Bhopal (Central India): Sanatan Mission has condemned the orgy of violence by the terrorists and and radicalised Islamists, who targeted and slaughtered Hindus in Bangladesh during the Durga festival.
Sanatan Mission has asked the Bangladesh government to identify each and every element and the forces behind the series of attacks and the killings of the Hindus. The Government of India has also been urged to keep a close eye on action being taken by the Bangladesh authorities to deliver justice and uphold minority groups’ right to practice their religion. If Bangladesh fails to honour people’s right to life, liberty and religion, the people of India should boycott all import of goods from Bangladesh and inflict huge economic penalty on that country.
In a categorical message to Government of India, Sanatan Mission has said: “if we do not drive out all the Bangladeshis, i.e., the illegal migrants, North East will be another Kashmir soon”.
Sanatan Mission has also condemned the targeted killings of those from the minority and the non-locals by the terrorists in Kashmir and the failure of the leaders of political partiesnin Kashmir who have failed to come out openly against the terrorists. Sanatan Mission has urged the Government of India to give extra push to its anti-terror operation by launching an extensive combing operation against the terrorists and their supporters across the Kashmir Valley.
ISKCON, which was a target of attack in Bangladesh has in a statement appealed for protection of minorities and demanded that attacks on Hindu temples and communities must be stopped.
The worldwide International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) community has expressed shock over the violent events directed against the Hindu minority in Bangladesh, including ISKCON temples and members.
Between October 13 and 15, multiple temples, homes, shops and individuals were attacked across several districts of the country. Several innocent members of the Hindu minority were killed for no reason other than their religious affiliation. Temples and private properties were bumed, vandalized, and destroyed.
Two of ISKCON’s Vaishnava devotees, Pranta Chandra das, and Jatan Chandra Saha, were murdered during these attacks. Another ISKCON member Nimai Chandra das, remains hospitalized in a critical condition. While expressing gratitude to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her recent statements of support, ISKCON has called upon the Bangladesh government to take swift action to bring an end to the violence against minorities that has undermined the peace and well-being of Bangladeshi society and to take tangible steps to ensure the long-term safety and well-being of all Bangladeshi citizens. That includes to:
Bring to justice the perpetrators of these recent terrible crimes. The criminals behind these murderous attacks must be held accountable and punished to the fullest extent of the law, ISKCON has asked.
Take immediate, tangible, and substantial steps to provide security to minorities in Bangladesh, including Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists.
Ina spirit of unity, earlier today, massive protests were organized by the Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, of which ISKCON is an active member. Events were held in the cities of Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet and other parts of Bangladesh. Protestors demanded that the perpetrators of violence be held accountable, and the safety of all Bangladeshi minorities be ensured. Similar protests are planned in the coming days across Bangladesh. In other parts of the world, too, protests are being staged in support of Bangladeshi Hindus and other minorities.
Tibetans have always been good warriors, in the 1950s-60s, the Khampa freedom fighters gave a nightmare to Chinese generals for years. There are now persistent reports that the PLA has started recruiting “exclusive military formations of ethnic Tibetans”. India should not restrict itself to just a single regiment of Tibetans. We need to raise a full-fledged army of young Tibetan men and women, who need to be trained to be the first flank of aggression against the Chinese. Similarly, Tibetans need to be trained to become pilots and handle the latest flying machines. We also need to train them to become Intelligence operatives, in policing and most important, groom the brightest in political administration and to become bureaucrats.
A 1,200-year-old Tibetan Buddhist prophecy of ’The Shambhala Warrior’ predicts ‘that there will come a time when all life on Earth will be in danger. During that time great barbarian forces will have arisen which have unfathomable destructive power. New and unforeseen technologies will appear during this time, with the potential to lay waste the world’.
When we see the world around us, it becomes apparent that many nations have developed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), which can be nuclear, biological, radiological, and chemical. The destructive power accumulated in the form of nuclear weapons is sufficient to destroy all forms of life many times over.
