Modi speaks through new

Modi speaks through new Intelligence Heads’ appointments

Iqbal Khan

Appointments of new intelligence heads by Prime Minister NarendraModi bespeak of a trend of rewarding stupidity and continuing stupidity. Appointments were made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet; Prime Minister is the chairman of this committee, with interior minister in the lead role. Two individuals from Indian Police Service (IPS) cadres have been elevated to head the prime intelligence entities. This also brings forth Modi-Amit Shah duo’s fondness for policy service guys. IPS is largely perceived as a corrupt service. Indian critics are chanting that RAW chief should be someone having defence services’ exposure and not a guy from corrupt Indian Police Service (IPS).

Apparently both postings appear as routine intra department elevations. However, both chiefs have a shady past of being part of cruel-some operations against marginalised segments of Indian society—Sikhs, Muslims, Marxists etc.  With the appointment of the chiefs of India’s two spy agencies, all eyes will now be on the appointment of India’s army chief with the retirement of incumbent General BipinRawat scheduled by the end of this year. General Rawat made fool of himself by calling an ambush as “Surgical Strike” in the wake of Uri incident in 2016.

It vividly came to surface how a General officer could steep so low to twist and temper with the basics of military tactics to please NarendraModi’s obsession with the term “Surgical Strike”. Indian leadership has a pathological liking for picking up American concepts of military operations and articulating them out of context and out of sense. India nether has the wherewithal nor strategic edge over Pakistan to conduct such operations, but claim it must!

India has appointed Arvind Kumar, a 1984 batch IPS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, as the new director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB)—internal intelligence set up. Arvind Kumar has replaced Rajiv Jain. SamantGoel of the Punjab cadre, also a 1984 batch officer, has been appointed chief of India’s external spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW)—external intelligence; he has replaced Anil Dhamsana. Both took charge on June 30. These appointments give a clear idea of how India would conduct its suppressive activities inside India and disruptive activities outside India.

Kumar is considered an expert on Kashmir, with specialisation in counter-terrorism, and is said to have closely been involved in tackling Left-wing extremism during his career at the IB. He has also held charge as the special director of Kashmir in this intelligence agency.

And Balakot strategist SamantGoel rose from the position of Director Operations of RAW. He is a known Pakistan expert. Goel has helped handle the Punjab militancy when it was at its peak in the 1990s and has also done tenures in Dubai and London, as in-charge consular—a term used for under cover intelligence activities. India’s Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple (June 1-8, 1984), the holiest shrine of Sikhs was a horrible onslaught on Sikh community’s pride. The wounds have not yet healed and there is persistent demands for bringing to book those officials who were responsible for committing excesses during that operation.

The decision to elevate Goel comes in the wake of his participation and orchestration of the Balakot air strikes. Similarly, Arvind Kumar has been one of the IB’s key men in combating and containing Naxalism in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Before current elevation Arvind Kumar, was the number two at the Kashmir desk of the Intelligence Bureau.

SamantGoel’s elevation comes three months after he played key role in India’s cowardly attack in Balakot. Goel was then heading operations for RAW agency and was instrumental in planning the February 2019 Balakot air strikes and also the 2016 post Uri incident surgical strikes. Uri famed strike was an ambush comprising on-ground incursion by land forces, while Balakot gambit was a botched up shallow cross-border air intrusion. IAF pilots demonstrated worst fit of cowardice. When challenged by the PAF aircraft, Indian war planes just dropped the weapons in uninhabited woods and ran away. Comically, India launched a claim of killing 300 ‘terrorists’ on terror training camp in Balakot in February this year; and later retracted in the face of rebuttals from all over the World.

Subsequent reaction by the PAF reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve for asserting strategic equivalence with India. Pakistan refused to accept India’s right to violate Pakistan’s airspace—whatever the pretext. Pakistan shot down town Indian war planes and captured one pilot alive. And India’s farce claim of shooting down a Pakistani F-16 got a severe rebuttal form everywhere. Independent security observersform multiple sources have confirmed that all F-16 planes on Pakistan’s inventory were accounted for by Pakistan.

Had Modi been a rational statesman, he would have learnt the lesson of limitations of employment of military power in India-Pakistan context. But as he is a religious zealot and political demagogue, through these appointments he has sent across the message that he is not likely to relent on his stupidities, and why should he?; after all he thinks that Indian masses have rewarded him for such lunatic actions.

Unfortunately, there is no way to find out how many of his otherwise assured voters condemned his Balakot fiasco by not voting for him. His overall victory would effectively keep this effect of India’s 2019 election hidden.

Selection of erratic persons as intelligence heads is a bad omen for India, hot headed lunatics will always embarrass India, through coercive policies against its own marginalised communities struggling for their legitimate political rights; and inviting quid pro quo from those countries in which they conduct subversive and disruptive actions through the likes of KulbhushanJhadav. It will further strengthen India’s majoritarian structures, reinforce its image as an apartheid state and discredit its secular standing. As for Pakistan is concerned, it is flexible enough to make required adjustments to give a befitting reply to any Indian misadventure.

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