuclear weaponisation in South Asia, naturally led to complacency and political blindness.

There has been a fair amount of public discussion of the 'intelligence failure' in the context of the Kargil crisis. Actually, from the information published in the press (and especially this magazine), there seems to have been no dearth of intelligence on Pakistan's military preparations and intentions vis-a-vis J & K, and the Kargil sector in particular. The real failure came in the interpretation of intelligence, both specific and vague. The deficiencies in the work of the intelligence machine ry, of the armed forces as well as of the other agencies of the government, and the gross failure to interpret intelligence correctly constitute reasons to worry deeply, especially if we realise that deterrence theory assumes, at the very least, an effor t in intelligence and surveillance that is far more demanding than that associated with conventional military strategy. The costly failure to anticipate the Kargil crisis demonstrates how far India, which claims to be a nuclear weapons state able fully t o take care of its security, is from meeting such demanding requirements in the field of intelligence and surveillance.

MANY arguments have been put forward, before and after the Lahore exercise, on why Pakistan would be willing to work towards maintaining deterrence and stability in the South Asian security context, and would not undertake any military adventure. Claims that peace, in terms of preventing major conventional conflicts, has been assured in the sub-continent have become stock-in-trade with the champions and apologists of India's nuclear weaponisation, especially following the first successful foreign secret ary-level meetings and the Lahore exercise. Kargil seems to demonstrate precisely the opposite: given nuclear weaponisation, escalation is built into a bilateral situation marked by tension, animosity and distrust; a crisis can escalate into a convention al conflict; and a conventional conflict poses the risk, unless very great care is exercised, of going out of control and escalating further. The belief that nuclear weaponisation will lead to the prevention of conventional conflicts, both major and mino r, is clearly unfounded. As General Butler warns (interview in Frontline, June 18, 1999): "Whatever the relationship between India and Pakistan, there is bound to be a dynamic between them now with a nuclear dimension that wasn't there earlier. It 's a new element... the great challenge that these two nations face is to understand how this new element intersects with all the little flames down here that keep the pot boiling... they may not be within your control." The Kargil crisis underlines the imperative of acquiring the political capability to manage "war-like" crises so that they do not escalate into conventional conflicts, given the background of both India and Pakistan claiming operationalised nuclear weaponisation.

Finally, deterrence theory requires the ability to influence the other side in terms of perception and psychology. In the words of General Butler: "Fundamental in my critique is, in the final analysis, it is not what you think that deters, it is what you r opponent thinks. And we never knew what he thought. So there is an absolutely fundamental flaw in the psychology of deterrence. And that is, you are not in charge of it, it is your enemy. If your enemy is totally isolated and alienated from you, how ca n you pretend to think you know what his thoughts, his intentions and his motivations are?" An important feature of the Kargil crisis is the complete failure to understand the thoughts, intentions and motivations of decision-makers in Pakistan. What is t he real motivation behind Pakistan's actions and their timing? Which sections within the Pakistan establishment are truly responsible for the daring adventure? How far will they go in this crisis and what lies ahead, militarily and politically? There hav e not been, and are unlikely to be, any kind of clear answers to these questions. As Fernandes, Vajpayee & Co. have famously demonstrated in their pronouncements, confusion is the norm, clarity the exception.

India, its people and its brave soldiers battling the Pakistan-sponsored 'infiltrators' in the high mountains in the Kargil sector and paying with life and limb, surely do not deserve this.

The bungle in Kargil

The crisis in Kargil has its origins in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government's failure to comprehend the strategic consequences of Pokhran-II and its political blindness and failureto act on military intelligence warnings.

THE spring of 1998 saw the reinvention of George Fernandes as Field Marshal. Fernandes' new image as a hands-on Defence Minister, suitably dressed in combat fatigues and located on the Siachen heights, was carefully manufactured for television. He was a fitting representative of the defence policies of the new, supposedly nationalist regime that had taken power in New Delhi. The saffron-model Defence Minister visited the forward lines to shore up morale, despatched recalcitrant bureaucrats to the darkes t, dingiest basements of the Ministry of Defence, and finally fixed his bayonet to charge the evil dragon threatening India's security - China.

It has taken just over a year for Field Marshal Fernandes and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition he represents to lead India to its most embarrassing military debacle since the war of 1962. Weeks after Fernandes proclaimed that Pakistani intruders would be evicted from Kargil "within two days", Indian soldiers continue to pay with their lives for the failures of their political and military leadership.

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Two principal sets of failures shaped the crisis at Kargil. The principal one of these was the political failure to comprehend the consequences of the nuclear tests at Pokhran last May. Pokhran's many implications for the future of Pakistan's strategy on Jammu and Kashmir were left unanalysed, a consequence of the Hindu Right's bizarre ideological fictions on a nuclear India. The second failure, military negligence, grew directly from the Union Government's unwillingness to accept that the real world ex isted. Hard information was passed over because it failed to form part of the BJP's post-Pokhran vision of India's transfigured relationship with Pakistan.

Union Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani was the first BJP figure to make explicit the linkages between the Pokhran tests and the future of Jammu and Kashmir. On May 18, 1998, days after the Pokhran-II series of tests, emerging from the Government's first major policy meeting on Jammu and Kashmir, Advani argued that India's "decisive step to become a nuclear weapon state has brought about a qualitative new state in India-Pakistan relations, particularly in finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem . Islamabad has to realise the change in the geo-strategic situation in the region and the world" as a consequence of the Pokhran tests. Although "we adhere to the no-first-strike principle", Advani continued, "India is resolved to deal firmly with Pakis tan's hostile activities."

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Several secondary BJP leaders followed in their leader's footsteps, with former Union Minister Madan Lal Khurana inviting Pakistan to join battle "at a place and time of its choosing". Such machismo evaporated rapidly after Pakistan's own nuclear tests a t Chagai, but the ideas which generated it continued to shape policy. Pakistan military strategists clearly understood Pokhran offered them an opportunity to force a conventional military conflagration in Jammu and Kashmir and ensure international interv ention on the issue. India's security establishment, by contrast, largely refused even to engage with this possibility. In some senses, it could not. To acknowledge that the Pokhran tests had been a strategic misjudgment would have been to admit the absu rdities of the BJP's core politics.

Under pressure from the United States, both the Pakistani and Indian governments began what has come to be known as the Lahore Process in February 1999. At the outset, it was clear that the Indian Government was considerably more desperate than the Pakis tani Government for results from the dialogue. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's famous 'half hug' greeting at the Wagah border stood in sharp contrast with his Indian counterpart Atal Behari Vajpayee's soap opera mawkishness. The absence of the Pak istan Army chief, Gen. Pervez Musharraf at Wagah, too, made clear that the military establishment he represented was less than enthusiastic about the new dialogue. But the BJP-led coalition, desperate to mitigate pressure from the U.S. and to claim credi t for at least a diplomatic achievement at a time of profound domestic political discontent, closed its eyes to the warning signs.

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THIS political blindness to Pakistan's emerging objectives had several military consequences. In the autumn of 1998, shelling by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control escalated to levels unknown since the war of 1971. Kargil town was devastated, and 17 civilians lost their lives. In a desperate effort to ensure that the conflict did not escalate, the Indian Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. V.P. Malik, was instructed to ensure that his troops did not respond to Pakistani fire with heavy calibre guns, i ncluding 155-mm Bofors howitzers. Pakistan Army analysts drew the obvious inference. If India was unwilling and unable after Pokhran to risk an escalation along the Line of Control (L0C) despite deliberate provocation, larger enterprises could now be con sidered by Pakistan's military establishment.

Events from August 1998 underlined the absence of a strategic paradigm within which Pakistan's post-Pokhran objectives could be read. Highly placed sources told Frontline that in the second half of 1998, shortly after credible reports emerged that Pakistan-backed terrorists had acquired shoulder-held surface-to-air missiles (SAM), the then Air Force chief, S.K. Sareen, offered the use of Jaguar aircraft with photo-reconnaissance kits for surveillance. Perhaps driven by a misplaced sense that Jamm u and Kashmir was the Army's exclusive concern, Malik declined the offer. Both Vajpayee and Fernandes, the sources said, believed that intelligence inputs on the SAMs were fictitious. While the SAM story may perhaps have indeed been dubious, events after Pokhran should themselves have made the case for heightened surveillance.

Had the use of Jaguars been institutionalised last year, the first movements of Pakistani irregulars and troops across the LoC would almost certainly have been picked up early. And for reasons which have still to be explained, no preparations appear to h ave been made in the Kargil area even for the kind of shelling seen in 1998. Had the Zoji-La Pass not opened early this year, India would have faced serious logistics and troop problems in Kargil. While Malik bears some responsibility for these failures, he was facing his own problems. All through last year, sources say, the Army chief's repeated calls for upgrading India's signals intelligence capabilities and for the introduction of new direction-finding and interception facilities ran into a wall of disinterest in the Defence Ministry. The new equipment that Malik asked for arrived late, and in very small quantities.

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Through this period, the Research and Analysis Wing's (RAW) Aviation Research Centre (ARC), too, proved hostile to requests for border-area surveillance, saying that it needed political clearance for such use of its 40-aircraft fleet. The aircraft are de signed to fly at extremely high altitudes in order to avoid detection. In general, clearance for their trans-border use never came. Within Jammu and Kashmir, the ARC had proved more cooperative. In October and November 1998, just as training for the Karg il offensive was under way at Olthingthang, ARC aircraft were stationed at Jammu to verify reports that large numbers of terrorists had gathered on the mountain heights of Doda. The photographs obtained, sources told Frontline, were "extremely use ful". But no flights were carried out along the LoC, presumably because the ARC was not ordered to do so.

WHAT this set of events makes clear is that in the wake of Pokhran, there was no cogent understanding of the new strategic opportunities for Pakistan. After the initiation of the Lahore Process, the political establishment in New Delhi and an often-plian t military leadership concurred that Pakistan's sustained aggression in Jammu and Kashmir would now be slowly subverted. Pressure from the U.S. and business interests were among the many reasons offered for why Pakistan would choose to ignore the best o pportunity it had in two decades for an international initiative on the future of Jammu and Kashmir. For the BJP, Lahore was set to form a major election issue, one that would both prove its diplomatic credibility and secular credentials. Whenever facts subverted its claims on Lahore, these facts were simply despatched to the Union Government's wastepaper baskets.

Predictably, Defence Ministry officials in New Delhi responded with disdain when reports first came of a major offensive being planned by Pakistan in the Kargil area. As Frontline reported in its June 18 issue, the Leh station of the Intelligence Bureau (I.B.) sent out two specific warnings in the third week of October 1998. The young head of the Bureau's Leh office said in his first report that a group of over 350 irregulars were being trained at two camps adjoining Pakistan's forward headquarte rs at Olthingthang. The group, his report made clear, planned to cross the border in April 1999. The Leh office's second report pointed to the use of remotely piloted photo-reconnaissance vehicles being used by pilots along the Srinagar-Leh National High way.

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More corroborative evidence was to follow. Maps of the Srinagar-Kargil road were found on the body of Ali Mohammad Dar, the Hizbul Mujahideen's supreme commander for the Kashmir Valley, after he was shot dead by the State police's Special Operations Grou p on August 9 last year. The arrest of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Azhar Shafi Mir by the Border Security Force on December 20 threw up more intriguing evidence. Mir said he had been tasked to sabotage the Kangan-Leh route, an act that would have prevent ed Indian troop reinforcements and artillery from reaching Kargil after the April attack. No piece of this evidence was conclusive, but any dispassionate observer would have sought to take precautions on its basis. None were taken, as the Union Governmen t continued to be taken for a ride by Lahore.

FERNANDES' post-Kargil pronouncements illustrate that the BJP's strategic establishment was taken by surprise when combat broke out in early May. On May 14, eight days after Lieutenant Saurabh Kalia's patrol had disappeared and at a time when Indian reco nnaissance parties were encountering a plethora of Pakistani positions, Fernandes visited Leh for a meeting of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council. He described the shelling that had broken out in Kargil as "sporadic", and said the Indian Army was "well prepared" to deal with the situation. A day later, in New Delhi, he promised that the intruders would be evicted "in 48 hours". One day later, a news agency reported from Dhanbad that Fernandes had claimed that the Army "had cordoned off the a rea entirely" and that India's military objectives in Kargil would be realised "within the next two days".

Given that the Indian Army had just commenced pumping in additional troops, a charitable interpretation of the Defence Minister's pronouncement would be that it was a wilful misrepresentation of the truth. The less-generous explanation was that neither h e, nor the Ministry of Defence, had bothered to find out just what was happening in Kargil. Nor, it is now evident, did anyone else in the BJP. The first meeting of the apex Cabinet Committee on Security was called only on May 25, a day after Jammu and K ashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah visited New Delhi to beg the Prime Minister to take the Kargil issue seriously. It was only after this meeting that the Prime Minister recovered from his Lahore trance to realise the situation in Kargil was "war-like ". More than 50 soldiers were dead by then.

Fernandes now attempted to cover up the errors of his Ministry and the BJP's defence establishment. On May 29, he claimed that Indian troops had flushed out infiltrators from the Drass sub-sector and "restored the sanctity of the Line of Control". This w as completely untrue. On May 28, the Defence Minister attempted to defend the BJP-led coalition government's handling of the Lahore Process by seeking to exonerate the government's dialogue partner, Nawaz Sharif. "In this entire episode," Fernandes said on television, "the Pakistan Army has hatched a conspiracy to push in infiltrators, and the Nawaz Sharif Government did not have a major role. The ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), which we know initiates such activities, has not played any role."

These bizarre claims were debunked when the documents that Fernandes based his claims on - a surveillance tape of conversations between Pervez Musharraf and his Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Mohammad Aziz - were made public in New Delhi on Ju ne 11. The conversations offered little insight into the role of the ISI in the Kargil affair and made clear that the Pakistani political establishment was well briefed on the affair. But what was even more disturbing was the use of classified intelligen ce material to serve a domestic political agenda. Fernandes' purpose in using the conversation between Musharraf and Aziz was not to further India's strategic objectives, but to defend the political position of the BJP-led coalition.

The confusion within the government snowballed as criticism of its handling of Kargil grew. On June 1, Fernandes made his infamous offer of safe passage for Pakistani irregulars and troops back to their side of the LoC. "Get your troops out of our soil," he proclaimed, "or watch them being thrown out." If Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz "wants to discuss how the intruders are to leave, we can discuss their safe passage." The Prime Minister, apparently oblivious to the outrage that Fernandes' state ment had provoked, endorsed this position while commissioning the INS Mysore in Mumbai on June 2. "We can discuss their safe passage if such a request was made," Vajpayee said. "It could be considered." Both statements, despite subsequent denials, served a purpose. They suggested that the diplomatic forces set in place in Lahore offered potential for the resolution of the military conflict in Kargil.

INDIA'S war to regain the Kargil heights had its origins not in simple military errors, but in a larger process of self-delusion set in place with the nuclear tests at Pokhran. Pokhran opened the space for Pakistan to attempt to gain ground in Jammu and Kashmir through international intervention for the first time since 1971. The tests, however, had a curious narcotic effect on India's security establishment, leading it to ignore Pakistan's new objectives in the face of strong intelligence evidence and analytical input. Lahore was not a new beginning in India-Pakistan dialogue, but a desperate response to the international pressure brought to bear on India after the Pokhran tests. The BJP-led coalition was so desperate for the success of the Lahore Pro cess that it indoctrinated itself with the belief that the Wagah bus ride had been an unmixed triumph.

Bandar kya jane adrak ka swad, goes the Hindi saying: how can a monkey know that ginger tastes good? Without a paradigm within which it could comprehend or engage with the new circumstances which emerged from the spring of 1998, the BJP-led coalit ion government could do little to address Pakistan's new offensive in Jammu and Kashmir. Sadly, there are few signs that it has learned from the events of this May. The real danger now is that, pushed to the wall, the right-wing government in New Delhi c ould launch into an election-eve military adventure. The consequences of such a course are too grim to contemplate.

Strategic follies

PRAVEEN SWAMI cover-story

EVEN as Indian soldiers make their way up the Kargil heights, there is growing evidence that certain top military and strategic officials were responsible for some of the early reverses. Officials appear to have failed to respond to changed circumstances after the Pokhran tests of May 1998 and persisted with outdated military deployment procedures.

Highly placed sources said that high-altitude positions in the Drass sub-sector, where some of the worst fighting in the region has occurred, were held through the winter until 1982. The Border Security Force (BSF) was in charge of the Drass sub-sector u ntil that year. Even positions such as Marpo La at 5,353 metres and Sando at 4,268 m were occupied by BSF jawans, although temperatures in the Drass area dropped below -65 Celsius.

A new political and strategic environment appears to have led the Army, which replaced the BSF here in 1982, to conclude that no purpose would be served by holding on to high-altitude pickets in winter. Despite growing border tensions and regular artille ry exchanges in the Kargil area since 1997, an imaginative inertia ensured that there was no review of the 15-year policy. Had troops been positioned on Marpo La and Sando through the winter, the latest intrusions could have been detected early. Also, In dian troops would have then held commanding positions, making it difficult for Pakistan to supply its positions on Tololing, the Tiger Hills and the Mushkoh Valley.

Interestingly, the BSF appears to have continued with its pre-1982 strategy in areas it was assigned in the Kargil area. BSF personnel remained on the Bravo One post on Chorbat La through the bitter winter. Positions over 4,500 m at Alpha Tekri and Punja b Tekri, both in the Kargil sector, were also maintained. Had BSF jawans not been at Chorbat La, Pakistan's effort to cut off Turtok by moving a brigade down the Mian Langpa gully may well have met with success. BSF jawans at Chorbat La have faced sustai ned fire but have repulsed attacks with the aid of hardened high-altitude troopers from the Ladakh Scouts.

For reasons which are not entirely clear, Army regiments to which the BSF's companies are attached chose not to stay at their positions in the winter. The 3 Punjab Regiment, to which the BSF company at Chorbat La is attached, does not for one appear to h ave held any other post in the area. While the soldiers and officers of the regiment can in no way be held responsible for this, their top brass clearly have some answering to do. Military officials disregarded, among other things, warnings issued by the Intelligence Bureau's Leh office in the third week of October last year of an incursion in April by at least 350 irregulars from Pakistan's Kargil area forward headquarters in Olthingthang.

One key reason for the military misjudgment appears to have been the excessive dependence of some top Army officials for their military assessments on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government's perceptions of the Lahore Process. Indeed, there are several recent instances of senior officials finding politics more interesting than army work. In March this year, military officials in New Delhi had issued a document they described as a "concept paper", calling for military representation at all l evels of civilian government in Jammu and Kashmir from the district level to the tehsil level. One reason cited for this was that it would infuse discipline in the administration. Mercifully, the proposal was shot down after a protracted rearguard action by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

A long haul ahead

PRAVEEN SWAMI cover-story

India's strategic paradigm for engaging Pakistan's intervention in Jammu and Kashmir, of which the Kargil offensive is just the latest phase, requires serious consideration.

AT night, the skies across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir light up with the colours of war. The war that began in Kargil now sprawls from there to Uri, and then down south to Akhnoor and Chhamb. The wrenching noise of artillery fire has f orced thousands of villagers of Akhnoor to leave for safer areas. Aircraft have been scrambled from Jammu to intercept Pakistani intrusions in Jammu. The battle for Kargil is getting rapidly transformed into a war for the future of Jammu and Kashmir, one that could have profound consequences for the future of the State. And there are signs that the fighting will continue for several weeks, perhaps months.

Indian soldiers have reached positions that are at small-arms fire range from Pakistan-held posts in some Kargil areas. The 4,950-metre summit in the Tololing mountains in the Drass sub-sector has finally been taken by Indian troops; elsewhere in the are a Indian troops are now so close to Pakistan-held positions that air support is impossible. The bodies of 11 Pakistanis were recovered after the June 13 assault. Fighting in the area had earlier claimed the life of Lieutenant Colonel R. Vishwanathan, but the fact that his body has not yet been recovered suggests that the mountain spur from which he launched his assault on Tololing remains exposed to Pakistani fire. The summit above Tololing, at 5,140 metres, continues to be heavily defended by Pakistani troops and irregulars.

The most bitter fighting has centred on the Batalik area, some 50 km east of Kargil. Indian Army officials say that they have seized several Pakistani positions, but losses in the process have been severe. As troops seek to move up the mountains, as in D rass, positions held by Pakistani irregulars and troops have been receiving massive artillery and mortar support from across the LoC. And there are disturbing signs that contrary to official claims, Pakistan's resupply and reinforcement lines remain ope n in several areas. Indeed, reconnaissance photographs and field patrols have reported several new Pakistan-held positions, at least three of them in the Turtok area alone.

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There is reason to believe that Indian troops have not been able to advance much in these areas over the last 10 days. The body of Major M. Saravanan, who was killed in combat on May 28, continues to lie at a height of 4,250 m on a mountain in Batalik. T he fact that it has not been recovered means that Indian troops have been unable to gain secure positions on heights above that. The body of mechanised Infantry officer Major Rajesh Adhikari, who was killed in the Mushkoh Valley at above 4,000 m on May 3 0, also lies in the snow. Attempts to bring down the body, too, have been met with heavy fire. As in Turtok, the Mushkoh Valley has seen several new Pakistan positions emerge in recent weeks. Although air strikes have been at their fiercest in the area, their effect has at best been limited.

On June 10 came the direct evidence that the Pakistani irregulars and troops are able to reinforce their positions. That day, troops of the 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry and the Desert Scorpions Paracommando unit took a commanding position on the Yardol ridge. Pakistani irregulars and troops on Yardol, however, had evidently asked for reinforcements before vacating their positions. Late that night, Indian troops found themselves sandwiched between two lines of attack. At least 15 Indian soldiers and 23 Pakistani irregulars and troops were killed in the battle. Officials say that the incident illustrates just how bloody the conflict will be as Indian troops move higher up the mountains.

Further evidence that Pakistan is strengthening its presence in the area has emerged from surveillance. The ridges between Chorbat La and Turtok have been under heavy pressure ever since Pakistan moved up a brigade-strength force along the Mian Langpa gu lly on the LoC last fortnight. There have also been large movements of infantry units from Pakistan's 11 Corps at Sialkot, as well as of artillery from the Skardu area, Pakistan's military headquarters for the Kargil region. Large-scale movement of ammun ition has been reported from the Pakistan Army's Sheikh Khan dump near Kohat, and intelligence reports suggest that fresh personnel have gathered at Pakistan's forward headquarters, Olthingthang. Olthingthang was the base from which Pakistani irregulars and troops were launched in early May.

As the discovery of eight new forward helipads across the LoC suggests, Pakistan appears determined to hold on to the positions it has occupied on the Kargil heights. There is also growing evidence that Pakistan intended to generate terrorist activity i n Kargil, the only predominantly Muslim area in Jammu and Kashmir that has remained unaffected by secessionist violence. On June 7, the Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested 10 terrorists from the Diskit area in Turtok. Their sustained interrogation led to t he recovery of 19 Kalashnikov assault rifles, a light machine gun, a rocket launcher, grenades, ammunition and high explosives. The interrogation, sources told Frontline, suggested that future assaults across the LoCby Pakistani irregulars and tro ops would have been supported by terrorist activity in the Kargil area itself.

Perhaps the biggest problem in dealing with such sustained pressure, particularly as the harsh winter sets in in Kargil, will be in ensuring that the morale of the troops remains high. Soldiers and junior officers are incensed by what they see as an ill- defined and erratic strategic paradigm for Kargil. The sustained fire of contradictory and confusing statements from New Delhi has not helped matters either. The handover by Pakistan on June 11 of the severely mutilated bodies of Lieutenant Saurabh Kalia and five soldiers, who were members of the first patrol which was sent out in the Kaksar area (Frontline , June 18) and went missing, has provoked anger and frustration. Kalia's body showed signs of severe torture, with a sharp object having been pushed through his eye. The other soldiers' bodies, too, showed signs of brutal treatment before they were shot.

Some confusion remains about just when Kalia and his patrol went missing. Army officials first said that the patrol went out on May 5, but Kalia's mother now says she received a letter from him dated five days later. Officials now say that the patrol wen t missing on May 14, but if this was indeed the first patrol sent out, that would suggest that the military leadership in Kargil was even slower to respond to the summer thaw than had earlier been believed earlier. The bodies of an officer and a soldier, members of a second patrol of nine troops that was sent out shortly after Kalia went missing, have been sighted but are still to be recovered. Seven soldiers returned safely from that patrol.

EVEN as the war on the heights continues, the release of the transcripts of conversations between Pakistan's Chief of the Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf and the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Mohammad Aziz Khan has cast light on Paki stan's broad strategic objectives. These conversations took place while Musharraf was in Beijing, where he arrived for a formal visit as the crisis broke out in Kargil. The tapes are believed to have been made by the United States' Central Intelligence A gency (CIA) and routed to the Indian Government through the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The CIA possesses the technological means to monitor traffic through a plethora of communications satellites, although this is not the sole route through which the conversations could have been intercepted.

In the first released conversation, which took place on May 26, Aziz Khan discussed with Musharraf the diplomatic outcomes of India's air campaign. Musharraf made clear that Pakistan's enterprise in Kargil had the support of its political establishment. In an apparent reference to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Musharraf told his junior "so many times we had discussed, taken your blessings". He continued: "And yesterday also I told him that the door of discussion, dialogue must be kept open and (as for th e) rest, no change in ground situation." Aziz Khan also made clear that Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed had been briefed to claim that all the bombs dropped by Indian Air Force aircraft on the first day of the air strikes had fallen w ithin Pakistani territory.

Musharraf made explicit Pakistan's objectives in a second conversation on May 29. This time Aziz Khan told Musharraf that he would ensure that Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz would give "no understanding or no commitment on (the) ground situation" during talks with New Delhi. Aziz would be instructed to argue that "we have been sitting here for long... Like in the beginning, the matter is the same - no post was attacked, and no post captured. The situation is that we are along our defensive Line o f Control. Aziz Khan concluded: "On this line, we can give them logic, but in short, the recommendation for Sartaj Aziz sahib is that he should make no commitment in the first meeting on the military situation. And he should not even accept a ceasefire, because if there is ceasefire, then vehicles will be moving (on the Srinagar-Leh route)."

