What Demands for Kashmir?

June 10th, 2021

For people concerned with freedom, equality and decency it is fair to say that the last decade has been that of regression. This is no doubt the case for Kashmir, Kashmiris, and Indians who are privileged and alive enough to care about Kashmir’s suffering and struggles. The arbitrary arrests, the silencing of the population, the erosion of civil society, and many other things we hoped to get rid of in Kashmir have strengthened their grip over India.

It makes the battle ahead difficult while all the more urgent and necessary. Unfortunately, the section that is affected by similar issues in India, like police violence, state repression, violence against women and working people, powerlessness has only increased. That expands the scope for more understanding, raising consciousness, and solidarity among the oppressed in Kashmir and in India. The criminal mismanagement of covid-19 also demonstrated for many the costs of not having politically democratic and responsible institutions.

But what can we reasonably hope to achieve? Plebiscite? Demilitarization? These things look impossibly far now. So what demands? And how? New Delhi is not moved by public opinion in Kashmir. It demonstrated in 2019 that for Delhi Kashmiris are animals and insects, without rights and we do with them whatever we like. Farmer’s protests show that even vocal Indian public opinion hardly matters for this regime. But if there is any hope for improving the situation in Kashmir it is largely from international and domestic pressures. Waiting for Kashmir to explode in civil or armed unrest is a prayer for genocide. The brutality and power of the Indian state have only increased since the 1990s. It will only give a new justification for intensifying the cycle of violence and harming the chances of any long-term solution.

I believe the most basic demand that Indian activists, labour unions, civil societies, progressive NGOs, and maybe political parties should include in their programs is that of the restoration of the pre-August 5, 2019 position. Something similar to the baseline reached in the first Gupkar Declaration.

The first and major step must be increasing public support. While being as cautious and prepared for reaction by the state. And to my knowledge, public support remains the best defense against the state’s retaliation. Another step of course must be to learn more from civil society, activists, and people in the region to formulate a more meaningful and reasonable proposal.

This should be considered only a suggestion to start the conversation. With the increased access to information and opinions about Kashmir, a large section of young Indians have grown sensitive towards their struggle. But understanding must also lead to action. Hopefully, we will rise to the occasion.

[Music] Throughput – @home

May 28th, 2021

All the tracks were written and recorded during the April and May lockdown imposed because of the cataclysmic second wave of covid-19 in India. The process was a selfish and necessary break from almost all social engagement. The cover images for all the songs, except the first, are photographs taken by Lokesh.


WHY DOES THE WORKING CLASS SUPPORT BJP? (To whatever extent it does.)

May 24th, 2021
Why are most people in urban and rural India skeptical about the existence, nature, or origins of the coronavirus? Why do they mistrust the vaccines – whether developed in India or not? Because for most working people the people in power (“bade log”), whoever they may be, do not have their interests in mind, most have little understanding of the forces that seem to govern their life – from decisions about livelihood, health, education and even death.
The talk of the whole covid catastrophe in India being the result of increasing sins (“paap”) in the world is also common. When I asked a woman what they mean by “paap” she responded by saying that it is the increasing selfishness, diminishing human decency in society – “just look at how dead bodies of covid casualties are being treated.” Some people might reply differently but the feeling that “we have changed for the worse” is pretty common and with little effort can evoke a sense of longing for a mythic “better past and tradition” that is lost. A sense of alienation and powerlessness combined with mistrust of social forces and corrupted people is the ideal ground for the seeds of power worship to grow. They are just waiting for a messiah to appear, convince them it’s their interest he or she represents and they will surrender.
These people are a victim of neoliberalism and the shrinking possibility of even a mediocre life. Most young people of my generation who grew up in a middle-class have fallen out of it and almost half of them are unemployed. This is why in the opinion polls globally the so-called right-winger supporters usually favor progressive economic policies. That’s why parties fight elections on “cultural” and”identity” issues almost exclusively.
The question more important now is will the working class continue to support BJP (again, to whatever extent it does) even after BJP demonstrated that it is one of the worse party and government in the world when it comes to dealing with any sort of crisis and has no interest in poor people’s lives? I think the answer (quite obviously) is: Yes if the majority of the working people do not find a real alternative that can show it cares about its interests – including economic interests. Only a campaign for economic justice that speaks to the needs and aspirations of the masses can defeat BJP.

