Arvind Kejriwal incidentally has made a special name for himself by calling almost any and everybody an agent of somebody or the other. And thus one wonders if what Modi stated was merely for scoring brownie points or is it that the statement made by him indeed does have real substance. The three AKs that he mentioned are namely the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle, India's Defence Minister AK Anthony and the 49 day Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal who is now contesting against Modi in Varanasi. This essay would try to explain the reason for the mention of the three AKs.
The Ubiquitous AK-47- Favourite Weapon of Any Terrorist
Since the early 1990's when militancy in J&K instigated by Pakistan became a major headache for India, tens of thousands of Mujahideens came from across the border to foment mayhem in the valley. Most of these terrorists initially were of Pakistani or Afghan origin, who had fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan and were thoroughly brainwashed and battle ready.
Pakistan later created and trained many of the valley based militant groups as well and armed them to the teeth. In the last two decades, Indian Army had captured more than 80,000 AK-47s from the terrorists. Almost of all of them are of Pakistani origin.
Not just in case of J&K alone, in most of the major terror strikes in other parts of India as well including the infamous 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai or the Ayodhya terror attack, the fidayen groups, mostly consisting of Pakistani nationals used AK-47 to give shape to their nefarious design. AK-47 has thus become a symbol of Pakistani export of terror to India. With the exit of US from Afghanistan, the possibility of a renewed attempt by Pakistan to push several thousand more Jihadis, armed with AK-47, into India again remains a real threat.
The AK Anthony Saga- The Indian Defence Minister Who Defended Pakistan in Parliament
Narendra Modi during his Jammu speech also mentioned about India's Defence Minister AK Anthony and stated him to be one of the AKs who are praised in Pakistan. This was indeed a strong statement on the Defence Minister of India but it was not without any reason. And AK Anthony himself is to be blamed for bringing upon himself such vitriolic remarks.
In August 2013, in yet another brazen attack on Indian soldiers, Pakistan Army's Special Forces had crossed the Line of Control and attacked an Indian outpost killing five soldiers and injuring one. This was incidentally not the first one of that year but one among many that took place in the last year.
Yet the most shocking part of that atrocious ambush was the manner in which India's Defence Minister AK Anthony literally exonerated Pakistan Army of any wrong doing and instead blamed so called ‘terrorists' for the incident. He stated in parliament, "The ambush was carried out by approximately 20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms."
What made Anthony defend Pakistan is still a mystery but it was not an individual statement for sure and it had the complete backing of the UPA Government. Perhaps Anthony had also forgotten that no terrorist in the valley operate without active support from the Pakistan Army and ISI. Incidentally while Anthony was defending Pakistan, the Indian Army had a completely different version to state.
It was only after intense pressure and massive criticism from the Opposition parties led by BJP, in the Parliament that Anthony had to backtrack on his statement and issue a fresh statement blaming Pakistan for the incident. Veteran BJP leader LK Advani had even asked AK Anthony to apologise for making a ‘false statement'in Parliament and Yashwant Sinha had termed Anthony's statement as ‘most laughable'.
Yet this was not the only folly of AK Anthony. His reign as the Defence Minister of India can be termed as one which only ended up making India weak in its defence preparedness. Several critical defence deals including ones for howitzers, helicopters, combat aircrafts, missiles and submarines are stuck because of the inability of a timid Defence Ministry to push through the deals.
Worse, even portions of allocations meant for capital expenditures have routinely been diverted for paying salaries and something as basic as fuel for army have been rationed. Not just that, the Indian Army now runs shockingly low on ammunitions and can barely fight for just 20 days in case of a major war.
The usual excuse of the Government about paucity of funds is bizarre and shocking given the enormous amount of wasteful expenditure involved in several other projects with questionable outcomes. The failure of AK Anthony lies in its inability to take a stand on behalf of the armed forces and convince the government about the criticality of the procurement of essential weapon systems.
The Navy too has been mired with several major accidents and the Indian Navy right now a headless organisation after the Government promptly accepted the resignation of Admiral Joshi after the accident onboard INS Sindhuratna but failed to fill the position with his replacement.
