The previous part of the article can be accessed here. This is the second part.
Why India’s Adversaries want to Engineer Internal Strife to Ravage India from within
Today, as things stand, India’s adversaries in the immediate neighbourhood and elsewhere have realised that defeating India in conventional or sub-conventional warfare is out of the question. And this is where the issue of the emergence of a new dimension of Hybrid Warfare comes in. The Urban Naxal-Islamist Syndicate is now taking the lead in making agitation led internal strife a norm, which has the ultimate goal of creating chaos and ravage India from within to disrupt and eventually destroy India’s $ 3 trillion economy with all its future aspirations. The PFI link to disruptive violent agitations is proof enough that these blockades are not spontaneous but often orchestrated. Also, the Delhi violence is a perfect example of what mayhem can be triggered within India without waging a war on India.
Syria which was a reasonably liberal Muslim state, with a sizeable economy and armed forces, was devastated from within, and in a manner in which its own people and their dissent was used as a pawn by adversaries of Syria to trigger a civil war.
The Syrian Lessons for India: Engineered from Universities that resulted in Civil War
In fact, the Syrian civil war is a classic test-case for India to learn lessons from. What started with protests against the Assad regime in some universities of Syria spilled over into the streets and was engineered, often by external elements, in a manner to create nationwide blockade and unrest triggering a violent backlash from the Assad regime which vitiated the environment even more.
Surprisingly, all of a sudden the Free Syrian Army was formed and seemingly innocuous protestors suddenly had an unlimited supply of AK-47s to wage war against their own army. From where the unlimited supply of Kalashnikovs and ammunition arrived is obviously a million-dollar question. However, it did not just stop there. From nowhere a myriad of radicalised Islamist groups emerged to wage war against the Syrian state as also against each other. ISIS, which by then had occupied considerable ground in Iraq set its foot in Syria and people of Syria did not realise when exactly their civil unrest against their government got completely hijacked by radicalised terror groups and mercenaries sponsored by foreign intelligence agencies. Is this being planned for India too?
From Dissent to Devastation: What Syrian ‘Arab Spring’ led Syria to
Eventually, Syria became a ground for a proxy war with the US and its Arab allies on one side and Assad backed by Russia and Iran on the other. A country which was a reasonably liberal Muslim state, with a sizeable economy and armed forces, was devastated from within, and in a manner in which its own people and their dissent was used as a pawn by adversaries of Syria to trigger a civil war. Today the iconic cities of Syria have been reduced to rubble and its economy is not even 10% of what it was a decade back. Libya is another classic example of how expedition of some western powers to oust Gaddafi in the name of ushering in democracy, resulted in Libya getting sunk in a never-ending cycle of civil war with those Al Qaeda and ISIS backed terror groups ravaging Libya from within against whom perhaps Gaddafi had often warned his own people.
Lesson for India: Distil Genuine from Engineered Unrests to Avoid a Syria type Fate
Therefore, the moot question is whether India has armed itself with the capability to distil genuine civil protests from those engineered with an ulterior motive to make India implode from within? If not, then this is one area where considerable investments are needed for capacity building. Interestingly, for many years now, China’s budget for internal security has either been at par with its defence expenditure or has exceeded it. India needs to emulate that. One should not be surprised if what happened in Delhi was Pilot Testing of Phase III of Project Arab Spring.
The emergence of a new genre of intellectuals with nationalistic bend of mind that started questioning the hypocrisy of left academia, and relentlessly exposed their double standards, alarmed them more.
Experiments of Project Arab Spring is being Attempted for many years now
Over the last six years, India has seen many such incidents where minor issues have been used as a trigger to instigate nationwide unrest and vilify the central government. From the time of Rohit Vemula suicide (which had nothing to do with any cause, least of all the Central Government) to the drama over Award Wapsi and intolerance debate, to deliberate attempts to falsely project terrorist Burhan Wani as an innocent victim (sic!!), each was purposefully whipped up to create an Arab Spring-type unrest and amplified to create not just anti-Modi sentiment but also to create disdain against institutions of armed forces and falsely create impression that India is not worth investing or living in.
Even though most of these experiments failed since the lies were exposed and deliberate attempts to create anti-India sentiments provoked an unprecedented counter mobilisation of nationalist sentiments, it is also important to understand why there have been these subterfuge attempts of subversion through evoking negative statements and internal strife.
Why India’s Adversaries Dislike Modi Government
Over the last five years, Modi Government cancelled FCRA registration of more than 20,000 NGOs who were not complying with regulatory norms and many were receiving money from abroad for all kinds of dubious and nefarious activities in India including supporting and funding of banned Maoist groups, spreading of radicalisation, promoting separatist ideas, encouraging religious conversions as well engineering unrest against industrial activities and investments.
The ecosystem which had thrived for decades with those foreign dole-outs and contributed by corroding and belittling India from within now started feeling threatened by the rise of nationalistic sentiments, increasing pride in Indian culture and advent of a strong government at the centre. The emergence of a new genre of intellectuals with nationalistic bend of mind that started questioning the hypocrisy of left academia, and relentlessly exposed their double standards, alarmed them more.