It’s not (just) Modi, it’s Neoliberalism and Military-Industrial Complex

April 28th, 2021

The 2019-2020 union budget allocated Rs. 64,559 Cr. to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Rs. 4.3 Lakh Cr. to Ministry of Defence. There are expenses on health not included in this but that is compensated by the fact that a lot of defence funding is done through the Home Affairs ministry (especially of the forces and operations in Kashmir and Chattishghar) and the secret budgets for intelligence services are never revealed – so the comparison still holds. And a SIPRI report released yesterday shows that the actual publicly available defence spending was Rs 5.4 Lakh Cr.

<span;>And this trend is not new. For decades the fighter aircraft, carriers, missiles are eating away the money, manpower and technical expertise that could have instead created a stable healthcare system better prepared for something like Covid-19. Instead of producing guns and bombs, we could have produced masks and ventilators and instead of procuring missile defence systems from Israel and Russia, we could have procured material and tech for these health care needs.

<span;>This next one is a heartbreaking comparison to make but the most common argument for defence spending is that there is a violent threat to us that we need protection from and which justifies these astronomical spendings. Going by the worst-case scenario records, the total (Indian) death toll in last 50 years from wars, armed conflicts, insurgencies and terror attacks is no more than 2 lakh. We have passed this number officially and in reality, we have passed at least 5 times more than this number of deaths in the last year from Covid-19. It is as if we have fought a war each day for the last one year. And we have – it is the toll of the Indian elites class war against the population.

<span;>India was the worlds 3rd largest spender on military last year and ranked 131 on Human Development Index. Putting people over the interests of the State and its regional military dominance is not unique to this regime and will not go away after it.

<span;>Why is there a shortage of vaccines? Short answer is: patent monopoly and monopoly agreements. When a state funded research in collaboration with private pharma company results in a drug or vaccine there are atleast two option. Either the state can take rights over the medicine and pay the private firm for its contribution or, the state can grant the company monopoly rights to produce, set price and sell the product and have nothing to do with it. But the current social ideology of neo-liberalism tells us that we cannot do the former because it will create deficit if the state pays these companies – nevermind the “deficit” and burden inflicted on people in terms of drug costs which on average are 5-10 times higher. So, a single company gets the right over the medicine.

<span;>The rights to <span;>COVISHIELD are owned by AstraZeneca and its manufacturing rights in India have been given to Serum Institute. It is unclear who owns COVAXIN rights which was created under a PPP agreement with Bharat Biotech – the current pricing of the vaccine and tech-trasfer agreement with Haffikine Institute give a mixed impression but it is unlikely that Bharat Biotech doesn’t have a significant say in future manufacturing and pricing decisions.

<span;>The central government can grant compulsory license for both the vaccine and involve more private and crucially public manufacturers. This could have been done months ago. This can be done now. Not only will it ramp up production but also reduce the risk of single or few suppliers suffering accident or logistical issues. Recall that Serum’s production facility experienced a major accident few months ago (result of another neoliberal fetish – deregulation).

<span;>But this discourages “innovation” and alienates corporations. And of course alienating corporations is worse than couple of lakh people dead.

<span;>These policies too have support in all corners of political and elite circles and transcends Modi or BJP. They just represent the extreme wing of the elite consensus.

<span;>It’s because of the neo-liberal dogma that the level of inequality globally and in India is historically high and that jobs have collapsed. The result of which is people with insufficient savings and monthly income to survive economic and social lockdowns for even few days and who lose the last penny on rents, loans and medical bills. Deepening the spiral of poverty.