The current Corona virus afflicting all countries is cited as an example of biological warfare, caused deliberately or accidentally. Speculations are rife that China has a role in propagating the virus, but concrete proof is lacking. Another fast-developing segment is the global hypersonic and directed-energy weapons (DEW’s) or what is also referred to as ‘New Concept Weapons’.
The Chinese also refer to such high technology weapons as ‘Assassin’s Mace’, which was a club used by a Chinese folklore hero named Shashoujian, who overwhelmed enemies by attacking in unexpected ways. Other destructive weapons in the offing are hand-held laser weapons and microwave weapons. One Chinese academic, namely Jin Canrong, the Deputy Dean of the School of International Relations of the Renmin University of China, made a startling claim in a TV program telecasted on November 11, saying that Chinese PLA soldiers had used directed energy weapons (laser weapons) against Indian soldiers during the skirmishes at the Ladakh border in 2020. He had claimed that Chinese soldiers turned two key hilltops at the border into a “microwave oven”, forcing Indian troops to retreat. However, India has denied reports that Chinese forces at the LAC used microwave weapons against Indian troops in eastern Ladakh. With such formidable weapons on the anvil, the Shambala Prophecy is gaining in credibility, but will a Free Tibet ever become a reality? Do the Tibetans ever stand a chance against Chinese diabolical weapons and massive army manpower?
Compounding the problem is the critical observation by Lieutenant Colonel Sir Francis Edward Younghusband, British army officer and explorer who wrote to his father; “As I have always said, the Tibetans are nothing but sheep.”
Further, dampening the Tibetan prospects of freedom is the candid statement by American President, in the context of American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, that “Afghan leaders have to come together,” Biden told reporters at the White House, saying the Afghan troops outnumber the Taliban and must want to fight. “They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation” (Reuters August 11 th 2021).
The same logic will apply for Tibetans also. But the Tibetans have no leader to lead a freedom struggle nor any blueprint for gaining independence. While the vast majority of Tibetans eke out their living selling trinkets and wool in different countries, other small groups of Tibetans, supported by Hollywood stars in America, carry banners proclaiming “Free Tibet”protesting against visiting Chinese dignitaries.
Freedom can never be won so easily. As former U.S. President Ronald Reagan had put it “A small nation, faced with the denial of its sovereignty – indeed of its very existence –reminded us that the price of freedom is high but never so costly as the loss of freedom.”
On October 8 2021, Chinese soldiers attempted an incursion along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh, near Yangtse in the Tawang sector. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of Southern Tibet, and has designs to invade that area.
On August 3 2021, nearly 100 PLA soldiers with 55 horses intruded over 5 km into Uttarakhand’s Barahoti District, crossing Tun Jun La Pass, stayed in the area for over three hours, damaging some infrastructure, including a bridge.
During his visit to Ladakh, in October 2021, the Indian Army Chief, disclosed that Chinese Army had deployed its troops in considerable numbers all across Eastern Ladakh and Northern Front right up to the Eastern Command.
While India has also deployed its troops in adequate numbers, there is also a need to galvanize the Tibetans into action, for it is their homeland that needs to be liberated from Chinese clutches. American President Joe Biden’s advise to the Afghans that “They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation”, holds equally good for the Tibetans. Their war for independence cannot be outsourced to India, they have to revolt and overthrow the Chinese from their lands.
The Shambala warrior’s war cry ‘Ki ki So So’ is a way to rouse the head and shoulders, a method to rouse a sense of uplifted dignity. It is a battle cry against aggression, and conquering aggression. It is a warrior’s cry that celebrates victory over war, victory over aggression, and victory over obstacles. The onerous responsibility of fighting for freedom should rest with the famed Tibetan Khampa warriors.
