Officials in India and in partner countries conducting the ongoing War on Terror on ISIS and similar elements warn that the concentration of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) effort on a few students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) may be making them lose sight of a far bigger challenge to national security. This is “the intensification of the Non-Terror Front (NTF) by the Pakistan army’s GHQ at Rawalpindi and its associated organisations”, such as the ISI and numerous NGOs spread across both India as well as in Europe and the United States. Earlier, The Sunday Guardian had drawn attention to a coming “Summer of Discontent” that would witness an artificially created public unrest on a scale designed to “distract and weaken the agencies of the state” and to “throw cold water on the ‘India Story’ showcased by Prime Minister Modi to global investors” (Multiple groups plan hot summer for Modi, 7 February, 2015). Officials are dismayed at, for example, the “seeming reluctance of the Haryana authorities to accept that the recent violence (in the name of reservation for a particular community) was not accidental but deliberate”, or that “the most deadly acts of violence were planned and funded by cash originating from the narcotics industry in Punjab and Rajasthan”. They add that “planning for the violence took place in Dubai and Mumbai”, and that “there is proof via intercepts and travel records to identify the ringleaders behind the violence”.
However, “these are being protected from enquiry by hawala dealers laundering narcotics cash, and who are close to the officials going slow on action against the ringleaders responsible for the sabotage, arson, loot, rape indulged in by an anti-national clique that acted under cover of the caste agitation”. The Jat community has done yeoman service to India in wartime and their patriotism is stellar. The community, as a whole, would never act in a way designed to weaken India, a country they have served with distinction. Hence, these officials point out, “those few—including many non-Jats—who were responsible for planning and funding the planned acts of violence seen in Haryana and Rajasthan need to be booked rather than allowed a free pass”. Not taking action “would embolden GHQ Rawalpindi to intensify violent stirs across the country”.
The national and international officials spoken to point to violent incidents that have taken place also in Rajasthan as well as through a stir by Kapu leaders in Andhra Pradesh. These “show evidence of the presence of infiltrators in the ISI’s Non-Terror Wing (NTW), who are using the cover of the agitation to create violence and mayhem across a state that has once again caught the attention of investors globally”. Experts in Counter-Terror Operations (CTOs) express dismay “at the swift conclusion by Maharashtra authorities that the recent fire at a Make in India show was an accident”. According to them, it was providential that “hundreds were not killed in the fire and indeed there were zero casualties” thanks to the absence of panic by the audience and the efficiency of the fire brigade, but “such an outcome seems to have prevented a comprehensive enquiry into what was a devastating incident and to take strong action against those guilty of causing the fire”, even if this were caused only through negligence and not by design. They point out that “whether it is deliberate or accidental can only be found out by a comprehensive enquiry of the depth and reach of a potential counter-terror operation, rather than treating it as a routine matter” simply because there were zero casualties.
According to an international source, GHQ has a ten-point plan to create economic and social chaos in India “soon after the Union Budget gets passed”, and when the economy gets poised for take-off because of investor interest and confidence in a government headed by Narendra Modi. These are: (1) speculative fever funded by operators close to the hawala and narcotics lobby, leading to high prices of essential items; (2) focus on decline in job creation caused by Chicago School economic policies; (3) uptick in the generation of unrest in Kashmir; (4) fanning of radicalism in Punjab on the 1980s Zia-ul-Haq model; (5) terror attacks by ISI-linked groups; (6) efforts at restarting NSCN(K) violence in the Northeast; (7) infiltrating workers’ groups to press for violent action on the lines of the Haryana agitation; (8) use of NGOs to give a negative picture of the government, thereby affecting its morale and possibly its response; (9) campus unrest on an all-India scale; and (10) a global campaign to label India as a country that is intolerant of women, children, the underprivileged and minorities.
According to those tracking such developments, “the narcotics lobby in India has promised funding for such operations” as the distraction created by such tumult draws attention away from them as well as serves to enervate and, in some cases, even paralyse the working of security agencies, including the police and paramilitary forces.
Taking a cue from the disruption caused during the August 1974 railway strike of two million workers of this priceless national asset, GHQ Rawalpindi, through its platforms in India, “is looking into ways of ensuring that violent and complete strikes take place” in railways, banking and road transport industries, “thereby burying the India Story for a long time to come”. Unfortunately, the ascendancy of Milton Friedman economic theories in North Block and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has led for over a decade to policies that inhibit growth in the name of battling inflation. The RBI’s substitution of the Consumer Price Index for the Wholesale Price Index (which has been in negative territory for more than a year) has resulted in an interest rate policy that has choked demand and therefore private investment. If newspaper reports are correct, the Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance considers 70% of the population of this country to be well-off, something that will be news to hundreds of millions within or close to the margins of poverty defined in any rational way. As a consequence, there has been an absence thus far of the tax cuts and other investment-boosting mechanisms needed to achieve Prime Minister Modi’s wholly achievable target of at least 10 million jobs each year. Some experts worry that in actual fact, jobs have actually declined over the past two years, thanks to UPA-era policies that are yet to be jettisoned by North Block. It is estimated that even more jobs, 12 million annually, are needed to ensure that the young entering the job market be each given gainful occupations. Some officials in the economic ministries appear to be assuming that India is similar to 1970s South America (where there were authoritarian governments able to suppress dissent) and that therefore the effect on tens of millions of potentially volatile citizens of deflationary policies can be ignored. They need to understand that Prime Minister Modi is fully committed to democratic values and practices in sync with his call for “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” and that therefore to create a policy matrix ignoring social impact is wrong. Such Chicago School types are ignoring even the factor of negative rural demand caused by two drought years and three drought seasons in their deflationary zeal. Such an approach is inadvertently feeding into GHQ’s plans to create unrest and chaos through its Non-Terror Wing.
2016 is a year crucial for not simply the political fortunes of the BJP but the very future of India. This is a year where Prime Minister Modi will need to ensure the defeat of not only the Terror Front but the Non-terror front as well. This will require a close examination of existing personnel and policies and their replacement by those suited to the 21st century and to the human and security needs of the 1.26 billion people of India, whatever be their religion or state. Given the experience of Gujarat, where Year 3 and Year 4 of the Modi era saw remarkable improvements in the policy matrix, there is optimism that 2016 will witness the transformational change that voters in India have been anticipating since 2014.