Pakistan's military leadership clearly understood that sustained pressure on India along the LoC would bring about rapid international intervention. That, in turn, would offer Pakistan its best prospects since 1971 of a Western intervention in Jammu and Kashmir. In the May 26 conversation, Aziz Khan reported that Nawaz Sharif was "confident, just like that. Shamshad Ahmed as usual was supporting. Today, for the last two hours, the BBC has been continuously reporting on the air strikes by India. Keep usi ng this - let them keep dropping bombs. As far as internationalisation is concerned, this is the fastest thing that has happened. You may have seen in the press about United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's appeal that both countries should sit and talk."

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Aziz Khan spent considerable time in this conversation gloating on the secrecy with which the Kargil operation had been planned. He recounts an official saying at a meeting on behalf of the Army that only Nawaz Sharif had been briefed before the operatio n began. Pakistan Army Corps commanders and politicians, he said, had been told of the assault only on May 19, well after fighting had broken out. "The reason for the success of this operation," Aziz Khan said, "was this total secrecy. Our experience was that our earlier efforts failed because of lack of secrecy. So, the top priority is to accord confidentiality, to ensure our success. We should respect this and the advantage we have from this would give us a handle."

CURIOUSLY, these tapes are the same as the ones Defence Minister George Fernandes used to claim that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistani political establishment were unaware of the Kargil offensive. Just how he arrived at these conclusions is unclear, for the tapes make clear that precisely the contrary is true. Nawaz Sharif's endorsement of the military offensive is made explicit. Some dissonances are indeed evident, with a Malik sahib and the official who occupied Aziz Khan' s previous office offering alternative strategic visions. But these differences were extremely narrow. "Those two's views," Aziz Khan reported, "were that the status quo and the present position of General Hassan, no change should be recommended in that. But he was also saying that any escalation after that should be regulated as there may be a danger of war."

Perhaps most significant, there is no reference to any ISI reservations on the broad parameters of Pakistan's Kargil offensive. Since Aziz Khan never occupied a command position in the ISI, the position of the officer who succeeded him was clearly milita ry. There is no reference in the conversations to the position of the ISI's Director-General, Lieutenant General Zia-ud-Din, on the offensive. Fernandes' claims appear to have been driven more by a desire to defend the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalitio n government's Pakistani partners in the Lahore dialogue than by a dispassionate strategic assessment. Indeed, the Union Government will have a few questions to answer on the errors of judgment that opened the way for the Kargil war.

So too will the Indian Army. For one, while officials have repeatedly claimed that it is near-impossible for them to hold on to mountain posts all winter, Border Security Force (BSF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troopers have been doing exactly that. The BSF position in Chorbat La, which has been under sustained attack, has managed to fight off Pakistani attacks precisely because its personnel were on the heights through the winter. The ITBP, in a separate sector, stays on the crucial Daulat Be g Oldi post through the winter. Neither Chorbat La nor Daulat Beg Oldi are helicopter-supplied. Retired Army officers have carried out something of a propaganda offensive claiming that the Army will have to execute near-impossible logistics in maintainin g high-altitude posts through the winter.

Military Intelligence (M.I.), too, will have some explaining to do. The Brooks-Henderson Report, authored in the wake of the 1962 defeat, specifically charged M.I. with the task of gathering information inside a 10-km belt on either side of India's borde rs. The organisation failed to detect the build-up of Pakistani irregulars and troops at Olthingthang, and appears to have paid little attention to reports by the Intelligence Bureau's Leh office, issued in the third week of October 1998. In January 1999 , M.I. again failed to pay attention to reports that Pakistani helicopters were surveying Indian positions in the Kargil area. M.I.'s evidently casual perceptions of the threat to Kargil appears to have rubbed off on ground troops, some of whom are even believed to have left ammunition in the positions they vacated last autumn.

It appears possible that M.I., like the military establishment at large, chose to be guided by the political perceptions of the BJP leadership on the integrity of the Lahore Process. The Army's outrageous decision to send senior serving officers to brief the BJP National Executive illustrates the disturbing linkages that the Union Government has succeeded in engineering between its political establishment and the military leadership. These linkages are, at the core, responsible for the failure to execut e dispassionate military assessments of Pakistan's objectives this summer. The Army's sole move to bring about accountability has been to dismiss two low-level officials, 121 Brigade Commander Surindar Singh and his Drass-area subordinate, Colonel Pushpi nder Singh. This ritual witch-hunting is no substitute for serious introspection.

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EVEN more serious thought will be required on India's future strategic paradigm for engaging Pakistan's war in Jammu and Kashmir, of which the Kargil offensive is just the latest phase. A senior intelligence official said: "The fact of the matter is that they have inflicted very great costs on us at very little cost to themselves. Indian Army strategies were traditionally built around the idea that any major Pakistani offensive in Jammu and Kashmir would meet with massive retaliation in Sindh and Punjab . But in a post-Pokhran South Asia, scenarios of Indian armour sweeping through the plains of Punjab are unrealistic. For several years, voices within the Indian security establishment have been calling for the development and institution of an effective , covert counter-offensive capability.

Pushing Pakistan's troops and irregulars off the Kargil heights will be the easy part of the battle ahead. Finding new and unconventional ways to fight unconventional wars will be the real challenge.

The other wars

PRAVEEN SWAMI cover-story

Even as the Army takes on Pakistani intruders on the heights of Kargil, the war against terrorism goes on elsewhere in Jammu and Kashmir.

THE grey mountain dawn broke over Malpora village a little after 4:30 a.m. With it, crack police commandos entered the remote forest village, moving down the main path in pace with the protective shield of an armoured car. The night before, field intelli gence had reported that the Ganderbal area's top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Bambar Khan, was in Malpora with five of his men. Now each of the village's 300 homes had to be searched. Any of them could be booby-trapped or each could be an ambush. Two hou rs later it became clear that terrorists had indeed been in the village, but had left the previous evening. "He is just three hours ahead of us," said Srinagar's Superintendent of Police (Operations). "Soon, we will get there first."

As Indian troops fight to regain the Kargil heights, another war against Pakistan-backed terrorists continues through Jammu and Kashmir. Each day of this war, as the one in Kargil, sees the death of both Pakistan-backed irregulars and Indian combatants. Three thousand soldiers, police personnel, paramilitary troopers and pro-India militia members have been killed in combat over the last 10 years. But unlike the battle in Kargil, there is little glory in this war, and even less respect for its soldiers. Their stories are not reported on prime-time television and on newspaper pages. In 1995, two soldiers from the Rajputana Rifles were beheaded in Kupwara, and the mutilated body of a third soldier was recovered shortly afterwards. No government official s aw it fit even to express outrage.

The cordon-and-search operation at Malpora was just one of the many such carried out through Jammu and Kashmir each night. Personnel from the Jammu and Kashmir Police's Special Operations Group (SOG), the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Reser ve Police Force (CRPF) had to wade through slushy paddyfields and scramble over the steep slopes around Malpora to cordon off the village. Although they were weighed down by bullet-proof gear and weapons, the task had to be accomplished, in total silenc e and darkness. A torch, or even a lit cigarette, could invite fire from a lookout's sniper rifle. And then began the wait to dawn, with fingers on the trigger, ready to engage any attempt to escape the cordon.

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With growing numbers of Army personnel on internal security duties being pulled out to the Line of Control (LoC) in Kargil and elsewhere, anti-terrorist operations have slowed down perceptibly. The thinning of troops on the ground comes at a time when tr aditionally terrorist activity escalates through Jammu and Kashmir. At least 400 terrorists are believed to have moved into the State from their bases in Pakistan since the snow melted on the high passes in late March. Their presence compensates for thos e killed in the previous year's operations. "We are very nervous," said one senior police official. "Massacres in Jammu or strikes against high-profile targets in Kashmir would be difficult to cope with, given the forces we have."

That something of the kind has not already happened is a tribute to the police, paramilitary and Army personnel who are still engaged in counter-terrorist duties. However, signs of trouble are growing. Pakistan's unconcealed involvement in Kargil has giv en renewed hope to terrorist groups who, until the Pokhran-II nuclear tests opened up the prospect of international intervention in Jammu and Kashmir, appeared to be heading towards an inglorious defeat. The June 7 arrests of 10 terrorists from the Diski t area of Turtok led to the recovery of massive quantities of weapons, the first of its kind in the Kargil region. Movements of new and large groups of terrorists - one with up to 70 combatants - have been reported from the communally-sensitive Doda area . On June 9, five powerful improvised explosive devices, meant to be fitted in cars, were recovered from south Kashmir. The chances of the relative quiet in Jammu and Kashmir lasting until autumn, appear to be slim.

Morale among the leadership of the Pakistan-based secessionist movement appears to be higher than it was at any point in the recent past. On June 1, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil claimed that his men were responsible for the Kar gil offensive and rejected Defence Minister George Fernandes' ill-advised offer of "safe passage". "We will give the Indian Army safe passage out of Kargil," he said. "I promise we will not attack them if they choose to withdraw." "If the Indian Army has the power," he said, "it should throw us out of Kashmir." The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, the new avatar of the Harkat-ul-Ansar after it was declared a terrorist organisation by the United States' State Department, is among the largest insurgent groups in Jam mu and Kashmir.

Others rapidly joined in where Khalil left off. On June 7, Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, the supreme leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba's parent religious body, the Markaz Dawa wal'Irshad, claimed that his organisation spearheaded the war against Indian troops in Ka rgil. "Our Mujahideen will not withdraw from Kargil and Drass," Sayeed said, "we will not stop until we liberate all of Kashmir." He expressed concern at ongoing moves to bring about a dialogue between India and Pakistan, and criticised Prime Minister Na waz Sharif's Government for releasing Indian Air Force pilot Flt. Lt. K. Nachiketa. Nachiketa, he said, should have been handed over to the United Jihad Council, an apex body of the 14 terrorist organisations operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

Lashkar-e-Taiba officials said that specially trained reinforcements had been sent to Kargil, led by Afghan war veteran Salamatullah Janbaz. Janbaz, they claimed, had been in Jammu and Kashmir since 1994 and had received specialised training in high-alti tude warfare. Indian intelligence officials who are familiar with the Lashkar-e-Taiba's activities within Jammu and Kashmir said that the name was not familiar; however, they agreed that the Lashkar-e-Taiba's cadre contains a significant number of recrui ts who have fought in Afghanistan. Interestingly, reports in the British press suggest that at least six United Kingdom-based recruits have left for Kargil after receiving specialised training in high-altitude combat. It appears that the training was car ried out by a British instructor, who is believed to have received 30 a day per student as payment.

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Mohammad Yusuf Shah, the Jihad Council's head and commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, offered a broader theoretical framework for the events in Kargil. Speaking at Muzaffarabad on June 11, Shah, better known by his theatrical pseudonym Syed Salahuddin, s aid that "the struggle for the freedom of Kashmir has entered a final phase. Internally, economically and diplomatically the issue of Kashmir has entered a decisive stage and within a couple of years it is going to be decided according to the wishes of t he people." "At this time," Shah continued, "the activities of the Mujahideen are spread all over." "The ultimate thing that will decide the issue is the fighting power of the Kashmiri Mujahideen and the tolerance, the Himalayan patience, of the Kashmiri people."

Shah's casting of the events in Kargil was more than a little significant. Only recently did All-Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman and Jamaat-e-Islami political chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani say that the struggle for Jammu and Kashmir could continue, "f orever, if need be". The Islamic right saw an opportunity where real pressure could be brought to bear for international intervention in Jammu and Kashmir. Secondly, Shah's assertion that his cadres were "spread all over" mirrored a second key Pakistan o bjective. Pakistan could now claim that terrorist activity had spread to all the Muslim-majority areas in Jammu and Kashmir, strengthening moves for a final partition of the state along communal lines. These moves have come from U.S.-based thinktanks suc h as the Kashmir Study Group, and from a curious spectrum of Muslim and Hindu chauvinist politicians within the State.

Hurriyat Conference leaders, for their part, are delighted that events are moving their way. On June 10, the organisation's Working Committee condemned the talks between Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz and his Indian counterpart Jaswant Singh. Such talks, he said, were unacceptable because "the Kashmir issue is not confined to the Kargil flare-up alone." Significantly, senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone, who was speaking on behalf of its Working Committee, said that the organisation "does not hold the Line of Control sacrosanct and rejects it, considering it to be a sanguinary partition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir." "The Working Committee of the Hurriyat wants to make it clear to the international community in general and to the United Nations Security Council and major powers in particular that just as the ceasefire line (of 1948) was not made binding upon the people of the State, they do not accept the Line of Control either."

It is evident that events will probably move in two ways. Should Indian forces succeed in evicting Pakistan troops and irregulars within a reasonable period of time, terrorist groups within Jammu and Kashmir would receive a severe setback. The prospect o f Pakistan's support resulting in a meaningful resolution of the status of Jammu and Kashmir to their benefit would unravel as fantasy. However, pessimistic outcomes are also possible. Should the violence in Kargil escalate and terrorist activity within the State grow, India will have to fight a war on two fronts, not just one. A third front would soon open up, that of Western diplomatic pressure. Given the incompetent way in which the Bharatiya Janata Party-led caretaker government has managed the cris is so far, it is unlikely that it will be able to contain these multiple pressures.

'Diplomacy should not be put aside'

cover-story

K. Natwar Singh is convener of the Congress(I) foreign policy cell. A day after Sartaj Aziz's visit to Delhi, the veteran diplomat and former Minister of State for External Affairs shared his perceptions of the Kargil matter with Sukumar Murali dharan. Excerpts:

We have seen a diplomatic initiative of sorts in the Kargil matter, and meanwhile the military action continues. How do you assess the situation in terms of its various hazards and possibilities?

What is happening in Kargil is not an aberration as claimed by Jaswant Singh. It is a well-thought-out plan for which preparations must have been going on for a long time. This has been conceded by the Prime Minister, who has said that this must have bee n going on even when he was in Lahore. If Pakistan wanted to defuse the situation, then Sartaj Aziz could have taken a more conciliatory attitude. He could have said, for instance, we are very sorry about these six soldiers and we will institute inquirie s. But he disclaimed everything. He said that the bodies were returned with full military honours, that Kargil was the tip of the iceberg, and that Kashmir was the core issue. At the moment there is no meeting ground, but nevertheless diplomacy should no t be put aside.

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For the first time now, Pakistan has violated the LoC. This they had never done for all of 27 years since the Simla Agreement. And there is scant attention today to the Lahore Declaration, about which there was excessive and unnecessary euphoria generate d by the government and government agencies. The Congress(I) had welcomed the Lahore Declaration, but at the same time recognised that it was nothing but an extension of the Simla Agreement. It was not, as Jaswant Singh claimed, a historic declaration th at would change the entire environment of India-Pakistan relations. Now it is said that at a time like this we should all be united. We all are. We all support the military action going on to expel the intruders. But the fact remains that we have no expl anation of how this happened. They say that this is not the time to discuss this matter. This seems to be a rather simplistic attitude. Suppose the Lok Sabha had not been dissolved, there would have been a discussion on Kargil. Now to say that some are m ore patriotic than others is an insult. Every Indian is a patriot.

What track could diplomacy take in this context?

At the moment I don't think anything is possible. Take for example the Chinese role, which has been exceptional. They are almost an ally of Pakistan but they gave Sartaj Aziz no encouragement. They issued a statement that both countries should get togeth er and find a solution through peaceful means. They could have taken another stand if they took what George Fernandes said last year seriously. The Chinese have been very correct, and for this the credit should go to Rajiv Gandhi and the breakthrough he made in 1988.

What you are suggesting is that there is some kind of grand strategic plan which is being executed in Kargil, to which we remained oblivious because of the euphoria of Lahore. What could this possibly be and what possible chances of success does Paki stan have now that it is isolated globally?

This is a simplistic view. They have succeeded today in internationalising Kashmir. Sartaj Aziz came here and before the world media said that Kashmir is the core issue. The Germans have said that they are not going to be bystanders. Now we are in June. In September, the U.N. General Assembly meets, where anybody can raise issues of concern. And they will raise it. We will have to reply to them there.

Do you think the genesis of this whole crisis lies in a colossal intelligence failure?

Now one does not want to say this, but how do you keep it under wraps? If the Lok Sabha had been there, all this would have come out. But they are even refusing to call the Rajya Sabha into session. They were so carried away over the last three months ov er the Lahore Declaration that they lowered their guard.

As far as diplomacy with China is concerned, the question of the LoC and the undemarcated part of it will be taken up...

Now you see, the Chinese have been very correct in this matter. If the government had made the same mistakes as they did last year, after Pokhran, then they would have been in very serious difficulties. When I was in China towards the end of last year, t hey kept asking me why has all this happened. We have to put all this behind us, we are two big countries which have had only one conflict in all of 5,000 years - which has not been fully analysed on either side.

Now the U.S. is onside in this dispute. Is that a diplomatic gain for India?

President Clinton has written to both the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers. The contents have not been revealed. But the very fact that he has written to both Prime Ministers on a bilateral matter amounts to internationalisation. State Department off icials have said that the matter should be settled bilaterally. Fair enough. But now take the statement by Home Minister L.K. Advani last year, about hot pursuit into Pakistani territory. I asked him what he was talking about. Now the Pakistanis are in h ot pursuit into our territory. If we engage in hot pursuit, will the Americans support us?

What about these transcripts that have been released by the External Affairs Minister? What is your assessment of what they reveal?

They should never have been released. To have obtained them was some sort of a coup. But to have made them public is wrong, since the source that you obtained them from is now lost. Now it has been known to us that the Army in Pakistan has always been th e senior partner of the government. But the Army chief was appointed by Nawaz Sharif after the previous one was sacked. If the Army was so powerful, he could have told Nawaz Sharif, I am going to sack you. But now we have to deal with Pakistan as a count ry.

Do you see any options in the current context other than the military one?

The Army has to do its job. We are all totally behind this government, even if it is a caretaker. I used to tell people in Pakistan when I was High Commissioner there that whatever the disagreements between political parties in India, when it comes to th e nation's territorial integrity and unity, we are all one. But this is going to be a long drawn affair. The statement made on May 10, that we will flush them out in 48 hours, that should never have been made.

'A serious intelligence failure'

cover-story

Harkishan Singh Surjeet, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has been a close observer and participant in Kashmir affairs. Just hours before the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan were to start their discussions in Ne w Delhi on June 12, he spoke to Sukumar Muralidharan on his perceptions of the Kargil-related crisis. Excerpts:

Are you hopeful that the Kargil matter will be sorted out in the talks at the Foreign Ministers' level?

You see, Sartaj Aziz is coming just when it has been found that the bodies of the soldiers who were killed there were mutilated in a manner that nobody can tolerate. It is shameful. It is against the Geneva Convention and against every protocol dealing w ith the armed forces. So this itself vitiates the atmosphere.

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A second point is that certain Western countries have demanded that we should stop hostilities. In a vague form this is all right, but Pakistan should be told to vacate the area it has occupied. That is first and foremost. But the formulation of the Paki stan Foreign Office was first that the Line of Control (LoC) itself was undemarcated. This is ridiculous, since the Simla Agreement has done that. Now another distinction is being drawn - that the LoC is demarcated on the map, but the terrain is such tha t it poses difficulties on the ground. If that is indeed the problem, it could be settled in a different way.

In fact, the intercepted conversations that have been published show how far they have been preparing for these operations.

But in the current crisis, India seems to have the U.S. and all the other world powers on its side. Is this a major diplomatic gain?

The real problem here is that Pakistan has been trying consistently over the last five decades to internationalise the Kashmir issue. But with the elections of 1996, the people of Kashmir proved that they did not want to revolt against India, that they w anted peace. The latest large-scale penetration into the area is another effort to internationalise the issue. On this point there is a difference between the Pakistani and U.S. objectives. The U.S. aim is to force India to hold a plebiscite - not just a choice between union with India or Pakistan, but with the third alternative of independence. So the U.S. hopes to persuade the people in favour of independence, which means that it would be able to occupy a region of great strategic importance. The same objective was there in Afghanistan also. So we should not be under the impression that the U.S. is on our side in this situation. The spokesman has said, for instance, that there has been a wrong committed by Pakistan, which should be sorted out between us. But there is an indication that the U.S. will intervene if we cannot settle the matter between ourselves.

Has this entire crisis arisen because the Indian political leadership was too optimistic about the process of reconciliation that the Lahore Declaration seemed to herald?

They have been ignorant about history. The unfortunate situation is that the Indian leadership perhaps got some illusions with the visit of Vajpayee to Lahore and got convinced that the Prime Minister of Pakistan is actually keen to sort out problems thr ough negotiations. It was a mistaken idea because the political situation in Pakistan is such that nobody can afford to take a firm position. The people will be prepared to do so but the political parties cannot. Benazir Bhutto also has come out with a n ew proposal, whose aim is the same. She will later interpret it in terms of the old position. She says let the border be open for both Pakistan, India and particularly for Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Later on she says that a situation will com e under which the matter can be sorted out. She still cannot admit that the matter has been settled. The political situation is such that nobody from Pakistan can come to a rational and reasonable understanding on the basis of which we can live in peace.

What is your reading of the intelligence failure behind the recent developments?

It has been very serious. You see, these bunkers have been built by us for the purpose of our defence. If they are able to occupy all the bunkers right up to the top, there has been a serious intelligence failure. The places where we have been able to re gain control are at the lower heights. But they still remain in control in the upper reaches.

How is it that so many people penetrated the Line of Control? How did they get the supply lines and weaponry into those positions? We must learn from Afghanistan: the people up there are indoctrinated in such a way that they believe they are fighting for a holy cause. We have been ignorant about all that was happening all this time.

Did the Pokhran nuclear tests have a bearing on this? The expectation was that nuclear capabilities on both sides would deter conflict rather than promote it...

That was clearly wrong. The nuclear tests have created a fear complex. We have opposed the tests from the very beginning. Pakistan at once proved that it too could explode nuclear devices. A second point is that (Home Minister) L.K. Advani made a stateme nt in Jammu saying, we have the bomb so now we can solve the Kashmir problem. That aggravated the situation.

Would you say that the Pokhran tests have undermined India's security by restricting the range of conventional military responses?

Yes, I would say so. There is a fear complex because so many countries today have the ability to make weapons. And because we have also gone on the same path, we cannot carry forward the struggle for peace and disarmament.

In the light of Kargil, do you think the intelligence failures point to the need for a public inquiry and efforts to plug the gaps?

That issue will be taken up later. The immediate question is to restore peace and to vacate the area of infiltrators. To talk about an inquiry at this moment would not be proper because we are engaged in a major conflict. I do not see much hope in the me eting (between the Foreign Ministers) because passions have been aroused and feelings are running high among all Indians about the events in Kargil.

The implications of the transcripts which the government has released seem to be that the Army in Pakistan is doing this and then forcing the civilian government to fall in line.

The present Army chief in Pakistan is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's hand-picked man. He has tried to intervene everywhere - in the judiciary, with the President, and with the Army. The Army is now the main source of support that Nawaz Sharif has. But per haps the Army can dictate terms because politicians do not have the courage to take a position in favour of peace with India on Kashmir.

Under the Lahore Declaration, both sides are committed to talking about all issues that divide them, including Kashmir. Now what possibly could they talk about on Kashmir, since both sides have irreconcilable positions which have not changed over the decades?

The people have not appreciated its significance. The significance for Pakistan is that the issue is accepted as unsettled. But there will be no meeting ground. What Benazir Bhutto has said sounds nice. But in the present situation, with all the animosit y and propaganda all around, nothing will work.

'Fernandes could have helped avoid controversy'

cover-story

The A.B. Vajpayee-led caretaker government's handling of the crisis in the Kargil sector has come under fire from Opposition parties. In particular, it has been assailed for its complacency in the face of Pakistan's attempts to violate the Line of Contro l (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. In an interview with V. Venkatesan, Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president Jana Krishnamurthy defends the government's actions before and during the crisis. Excerpts:

The BJP-led government's handling of the Kargil crisis has given rise to a controversy over its apparent failure to stop the Pakistani aggression across the LoC. What led to the current crisis?

To me it appears that whatever has now happened in Kargil is in line with what has been happening in Kashmir all these years. In a sense, it is only a continuation of our earlier experiences. It has been clarified that ever since the Simla Agreement was signed, neither side has tried to occupy any space across the LoC in this particular sector (Kargil) during winter. When the winter ends, the Indian troops move back to their posts nearer to the LoC. This year the Indian defence forces had no indication that something different would happen. Hence, to accuse somebody of having been lax in their vigil in the area is improper.

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It is another thing to argue that although a particular type of situation has prevailed in this sector for the past 28 years, our intelligence wing should have continued to keep a vigil. Our defence forces have taken note of this. They are now planning t o have advanced, technologically-improved surveillance arrangements to keep vigil along the LoC.

The Border Security Force had sounded a warning about possible infiltration across the border as early as January. In October 1998, the Ministry of Defence too had information suggesting that Pakistan would launch an offensive in April in the Kargil a rea.

We did not have any such information. If there was a lapse on anybody's part, the truth will come out after the present mission is accomplished. But keeping in mind what little I know of our defence forces, I am not prepared to accept that anyone would h ave disregarded any vital, definite information about the intrusion from any source. That is why I said that there has to be a discussion on all these matters after the present issue is settled. It will be at that time that responsibility will be fixed. The Prime Minister has rightly stated that the government has taken full responsibility for the crisis. This is not the time to find fault with anyone or accuse those at the helm of affairs.

