india supporting tamil tiger LTTE terrorists
Reader comment on item: Still Asleep After Mumbai
Submitted by Lt. General Ayyub Khan (Turkey), Mar 4, 2009 at 06:47
When military operation by Sri Lanka entered a decisive phase in December 2008 there were reports that after getting wounded the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam supremo V. Prabhakaran crossed the Palk Straits into India to recover from wounds. The Indian authorities were tight lipped at that time. After the recent victory of Sri Lankan army over LTTE, Prabhakaran had no choice but to flee to India with help of RAW the creator of LTTE.
Although Indian Intelligence Agency RAW is directly responsible to the Prime Minister but ironically the agency has been working hands in glove with LTTE and sheltering militants as well as its chief Prabhakaran even after India banned LTTE without the knowledge of the Indian government. Duplicity of India can be gauged from the fact that despite her demand for handing over Prabhakaran for murder of Rajiv Gandhi, every time whenever Prabhakaran is trapped in Sri Lanka, it is non other than India which facilitated his escape. The recent attempt of saving Prabhakaran by India is in line with Indian policy to keep the LTTE leadership intact for future subversive activities in Sri Lanka.
The main route of his escape is Plak Straits and to facilitate the escape Rameshwaram area of India is mostly used in the past too. Besides the LTTE militants have been using islets there to burry arms and ammunition for transshipment and about 200 industrial units in Coimbatore area of India had been involved actively in illicit production contraband bomb parts for LTTE. On February 4, 2009 Sri Lanka army Chief Lt General Sarath Fonseka told after capturing Mullaitivu that only the Sea Tigers and suicide cadres can help Prabhakaran escape. As per media reports most probably once again the most demanded and dangerous terrorist Prabhakara will go back to his master ―RAW‖.
Earlier finally LTTE got routed out when Sri Lankan army ran over its last bastion and main operation center, Mullaittivu bringing an end to their decade-long domination of the country's North. The Sri Lankan army commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said the 25-year-old bloody ethnic separatist war was 95 percent over. It is a big reason for Sri Lankans to be jubilant but on the other hand the restlessness of India over this new development can be well understood primarily due to her own internal equation of ethnic politics.
Under pressure from Tamil political parties the Indian government last week officially expressed concern over plight of Tamil population and operation against LTTE militants. Political parties from Tamil Nadu have already started pressurising Indian government to press Sri Lanka for halting operation against LTTE militants. On Saturday (January 31st) Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu under the banner of ‗Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement (STPM)' called for massive protest in the state on February 4th. The STMP includes all pro-LTTE characters including Nedumaran, MDMK Chief, Vaiko, PMK's founder-leader, Dr. S. Ramadoss, Pandian, Thirumavalavan, Tindivanam amamurthy whereas BJP has also joined the protest.
To understand the concerns of India, struggle for control of Indian Ocean, presence of US and the new big game we need to recall the historical events intertwined with the strategic location of Sri Lanka. Background/ strategic importance of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has always been a strategic place as far as the subcontinent goes and the sub continent has both mythological as well as historical relations with the place which was very much part of the subcontinent. But in the history which we are living today it is strategic importance that matters and Sri Lanka is strategically poised since it is right in the middle of Indian ocean and the complete potential of maritime possibilities and probabilities have not yet been exploited by the world that is changing every second. Tamil/Sinahlese problem again is historical and India took the lead to exploit it for making sure that strategic gains were her but it did not happen the way India wanted it to happen and a hasty retreat had to be the option but India had created a monster in form of LTTE.
Strategic importance of Indian Ocean
"Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia. This ocean is the key to the seven seas in the twenty-first century, the destiny of the world will be decided in these waters," said US Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan more than a century ago. The Indian Ocean covering 2,850,000 sq miles is the third largest in the world with several important islands and about 47 countries around. It has Indian subcontinent in the North; Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia in the East; Antartica in the South; and East Africa in the West. The Indian Ocean covering Red Sea moves towards Suez Canal, and oil-rich Gulf, the Cape of Good Hope and the Strait of Malacca, which is a major sea route between the West and the Far East. In the South of Indian Ocean we have Diego Garcia where US has naval and air base.
China has a base in the Coco Island which is near Myanmar and India is already there with its Navy covering about 1200 miles. We can also see Andaman Islands, Maldives, Madagascar and Gwadar in Pakistan and Kawar, the first naval base of India. It clearly shows the presence of world and some emerging powers in the Indian Ocean. Besides Indian Ocean is a critical waterway with heavy trafficking.
