August 20, 2005

The way to meet the Bangladeshi threat

By Prof. M.D. Nalapat

The most effective way of avoiding a war is to be ready for it. Because of a policy of turning the other cheek repeatedly, these days all enemies of Bharat know that no provocation would be sufficient to get New Delhi to act militarily in defense of its interests.Say what you will about Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi,both were willing to use force to achieve national objectives. Although at Simla Indira Gandhi gave away the advantages won on the battleground, the reality remains that but for the sacrifices made by the Indian armed forces, the people of Bangladesh may still be slaves of masters based in Rawalpindi.

Sadly, in an extreme case of the “Stockholm Syndrome” (where the victims begin to love their oppressors), today’s government in Dacca is almost an agent of the ISI. Begum Khaleda Zia has sacrificed the pride and autonomy of her people in order to feed at the trough of the Pakistan army, and has permitted her country to become the base for jihadi operations that Taliban Afghanistan was. Even more worrisome, China seems to be readying to arm Bangladesh with nuclear weapons and missiles the way it has Pakistan. As a slap to Indian security concerns, Premier Wen Jiabao signed a so-called “peaceful” nuclear cooperation agreement with Zia just days before arriving in India. The language used is borrowed from Indira Gandhi’s 1974 description of Pokhran I as a “peaceful nuclear explosion”, and will fool no one. Shias, non-Wahabi Sunnis, women and Hindus are the subject of discrimination in Bangladesh, especially Hindus. Of course, the same US and EU think-tanks and “human rights organisations” that constantly lament “fanaticism” in India are as silent about the temples destroyed in Bangladesh even since the 1990s as they are about temples destroyed in Pakistan and in the Kashmir Valley. Indeed, the truth is that no government in India—forget about abroad—seems to have been at all concerned with the documented destruction of dozens of Sufi shrines and Hindu temples in Kashmir. Perhaps their friends and benefactors such as Farooq Kathwari of the “Kashmir Study Group” (an individual who celebrated the killing in 2001 of his jihadi son by Indian forces as the “ascent of a martyr to heaven”) will not allow them to bother about such inconsequential matters. Even when the jihadi elements that dominate the Bangladesh army and paramilitary forces tortured and killed several gallant BSF jawans a few years ago, New Delhi kept silent, just as it is doing now when Dacca has become the second nerve centre (after Rawalpindi and followed by Kathmandu) of the terrorist jihad against India

No other great power would have so meekly accepted the numerous blows that Bangladesh has been delivering to India with rising and vicious intensity since the Wahabist Khaleda Zia took office. The fact is that a continuance of the present situation may necessitate another Bangladesh war, this time to liberate the inhabitants of that country from rule by Wahabis who are slaves of the ISI. The security of India will be at risk until Bangladesh returns to the path of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and becomes a secular state where Shias and Hindus are treated the same as Sunnis, and where Wahabism is discouraged. During the past decade, more than 12 million Bangladeshis have crossed the border into India, and today they have become the dominant element in the population of several sensitive border districts, finding champions such as Jyoti Basu and shortsighted Congress leaders, who sabotage every effort at tackling this poblem. In the higher reaches of the Pakistan-dominated Bangladesh army, there is talk of a “Greater Bangladesh” that would annex most of Assam and neighbouring Indian states,of course after India has been stunned into submission by the ISI. The only way to avoid this fate is to show that New Delhi is ready, able and willing to go to war against Bangladesh in order to rescue the people of that country from the fanatics who today rule it.

Even in the economic sphere, the ISI is using its Bangladeshi slaves to ensure that India does not become a base for largescale international manufacturing operations. All of a sudden, from Gurgaon to Chennai, Pune to Hyderabad, the emerging centres of excellence have been witnessing wave upon wave of violent protests designed to frighten away investors. Many of the thugs indulging in such acts of intimidation are Bangladeshis reporting to local ISI cells. Unfortunately, instead of dealing with the thugs, the UPA is encouraging them to take advantage of the votes and muscle power of these illegal aliens

The security of India will be at risk until Bangladesh returns to the path of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and becomes a secular state where Shias and Hindus are treated the same as Sunnis, and where Wahabism is discouraged. During the past decade, more than 12 million Bangladeshis have crossed the border into India, and today they have become the dominant element in the population of several sensitive border districts, finding champions such as Jyoti Basu and shortsighted Congress leaders, who sabotage every effort at tackling this poblem.