For example, the attack on Defence Minister George Fernandes seems to be totally unwarranted. He had stated that the Pakistan Prime Minister seemed to be unaware of the preparations made by the Pakistan Army for aggression against India. We now find that the telephonic conversation between the two top army officers of Pakistan reveals exactly this. Therefore, I request the people of India and the Opposition to refrain from attacking the government in this context, until the matter is settled successfull y. We know that our opponents (in India) will try to make an issue of these events during the election campaign. Then it will be our turn to expose our opponents' double standards. However, George Fernandes could have refrained from making such comments. He could have helped avoid unnecessary controversy, when the entire country's attention is focussed on Kargil. But it is a fact that in Pakistan, the Army has the upper hand in the country's politics.

Fernandes reportedly advocated "safe passage" for the Pakistani intruders.

It has been totally misunderstood. Perhaps Fernandes wanted to say that if, during the talks between India and Pakistan, the Pakistani representatives admit that they have illegally intruded into Indian territory and crossed the LoC and promise to withdr aw beyond the LoC to their side, then India could allow these intruders to go back to Pakistan. Anticipating this, perhaps Fernandes would have meant to say that it (safe passage) would be considered. In diplomacy, considering something does not mean con ceding it.

Does the BJP consider unpatriotic people who are critical of the government's role in the Kargil crisis?

No responsible person in our party has said so. Any government has to have the freedom to take steps to meet a given situation. The opposition should convince the people that they too are responsible parties. They should extend full cooperation to the go vernment. There may be disagreements over the effectiveness of the government in handling the episode, but the Opposition parties should take it up after the contingency ceases to exist.

Why is the government unwilling to call an emergency session of the Rajya Sabha as demanded by some Opposition parties?

It is not a demand made with good intentions. It is obvious that the ruling coalition is a minority in the Rajya Sabha. The Opposition wants to settle political scores in the forum when the nation is poised for a mid-term poll. The motive behind the dema nd is suspect. The heavens are not going to fall if the discussion on the government's role in the crisis is delayed by a few months.

How effective has Pokhran-II been in ensuring our security and territorial integrity? The Pakistani aggression in the Kargil sector has shown that Pokhran-II has not been able to prevent aggression on India.

Pokhran-II was in line with our National Agenda for Governance. It led to a new-found self-confidence. However, the lapses on the part of our defence forces have been accumulated over the past several years, under previous governments, whereas this gover nment was racing against time. However, we have pledged that we will not make first use of nuclear weapons. The government will exercise the option only if the situation warrants it.

Was it proper to ask the Deputy Director General of Military Operations to brief the BJP's National Executive?

It is necessary to educate our partymen about the Kargil crisis. We called an emergency meeting of our party's National Executive a day after the all-party meeting. We requested the Defence Minister to depute someone from the Ministry to explain to our N ational Executive members the army action in Kargil. It was necessary to educate members of the National Executive first, so that they can explain to the party cadres in their respective States. At the all-party meeting held before our National Executive meeting, a similar briefing by army personnel took place. Our party president Kushabhau Thakre told the members of the National Executive that they should listen to the army briefing without asking questions. If other parties request the Defence Ministe r to organise separate briefings for their partymen, such requests will also be accepted.

Should the diplomatic effort to solve the crisis continue after the brutal killing of six of our defence personnel by the Pakistan Army?

Our efforts for peace should continue. But Pakistan should be made aware that there shall be no compromise regarding any part of territory. The Kargil episode has exposed Pakistan to the world community. Now the world has a clear understanding that the P akistan Prime Minister is kept in the dark by the country's army on an important issue like relations with its neighbour. This is the first time that many countries, including the United States, have come to realise that Pakistan is in the wrong. They wi ll exert pressure on Pakistan to stop the aggression. This will open the eyes of the intelligentsia in Pakistan. The spirit of the Lahore Declaration will remain. Pakistan has to see reason and stick to the Lahore Declaration.

What will be the domestic political fallout of the Kargil crisis?

The Kargil crisis will be successfully concluded before the elections in September. We will give the credit for our victory to our armed forces and to the people of this country. But if our opponents try to attack us for the steps taken by the government during the crisis, the BJP will definitely retaliate with sound arguments. It will be for the people to decide. If the Opposition is bent upon making it an election issue, we will not shy away.

What is the preliminary lesson that could be drawn from the Kargil crisis?

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. This should always be kept in mind.

An effective game plan

By creating a serious military problem for India in Kargil without "its direct involvement", Pakistan believes that it has played a winning card.

"...to take such action as will defreeze Kashmir problem, weaken India's resolve and bring her to a conference table without provoking a general war. However, the element of escalation is always present in such struggles. So, whilst confining our acti on to the Kashmir area we must not be unmindful that India may in desperation involve us in a general war or violate Pakistan territory where we are weak. We must therefore be prepared for such a contingency."

- Directive from President Ayub Khan to General Mohammad Musa, Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army, on August 29, 1965, quoted in A History of the Pakistan Army by Brian Cloughley (Oxford University Press, 1999).

NOT much seems to have changed in the 34 years since Pakistan launched Operation Gibraltar in 1965 by sending "hired Mujahids" and regular soldiers to take over Kashmir. The aims and objectives laid down by Ayub Khan seem to remain in place. This is evid ent from what India now experiences in Kargil.

Since the start of the Foreign Secretary-level dialogue in April-May 1997, Pakistan's objective has been clear. The Kashmir issue, along with matters of peace and security, came to the fore in the agenda agreed upon for discussion in June 1997 in Islamab ad. However, it was part of a composite dialogue process, a part of the "two plus six process". The first substantive round of discussions in October 1998 between the Foreign Secretaries must have made it clear to Pakistan that India would not yield on t he Kashmir issue. In fact, India made it clear that the first confidence-building measure Pakistan needed to undertake was to stop pushing infiltrators across the Line of Control (LoC).

Pakistan's decision to send in hundreds of infiltrators in the Kargil-Drass sector was part of a plan to put the spotlight on Kashmir and simultaneously, undermine the LoC as a frontier that had basically held good during the last 27 years. Pakistan need s to remember that only borders are properly demarcated; not a ceasefire line which was turned into an LoC. Pakistan's interest in securing the involvement of the United Nations in demarcating the LoC on the ground is obviously a part of its propaganda t actics. As Brian Cloughley, a writer sympathetic to Pakistan, points out in his book on the Pakistan Army, the Delineation of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir Resulting from the Cease Fire of 17 December 1971 in Accordance with the Simla Agreemen t of 2 July 1972 is an "unambiguous" document. "Its territorial precision is remarkable," writes Cloughley, whose book reflects the access granted to him by the Pakistan Army.

According to Cloughley, it contains these descriptions: "The Line of Control runs from NR 313861 to NR 316865, thence to NR 319867, thence EAST to NR 322868, thence NE to NR 331872, thence to a monument on ridge line at NR 336874 approximately 500 yards SE of Point 10008 (NR 3387), thence to a point NR 338881 on the Nullah such that point NR 336874 and point NR 338881 are connected by a counter clockwise arc with a radius of 500 yards, thence NE to junction..." Cloughley admits that the only point that was not precise was what happened after NJ 9842. At the time of delineation, Indian and Pakistani officers agreed that "anyone who wanted to lay claim to ice, snow and rocks was welcome to them."

At some stage during the India-Pakistan composite dialogue, the Pakistani establishment realised that this process would not benefit it on the Kashmir front. It became cleat that India's real interest was in trade and a general improvement in relations, and that as far as Kashmir was concerned, it simply wanted an end to infiltration. In contrast, Pakistan's policy of bleeding India, executed first by President Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s in Punjab, and then in Kashmir, and later by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the intelligence agencies, is a constant; the Pakistani establishment has never envisaged a change in this. Clearly, India must continue to pay for aiding the formation of Bangladesh. Kargil is the new front where Indian soldiers must pay with their lives, apart from the serious loss of face for New Delhi. Pakistan's game plan is simple and has been executed excellently in military terms.

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The Lahore declaration is today not worth the paper it is written on if Nawaz Sharif has indeed been kept in the dark by his Army with regard to the current situation in Kargil, then he must distance himself from it. At the very least, he should replace Gen. Pervez Musharraf as the Chief of the Army Staff. (Gen. Jehangir Karamat was given the marching orders in October 1998 by Nawaz Sharif for criticising civilian authorities.) In the absence of such a move, it must be construed that the Pakistani milit ary and political establishments are, for all practical purposes, working in tandem.

By creating a serious military problem for India in Kargil without its "direct involvement", Pakistan believes that it has played a winning card. Unlike Operation Gibraltar, the mercenary militants are in a good position to pick off Indian soldiers. The joy over Indian losses is apparent from a remark made by Gen. Musharraf to Lt. Gen Mohammad Aziz, his Chief of General Staff, during a telephone conversation on May 29, the transcript of which has been released by India. A portion of the transcript goes as follows: "Aziz Saheb (Sartaj Aziz) has discussed with me, and my recommendation is that dialogue option is always open. But in their first meeting, they must give no understanding or no commitment on ground situation." True to the brief given by Lt. G en. Aziz, Foreign Minister Sartaj Azi, who was in India to hold talks, made no commitment on the ground situation in Kargil. Sartaj Aziz stuck to the brief "given" to him by the Army. The Foreign Minister took the position that it was India which had esc alated the conflict situation by resorting to air and artillery strikes; and that expert-level talks between the two countries would be possible only if India turned down the heat.

Clearly, Pakistan wants to sustain the crisis in Kargil as long as possible. In such a situation, where Pakistan's links with the mercenary militants stand confirmed by the phone conversation between Lt. Gen Aziz and his Chief, there seems little to talk about between the two countries.

All those Indians who sincerely believe in the need for better relations with Pakistan must be afflicted with a feeling of being let down. A parallel anti-India track was continuing even as Vajpayee's bus rolled up to stop before Nawaz Sharif at Wagah on February 20. The Lahore-Delhi bus diplomacy remains confined to the status of bus diplomacy.

While Pakistan has played its cards well on the military front, its hopes for diplomatic success in the international arena have been belied. The United States has called for a return of those who have crossed the LoC; there has been no "emergency meetin g" of the U.N. Security Council as envisaged by Pakistan. Despite the failure of the Sartaj Aziz-Jaswant Singh talks, Pakistan will, in all probability, remain interested in continuing a "dialogue" with India on Kashmir as long as it can use the Kargil l ever. And for now, Islamabad has nothing to gain by undoing the Kargil intrusion.

And, it has demonstrated conclusively that the Pakistani establishment is not to be trusted and is manned by the masters of double-speak.

For a Camp David for Kashmir

BENAZIR BHUTTO cover-story

AS tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir once again boil over, world security is threatened by the very real possibility that war will break out between two politically unstable nuclear powers. This week, air strikes by Indian helicopter gunships and MiG jet fighters further increased the chance that Kashmir could spark yet another, and far more dangerous, confrontation.

For years, foreign policy analysts had been predicting that the Serbs would move against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, and for years the world did little to prevent it. Like Kosovo, the possibility of a nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan is p redictable, dangerous, but clearly preventable. It is time for the world, and especially the United States, to turn its diplomacy to crisis prevention.

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As a former Prime Minister of Pakistan, I observe events in Kashmir with keen interest. Indeed, one of my principal regrets is that my policies actually fed the tensions. Then, I believed that holding Indian-Pakistani relations hostage to the single issu e of Kashmir would highlight the cause of the Kashmiri people. That policy certainly did not advance the cause of peace in South Asia.

Recently I met with Shimon Peres, the former Foreign Minister of Israel, at the University of California at Berkeley and realised that the process of reconciliation now going on in West Asia - particularly between Egypt and Israel, and Jordan and Israel - may provide a replicable model for conflict resolution between India and Pakistan.

The Camp David peace accords postponed the hardest, most delicate negotiations on the most sensitive issues until the very end of the process and did not try to tackle seemingly intractable issues at the beginning. For 50 years we in Pakistan thought Kas hmir had to be resolved before any normalisation could occur between the two great powers on the subcontinent. That approach may have been self-defeating.

In the developing peace between Israel and Jordan, genuine confidence was built with deliberate, incremental advances, and they quickly triggered extraordinary and rapid progress.

Following these models suggests that the two sections of Kashmir should have open and porous borders. Both sections would be demilitarised and patrolled by either an international peace-keeping force or a joint Indian-Pakistani peace-keeping force.

Both legislative councils would continue to meet separately and on occasion jointly. The people on both sides of divided Kashmir could meet and interact freely and informally. None of these steps would prejudice or prejudge the position of both countries on the disputed areas.

Simultaneously, the borders between Pakistan and its South Asian neighbours, including India, would be opened for unrestricted trade, cultural cooperation and exchange. Tariffs and quotas between the nations would be eliminated. Educational and technolog ical exchanges on the secondary and university levels would be initiated on a broad scale.

Discussions would commence on the creation of a South Asian Free Market Zone, which would expand unrestricted and untaxed trade to include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives - a free-market zone modeled after the Europ ean Community and the North American Free-Trade Agreement.

Only after all of these confidence-building mechanisms were in place, and only after a significant set period of time (Camp David called for a five-year transition), would the parties commence discussions on a formal and final resolution to the Kashmir p roblem, based on the wishes of its people and the security concerns of both India and Pakistan.

It would be our hope that, as with Jordan and Israel, after a period of open borders and open trade there would follow a period of open hearts and open minds.

Kosovo warns us that the world should try to put out a potentially dangerous fire before it explodes. We cannot afford to allow a South Asian armageddon to take place. India and Pakistan, like Jordan and Israel, must discover that they have more in commo n than in divergence and that mutual trust and cooperation will avoid war and build a peace that makes both parties more secure and prosperous.

The clock is ticking. The time to act is now.

Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and leader of the Pakistan People's Party, wrote this comment for The New York Times. It was published by the newspaper on June 8.

Questions of accountability

A. G. NOORANI cover-story

No government can possibly allow so reckless a strategy as Pakistan has resorted to now to succeed. And no nation can forgive a government which permitted such a strategy to succeed to the extent it did.

IT was May 8, 1940. Britain was battling for survival. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave a poor account of his policies in a House of Commons debate on the war situation and made it a personal issue. As the debate proceeded, the 77-year-old Lloyd G eorge rose and delivered a speech which concluded thus: "He (the Prime Minister) appealed for sacrifice from the nation. The nation is ready so long as its leadership is right, as long as you say clearly what you are aiming at, as long as you give confid ence to them that their leaders are doing their best for them. I say now solemnly that the Prime Minister can give an example of sacrifice because I tell him one thing, that there is nothing that would contribute more to victory in this war than that he should sacrifice his seals of office."

The speech turned the tide. Fifty Conservative MPs voted against the Government. Chamberlain resigned and was succeeded by Winston Churchill.

It is a testimony to India's feudal culture that even people who ought to know better ask that the democratic rule of accountability of the government to the people should be suspended for the duration of Operation Vijay in Kargil.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Defence Minister George Fernandes have reason to avoid accountability. Having broken every rule in the manual of good governance, they are set to break norms of accountability as well. National Security Adviser Bra jesh Mishra told Reuters: "Obviously we did not assess the situation properly... we didn't expect this sort of intrusion."

When it was discovered, the Government panicked. Memories of the past and the prospects in the future combined to haunt it. Both the bomb and the bus-ride stood exposed as gimmicks. Army estimates of the costs of, and delays in, evicting the intruders fr om Pakistan diminished chances of victory in the general elections, due a few months later. The bus ride had to be saved by exonerating Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and even Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The offer of safe passage to the intruders was made to secure a quick solution. Such offers are made, if at all, only at the conference table and, then, after driving the intruders' mentors to a corner so that they will propose it. Megaphone diplomacy comes naturally to those who have spent a life-t ime in rabble-rousing and lack the basic skills and discretion that governance require. Ineptness in conduct was sought to be covered up by clumsiness in speech.

The nation must stoutly refuse to give any respite to men who have served it so badly. The only ones to emerge with credit are the men of the armed forces who have performed bravely against heavy odds. Their morale will not suffer, but will rise if the p oliticians who put them in this situation on account of their incompetence are brought to account. V. K. Krishna Menon resigned as Defence Minister on November 7, 1962 even while the India-China war was on. At the height of the First World War, Churchill was removed as First Lord of the Admiralty on May 26, 1915 following the reverses in the Dardanelles campaign. On July 20, 1916, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith announced his decision to appoint a Royal Commission "to inquire into the conduct of the Dardan elles operations." Its Report was submitted in March 1917 and was debated in the House of Commons on March 20, 1917. The War ended only in November 1918.

During the Crimean War, Gladstone told the mover of the motion censuring the government's conduct: "Your business is not to govern, but it is, if you think fit, to call to account those who do govern it."

During the Second World War, the House of Commons exercised this power even as bombs rained on London. On May 10, 1941, over 3,000 people were killed or injured and the building of the House itself was destroyed. It moved into the Church House. A year la ter, Britain's fortunes declined steeply with "a long succession of misfortunes and defeats" in the east and in North Africa. Yet, on June 25, 1942, this motion was tabled in the House: "That this House, while paying tributes to the heroism and endurance of the Armed Forces of the Crown in circumstances of exceptional difficulty, has no confidence in the central direction of the war." It stood in the name of Sir John Wardlaw-Milne, a Conservative and chairman of the powerful all-party Finance Committee. It was seconded by a Churchill admirer, former Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes.

As Churchill proudly recorded in his memoirs, "Certainly there was no denial of free speech or lack of it." On July 2, a former Secretary of State for War, Leslie Hore-Belisha, attacked Churchill: "How can one place reliance in judgments that have so rep eatedly turned out to be misguided?" Churchill's reply followed this powerful speech. He exclaimed: "What a remarkable example it has been, the unbridled freedom of our parliamentary institutions in time of war: everything that could be thought of or rak ed up has been used to weaken confidence in the government, has been used to prove that Ministers are incompetent and to weaken their confidence in themselves, to make the army distrust the backing it is getting from the civil power, to make the workmen lose confidence in the weapons they are striving so hard to make, to present the government as a set of nonentities over whom the Prime Minister towers, and then to undermine him in his own heart, and, if possible, before the eyes of the nation. All this poured out by cable and radio to all parts of the world, to the distress of all our friends and to the delight of all our foes! I am in favour of this freedom, which no other country would use, or dare to use, in times of mortal peril such as those thro ugh which we are passing."

THE forms of accountability can vary, the principle cannot. One might adopt one procedure now and opt for a wider, more comprehensive inquiry later. Certainly George Fernandes should be required to quit an office for which he has, time and again, shown h imself to be utterly unworthy. The record renders this inescapable.

We need to assess realistically the dimensions of the immediate threat, Pakistan's motives and strategy, and the prospects.

One hopes that the bomb lobby has learnt now that, far from making limited wars less likely, nuclear weapons can make them more plausible and tempting. This was the theme of Denis Healey's famous article in Encounter (July 1955) entitled The Bo mb That Didn't Go Off and the thesis in Henry Kissinger's seminal works Nuclear Weapons & Foreign Policy(1957) and The Necessity for Choice (1961). Writing in the respected journal Arms Control Today, Eric Arnett of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute pointed out: "Significantly, Pakistan's nuclear weapon capability may actually contribute to the risk of war. The Pakistani leadership shows indications of believing that the risk of nuclear war makes even small co nventional conflicts extremely unlikely if not impossible, and that South Asia's nuclear stalemate gives both sides the cover to continue the struggle in Kashmir by other means."

However, "an escalation in Pakistani support to insurgents on Indian territory will be dealt with by military means if deemed necessary. The insurgency can only succeed if it inflicts intolerable costs on India, but New Delhi is less likely to capitulate when it still has the options of 'hot pursuit' and interdiction, both legitimate actions under international law. The resulting mismatch of perceptions makes war more likely." This was published in August 1997, many months before Pokhran-II and Chagai. Remember that L. K. Advani said then that Pokhran had solved the Kashmir problem.

Pakistan has escalated its aid to insurgency. Foiled in the Valley, where the Hizbul Mujahideen is getting decimated, it has stepped up aid to other groups and chosen other areas of incursion. One of them is the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (the army of the pure). Zaighan Khan's article in the excellent monthly Herald (Karachi, January 1998) ably described "Pakistan's largest so-called Jehadi organisation restricting its activities to Kashmir only." It is the militant wing of the Markaz Dawa-Wal-Irshad (Centre for Preaching) based in Muridke, some 50 km north of Lahore. Set up by three university teachers in 1987, it concentrates on education and - jehad. It was initially involved in Afghanistan. A lakh of people listened "in awed silence" as a shop keeper from Bahawalpur told them how both his sons gave their lives fighting in Kashmir. The Lashkar is opposed to any settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Zaighan Khan perceptively noted its danger to democracy in Pakistan itself.

Dawn published (November 8, 1998) an Agence France-Presse report from Srinagar quoting a Taliban commander's claim that in Kashmir they were operating 28 guerilla training camps which formerly belonged to the Lashkar Hyder group.

There is undoubtedly an element of vain boast in the former Army chief, Gen. Aslam Beg's article in Outlook (June 7, 1999), when he writes of "volunteers pouring in from the outside world". But he makes a damaging admission about "a new strategy" adopted by the Mujahideen (read Pakistan's Army) - "severing the line of communication that facilitated the build-up of supplies and troops in the Siachen, Leh and Kargil areas during the summer. This objective was achieved by the Mujahideens occupying t he higher strategic positions along Kargil, Drass, Batalik and Turtuk... If they succeed, Indian forces in Siachen and Ladakh will be cut off from their base in Srinagar."

This is what we are up against. No government in India can possibly allow so reckless a strategy to succeed, no matter what it takes to defeat it decisively. No nation can forgive a government which permitted such a strategy to succeed to the exte nt it did at such cost of men and material. It could and should have been nipped in the bud. It was not.

THIS brings us to the Army set-up in Pakistan. Demonising the ISI and making it appear larger than life is not the best way to assess its strengths and weaknesses. There is not a single definitive article on the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, t o give its full name. As in the case of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), its remit covers intelligence-gathering, covert operations and ventures in diplomacy. Unlike them, it is a wing of the Army. There has appeared an able study by Col. Brian Clougley, deputy head of the United Nations Military Observer's Group in Kashmir (1980-82) and defence attache (1989-94) in the Australian Mission in Pakistan. (A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrectio ns, Oxford, Rs. 500, pages 384). The ISI's legendary head, Gen. Akhtar Abdul Rehman, masterminded the operations in Afghanistan. The ISI trained 80,000 men in all. He was removed in 1987 and was succeeded by Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul. On May 24, 1990, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto removed Hamid Gul and replaced him with Lt. Gen. Shamsur Rehman Kallue.

The ISI's clout increased during the Afghan war when, till the end of 1985, there was military rule in Pakistan. The Foreign Office followed one policy, the ISI a different one. Clougley writes: "The number of "intelligence operatives" in the Inter-Serv ices Intelligence Directorate is ludicrously high, and their wide-spread, energetic, and somewhat amateur activities serve only to alienate the loyal without detecting subversion." The activities of Brigadier Zaheer Abbasi "were not discovered by the mas sed bands of ISI agents deployed to follow or otherwise intercept innocent citizens." When they do so, the methods they use are brutal.

In April 1997, Nawaz Sharif secured the enactment of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to repeal the hated 8th Amendment of the Zia era (1985). It omitted from Article 243 (a) (c) of the Constitution the words "in his discretion" used to qualify the President's power to appoint the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and the chiefs of the three wings of the armed forces. He now acts only on the Prime Minister's advice. Last year the Prime Minister secured the resignation of the Army ch ief, Jehangir Karamat, and appointed Pervez Musharraf in his place. The ISI is very much subordinate to both the Prime Minister and the Army chief. It is another matter that both would prefer not to know the details of the skulduggery for which such agen cies are granted autonomy. But two Prime Ministers have sacked the chiefs of the ISI during their respective tenures.

Nawaz Sharif tried to elevate the present chief, Lt. Gen. Ziauddin, as Army chief and make the present Army chief the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. But Gen. Pervez Musharraf would have none of it. (Herald, May 1999).

Why has it come as a surprise to Fernandes? Had he not said in a formal statement in the Lok Sabha on August 5, 1998 that, while our security forces have checked the infiltrators, "as if to give vent to its frustration, Pakistan has started targeting not only our Army posts but also civilian inhabited areas, with Batalik, Kargil, Kanazalwan, Tangdhar Karen and Uri becoming the main targets." On January 14, 1999, The Times of India reported - "Foreign Mercenaries Swell in J & K". Indeed, at a pres s conference on January 11, 1999, the then Officiating Commander of the 15 Corps, Major-General A. S. Sihota, warned of a "limited" Pakistani action to attract international attention to Kashmir: "You can't rule out the possibility of Pakistan trying to capture our posts along the LoC".

When were the new intrusions detected? On May 6, the Defence Minister tells us, and that thanks to a shepherd, little realising that this fortuitous disclosure shows the system in a poor light. Patrols sent on May 8 and 10 came to grief. On May 9 Rs.170 crores-worth of ammunition went up in smoke in the arms dump at Kargil. The flushing out operations began on May 14. On May 17, Fernandes confidently predicted that the intruders would be flushed out within 48 hours. His explanation is relevant - they en tered Indian territory now as the snow had melted. Both the prediction and the explanation showed that he was totally ignorant of the situation, which is why he said on May 20 that "the situation is well under control".

On May 19, the army ended its news black-out. Lieutenant-General Krishan Pal, commander of the 15 Corps, gave a press conference at which he said: (a) "This infiltration is fully backed by the Pakistan Army and the ISI". There was no evidence of Taliban participation; (b) "They are well trained infiltrators and on an almost suicidal mission."

On May 22, Nawaz Sharif was briefed at the Chaklala airport by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and the Defence Secretary, Iftikhar Ali Khan, a former General. The Kashmir Monitor of Srinagar, edited by Zafar Meraj, reported (May 24) that "in the recent pas t, Nawaz Sharif had visited the ISI HQs where he was briefed... The ISI chief, according to a senior official, has also been briefing the Premier on a day-to-day basis. Besides, special reports are being sent for the up-to-date information of Prime Minis ter who is the final authority to take decisions on these sensitive matters." It quoted The News of Lahore in support of the report.