<span;>While all the work and needs today are understandably, for the most part, are local and hyperlocal the long term solution – which too are urgent must focus also on so-called “defence” eating away social wealth and corporate interest devouring the interest of the people and the planet.

State of Labor

October 20th, 2020

Around 60% of the Indian working-age population is effectively out of the job market (the labour participation rate is close to 40%.) Those who have some kind of job in the informal economy work close to 14hr a day making less than Rs.10,000/month (going by the best of days estimate). Even the part of the working people in the formal economy are working at least 52 hrs a week and most of the time doing over-time, still making less than minimum wage.

A study released last week found that Indians from the time of entering colleges to the age of 35 are the most anxious and depressed bunch of people in India and probably the world – a sign of a lively labour market according to most economists and policymakers.

And now we have policies to exaggerate this fantastic condition. Like replacing all employment with a fix-term job and creating Foxconn jobs in India with tax money. Foxconn and their friends are, of course, the manufactures of iPhones who have to tie nets around their plants to catch the workers trying to commit suicide by falling from the roof. Similar new policies of despair to aggravate the agrarian and farmers’ crisis are also not missing.

All this on top of growing inequality where our true overlord – Lord Mukesh, makes Rs. 90 crore every hour. Even less severe inequalities have conclusively been shown to cause mental disorders.

Business Standard reported that “India has generated over 5% per annum real economic growth with less than 1% employment growth for three decades.” And that to raise labour participation rate to the average 43% India needs 5 crore jobs as soon as possible but Mahesh Vyas believes Indian policies and trends are not on the path to realistically generate 80 lakh jobs. Every month 1 lakh new workers are being added to the Indian disposable labour force.

Since the lockdown, the number of women workers (195 million of whom are in the informal sector) losing their jobs has been disproportionately higher to their participation in the labour force – almost 50-60% higher. This includes formal, salaried workers. The primary reason for disproportionate job losses during the crisis has been the far-off and unsafe location of the workplace. If the risks outweigh the benefits women workers drop out. Which means the most financially venerable ones stay.


[Translation] The Imperative Mandate – I

October 13th, 2020

The Imperative Mandate: from the French Revolution to the Paris Commune

By Pierre-Henri Zaidman

[Part 1]

Jean-Jacques Rousseau asserts that “the idea of representatives is modern. It comes from the feudal government. In the ancient reliquaries and in the monarchies the people never had representatives; the word “representative” was not known”. However, historians have found that in some ancient peoples, in the Frankish monarchy or among various religious orders, there were occasional and rudimentary provisions for representatives. Representation only gained political significance with feudalism. This meaning of the terms “Representation” and “Representative” is obviously very different in form and meaning from that of the revolutionaries of 1789.

In the Greek and Roman cities, the citizens’ assembly governs itself, because of their small size, they do not need to elect governments. And if the idea of representation is used in Roman law, it only designates a technique of private law.

In public law, it does not apply in principle.

In the French society of the Ancient Regime, there is a representation of social groups with the lords and the king. In accordance with the technique of private law, the representatives have a mandate to defend the interests of the local communities of which they are the spokesmen but without being able to act according to their own will; they are bound by the promise, express or tacit, to act in place of those who mandated them by a delegation of power, if necessary for a particular task in which case one is dealing with an “Imperative Mandate “ (a mandate that is obligatory or from specific instruction).


Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the precursor

We find the idea of mandate in Rousseau who, rejecting the national representation advocated by Montesquieu, prefers sovereignty: “Sovereignty cannot be represented, for the same reason that it cannot be alienated; it consists essentially in the general will, and the will is not represented […] The deputies< of the people are not and cannot be its representatives, they are only its commissioners; they cannot conclude anything definitively. Any law which the people have not ratified is null and void. […] The English people think they are free; they are very much mistaken; they are free only during the election of the members of parliament; if they are elected, they are slaves, they are nothing.” It is clear, in the eyes of Rousseau, that when the legislative power “can only act by deputation, the inconveniences outweigh the advantages; “At the moment that a people gives itself representatives, it is no longer free. There is no need for representatives because they can only divide what is united, thus destroying sovereignty. The territorial and socio-demographic reality of modern states imposes that the legislative power “can only act there by deputation.” And, to prevent the corruption that always threatens representatives, Rousseau advocates the institution of imperatives such as “the delegate”*, always “under the eyes of his constituents”, “cannot do anything contrary to their express will”.