All this have been happening at a time when Pakistan and China have been frantically modernising their defence forces. India's submarine fleet is at an all time low with vintage submarines being forced with its vintage submarines being forced to run on old spares because the Defence Ministry could not procure even spares on time. Anthony's failure emanates from his inability and sheer ineptitude to streamline the defence acquisition process and go ahead with necessary defence procurement with conviction.
Last but not at all the Least- The Curious Case of AK-49
For quite some time Kejriwal, usual to his style of u-turns have completely kept aside issues of corruption of UPA and have also avoided the issue of Delhi Assembly election. His sole objective as it seems now is to contest against Narendra Modi.
In between Kejriwal continued with several of his tantrums and theatrics starting from a tour of Gujarat to blaming Modi for his detention in Ahmedabad, which incidentally was because of his violation of model code of conduct and had nothing to do with Modi but orders from Election Commission.
For quite some time he has been trying to make it a direct Modi vs kejriwal thing. For quite some time he made several allegations without ever providing any proof to substantiate any of his statements. All this while Modi remained silent. But on Wednesday in Jammu, it was payback time. Modi termed Kejriwal AK-49 for his rather bizarre act of being the Chief Minister of Delhi for 49 days and then resigning on the pretext of not being able to pass a fanciful Janlokpal Bill.
It is no more a secret that the map of India in the AAP website showed a part of Kashmir as that of Pakistan's. For someone who has national ambitions, one wonders if this act of Kejriwal's party was one of folly or a deliberate one . In any case, the stand of people who are part of the Aam Aadmi Party on issues ranging from Kashmir to Maoism is extremely alarming. Modi had termed the aides of Kejriwal as agents of Pakistan and he was clearly hinting at Prashant Bhushan, a very senior founder member of AAP has gone on record in stating that issue of army presence in J&K should be decided by the people of the state through a referendum..
This apart AAP as a party is filled with people who have very high level of sympathy for the Maoist cause. Incidentally Maoist extremism is today the single biggest threat to the internal security of India. The stand of senior party members of AAP like Medha Patkar, Kamal Mitra Chenoy and Prashant Bhushan on the issue of Maoism is well known.
Prashant Bhushan not only had stoked controversy by raising the issue of referendum in J&K about deployment of army there but had also raised similar demand for referendum in Maoist hit areas as to whether paramilitary forces should be deployed there or not. Needless to say that those who support the Maoist or the separatist cause, invariably help Pakistan in destabilising India.
In fact so popular is India's AAP in Pakistan that the issues raised by AAP on referendum in J&K gets solidarity across the border. In Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan has on its webpage an article titled, ‘Listening to the Voice of Aam Aadmi Party in order to hold Plebiscite in Occupied Kashmir is demand of the hour'. The article in the Pakistani website states, ‘Ch Muhammad Barjees Tahir, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan has said that India must give up harping on the tunes of Integral Part and listen to the tunes of Aam Aadmi Party which has demanded plebiscite in occupied Kashmir.
Listening to the voices in support of referendum from very inside of India is the need of the hour. He said that voice in support of referendum is the reflection of common Indian's thinking.'
The shocking aspect of the whole saga is the manner in which Pakistani Government agencies have been trying to portray that what AAP says in India is the thinking of the common man in India. In other words, Aam Aadmi Party members project themselves as representatives of the common man in India and then make controversial statements which are anti-national to the core and then Pakistan uses those statements to portray that this is the sentiment of the common man in India. Indeed an interesting strategy.
Aamna Shahwani writes in an article titled ‘Pakistan's mysterious love for Indian anti-corruption crusaders' in Afghanistan Times, ‘Not only the Pakistani media persons but Pakistani leadership and moreover the PM Nawaz Sharif himself said that Kajri will be helpful in resolving the Kashmir-issue with India.' Therefore, is Modi at fault for calling some of the AAP members as agents of Pakistan? The answer is perhaps a unanimous NO.
Elections would come and go but issues relating to India's national security and sovereignty cannot be compromised with or played with. Rhetoric apart, it is imperative for those in important positions to make sure that their stand and actions, be it inside the parliament or outside of it, do not end up benefitting India's adversaries. Anthony's initial statement in Parliament on the issue of killing of Indian soldiers by Pakistan and his clean chit to Pakistan or the kind of statements that are made by the likes of Prashant Bhushan can only end up weakening India's position. And this is not acceptable. Modi just reminded the nation about that.