Monday, November 5, 2012

Military to Military CBMs and Siachi Track II Efforts

Centre for Land Warfare Studies

Military to military CBMs were held in Lahore from 23 – 25 September 2012. They were attended by the following : - 
(a) India
Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Shashi Tyagi. 
Lieutenant General (Retd) Aditya Singh.
Lieutenant General (Retd) Arvinder Singh Lamba.
Lieutenant General (Retd) BS Pawar.
Vice Admiral (Retd) A.K. Singh.
Brigadier (Retd) Arun Sahgal.
Brigadier (Retd) Gurmeet Kanwal.
Ambassador (Retd) Lalit Mansingh (former Foreign Secretary of India).
Ambassador (Retd) Vivek Katju.
Mr Rana Banerji (former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, India).
Mr Ajai Shukla (Journalist).
(b) Pakistan
General (Retd) Jehangir Karamat.
General (Retd) Tariq Majid.
Admiral (Retd) Tariq Khan.
Lieutenant General (Retd) Tariq Ghazi (former Defense Secretary of Pakistan).
Lieutenant General (Retd) Sikander Afzal.
Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Shahzad Chaudhry.
Ambassador (Retd) Riaz Khan (former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan)
Ambassador (Retd) Maleeha Lodhi.
Ambassador (Retd) Aziz Khan.
Major General (Retd) Qasim Qureshi.
Subsequent to the above, a Round-Table discussion was held at CLAWS on 15 Oct 2012 wherein Lt Gen (Retd) BS Pawar, Brig (Retd) Gurmeet Kanwal and Capt (IN) Alok Bansal, Senior Felow CLAWS presented their views on the Track II Dialogue process in Lahore. Capt (IN) Alok Bansal was not part of the military to military CBMs but took part thereafter in a track II meeting discussing CBMs over the Indus Water Treaty. 
The discussion at CLAWS was attended by select officers from the Army and members of the CLAWS faculty. 
Lt Gen BS Pawar, PVSM, AVSM (Retd)
The third round of the Track II process between retired military officers of India and Pakistan was held at Lahore recently with the previous two rounds being held at Dubai and Bangkok respectively.  The two sides have reached an agreement on resolving the Sir Creek and Siachen disputes. The proposals are doable and are awaiting the government’s approval. It appears that the Track II process has the blessings of the Pakistan Army. On Siachen, the Pakistan Army is conscious of the fact that the Indian Army enjoys a tactical advantage and can dictate terms. 
Brig Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd)
Track II efforts are nothing new and hundreds of such initiatives have been undertaken ever since the conclusion of the Second World War. A recent example was the Norwegian mission in Sri Lanka. The India-Pakistan Track II has held several discussions of the general situation, both in the region and bilaterally, and how this affects the prospects for progress on the CBM file. It was reported that the relationship between the two countries is going through a relatively positive phase. Diplomatic and business contacts are improving across a range of issues. At the same time, suspicions remain concerning each side’s view of the other’s objectives and alleged actions in Afghanistan, and in the area of military doctrines and deployments. There has been another round of Track 1 discussions on both conventional and nuclear CBMs, but both sides found it disappointing. The 2007 accord “Reducing Risk Relating to Nuclear Weapons” has been renewed for another five years. However, there was no progress on other proposals to develop new CBMs. In contrast, some participants pointed to lower profile examples of confidence-building measures at work between the two countries. For example, when there was an inadvertent helicopter crossing of the LC into Pakistan, the matter was managed quickly and effectively.
The project reviewed the status of existing CBMs between the two countries. Based onpresentations from the two sides, it was agreed that the main existing military CBMs are:
• DGMO Hotline
• Non-attack on nuclear facilities (1988)
• Advance notice of military exercises and maneuvers (1991)
• Informal ceasefire along LOC/AGPL (2003)
It was by and large agreed that most of the above CBMs were working well. 
The following CBMs could be further strengthened:-
• Prevention of Airspace Violations (1991) 
• Link between the Indian Coast Guard and the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (2005) 
• Joint patrolling along the international border and periodic flag meetings. Non
development of new posts
• Biannual meeting between Indian border security forces and Pakistani Rangers (2004) 
• Advance notice of Ballistic Missile tests (2005)
Several CBMs which have been proposed between the two sides, but not yet agreed, were identified. These are:
• A Prevention of Incidents at Sea Agreement
• The development of a Pakistan Air Force-Indian Air Force Communications link and of a Communications link between the two navies;
• Exchange of military delegations and also participation of senior military officers in
• Mil-to-mil exchanges and “cultural” activities (such as: exchanges of guest speakers;
