India’s role in creating problems for Pakistan since 1971


A detailed history


Pakistan and India have a long history of rivalry in South Asia since independence from the British Empire and they have fought a number of wars in the past few decades. However, their rivalry has evolved into clandestine warfare especially since the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, which was considered India’s greatest military success and Pakistan’s biggest failure. Guerrilla and proxy intelligence techniques overtook conventional means of warfare in the region, with long-term effects. The premier foreign intelligence agencies of both countries namely the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) have been quite active against each other for a number of years now. This rivalry has its roots in the 1971 war whose details will be briefly highlighted and the history of Indian designs against Pakistan since then shall be discussed.

When East Pakistan broke up and became Bangladesh in December 1971, it was considered as the darkest hour in Pakistan’s history. After the start of Operation Searchlight in March 1971, the military leadership of West Pakistan had underestimated the power of the rebel forces in the former East Pakistan that vowed to break away from the state at any cost due to West Pakistan’s widely documented economic and political negligence. The Indian political and military leadership, under the command of PM Indira Gandhi and General Sam Manekshaw, took advantage of this situation and discreetly backed the rebel forces. Known as Mukti Bahini (Liberation Army), these forces comprised thousands of Bengali origin military officers, soldiers and civilians that were further trained by the Indian army and RAW officers in guerrilla warfare techniques.

The role of RAW in orchestrating terrorism across Pakistan was often sidelined as a conspiracy theory but has now been proven due to change in the security and economic dynamics of the region

RAW’s involvement in training the Mukti Bahini was quite significant due to the fact that it was only formed three years ago, in 1968, after Indian Intelligence Bureau’s failures in 1962 Indo-China War. As a newly formed external intelligence agency, RAW’s core objective was to secure Indian interests in the region and abroad and the successes it achieved in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 helped it to establish itself as the premier intelligence agency of India. However, Pakistani political leadership’s desire for acquiring nuclear weapons during the late 1970s may have probably forced RAW to focus most of its activities inside Pakistan. It allied itself with the Soviet KGB and Afghan Intelligence KHAD during the Soviet-Afghan War and conducted a number of low-key bombings across Pakistan in response to the ISI’s activities inside Indian Punjab and Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Looking at the situation from the Pakistani point of view, the role of the ISI in Indian Punjab’s Khalistan Movement was akin to what RAW did in the former East Pakistan. A region fuelled with calls for separatism and Pakistan’s desire for tit for tat response was the perfect recipe for inflicting revenge upon India. Discrimination against and killings of Sikhs by Indian forces, especially after Operation Blue Star and the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, legitimised calls for Sikh militancy that was fully supported by General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime. On the other hand, India saw this movement and Pakistan’s secret nuclear weapons program as grave threats to its national security. This led it to conduct a psychological military exercise called Operation Brass Tacks that was aimed at invading Pakistan in the long run. Indian Army Chief General K Sundarji was the key architect for this operation who apparently even kept Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi in the dark about it.

Pakistan was able to avert this looming crisis after it allegedly threatened to launch a nuclear strike on Bombay (Mumbai) should the Indian conventional forces cross the international border. There are also reports that General Zia personally threatened Rajiv Gandhi with ‘grave consequences’ during an Indo-Pak cricket match held in Madras (Chennai), which forced the Indian army to abandon its positions along the international boundary in 1987. This clearly meant that Pakistan already managed to acquire nuclear deterrence in just a decade’s time, which was even confirmed by Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan who mentioned that the weapons grade capability was achieved in 1984 despite attempts by India to thwart it. The Khalistan Movement abruptly lost its momentum soon after Zia’s death in 1988 but the ISI backed Kashmir uprisings in June 1989, which meant that troublesome years were ahead for India inside the volatile state.

However, this did not stop India from meddling in Pakistan’s affairs as it continued to train and deploy RAW operatives inside Pakistan; around 35,000 people in 1993 according to some reports. Not only this, it also managed to stir militancy in Balochistan, especially after it secured influence in Kabul in the post 9/11 era through former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan Northern Alliance. The establishment of Indian consulates along the Pak-Afghan border was perceived to be a great concern for Pakistan that repeatedly asked in vain for their closure due to their secretive nature. Separatist leaders such as Brahumdagh Bugti and Harbiyar Marri openly asked India to intervene. This pointed out the connivance between the militants and RAW that was causing havoc across Balochistan.

Pakistan went through a painstaking situation in the last couple of years owing to violence in the form of both religious and political extremism. The rise of Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other smaller groups caused a large number of casualties across the country. However, recent pattern shows that most of the carnage was actually carried out by RAW that managed to fuel extremism. The Karachi Airport Attack and the Peshawar School Attack in recent times indicated indirect Indian involvement as RAW funded and instructed groups such as TTP and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan through Afghan soil.