The question of direct democracy arose during the American Revolution. Benjamin Franklin thought about the means of mandating deputies and controlling their activity, without any result. James Madison’s The Federalist contains some hints of parliamentary tyranny, but the American Independentists are mainly concerned with the relationship between the states and the rulers who must be able to resist the “disorderly passions” and the “ephemeral illusions” that can seize the people, pure privilege “of the deliberate and deliberate judgment of collectivism”.

* The French word used is “nonce” for “nuncio”, a papal delegate.

मीडिया लोकतांत्रीकरण, ना कि सेंसरशिप: भड़काऊ और नफ़रत से भरी बातें रोकनि हैं तो आर्थिक मुद्दों पर ध्यान देना होगा

September 16th, 2020

कल सुदर्शन टीवी न्यूज़ के कार्यक्रम पर रोक लगाते हुए सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने कहा कि “भारत में अमेरिका की तरह जर्नलिस्ट्स को अलग से कोई आज़ादी नहीं दी गई है”. और यह की “लोकतंत्र होने के लिए कुछ स्टैंडर्ड्स और मानक होने चाहिए”. लेकिन उनमें से एक मानक जर्नलिस्ट्स की या बोलने की आज़ादी नहीं है. आए दिन लोकतंत्र की रोचक परिभाषा देखने को मिल रही हैं.

कार्यक्रम पर बैन लगाने का कारण ये बताया गया कि एक समुदाय (मुस्लिम) के लोगों को गलत और अपमानजनक तरीके से पेश करा जा रहा था. कोर्ट के फैसले से कुछ समय के लिए हजारों में से एक चैनल पर ऐसी नफरत भरी बातें तो बंद हो गई लेकिन, ये भी मिसाल फिर से कायम हो गई की कोर्ट चाहे तो किसी भी भाषा को किसी एक समुदाय के खिलाफ मान कर उसपे रोक लगा सकता है और कार्यवाही कर सकता है.

तुषार मेहता ने कोर्ट में ये बताया कि कई ऐसे चैनल है जहाँ “हिन्दू आतंकवाद” की बात की जाती है. क्या कोर्ट उन् पर भी रोक लगाएगा? कोर्ट का जब दिल चाहे लगाता है और, लगा सकता है.

ये नफ़रत भरी बातें आती कहा से है और उनका असर क्यो होता है?

पिछले 10-15 सालों में भारत की जीडीपी जेसे जेसे बढ़ी, उस ही तेज़ी से बेरोज़गारी और गैरबराबरी भी बढ़ी. जो एक मध्यम वर्ग ऊपर आया था वो भी नीचे जाने लगा और जो मध्यम वर्ग में शामिल होने के सपने देखते थे उनके सपने खोखले लगने लगे. इस वर्ग में से कई हिन्दू भी है जो 3 या 5 साल से UPSC की नौकरी की रेस मे भाग रहे है.

जिनके इस तरह से अपने भविष्य को ले कर सपने टूटे हो उनको एक समुदाय में अपना दुश्मन देखने में आसानी होती है.

जस्टिस जोसफ ने ये बात उठाई कि मीडिया कंपनियों का आर्थिक मॉडल जब टी.र.प. पर निर्भर हो तो ऐसी चीज़े ज़ादा होती है. दूसरा कारण सरकारी और दूसरे कॉर्पोरेट विज्ञापन से मुनाफा भी है. क्यंकि पिछले कुछ सालों से नफरत पर आधारित टीवी समाचार का मॉडल कारगर साबित हो रहा है, तो लाज़िम है इसे सब अपना रहे है.