The tapes released on June 11 quote him as saying that he had come to know around May 19 when the corps commanders were informed.

Once the Indian Air Force launched the air strikes on May 26, the nation realised the gravity of the matter and the Government found itself in the dock with the prospect of a sack next September. There followed a spate of independent disclosures on the o ne hand and, on the other, fatuous moves to escape accountability. Swati Chaturvedi reported in The Indian Express (May 28) a secret report by the Border Security Force (BSF), delivered to the Home Ministry on May 26, which reported that the heigh ts had been occupied "as early as January" and that "they faced no resistance ..." On May 29, even the GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt. Gen. H. M. Khanna, admitted that there "was a certain amount of surveillance failure."

On this, opinion is unanimous. Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar, former Deputy COAS, DGMO, and Commander of the U.N. Force in Yugoslavia, enjoys high respect. He has written: "It is a matter of some concern that notwithstanding the various means available for sur veillance and monitoring of the area, the actions of the intruders appear to have gone unnoticed, till well after the event. We have a range of equipment that includes binoculars by land patrols in the mountains to satellites in space; yet we are caught flat footed time and again. A reflection on the lack of integration in our defence and intelligence hierarchy!" Inputs by shepherds are not necessary.

Air Marshal M. M. Singh wrote: "It appears to be a major failure of our military intelligence and RAW that they did not anticipate the massive infiltration of extremists into the Drass-Kargil sector. We seem to have been caught napping when enemy troops and mercenaries were taking position on the strategic peaks."

In the context of such palpable and grave failure the Defence Minister's statements are indefensible. On May 29 at the all-party meeting he said that it was only on the night of May 12 that the Army informed him of the intrusion. The Army had learnt of i t on May 6 through a shepherd, he said. Neither he nor the DGMO, Lt. Gen. M. C. Vij, and Additional Chief of Air Staff (Ops.) Air Vice-Marshal S. K. Malik, could say when the intrusions in fact began. The very next day these two went to a National Execut ive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (The Hindu, June 1).

From the end of April, the press in Jammu and Srinagar had reported the intrusions regularly. The Army chief, Gen. V. P. Malik, had a five-day tour (April 10-14) of the Rajouri-Poonch, Uri-Kupwara and Siachen sectors. He did not go to Kargil.

On June 1, Fernandes said: "One can show them (the infiltrators) safe passage. This is a matter which can be considered." This was said in the specific context of Sartaj Aziz' visit to Delhi. Vajpayee said the same thing on June 2: "If they ask for safe passage, the matter will be considered but there is no question of stopping the military action and allowing them to go without talks on the issue with Pakistan." Clearly, "safe passage" was the Government's considered stand. The situation, the Prime Min ister added, had "improved considerably." Sharp public reaction, especially from retired senior army officials, induced retreat; clumsily executed, though.

No one in his senses would suggest that diplomacy has no place in a "war-like situation." It has, even in the midst of a full-fledged war. But it is not conducted so ineptly. It is a "local situation" as Lt. Gen. Krishan Pal said; albeit a grave and dang erous one. If checked, a lesson will have been taught. The task now is to devise an accord on defusing it without any let-up in the military operation. The "minutes of consultation" signed by A. S. Gonsalves, Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs , and Pakistan's Foreign Secretary, Abdul Sattar, on February 4, 1987, laid down a detailed procedure for disengagement in order to defuse the crisis over Exercise Brasstacks. The situation in Kargil is different. But a localised accord for the withdrawa l of the infiltrators will be appropriate - provided the proposal comes from Pakistan. For the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister to talk about it publicly in advance was to betray incompetence.

As for an inquiry, immediately there can be one by a committee of retired senior officials of the armed forces which would question Ministers and army and intelligence officials in private and submit a brief report to assuage public disquiet; rather like the Privy Councillors' Report in Britain.

Two good precedents are the Franks Committee's Report on the Falklands crisis in 1982, and perhaps more appropriately, the Agranat Report. The Yom Kippur War began on October 6, 1973. On October 22, 1973, Egypt agreed to a ceasefire. Soon thereafter, on November 18, 1973, the Israeli Cabinet adopted the following resolution: "Resolved: A) That the following matters, namely: 1. The information, in the days preceding the Yom Kippur War, concerning the enemy's moves and his intentions to open war, as well as the assessments and the decisions of the duly authorised military and civilian bodies with regard to the aforementioned information; 2. The Israel Defence Forces' deployment for battle in general, its preparedness in the days preceding the Yom Kippur War and its actions upto the containment of the enemy - are of vital public importance at this time requiring clarification. B) That an Inquiry Commission shall be set up to investigate the aforementioned matters and report to the Cabinet..."

It was headed by Dr. Shimon Agranat, President of the Supreme Court, and comprised four other members. The Committee's Report was presented on April 2, 1974. The Agranat Report is a veritable classic on accountability. It would do Indian democracy no cre dit if Ministers and officials of the Government of India are allowed to escape accountability. The people are entitled to know the facts. In the wake of the fiasco of its Bay of Pigs venture, the CIA conducted its own internal investigation, and pinned the blame where it rightly belonged.

New alignments in Tamil Nadu

Shifting alignments point to a transformation of Tamil Nadu's politics.

THE three-year-old alliance between the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) in Tamil Nadu came to an end on June 2 when the general council of the DMK formalised its recently started relationship with the Bharatiya Janata Party by joining the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

TMC president G.K. Moopanar reacted tersely: if the relationship between the DMK and the BJP had been finalised, it would mean the end of his party's ties with the DMK. He said: "We will not accept anybody partnering communal forces. There is a fundament al contradiction on this (between the TMC and the DMK)."

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However, the parting of ways between the two parties was not marked by any acrimony; this reflected the personal relationship between DMK president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Moopanar. There is anguish in both the DMK and the TMC over the sepa ration because even in the recently held byelections to several hundred wards in the local bodies, the DMK-TMC alliance did remarkably well, as it had done in October 1996. Karunanidhi was confident that the breakdown of ties would not affect the DMK-TMC -Communist Party of India (CPI) coalition Government in Pondicherry headed by R.V. Janakiraman, who belongs to the DMK. "The situation there is different", Karunanidhi said. Moopanar too is not willing to rock the boat there. However, the CPI has decided to pull out of the Pondicherry coalition. The CPI national council, which met in Calcutta on June 5, 6 and 7, stated in a resolution: "By joining with the BJP, the DMK has acted against the mandate of the people of Pondicherry. In the context, the conti nuation of the CPI in the coalition Ministry in Pondicherry has become untenable. The withdrawal from the Government will be coordinated with the TMC, which is an ally of the party."

The fall of the BJP-led Government at the Centre in April saw the emergence of new political partnerships in Tamil Nadu. The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and the Tamilaga Rajiv Congress (TRC), which were with the AIADMK, turned against it when it withdrew support to the BJP-led Government. The TMC, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the CPI, which were with the DMK until then, were chagrined that the DMK threw its weight behind the BJP. While the CPI(M) and the CPI have now teamed up with the AIADMK led by Jayalalitha, the TMC is very reluctant to do so on the ground of the AIADMK's record. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the Indian National League (INL) and the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazahagam (TMMK) have pledged support to the AIADMK-led front.

Attention is now on the TMC because Moopanar has declared that his party is opposed to the communalism of the BJP and the corruption of the AIADMK in equal measure. The Left parties are trying hard to convince the TMC that it should join the AIADMK-led front in order to avoid the splitting of secular votes. The TMC began on June 7 an exercise to gauge the opinion of its top and middle-level leaders. Just ahead of this meeting, CPI State secretary R. Nallakannu had a one-hour discussion with Moopanar.

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The TMC meeting took place in the backdrop of Congress president Sonia Gandhi despatching Manmohan Singh and A.K. Antony to hold "preliminary talks" with Jayalalitha on building an alliance.

EVEN as Manmohan Singh and Antony came to Chennai and met Jayalalitha on June 3, Moopanar flew to New Delhi and had two meetings with Sonia Gandhi. He is believed to have raised with her the TMC's problems in going along with a Congress-AIADMK alliance. Moopanar led a section of the Congress(I) out of it in April 1996 to form the TMC, over the issue of the party aligning with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.

Manmohan Singh said that "various permutations and combinations were possible" but declined to elaborate. He said the Congress and the AIADMK were "working towards" an alliance. Congress sources said Jayalalitha was keen that the TMC should be brought in to the Congress-AIADMK fold. She told reporters that it was the Congress(I) which was making efforts to "rope in" the TMC. She would be happy if the TMC came along.

A TMC leader said: "A decision would be taken by the general council. Whatever the decision be, the leaders said it should be in the interests of the TMC."

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THE DMK general council's decision to join the NDA caused no surprise because the party had voted in favour of the Vajpayee Government in April. But what was surprising was that the general council's lengthy resolution made no mention of the BJP at all. Fulsome praise was reserved for the NDA and Vajapayee. Moopanar pointed this out to reporters. Karunanidhi gave a bizarre twist to the issue by insisting that the DMK was only a constituent of the NDA in which the BJP also found a place.

The DMK resolution took pains to declare that the party would continue to be a "friend and volunteer" of the minorities. If any harm came to the minorities, the DMK would not hesitate to renounce power and become a "shield" to protect the minorties, it d eclared.

The resolution listed reasons for the DMK joining the NDA. It said that when the Indian political system was becoming increasingly bipolar, the DMK had to choose its path carefully. So it would support that political front which respected regional partie s, recognised India's "plural society" and acknowledged that federalism was the instrument of keeping that plural society united; it would support that front which would form a coalition government at the Centre even if one of the parties in the front wo n a majority of the seats in the Lok Sabha; and it would support that front which had an "able and seasoned leader when the guns are booming on the borders". The DMK, therefore, "wholeheartedly" decided to join the NDA led by Vajpayee, the resolution sai d.

YET, the DMK leadership's nervousness was evident when Karunanidhi took part in the 104th birth anniversary celebrations of IUML leader Quaid-e-Milleth Mohammed Ismail on June 5. Karunanidhi and PMK president Dr.S. Ramadoss assured Muslims that their par ties would quit the NDA if the interests of the minorites were under threat from the formation. Karunanidhi said he was unable to comprehend the criticism of the DMK because nobody had earlier faulted the AIADMK for teaming up with the BJP.

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The AIADMK, keen on wooing the Vanniya community, has embraced the breakaway faction of the PMK led by Dheeran, and also former AIADMK Minister Panrutti S. Ramachandran (who is a Vanniya). The PMK mainly represents Vanniyas and is strong in North and Sou th Arcot, Salem and Dharmapuri districts. Meanwhile, INL leader M.A. Latheef has accused Karunanidhi of encouraging the breakaway faction of the INL.

The CPI(M) stepped up its attack on the DMK after the latter's general council met. The two Communist parties began a joint campaign against communalism. Defending the ties with the AIADMK, CPI(M) State secretary N. Sankaraiah said corruption would be a non-issue on a national platform. The AIADMK's opposition to the BJP was the only reason why it found acceptance among the Left parties, he said. He called the PMK, the MDMK and the TRC opportunists because they had won on the vote-bank of the AIADMK in the 1998 elections.

'Diplomacy should not be put aside'

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K. Natwar Singh is convener of the Congress(I) foreign policy cell. A day after Sartaj Aziz's visit to Delhi, the veteran diplomat and former Minister of State for External Affairs shared his perceptions of the Kargil matter with Sukumar Murali dharan. Excerpts:

We have seen a diplomatic initiative of sorts in the Kargil matter, and meanwhile the military action continues. How do you assess the situation in terms of its various hazards and possibilities?

What is happening in Kargil is not an aberration as claimed by Jaswant Singh. It is a well-thought-out plan for which preparations must have been going on for a long time. This has been conceded by the Prime Minister, who has said that this must have bee n going on even when he was in Lahore. If Pakistan wanted to defuse the situation, then Sartaj Aziz could have taken a more conciliatory attitude. He could have said, for instance, we are very sorry about these six soldiers and we will institute inquirie s. But he disclaimed everything. He said that the bodies were returned with full military honours, that Kargil was the tip of the iceberg, and that Kashmir was the core issue. At the moment there is no meeting ground, but nevertheless diplomacy should no t be put aside.

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For the first time now, Pakistan has violated the LoC. This they had never done for all of 27 years since the Simla Agreement. And there is scant attention today to the Lahore Declaration, about which there was excessive and unnecessary euphoria generate d by the government and government agencies. The Congress(I) had welcomed the Lahore Declaration, but at the same time recognised that it was nothing but an extension of the Simla Agreement. It was not, as Jaswant Singh claimed, a historic declaration th at would change the entire environment of India-Pakistan relations. Now it is said that at a time like this we should all be united. We all are. We all support the military action going on to expel the intruders. But the fact remains that we have no expl anation of how this happened. They say that this is not the time to discuss this matter. This seems to be a rather simplistic attitude. Suppose the Lok Sabha had not been dissolved, there would have been a discussion on Kargil. Now to say that some are m ore patriotic than others is an insult. Every Indian is a patriot.

What track could diplomacy take in this context?

At the moment I don't think anything is possible. Take for example the Chinese role, which has been exceptional. They are almost an ally of Pakistan but they gave Sartaj Aziz no encouragement. They issued a statement that both countries should get togeth er and find a solution through peaceful means. They could have taken another stand if they took what George Fernandes said last year seriously. The Chinese have been very correct, and for this the credit should go to Rajiv Gandhi and the breakthrough he made in 1988.

What you are suggesting is that there is some kind of grand strategic plan which is being executed in Kargil, to which we remained oblivious because of the euphoria of Lahore. What could this possibly be and what possible chances of success does Paki stan have now that it is isolated globally?

This is a simplistic view. They have succeeded today in internationalising Kashmir. Sartaj Aziz came here and before the world media said that Kashmir is the core issue. The Germans have said that they are not going to be bystanders. Now we are in June. In September, the U.N. General Assembly meets, where anybody can raise issues of concern. And they will raise it. We will have to reply to them there.

Do you think the genesis of this whole crisis lies in a colossal intelligence failure?

Now one does not want to say this, but how do you keep it under wraps? If the Lok Sabha had been there, all this would have come out. But they are even refusing to call the Rajya Sabha into session. They were so carried away over the last three months ov er the Lahore Declaration that they lowered their guard.

As far as diplomacy with China is concerned, the question of the LoC and the undemarcated part of it will be taken up...

Now you see, the Chinese have been very correct in this matter. If the government had made the same mistakes as they did last year, after Pokhran, then they would have been in very serious difficulties. When I was in China towards the end of last year, t hey kept asking me why has all this happened. We have to put all this behind us, we are two big countries which have had only one conflict in all of 5,000 years - which has not been fully analysed on either side.

Now the U.S. is onside in this dispute. Is that a diplomatic gain for India?

President Clinton has written to both the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers. The contents have not been revealed. But the very fact that he has written to both Prime Ministers on a bilateral matter amounts to internationalisation. State Department off icials have said that the matter should be settled bilaterally. Fair enough. But now take the statement by Home Minister L.K. Advani last year, about hot pursuit into Pakistani territory. I asked him what he was talking about. Now the Pakistanis are in h ot pursuit into our territory. If we engage in hot pursuit, will the Americans support us?

What about these transcripts that have been released by the External Affairs Minister? What is your assessment of what they reveal?

They should never have been released. To have obtained them was some sort of a coup. But to have made them public is wrong, since the source that you obtained them from is now lost. Now it has been known to us that the Army in Pakistan has always been th e senior partner of the government. But the Army chief was appointed by Nawaz Sharif after the previous one was sacked. If the Army was so powerful, he could have told Nawaz Sharif, I am going to sack you. But now we have to deal with Pakistan as a count ry.

Do you see any options in the current context other than the military one?

The Army has to do its job. We are all totally behind this government, even if it is a caretaker. I used to tell people in Pakistan when I was High Commissioner there that whatever the disagreements between political parties in India, when it comes to th e nation's territorial integrity and unity, we are all one. But this is going to be a long drawn affair. The statement made on May 10, that we will flush them out in 48 hours, that should never have been made.

'A serious intelligence failure'

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Harkishan Singh Surjeet, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has been a close observer and participant in Kashmir affairs. Just hours before the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan were to start their discussions in Ne w Delhi on June 12, he spoke to Sukumar Muralidharan on his perceptions of the Kargil-related crisis. Excerpts:

Are you hopeful that the Kargil matter will be sorted out in the talks at the Foreign Ministers' level?

You see, Sartaj Aziz is coming just when it has been found that the bodies of the soldiers who were killed there were mutilated in a manner that nobody can tolerate. It is shameful. It is against the Geneva Convention and against every protocol dealing w ith the armed forces. So this itself vitiates the atmosphere.

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A second point is that certain Western countries have demanded that we should stop hostilities. In a vague form this is all right, but Pakistan should be told to vacate the area it has occupied. That is first and foremost. But the formulation of the Paki stan Foreign Office was first that the Line of Control (LoC) itself was undemarcated. This is ridiculous, since the Simla Agreement has done that. Now another distinction is being drawn - that the LoC is demarcated on the map, but the terrain is such tha t it poses difficulties on the ground. If that is indeed the problem, it could be settled in a different way.

In fact, the intercepted conversations that have been published show how far they have been preparing for these operations.

But in the current crisis, India seems to have the U.S. and all the other world powers on its side. Is this a major diplomatic gain?

The real problem here is that Pakistan has been trying consistently over the last five decades to internationalise the Kashmir issue. But with the elections of 1996, the people of Kashmir proved that they did not want to revolt against India, that they w anted peace. The latest large-scale penetration into the area is another effort to internationalise the issue. On this point there is a difference between the Pakistani and U.S. objectives. The U.S. aim is to force India to hold a plebiscite - not just a choice between union with India or Pakistan, but with the third alternative of independence. So the U.S. hopes to persuade the people in favour of independence, which means that it would be able to occupy a region of great strategic importance. The same objective was there in Afghanistan also. So we should not be under the impression that the U.S. is on our side in this situation. The spokesman has said, for instance, that there has been a wrong committed by Pakistan, which should be sorted out between us. But there is an indication that the U.S. will intervene if we cannot settle the matter between ourselves.

Has this entire crisis arisen because the Indian political leadership was too optimistic about the process of reconciliation that the Lahore Declaration seemed to herald?

They have been ignorant about history. The unfortunate situation is that the Indian leadership perhaps got some illusions with the visit of Vajpayee to Lahore and got convinced that the Prime Minister of Pakistan is actually keen to sort out problems thr ough negotiations. It was a mistaken idea because the political situation in Pakistan is such that nobody can afford to take a firm position. The people will be prepared to do so but the political parties cannot. Benazir Bhutto also has come out with a n ew proposal, whose aim is the same. She will later interpret it in terms of the old position. She says let the border be open for both Pakistan, India and particularly for Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Later on she says that a situation will com e under which the matter can be sorted out. She still cannot admit that the matter has been settled. The political situation is such that nobody from Pakistan can come to a rational and reasonable understanding on the basis of which we can live in peace.

What is your reading of the intelligence failure behind the recent developments?

It has been very serious. You see, these bunkers have been built by us for the purpose of our defence. If they are able to occupy all the bunkers right up to the top, there has been a serious intelligence failure. The places where we have been able to re gain control are at the lower heights. But they still remain in control in the upper reaches.

How is it that so many people penetrated the Line of Control? How did they get the supply lines and weaponry into those positions? We must learn from Afghanistan: the people up there are indoctrinated in such a way that they believe they are fighting for a holy cause. We have been ignorant about all that was happening all this time.

Did the Pokhran nuclear tests have a bearing on this? The expectation was that nuclear capabilities on both sides would deter conflict rather than promote it...

That was clearly wrong. The nuclear tests have created a fear complex. We have opposed the tests from the very beginning. Pakistan at once proved that it too could explode nuclear devices. A second point is that (Home Minister) L.K. Advani made a stateme nt in Jammu saying, we have the bomb so now we can solve the Kashmir problem. That aggravated the situation.

Would you say that the Pokhran tests have undermined India's security by restricting the range of conventional military responses?

Yes, I would say so. There is a fear complex because so many countries today have the ability to make weapons. And because we have also gone on the same path, we cannot carry forward the struggle for peace and disarmament.

In the light of Kargil, do you think the intelligence failures point to the need for a public inquiry and efforts to plug the gaps?

That issue will be taken up later. The immediate question is to restore peace and to vacate the area of infiltrators. To talk about an inquiry at this moment would not be proper because we are engaged in a major conflict. I do not see much hope in the me eting (between the Foreign Ministers) because passions have been aroused and feelings are running high among all Indians about the events in Kargil.

The implications of the transcripts which the government has released seem to be that the Army in Pakistan is doing this and then forcing the civilian government to fall in line.

The present Army chief in Pakistan is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's hand-picked man. He has tried to intervene everywhere - in the judiciary, with the President, and with the Army. The Army is now the main source of support that Nawaz Sharif has. But per haps the Army can dictate terms because politicians do not have the courage to take a position in favour of peace with India on Kashmir.

Under the Lahore Declaration, both sides are committed to talking about all issues that divide them, including Kashmir. Now what possibly could they talk about on Kashmir, since both sides have irreconcilable positions which have not changed over the decades?

The people have not appreciated its significance. The significance for Pakistan is that the issue is accepted as unsettled. But there will be no meeting ground. What Benazir Bhutto has said sounds nice. But in the present situation, with all the animosit y and propaganda all around, nothing will work.

'Fernandes could have helped avoid controversy'

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The A.B. Vajpayee-led caretaker government's handling of the crisis in the Kargil sector has come under fire from Opposition parties. In particular, it has been assailed for its complacency in the face of Pakistan's attempts to violate the Line of Contro l (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. In an interview with V. Venkatesan, Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president Jana Krishnamurthy defends the government's actions before and during the crisis. Excerpts:

The BJP-led government's handling of the Kargil crisis has given rise to a controversy over its apparent failure to stop the Pakistani aggression across the LoC. What led to the current crisis?

To me it appears that whatever has now happened in Kargil is in line with what has been happening in Kashmir all these years. In a sense, it is only a continuation of our earlier experiences. It has been clarified that ever since the Simla Agreement was signed, neither side has tried to occupy any space across the LoC in this particular sector (Kargil) during winter. When the winter ends, the Indian troops move back to their posts nearer to the LoC. This year the Indian defence forces had no indication that something different would happen. Hence, to accuse somebody of having been lax in their vigil in the area is improper.

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It is another thing to argue that although a particular type of situation has prevailed in this sector for the past 28 years, our intelligence wing should have continued to keep a vigil. Our defence forces have taken note of this. They are now planning t o have advanced, technologically-improved surveillance arrangements to keep vigil along the LoC.

The Border Security Force had sounded a warning about possible infiltration across the border as early as January. In October 1998, the Ministry of Defence too had information suggesting that Pakistan would launch an offensive in April in the Kargil a rea.

We did not have any such information. If there was a lapse on anybody's part, the truth will come out after the present mission is accomplished. But keeping in mind what little I know of our defence forces, I am not prepared to accept that anyone would h ave disregarded any vital, definite information about the intrusion from any source. That is why I said that there has to be a discussion on all these matters after the present issue is settled. It will be at that time that responsibility will be fixed. The Prime Minister has rightly stated that the government has taken full responsibility for the crisis. This is not the time to find fault with anyone or accuse those at the helm of affairs.

For example, the attack on Defence Minister George Fernandes seems to be totally unwarranted. He had stated that the Pakistan Prime Minister seemed to be unaware of the preparations made by the Pakistan Army for aggression against India. We now find that the telephonic conversation between the two top army officers of Pakistan reveals exactly this. Therefore, I request the people of India and the Opposition to refrain from attacking the government in this context, until the matter is settled successfull y. We know that our opponents (in India) will try to make an issue of these events during the election campaign. Then it will be our turn to expose our opponents' double standards. However, George Fernandes could have refrained from making such comments. He could have helped avoid unnecessary controversy, when the entire country's attention is focussed on Kargil. But it is a fact that in Pakistan, the Army has the upper hand in the country's politics.

Fernandes reportedly advocated "safe passage" for the Pakistani intruders.

It has been totally misunderstood. Perhaps Fernandes wanted to say that if, during the talks between India and Pakistan, the Pakistani representatives admit that they have illegally intruded into Indian territory and crossed the LoC and promise to withdr aw beyond the LoC to their side, then India could allow these intruders to go back to Pakistan. Anticipating this, perhaps Fernandes would have meant to say that it (safe passage) would be considered. In diplomacy, considering something does not mean con ceding it.

Does the BJP consider unpatriotic people who are critical of the government's role in the Kargil crisis?

No responsible person in our party has said so. Any government has to have the freedom to take steps to meet a given situation. The opposition should convince the people that they too are responsible parties. They should extend full cooperation to the go vernment. There may be disagreements over the effectiveness of the government in handling the episode, but the Opposition parties should take it up after the contingency ceases to exist.

Why is the government unwilling to call an emergency session of the Rajya Sabha as demanded by some Opposition parties?

It is not a demand made with good intentions. It is obvious that the ruling coalition is a minority in the Rajya Sabha. The Opposition wants to settle political scores in the forum when the nation is poised for a mid-term poll. The motive behind the dema nd is suspect. The heavens are not going to fall if the discussion on the government's role in the crisis is delayed by a few months.

How effective has Pokhran-II been in ensuring our security and territorial integrity? The Pakistani aggression in the Kargil sector has shown that Pokhran-II has not been able to prevent aggression on India.

Pokhran-II was in line with our National Agenda for Governance. It led to a new-found self-confidence. However, the lapses on the part of our defence forces have been accumulated over the past several years, under previous governments, whereas this gover nment was racing against time. However, we have pledged that we will not make first use of nuclear weapons. The government will exercise the option only if the situation warrants it.

Was it proper to ask the Deputy Director General of Military Operations to brief the BJP's National Executive?