Khampas, the legendary and fierce warriors of Tibet, are the inhabitants of Kham a rugged mountainous area comprising of Hengduan mountains and several river valleys in Tibet. This region is referred to in Tibetan history as “Chushi Gangdruk” which means the land of six mountains and four rivers. In early 1957, a centralised armed resistance was organised under the leadership of Gompo Tashi Andrugtsang, and named ‘Chushi Gangdruk’ which in mid-1958, was transformed into an all-Tibet force, and named National Volunteer Defence Army (NVDA).
However, the Khampa warriors are known more popularly as ‘Chushi Gangdruk’. They are also referred to as ‘Buddha Warriors’ and were entrusted with the task of protecting His Holiness Dalai Lama even at the cost of their lives. Like many other martial races in different parts of the world, the Khampa warriors were expected to dedicate their life to defending their land till their last blood drop.
When the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1950, the Khampa warriors had put up stiff resistance against the Chinese forces by resorting to guerrilla warfare tactics. Impressed, the CIA took up the responsibility to back the Khampa warriors with arms, funding and training them in guerrilla warfare from the late 1950s until 1969. The initial set of warriors were flown to the US and were trained in Camp Hale in Colorado, and in the Pacific Island of Saipan. Later, the training shifted to a region called Mustang, which was a remote Himalayan area bordering Tibet but geographically located in Nepal.
Hence the initial batches of trained Khampas were also known as “Mustang Warriors”. Though they tasted initial success, Chinese pressure on Nepal resulted in the complete wiping out of the Khampas. Till early 1969 the CIA supported the Khampas but thereafter support was suddenly withdrawn, for some inexplicable reason, presumably it no longer served American interests. The Nepalese also played spoilsport by massacring thousands of Khampa warriors.
In the aftermath to the disastrous Indo-China conflict in 1962, there was a consensus among Indian politicians and Army professionals for the need to raise a force of Tibetans to attack the Chinese Army from within Tibet. An initiative set rolling under the then Defence Minister Krishna Menon and Lt. Gen B.N. Kaul.
Thus, was born the Special Frontier Force (SFF) under Major General S.S. Uban. Director, Intelligence Bureau B.N. Mullick, and the then Odisha Chief Minister Biju Patnaik also played key roles in setting up the Special Frontier Forces.
After the 1962 Sino-Indian border war, Ratuk Ngawang commanded the Tibetan secret regiment, known as the Special Frontier Forces, SSF, or Establishment 22, based near Dehra Dun in Uttar Pradesh.
In the recent confrontation in eastern Ladakh in 2020, it was the Tibetan troops serving with the Indian Army who successfully fought against the Chinese.
The question of Tibetans’ recruitment in the PLA has become acute for the Central Military Commission (CMC-China) after Nyima Tenzin, a Tibetan officer, sacrificed his life during an Indian Army operation to take control of the Kailash range on the southern bank of Pangong Tso (lake) in Ladakh on August 29, 2020. On the night of August 29-30, Tibetan commandos managed to capture from the Chinese a string of strategic high-altitude areas on the Kailash range. It was a resounding victory for India. It was only then that many nations around the world discovered the existence of the Special Frontier Force (SFF) Tibetan troops, also known as Establishment 22 or Vikas Regiment.
Tibetans have always been good warriors, in the 1950s-60s, the Khampa freedom fighters gave a nightmare to Chinese generals for years. There are now persistent reports that the PLA has started recruiting “exclusive military formations of ethnic Tibetans”. India should not restrict itself to just a single regiment of Tibetans. We need to raise a full-fledged army of young Tibetan men and women, who need to be trained to be the first flank of aggression against the Chinese. Similarly, Tibetans need to be trained to become pilots and handle the latest flying machines. We also need to train them to become Intelligence operatives, in policing and most important, groom the brightest in political administration and to become bureaucrats. The Tibetans wandering in India, selling rugs and carpets will not be able to secure independence by just dreaming. They need an action plan, and India needs to prepare a blueprint for Tibetan independence.