General Raheel Sharif and his team in the ISI managed to expose TTP Chief Mullah Fazlullah’s relations with RAW and provided evidence to the new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after various visits to Kabul in the past few months. US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel had also admitted a couple of years ago that India was creating problems for Pakistan through Afghanistan. The newly signed pact between the ISI and Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS) is welcomed by both Pakistan and Afghanistan as joint operations can help prevent terrorism from spreading further.

The recent appointment of Research Allied Services (RAS) Cadre officer Rajinder Khanna as RAW chief by PM Narendra Modi shows that India shall try to further use Islamic extremism in order to foment trouble for Pakistan as Khanna is a known expert on the topic

The role of RAW in orchestrating terrorism across Pakistan was often sidelined as a conspiracy theory but has now been proven due to change in the security and economic dynamics of the region. The spy agency’s clandestine operations are of highly classified nature but it is reported that it has funded a number of journalists, politicians, academicians and NGOs to promote pro-India and even political ethnic stance in Pakistan. In terms of intelligence operations, this is the most viable way to subdue a target country for local informers, operatives and sleeper agents become strategic assets.

We often talk about Islamic extremism that is like a cancer. However, we tend to ignore what the hawks in India’s power corridors have been up to in containing Pakistan, which is quite unfortunate and surprising. Just last year, a video of Indian National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval circulated in the social media in which he was openly telling about his role in Pakistan as a secret agent and how he managed to use Pakistan’s fault lines to India’s advantage by promoting sectarianism and Islamic extremism through terrorist organisations like the TTP and BLA. Not only this, the recent appointment of Research Allied Services (RAS) Cadre officer Rajinder Khanna as RAW chief by PM Narendra Modi shows that India shall try to further use Islamic extremism in order to foment trouble for Pakistan as Khanna is a known expert on the topic. Just some two weeks ago, it was reported that RAW has also designated a special desk in New Delhi to sabotage the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor for which $300 million have been specially reserved.

All of this highlights that Pakistan needs to remain vigilant and provide all evidence of RAW’s activities at every international forum in order to strengthen its diplomatic position. Stability of both Pakistan and Afghanistan means stability of the region, which the hawkish advisers of Narendra Modi need to understand. Any further destabilisation can be catastrophic for the entire South Asian region and it is hoped that Pakistan manages to gain peace through the help of its security and intelligence forces along with help from friendly states. It is in the interest of both states to pursue economic development rather than cause anarchy. A stable South Asia shall not only guarantee peace but also help economic goals to be achieved without any hindrance as the world has entered the phase of globalisation.


  1. Ahahahahhahahhahahhahhahahhaha!!!!!!!! The usual gutter-flow from ISPR .What cretins you turd-heads are.

    • Gutter flow? No wonder your darling AS Daulat EX RAW Chief accepted on NDTV funding terrorists against Pakistan. No wonder your lil innocent angel Narendra Modi in Bangladesh accepted once again his country's heinous role in 1971.

  2. A scholar from Kings college and I am dissappointed that you echo the recent PR work of Pakistan foreign policy establishment.. What about the period before 1971? You donot talk about the Shimla accord or the PWOs of 1971 nearly 1 million of them kept in security and repatriated. Today you have the nukes and as you claim that your Zia warned Rajiv with nukes and so he nacked down etc. Operation brasstracks was not intitiated during Rajiv's time if I remeber correct but was a reply to kargil operation. and so under Vajpayee. Indian army doesnot function as Pakistan army and all descisions are taken under the command of Civilian leadership. that is why after mumbai attacks Indian civilian leadership has taken a descion not to accept the 1000 cuts policy of Pak which your ISI practised in India without punishment from Indian side..Inspite of Presiedent ghani folowing your dictats and signing the coperation agreement and India not acceding to Prsidnet Karzai rquest for military hardware , you talk about Indian consulates which may be collecting intelligence acroos the border.Your pathetic talk about TTP working on the orders of RAW will make any imopartial obseerver to laugh.What is the gain for India in killing Lahore kids or Karachi bus passengers? the clever way ISI planted a Pak IB report that India was likely to attack Sri Lankan cricket team one week before the attack to blame India stand esposed with all attacks getting zeroed in on Lashkahar Jhangvi. As you aspire to be a foreign serevice officer of your government, you must show impartiality and wisdom to your government but can follow the orders of your superiors.