It is necessary to educate our partymen about the Kargil crisis. We called an emergency meeting of our party's National Executive a day after the all-party meeting. We requested the Defence Minister to depute someone from the Ministry to explain to our N ational Executive members the army action in Kargil. It was necessary to educate members of the National Executive first, so that they can explain to the party cadres in their respective States. At the all-party meeting held before our National Executive meeting, a similar briefing by army personnel took place. Our party president Kushabhau Thakre told the members of the National Executive that they should listen to the army briefing without asking questions. If other parties request the Defence Ministe r to organise separate briefings for their partymen, such requests will also be accepted.

Should the diplomatic effort to solve the crisis continue after the brutal killing of six of our defence personnel by the Pakistan Army?

Our efforts for peace should continue. But Pakistan should be made aware that there shall be no compromise regarding any part of territory. The Kargil episode has exposed Pakistan to the world community. Now the world has a clear understanding that the P akistan Prime Minister is kept in the dark by the country's army on an important issue like relations with its neighbour. This is the first time that many countries, including the United States, have come to realise that Pakistan is in the wrong. They wi ll exert pressure on Pakistan to stop the aggression. This will open the eyes of the intelligentsia in Pakistan. The spirit of the Lahore Declaration will remain. Pakistan has to see reason and stick to the Lahore Declaration.

What will be the domestic political fallout of the Kargil crisis?

The Kargil crisis will be successfully concluded before the elections in September. We will give the credit for our victory to our armed forces and to the people of this country. But if our opponents try to attack us for the steps taken by the government during the crisis, the BJP will definitely retaliate with sound arguments. It will be for the people to decide. If the Opposition is bent upon making it an election issue, we will not shy away.

What is the preliminary lesson that could be drawn from the Kargil crisis?

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. This should always be kept in mind.

An effective game plan

By creating a serious military problem for India in Kargil without "its direct involvement", Pakistan believes that it has played a winning card.

"...to take such action as will defreeze Kashmir problem, weaken India's resolve and bring her to a conference table without provoking a general war. However, the element of escalation is always present in such struggles. So, whilst confining our acti on to the Kashmir area we must not be unmindful that India may in desperation involve us in a general war or violate Pakistan territory where we are weak. We must therefore be prepared for such a contingency."

- Directive from President Ayub Khan to General Mohammad Musa, Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army, on August 29, 1965, quoted in A History of the Pakistan Army by Brian Cloughley (Oxford University Press, 1999).

NOT much seems to have changed in the 34 years since Pakistan launched Operation Gibraltar in 1965 by sending "hired Mujahids" and regular soldiers to take over Kashmir. The aims and objectives laid down by Ayub Khan seem to remain in place. This is evid ent from what India now experiences in Kargil.

Since the start of the Foreign Secretary-level dialogue in April-May 1997, Pakistan's objective has been clear. The Kashmir issue, along with matters of peace and security, came to the fore in the agenda agreed upon for discussion in June 1997 in Islamab ad. However, it was part of a composite dialogue process, a part of the "two plus six process". The first substantive round of discussions in October 1998 between the Foreign Secretaries must have made it clear to Pakistan that India would not yield on t he Kashmir issue. In fact, India made it clear that the first confidence-building measure Pakistan needed to undertake was to stop pushing infiltrators across the Line of Control (LoC).

Pakistan's decision to send in hundreds of infiltrators in the Kargil-Drass sector was part of a plan to put the spotlight on Kashmir and simultaneously, undermine the LoC as a frontier that had basically held good during the last 27 years. Pakistan need s to remember that only borders are properly demarcated; not a ceasefire line which was turned into an LoC. Pakistan's interest in securing the involvement of the United Nations in demarcating the LoC on the ground is obviously a part of its propaganda t actics. As Brian Cloughley, a writer sympathetic to Pakistan, points out in his book on the Pakistan Army, the Delineation of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir Resulting from the Cease Fire of 17 December 1971 in Accordance with the Simla Agreemen t of 2 July 1972 is an "unambiguous" document. "Its territorial precision is remarkable," writes Cloughley, whose book reflects the access granted to him by the Pakistan Army.

According to Cloughley, it contains these descriptions: "The Line of Control runs from NR 313861 to NR 316865, thence to NR 319867, thence EAST to NR 322868, thence NE to NR 331872, thence to a monument on ridge line at NR 336874 approximately 500 yards SE of Point 10008 (NR 3387), thence to a point NR 338881 on the Nullah such that point NR 336874 and point NR 338881 are connected by a counter clockwise arc with a radius of 500 yards, thence NE to junction..." Cloughley admits that the only point that was not precise was what happened after NJ 9842. At the time of delineation, Indian and Pakistani officers agreed that "anyone who wanted to lay claim to ice, snow and rocks was welcome to them."

At some stage during the India-Pakistan composite dialogue, the Pakistani establishment realised that this process would not benefit it on the Kashmir front. It became cleat that India's real interest was in trade and a general improvement in relations, and that as far as Kashmir was concerned, it simply wanted an end to infiltration. In contrast, Pakistan's policy of bleeding India, executed first by President Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s in Punjab, and then in Kashmir, and later by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the intelligence agencies, is a constant; the Pakistani establishment has never envisaged a change in this. Clearly, India must continue to pay for aiding the formation of Bangladesh. Kargil is the new front where Indian soldiers must pay with their lives, apart from the serious loss of face for New Delhi. Pakistan's game plan is simple and has been executed excellently in military terms.

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The Lahore declaration is today not worth the paper it is written on if Nawaz Sharif has indeed been kept in the dark by his Army with regard to the current situation in Kargil, then he must distance himself from it. At the very least, he should replace Gen. Pervez Musharraf as the Chief of the Army Staff. (Gen. Jehangir Karamat was given the marching orders in October 1998 by Nawaz Sharif for criticising civilian authorities.) In the absence of such a move, it must be construed that the Pakistani milit ary and political establishments are, for all practical purposes, working in tandem.

By creating a serious military problem for India in Kargil without its "direct involvement", Pakistan believes that it has played a winning card. Unlike Operation Gibraltar, the mercenary militants are in a good position to pick off Indian soldiers. The joy over Indian losses is apparent from a remark made by Gen. Musharraf to Lt. Gen Mohammad Aziz, his Chief of General Staff, during a telephone conversation on May 29, the transcript of which has been released by India. A portion of the transcript goes as follows: "Aziz Saheb (Sartaj Aziz) has discussed with me, and my recommendation is that dialogue option is always open. But in their first meeting, they must give no understanding or no commitment on ground situation." True to the brief given by Lt. G en. Aziz, Foreign Minister Sartaj Azi, who was in India to hold talks, made no commitment on the ground situation in Kargil. Sartaj Aziz stuck to the brief "given" to him by the Army. The Foreign Minister took the position that it was India which had esc alated the conflict situation by resorting to air and artillery strikes; and that expert-level talks between the two countries would be possible only if India turned down the heat.

Clearly, Pakistan wants to sustain the crisis in Kargil as long as possible. In such a situation, where Pakistan's links with the mercenary militants stand confirmed by the phone conversation between Lt. Gen Aziz and his Chief, there seems little to talk about between the two countries.

All those Indians who sincerely believe in the need for better relations with Pakistan must be afflicted with a feeling of being let down. A parallel anti-India track was continuing even as Vajpayee's bus rolled up to stop before Nawaz Sharif at Wagah on February 20. The Lahore-Delhi bus diplomacy remains confined to the status of bus diplomacy.

While Pakistan has played its cards well on the military front, its hopes for diplomatic success in the international arena have been belied. The United States has called for a return of those who have crossed the LoC; there has been no "emergency meetin g" of the U.N. Security Council as envisaged by Pakistan. Despite the failure of the Sartaj Aziz-Jaswant Singh talks, Pakistan will, in all probability, remain interested in continuing a "dialogue" with India on Kashmir as long as it can use the Kargil l ever. And for now, Islamabad has nothing to gain by undoing the Kargil intrusion.

And, it has demonstrated conclusively that the Pakistani establishment is not to be trusted and is manned by the masters of double-speak.

For a Camp David for Kashmir

BENAZIR BHUTTO cover-story

AS tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir once again boil over, world security is threatened by the very real possibility that war will break out between two politically unstable nuclear powers. This week, air strikes by Indian helicopter gunships and MiG jet fighters further increased the chance that Kashmir could spark yet another, and far more dangerous, confrontation.

For years, foreign policy analysts had been predicting that the Serbs would move against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, and for years the world did little to prevent it. Like Kosovo, the possibility of a nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan is p redictable, dangerous, but clearly preventable. It is time for the world, and especially the United States, to turn its diplomacy to crisis prevention.

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As a former Prime Minister of Pakistan, I observe events in Kashmir with keen interest. Indeed, one of my principal regrets is that my policies actually fed the tensions. Then, I believed that holding Indian-Pakistani relations hostage to the single issu e of Kashmir would highlight the cause of the Kashmiri people. That policy certainly did not advance the cause of peace in South Asia.

Recently I met with Shimon Peres, the former Foreign Minister of Israel, at the University of California at Berkeley and realised that the process of reconciliation now going on in West Asia - particularly between Egypt and Israel, and Jordan and Israel - may provide a replicable model for conflict resolution between India and Pakistan.

The Camp David peace accords postponed the hardest, most delicate negotiations on the most sensitive issues until the very end of the process and did not try to tackle seemingly intractable issues at the beginning. For 50 years we in Pakistan thought Kas hmir had to be resolved before any normalisation could occur between the two great powers on the subcontinent. That approach may have been self-defeating.

In the developing peace between Israel and Jordan, genuine confidence was built with deliberate, incremental advances, and they quickly triggered extraordinary and rapid progress.

Following these models suggests that the two sections of Kashmir should have open and porous borders. Both sections would be demilitarised and patrolled by either an international peace-keeping force or a joint Indian-Pakistani peace-keeping force.

Both legislative councils would continue to meet separately and on occasion jointly. The people on both sides of divided Kashmir could meet and interact freely and informally. None of these steps would prejudice or prejudge the position of both countries on the disputed areas.

Simultaneously, the borders between Pakistan and its South Asian neighbours, including India, would be opened for unrestricted trade, cultural cooperation and exchange. Tariffs and quotas between the nations would be eliminated. Educational and technolog ical exchanges on the secondary and university levels would be initiated on a broad scale.

Discussions would commence on the creation of a South Asian Free Market Zone, which would expand unrestricted and untaxed trade to include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives - a free-market zone modeled after the Europ ean Community and the North American Free-Trade Agreement.

Only after all of these confidence-building mechanisms were in place, and only after a significant set period of time (Camp David called for a five-year transition), would the parties commence discussions on a formal and final resolution to the Kashmir p roblem, based on the wishes of its people and the security concerns of both India and Pakistan.

It would be our hope that, as with Jordan and Israel, after a period of open borders and open trade there would follow a period of open hearts and open minds.

Kosovo warns us that the world should try to put out a potentially dangerous fire before it explodes. We cannot afford to allow a South Asian armageddon to take place. India and Pakistan, like Jordan and Israel, must discover that they have more in commo n than in divergence and that mutual trust and cooperation will avoid war and build a peace that makes both parties more secure and prosperous.

The clock is ticking. The time to act is now.

Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and leader of the Pakistan People's Party, wrote this comment for The New York Times. It was published by the newspaper on June 8.

Questions of accountability

A. G. NOORANI cover-story

No government can possibly allow so reckless a strategy as Pakistan has resorted to now to succeed. And no nation can forgive a government which permitted such a strategy to succeed to the extent it did.

IT was May 8, 1940. Britain was battling for survival. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave a poor account of his policies in a House of Commons debate on the war situation and made it a personal issue. As the debate proceeded, the 77-year-old Lloyd G eorge rose and delivered a speech which concluded thus: "He (the Prime Minister) appealed for sacrifice from the nation. The nation is ready so long as its leadership is right, as long as you say clearly what you are aiming at, as long as you give confid ence to them that their leaders are doing their best for them. I say now solemnly that the Prime Minister can give an example of sacrifice because I tell him one thing, that there is nothing that would contribute more to victory in this war than that he should sacrifice his seals of office."

The speech turned the tide. Fifty Conservative MPs voted against the Government. Chamberlain resigned and was succeeded by Winston Churchill.

It is a testimony to India's feudal culture that even people who ought to know better ask that the democratic rule of accountability of the government to the people should be suspended for the duration of Operation Vijay in Kargil.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Defence Minister George Fernandes have reason to avoid accountability. Having broken every rule in the manual of good governance, they are set to break norms of accountability as well. National Security Adviser Bra jesh Mishra told Reuters: "Obviously we did not assess the situation properly... we didn't expect this sort of intrusion."

When it was discovered, the Government panicked. Memories of the past and the prospects in the future combined to haunt it. Both the bomb and the bus-ride stood exposed as gimmicks. Army estimates of the costs of, and delays in, evicting the intruders fr om Pakistan diminished chances of victory in the general elections, due a few months later. The bus ride had to be saved by exonerating Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and even Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The offer of safe passage to the intruders was made to secure a quick solution. Such offers are made, if at all, only at the conference table and, then, after driving the intruders' mentors to a corner so that they will propose it. Megaphone diplomacy comes naturally to those who have spent a life-t ime in rabble-rousing and lack the basic skills and discretion that governance require. Ineptness in conduct was sought to be covered up by clumsiness in speech.

The nation must stoutly refuse to give any respite to men who have served it so badly. The only ones to emerge with credit are the men of the armed forces who have performed bravely against heavy odds. Their morale will not suffer, but will rise if the p oliticians who put them in this situation on account of their incompetence are brought to account. V. K. Krishna Menon resigned as Defence Minister on November 7, 1962 even while the India-China war was on. At the height of the First World War, Churchill was removed as First Lord of the Admiralty on May 26, 1915 following the reverses in the Dardanelles campaign. On July 20, 1916, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith announced his decision to appoint a Royal Commission "to inquire into the conduct of the Dardan elles operations." Its Report was submitted in March 1917 and was debated in the House of Commons on March 20, 1917. The War ended only in November 1918.

During the Crimean War, Gladstone told the mover of the motion censuring the government's conduct: "Your business is not to govern, but it is, if you think fit, to call to account those who do govern it."

During the Second World War, the House of Commons exercised this power even as bombs rained on London. On May 10, 1941, over 3,000 people were killed or injured and the building of the House itself was destroyed. It moved into the Church House. A year la ter, Britain's fortunes declined steeply with "a long succession of misfortunes and defeats" in the east and in North Africa. Yet, on June 25, 1942, this motion was tabled in the House: "That this House, while paying tributes to the heroism and endurance of the Armed Forces of the Crown in circumstances of exceptional difficulty, has no confidence in the central direction of the war." It stood in the name of Sir John Wardlaw-Milne, a Conservative and chairman of the powerful all-party Finance Committee. It was seconded by a Churchill admirer, former Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes.

As Churchill proudly recorded in his memoirs, "Certainly there was no denial of free speech or lack of it." On July 2, a former Secretary of State for War, Leslie Hore-Belisha, attacked Churchill: "How can one place reliance in judgments that have so rep eatedly turned out to be misguided?" Churchill's reply followed this powerful speech. He exclaimed: "What a remarkable example it has been, the unbridled freedom of our parliamentary institutions in time of war: everything that could be thought of or rak ed up has been used to weaken confidence in the government, has been used to prove that Ministers are incompetent and to weaken their confidence in themselves, to make the army distrust the backing it is getting from the civil power, to make the workmen lose confidence in the weapons they are striving so hard to make, to present the government as a set of nonentities over whom the Prime Minister towers, and then to undermine him in his own heart, and, if possible, before the eyes of the nation. All this poured out by cable and radio to all parts of the world, to the distress of all our friends and to the delight of all our foes! I am in favour of this freedom, which no other country would use, or dare to use, in times of mortal peril such as those thro ugh which we are passing."

THE forms of accountability can vary, the principle cannot. One might adopt one procedure now and opt for a wider, more comprehensive inquiry later. Certainly George Fernandes should be required to quit an office for which he has, time and again, shown h imself to be utterly unworthy. The record renders this inescapable.

We need to assess realistically the dimensions of the immediate threat, Pakistan's motives and strategy, and the prospects.

One hopes that the bomb lobby has learnt now that, far from making limited wars less likely, nuclear weapons can make them more plausible and tempting. This was the theme of Denis Healey's famous article in Encounter (July 1955) entitled The Bo mb That Didn't Go Off and the thesis in Henry Kissinger's seminal works Nuclear Weapons & Foreign Policy(1957) and The Necessity for Choice (1961). Writing in the respected journal Arms Control Today, Eric Arnett of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute pointed out: "Significantly, Pakistan's nuclear weapon capability may actually contribute to the risk of war. The Pakistani leadership shows indications of believing that the risk of nuclear war makes even small co nventional conflicts extremely unlikely if not impossible, and that South Asia's nuclear stalemate gives both sides the cover to continue the struggle in Kashmir by other means."

However, "an escalation in Pakistani support to insurgents on Indian territory will be dealt with by military means if deemed necessary. The insurgency can only succeed if it inflicts intolerable costs on India, but New Delhi is less likely to capitulate when it still has the options of 'hot pursuit' and interdiction, both legitimate actions under international law. The resulting mismatch of perceptions makes war more likely." This was published in August 1997, many months before Pokhran-II and Chagai. Remember that L. K. Advani said then that Pokhran had solved the Kashmir problem.

Pakistan has escalated its aid to insurgency. Foiled in the Valley, where the Hizbul Mujahideen is getting decimated, it has stepped up aid to other groups and chosen other areas of incursion. One of them is the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (the army of the pure). Zaighan Khan's article in the excellent monthly Herald (Karachi, January 1998) ably described "Pakistan's largest so-called Jehadi organisation restricting its activities to Kashmir only." It is the militant wing of the Markaz Dawa-Wal-Irshad (Centre for Preaching) based in Muridke, some 50 km north of Lahore. Set up by three university teachers in 1987, it concentrates on education and - jehad. It was initially involved in Afghanistan. A lakh of people listened "in awed silence" as a shop keeper from Bahawalpur told them how both his sons gave their lives fighting in Kashmir. The Lashkar is opposed to any settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Zaighan Khan perceptively noted its danger to democracy in Pakistan itself.

Dawn published (November 8, 1998) an Agence France-Presse report from Srinagar quoting a Taliban commander's claim that in Kashmir they were operating 28 guerilla training camps which formerly belonged to the Lashkar Hyder group.

There is undoubtedly an element of vain boast in the former Army chief, Gen. Aslam Beg's article in Outlook (June 7, 1999), when he writes of "volunteers pouring in from the outside world". But he makes a damaging admission about "a new strategy" adopted by the Mujahideen (read Pakistan's Army) - "severing the line of communication that facilitated the build-up of supplies and troops in the Siachen, Leh and Kargil areas during the summer. This objective was achieved by the Mujahideens occupying t he higher strategic positions along Kargil, Drass, Batalik and Turtuk... If they succeed, Indian forces in Siachen and Ladakh will be cut off from their base in Srinagar."

This is what we are up against. No government in India can possibly allow so reckless a strategy to succeed, no matter what it takes to defeat it decisively. No nation can forgive a government which permitted such a strategy to succeed to the exte nt it did at such cost of men and material. It could and should have been nipped in the bud. It was not.

THIS brings us to the Army set-up in Pakistan. Demonising the ISI and making it appear larger than life is not the best way to assess its strengths and weaknesses. There is not a single definitive article on the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, t o give its full name. As in the case of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), its remit covers intelligence-gathering, covert operations and ventures in diplomacy. Unlike them, it is a wing of the Army. There has appeared an able study by Col. Brian Clougley, deputy head of the United Nations Military Observer's Group in Kashmir (1980-82) and defence attache (1989-94) in the Australian Mission in Pakistan. (A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrectio ns, Oxford, Rs. 500, pages 384). The ISI's legendary head, Gen. Akhtar Abdul Rehman, masterminded the operations in Afghanistan. The ISI trained 80,000 men in all. He was removed in 1987 and was succeeded by Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul. On May 24, 1990, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto removed Hamid Gul and replaced him with Lt. Gen. Shamsur Rehman Kallue.

The ISI's clout increased during the Afghan war when, till the end of 1985, there was military rule in Pakistan. The Foreign Office followed one policy, the ISI a different one. Clougley writes: "The number of "intelligence operatives" in the Inter-Serv ices Intelligence Directorate is ludicrously high, and their wide-spread, energetic, and somewhat amateur activities serve only to alienate the loyal without detecting subversion." The activities of Brigadier Zaheer Abbasi "were not discovered by the mas sed bands of ISI agents deployed to follow or otherwise intercept innocent citizens." When they do so, the methods they use are brutal.

In April 1997, Nawaz Sharif secured the enactment of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to repeal the hated 8th Amendment of the Zia era (1985). It omitted from Article 243 (a) (c) of the Constitution the words "in his discretion" used to qualify the President's power to appoint the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and the chiefs of the three wings of the armed forces. He now acts only on the Prime Minister's advice. Last year the Prime Minister secured the resignation of the Army ch ief, Jehangir Karamat, and appointed Pervez Musharraf in his place. The ISI is very much subordinate to both the Prime Minister and the Army chief. It is another matter that both would prefer not to know the details of the skulduggery for which such agen cies are granted autonomy. But two Prime Ministers have sacked the chiefs of the ISI during their respective tenures.

Nawaz Sharif tried to elevate the present chief, Lt. Gen. Ziauddin, as Army chief and make the present Army chief the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. But Gen. Pervez Musharraf would have none of it. (Herald, May 1999).

Why has it come as a surprise to Fernandes? Had he not said in a formal statement in the Lok Sabha on August 5, 1998 that, while our security forces have checked the infiltrators, "as if to give vent to its frustration, Pakistan has started targeting not only our Army posts but also civilian inhabited areas, with Batalik, Kargil, Kanazalwan, Tangdhar Karen and Uri becoming the main targets." On January 14, 1999, The Times of India reported - "Foreign Mercenaries Swell in J & K". Indeed, at a pres s conference on January 11, 1999, the then Officiating Commander of the 15 Corps, Major-General A. S. Sihota, warned of a "limited" Pakistani action to attract international attention to Kashmir: "You can't rule out the possibility of Pakistan trying to capture our posts along the LoC".

When were the new intrusions detected? On May 6, the Defence Minister tells us, and that thanks to a shepherd, little realising that this fortuitous disclosure shows the system in a poor light. Patrols sent on May 8 and 10 came to grief. On May 9 Rs.170 crores-worth of ammunition went up in smoke in the arms dump at Kargil. The flushing out operations began on May 14. On May 17, Fernandes confidently predicted that the intruders would be flushed out within 48 hours. His explanation is relevant - they en tered Indian territory now as the snow had melted. Both the prediction and the explanation showed that he was totally ignorant of the situation, which is why he said on May 20 that "the situation is well under control".

On May 19, the army ended its news black-out. Lieutenant-General Krishan Pal, commander of the 15 Corps, gave a press conference at which he said: (a) "This infiltration is fully backed by the Pakistan Army and the ISI". There was no evidence of Taliban participation; (b) "They are well trained infiltrators and on an almost suicidal mission."

On May 22, Nawaz Sharif was briefed at the Chaklala airport by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and the Defence Secretary, Iftikhar Ali Khan, a former General. The Kashmir Monitor of Srinagar, edited by Zafar Meraj, reported (May 24) that "in the recent pas t, Nawaz Sharif had visited the ISI HQs where he was briefed... The ISI chief, according to a senior official, has also been briefing the Premier on a day-to-day basis. Besides, special reports are being sent for the up-to-date information of Prime Minis ter who is the final authority to take decisions on these sensitive matters." It quoted The News of Lahore in support of the report.

The tapes released on June 11 quote him as saying that he had come to know around May 19 when the corps commanders were informed.

Once the Indian Air Force launched the air strikes on May 26, the nation realised the gravity of the matter and the Government found itself in the dock with the prospect of a sack next September. There followed a spate of independent disclosures on the o ne hand and, on the other, fatuous moves to escape accountability. Swati Chaturvedi reported in The Indian Express (May 28) a secret report by the Border Security Force (BSF), delivered to the Home Ministry on May 26, which reported that the heigh ts had been occupied "as early as January" and that "they faced no resistance ..." On May 29, even the GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt. Gen. H. M. Khanna, admitted that there "was a certain amount of surveillance failure."

On this, opinion is unanimous. Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar, former Deputy COAS, DGMO, and Commander of the U.N. Force in Yugoslavia, enjoys high respect. He has written: "It is a matter of some concern that notwithstanding the various means available for sur veillance and monitoring of the area, the actions of the intruders appear to have gone unnoticed, till well after the event. We have a range of equipment that includes binoculars by land patrols in the mountains to satellites in space; yet we are caught flat footed time and again. A reflection on the lack of integration in our defence and intelligence hierarchy!" Inputs by shepherds are not necessary.

Air Marshal M. M. Singh wrote: "It appears to be a major failure of our military intelligence and RAW that they did not anticipate the massive infiltration of extremists into the Drass-Kargil sector. We seem to have been caught napping when enemy troops and mercenaries were taking position on the strategic peaks."

In the context of such palpable and grave failure the Defence Minister's statements are indefensible. On May 29 at the all-party meeting he said that it was only on the night of May 12 that the Army informed him of the intrusion. The Army had learnt of i t on May 6 through a shepherd, he said. Neither he nor the DGMO, Lt. Gen. M. C. Vij, and Additional Chief of Air Staff (Ops.) Air Vice-Marshal S. K. Malik, could say when the intrusions in fact began. The very next day these two went to a National Execut ive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (The Hindu, June 1).

From the end of April, the press in Jammu and Srinagar had reported the intrusions regularly. The Army chief, Gen. V. P. Malik, had a five-day tour (April 10-14) of the Rajouri-Poonch, Uri-Kupwara and Siachen sectors. He did not go to Kargil.

On June 1, Fernandes said: "One can show them (the infiltrators) safe passage. This is a matter which can be considered." This was said in the specific context of Sartaj Aziz' visit to Delhi. Vajpayee said the same thing on June 2: "If they ask for safe passage, the matter will be considered but there is no question of stopping the military action and allowing them to go without talks on the issue with Pakistan." Clearly, "safe passage" was the Government's considered stand. The situation, the Prime Min ister added, had "improved considerably." Sharp public reaction, especially from retired senior army officials, induced retreat; clumsily executed, though.