visits by military bands; sports teams and adventure activities)
• Quarterly flag meetings between sector commanders along the LOC; and
• Speedy return of inadvertent line crossers.
On Sir Creek, Pakistan is willing to forego its claim on the southern line and the dispute is ripe for resolution. 
The following clear package of integrated and inter-linked stipulations were laid down for the demilitarisation of Siachen and delineation of the AGPL.
Set up a joint commission to delineate the line beyond NJ 9842, consistent with existing Agreements;
The present ground positions would be jointly recorded and the records exchanged;
The determination of the places to which redeployment will be affected would be jointly agreed;
Disengagement and demilitarisation would occur in accordance with a mutually acceptable time frame to be agreed;
Prior to withdrawal, each side will undertake to remove munitions and other military equipment and waste from areas of its control; and
Ongoing cooperative monitoring of these activities and the resulting demilitarised zone would be agreed to ensure/assure transparency.
It was agreed upon to hold further discussions on crisis stability and terrorism. Beyond military CBMs, it was recognised that intelligence-sharing is a key issue. It should be noted that information is being shared on lists of terror groups which both sides wish to see stopped but cooperation on investigations regarding these groups should be more intensive and transparent. 
Capt (IN) Alok Bansal
The dialogue on water issues between India and Pakistan was organised by the Atlantic Council, USA and Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. This was the first Track II dialogue on the subject and was more of an effort towards breaking the ice. The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) is a perfect mechanism which has withstood the test of time. Yet, public perception in Pakistan on water issues is quite mis-guided and ill-informed. The common man is not aware of the principles of the IWT and perceives India to be deliberately trying to curtail the flow of water into Pakistan. In recent years, Pakistan has seen a tremendous increase in its population and this is an important factor which has led to hardening of stand on the water issue. The mis-management of canals in Pakistan has added to the problem of water management. 
The IWT lays downs conditions for use of river waters for consumptive use, agriculture and for building run of the river hydroelectric power projects. The IWT does not limit use of water for domestic consumption. There is a perception in the Kashmir valley that excessive exploitation of the rivers is leading to the receding of glaciers thereby creating environmental issues. Over the years, land area under horticulture in the valley has increased while that under agriculture has come down. Pakistan’s major concern against India is that the latter does not share information on damming projects on the Indus and its tributaries. On the other hand, India feels that sharing information with Pakistan has led to troubles and delays in implementation of projects on the river waters. For instance, the re-designing of the Salal hydel project on the river Chenab led to silting which rendered the dam useless. The Pakistani objection to the Kishanganga project is on the ground that India is diverting waters of one tributary of the Indus to another – river Jhelum. The Pakistani aim is to prevent the building of hydro-electric projects to stall the economic development of J&K. 
The argument that Siachen must be demilitarised because of the high costs involved in maintenance of troops and to minimise casualties is flawed. India has to defend its borders and there are other areas also which present a challenge similar to the one experienced in Siachen. It would be setting a wrong precedent if troops are to be withdrawn on such frivolous grounds.
Building confidence and trust between the two countries is necessary if India- Pakistan relations are to improve. However, Siachen cannot be a start point for the above process. Withdrawal from the Glacier will not lead to any improvement in ties bewtween the two countries. What can improve the environment is for Pakistan to stop sending terroists into India and to close the 42 terrorist training camps which are supported by state patronage. Unless Pakistan is prepared to give up its policy on supporting terrorist organisations which they maintain as their strategic assets against India, no improvement in relations can take place. Better confidence building can be done by stopping the hostility displayed by the police forces of both countries at Wagah, and by exchanging prisoners, thousands of whom are rotting in each others jails. 
The resolution of the Sir Creek issue is doable and should be de-linked from having an agreement on Siachen first. 
Discussion between Lt Gen Prakash Katoch (Retd) and Air Chief Marshal Tyagi (Retd)