Indian Intervention and rise of LTTE
Besides strategically poised in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is ideally located to hit at Southern India. USA has air and naval bases in the Indian Ocean, India wanted to be present in Sri Lanka and with a considerable Tamil speaking population there in the island (which is also called as the emerald island) India took the first step but in retrospective it was a half measure. The aim was to stop USA having an influence in the Indian Ocean but the methodology and strategy used by India was wrong. In a nut shell it backed the wrong horse LTTE! Many powers centuries back had tried to keep Indian Ocean under their tab. India right from the 1954 started showing interests in the Indian Ocean especially when the US started gaining firm strategic footing around Sri Lanka.
India feared US control over Trincomalee which in other words was a sure uncontrollable damage to Indian interests in case US had control over airstrips and naval power. Besides worrying over US Diago Garcia base in Indian Ocean, India was also alarmed when US announced to
move aircraft carrier USS Enterprise to Bay of Bengal in support for Pakistan during 71 war. It was after that India started thinking on formation of terrorist organization LTTE. Formed in 1976 LTTE began its armed conflict with the Sri Lankan government in 1983 and relies on a guerrilla warfare strategy that includes the use of terrorist tactics. After the 1983 riots India started supporting the Tamil militants and in 1987 it had come up with another idea to have a role in Sri Lanka which could give India leverage for having strategic hold in the Indian Ocean. India signed an accord with Sri Lanka in July 1987 for deploying Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). Though apparently the aim was to find a solution to the Tamil ethnic/separatist problem but it was clearly a strategic move by India.
Indian duplicity in dealing with the LTTE
Though after signing the accord India had sent its forces for peace keeping in Sri Lanka but unfortunately Indian soldiers end up sacrificing their lives for deceptive game of their government, not knowing that it was their own government that was sacrificing the innocent soldiers for political mileage.
It was reported by media that even when Indian soldiers were fighting LTTE, India was facilitating LTTE terrorists. Tamil Nadu was facilitating LTTE cadres for reinforcement and regrouping. In 1997 a report appearing in Indian Express said ―Soldiers are the only innocents in politics. So it seems from the tale of a distraught father looking for his Army-officer son, evacuated with a head wound. The father walked into a hospital room only to be told by the nurse that, "These four injured are cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and your son is in the next room".
This was in November 1987, the injured Army officer served in the Indian Peace Keeping Force, and the mistaken hospital room was in Chennai, India! In the truest sense of non-alignment, the Government of India and its state government in Tamil Nadu were simultaneously treating
the LTTE cadres injured by the IPKF; and the IPKF personnel injured by the LTTE.‖ Manvendra Singh wrote in the report ―Even while Indian soldiers were dying in the jungles of north and eastern Sri Lanka, New Delhi was still engaging the LTTE in talks, and Chennai was allowing the militants to rest, recoup and refit in Tamil Nadu. And some intelligence agents were ambushed in the company of LTTE by the IPKF, unaware that New Delhi's operatives were even there and, above all, moving with the militants. He further accused RAW of orchestrating ambushes against Sri Lankan Army which even the IPKF was unaware of." ―Similarly, the intelligence agencies even organised an ambush in Amparai by the Indian-raised Tamil National Army on a Sri Lankan Army brigade commander without the knowledge of the IPKF leadership. There is even the case of detailed maps made available to the intelligence agencies, but locked away in dusty cupboards, while the IPKF casualties mounted because of insufficient information. While a senior intelligence official was arrested for passing information to a Western country, officials closely involved with the crisis declared unequivocally that each agency was pursuing its own agenda in Sri Lanka and each kept the government informed, but only from its parochial perspective‖, Manvendra Sing claimed in his report. It was also reported that in clear disregard for sacrifices of Indian soldier during fighting with LTTE, Indian government was still engage in talks with LTTE. During the same period Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi held a meeting with a senior LTTE leader Kasi Anandan at his 10 Janpath residence.
Why India provides radars to Sri Lanka instead of weapons?
In the past whenever Sri Lanka asked India for sale of weapons to fight LTTE, India refused to sell necessary military hardware terming it offensive weapons. However India did provide radars and technical assistance to Sri Lanka. When two Indian radar operators were injured in air strikes by LTTE planes on Sri Lankan Air Force base in Vavuniya, Indians were boasting about their role in fight against LTTE however they never elaborated actual reasons for Indian assistance with regard to radars operation.
There are few reasons for Indian assistance:
1. Safeguarding airspace of Tamil Nadu against any air-strike by LTTE is of paramount importance because of India's fast-breeder reactor complex at Kalpakam near Chennai, the Russian-aided Koodankulam nuclear power reactor complex in southern Tamil Nadu and India's space establishments in Kerala.
