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The Rediff Interview/Lt Gen K Davar

April 16, 2003

Part I: 'Drum-beating has no place in intelligence business'

The second part of Lt Gen Kamal Davar's interview with Chief Correspondent Josy Joseph.

What kind of inputs do you have on Iraq?

We get inputs concerning all aspects, such as terrorism, war making potential and intentions and all such information that concerns our national security, be it Iraq or Afghanistan or any other country.

In Iraq it is evident there is a huge intelligence failure as Indians would prefer to put it. Americans expected a popular uprising, being welcomed as heroes but saw street fights. What lessons have you learnt, at an academic level at least?

I would not like to jump headlong into conclusions. The media loves conclusions drawn within 24 hours, 48 hours or may be even earlier. We are studying the battles of the ongoing war and all the other military aspects. We will see whether there has been an intelligence failure or not.

What kind of fallout will the Iraq war have on Kashmir?

The contours of terrorism in Kashmir are different from Iraq. Iraq is a totally different scenario and as far as Kashmir is concerned, I don't think there would be any significant change except that Pakistanis will continue to fish in troubled waters as they have been doing so. General Musharraf has been bowling -- as I tell the Americans -- googlies at them. Saying something and trying to appease all the constituencies he has: the Americans, his own domestic constituency, the fundamentalist leaders.

We should be clear as to how to eliminate terrorism in J&K which we are doing. There is a multi-pronged approach by the government and we know we have to fight, eliminate and eradicate terrorism from J&K. India is too big a country to want any assistance from anyone.

Some quarters in government believe the
Nadimarg massacre was an attempt by President Pervez Musharaf to assure his domestic constituency that Pakistan has not changed its Kashmir policy despite international pressure. Is that the kind of input you have?

Absolutely correct. The inputs we have clearly show that Musharaf blows hot and cold. He makes a statement to appease the Americans whenever a US political leader or senior administrative official goes there to meet him. However, when it comes to action on the ground as far as J&K is concerned, I am sorry he is doing nothing substantial. The Nadimarg massacre is totally attributable to these terrorists trained, funded, sponsored by the Pakistanis.

Have you been able to identify the Nadimarg killers?

The security agencies on the ground are following certain leads and it will be premature for me to say anything at this moment.

Tell me something about
Abdul Majid Dar's killing? Who was behind it?

I don't want to say anything which will perhaps compromise leads which some of the security agencies on the ground have picked up. But as you are aware Dar had become a target because he was the moderate face amongst the fundamentalists. He was also talking about a dialogue with the government. Anybody who talks of peace and dialogue with the government gets bumped off by the ISI. The conclusion is very simple.

Recently you said you have convincing evidence about terrorists camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and how you are sharing this information with other friendly countries. What is this evidence? A satellite picture of a building doesn't necessarily mean a terrorist camp?

We have confirmed evidence and we share it at appropriate levels whenever it is required.

What kind of evidence?

It is not correct for me to tell you how we get it or in what manner we have got it. As you would know, academically speaking an input could be based on imagery, it could be based on communication intercepts, it could be based on human intelligence, on open sources like you and the media etc. Intelligence comes from a variety of sources. It could be more than one or two inputs, then you corroborate it. Information only becomes intelligence once it is thoroughly corroborated and analysed. Otherwise, it could be pure information. We don't act on information, we act on intelligence.

What is the situation in Afghanistan?

As far as Afghanistan is concerned we have had a very long and traditional relationship with the people of Afghanistan, and we have always wished them well. Over the last many years this poor and unfortunate country has gone through real trauma. Even today there are still many Taliban and Al Qaeda pockets of resistance in Afghanistan. Reconstruction efforts by countries like the US and India are on the anvil. We are trying to help Afghanistan on humanitarian issues, like establishment of hospitals, provision of food and medicines, establishment of communication infrastructure by providing buses and civil aircrafts as you are perhaps aware. We have also extended help to train their police and administration officials.

But what is cause of concern is that even President [Hamid] Karzai's government is not being allowed by some to settle down in peace. And the players who are indulging in their old game are the Pakistanis. Today, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is being once again sponsored by the ISI to fish in troubled waters.

After Kargil there was a lot of talk about intelligence failure. That time the government said it was planning to send a dedicated military satellite, with sub-meter resolution and a giant leap from the IRS [Indian remote sensing satellite] series. Where have you reached with all that?

All I want to tell you is India's space programme should be a cause of great pride for all Indians. We are well on our way and we are improving. The DIA is making its humble contribution towards this task.

Do you get sub-meter resolution imageries?

I will not be able to share the exact capabilities with you because that is privileged information. All I can assure you is that we are improving and our space programme should be a cause of great pride and happiness for all Indians.

You are part of a core team of officials in a nuclear scenario. How are you gearing up to ensure that your intelligence facilities remain intact after a first strike?

We are well on course, we are gearing up, we are improving, we are synergising and we are moving in the right direction.

Design: Dominic Xavier

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