    • Brass Tacks was conducted from 1986 to 1987 and Kargil occurred in 1999. Regarding RAW's role in supporting TTP, I stand by my point and have no second doubts about it. If you have properly read the article then it mentions US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel's statement along with what Indian NSA Ajit Doval stated in spreading terrorism. Not only this, your Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar openly admitted Indian role in terrorism across Pakistan in a speech given last week which was also covered by Indian media. Blaming Pakistan for every ill won't help as India's role has been way too much hegemonic. If you're aware, it also funded the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka that turned against it afterwards.

      • Typical response and i don't expect anything else. pakistan was your own creation and your problems are also your own creation, because of your obsession with India. After independence if your founding fathers hand any sense, they would have focused on your national development, instead they decided to make your country with only one goal that remains to this day, "Anti – India". The day when this obsession will disappear will be the day when Pakistan and people like you will overcome this childish mentality and "grow" and reach a position of a world's statesman. Instead petty guys like you waste your talents and efforts for India basing. To us you are of no consequence, you are a country filled with hate, backwardness, religious fundamentalism and stupidity. It will be a matter of time before you guys are eaten up by ISIS. Dont worry!!!

        • ROFL. Pakistan is obsessed? Or is it Indian obsession with Akhand Bharat & Pakistan? One of your Ex RAW Chief on NDTV accepted once again Indian funding of terrorists against Pakistan. Don't worry about us being eaten up by ISIS. You take care of RSS who was involved in Samjhota Blast, Malegaon & Ajmer Blasts. Go question Col. Purohit. If we are backward & full of hatred why is it most of you Indians resort to Name calling Pakistan? If we are backward & full of hatred how come Dalits are being burn alive on daily basis in India? From LTTE to Mukti Bahini to TTP & BLA, you have always been involved in promoting proxy wars in your neighborhood, yet your audacity to call yourselves saints is petty & laughable.
          And next time you want to come and bash Pakistan on Pakistani website, why don't you first study your history?

  3. @ Hassan, thanks for your prompt comment. Using parrikker's comment about using terrorists to kill terrorists inside Indian side of Kashmir is being mis quoted by you very cleverly. India helped Tamil tigers and paid the price with killing of our Pm Rajiv Gandhi. You think baituallah Mehsud, hakeemullah Mehsud are all Indian agents who are killed by american drones, then I disagree with your belief. the Agreement which Musharaff entered into with North wazirstan terorrists and he used PAF against Bugti but never against TTP tells its own story.

    • Parrikar's statement is an admission of supporting terrorism and a mockery of your armed forces. The whole world knows why India is so much concerned about the close relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan since Ashraf Ghani took over. Your government has been supporting terrorists inside Pakistan which is an undeniable fact. Reg TTP, all evidence of its relations with RAW have already been conveyed to Afghanistan, US and your country's leadership which shall soon be known to the world. Although I am against drone strikes, some HVT were killed through Pak Army's directions.

      • Americans have already separated Baluchistan from the map of Pakistan . Just see the new middle east , google it. It is not a matter if it will happen, but when it will happen. Yes, the Baloch will need some moral help from Modi, and that will come.

  4. 1) Mukti Bahini was in response to Bangladesh Genocide which is not comparable to Khalistan Movement. Khalistan Movement was started by Indira Gandhi for political gains. ISI did support them but much later.

    2) You forgot to talk about predecessor -Pakistan Invasion and support of Khabalis in 1947-48 war.

    3) You forgot to mention the biggest ISI achievement of using Morarji Desai as agent which ultimately helped Pakistan to get Nuclear weapons.

    4) People who were involved in Operation Blue Star were Sikhs.

    5) Baluchistan militancy is ongoing from 1948 not after 9/11.

    6) You forgot to mention about Kashmir militancy and enthnic cleansing of Kahsmiri Pandits.

    7) TTP leaders were created and funded by ISI not by RAW.

    8) "The Karachi Airport Attack and the Peshawar School Attack in recent times indicated indirect Indian involvement as RAW funded and instructed groups such as TTP and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan through Afghan soil." – file a case in ICJ with evidence.

    9) Both Afghan and Raheel Sharif denied that any evidence against RAW ever provided.

    10) Chuck Hagel was not US Defense Secretary when he made statement.

    11) Ajit Doval never claimed he used TTP and BLA to India's Advantage. He was a retired officers at that time.

    • Mukti Bahini and Khalistan Movement are indeed comparable. Indira's support to Khalistani leaders was just a mere speculation. The Sikhs were openly targeted by Congress government throughout the 1980s for daring to take up arms against India.

      Morarji did curtail RAW's activities during his short tenure but RAW continued its task against the nuclear program

      TTP was never formed or funded by the ISI though ISI did support Afghan Taliban. Please stop twisting the facts

      Reg Raheel Sharif and Afghanistan, you are again twisting the facts and should watch news reports regularly. They have openly stated how RAW is fuelling terrorism in Pakistan.