Dear All,

I had occasion to discuss the Siachen De-militarization Issue with Air Chief Marshal Tyagi (Retd) today during a break in the National Security Seminar at the USI. ACM Tyagi as you know was the Co-Chair of the Track II Team whose agreement with their Pakistani counterparts at Lahore to demilitarize Siachen was put on the net first by Atlantic Council of Ottawa that broke the news to the world, particularly Indians. Given below is the gist of our conversation.

1).      To my query as to how the Track II Team was selected, he said that each and every member was individually selected by Atlantic Council of Ottawa and not by GoI. He has no idea how Atlantic Council of Ottawa got these names.

2).   Queried about the source of funding, his response was that the complete expenses at various locales including in Pakistan were borne by Atlantic Council of Ottawa (implying travel, stay, meetings, the works which obviously would be five star). I then asked him if he knew that both the Atlantic Council of Ottawa and Atlantic Council of US are actually extensions of Pakistani Army and funds would obviously be coming from the Pakistani Military / ISI. He said “so be it” but their job was only dialogue.

3).      I then asked him which government officers briefed the Track II Team and what exactly was the content of such briefings? He said that it is the Track II Team that asked for briefing from MEA and the Military. The MEA briefing was largely about the visit of our Foreign Minister to Pakistan and this briefing had NO mention of Siachen, and the Track II Team also asked NO questions about Siachen (rather strange !). In the briefing by the Military, the Military categorically stated they did not want demilitarization from Siachen.

4).        I further asked when the MEA did not give any directions for demilitarization and the Military was categorically against it, why did our Track II Team agree to demilitarization? He responded that this was their individual view. I expressed astonishment why such an agreement was signed in the first place. To this, he said no one affixed their signatures and it was not an agreement but really an account of what was discussed. I pointed out that the document talks of 'agreement' and not 'record of discussion' but he insisted there was no agreement.   

5).        I asked him what the de-briefings were after the various meetings. He said there were no de-briefings but a report was sent by the Track II Team to the Raksha Mantra, MEA, NSA and Service Chiefs (some other members maintain that after each visit the Track II Team did get in touch with MEA and Military representatives).

6).        I asked him why the Indian public has been kept in the dark and why not put out a statement in the media. He said that my article had already done that.

7).        He then asked me whether I still consider their actions as “treason”? I replied I was more convinced now that without any directions by MEA towards demilitarization and our Military firm on NO demilitarization, this “Private Body”, as stated in his e-mail, had still gone ahead to discuss and agree to withdraw from Indian Territory in violation of both the Constitution of India and the 1994 Parliament Resolution reiterating that entire J&K is part of India. He then said he had erroneously mentioned “Private Body”. Actually, they were “individuals” in their own private capacity. When I pointed out that he was the Co-Chair, he said he had acted in his individual capacity and had absolutely “no control” over the other Track II Members. Their conversation was akin to the discussion he was having with me. I said I do not agree as the two are hardly comparable when a strategic issue like withdrawal from territory is being discussed at international level with a military heavy Pakistani body. His response was that I was welcome to my views and he would not like to continue the discussion any further. At that juncture he also said the he had received some questions by someone called Devasahayam but he was not going to respond to any questions from any quarter. I had other questions but the conversation had ended abruptly.

You may draw your own conclusions from the above including examining why an organization like Atlantic Council of Ottawa funded by the Pakistani Military /ISI would spend millions to hold conferences in different exotic locales and with what aim. It is not without reason that the Supreme Court of Pakistan recently ordered the Pakistani Government to take legal action against General Mirza Aslam Beg and General Asad Durrani for distributing millions of rupees among politicians to rig the 1999 general elections while both held the appointments of Pakistani Army Chief and Director General ISI respectively. There is definitely more to this murky affair than meets the eye.  

I am sending this e-mail to you as you have been keenly watching this development and so would your friends in your own groups, many of whom have joined the debate on the net.

Warm regards.


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