मीडिया लोकतंत्र का सब्ज़े ज़ररुई हिस्सा है – इलेक्शन से भी ज़ादा. क्यंकि आप वोट उस आधार पर देते हो जो आप जानते हो. तो क्या लोकतंत्र में मीडिया को मुनाफे के लिए बाजारु बनाया जा सकता है? या फिर मीडिया को सामाजिक रूप से नियंत्रित किया जाना चाहिए. जैसे कई देशों में होता भी है, जहां लोकल समुदाये साथ मिल कर कार्यक्रम बनाए – मुनाफे और मंत्रियो और कम्पनियो से अलग हट कर.

एशियानेट न्यूज़ नेटवर्क लिमिटेड, या ए.एन.एन. जो भारत में कई चैनलों का नियंत्रण करती है का मालिक भाजपा संसद, राजीव चंद्रशेखर है. न्यूज़ लाइव का मालिक बीजेपी मिनिस्टर हिमंता बिस्वा शर्मा की पत्नी रिणीकी भूयां सरमा हैं.लोकमत के मालिक कांग्रेसी नेता हैं. नेव्स18, फर्स्टपोस्ट के आलावा इंडियकास्ट मीडिया डिस्ट्रीब्यूशन प्राइवेट लिमिटेड, बालाजी फिल्म्स और इंफोमेडीअ प्रेस का मालिक अंबानी परिवार है.

ये वो ही नेता और अरबपति हैं जिनकी नीतियों के कारण सरकारी और अब प्राइवेट नौकरिया इस देश में मिलना बंद हो गई है, इन नीतियों के बारे मे हम ना सोचें और इस बारे में कुछ ना करें इसलिए मुसलमान या दलित को दुश्मन बताना ज़रूरी हो जाता है.

कुछ छोटे मोटे चैनल कुछ दिन बंद भी हो जाए तो भी ना ये सचाई ना ये नफरत फैलाना बंद होगा. और लोगों को और मीडिया को शांत करने की ताकत का इस्तेमाल लोकतंत्र और गरीबों के खिलाफ ही होगा. बेरोज़गारी और मीडिया में कंपनी और नेताओ की ताकत खत्म करने की लंबी और मुश्किल लड़ाई से बचने के लिए चीज़े बन करने का शॉर्टकट नहीं लिया जा सकता.

Short note on Radical Descartes

August 15th, 2020

In his history of atheist thoughts, the famous Italian Catholic priest and scholar Cornelio Fabro wrote that “this radical libertarian tendency will gradually reveal itself as responsible for that positive and constructive atheism which is typical of modern philosophy.” The radical libertarian tendency in question was the philosophy of Rene Descartes. Fabro criticized this philosophy because in Descartes God is no longer “posited as creator of the world and Father of men” and He instead created “the philosophy of freedom, considering freedom an ultimate and therefore a viable first principle”.

“Cartesian immanentism concentrated itself in man’s most intimate and all-embracing act, that of willing; it was therefore bound to close to man all avenues of escape from the long straight road leading down to d’Holbach, Feuerbach, Nietzsche and Sartre.” The roots of this concentration on “willing”, i.e. freedom of will and thought is explained by Descartes scholar Harry Bracken as “Descartes had good reasons for introducing a second substance (res cogitans, “thinking things”), for e.g., that our creative use of speech cannot be understood in terms of the mechanics available to him”. The essential character of humans, for the Cartesian, is this creative and willing aspect of the intellect.

Which in Calvinist terms of the time was also the “Way Of Examination” – which alone can judge the truth of religious texts and teaching. Cartesian, like Bayle developed the ideas and gave this freedom and Way Of Examination the primacy over the Way Of Authority. The state or church cannot dictate what the individual must believe because it is against the faculty of free judgment that God has endowed us with. While dethroning God from the paternalistic position Cartesian thoughts also laid the foundation of radical freedom of thought and speech, where the privacy of the intellect takes the priority.

