Did ISI use NATO-trained terrorists to spread NE panic?
While the Indian government has blamed Pakistan for morphing images and spreading them to create panic among the members of the northeastern community, the other side to this story is quite alarming. Vicky Nanjappa reports.
The question -- Did Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence hire the services of the same people who the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation used against Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi to create these images in their cyber war against India?
Professor Madhav Nalapat of Manipal University, who also holds the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's peace chair, claims to have alarming information.
"My information is that the ISI has managed to use the services of those people who were trained by the NATO for the Libyan revolution. In order to pull down Gaddafi, NATO had trained several persons in this art of creating morphed images so that there would be widespread panic which led to the revolution and Gaddafi's fall. It was a psychological warfare that was used at that time. The same team which helped pull down Gaddafi is now active in Syria," he says.
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Image: People rest while waiting for the train bound for Assam at a railway station
The ISI contacted them once the Libya op was over
It seems that the credentials of most of these people trained in the phychological warfare were not checked, and in the bargain, several elements owing allegiance to terrorist groups also managed to slip in.
It was unfortunate that the agencies were not able to recognise the terrorists from genuine activists. However, this aspect was given a go by since both the NATO and these terrorist elements had the same objective where the war against Gaddafi was concerned.
The ISI was however aware of such NATO-trained elements in the group. After Gaddafi's fall, these men moved to Syria and it seems like the ISI managed to get into contact with them there.
These persons were asked by the ISI to help them in the war against India.
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Image: Libyan rebel fighters during the final push to flush out Muammar Gaddafi's forces in Abu Salim district in Tripoli on August 25, 2011
Photographs: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters
'They may spread morphed images of ill-treated Hindus in Pak'
"It is unfortunate that the NATO training has been used against India. It was a similar case in Afghanistan as well. The Taliban were trained to shoot at the Soviets and it was those very same skills that they started to use against India," says Nalapat.
"These men morphed images and managed to spread them, causing a great deal of panic which led to such a massive exodus. They misused the NATO traning," he adds.
"My worry is that they will continue to use this tactic, since it appears to have done a great deal of damage in India. They are quite capable of sending in morphed images of Hindus being ill-treated in Pakistan or Bangladesh, which could stir up emotions in India. This is a dangerous precedent that has been set even as the ISI continues to rope in Libyan and Syrian activists for this cyber warfare which causes a great deal of psychological damage," he concludes.
Image: A woman carries a coconut as an offering for Ganesha with others on the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi festival at a Laxmi Narain Temple in Karachi
Photographs: Insiya Syed/Reuters