      In Kashmir, the human rights abuses and cleansing of Muslim community by Indian Army are widely documented. Again twisting the facts

      Whether Chuck Hagel was US Defence Secretary or not, he did admit it

      Ajit Doval specifically highlighted using fault lines against Pakistan which clearly meant using extremism

      Balochistan militancy was actively supported by India especially in the 2000s. Your agents called Brahumdagh Bugti and Haribyar Marri are in cahoots with RAW

      • Furthermore, communications were intercepted on Karachi and Peshawar Attacks which originated from Afghan Soil so please stop spreading lies

        • I ask you same stop spreading lies, talk with evidence.

          1) OK provide evidence of Sikh Genocide then?

          From wikipedia :
          "Indira Gandhi's Congress(I) party supported Bhindranwale in a bid to split the Sikh votes and weaken the Akali Dal, its chief rival in Punjab"

          2) Your statement is contradictory. You are stating that inspite of Morarji Desai providing information about RAW to Pakistan, Pakistan failed to capture RAW officers and for that RAW is responsible.

          3) Arent Afghan Taliban and TTP related?

          4) Beyond rhetoric what else has ISPR provided?

          5) If cleansing of Muslims community happened then how come Muslims are in Majority in Kashmir? What facts have got twisted?

          6) Chuck Hagel never admitted anything, he just stated his views and he was not US Defense Secretary at that time. As you say dont twists facts.

          7) And who was Ajit Doval at that time? What was his position then?

          8) Balochistan militancy is going on from 1948.

          You have not answered :

          8) "The Karachi Airport Attack and the Peshawar School Attack in recent times indicated indirect Indian involvement as RAW funded and instructed groups such as TTP and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan through Afghan soil." – file a case in ICJ with evidence.

          Why Jinnah sent terrorists in Kashmir in 1947-48 even when he signed standstill agreement?

  5. Let say Hassan, Sufi mohammed, mungal bagh, bolchi separatist were are supported By RAW and working here on his agenda then it means our all intelligence units i.e
    Pakistani Intelligence agencies
    Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
    Intelligence Bureau (IB)
    Anti Narcotics Force (ANF)
    Armed Forces of Pakistan:
    Military Intelligence (MI)
    Air Intelligence (AI)
    Naval Intelligence (NI)
    Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan:
    Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)
    Federal Board of Revenue, Government of Pakistan:
    Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation (DGI&I)
    Provincial Police Forces:
    Special Investigation Unit(SIU)
    Crime Investigation Departments (CIDs)
    Special Branches (SBs)
    have been failed of curbing RAW activities in our soil.If they attacked on our Bases, GHQ cantt school, our officers, our 600000 civillians then it means they have overpowered us from all way . It again proved that we are under protection of one of weakest defence force of the world that they even knwoing the name of enemy cant protect her land, assests and people from this Frankenstein named RAW.Do we call US and UK agencies to prove that sufi mohd,baithullah, Naik mohd , mangal bagh are indian agents working in our soil in front of our thosuands of intellegnce men and FC,RANGERS personals and none of them are made guilty in any court of justice..Indian chased Indara ghandi, sunjay gandhi killers, mumbai blasts, samjohata express, and Ajmal kasab case till end and showed the world they are chasing their criminals using their all resources.Where the hell our resources have gone.Not a single terrorist was proved guilty in our side.Throwing filth is most easiest job and probing own mistakes and working on weaknesses are most difficult jobs and we Pakistanis have proved fail in this field too.

    • Thank you Nazia, I see there are few folks in Pakistan who see reality. Frankly, I live outside India now and I have a lot of Paki friends as well. We are similar and have a lot in common. It is unfortunate that circumstances and history made these events happen.

      I previously thought that all of you are ostriches with head in sand like our friend Hassan.

      • We both are from unluckiest nations of the world which spend most time on hating each other rather than diverging our energies toward positive human development

  6. Just studying in Kings College for three years, this man aspires to be a diplomat. Great.

  7. Pakistan is an Islamic state and not a democracy. Indian sale of arms and intelligence to democratic minded people seeking independence such as the Balochs should only be considered supporting a cause just like the Pakis position on supporting the cause of Kashmiris. Where this of course differs is that Pakis provide training to extremists and help them across the border, which is an act of war especially when these persons are non-Kashmiris.

    Indians should openly speak of the freedom of Balochistan and some non-ruling party leaders should talk of the exchange of Sindh and Balochistan for Kashmir. After all the leaders of Pakistan wanted "PAK" meaning Punjab, Afghan territory and Kashmir as their country. All Sunnis must leave Sindh and Balochistan on the transfer of these regions to India and all Pandits should be free to settle in any region of the new India.

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