Eric Garcetti: India Vital to Future of American Security and Prosperity

Washington, DC – Testifying in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told US senators considering his nomination to be ambassador to India that “Few nations are more vital to the future of American security and prosperity than India.”

A Rhodes scholar who studied Hindi and Indian cultural and religious history in college, Garcetti recalls that when he graduated, US-India relations were under the shadow of the cold war, trade was limited, and there was no defense trade or military interoperability. Garcetti commended the bipartisan work of Congress in bringing about a strong US-India strategic partnership, and said if confirmed, he would work toward an ambitious economic partnership with India, reduce barriers to market access, bolster fair trade and create good jobs for the American middle class.

“India is situated in a tough neighborhood,” said Garcetti. “If confirmed, I intend to double-down on our efforts to strengthen India’s capacity to secure its borders, defend its sovereignty, and deter aggression – through information sharing, counterterrorism coordination, joint freedom of navigation patrols and military exercises (which I have participated in as a naval officer alongside my Indian counterparts), and sales of our best defense technologies in order to realize the full potential of our Major Defense Partnership.”

The question of India’s purchase of the S-400 missile system from Russia was brought up in today’s hearing, with Ranking Member James Risch (R-ID) saying that “”We cannot ignore the reality of concerns over India’s defense relationship with Russia.” Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) also commented that New Delhi would need to address concerns about its treatment of minorities and purchase of Russian hardware if it wants to strengthen its partnership with the US.

Garcetti spoke of how, as Mayor, he chaired C40 –– a global network of mayors from the world’s largest cities –– to combat climate change and to share the experience of Los Angeles, which is on track to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. He promised that if confirmed, he would work with India to promote green energy through the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and through the Agenda 2030 Climate and Clean Energy Partnership. ISA is an alliance of 124 countries initiated by India, and the US joined as a member last month.

Garcetti gave a shout out to his parents, Gil and Sukey Garcetti, who were present at the hearing today, and who first took him to India as a teenager.

Garcetti is a veteran who served 12 years in the US Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer. He is currently in his second term as Mayor of Los Angeles.

Rabbi Levi Shemtov: Terrorism Disrupts Our Life, But It Will Not Eliminate Our Spirit

Washington, DC – Commemorating the 13th Anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, the Embassy of India hosted a solemn event to pay tribute to its victims. Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Sudhakar Dalela presided over the event, which was attended by Jennifer Larson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State; Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad); and community members.

Thirteen years ago, on the night of November 26, 2008, 10 heavily armed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists entered Mumbai via sea route and went on a rampage killing 166 people, and injured over 300 in coordinated attacks on the Chatrapati Shivaji terminus railway station, Leopold cafe, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Oberoi Trident hotel, and Nariman Point Chabad House that lasted for four days.

Deputy Chief of Mission, Sudhakar Dalela

In his remarks, DCM Dalela said, “These dastardly attacks were not just against India, but against the entire humanity. As we gather to mark the 13th anniversary of these heinous attacks, we mourn and pay tribute to the innocent lives lost, while also sharing the pain of those who were injured.” He recalled the honor and sacrifice of the valiant security personnel who laid down their lives. Expressing solidarity with the families of the victims, DCM Dalela spoke of the continuing threat that terrorism poses to humanity. “Terrorism continues to be the gravest threat to mankind, and it is critical for countries to be united against terrorism,” said DCM Dalela. He spoke of India’s initiative to pilot a draft of the convention on international terrorism with the objective of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combat terrorism. India is also a signatory to all the major conventions and protocols on terrorism adopted by the UN and is part of all global initiatives in that regard. Even after 13 years after this heinous terror attack the families of 166 victims from 15 countries across the globe still await closure, said DCM Dalela, reiterating the call upon the government of Pakistan to expeditiously bring the perpetrators of the horrific attack to justice. “This is not just the matter of Pakistan’s accountability to the families of the innocent victims, who fell to terrorists, but also international obligations. Both India and US have been victims of terrorism. Our two countries have a strong counter-terrorism partnership.”

In a joint statement issued by President Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Quad Summit in Washington DC in September 2021, both leaders “reaffirmed that the United States and India stand together in a shared fight against global terrorism” and “called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice.”