2. To block sale of Chinese radars to Sri Lanka because in case of Indian refusal Sri Lanka will procure these from China and the later will provide technical assistance as well which India fears will expose her to direct Chinese monitoring specially of its South coast.
India caught between the devil and the sea
It is believed that South India plays a major part in economic boom of India besides role being played by hardliners from Tamil Nadu in the Indian political equation gives immense weight to South India. For the last many years no political party has been able to get a parliamentary majority to form the single party government; Congress as well as BJP had been in government in coalition with regional political parties from Tamil Nadu. Hence Tamil political parties are becoming like lifesaving drugs for these two major political parties. These regional Tamil politicians have been supporting LTTE and its agenda since long and had been pressurising successive Indian governments not to provide necessary weapons to Sri Lanka. If India provides such weapons it fears to face widespread protests from Tamils in South and in that case the ruling party is going to lose support from Tamil political parties. Besides it would be difficult for Indian central government to keep a tab on Tamil separatism within India. The scariest scenario for India would be uncontrollable suicide bombing in case if LTTE turns its screws on India considering its Southern part as potential separate homeland for Tamil nation. On one hand it is question of safeguarding Indian integration while on the other stopping other countries especially Pakistan and China from getting influence in Sri Lanka. If India sides with Sri Lanka against LTTE or if it doesn't in both the cases India seems to be landing in the troubled waters.
The solid assurance by Pakistan about two months back pledging to send one shipload of the wherewithal every 10 days in coming months for bolster Sri Lankan efforts against LTTE prompted Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to publicly state that Kilinochchi, the headquarters of the LTTE, would be liberated by the end of December, 2008. On January 19 in a meeting between Pakistani Defence Secretary Lt Gen (retired) Syed Athar Ali and his visiting Sri Lankan counterpart Gotabhaya Rajapakse in Rawalpindi, the two countries agreed to enhance cooperation in military training, exercises and intelligence sharing regarding terrorism. According to some unconfirmed reports pilots from Pakistan air force participated in air strikes against bases of Tamil Tigers in August 2008, besides Pakistan has been providing advance weapons to Sri Lanka for fighting LTTE at a time when India refused to help.
It is not the first time that Pakistan is helping Sri Lanka militarily to fight LTTE terrorists. Back in year 2000 when LTTE offensive code-named
Operation Oyatha Alaikal (Operation Ceaseless Waves) overran Sri Lankan military positions in the north and captured the Elephant Pass Base and entered Jaffna; it was feared that LTTE would run down thousands of Sri Lankan troops stationed in Jaffna, Sri Lanka sought MBRLs from Pakistan. According to Jane's Intelligence Digest, weapons and ammunition, including artillery shells and multi-barrel rocket launchers, were airlifted in an emergency operation from Karachi to Colombo in May. In 2006 as well Sri Lanka sought multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs) and other advanced weapons from Pakistan when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Pakistan in March-April 2006 along with an 80-member delegation that included military officials. India was never happy with Sri Lanka over purchase of weapons from Pakistan.
New players: China, Iran and Saudi Arabia
The vacuum created by absence of active Indian support to Sri Lanka against LTTE is being filled by new players including China, Iran and Saudi Arabia which again is a great cause of concern for India other than worrying about Pak-Sri Lanka military ties. China has also been supplying necessary arms and weapons to Sri Lanka to fight the war against the Tamil Tigers. According to recent reports ―Sri Lanka has signed a US $ 37.6 million deal with the Beijing-based Poly Technologies for a wide variety of arms, ammunition, mortars and bombs. Sri Lanka is also getting some Chinese Jian-7 fighters, JY 11-3D air surveillance radars, armoured personnel carriers, T-56 assault rifles, machine guns and anti-aircraft guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and missiles." Besides China is also constructing a modern port at Hambantota in the south with an estimated cost of one billion US dollars which will be completed in 15 years. The port work on which was started in 2007 can be converted into a naval base in future. Recently Iran has also agreed to provide assistance to Sri Lanka including training a team of Sri Lankan army and intelligence officers in Iran, besides providing low-interest loan to enable it to purchase defence-related equipment from China and Pakistan. Iran will also invest US $ 1.5 billion in energy-related projects in Sri Lanka.
Similarly Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka recently have agreed to cooperate in areas of mutual interests in the field of oil supply, exploration and investments.
