Post-Osama's elimination at Abbottabad, an Indian soldier's perspective
Former Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) S.K. Sinha, released a book 'After Abbottabad: Terror to Turmoil in Pakistan' authored by Lt. Col. Anil Bhat (Retd.) at an event attended by a select gathering here on Wednesday.
The guests of honour on the occasion for the panel discussion were Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao, former PIO and Information Adviser to the Prime Minister, veteran journalist Inder Malhotra and Indian Army veteran and defence analyst Major General (retired) G.D. Bakshi.
The book dwells on various trends over a period of nearly a decade that resulted in the elimination of Osama bin Laden when the Seals of the US Marines struck at Abbottabad in Pakistan, incidentally a locale that is in the heart of a vital cantonment, including the Pakistan Army's premier military academy.
Consequent to this, the Pakistani Army and the ISI were literally caught with their pants down, the author has noted. He has further commented upon the impact of the events on neighbouring India with a forewarning that New Delhi ought to take corrective and preventive steps, particularly keeping in view the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in 2014. Interestingly, this is the period when India also goes to the polls to elect a new government at the Centre.
Speaking at the book release event, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Sinha candidly expressed his views on strategic aspects of the event and hoped that the government takes steps in right earnest against the ultras. He complimented the author for his analytical study.
Recalling his days as the Governor of Assam and later of Jammu and Kashmir, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Sinha cited the hurdles faced by the administration in tackling the ultras. He also threw light upon the crucial issue of Gilgit and Baltistan, currently occupied by Pakistan. People of this area are being neglected and denied human rights.
Sharing his views vis-a-vis the book and the prevalent scenario, Mr. Ramamohan Rao observed that the attack on the house in which Osama bin Laden had cooped in the garrison town of Abbottabad ought to be seen as a watershed in the ties between Washington and Islamabad. One must not ignore the fact that the US and Pakistan were allies for nearly six decades and their relationship could never be the same again Pakistan, he said, learnt the techniques of proxy war from the United States during its efforts to oust the Soviets during the 70s. It used the techniques against India and conducted the proxy war, firstly in Punjab and later in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan is now facing a crisis with sectarian conflicts. The discussions following the release of the book focused on the developments, which may lead to Talibanisation of Pakistan, which will have serious repercussions on the region. The withdrawal of the NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014 coincided with the general elections in India.