No one in his senses would suggest that diplomacy has no place in a "war-like situation." It has, even in the midst of a full-fledged war. But it is not conducted so ineptly. It is a "local situation" as Lt. Gen. Krishan Pal said; albeit a grave and dang erous one. If checked, a lesson will have been taught. The task now is to devise an accord on defusing it without any let-up in the military operation. The "minutes of consultation" signed by A. S. Gonsalves, Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs , and Pakistan's Foreign Secretary, Abdul Sattar, on February 4, 1987, laid down a detailed procedure for disengagement in order to defuse the crisis over Exercise Brasstacks. The situation in Kargil is different. But a localised accord for the withdrawa l of the infiltrators will be appropriate - provided the proposal comes from Pakistan. For the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister to talk about it publicly in advance was to betray incompetence.

As for an inquiry, immediately there can be one by a committee of retired senior officials of the armed forces which would question Ministers and army and intelligence officials in private and submit a brief report to assuage public disquiet; rather like the Privy Councillors' Report in Britain.

Two good precedents are the Franks Committee's Report on the Falklands crisis in 1982, and perhaps more appropriately, the Agranat Report. The Yom Kippur War began on October 6, 1973. On October 22, 1973, Egypt agreed to a ceasefire. Soon thereafter, on November 18, 1973, the Israeli Cabinet adopted the following resolution: "Resolved: A) That the following matters, namely: 1. The information, in the days preceding the Yom Kippur War, concerning the enemy's moves and his intentions to open war, as well as the assessments and the decisions of the duly authorised military and civilian bodies with regard to the aforementioned information; 2. The Israel Defence Forces' deployment for battle in general, its preparedness in the days preceding the Yom Kippur War and its actions upto the containment of the enemy - are of vital public importance at this time requiring clarification. B) That an Inquiry Commission shall be set up to investigate the aforementioned matters and report to the Cabinet..."

It was headed by Dr. Shimon Agranat, President of the Supreme Court, and comprised four other members. The Committee's Report was presented on April 2, 1974. The Agranat Report is a veritable classic on accountability. It would do Indian democracy no cre dit if Ministers and officials of the Government of India are allowed to escape accountability. The people are entitled to know the facts. In the wake of the fiasco of its Bay of Pigs venture, the CIA conducted its own internal investigation, and pinned the blame where it rightly belonged.

High stakes, hardening positions

Diplomacy fails to make any significant headway on the Kargil front.

FEW people expected the meeting between Jaswant Singh and Sartaj Aziz, Foreign Ministers of neighbouring countries which stood on the brink of full-scale hostilities, to produce any dramatic initiatives. And the outcome in New Delhi on June 12 was very m uch as expected. There were no efforts to contrive a scene of cordiality for the media, none of the customary exchange of courtesies. The atmosphere bristled with hostility as the two Ministers stated their respective positions and parted ways, each to b rief the media separately on what had clearly been a futile effort at dialogue.

Earlier, India had rebuffed repeated suggestions from Pakistan that talks represented the only means to defuse the sharpening conflict in the Kargil region. An initial offer from Sartaj Aziz to visit on June 7 was spurned, before the Indian government in dicated that June 12 would be a convenient date. The acerbic tone was unmistakable. India's official spokesman was at pains to underline that there was neither a request being made nor an invitation being extended. Rather, the intimation was only of Indi a's "convenience".

Pakistan's ardour for negotiations was transparent in its motivations - to broaden the terrain of discussions, to utilise the vantage heights it had gained in the mountains around Kargil to prise open the long-settled question of the disposition of Jammu and Kashmir. India's disdain was in these terms entirely predictable and understandable. The early reckoning was that international public opinion had tilted India's way quite decisively, giving it the moral ascendancy in diplomatic engagements with its truculent neighbour.

The U.S. State Department spokesman had early on recognised that the Kargil events spoke of a qualitatively new type of military engagement by Pakistan-aided insurgents. Infiltration through the porous terrain along the Line of Control (LoC)had been a co mmon occurrence, but for the insurgents to take a position and seek to hold it on the Indian side was entirely new. Posed in this fashion, the problem admitted of only one solution - that the Pakistan-aided intruders should fall back where they came from .

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The U.S. Ambassador in India then proceeded to quash all thoughts of international mediation in the issue, insisting that it was for India and Pakistan to resolve the matter between themselves. With no effort at subtlety, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary was then quoted as saying that the country would feel free to use "any weapon" in its arsenal in order to defend territory that it legitimately regarded as its own. Although the government subsequently insisted that this had been a wrongful attribution, the dimensions of the Pakistani strategy were clear enough by then.

In the Pakistani narration, the events in Kargil were of a piece with a 10-year long history of insurgency in the State of Kashmir. India alone bore responsibility for the escalation of the conflict by bringing in its Air Force and heavy artillery. The l ogic of the conflict meant inevitably that the newly acquired nuclear expertise in the region would become a factor to reckon with at some point of time. This made it incumbent on the international community to intervene to cool down matters first and th en address the underlying causes of tension in the region.

The global response to this rather crude move was tepid at best. Nuclear weapons have gone so far beyond the pale of legitimacy that defence analysts worldwide have not as yet begun to factor it into calculations on the potential scope of the current con flict.

Rather, what has been accepted as the legitimate basis for negotiations in the current context is the military line of control between India and Pakistan. In this respect, Pakistan's initial effort was to question the clarity of demarcation of the LoC. W hen this manoeuvre failed, Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz entered the qualification that there was a difficulty in reconciling the demarcation on the map with the actual realities of a terrain dominated by sheer peaks and ridges.

By early June, Pakistan's international standing had clearly taken a beating. All hopes of a favourable response were scuppered when Bruce Reidel, the U.S. President's special assistant for national security with responsibility for the region, lent his a uthority to the demand that Pakistan pull back its raiders before any further progress could be achieved.

The conspicuous tilt in international public opinion stiffened India's determination not to open negotiations without its minimum condition being met. By June 8, there was a slight relaxation in this posture. That this was more formal than substantive wa s underlined by Jaswant Singh's own intervention in the matter on June 11.

RARELY has a government engaged in border skirmishes that threaten to explode into full-scale hostilities released sensitive intelligence material in its possession, least of all when it involves the chief of staff of the opposing army and one of his pri ncipal aides. Questions remain about the source of the transcripts that Jaswant Singh released on June 11, documenting two telephone conversations between the Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Army, General Pervez Musharraf, and his Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant-General Mohammad Aziz. But apart from a rather feeble effort by Pakistan's Information Minister Mushahid Hussain and the fine technical point drawn by Sartaj Aziz about the inadmissibility of tape-recordings as evidence, there has been no conv incing rebuttal of their authenticity.

On the face of things, the two transcripts seem to lend support to the early reading put forward by Defence Minister George Fernandes that the Pakistan Government and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate are innocent of culpability in the Kargil affair. But in Jaswant Singh's hands, the evidence that Fernandes had enigmatically referred to on occasion acquired a whole new thrust. While Fernandes had used it to absolve the civilian establishment, Jaswant Singh used it as an accusation: "Th is establishes beyond doubt the involvement and complicity of the Pakistani establishment in this misadventure... It raises doubts about the brief that Minister (Sartaj) Aziz carries and at whose dictates he is actually working."

Jaswant Singh's references were clearly to the directions that Lt-Gen. Aziz thought it appropriate to convey to the Foreign Minister, as revealed in the transcript of his conversation with General Musharraf on May 29: "...in short, the recommendation for Sartaj Aziz Saheb is that he should make no commitment in the first meeting on military situation. And he should not even accept ceasefire, because if there is ceasefire then vehicles will be moving..."

Public utterances from the Pakistan military command hierarchy have revealed that the strategic purpose behind the Kargil incursion may be to cut off logistical support for Indian troops stationed in the Siachen region. Lt-Gen. Aziz's rather blunt "recom mendation" to his government underlines these provocative statements by Brigadier Rashid Quereshi of Pakistan's Directorate of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

CURIOUSLY, the Kargil operations have led to some public disquiet in Pakistan over the army seeking to dictate terms to the civilian government. Asad Durrani, a retired Lieutenant-General and former ISI Director-General, sought to set at rest these appre hensions in an article in The Nation (July 12): "We must have faith in our military brass, that they would not land the political leadership in lasting trouble for temporary gains. And by the way, it is time that we started believing that the mili tary in Pakistan (is) firmly under political control... Frankly, does it really matter 'whodunit' in Kargil, as long as it serves our purpose; and as long as we can get away with saying what suits us the best?"

Jaswant Singh's dramatic disclosures of June 11 focussed attention rather ruthlessly on this cleavage in Pakistan's apparatus of governance between the military command and the elected civilian establishment. They also served as advance intimation that t he Foreign Minister of Pakistan as also the government he represented enjoyed little freedom to negotiate with India.

In making these points Jaswant Singh also went further. The bodies of six Indian Army personnel who had disappeared while on a patrol mission on May 14 were returned to India on June 9. Initial examination revealed that all the bodies bore torture marks. On June 11, Jaswant Singh had the autopsy reports with him, which confirmed in his words, "that the soldiers were tortured and then shot at close quarters". "Such conduct," said the Indian Foreign Minister, "is not simply a breach of established norms, or a violation of international agreements; it is a civilisational crime against all humanity; it is a reversion to barbaric medievalism."

ISPR in Pakistan was quick with its denials. It was simply inconceivable, said a military spokesman, that the Pakistan Army would return the bodies of soldiers killed in action if they bore the incriminating evidence of torture. But in the heightened cli mate of suspicion and unease about the Pakistan Army's determination to set the agenda in the neighbourhood, these proved rather unconvincing. Rather, the impression only gained ground that the Pakistan Army had provocatively chosen the moment to subvert the process of dialogue between the governments.

At his media conference in Delhi, Sartaj Aziz repeated the denials that the ISPR had issued. But the Indian Foreign Minister provided a different construction: the issue of torture had been raised in discussions and there were no denials from the Pakista ni side.

Facts were clearly being tailored to suit conflicting agendas. Sartaj Aziz insisted that he had provided concrete proposals to the Indian government to defuse the tension in Kargil. Jaswant Singh claimed that no such suggestions had come. On landing in I slamabad, the Pakistan Foreign Minister spelt out the nature of these proposals: that India should stop its air-strikes and artillery firing. The Indian side, however, had only one point to make: that the incursions across the LoC should be reversed.

IN the reading across the border, these incursions are a natural outcome of a 10-year-long insurgency in the State of Kashmir, which the Pakistan government has little control over. While responding to questions in English, Sartaj Aziz used the term "fr eedom struggle", though in his native tongue he chose the more provocative characterisation of jehad , to describe the Kashmir insurgency. These are imbedded features of the official discourse in Pakistan which it would be a folly for any Ministe r to depart from. But they convey rather starkly what precisely is at stake in the Kargil offensive.

Afghanistan is the theatre where the Pakistani Army and the ISI most recently lent their muscle to the cause of jehad. Even there, the fatal consequences of rivalry between different wings of the military establishment and the political dispensation were always apparent. The ISI, for instance, was committed, till very late, to supporting the Mujahideen fac tion headed by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, even when it launched a campaign of devastation against the civilian population of Kabul and the regime headed by a rival grouping of 'holy' warriors. In the mid-1990s, over the objections of the ISI, the Pakistan Army switched its patronage to a little known cabal of Islamic radicals called the Taliban. The ISI resisted for a while but then gave in. The consequences, in terms of the complete collapse of the Afghan state and the reversion of the entire country into th e brutish conditions of medieval barbarism are today apparent to even the Western powers which sponsored the Taliban's rise.

It is this rather baneful record of meddling in neighbouring states that underpins Pakistan's international isolation today. And Afghanistan is a monitory warning for Kashmir and the entire region of what is at stake in the Kargil conflict.

Dissonant voices

V.VENKATESAN cover-story

A CERTAIN propensity for indiscretion in his utterances has landed Defence Minister George Fernandes in many a controversy. At times it has even had the effect of souring India's relations with friendly countries and undone years of patient diplomacy, as happened in April and May 1998 with Sino-Indian relations.

Yet, on June 10, at a press conference convened to disclose the Samata Party's electoral strategy, Fernandes was uncharacteristically reticent even when newspersons pressed him for details on the situation in Kargil. He told mediapersons that they would find answers to their queries at the regular briefings by the Army. At a time when the authorities had placed restrictions on the movement of journalists in the conflict zone in Kargil, it appeared that crisis managers in the ruling coalition had thought it fit to place similar curbs on Fernandes to keep him from shooting his mouth off. Evidently, elements within the ruling coalition felt that some of Fernandes' utterances ever since the situation worsened in Kargil had dented the government's image. Th e government had come under trenchant criticism for speaking in many voices on the Kargil dispute and of lacking cohesion in its prounouncements and actions.

On May 28, Fernandes seemed to exonerate Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of involvement in the infiltration of Pakistani irregulars and troops into the Kargil area. The bizarre claim was unsubstantiat ed, and in fact shown to be wrong when the BJP-led government released transcripts of a tele-conversation between two top officers of the Pakistan Army. Subsequently, Fernandes made an offer of "safe passage" for the infiltrators to enable them to return to the Pakistani side of the Line of Control. At a time when the Indian Army was suffering casualties in seeking to regain the Pakistani-held positions, his unilateral statement, which was seen as an indication of the government's willingness to conside r a non-military solution, only served to undermine the morale of the defence forces.

Following a barrage of criticism, Fernandes denied that he had exonerated Nawaz Sharif and the ISI of involvement in Kargil. He said that the entire Pakistani establishment was involved, but he reiterated his theory that it was the Pakistan Army which ca lled the shots. And even his offer of "safe passage" for the infiltrators was a hypothetical one, he said: if Pakistan asked for it, it would be considered. Clearly sensing the need to change tack, he said:"Those who have been pushed into our country by Pakistan have to go back, dead or alive." The government's official spokesperson too denied that the government was considering a ''safe passage'' offer.

Fernandes received flak also when he led a team of Army officers to brief the BJP National Executive meeting on the Kargil issue. The move has been criticised on the ground that it violated the convention of keeping the defence forces entirely free of po litical association.

Significantly, the government secured the unstinting support of all Opposition parties, despite their reservations about its initial handling of the infiltration and the political and intelligence failure that led to the crisis in the first place. The ru ling coalition, however, was evidently incapable of exhibiting unity in thought and action. A meeting of the National Democratic Alliance, which comprises the BJP and its allies, helped to rein in Fernandes for a while but it was not long before he was f iring away again.

Even as External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh was preparing to convey to Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz the country's outrage at the torture, murder and disfiguring of six Indian soldiers by the Pakistan Army, Fernandes declared that India "will reply at all levels" to the barbaric treatment of the soldiers.

New alignments in Tamil Nadu

Shifting alignments point to a transformation of Tamil Nadu's politics.

THE three-year-old alliance between the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) in Tamil Nadu came to an end on June 2 when the general council of the DMK formalised its recently started relationship with the Bharatiya Janata Party by joining the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

TMC president G.K. Moopanar reacted tersely: if the relationship between the DMK and the BJP had been finalised, it would mean the end of his party's ties with the DMK. He said: "We will not accept anybody partnering communal forces. There is a fundament al contradiction on this (between the TMC and the DMK)."

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However, the parting of ways between the two parties was not marked by any acrimony; this reflected the personal relationship between DMK president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Moopanar. There is anguish in both the DMK and the TMC over the sepa ration because even in the recently held byelections to several hundred wards in the local bodies, the DMK-TMC alliance did remarkably well, as it had done in October 1996. Karunanidhi was confident that the breakdown of ties would not affect the DMK-TMC -Communist Party of India (CPI) coalition Government in Pondicherry headed by R.V. Janakiraman, who belongs to the DMK. "The situation there is different", Karunanidhi said. Moopanar too is not willing to rock the boat there. However, the CPI has decided to pull out of the Pondicherry coalition. The CPI national council, which met in Calcutta on June 5, 6 and 7, stated in a resolution: "By joining with the BJP, the DMK has acted against the mandate of the people of Pondicherry. In the context, the conti nuation of the CPI in the coalition Ministry in Pondicherry has become untenable. The withdrawal from the Government will be coordinated with the TMC, which is an ally of the party."

The fall of the BJP-led Government at the Centre in April saw the emergence of new political partnerships in Tamil Nadu. The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and the Tamilaga Rajiv Congress (TRC), which were with the AIADMK, turned against it when it withdrew support to the BJP-led Government. The TMC, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the CPI, which were with the DMK until then, were chagrined that the DMK threw its weight behind the BJP. While the CPI(M) and the CPI have now teamed up with the AIADMK led by Jayalalitha, the TMC is very reluctant to do so on the ground of the AIADMK's record. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the Indian National League (INL) and the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazahagam (TMMK) have pledged support to the AIADMK-led front.

Attention is now on the TMC because Moopanar has declared that his party is opposed to the communalism of the BJP and the corruption of the AIADMK in equal measure. The Left parties are trying hard to convince the TMC that it should join the AIADMK-led front in order to avoid the splitting of secular votes. The TMC began on June 7 an exercise to gauge the opinion of its top and middle-level leaders. Just ahead of this meeting, CPI State secretary R. Nallakannu had a one-hour discussion with Moopanar.

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The TMC meeting took place in the backdrop of Congress president Sonia Gandhi despatching Manmohan Singh and A.K. Antony to hold "preliminary talks" with Jayalalitha on building an alliance.

EVEN as Manmohan Singh and Antony came to Chennai and met Jayalalitha on June 3, Moopanar flew to New Delhi and had two meetings with Sonia Gandhi. He is believed to have raised with her the TMC's problems in going along with a Congress-AIADMK alliance. Moopanar led a section of the Congress(I) out of it in April 1996 to form the TMC, over the issue of the party aligning with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.

Manmohan Singh said that "various permutations and combinations were possible" but declined to elaborate. He said the Congress and the AIADMK were "working towards" an alliance. Congress sources said Jayalalitha was keen that the TMC should be brought in to the Congress-AIADMK fold. She told reporters that it was the Congress(I) which was making efforts to "rope in" the TMC. She would be happy if the TMC came along.

A TMC leader said: "A decision would be taken by the general council. Whatever the decision be, the leaders said it should be in the interests of the TMC."

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THE DMK general council's decision to join the NDA caused no surprise because the party had voted in favour of the Vajpayee Government in April. But what was surprising was that the general council's lengthy resolution made no mention of the BJP at all. Fulsome praise was reserved for the NDA and Vajapayee. Moopanar pointed this out to reporters. Karunanidhi gave a bizarre twist to the issue by insisting that the DMK was only a constituent of the NDA in which the BJP also found a place.

The DMK resolution took pains to declare that the party would continue to be a "friend and volunteer" of the minorities. If any harm came to the minorities, the DMK would not hesitate to renounce power and become a "shield" to protect the minorties, it d eclared.

The resolution listed reasons for the DMK joining the NDA. It said that when the Indian political system was becoming increasingly bipolar, the DMK had to choose its path carefully. So it would support that political front which respected regional partie s, recognised India's "plural society" and acknowledged that federalism was the instrument of keeping that plural society united; it would support that front which would form a coalition government at the Centre even if one of the parties in the front wo n a majority of the seats in the Lok Sabha; and it would support that front which had an "able and seasoned leader when the guns are booming on the borders". The DMK, therefore, "wholeheartedly" decided to join the NDA led by Vajpayee, the resolution sai d.

YET, the DMK leadership's nervousness was evident when Karunanidhi took part in the 104th birth anniversary celebrations of IUML leader Quaid-e-Milleth Mohammed Ismail on June 5. Karunanidhi and PMK president Dr.S. Ramadoss assured Muslims that their par ties would quit the NDA if the interests of the minorites were under threat from the formation. Karunanidhi said he was unable to comprehend the criticism of the DMK because nobody had earlier faulted the AIADMK for teaming up with the BJP.

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The AIADMK, keen on wooing the Vanniya community, has embraced the breakaway faction of the PMK led by Dheeran, and also former AIADMK Minister Panrutti S. Ramachandran (who is a Vanniya). The PMK mainly represents Vanniyas and is strong in North and Sou th Arcot, Salem and Dharmapuri districts. Meanwhile, INL leader M.A. Latheef has accused Karunanidhi of encouraging the breakaway faction of the INL.

The CPI(M) stepped up its attack on the DMK after the latter's general council met. The two Communist parties began a joint campaign against communalism. Defending the ties with the AIADMK, CPI(M) State secretary N. Sankaraiah said corruption would be a non-issue on a national platform. The AIADMK's opposition to the BJP was the only reason why it found acceptance among the Left parties, he said. He called the PMK, the MDMK and the TRC opportunists because they had won on the vote-bank of the AIADMK in the 1998 elections.

Bombs and politics

THE discovery of five powerful time-bombs near police establishments in Chennai, Coimbatore and Tiruchi on May 30 and 31 and the arrest of seven persons in connection with this, took on a political colour in no time. According to the police, the bombs w ere planted by members of Al-Umma, a Muslim terrorist organisation which is accused of being responsible for the serial bomb blasts in Coimbatore in February 1998, which left 58 persons dead. Depending on which side of the newly erected political fence t hey were, parties either ridiculed the discovery of the bombs as a "planned drama" staged by the police or commended their quick action in finding and defusing them.

The parties that banded together were the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and the Tamilaga Rajiv Congress (TRC). On the other side were the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), now estranged from the DMK, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Puthiya Tamilagam.

Former Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary Jayalalitha called the discovery of the bombs "a drama enacted by the police at the instigation of the DMK Government". TMC general secretary Peter Alphonse said that the bombs had nothing to do with ext remism but had an "election background", and demanded that they should not be any "political intimidation" in searching, interrogating or arresting extremists. State RJD president K. Jagaveerapandian said that the placing of the bombs was "planned and s tage-managed" in order to malign the minorities." Puthiya Tamilagam president Dr. K. Krishnaswamy expressed reservations about the discovery of the bombs. All these parties demanded that innocent Muslims should not be harassed or arrested by the police.

The Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK), the Indian National League (INL) and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) alleged that Muslims were harassed by the police in the search for persons who kept the bombs. (These organisations have announced that they will align with the AIADMK in the elections.) What gave a handle to this allegation was the police taking into preventive custody about 200 Muslims from various parts of the State. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said the police had been instruct ed not to harass innocent Muslims.

Jayalalitha stepped into the picture, wondering whether it was a plot to bring a bad name to the Muslim community, which had joined hands with the Opposition front against Karunanidhi.

The DMK's allies, such as the BJP, the PMK and the TRC, rallied behind it. The BJP appreciated the action taken by the police. Dr. S. Ramadoss, founder-president of the PMK, said parties making allegations against the Government even when they were aware of the conspiracy amounted to encouraging extremists. Vazhappadi K. Ramamurthi, founder-president of the TMC and Union Petroleum Minister, said that it would amount to politicising the issue if the Government was accused of planting the explosives.

The Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) had an ace up its sleeve. After serving the required summons, top CB-CID officers called on Jayalalitha and asked her about proof for her allegation. She replied that she was "misquoted" by the press. A CB-CID press release quoted her as having told the officers: "I did not say that the Tamil Nadu Government is enacting a drama. I only said it was the general talk of the people and that many persons had expressed such an opinion to me." Accordi ng to Jagaveerapandian, he told the CB-CID officers that it was up to the police to find evidence for his allegations. The police also met Peter Alphonse.

The CB-CID arrested seven persons who were reportedly behind the planting of the bombs. The police are looking for more persons, including Zakir Hussain, described as the "kingpin" and "the brain" behind the planting of the bombs in all three cities. A ll of the arrested belong to Al-Umma, whose members have been charge-sheeted by the CB-CID in connection with the Coimbatore blast.

THE seven arrested persons are Hakkim alias "Pavadai" Hakkim (30); Khalil alias Khalil Rehman (24); Abdul Nazir alias Nazir (23); Zulfica alias Appa Kutti (22); Sheikh Mohammed Ummer Shah alias Raju (30), Jaleel alias Abdul Jaleel (18) and Sadakatullah. The first six were arrested in Coimbatore and Sadakatullah in Madurai on the basis of the information given by others. On his confession, six pipe bombs were recovered from Tirupparankunram near Madurai. It was at Sadakatullah's home that the bombs were assembled and transported to Coimbatore. The police are probing whether this meant that Al-Umma had shifted its base from Coimbatore to Madurai and whether Sadakatullah had any links with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.

Additional Director-General of Police (Crime), Tamil Nadu, V.K. Rajagopalan, told Frontline: "Zakir Hussain is wanted in other cases too." (He is an accused in the Coimbatore blasts case). The police are looking for other Al-Umma members such as ' TADA' Moosa, 'tailor' Raja and Kidwai of Nagapattinam. Rajagopalan said: "We know their centre of operation, where the explosives were stored and how they were despatched." The intent behind planting the bombs was to "overawe" the police. "But the Tamil Nadu police will not be cowed down. Every activity (of Al-Umma members) is being watched. We will get at them quickly. Their back is already broken," Rajagopalan said.

K. Radhakrishnan, Coimbatore City Police Commissioner, whose team arrested five out of the six Al-Umma men in Coimbatore, said: "We received information about the plans and alerted the police headquarters in Chennai. We were alert enough to recover the b ombs before they could explode."

ON May 30 and 31, five powerful time-bombs were discovered near the offices of the Police Commissioner and the Inspector-General of Police (Prisons), Chennai; near the police quarters under construction on Variety Hall Road, Coimbatore; and outside the p olice officers' guest house in the Cantonment police station compound, Tiruchi. The bombs, made of gelatine, were kept in jute bags and side-boxes of two wheelers. A bomb exploded near the Victoria students Hostel in Chennai.