Keeping in view long term strategic interests in the region US had already made its presence felt with constructing Air Force base on Diego Garcia, a coral atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean, a submarine base and a Navy harbor for propositioning equipment and supplies, in 21 fully-loaded ships at moorings, and in warehouses, for U.S. military operations in the Arabian Gulf, the Middle East, South Asia, and East Africa. Diego Garcia is the permanent US outpost nearest the subcontinent as it lies approximately 2500 nautical miles from Islamabad. The base is approximately the same distance from Kashmir and 2200 nautical miles from New Delhi. The presence of American intelligence agencies in Sri Lanka since decades is to monitor US interests viz a viz developments taking place in the neighboring countries around India Ocean also is not a secret. The central position of the island between the Straits of Malacca and Hormuz further gives reasons for US interests in Sri Lanka besides it eyes Trincomalee harbour. Since centuries Trincomalee harbour has been a central strategic point for many powers right from Portuguese, Dutch to Britishers. The harbour has played a significant role in WWII. The presence of all these important countries gives Sri Lanka geo-political importance keeping in view the bigger game for power in the Indian Ocean. In this scheme of things India seems to be at the receiving end although the recent warming up of its relations with US might have decreased concerns about US influence in Sri Lanka which India always considered a threat to her in the past. But given the history of US relations with its allies especially Pakistan in the region, Americans are not considered reliable. Above all US doesn't tolerate potential regional powers that challenge or tend to challenge her hegemony in the future and undercut critical US strategic interests in Asia and India is no exception as well.
Proximity between Indian support to LTTE and Baitullah Mehsud
A sharp similarity between Indian active support to LTTE and pulling out its chief Prabhakaran and militant Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and pulling its chief Baitullah Mehsud with help of CIA is stunning. To understand the methodology in both the cases we need to have a close comparison of Indian support to LTTE and TTP. Sometimes back an Indian army Gen openly accepted that India has its assets in FATA the tribal areas of Pakistan. The communication equipment and weapons used by terrorists in FATA are only used by US or Indian armed forces which even are not available with Pakistani army.
The following report appeared in Pakistan Observer Newspaper on December 30th, 2008
Indian intelligence - RAW network in Afghanistan is the main cause of destabilization in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD — According to informed sources Indian intelligence officials working in the disguise of diplomats in Embassy and Consulates in Afghanistan have set up a vast covert operation network to destabilise FATA, Northern Areas and Baluchistan engaging dozens of Afghan, Indians, the drug dealers and other Afghan warlords. According to sources several agents hired by the RAW were captured recently in FATA, Waziristan and Southern Eastern areas. They have provided loads of details claiming that the Indian had managed to penetrate deeply inside Pakistan in collaboration with Indian paid agents in the region. According to one spy who was recently killed by Taliban happened to be Indian intelligence official named as C.R. Garg working as Attaché and Personal Secretary to Indian Ambassador in Kabul who was found offering as much as US$2000-3200 per one foreigner killed in Pakistan. The spy was given a telephone number for urgent contacts
Another Indian senior official named as Malkit Chand supposedly working as Third Secretary of Education & Director of Indian Cultural Centre is found engaged in human trafficking of Pakistani Baluch students from Afghanistan to India for their special training. Baluchi students particularly the children of Baluch nomads are being offered
a sum of about US$200-300 per month when they are inducted to proceed to India. Chandra Mohan Mishra a Third Secretary at Indian Embassy in Kabul and a person named J. Baby working as an Attaché (Technical) are alleged to have held several meetings with Baluch militants during mid-2008. These Indian intelligence officials are also engaged in financing Pakistani youths and sending them from tribal areas to several other Central Asian states. Recently two spies were hauled up and arrested in tribal areas carrying ‗Thuraya' satellite phone numbers 00-873-763095858, 00-873-763095867 and 0700501385 which belonged to Indian intelligence officials inside Afghanistan. From the record of calls made they were traced down in contacts with Consulate General of India, posted at Mazar-i-Sharif named Dinesh Behari and Vice Consul D. N. Dutta. ‗Thuraya Satellite telephone' is product made of a dynamic technology which gives freedom of movement and the ability to stay connected in more than 110 countries in Europe, North, Central Africa and large parts of Southern Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia. This means total coverage whether you are in a village, on a mountain or by the coast. The GSM/Satellite Phones also are the handheld phones combine three powerful technologies: satellite, GSM and GPS allowing users the flexibility to avail seamless connectivity outside terrestrial network and utilise global positioning overview. Thuraya also has the World's Smallest Satellite Phones designed to be the smallest and lightest phone in the satellite industry, the Thuraya SO-2510, weighs a mere 130gm and is ideal for heavy users who require only satellite service in areas with limited telecom connectivity like Afghanistan and Pakistan tribal area. The SG-2520 is the only satellite smart phone in existence; offering satellite service along with the full range of advanced features.