Dr G Shreekumar Menon, IRS (Rtd) Ph. D (Narcotics), is Former Director General National Academy of Customs Indirect Taxes and Narcotics, & Multi-Disciplinary School of Economic Intelligence India, Fellow, James Martin Centre for Non-Proliferation Studies, USA. Fellow, Centre for International Trade & Security, University of Georgia, USA. Fellow, Public Administration, Maxwell School of Public Administration, Syracuse University, U.S.A. AOTS Scholar, Japan
New Delhi:Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has underlined the need to ensure that Afghan territory does not become a source of radicalization and terrorism, regionally or globally.
Modi has emphasized the need to enhance the joint fight against the nexus of radicalization, terrorism and the smuggling of drugs and arms in the region.
Prime Minister Modi was participating virtually in the G20 Extraordinary Summit on Afghanistan Tuesday 12 October 2021.
The G20 Extraordinary Summit on Afghanistan was convened by Italy, which currently holds the G20 Presidency, and chaired by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Issues under consideration at the meeting related to the humanitarian situation; concerns relating to terrorism; and human rights in Afghanistan.
In his remarks, Prime Minister of India welcomed the initiative of the Italian G20 Presidency in convening the meeting to take stock of the current situation in Afghanistan.
Modi emphasized the centuries old people-to-people ties between India and Afghanistan. The Prime Minister mentioned that over the last two decades, India has contributed to promoting socio-economic development and capacity building of youth and women in Afghanistan. He recalled that over 500 development projects have been implemented by India in Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister noted that the Afghan people have a great feeling of friendship for India. He conveyed that every Indian feels the pain of Afghan people facing hunger and malnutrition. He emphasized the need for the international community to ensure that Afghanistan has immediate and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance.
In order to preserve the socio-economic gains of the last 20 years and to restrict the spread of radical ideology, the Prime Minister called for an inclusive administration in Afghanistan, which includes women and minorities. He conveyed support for the important role of the United Nations in Afghanistan and called for renewed support of the G20 for the message contained in UN Security Council Resolution 2593 on Afghanistan. The Prime Minister called on the international community to forge a unified international response without which it would be difficult to bring about the desired change in Afghanistan’s situation.
The Arabian Sea has been one of the many avenues for the rapid rise of global trade and services butconversely has also been a ready pathway for the actionof many transnational organised crime groups. Curbing these transnational groups has been a crucial priority for both coastal and landlocked States across the globe as they pose a threat not only to national security but also to the legal trade and commerce across the globe.
Majority of the illicit activities at sea are usually inter-linked with the regular licit traffic. Hence it isextremely difficult to detect such type of cases.
Let us, for example, visit and traverse the route of the recent Rupees 21,000/ crores seizure effected at Mundra Port, by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which also happens to be the world’s largest seizure of drugs. Information presently disclosed in public domain indicates that the contraband emanated from Kandahar in Afghanistan from a company named Hassan Hussain Limited. It made its initial foray into the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, by the land route. From there the journey began to Mundra Port in Gujarat, India, declared as ‘talc stones. The intended recipient was Aashi Trading Company in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.
Let us explore this route to understand the security architecture prevailing, and the likely legal impediments that a container cargo containing contraband will have to encounter.
Kandahar is under the direct control of the Taliban, and the consignment would have therefore proceeded to the Iranian Port of Bandar Abbas with minimal checks and balances. The Taliban would have extorted their commission, and allowed the consignment to proceed to the Port of Bandar Abbas. The Taliban, would have for sure, known about the clandestine cargo, and its intended final destination.
Bandar Abbas Port is an entirely different theatre of operation. Iran’s main naval base is located at Bandar Abbas. The complex hosts a missile site where Chinese- built cruise missiles such as the CSS-N-2 Silkworm, HY-2 Seersucker and C-801 Sardine are tested, assembled, manufactured, and upgraded. The Revolutionary Guard Corps protects the complex with HAWK, SA-5 and SA-2 air-defense missiles.
