By Vaqas Asghar/www.tribune.com.pk
Islamabad, May 28: In the book titled The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace, authored by Pakistani intelligence chief Lt.Gen.Asad Durrani, RAW chief Amarjit Singh Dulat and journalist Aditya Sinha, Durrani has said that the countries of South Asia should start discussing the idea of forming a South Asian Confederation.
“In a hundred years, most of the demands of an Akhand Bharat (united India) may have been met. The reason one should discuss this is to not rule out any possibility,” he said.
“At some stage we can think of a common currency, or laws applicable when we develop the new South Asian Union: a Confederation of South Asia.”
“We can do it at least as well as the Europeans have.This is thinking aloud. We might reach a common minimum consensus. Maybe we’re not ready for such a big project but we can work on its elements, by softening the India-Pakistan borders, as in Kashmir, and make them irrelevant over time.”
“Then five or ten years later, we’ll look at the next step. Delhi as the capital of a Union. Armed forces integrated. Reduction of forces numbers by ratio.”
Pakistan could swap convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav at some point, he added.
On influencing the media, Durrani said that the ISI (Pakistani intelligence) and RAW (Indian intelligence) both “finance TV channels in the belief that these will work for them.”
“Once a media organization establishes credibility, the agencies start on core objectives: micro-managing, choreographing, managing from behind the scenes, steering the type of coverage, etc. My country on this front has not been impressive,” he admits.
He also criticized the lack of subtlety in manipulating the media.
“An article was once published under either a Hindu or Sikh name in The Nation, Lahore. I saw that this could not have been written by anyone other than an ISI officer. The man who was in charge of publishing it did not even change the terminology to Indianize it.”
On Kashmir Durrani said: “I started toying with the idea that because of what is happening in the Valley, Pakistan should simply sit back and ‘watch the fun’. Perhaps India would be forced to change its original policy, its old threats, its old approaches. And then we might have a new status quo. One could say that at this point of time, the status quo is not unfavorable to Pakistan. Pakistan could be comfortable with the unrest but Kashmiris are dying. Also, if it goes on, even if you want no part in it, there would be a fallout on this (Pakistani) side of the Line of Control.”
At one point, Durrani boasted that none of ISI “operators ever defected or was caught on camera”.
Dulat agrees with him, saying: “Our biggest failure against Pakistan is that we’ve not been able to turn around an ISI officer or have an ISI officer working for us.”
Recounting ISI’s biggest failures against India, Durrani says: “At the operational level, [during] the 1965 war, we could claim we got good information about the other side, how they are assembled for war. But it was a lost effort. In the 1971 war, the ISI was unable to anticipate the attack in East Pakistan. In my time, we predicted that India’s military build-up after the Kashmir uprising was not intended for war. I can pat my own back for that. But the biggest failure was when the Kashmir uprising happened, we did not know how far it would go.”