War may be the only option available to India to destroy this cancer in our midst. Neither China nor Pakistan would get involved in an India-Bangladesh conflict, as both would realize that the cost to them of the bitter enmity that this would engender in New Delhi would be far more devastating than the satisfaction of having gone to the aid of a client state. With the proper use of her naval, air and ground assets, India would be able to subdue the Wahabbis in under three weeks, and afterwards, ensure the stability of a future secular government by a security treaty. Cordial relations with India are a must for any SAARC country.

Eventually, a situation needs to evolve in which there will be visa-free access from India to any SAARC country, and where the Indian rupee will be legal tender. Thus would SAARC enter into an era of prosperity for all its members. However, for this to happen, India has to demonstrate a will to meet and defeat threats rather than be supine in the face of provocation

War may be the only option available to India to destroy this cancer in our midst. Neither China nor Pakistan would get involved in an India-Bangladesh conflict, as both would realize that the cost to them of the bitter enmity that this would engender in New Delhi would be far more devastating than the satisfaction of having gone to the aid of a client state.

In the case of Bangladesh, a series of steps need to be taken before recourse to what must be the method of last resort, war. These include:
Documentation and publicity of human rights atrocities and discrimination being committed in Bangladesh against Shias, women, non-Wahabi Sunnis and Hindus, as also to the emergence of that country as a jihad base. The many offensive statements and actions of the ISI-controlled ruling clique need to be given international currency and prominence


Turning the economic screws on Bangladesh. Unfortunately, several Indian nationals have been helping the Wahabi clique in Dacca, especially in the textiles industry. India needs to accept that any money earned by the current administration in Dacca would be likely to gravitate towards jihad causes, and hence both international investors—and particularly Indian nationals—need to be warned against collaborating with the jihadis ruling Dacca as proxies for the ISI. It is especially unfortunate that several Indian citizens have become willing accomplices in the systematic degradation of India’s security by the Wahabis in Bangladesh. Hopefully, this is caused more by ignorance than design. Such ignorance needs to be dispelled


Ensuring that international attention is paid to the intimidation and suppression of secular forces in Bangladesh. In particular, all followers of the ideology of that supreme Bangladeshi patriot—Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman—are being oppressed, to silence from those who claim to seek to spread democracy. In particular, India needs to work together with the EU and the US to ensure that elections in Bangladesh are free and fair, and that the Wahabis do not succeed any more in rigging the results. Teams of observers from India, the US and the EU have to work in the country to ensure that the anti-democratic impulses of the Wahabis lose their potency to distort the electoral verdict. In particular, the international community needs to monitor and condemn the vicious Wahabi propaganda and discrimination against others in rural parts.


Warn both Pakistan and China that their support for the Wahabis in Dacca is incompatible with professions of friendship to India. Recently, China and India announced that they are “strategic partners”. What is a “strategic partner” of India doing transferring nuclear technology and C-802 missiles to a rogue regime? There has to be a high diplomatic cost to countries that thus negatively impact the security of India, not the usual profuse expressions of friendship


Prepare for a likely conflict with Bangladesh by basing and acclimatising naval, air, land and missile forces in the region, and preparing contingency plans should persuasion fail to bring Bangladesh back on to a sane path. Also, intensify the construction of the land barrier to infiltration and deal sternly with any effort by Bangladesh’s jihad army to block such constriction


Identify Wahabi elements within the pool of Bangladeshi migrants into India and ensure that these are sent back. In case the Dacca government does not accept them back, these should be quarantined and placed in holding areas next to the Bangladesh border, making it clear that the care and feeding of fanatics is not its responsibility. All Indian nationals should be warned through an effective publicity campaign against helping Bangladeshi jihadis either in Bangladesh or in India, and be told to identify Wahabis among the Bangladeshis for repatriation to the land now controlled by Khaleda Zia, the ideological sister of Mullah Omar. Unless strong action is taken now, even stronger action may be needed in a few years, if India is to avoid the fate that the ISI and its quislings in Bangladesh have mapped out for it.
(The author is a former editor of Times of India and Mathrubhumi and now teaches in Manipal University.)

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