Intelligence observers estimate that Iran generally keeps eight SS-N-22 Sunburn anti-ship missile batteries stationed near Bandar Abbas, as well as at least 12 Silkworm anti-ship missile sites around Bandar Abbas and Kharg Island. The military complex also houses Iran’s fleet of Chinese-made Houdong fast missile boats. Experts estimate that Iran has armed approximately twenty of these craft with Saccade C-802 missiles. It is into this high-security environment that the contraband entered smoothly, we have to presume that it was not detected at all, thereby putting a big question mark on the level of security prevailing there.
It is an entirely different story if there was active connivance of the authorities in routing the consignment to India.
Shahid Rajaee Port, Bandar Abbas, has a Customs facility spanning a massive area of 4800 hectares of land. This port has Iran’s largest container terminal. The port is a Special Economic Zone due to its strategic location. It has connections to 80 well-known ports with 35 container lines. All terminals at Shahid Rajaee Customs have up-to-date facilities and boasts of 40 separate docks.
The contraband consignment encountered no problems whatsoever at the high-security Bandar Abbas Port and through the massive Customs facility without any hitch.
The next leg of the journey would cover the Gulf of Hormuz, and thereafter into the Arabian Sea.
The Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea are intensely patrolled by navies of various countries, as well as joint patrolling.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (UNCLOS), sets out the legal framework applicable to activities in the oceans, including countering illicit activities at sea. On 27 November 1997 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted Resolution A.872 (20), which contains Guidelines for the Prevention and Suppression of the Smuggling of Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals on ships engaged in international maritime traffic. This was revoked and replaced by the Revised Guidelines for the Prevention and Suppression of the Smuggling of Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals on Ships engaged in International Maritime Traffic. In addition, IMO works closely with other international organizations such as the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), on matters concerning drug smuggling on board ships.
The Djibouti Code of Conduct (2017) covers illegal maritime activities in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. These activities include: (a) Human trafficking and smuggling, (b) Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, (c) Trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances. (d) Arms trafficking, (e) Illegal trade in wildlife, (f) Crude oil theft, and (g) Illegal dumping of toxic waste. A revision was signed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 12 January 2017 and it became known as the Jeddah Amendment to Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017 (DCoC). So far 16 of the 20 DCoC signatory States have signed the Jeddah Amendment. They are: Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen.
India has joined the Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment, as Observer, along with Japan, Norway, UK and the US as Observers following the high-level meeting of the Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment (DCOC/JA) held virtually on 26 August 2020.
Under the Code, which became effective from the date it was signed, signatories declared their intention to co-operate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of transnational organized crime in the maritime domain, maritime terrorism, and other illegal activities at sea.
In supporting the implantation of the code of conduct, IMO has developed strong partnerships with key implementing partners including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the European Union; United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM), Canadian Coast Guard, the One Earth Future Foundation’s Stable Seas project, the Institute for Security International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mohammed Bin Nayef Academy of Marine Science and Security Studies (Saudi Arabia), Djibouti Regional Training Centre, British Peace Support Team (Africa), and NATO Maritime Interdiction Operations Training Centre (NMIOTC, Greece).
In addition to the above, there are platforms like the Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Further, the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is a multinational maritime partnership, which exists to uphold the International Rules-Based Order (IRBO).
It is a 33-nation coalition of Combined Maritime Forces and is based in Bahrain established to monitor, board, inspect, and stop suspect shipping to pursue the “Global War on Terrorism”.
Countries presently contributing to CTF-150 include Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Pakistan, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Other nations that have participated include Italy, India, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Thailand and Turkey. The command of the task force rotates among the different participating navies, with commands usually lasting between four and six months. The task force usually comprises 14 or 15 ships.
Inspite of such a formidable force operating in the Arabian sea, this massive contraband consignment sailed through effortlessly, to reach its destination at Mundra, Gujarat State, India.