On June 9, in Chennai, the CB-CID arrested Kameel and Zakir Hussain of Al-Umma for alleged involvement in the planting of the bomb near the compound wall of the Police Commissioner's Officer and the office of the I.G. (Prisons). Kameel ran a travel age ncy at Mannady in Chennai and was trained to make bombs. The police suspect his involvement in the blast in three hotels owned by ''liberal'' Muslims. Zakir Hussain, referred to as ''scientist'' by Al-Umma cadres for his expertise in bomb-making, was arr ested in Tambaram, a suburb of Chennai.

Karunanidhi told mediapersons that Al-Umma pamphlets found near the bombs alleged that Al-Umma detainees were tortured in prisons and demanded their release.

He said that the Centre had written to his Government six months earlier that he, his son and Chennai Mayor M.K. Stalin, and a few others were on the "hit list" of an organisation. He said the involvement of the ISI was suspected in the planting of the e xplosives (Frontline, June 18, 1999).

A CB-CID team led by I.G.(Crime) D. Manoharan and comprising DIG (Crime) K. Muthukaruppan and Superintendent of Police K. Thukkiandi was set up to investigate the incidents.

Muthukaruppan told reporters in Coimbatore that the conspiracy to place the bomb in the city was hatched two months ago. Hakim was the contact person who received the information from the "leader" (amir) and passed it on to persons chosen to trans port and plant the bomb, Muthukaruppan said. Abdul Nazir provided shelter for those who transported and placed the bomb. Sheikh Mohammed Ummar Shah alias Raju received the bomb brought by bus to Coimbatore on the night of May 28 and took it to his reside nce-cum-workshop. Khalil Rehman carried the bomb in a motorcycle and kept it near the police quarters under construction. Abdul Jaleel rode on the pillion of this motorcycle, which had been borrowed from Abdul Nazir, Muthukaruppan said.

He said the bomb kept at the office of the I.G. (Prisons) had been activated. (The watchman saw the box-bomb just nine minutes before it was to explode.

Asked about the "doubts"raised over the discovery of the bombs, Muthukaruppan said: "We have nothing to hide, and any information we withhold is only in the interest of the investigation."

Informed sources said that Al-Umma men had placed the bombs in order to demonstrate to the police the organisation's "strike-power" although most of its leaders were in prison. A top police officer said, "Nothing moves in Al-Umma without Basha's (the chi ef amir) knowledge."

Indian in America

Notes of a non-resident Indian: The voice of a new cultural politics.

A WELL-KNOWN short-story by A.K. Ramanujan, "Annayya's Anthropology", details the shock of a young Kannadiga man's discovery of his own family's history in a book of anthropology in the United States. In the story, Annayya is in Chicago, turning the page s of a book in the library stacks. The book, Hinduism: Custom and Ritual, is by a Ford Foundation scholar named Fergusson. The young Brahmin marvels at the American anthropologist's knowledge about India's culture, and says: "You want self-knowled ge? You should come to America. Just as the Mahatma had to go to jail and sit behind bars to write his autobiography. Or as Nehru had to go to England to discover India. Things are clearer only when looked at from a distance."

When looked at from a distance, it is not only India that takes on another shape. It is also the Indian in America who needs to be understood differently. Against the ordinary stereotype of the privileged non-resident Indian (NRI), can there be found sig ns of disturbing contradictions and even promising possibilities?

Hailing a yellow cab

On a recent night in New York City, Rizwan Raja, a young driver from Islamabad who works at a bank during the day to make both ends meet, sat down with me for dinner. We were in a small Pakistani restaurant called Chenab, at 40th Street and 9th Avenue, a few minutes away from the bright lights of Times Square.

Raja talked repeatedly about the 10 to 12-hour shifts which are common among South Asian drivers who are mostly lease drivers, purchasing leases on their cabs for anything between $550 and $700 a week. "Basically, when I came to this country," Raja said, "I had big hopes. I wanted to go up in life. I had an accounting degree. I was hopeful of getting a job. I applied to two or three places. I was told I couldn't get hired. My hopes had a downfall."

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In this story of the loss of the American Dream, we find glimpses of the realities of the new class of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. To quote Raja again: "Those of us who have come in the 90s from South Asia, we are doing the work that no one else does: the gas stations, the cabs, restaurant workers, street vendors. Do you know that while the legal minimum wage is $5.16 or $5.25, the minimum wage for restaurant workers is only $1.75?"

The class with which Raja is aligning himself here is the one that the more prosperous immigrants to the U.S. from South Asia regard as "the spoilers". In an April 1998 article in The New York Times Magazine, Tunku Varadarajan reported that among various ethnic or racial groups, "only Russians have a median household income ($45,778) higher than the Indians here ($44,696)." The rich, professional South Asians in Varadarajan's report have a lot they do not like in America: blacks top the list, the n the Hispanics, and, of course, their fellow South Asian cab-drivers.

When Varadarajan's Wall Street interlocutors complain that the cab-drivers are "lowering the tone" or that they are "spoiling things for us", they - these former citizens of the Third World - imagine they already have a piece of the American Dream.

Rizwan Raja has not told his bosses at the bank that he drives a cab at night. He hears his fellow-workers in the bank talk about drivers. Speaking about one of his colleagues, an Indian woman, he says, "Whenever she talks of taxi-drivers, she tries to s eparate them from the (larger) community." And yet, if one looks at films and television shows, the quickest way to find an Indian is by hailing a yellow cab.

Finding a role

A theatre review entitled "Taxi Strike" appeared in the June 23, 1998 issue of Village Voice. Its subject was Aasif Mandvi's one-man show "Sakina's Restaurant". The review commented that "it unfortunately comes as no surprise that the Bombay-born actor had to write (the play) for himself." "There's a dearth of South Asian roles on the New York state," the review went on, "and had he relied on the typical job offers from film or TV he might still be playing cab-drivers. From The Cosby Mysteries to Die Hard With A Vengeance (in which Bruce Willis stole his taxi), Mandvi has run the gamut of South Asian stereotypes." The performer, Mandvi, was also quoted in the review: "I refuse to play a cab-driver again unless they are paying me an extremely obnoxious amount of money."

While watching "Sakina's Restaurant" at the American Place Theatre, I could not but help think that the idea of a play based at an East Sixth Street Indian restaurant is also in itself an ethnic cliche. Every time an American, a stranger, on our first me eting tells me that they love Indian food, I cannot even say, "I thank you - on behalf of Indian food." In Mandvi's play, however, in which young Azgi promises his mother in India that he will write to her "from the top of the Empire State Building and t he bottom of the Grand Canyon, even from Cleveland, home of all the Indians," the idea of America is hollowed out as a cliche and filled with the truths of the immigrant condition. Somewhere, the idea of "Have a Nice Day. Welcome to K-Mart" gets translat ed into Azgi's sense of puzzled wonder at new realities that accost us and the need to make sense of, for example, the money being paid to a stripper at a bachelorette party for Sakina which makes Azgi say: "In India, for 200 dollars, I'd run around nake d for one week!"

Frantz Fanon, writing on the topic of "National Culture" in his famous treatise The Wretched of the Earth, delineated three stages of writing in the colonies. The first stage would be that of slavish imitation of the colonial culture; the second s tage would be one of complete rejection of the colonial culture and a retreat into the traditional culture of the pre-colonial times; and the third and final stage would be one of creative independence from the rigid demands of either acceptance or denia l.

How does this schema play out in the diasporic setting? I do not know. The South-Asian Sakina shouts at her white ex-boyfriend for telling his present girl-friend who has just called Sakina a "nigger" that "Sakina's not a nigger, she's Iranian." At that moment, Mandavi is quite emphatically contesting the plain, wide-ranging ignorance and complicitous prejudices of white America. More than that, however, what Mandvi's play means to me is that it is beginning to happen here in the U.S. - the adoption of a strong, unconstrained narrative voice, to give artistic expression to South Asian experience, free not only of stereotypes but also the binding pressure of always, necessarily, perforce having to respond to stereotypes set by the dominant culture.

Where the people dwell

"Free from didacticism" isn't quite the phrase I want, though that is a small part of it too; perhaps what I really want to say is that, beyond the uncomplicated opposition that didactic exercises represent, is the exploration of complex contradictions t hat shape the details of diverse immigrant lives. Our writing needs to approach that inventive difficulty. I believe that is what Fanon had in mind too when he exhorted radical, post-colonial intellectuals to come to that "zone of occult instability wher e the people dwell."

Last summer, for the first time, a pan-Asian theatre group in New York City, "Peeling the Banana", worked with South Asian youth in Elmhurst, Queens ("the most diverse zip code in the country"), to produce an evening of performances at the Papp Public Th eatre. "Peeling the Banana" is an arts collective that draws upon autobiography in order to, quite literally, perform the tasks of community building and political expression. The youth group, South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!), was founded only two years ago and aims to bring social and cultural empowerment to immigrant South Asian youth. The youth, with the older members of the theatre group, participated in various skits that portrayed various facets of their lives: travelling on the Number 7 train, a train that some New Yorkers dub "the Orient Express"; tales also of falling in and out of love; stories of "coming out" and "arranged marriages" and so on. "Peeling the Banana" members such as Tamina Davar and Geeta Reddy performed skits about racial har assment in New Jersey and New York City. Hugo Mahabir and Ngo Thanh Nhan presented a brief skit called "Cabacus" that dramatised the arithmetic of cab-driving and ended with a call for a strike by exploited cab-drivers.

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In many ways, this is the work that needs to be done, and not only because it involves the youth as well as the audience in the task of learning about - and speaking out on - the condition of South Asian lives. More crucially, there is a specificity here that demands attention. This is the specificity of recognising the stage at which the narrativisation of South Asian immigrant lives is. I was reminded of the Web site of a West Coast, South Asian theatre group, "Chaat", where the following lines from a review appear on the screen: "Chaat organisers revel in defying the docile Indian American penchant for middle-class nirvana... The Indian-American community prides itself on its success, but its narrow-minded fixation of the prerequisites of middle-cla ss life have robbed the community of a narrative voice that can provide a much-needed mirror to its soul."

Against middle-class nirvana, we have working-class protest; against the romance of hetero-normative assimilation, we have the resistant strains of unassimilable difference.

U.S. sojourners

Yet, whose words are these? Rather, who are they shared with? How widely do they spread? I find myself returning to the words with which Mandavi ended his play: " 'This is not me. This was not supposed to be my life.' Everyone speaking my words, everyone except me. Where did I go, ma? What happened to the top of the Empire State Building? The bottom of the Grand Canyon?"

In a story for The New York Times in 1997, Somini Sengupta wrote of "a distinctly South Asian youth culture, rooted in hip-hop and Hindi pop, flourishing in New York City." In Sengupta's report on the deejays and music fans at Planet 28 in Chelsea , I want to see an answer to Mandavi's question. Here are the children of the immigrants producing their own, inevitably mixed culture. The words that Azgi seems to have lost now return in the new sounds of the youth, with new inflections and also streng th.

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This emergence is also a condition of a new fusion. The cultural critic, George Lipsitz, remarks on the possibility of coalitions when he notes in Dangerous Crossroads, "One survey showed that more than eighty per cent of West Indians and more tha n forty per cent of East Indians felt that they had more in common with British whites than with each other... Yet, alliances between Southwest Asians and other groups that might appear unlikely in political life already exist within popular culture." Li psitz provides us an example, "For Apache Indian, the 'street' is a place where Afro-Caribbean and South Asian youth learn from each other."

Our South Asian immigrant acts must sustain such dialogue. Our stories are also the stories of others. Let me make this point by quoting another story by Somini Sengupta, also from the pages of The New York Times last year. The report was entitled "U.S. Sojourn Ends in Debt, and Death by Burial". Luis Gomez, 32, a construction worker, was buried alive in a six-foot hole. This worker had spent $7,000 to get to America from his native Ecuador and was still working to clear that debt. He hoped somed ay to be able to send money to his wife and six children. Now, his younger brother Lucas would need to continue working in order to pay off new costs. Sengupta concluded her story thus: "It will cost about $6,000 to send Luis back to his hometown, Cuenca - almost as much as it cost to bring him to New York."

Our stories are also the stories of the immigrants of the past. The tale of Luis Gomez recalls so vividly the figure of Pietro Di Donato's Christ in Concrete. Opening a dialogue across time and changing global patterns of immigration, it also reminds us of the words of a 19th century Italian story. Those words are to be found engraved in one of Janet Goldner's sculptures, in the Sara Delano Roosevelt Park on the lower East Side: "When I got here I found out three things: first, the streets weren't paved with gold; second, they weren't paved at all; and third, I was expected to pave them."

I want to emphasise these words because, separated only by a few pages from Sengupta's moving story about the dead immigrant worker, was a full-page advertisement in The New York Times for an internet service that hid from us the stories of the hi gh-tech braceros, the new immigrant workers from countries such as India. The advertisement showed the Statue of Liberty in the distance, and, inscribed in bold letters beneath it, was the promise "The Streets Of America Are Paved With Gold And Soon They 'll Be Lined With Fiber-Optic Cable."

Amitava Kumar, currently a Fellow at Yale University, teaches English at the University of Florida. He is the author of No Tears for the N.R.I.(Writers Workshop, Calcutta) and Passport Photos (University of California Press, Berkeley, f orthcoming). His writing has appeared most recently in Critical Inquiry, Race and Class, Rethinking Marxism, and The Nation. Kumar has recently completed an award-winning, collaborative documentary film, Pure Chutney.

'Recognition of complexity leads to humane solutions'

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Amartya Sen's human science of development: Part II

Professor Amartya Sen is one of the world's most important and influential intellectuals, one of its foremost thinkers. The award of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics to the great economist, "a master practitioner of the human sciences", was the best th ing that happened to the Nobel Prize in this field. This long-overdue award was for Sen's contributions to welfare economics and, among other things, for restoring "an ethical dimension to the discussion of vital economic problems". (For an appreciation of Sen's economics and its implications, see V.K. Ramachandran's Cover Story interviews in Frontline, December 12, 1986 and November 6, 1998.) The award represented a break in a two-decade trend reflecting a pronounced "bias in favour of technoeconomics in the service of the free market, private property and footloose finance". The break in the trend warrants celebration also for two other reas ons: the Nobel for Sen recognises "the central role of human development in the professional endeavour of economists", and "the human development of the Third World occupies a central position" in this laureate's work. In this second of a three-part article contributed at the invitation of Frontline, economist and economic historian Professor Amiya Kumar Bagchi takes the reader on an intellectual journey through Sen's work on complexity and problems of choice, w hich revolutionised welfare economics and enriched philosophy, his important examination of inequality in human societies, his profound conceptual and analytical work on famine, chronic starvation, various forms of deprivation, entitlements and rights, f reedom and human capabilities, and the path-breaking analysis showing the link between the deprivation suffered by women (something that begins even before they are born) and the system of entitlements prevailing within the family, thus helping to "demys tify family relationships". - Editor, Frontline.

AMIYA KUMAR BAGCHI

4. Complexity and problems of choice: turning welfare economics inside out

Great theorists, mediocre model-builders and decision-makers in a hurry have something in common: they try to obtain their results by means of strategic or heedless simplification, as the case may be. In building some models, Amartya Sen also has had to resort to simple structures or parables to illustrate or elucidate a vital point. But his method has almost always been to recognise the complexities that obscure the simple point and then patiently unravel them.

We can watch him doing this as he tackles the issues of choice of techniques, method of evaluation of projects, or setting up sensible programmes for providing more employment in less-developed countries. In Sen's world, the complexity arises from the ne ed to make precise the nature of the objectives of individuals and the constraints under which they operate (cf. Sen, 1970d). But Sen has also been continually aware that in any society (even under a dictatorial or authoritarian regime) we are dealing wi th a community of individuals with different tastes, needs, expectations and life chances. How to get a decision-rule or a defensible way of formulating issues of social or governmental policy has been a major concern of Sen's throughout his career.

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Sen has tried to find out both whether, in spite of all this complexity, simple decision rules could exist, and whether rules or procedures that look simple or incontrovertible turn out to be muddled, inconsistent or unhelpfully complicated, on closer ex amination. We have seen how a possibly unanimous and democratic procedure can emerge when individuals play an assurance game. Another case, which Sen examined in an early article (Sen, 1959), is that of free will versus determinism. Philosophers such as Karl Popper and Isaiah Berlin argued that no deterministic prediction in human affairs can be logically valid because the prediction itself is likely to change the behaviour of the subjects concerned. Sen argued, inter alia, that even if predictio ns, for example of stock market prices, alter people's behaviour, under certain conditions, a fixed point located at the predicted position would exist and therefore a deterministic prediction could be valid even if people behaved freely and reacted to t he prediction made.

In a paper jointly authored with W.G. Runciman, Sen had equated Rousseau's concept of the "general will" with the solution of a collusive or cooperative n-person game as contrasted with the "will of all" which is the solution of a non-cooperative game wi th all agents atomistically pursuing their self-interest (Runciman and Sen, 1965). In these papers, Sen was demonstrating the differences in results that occur when we carefully distinguish between individualistic and collusive behaviour, and between mod els that take into account the information about the structures of preferences and constraints, and models that do not. Extended uses of such demonstrations would recur in his subsequent writings. There is one paper in particular which contributed powerf ully to the rich conceptualisation that enabled Sen to connect welfare economics, social choice and what can be termed the human science of development.

In Sen (1967a), he disputed the Humean proposition that facts and values are categorically different and that it is impossible to deduce value judgments from factual propositions alone. Sen had basically two sets of arguments for doubting the efficacy of Hume's Law. The first was that few value judgments are really as basic as "thou shalt not kill". If a white American believes that privileging the white man is a basic value of civilisation, he might change his judgment if he were made seriously to masq uerade as a black man for an extended period. Secondly, most value judgments are based on a combination of a preferred ranking of situations and a belief about the facts of the world and the way those facts influence or connect with other relevant facts. These value judgments can be disputed if the two-fold beliefs about the facts of the case can themselves be disputed (cf. also Sen, 1970b, chapters 5 and 9). Disputing the validity of the watertight fact-value compartmentalisation is part of the grand c onceptual strategy that allowed Sen to break out of the confines of old and new welfare economics and connect social welfare judgments with issues of human deprivation and capability, and of freedom in a world of necessity. I will argue later that when w e take account of his scrutiny of the philosophical foundations of neoclassical economics, Sen's work amounts to refounding economics as an integral branch of the human sciences of development and recovering the rich concerns with human destiny and freed om that motivated the work of Adam Smith and Karl Marx.

In spite of interesting contributions by a number of authors, the so-called "new welfare economics" had seemed to reach an impasse. On the one hand, there remained a group of "individualists" (this may not be the best way to characterise them, but it wil l do in this context) who ruled out all inter-personal comparisons. For them only the Pareto principle remained: all states of affairs in which no person could be made better off without making somebody else worse off are equally good. Only a state of af fairs in which at least one person is better off while the others are at least as well off as before could be pronounced better than the other states of affairs. But this left the question of income distribution hanging in the air: no economist could rec ommend a change on "objective ground" if it meant taking away one rupee from a billionaire in order to benefit a starving woman. Those who thought that inter-personal comparisons of utility or welfare could be made evolved so-called compensation criteria . However, these criteria often produced inconsistent results. Moreover, supplementary propositions to strengthen the compensation criteria proved to be inadequate to produce a complete ordering of the range of choice.

There seemed to be another way out of the dilemma posed by the weakness of the (acceptable) Pareto principle in ordering the space of social states and the inconsistency and incompleteness of the ordering produced by the compensation criteria advanced by John Hicks, Nicholas Kaldor and Tibor Scitovsky, supplemented by further desiderata of choice proposed by Ian Little. This is the formulation of a social welfare function along the lines proposed by Bergson (1938) and Samuelson (1947). However, the star tling Possibility Theorem, which is better called the impossibility theorem, proved by Arrow (1951) showed that it is impossible to derive a consistent social ordering from reasonably behaved individual preference functions if that social choice function or ordering is to satisfy certain very reasonable-seeming conditions. One, for example, was the condition that no single person's choice alone should decide the social choice. In a critique of Kenneth Arrow's result, Little (1952) argued that it was irr elevant to welfare economics because Arrow took individual values to be given, whereas it is the function of democratic politics to allow competing values to surface and competing claims to be settled by unanimity or the decision of the majority. However , Little did not indicate how people can engage in a serious discussion of competing value or preference systems, without ending up in back-to-the-wall positions such as, A: "I like black" and B: "I like white", and ending the possibility of all further discussion. Furthermore, majority decisions were found generally to be intransitive and cyclical in nature. Sen and Pattanaik (1969/1982) showed that if every triple of alternatives X, Y and Z satisfies the "extremal condition", namely, that "if someone prefers X to Y and Y to Z, then Z is uniquely best in someone's ordering if and only if X is uniquely worst in his ordering" (Sen, 1970b, p.169), then the method of majority decision produces a transitive social ordering. Similar other conditions for the method of majority decision to produce a social ordering or a social welfare function have been produced (see, for example, Sen, 1977/1982, pp.160-64).

Sen mounted a three-pronged attack on old ("new") welfare economics and thereby demolished the grounds for Little's (1952) scepticism regarding the Arrovian framework and breached the impasse in the so-called new welfare economics we noted earlier. First , he showed that welfare judgments that become embodied in social decisions are necessarily political, and politics, and democratic politics, necessarily involves putting restrictions on people's preferences (such as "eating people is wrong"). Secondly, he demonstrated the relevance of inter-personal comparisons in making social choices. He had been independently moving in this direction since the beginning of the 1960s, but he acknowledged the influence of the seminal work of John Rawls, who had introd uced different individuals' access to primary goods rather than their utility or satisfaction as the foundation of a theory of justice.1

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Thirdly, Sen brought in the facts of the real world into welfare discussions (a) by distinguishing between basic values and non-basic values, (b) by showing the obvious relevance of facts in deciding questions of non-basic values, and (c) by pointing out that many of our supposedly basic values are vulnerable to criticism on the grounds of their opacity, their changeability, and very often their unsuspected grounding in beliefs about the real world which are simply false or at least doubtful. His massiv e researches into poverty, famines and human deprivation can be seen to be grounded in the freedom he obtained by breaching the confining limits of the old-fashioned "new welfare economics".

Many adherents of liberalism, for example, Lionel Robbins, had believed that inter-personal comparisons are illegitimate in economics. Implicitly, most of them, however, had connected the competitive equilibrium with the attainment of Pareto efficiency: under certain conditions it can be shown that in an exchange economy, a Pareto-efficient configuration is also an equilibrium under the rules of pure competition, and that conversely, a purely competitive equilibrium is Pareto-efficient. In a powerful th eorem, however, Sen (1970e/1982) proved that no liberal who believes in the sanctity of individual preferences can also believe that every Pareto-superior state should be acceptable to society.

This paper is closely connected with his scrutiny of the Arrovian possibility theorem and its cousins. Sen proved that if liberalism consists in respecting individuals' preferences (such as allowing a person to sleep on her face rather than on her back), then a social choice function (that is, a function that picks the best - not necessarily unique - out of all possible orderings) protecting such preferences does not exist (see also Sen, 1976/1982). Many of the liberal economists believed that all inter -personal comparisons are illegitimate, but by sticking to the Pareto principle (namely, that a social ordering is superior if at least one person is better off under it and nobody is worse off) they would sail through. They would now be in a fix. For, i t would appear that majority decisions (the form of decision-making preferred by liberal democrats and by most other democrats as well) would violate the principle of liberalism. Sen's interpretation of this result is that the ultimate guarantee for indi vidual liberty rests not on rules for social choice but on developing values that respect each other's personal choices (Sen, 1970e/1982, p.289).

When put together with the methodological principles of neoclassical economics which do not permit comparisons of intensities of preference, or the welfare of different individuals, Sen (1973, pp.9-13) showed that the Pareto principle can produce other p erverse results. Suppose that among the conditions required for the original Arrow possibility theorem, that of transitivity of social ordering R is relaxed, and that only social preference is assumed to be transitive, and that all social states which ar e not strictly preferred to some other are considered to be indifferent. (This implies that some states are not Pareto-comparable.) Then Sen's Theorem 1.1 showed that the only functional relation mapping individual preferences into a social welfare funct ion "must make all Pareto-incomparable states socially indifferent" (ibid., p.10). This meant that merely using the Pareto principle is a very crude guide to social welfare judgments.

Sen's theorem on the impossibility of a Paretian liberal did not go unchallenged (for references to the subsequent literature up to 1976, see Sen, 1977/1982). One particularly appealing solution seemed to be provided by Gibbard (1974) who showed that the Pareto principle can be protected if a person's right to the exercise of his preferences can be waived when it conflicts with other people's rights of the same kind. However, Alan Gibbard's resolution of the problem requires that everybody is informed a bout the exact nature of other people's rights, and that the motivation for people's preferences (whether they are meddlesome or vindictive) is also known. From his examination of the Gibbard resolution of the Pareto-libertarian conflict, Sen concluded:

The fundamental issue really is whether individual preference orderings alone provide enough of a basis for a social judgment without going into the causation of and the motivation behind these preferences ... To axe invariably personal rights over a ssigned pairs (of social states - A.B.) and never the Pareto principle, when they conflict, as Gibbard's system does, seems to me to be hard to justify (Sen, 1976/1982, p.302; see also Sen, 1979/1982, pp.340-346).

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When Sen proved the inconsistency of the Pareto principle with principles of liberalism, he also demonstrated the surprising poverty of the so-called fundamental theorem of economics, namely, that every Pareto-efficient system can be shown to be consiste nt with an equilibrium in a model of pure competition and conversely that every purely competitive system has an equilibrium configuration which is Pareto-efficient. About the same time, he was also demonstrating the informational, ethical, and behaviour al deficiencies of an approach that takes individuals maximising their utility as its sole foundation (Sen, 1977a/1983). The postulates of individual utility maximisation, in his view, have provided some useful results in the field of consumer behaviour theory, but scarcely in any other conceptual field. One basic reason for this failure is that "traditional theory has too little structure. A person is given one preference ordering, and as and when the need arises this is supposed to reflect his interests, represent his welfare, summarise his idea of what should be done, and describe his actual choices and behaviour" (ibid., p.99). The structure that Sen suggests would include the role of sympathy (stressed by Adam Smith, among others), which tr aditional theory can treat only as an externality, commitment, that is the ability to stick to the truth or to certain values in spite of the fact that such behaviour can harm a person's interests, and its opposite, akrasia, that is, the weakness of will.