The last five years not only witnessed a major crackdown on terrorist syndicates in Kashmir but also nationwide crackdown on hundreds of terror modules and people involved in money laundering. From Surgical Strike of 2016 to Balakot Airstrike, India had already altered the threshold of its counter-terror response mechanism and was no more suffering from the inhibitions that prevented it from such similar counter- strikes in the past. The country witnessed the stark difference between the pussyfooted approach of UPA post 26/11 terror attack vis-à-vis the front footed counter strikes by Modi Government. The foreign-backed ecosystem felt more alarmed.
A Strong India is a Nightmare for Many: A Fragile India Suits them
The Lok Sabha election witnessed the return of the incumbent Modi Government with a bigger mandate. With Amit Shah as Home Minister, Prime Minister Modi started sorting out many of the politically sensitive issues pending for decades. One by one, he started dealing with all of them from Article 370 and 35A abrogation, to criminalisation of instant Triple Talaq, to passing of Citizenship Act to name a few. Even Supreme Court also settled the long-pending Ayodhya dispute finally.
Further, critical changes in the NIA Act and UAPA Act strengthened the hand of the law enforcement agencies while dealing with terrorism. The anti-India ecosystem started panicking. It realised that another five years of Modi government continuing with bold decision making would make India extremely resilient and potent from within. This is a nightmare for many of India’s adversaries and major powers. A strong India for them is a nightmare. A fragile India suits for many in the world. The saboteurs were looking for a new trigger. The passing of the citizenship act was used as that trigger to initiate a vicious and malefic disinformation campaign.
Across the country, an alarming trend of mob violence was unleashed. While the berserk mob instigated by community leaders and opportunist politicians, were ransacking public properties and burning trains, a band of left-leaning pseudo-intellectuals were sugar-coating the mindless violence with their lucid English speeches in studios and elsewhere.
What has started in the name of anti-CAA protests and followed by violent Delhi Riots is not going to end soon. Even if the Supreme Court gives a verdict in favour of the Citizenship Act, the protestors would then target the judiciary.
Something that was meant to give citizenship to the persecuted and tortured Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan was shown in a manner as if it was meant to snatch away the citizenship of Muslims of India. The objective of those who engineered riots and unrest in numerous cities was to create such mayhem that India would be brought to a standstill and pictures of burning properties would be amplified in a manner that would shake the global investor confidence about India. Likewise, a parallel team was working to defame India and corner Modi Government at the global forum. A section of western media played its part too in the disinformation campaign.
Holding the National Flag and Copy of Constitution in Protest Marches: A Perfect Alibi?
However, those who were pulling the strings from behind had learnt their lessons. They knew that agitations which would vilify Indian institutions and governments, had to have credence for larger acceptability and thus holding of the national flag and constitution were a perfect ploy to shield their own nefarious agenda which is anything but secular and nationalistic.
Ironically, the likes of Sharjeel Imam were making mentions of fighting for the constitution and exhorting protestors to cut off Mainland India from Northeast India, at the same time. And Sharjeel Imam was not an exception. The mention of Dr Ambedkar is being made frequently during those vitriolic speeches and yet never mention or condemnation is made in those anti-CAA protest on atrocities Dalit Hindus have been facing in Pakistan and Bangladesh since 1947, the same Dalit Hindus for whose rights Dr Ambedkar fought throughout his life.
The Long Haul Battle: India May Witness many more such attempts to trigger an Arab Spring Unrest
What has started in the name of anti-CAA protests and followed by violent Delhi Riots is not going to end soon. Even if the Supreme Court gives a verdict in favour of the Citizenship Act, the protestors would then target the judiciary. Such statements have already started emanating from such protests. As Modi Government would bring in more structural reforms including Uniform Civil Code and make India truly secular by doing away for all kind of appeasement politics, this new culture of violent unrest in the name of saving democracy (sic!!) would take a more dreadful shape.
Phase III of Project Arab Spring has already been Activated…
From the corridors of universities, violent unrest and protests were orchestrated across cities of India. That was Phase II. Delhi Riot was perhaps test case of Phase III wherein armed violence and gunshots complimented stone-pelting, which completely exposed the sheer lack of preparedness of India’s internal security agencies so far as dealing with this new hydra of hybrid warfare is concerned. Delhi Riots was evident enough of the level of planning that must have been.
The step beyond or Phase IV might be an attempt to trigger a full-fledged armed rebellion and civil war with foreign-backed radical extremist groups then hijacking the rebellion to ravage India from within through a full-fledged civil war. Gullible protestors may not even realise when they were used as pawns and dispensed off. This has happened exactly in this manner in Syria. India must make sure that it does not happen here. And for that, India must spend more on internal security reforms. Most state governments being terribly reluctant to spend on police modernisation, the onus is thus on the central government to do the needful and make India’s internal security architecture more robust and formidable. It is now or never.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
- Can India Counter the Hydra Headed Hybrid War? Part 2 - March 13, 2020
- Can India Counter the Hydra Headed Hybrid War? Part 1 - March 9, 2020