The smooth transit through a huge phalanx of naval forces is because the patrolling at sea is to interdict unidentified vessels. The targets are usually small fishing vessels, and small craft. which may be carrying contraband. The big container ships and cargo ships ply without interruption, as they have authorized permissions and identities. It is these vessels containing licit cargo, that are made use of by terror groups and traffickers to clandestinely carry contraband cargo. It is simply impossible for any Navy to apprehend a Container Ship, and physically check the cargo. Hence the contraband cargo has a smooth sail from the country of origin to the point of destination.
The next and final entry is into the Port of Mundra. India has around 15 lakh containers and this itself is not sufficient for our import-export traffic. There is heavy pressure on the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Finance – Customs, for quick clearance. A shipload of containers is expected to be cleared within 16 to 24 hours.
In FY 2020-21, Mundra port alone handled 144.4 million tons (MT) of cargo. The port handles dry cargo, liquid cargo, crude cargo, and containers. Mundra port is also a special economic zone (SEZ). SEZs are designated duty-free enclaves in India where the Indian Customs law does not apply. It was from this Mundra port that on 16 September 2021 the DRI, on prior information, seized the world’s biggest seizure of narcotic drugs valued at a mind-boggling Rupees twenty-one thousand crores. This seizure has raised many legal issues apart from the threat to national security. A total of eight persons including four Afghan nationals, one Uzbek and three Indians have been arrested so far. A special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Court in Gujarat has directed the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to investigate several aspects of this case including the manner in which the Port is administered. Many issuesrelating to national security, cargo clearance modalities, Customs checks, including coastal and blue water patrolling will come up for the Court’s detailed scrutiny in the coming months.
Concealment in containers is happening very intelligently, taking advantage of the fact that only 2% to 10% of containers worldwide undergo inspection.
Only 5% of all containers shipped to US ports are physically inspected. This figure is estimated to be still lower in Europe. In India also, 100% check of containers is impossible. The thrust of the Government and all stakeholders on expeditious clearance of cargo, results in low level of examination and acceptance of declarations by importers at face value. And people wonder why there is trouble eliminating drug trafficking, arms trafficking and human trafficking.
Had it not been for the timely information received by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the prompt interception, the consignment would have smoothly proceeded to its final destination – Vijayawada. The fact that none of the enforcement and intelligence agencies from Mundra Port to Vijayawada had any inkling of the contraband likely to transit through their jurisdictions, raises several security questions and concerns.
From the month of March 2021 there has been a spurt in the movement of narcotics in the Arabian sea region. The American exit from Afghanistan is reckoned as a major factor contributing to this trend. The gradual easing of COVID-19 related restrictions with consequent increase in maritime traffic density, is also another contributor of this trend. Major drugs seized included Methamphetamine, Cannabis, Heroin and Khat. The seizure of large quantities of methamphetamine during the recent months remains a concern for the region, including a single seizure of 55,836 kg by Omani authorities. Indian Coast Guard made twin drug seizures, and in one case seized five AK 47 rifles with 1000 rounds of ammunition, apart from drugs, from foreign fishing vessels, off Minicoy Island, Lakshadweep, India.
The Government needs to have a comprehensive reviewof the existing maritime patrolling at sea and the quality and quantity of Customs checks at various ports, including those designated as Special Economic Zones.
The author Dr G Shreekumar Menon, IRS (Rtd) Ph. D (Narcotics), is
Former Director General National Academy of Customs Indirect Taxes and Narcotics, and Multi-Disciplinary School of Economic Intelligence India
Fellow, James Martin Centre for Non-Proliferation Studies, USA.
Fellow, Centre for International Trade & Security, University of Georgia, USA
Public Administration, Maxwell School of Public Administration, Syracuse University, U.S.A.
AOTS Scholar, Japan
Dr G Shreekumar Menon can be contacted at email@example.com