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Dhaka demarche followed Delhi's homework

Dhaka demarche followed Delhi's homework

Author: Nilova Roy Chaudhury
Publication: The Statesman
Date: December 2, 2002
URL: http://www.thestatesman.net/page.arcview.php?date=2002-12-02&clid=1&id=6792

Before handing over to Bangladesh a demarche on the use of its territory as a launching pad for the ISI's operations against India, the government collated details of such activity in that country, based on Intelligence and other sources.

Details presented by external affairs minister Mr Yashwant Sinha in Lok Sabha last week - on Dhaka being the "nerve-centre" and "hub" of Al-Qaida activists and anti-India activities - were gleaned from a "White Paper" like document called "Pakistan's Involvement in Terrorism Against India" compiled by the government.

Diplomatic observers said the allegations were "absolutely authentic" and diplomatic circles in Dhaka were rife with details of anti-Indian activities centred in the Pakistani mission there. Despite Bangladesh's denial of any such activity taking place, (Bangladesh high commissioner in India Mr Tufail K Haider said: "We did not fight for independence from Pakistan only to hand over our territory to the ISI for use against India or any otherneighbour"), observers said there were "too many instances to be merely coincidental".

According to the document, Pakistani Intelligence agencies have been "actively involved" with the insurgent movement in the North-east since the 1950s. More recently, the ISI "penetrated fundamentalist groups" like the Jamaat-e-Islami and Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami, providing funds and guidance to "expand Pakistani influence and foment anti-India sentiments".

When the Awami League was in power, they "consistently cultivated" (then) Opposition leaders from the Bangladesh National Party and the Jatiya Ganatantrik Party. After the BNP-led Khaleda Zia government came to power last October, these activities gained momentum.

Similarly, the ISI made "extensive inroads" into various Islamic fundamentalist organisations operating in the North-east, including the Students Islamic Movement of India, the Muslim Volunteer Force, the Islamic Revolutionary Army of Manipur and the Muslim Liberation Tigers of Assam. ISI officials based in the Pakistani high commission in Dhaka "network" from there to coordinate activities of agents in various fields, the document says, particularly in providing travel documents and arms and ammunition to militant leaders.

Seizures have "firmly established" that militants in the North-east and their cadre receive training in handling weapons/ guerrilla warfare in Pakistan and Bangladesh through Pak ISI/Army officers. Most travel documents seized have been found to have been prepared with "active assistance from ISI operatives in Bangladesh".

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