Bracken says that “when we read Bayle’s views on toleration, we should recall that he is perhaps the first person to separate the domains of religion and morality by arguing that there is no logical anomaly in conceiving of a highly moral society of atheists. One can be religious and immoral and also nonreligious and moral. His rationalist views on universal natural (moral) law, that is, independent of religion or culture, should be seen in that context.” One can also, perhaps add the separation the domains of national laws and morality.

This was a radical break from those who advocate authorities’ right to hold our tongue because they have the right to hold our hands. A principle advocated and adhered till this date by those who do not (and for reasons of power cannot) give primacy to the individual’s intellect and her expressions.

This distinction also separated the rationalist-cartesians from the empiricists like Locke and Hume. For the empiricist there is no distinction between the tongue (the expression of one’s thoughts) and the hand (actions and physical attributes). Where for the Cartesian the essence of being human and our most important characters are our intellect and freedom of will, for the empiricists the physical features play as important or more important role in defining the essence of human beings. And from here begins the philosophical justification for racism and sexism.

In these spheres too, the Cartesian philosophers were among the first to (at least theoretically) defend freedom for All human beings. While the racists and sexists were debating over color, physical abilities one of the most prominent French Cartesian philosopher, Poullain de la Barre simply stated that “the mind has no sex.”

Among the people who think about these things, for most Descartes and his ideas have been reduced to caricatures of positions that were for the most part secondary to him and are for us. While, many also sideline him for ideological reasons. But people in radical political circles might still find fruitful insights in the work of the Cartesian.

(Dis)Integration At Gunpoint – Aug 5 2019-2020 J&K Report

August 5th, 2020

I contributed a chapter on militarism to this very important and comprehensive study of life and politics in J&K in last one year: (Dis)Integration At Gunpoint.


Indians who read it with eyes (and mind) open should realize how deep our hands are in blood. And hopefully that should shake off some of the apathy and equanimity that makes this crime and violence possible.

A year ago, Indian state finished the task of completely alienating Kashmir from India and its puppet government in J&K. Ex-RAW chief Dulat and few other army commanders are worried and wonder if New Delhi is actually prepared for what is coming? One can speculate the direction local protests and militancy will take in the valley but one thing is clear that Indian state had once again made Indians insecure in name of “national security”.

One very unfortunate thing we can expect is more attempts and few successful attacks in mainland India in coming years. Indian state has known for years that whenever there are moments of hope for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue militant attacks (and even cross border infiltration) stops almost completely.It shows who and what is the cause of violence. What happened on August 5th was an invitation to a prolonged war of counter-insurgency that will be fought all over India. Who cares if that puts Indians at risk?

This is just one reason why more Indians should be concerned about Kashmir and our State policy there. But basic sense of humanity should be sufficient to see what is happening is grossly unjust, that we should stop the violence and resolve the issue peacefully with Kashmiris. No country, especially not India, can afford militarism and a war economy when almost half of its youth population is unemployed, health care is among the worst performing in Asia and inequality is rising faster than in any other country in the world.

The Real Lesson of Kargil: We are “Wicked”.

July 26th, 2020

The official and well known accounts of the Pakistan’s operations in the spring of 1999 in the Kargil–Dras sector of J&K is that Islamabad “undertook this misadventure with sinister plans to capture India’s land”. And as Modi said this morning, “it is the nature of the wicked to have enmity with everyone for no reason.”

The war-machine needs to constantly paint the official enemy of the day as nonredeemable evil. So, the facts that do not fit this pictures should be kept out of the sight of the public. Facts like Islamabad did not know about the Pakistan Army’s plans. And that India and Pakistan both engage in local land grab operations that are not officially authorized. And also that India in 2001 was planning a much bigger land grab operation that was only foiled by attacks in New York and Virginia by al-Qaeda.

