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The RAW dossier

July 23, 2009


FOR quite some time now, Pakistani officials have been both hinting and asserting that there is an Indian hand behind the insurgency in Balochistan. India, it is alleged, has been using its growing influence in Kabul to channel weapons and funds to separatists in Balochistan, besides funding a training camp in Kandahar for the likes of the Baloch Republican Army. India's Research and Analysis Wing also stands accused of masterminding other terrorist acts in Pakistan, including deadly assaults on the Sri Lankan cricket team and a police academy in Lahore. New Delhi for its part has insisted, and not without reason, that it be provided with concrete evidence of Indian involvement. This has now been done, with the reported handing over of a dossier detailing instances of Indian interference in Pakistan. The evidence apparently includes pictures of some senior Baloch separatist leaders conferring with Indian operatives as well as details of safe houses run by RAW in Afghanistan. Proof of India's involvement in terror financing in Pakistan has also been provided, it is said, as have the names of Indian agents who crossed the border to link up with militants on this side of Wagah.

It is said the document changed hands at the recent meeting between the Pakistani and Indian PMs at Sharm el Sheikh, where the two countries pledged full cooperation in the battle against terrorism. The Indian response is now awaited. No one expects India — or Pakistan for that matter — to accept charges of state-sponsored interference in a neighbouring country. It will suffice if the evidence is examined with honesty of purpose with due follow-up, even if it takes place behind closed doors. Stopping the meddling is more important than the manner in which it is brought to an end. It is the final result that counts. If they are rogue elements within RAW who are acting independently, they must be taken to task forthwith. Pakistan also needs to put its own intelligence agencies under the microscope and determine whether a similar cull is needed here.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged India the other day to help Pakistan in the fight against terrorism, for the common good of both countries. This is advice worth heeding because the two neighbours are now at a crossroads and need to choose a course that will relegate past follies to the realm of history. It is not the intelligence agencies that have paid the price for our mutual antagonism. It is the poor people of the subcontinent who have suffered at the hands of a money-guzzling war machine.