Friday, September 15, 2006

Col. Grewal Speaks to CNN-IBN

In a recent article appearing on CNN-IBN, Col. Grewal spoke at length about a narcotics and arms trafficing chain that exists along the eastern edge of India.

This network is controlled at the northern end by HuM/HuA/JeM associates (all the same thing for this purpose), at the north-eastern end by HUJI affiliates, and on the eastern end by the LTTE. Crudely arms travel up(east to north) and narcotics (north to east) travels down the chain. The chain starts in Thailand, from where it travels by sea to Cox Bazaar in Bangladesh, from Bangladesh it goes west to India and thence to Pakistan.

It is important to understand that this chain is has many duplicate links in it, in that sense it is more of a network than a chain. For example, a shipment leaving Cox Bazar could be routed overland through India, or sent by air to Nepal and vice-versa. As you all probably know, the Pakistani ISI has been expanding its presence in Nepal through the activities of the Pakistani Embassy, Islamist Groups like HUJI, and the Dawood Ibrahim cartel. Now as the article above suggests, Nepal is now a major hub for ISI operations.

Recall that it is much easier to ship something from Pakistan to Nepal by PIA jet and then smuggle it across the India-Nepal border to a group in North India than it is to smuggle it across the border in Punjab and vice-versa. Please also understand that you cannot generally use this network to sustain supply operations in the west or the south of the country. The channels used for that are different. For the west we have a network based in Gujurat and Mahrashtra and for the South there are points along the coast of TN and Kerala. So these are independent of the eastern network. It is possible that Maoist groups emerge as a sort of interconnect or bridge between these chains. If you notice the Maoist infiltrated areas straddle the various supply routes.

In a recent occurance a Mullah from Bangladesh was found to be in possession of an extremely large amount of Cocaine in the North East. He was arrested but no clear links appeared to any known group. I am not sure what specific market Nepal (the Casinos consume a lot) or India (Metros are sucking Cocaine at unbelievable rates) he was planning to access but he was coming from Bangladesh. This suggests to me that Cocaine may be travelling the other way - i.e. east to north, unlike Heroin which I am reasonably sure travelles north to east.

Given the diverse commodities that travel along this chain, the chain itself is actually a broad scatter of places with different functionalities. One should also note that the HuM/JeM has a series of medical support centers in the North India - esp. the Delhi area. These safe houses are used to treat HuM operatives who are injured in various Jihads. This circumvents the need for the injured to cross the LoC and ensures that they access a higher level of medical care than what is available to them among sympathetic populations in Kashmir. It used to be that Jihadis could just be brought to Soura Medical Hospital in Srinagar in the early years of the Kashmiri movement. To this end JKLF had been tasked with "securing" Soura Medical (i.e. murdering staff whose political loyalties could not be relied upon) , and JKLF was successful in this operation. However subsequent security operations in the Srinagar area compromised the JKLF's hold on things, and that left Soura exposed. The HuM could be sure that it could rely completely on the facilities at Soura. As LoC security was expanded and Srinagar became home to several RR units, the HuM began to see the Delhi area hospitals as a better bet in terms of getting medical care to injured cadre.

The arms travelling on this route are purchased in Thailand. Most of my friends refer to Thailand as the "Pakistan of the East". It is a way of saying that Thailand (like Pakistan) is home to a roaring trade in Heroin and Arms. The LTTE has a substantial presence in Thailand. As you all recall the LTTE has considerable expertise in dealing with advanced technology due to the fact that it cultivated a number of tech-savvy Tamils in the West in the 1980s. The LTTE is thust able to muster a considerably large shipping fleet comprising freighters, and speedboats, mini-subs, and airplanes.

Col. Grewal makes a point about counterfeit currency. The pattern of this has changed in recent years. Nepal has been the hub for counterfeit currency distribution after a Pakistani Army Brigadier by the name of Bajwa started something called Operation Tufail there. Tufail is now archival, but its descendants are pumping counterfeit notes into the cash starved eastern economy of India.

I hope this sheds some light on what is going on there.


At 12:17 AM, Blogger mukunda said...

hi maverick,
1)this posting in the wrong thread(this should have been in thread related to malegaon). Remember Arundhati Ghosh had said that the nuclear deal with USA is not of a concern to her, but the foreign policy is.
2) With our association with US whatever the issue may be ;we are slowly getting alienated from our former friends like Iran(which you have yourself noted)
3)USA are the new colonialists. In the former days it is used to be said that Sun never sets on the British empire, but now it is true for the American empire.God only knows we are going manage the new "friendship" with the Americans

4)Why have we upped the ante on seizing narcotics? The narcotics being seized is in record quantities.

At 7:57 AM, Blogger maverick said...


I think it is best if I answer that in a separate post.


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