5. From an examination of inequality in human societies to a human science of development

We have seen how Sen was breaching the ramparts of the narrowly-confined space of traditional welfare economics and choice theory and allowing ethical considerations and inter-personal value judgments to enter that space. He was engaged, at the same time , in a closer examination of the nature and structure of inequality in existing human societies.

In many ways, his On Economic Inequality (Sen, 1973), delivered as Sen's Radcliffe Lectures in 1972, was a pointer to much of his later theorising and his empirical investigations in the closely connected areas of inequality and poverty. He had al ready established the necessity and legitimacy of judgments regarding inter-personal welfare. He now introduced two key concepts as entry points into the area of inequality of the human condition. The first was what he called the Weak Equity Axiom (WEA) (ibid., p.18).

Let person i have a lower level of welfare than person j for each level of individual income. Then in distributing a given total of income among n individuals including i and j, the optimal solution must give i a higher level of income than j.

The second basic consideration underlying the framework used in his book was "the possibility of being in different persons' positions and then choosing among them. Thus interpreted, WEA amounts to saying that if I feel that for any given level of income I would prefer to be in the position of person A (with his tastes and his other non-income characteristics) than in that of person B, then I should recommend that B should get a higher income level than A" (ibid., p.19). Sen's criterion here, of course, is very reminiscent of the analysis of philosophers such as R.B. Braithwaite and John Rawls, of justice as fairness.

Atkinson (1970) had shown that, given the same mean income and the same population size, if the Lorenz curve for income distribution of group A (a descriptive measure) lies entirely inside that of the income distribution for group B, then for additively separable social welfare functions, the social welfare of the former group would be higher than that of the latter (which is a normative judgment). Sen generalised Tony Atkinson's result to (a) the class of symmetric and quasi-concave social welfare func tions which need not even depend only on individual utilities, and (b) any population group, so long as it had similar income levels.

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However, Sen wanted to be able to talk about inequality where it really hurts, namely, among people who are obviously disadvantaged because of low incomes, but also because of ill health, illiteracy and so on. The deviation of his route from that of the traditional egalitarian publicist can be put in terms of the first golden rule of John Tanner's ''Maxims for Revolutionists" in Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman: "Do not do unto others as you would they should do unto you. Their tastes may be diffe rent." Sen would add, "and their needs may be different." Sticking to the domain of the poor, Sen did not have to talk about how to make a judgment if two Lorenz curves crossed at the upper level, that is, to make normative judgments about the welfare of a Dhirubhai Ambani as against that of a Bill Gates.

The poor or the deprived have to be identified, and then some aggregation exercise would have to be carried out. For the identification and aggregation exercise the first step was generally taken to be the poverty line. That itself could be variably fixe d, depending on the level at which the minimum needs of a family were pitched. Once a poverty line was agreed upon, the poor were identified as all those whose incomes failed to reach that income level. Two widely used measures of poverty were the head-c ount ratio (HCR), namely, the ratio of the population below the poverty line, and the income gap (IG), namely, the deficit of the actual income of the poor from the total they would have to receive if they were all to reach the poverty line income level. Sen objected to the sole use of these two measures. The former measure was insensitive to the depth of poverty among the poor. This had the implication, for example, that if a policy lifted the people just below the poverty line above it, but increased the misery of the other, poorer people, the HCR would decline and give a misleading signal. On the other hand, the use of IG alone would provide no information about the number of poor people (Sen, 1973, chapters 2 and 3; Sen, 1976a/1982, pp.373-4).

Sen proceeded to remedy these defects, and formulated a new measure of poverty, P of the following form (Sen, 1976a/1982; Sen, 1981, Appendix C).

P = H [ I + (1-I) G ],

where H is the head-count ratio, I is the poverty gap ratio rates, and G is the Gini coefficient of distribution of the incomes of the poor. If Z is the poverty line, q the number of people below the poverty line and n the total number of people in the c ommunity, H = q/n. If Yi is the income of person i among the poor, then gi = Z - Yi is his poverty gap, g = gi is the total poverty gap, and I = g/qZ is the poverty gap ratio.

Sen (1976a/1982) showed that this formula satisfied several desirable properties, namely, that (a) given other things, "a reduction in income of a person below the poverty line must increase the poverty measure", (b) a weak transfer of income axiom such that the transfer of income from a person below the poverty line to anyone who is richer must increase the poverty measure, provided that the transferee continues to remain below the poverty measure, and (c) P is insensitive to an increase in the income of a non-poor person. Sen's desiderata and variations on them have been used by other theorists, and other measures satisfying them have been devised. The most widely used of these measures seems to be the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke index (Foster, Greer and Thorbecke, 1984).

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Sen, of course, was not concerned simply with the measurement of poverty. In Sen (1973) he discussed questions of social policy in the light of the distinction between deserts and needs, a distinction he traced back to Marx's Critique of the Gotha Pro gramme (Marx, 1875/1970). He also analysed the experience of the Chinese Communist Party when it tried, during the Great Leap Forward of 1958-1961, to replace material with non-material incentives. The experiment was attended with disastrous conseque nces, not all of which could be attributed to the effect the incentive system had on work motivation. But it had to be given up anyway. During the period of the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, tried to alter the valu es of the workers, thus in Sen's formulation, replacing the Prisoners' Dilemma game with the Assurance Game. The mixed results obtained from that nationwide cultural experiment again could not be attributed entirely to the Cultural Revolution itself (Sen , 1973, chapter 4; Sen, 1982a; Sen, 1983a).

In his Radcliffe Lectures, besides issues of measurement and structures of inequality, Sen also wanted to illuminate "some of the policy issues, especially in the context of the socialist economy" (Sen, 1973, p.2). I have referred to his analysis of rela tive merits of allocation of income in accordance with needs and deserts in a socialist economy (but more generally in any society that values egalitarianism, or human development in general). One other interesting policy issue briefly touched on by Sen (1973, pp.78-79) was that of a national health service versus health insurance. Arrow (1963, p.205) pointed out that if the private insurance markets were perfectly competitive (which, because of problems of adverse selection and moral hazard, they canno t be), "those in groups of higher incidences of illness should pay higher premiums". Sen continues:

This means that those with a higher incidence of illness would end up with less income net of insurance premiums. This is, of course, precisely what a national health service run independently of market profitability can avoid. But what is the ration ale of avoiding it? Precisely the needs principle which we have been examining. An ill person has identifiably greater needs, and by spending more money on him the society would give him a greater effective income, which is precisely in line with the Wea k Equity Axiom...

An issue that has come up repeatedly in Sen's work is that of relative versus absolute poverty, and more generally, of relative versus absolute deprivation (see, for example, Sen, 1981, pp.15-17; Sen, 1983/1984). It would appear at first sight that relat ive deprivation has nothing to do with absolute deprivation. However, there are certain kinds of goods which decline in value when other people also claim them: the enjoyment of an uncrowded beach is an example. There are more serious jostling effects of other people's activities. The rise of a multistoried block next to a one-storied house can deprive inhabitants of the latter of sunshine and free flow of air. The requirement that every child should have access to a computer at home can retard the educ ational development of the poor children. Denial of knowledge to the underprivileged can become the basis of the contrast between the poor and the rich, as Jacques Necker pointed out in the 1780s, and of class divisions in a capitalist society as Marx (1 861-63/1960, pp.296-298) noted in his commentary on Necker.

From an analysis of inequality and issues of measurement of poverty, Sen moved to an enquiry into the causes of famines. His first venture in this direction, contributed to the Economic and Political Weekly (Sen, 1976b), was expanded into a book ( Sen, 1981), which became a fore-runner of a decade-long analysis of entitlements and rights, freedom and human capabilities and the massive organisation of a series of studies on the political economy of hunger (Sen, 1976a/ 1982; 1981; 1981a/ 1984; 1983/ 1984; Dreze and Sen, 1989; 1990; 1990a; 1991). He started from the normative concept of entitlements as a theory of justice, and private property rights (Nozick, 1974), but changed its focus to that of a descriptive theory of who gets what and how. A per son in any society has certain endowments (labour power, land, financial assets, skills) which she can directly use to obtain goods and services she desires, or can trade them or the outputs produced with their help, in a formal or informal exchange with others to procure her preferred bundles of goods and services. Thus arises the idea of "exchange entitlements". But not all entitlements consist of such endowments: a child's entitlement in most societies lies at the dispensation of parents. In properly organised welfare states, the state tries to correct gross dereliction of duty on the part of the parents. But in organised societies, the basis of all entitlements is that of the legitimacy of the claims of the person concerned. In many slave societies (not all), for example, the slave had a right to sustenance by the master, and not to be punished unjustly by him.

Sen traced the roots of starvation and famine in most cases to a failure of entitlements and more narrowly to that of exchange entitlements rather than to the lack of availability of food. The sudden collapse of purchasing power because of lack of employ ment, especially rural employment, caused by floods, drought or war, can lead to prolonged starvation and famine even when enough food is available in the region to stave off starvation. Where commercial agriculture has not penetrated, people often mainl y depend on their own production and on gathering produce from the fields and rivers. The closure of these avenues of subsistence to particular groups, paradoxically enough through the privatisation or state take-over of common property resources in the interest of trade and commerce, can cause starvation among those groups. Sen's innovation lay in the unification of all these sources of deprivation under the generic rubric of failure of entitlements and creating an analytical structure applicable to th em.

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Famines are an extreme form of deprivation - the denial of the right to live. But in their daily existence people suffer from ill health, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy and early death. It is to the aspects of ill health, malnutrition and early d eath that Sen turned his attention. In this enquiry he came up with the stark fact that half of humanity - namely, women - suffer more than men from all these varieties of deprivation in most countries - but most oppressively in countries of South Asia a nd West Asia. The studies organised under the leadership of Sen and Jean Dreze, Sen's chief collaborator in these areas, provided a mapping of the extent and deprivation of women and men all over the world (Dreze and Sen, 1989; 1990; 1990a; 1991; Ahmad, Dreze, Hills and Sen, 1991). These studies also include analyses of policies pursued by governments and other organisations to fight hunger, malnutrition, ill health and provide social security in other forms. The United Nations Development Programme, ag ain with intellectual leadership provided by Sen, has been producing since 1990 an annual Human Development Report to cover most of the measurable aspects of human development and deprivation, especially women's deprivation, in all countries cover ed by the U.N. system.

Demographers and other students of the health and longevity of women had been aware of the endemic gender discrimination in India and many other less developed countries. Following the lead of Mary Wollstonecraft, J.S. Mill and Frederick Engels, professe d feminists, Marxists and other radical students of human society had analysed male domination over women over all societies. Theoretically, women could be systematically subordinated to men without suffering in health, nutrition, longevity or even educa tion. In fact, most of the East Asian societies would fit that pattern. What Sen did was to link the deprivation suffered by women since before their birth (through deliberate sex selection favouring boys), and through their girlhood to pregnancy and bey ond, to the system of entitlements prevailing within the family. His idea of "cooperative conflicts" where men and women cooperate daily but in most conflict situations women systematically lose out (and mostly internalise that loss through the acceptanc e of their supposed inferiority) has helped demystify family relationships. This demystification implies that children have often to be protected from the conscious and unconscious choices made for them by their "natural guardians". Thus it is not market failure alone which demands public correction, but familial failures and deprivation caused by communitarian demands as well that would require public action (Sen, 1983b/1984; Kynch and Sen, 1983; Sen and Sengupta, 1983).

(To be continued) References

Ahmad, E., J. Dreze, J. Hills and A.K. Sen (eds.). 1991. Social Security in Developing Countries, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Arrow, K.J. 1951. Social Choice and Individual Values, second edition, New York, Wiley, 1963.

-. 1963. Uncertainty and the welfare economics of medical care, American Economic Review, Vol.53.

Atkinson, A.B. 1970. On the measurement of inequality, Journal of Economic Theory, 2(3), September.

Bergson, A. 1938. A reformulation of certain aspects of welfare economics, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 52(1), 1938.

Dreze, J. and A.K. Sen. 1989. Hunger and Public Action, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

-. and -. (eds.). 1990. The Political Economy of Hunger, Vol.1, Entitlement and Well-being, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

-. and -. (eds.). 1990a. The Political Economy of Hunger, Vol.2, Famine Prevention, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

-. and -. (eds.). 1991. The Political Economy of Hunger, Vol.3, Endemic Hunger, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Foster, J., J. Greer and E. Thorbecke. 1984. A class of decomposable poverty measures, Econometrica, Vol.52, May.

Gibbard, A. 1974. A Pareto-consistent libertarian claim, Journal of Economic Theory, Vol.7, 338-410.

Kynch, J. and A.K. Sen. 1983. Indian women: well-being and survival, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol.7, 363-380.

Little, I.M.D. 1952. Social choice and individual values, Journal of Political Economy, Vol.60, October.

Marx, K. 1861-63/1960. Theories of Surplus Value, Part I, translated from the German by E. Burns and edited by S. Ryazanskaya, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House.

-. 1875/1970. Critique of the Gotha Programme, with a foreword by F. Engels, translated from the German, and reprinted in K. Marx and F. Engels: Selected Works, Vol.3, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 9-30.

Necker, J. 1775. Sur la legislation et le commerce des grains; referred to in Marx, 1861-63/1960, 296-98.

-. 1784. De l'administration des finance de la France; referred to in Marx, 1861-63/1960, 296-98.

Nozick, R. 1974. Anarchy, State and Utopia, Oxford, Blackwell.

Rawls, J. 1971. A Theory of Justice, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Runciman, W.G. and A.K. Sen. 1965. Games, justice and the General Will, Mind, Vol.74.

Samuelson, P.A. 1947. Foundations of Economic Analysis, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.

Sen, A.K. 1959. Determinism and historical predictions, Enquiry (Delhi), No.2, 99-115.

-. 1967a. The nature and classes of prescriptive judgments, Philosophical Review, Vol.17.

-. 1970b. Collective Choice and Social Welfare, London, Oliver & Boyd.

-. 1970d. "Strategies of economic development: Feasibility constraints and planning", in E.A.G. Robinson and M. Kidron (eds.): Economic Development in South Asia, London, Macmillan, 369-378.

-. 1970e/1982. The impossibility of a Paretian liberal, Journal of Political Economy, Vol.78 (January/February); reprinted in Sen, 1982, 285-290.

-. 1973. On Economic Inequality, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

-. 1976/1982. Liberty, unanimity and rights, Econometrica, Vol.43, August; reprinted in Sen, 1982, 291-326.

-. 1976a/1982. Poverty: an ordinal approach to measurement, Econometrica, Vol.44, March: reprinted in Sen, 1982, 373-387.

-. 1976b. Famines as failures of exchange entitlments, Economic and Political Weekly, 11(31-33), Special Number, August, 1273-80.

-. 1977/1982. Social choice theory: a re-examination, Econometrica, Vol.45, January; reprinted in Sen, 1982, 158-200.

-. 1977a/1983. Rational fools: a critique of the behavioural foundations of economic theory, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol.7; reprinted in Sen, 1983, 84-106.

-. 1979/1982. Personal utilities and public judgements: or what's wrong with welfare economics? Economic Journal, Vol.89, September; reprinted in Sen, 1983, 327-352.

-. 1981. Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

-. 1981a/1984. Ingredients of famine analysis: availability and entitlements, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol.95, August; reprinted in Sen, 1984, 452-484.

-. 1982. Choice, Welfare and Measurement, Oxford, Blackwell.

-. 1982a. 'Introduction', in Sen, 1982, 1-38.

-. 1983/1984. Poor, relatively speaking, Oxford Economic Papers, Vol.35, July; reprinted in Sen, 1984, 325-345.

-. 1983a. Marx since his death: Relevance to modern economics, The Statesman (Calcutta), March 14.

-. 1983b/1984. Economics and the family, Asian Development Review, Vol.I; reprinted in Sen, 1984, 369-385.

-. 1984. Resources, Values and Development, Oxford, Blackwell.

-, and P.K. Pattanaik. 1969/1982. Necessary and sufficient conditions for rational choice under majority decision, Economic Theory, Vol.I, August; reprinted in Sen, 1982, 135-15.

-, and S. Sengupta. 1983. Malnutrition of rural children and the sex bias, Economic and Political Weekly, 18(19-21), 855-864.

Centenary of a solar observatory

other

The Kodaikanal Observatory will celebrate its centenary in the coming months with scientific colloquiums and other events.

T.S. SUBRAMANIAN in Kodaikanal and in Bangalore

DAY after day for close to 95 years now, as sure as the sun rises in the eastern sky each morning, a six-inch telescope at the Kodaikanal Observatory has been photographing the sun's spots from its perch in the rarefied heights of the Western Ghats. Thes e images, captured by one of the world's oldest extant telescopes, provide invaluable data to astronomers the world over - many of whom will gather in Kodaikanal later this year for the celebrations to mark the centenary of the observatory.

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) has drawn up big plans to celebrate the centenary over the next few months. An International Astronomical Union colloquium is being organised, and about 50 scientists from abroad are expected to participate in i t. Further, specialised seminars would be held in Bangalore, Ladakh and Kavalur (Tamil Nadu), according to IIA Director Prof. Ramanath Cowsik. The IIA will also install the world's highest-altitude telescope, a two-metre infrared and optical telescope, a t Hanle in southeastern Ladakh, at an altitude of 15,000 feet. "It will be a national and international celebration, and the Kodaikanal Observatory will be the fulcrum of the activities," Cowsik said.

The Kodaikanal Observatory, which is one of only three solar observatories that are more than 75 years old (the other two are at Meudon in Paris and at Mount Wilson in the United States), has a notable history. According to Prof. Rajesh K. Kochchar of th e IIA, who has written several papers on the history of the Kodaikanal Observatory and other observatories in India, the Madras Observatory, which was set up in 1786, was Kodaikanal's predecessor. In a paper titled "The Growth of Modern Astronomy in Indi a, 1651-1960", published in 1991 in Vistas in Astronomy (Vol.34, pp.69-105), a science journal published from England, Kochchar wrote that in 1786, William Petrie, an "influential civil servant" and an astronomer, "set up an iron-and-timber observ atory at his 11-acre residence at Egmore, Madras, and furnished it with his own instruments." This signalled the beginning of the Madras Observatory.

According to Kochchar, on May 19, 1790, "the Court of Directors (of the East India Company) decided to accept Petrie's offer and to establish an observatory for 'promoting the knowledge of Astronomy, Geography and Navigation in India'."

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He wrote: "In 1791, a garden house was purchased at Nungambakkam, Madras, while the instruments were removed to the Fort because of the war against Tipu, Sultan of Mysore... A separate 20 ft x 40 ft single room was constructed in 1792 as the Observatory. "

In 1891, after the death of Norman Robert Pogson, who was the Director of the Madras Observatory for 30 years, the question of building a new observatory came up for consideration. This followed a famine in Madras Presidency, which underscored the need f or a study of the sun so that monsoon patterns could be better understood. Kochchar wrote: "Thanks to the efforts of John Eliot, Meteorological Reporter to the Government of India (the post was later renamed Director-General of Observatories), it was fin ally decided in 1893... to establish a solar physics observatory at Kodaikanal in the Palani Hills of South India with the Madras Astronomer Charles Michie Smith as the Director; to transfer all astronomical activity from Madras to Kodaikanal; and to pla ce the new observatory under the control of the Central Government." The Kodaikanal Observatory came into existence on April 1, 1899.

In another paper, titled "Kodaikanal Observatory: Instruments and Buildings", which was presented during the bicentenary of the Madras Observatory in 1987, Kochchar wrote: "In 1895, the 100-acre observatory site was taken over, a road was built to the to p of the hill, and material collected for the Director's residence. In October 1895, the foundation stone of the Summit Hall (which is today called the Main Hall)... was laid by Lord Wenlock, the Governor of Madras, even though the building would not be ready for another four years. In July 1897, Michie Smith laid the north-south line, and in December that year, work on the building was begun." Then, the foundation for the Director's residence was laid. On moving to his residence in February 1899, Michi e Smith's first task was to complete the Main Hall, atop the Nadingapuram hill.

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According to the official Annual Report for the Madras and Kodaikanal Observatories for 1899-1900, "As soon as the towers for the domes were ready, the Director personally undertook the erection of the domes. As no skilled workmen were provided, he had w ith his own hands to do all the work that could not be done by a common native village carpenter or blacksmith. This included the driving of some 2,300 rivets. Both the domes were... completed by December. Before this time, the whole of the buildings had been roofed in, and the laboratory and computer's room were in use."

THE two domes of the Main Hall house the six-inch solar telescope, which is still in use, and an eight-inch stellar telescope, which is no longer in use. Another building in the Kodaikanal Observatory houses a spectroheliograph for photographing the sun not only in calcium k spectral line but in hydrogen alpha. It has been in use since 1912. An inscription at the entrance to the building reads: "In this building, on January 5, 1909, John Evershed made the discovery of the phenomenon of radial motion in sun spots, that is now known as the Evershed effect."

In their book Astronomy in India, A Perspective(1995), a diamond jubilee publication of the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, Kochchar and Jayant Narlikar wrote: "The arrival of John Evershed in 1907 (as Assistant Director to begin with) heralded the Observatory's golden age. Choosing to come to India, no doubt to work in solitary splendour, Evershed made Kodaikanal into a world-class, state-of-the-art observatory."

The Kodaikanal Observatory also has a 20-inch telescope, which came in 1912 from Pune when the Maharaja of Bhavnagar Taktasinhji Observatory was closed down; an ionospheric laboratory, from where the earth's ionosphere is continuously observed with the h elp of an ionosonde; a solar tunnel telescope acquired in 1958, in which mirrors in a 11-metre-high tower direct sunlight into a 60-metre-long underground tunnel, where a lens forms a stationary image of the sun, 34 cm in diameter and showing in fine det ail the solar features; and a museum in what was Michie Smith's residence.

The pride of place, however, goes to the six-inch telescope, installed at the entrance to the Main Hall. The images of sunspots that it has captured for close to 95 years go to make up an invaluable collection of plates which are stored in the plate vaul t of the Main Hall. The telescope has a lens through which sunlight streams in and photographs of the "white light" (which comprises the seven colours of the rainbow) of the sun are taken, day after day. These photographs show the surface of the sun with sunspots. Sunspots are darker than the surrounding areas because the temperature at sunspots is lower than that in their surroundings. Sunspots are regions of high magnetic field. According to IIA scientists, these magnetic fields make the sun an intere sting object of study. Once in 11 years, the number of sunspots increase; once in 11 years, their number declines. The number of sunspots is expected to increase between June 2000 and December 2001.

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According to IIA scientists, the Kodaikanal Observatory also studies solar flares, which are sudden bursts of energy in the plages of the chromosphere of the sun when high magnetic fields develop. The flares release charged particles at very high speed, which travel to the earth's atmosphere. This phenomenon is called coronal mass ejection. In the earth's ionosphere, the particles affect radio communication. Solar flares can debilitate satellites and power transformers.

The scientific community looks ahead to the centenary celebrations with the hope that the deliberations and the media attention they will generate will provide an impetus to solar studies and the good work being done at the Kodaikanal Observatory.

Concerns over 'renovation'

EVEN as the Kodaikanal Observatory gears up for its centenary, there are expressions of concern from some quarters about the nature of the "renovation" work being undertaken on the Main Hall, which is being converted into an auditorium to hold an interna tional colloquium.

The roofing of the spacious Main Hall, the historical building which is the heart of the observatory, was removed in May; in more than one of its rooms, the floor was found to have been dug up to a depth of a few feet. Some of the invaluable plates with the sun's images, which were displayed in the drawing room, had been brought down; others hung precariously on the wall. The plate vault, where the plates are preserved, remained under lock and key. It was unclear whether the dust and rubble from the roo f had affected the plates.

However, Indian Institute of Astrophysics Director Prof. Ramanath Cowsik told Frontline in Bangalore that the roof of the Main Hall had been pulled down as part of "renovation" work and that this was done because it was leaking. The Main Hall woul d be converted into an auditorium where scientists who are to attend the colloquium would gather, he added. "I am not destroying anything," said Cowsik. "We want to preserve the original look of the building." He added that "every effort is being made an d will be made to preserve the historical significance." Senior engineers and "people who are familiar with the place" had been consulted, he said. "I have spent something like 100 hours of study," Cowsik said and added that "nothing can be farther from the truth" than the implication that "we are trying to do something wrong".

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Some scientists at the IIA, however, expressed the fear that after pulling down the walls of the Main Hall, space would be taken from the plate vault and a toilet to build the auditorium. An astronomer pointed out that many national and international sem inars had been held on the observatory campus, even when the Main Hall was with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) before it came under the IIA's control. He added that the Main Hall, a landmark site where the study of solar physics began in South India, should be preserved.

Meanwhile, three antique instruments lay unattended near a corner of the mechanical workshop of the IIA in Bangalore. According to an IIA scientist, they are a photoheliograph, which was made to observe the 1874 transit of Venus and subsequently used in Kodaikanal from 1900 to 1912; a transit circle telescope, which was made in 1857; and a polar siderostat, which was reportedly brought from England in 1897 and which has a rotating mirror arrangement which neutralises the effect of the earth's rotation a nd helps astronomers focus better on an object. An astronomer at the IIA said: "Anywhere else in the world, these instruments would have been prize exhibits in a scientific museum."

Asked about the instruments, Cowsik said: "Every effort is being made to make use of all the instruments ... No instrument is being destroyed."

But among the staff at the Kodaikanal Observatory and the scientists at the IIA, the mood is one of despondency. In their view, the "renovation" work at the Observatory has ravaged its soul.

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Oct 9,2020