The realization that we are no different from the “wicked” and that we too have our “sinister plans” is not conducive for war mongering.

All of the following material is taken from Happymon Jacob’s important study of ceasefire violations along LOC, Line on Fire.

1. Jacob’s says that “Pervez Musharraf’s former colleague, Lt Gen. (Retd) Jamshed Gulzar Kiani, once stated: ‘I am not sure from where he (Sharif) came to know, but it wasn’t through the army and the Kargil operation was kept secret from Nawaz Sharif.’ Sartaj Aziz, a minister in Sharif’s cabinet, also confirms this in his book.”

Pakistani Army’s plan was to apply the finders keepers rule during the winter when Indian forces left their posts. There was only a tacit understanding and never an agreement that both sides would disengage the posts during winter. Jacob says that, “the Kargil operation was initiated as a series of limited tactical actions that normally would not require prior political authorization. But, spurred on by the local and personal ambitions of a very small coterie who did not foresee battlefield dynamics, this limited objective ballooned into an unintended and unplanned strategic provocation, something the military leadership suddenly found as being untenable. It is possible that the political leadership came into the picture at this stage, and without an understanding of the gravity of the situation, endorsed further actions.”

Pakistan did want to change the status quo and if successful would have cause more loss of lives and the conflict might have expanded to other sectors, heightening the nuclear risks. But the fact is it was not a “sinister plan” of Pakistani government but a military tactical operation, to gain more bargaining power over India, that by their calculations went wrong.

2. Jacob quotes Force magazine’s Pravin Sawhney’s 2014 article which says that “on 22 January 2000, fighting in the Chhamb sector left 16 Pakistani soldiers dead. While both sides blamed one another, the truth was that Indian troops, in strength, attacked a Pakistani post and overran it. Similar instances occurred in Akhnoor, Mendhar, Kotli, Naushera and Pallanwala between January and August 2000.” Jacob adds that, “during the previous year (2000), local units of the (Indian) army, with the tacit understanding and green signal from the army’s higher ups, had ‘adopted a calibrated offensive action across’ the LoC ‘to sanitise areas of infiltration’ on the Pakistani side.”

These were land grab operations which “by either side along the LoC in J&K is nothing new” Usually small scale but sometime medium scales. One of such medium scale Ops was Pakistan’s Kargil attempt and the other was Indian Op Kabaddi.

3. Op Kabaddi was primarily planned by the GOC-in-C of Northern Command of the Indian Army, Gen. Nanavatty. It would “include a wide spectrum of evolving punitive operations such as the execution of deliberate fire assaults to destroy military and terrorist points, and area targets across the LoC; ambushes and raids across the LOC; and company, battalion, and brigade-sized deliberate offensive attacks to capture objectives of tactical importance across the LoC that would improve the Indian Army’s counter-insurgency (CI) posture.”

When Jacob asked ‘How was the 2001 operation different from the Kargil operation by Pakistan?’ Gen. Nanavatty responded, ‘Not very different.’

The Operation, given its flexible nature had no start or end date but was supposed to start soon after 1st Sept 2001. The green light from Delhi came hours before the Twin Towers fell. And given Pakistan’s role under USA’s Afghan policy the Indian Army decided not to go forward.

Nanavatty told Jacob:

“With the world, including Pakistan, seemingly united in its anti-terror stance, any unilateral military action by us against Pakistan would be viewed unfavorably by the international community and be seen as taking advantage of the situation to settle scores on the side lines. I did not recommend the launch of offensive operations until the situation became clearer.”

International pressure and al-Qaeda stopped India from initiating an offensive land grab Op., while the Kargil campaign, at least initially, was targeted at an empty and limited posts.  Jacob and I am sure any one who thinks about this will wonders how would have things developed if Operation Kabaddi was not aborted. Would it have creeped into conflicts in other sectors? What about nuclear risks?

When we look beyond the “reality” conducive to state interests it is hard to find anything more “wicked” and “sinister” than the realization and the preparation of War.