Another Indian agents Sanjay Asthana working as Vice Consul at Habibabad,, in Jallalabad was traced being in touch with above arrested spies called ‗assets' using phone/fax number of 0797638744. An Indian official based in Herat, named Manohar Gangesh is working as Consul in Indian Consulate. He is known to remain in close contact with local agents who organize secret meetings and trainings for Islamic militants. A militant leader has claimed that he discovered the telephone number of a senior Indian intelligence official Raju Balakrishnan working as a diplomat and Vice Consul in Herat his
telephone 0799427738 retrieved from the possession of a recently captured spy after his detailed interrogation. According to a reliable sources early this year Indian agents disguised as Muslim militant leaders by the name of Yasin Khan (Original Indian name Amat Verma) and ―Nasir‖ identified as ―Santosh‖ were operating a massive network of terrorists in Jallalabad while another so-called ―Islamic militant leader (original name Sudesh ) also operates in Khost. Local Afghan commanders, drug dealers and military commanders of US- NATO forces are well aware of their activities but they overlook these activities of covert operations against Pakistan for sake of their own clandestine businesses and nature of operation. Suicide bombing, LTTE and Baitullah Mehsud: LTTE has said to be the inventor of suicide bombing. FBI in a January 10 report, posted on its website under the title ―Taming the Tigers,‖ alleged that the LTTE had perfected the use of suicide bombers, invented the suicide belt, killed some 4,000 persons in the past two years alone and ―assassinated two world leaders — the only terrorist organisation to do so.‖ On the other hand the militants from TTP terrorist organisation of Baitullah Mehsud are also using the same methodology of suicide bombing and haved also been involved in killing of high profile Pakistani government officials including Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
In an April 2008 report, the U.S. State Department also accuses the LTTE of engaging in abductions and extortion. Similarly the same tactic is used by Tehrik-e-Taliban for generating money for their terrorist activities.
'Al-Qaeda follows LTTE text book on terror'
FBI further said in its report that terrorist groups around the world are following LTTE. ―The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is one of the ―most dangerous and deadly extremist outfits in the world‖ and the world should be concerned about the Tigers as they had ―inspired‖ networks worldwide, including the Al-Qaeda in Iraq‖, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said.
London, 12 February, (Asiantribune.com):
Glen Jenvey a specialist on international terrorism has drawn the copycat terror tactics of Al Qaeda borrowed from the textbooks of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – a banned terrorist organization by the international community. In an analysis of the lead given by the LTTE for other terrorists organizations to follow, he has highlighted LTTE as the mastermind that sets the pattern for organization like Al Qaeda to pursue global terrorism. He has drawn the pattern of terror tactics followed by Al Qaeda after the example was set by the LTTE. Glen Jenvey focuses on the following acts of terror followed by Al Qaeda after the LTTE has set the examples.
Fact one: The LTTE invented the modern suicide bomber and deployed it into all their rank's against both political, military and civilian targets. You now see Islamic groups copy the LTTE with suicide attack's.
Fact two: The LTTE attack shipping off the coast of Sri Lanka blowing ships or piracy. We then saw attacks on the USS Cole off Yemen and then you see piracy off the coast of Somalia a strong hold for Al-Qaeda followers.
Fact three: The LTTE attack the World Trade Centre in Sri Lanka you then see attack's by Al-Qaeda on the World Trade Centre in New York, America.
Fact four: The LTTE has a women's section deployed into it's rank's. You see Al-Qaeda and Chechen terrorist's who took over the Russian theatre, use black widow women suicide bombers.
Fact five: Attack's on civilians in bus and trains in Sri Lanka where innocent passengers were killed, Al-Qaeda in London bombed public civilian transport in the 7/7 attack's on London transport. Now if we have an in-depth analysis of the structure and patron of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan it comes to fore that the terrorist organisation is an extension of Al-Qaeda and uses the same tactics of LTTE.
Whereas India emerged as main creator of LTTE and its suicide bombing tactics besides pulling out LTTE chief Prabhakaran and TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud whenever they are trapped. On the one hand if India provided logistic for importing Prabhakaran to India through Palk Straits then on the other hand it has also provide Baituallah Mehsud and his men with latest satellite and communication system so that whenever danger of arrest is looming around Baitullah could be cautioned to escape. The claim by an Indian Gen that Indian assets in FATA intercept the communication of Pakistan army and inform the militants of TPP in advance about the movement and troops and their operation is clear proof of Indian involvement in saving Baitullah Mehsud just like Prabhakaran. End
Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".
Reader comments (891) on this item
Comment on this item
You can help support Daniel Pipes' work by making a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes