By Makhdoom Babar
THE deadly terror attack on the motorcade of Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, killing at least seven people including the envoy’s security staffers, has links with Indian Intelligence agency RAW that appears to have got it executed through Sri Lankan Terrorist Organization LTTE, reveal the findings of The Daily Mail. These findings indicate that the Indian Intelligence agency RAW, after the latest diplomatic row between Islamabad and Delhi that prevailed after the tragic terror incident in Indian city of Mumbai last month, was constantly looking out for some opportunity to strike on Pakistan and also to restrict the movements of Pakistani diplomats, at different stations in the regions. According to highly credible diplomatic sources, ever since Delhi launched a series of baseless allegations, blaming Pakistan for Mumbai terror attacks, Islamabad had directed its diplomats, particularly those in the SAARC member States to counter this Indian allegation by explaining the facts to the governments and media organizations in their respective stations of duty. It is learnt that Pakistan’s premier spy agency had informed the Pakistan government that RAW was planning some deadly moves and it had recommended added security of sensitive installations and diplomatic compounds in Pakistan while it also recommended enhanced security for Pak diplomats in SAARC countries, particularly in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Mauritius. It is learnt that on the said recommendations, possible precautionary measures were taken by the authorities concerned and Pak diplomats were also advised accordingly and perhaps that was the reason the PK HC in Colombo traveled with added guards on the fateful day.
The Daily Mail’s findings reveal that the Delhi-LTTE nexus has a very rich and old history and despite declaring LTTE as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the US, Delhi had constantly been , supporting, funding and arming LTTE with all the comprehensions.
The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that former Indian Home Minister Laal Krishen Advani and External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, during their visits to Tel Aviv in 2003, tried to press upon the Israelis to withdraw their military assistance to Sri Lanka during the then anti- LTTE offensives which was going ahead with phenomenal success until Isreal stepped into the help the Lankans, with military advise and supply of state-of-the-art weaponry.
LTTE had successfully captured the Elephants Pass and it seemed a matter of days for it to capture the Jaffna city. However, LTTE’s fortunes reversed dramatically after the re-enforcement of Sri Lankan Armed Forces by Israeli arms, equipment as well as technical advice. This has obviously bothered New Delhi enormously as LTTE is a darling baby of India’s Premier intelligence agency RAW which has a history of sponsoring a number of terrorist groups in the region and even beyond.
The Daily mail’s research elaborates that though pro-LTTE operations are mostly conceived and nurtured by RAW, Delhi has been trying to down play it’s links with LTTE, following certain developments, including the assassination of a former Prime Minister Rajive Gandhi by a Tamil woman and the declaration of LTTE as a foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the US. However, after assumption of power by the Hindu fundamental BJP, links between the two got augmented again. India’s former Defence Minister George Fernandes is a known supporter of LTTE and the ideology of Tamil Eelam.
According to The Daily Mail’s findings, Indian stepped up its secret arming of the LTTE in 2002-3 and also helped it to develop a naval wing, nick named “The Sea Tigers”. The fleet of Sea Tigers includes naval gunboats and vessels manufactured at the shipyards of the Southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu. India has also reportedly supplied a submarine to the Sea Tigers. It is learnt that during June 2000, authorities in Thailand arrested an ethnic Tamil Norwegian national of Sri Lankan region for attempting to assemble a submarine at a secret shipyard there. The accused later informed the investigators that the main frame of this submarine was built in Tamil Nadu (India) and the gadgetry was being fitted in Thailand. He further admitted that the submarine was to be supplied to the Sea Tigers.
The Daily Mail’s research in this direction further indicates that Israel had been looking out for an open sea territory to carry out its naval exercise and tests of sea/submarine launched missiles. Owing to its geographical disadvantage and smaller size, Israel was facing great difficulties while testing missiles in its own region. These findings further reveal that Israel tested ‘Jericho-I missile in the Eastern Mediterranean on the 6th of April, 2000, which narrowly missed US Navy’s ‘Agis class cruise’ “USS ANZIO”, landing merely 40 nautical miles away from the ship.
In the words of a Pentagon official “that was damn close for a missile, which is not the most accurate”. He added that though the warhead was not live still it could have made a hell of hole that would have pissed a lot many people.
Later the Americans lodges a strong protest with the Israelis, summoning the Israeli envoy to the State Department and bashing him for this ‘no-notice test’, particularly when the ANZIO and two accompanying ships USS – Eisenhower and USS –Cape St George were enroute to participate in a joint naval exercise with Israel called “ Noble Suzanne”, Having been censured by the US, the Israelis were on a look out for some alternate sites to carry out future missiles tests. The Island State of Sri Lanka was found to be the ideal location for the purpose. Sri Lanka and Israel resumed their diplomatic relations on the 4th of May, 2000 and immediately after this, Israel supplied the much needed Kafir fighter aircraft to Sri Lanka, ideally suited for ground attacks on the LTTE camps as well as the naval boats of the ‘Sea Tigers’
The Daily Mail ‘s findings indicate that Israelis test-fired submarine borne cruise missile, capable of carrying nuclear warheads in the Sri Lankan sea territory later in the same month. However, Ehud Barrack administration denied the ‘Sunday Times’ report into this regard.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further indicate that New Delhi has not been too happy over the under and strategic, defence and military ties between Colombo and Tel Aviv. It was for this grave concern that the Indian government rushed it’s tow most powerful functionaries Advani and Jaswant to Israel. India itself has a long history of covert and overt strategic cooperation with Israel. The tow countries have been co-operating in the nuclear field. There is sufficient evidence to support that the two low yield tests conducted by Indian on 13th of May, 1998 were actually Israel’s proxy tests at the Indian soil under an agreement which permitted India to conduct her own tests.
Another evidence in this regard is that all independent nuclear analysts are of the opinion that India does not possess technical expertise to conduct low-yield test of half kilo tonne and three-tenth of kilo tonne which it claimed to have tested on 13th May, 1998 at Pokhran,
It may b recalled that Pakistan had forewarned the G-8 and EU of India’s intentions to conduct nuclear tests. The Daily Mail’s research further reveal that though India has been having this clandestine nuclear and military collaboration with Israel, it has so far been reluctant to province a base to her owing to the expected backlash form the Arab bloc.
However, in his visit to Israel in June 2000, Jaswant Sinth publicity stated that in the past Indian government had downplayed its relations with Israel to appease the Arabs and to win the Muslim vote bank at home, which was a serious mistake that would be rectified by the BJP government by enhancing its ties with Israel. This statement of Jaswant was being regarded as a clear shift in the Indian policy and an indication of India’s intentions to put it’s Naval Bases at Israel’s disposal.
The Daily Mail findings inducate that Washington is quite uncomfortable at the growing India-Israel collaboration as well. Earlier, Washington had browbeaten the Israelis on the reports of expected supply of anti-tactical ballistic missile system, the Arrow-II to India. Israel has later directed to consult Washington, before supplying Air-borne Radar Warning and command System (AWACS) to India.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee, Republican Sonny Callahan moved to cut US$256 million in US military aid to Israel in the House Foreign Operations Sub Committee on 20th June 2000 for Israel’s plans to sell weapons to “the states of concern”, which prominently includes India.
Though the resolution was voted down, following some intense lobbying by the Israeli caucus at the Capitol Hill, the Democrats and Republicans, vowed to punish Israel with aid cuts later in the budgetary process. It is believed that if the Indians would allow Israeli Navy to use their sea territories to conduct and discomfort for the rest of the countries of the region.