Rabbi Levi Shemtov

Rabbi Levi Shemtov recalled when he heard there was a shooting near Chabad House in Mumbai, he was flying back from Miami at the time. When his flight landed he learned that the shooting was actually in the building. He called Rabbi Holtzberg at Chabad House, but the cellphone was answered by one of the terrorists. “We opened up a conference call line for several hours where I kept repeatedly calling this cellphone of the rabbi which we soon realized had been taken from him by one of the terrorists. And whenever we could get through we had certain instructions of what to ask and what to do from intelligence here and abroad,” said Rabbi Shemtov. He then called up Ronen Sen, the Indian Ambassador to the US at the time, to tell him what was going on, and he immediately put him in touch with people who were manning the situation. “They connected me to authorities in New Delhi who saw a very precious development because they could now listen in on this number, because this terrorist wasn’t talking to me the whole time he was actually talking to other people.” Rabbi Shemtov said that it was because they were monitoring that cellphone that they actually heard the commandant of LeT telling the terrorists to kill people with commands. He spoke of Rabbi and Rivka Holtzberg’s housekeeper Sandra who risked her life to save their son, baby Moshe. “I was thinking about what terrorism does,” said Rabbi Shemtov, “It jars our life, it disrupts our life, but it will not eliminate our spirit. The spirit of friendship between the Indian people and the American people, and between the Indian people and the Jewish people is strong and it’s unshakeable and determined.” Rabbi Shemtov concluded his remarks with the words that heard from Ambassador Ronen Sen who said, Rabbi, these terrorists didn’t attack Jews, they attacked Indians. They attacked all of us. Over a billion people are now in sorrow because of what these monsters did. “And then he said something I will never forget,” added Rabbi Shemtov, ” For 2000 years Jewish people have been living in India, never a problem with the Indian people. Able to practice their religion freely. And these people came and tried to shatter that. We will have to make it even stronger. And indeed we know the relationship between Indian and Israel, and the relationship between India and the Jewish people became stronger as a result. So sure the terrorists can disrupt our life, but they can never make us change our course of constantly pursuing decency until the entire world will know only peace and harmony like the Indian people and the Jewish people have known for thousands of years.”

Deputy Secretary of State, SCA, Jennifer Larson

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Jennifer Larson, spoke of the last four years in Mumbai where she was the Deputy Consul General. “I had the great privilege of visiting the sites we are talking about today and meeting some of the brave rescuers and survivors that 13 years ago were put to an extremely difficult test. I have spent many wonderful hours at Chabad house and I have heard this rabbi’s story a couple of times from the rabbi there, which is truly something to be thankful for. It is the spirit of thanksgiving here in the United States and I am grateful for the partnership and the opportunities that we have as the United States with India as a deep and cherished friend.”

The Mumbai Attacks transformed India’s perception towards national security, leading to enhanced maritime surveillance, inter-agency coordination, and information dissemination. Nine terrorists were killed by the security forces. Hemant Karkare (Former ATS Chief), Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Ashok Kamte (Addl Police Commissioner, Mumbai), senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar were among those killed in the attack. Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only terrorist to be captured alive, was hung 4 years later on November 21, 2012.

The families of 166 victims – which included six American citizens – still await justice, while the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba masterminds of the attacks are safely under the protection of Pakistan’s army and intelligence agencies.

Dr. Kurt Campbell: The Critical, Crucial Member In the Quad is India

Washington, DC – During an event hosted by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) today, White House National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Dr. Kurt Campbell said he was “very bullish about the future with India.” In a discussion on ‘Beyond AUKUS and the Quad: What’s Next for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy’, Campbell stressed the importance of India, who is the only Quad member who is not a formal US treaty ally.

“I think we all recognize the critical, crucial member in the Quad is India. We are determined to do what we can, in the bilateral context, to build relations,” said Campbell. He added that the origins of a closer partnership between the US and India began in the Bush administration and that people to people connectivity between the two nations has really manifested much more clearly in a bipartisan way over a succession of administrations.

Successive US administrations have recognized that “a key fulcrum player on the global stage in the 21st century will be India,” commented Campbell. “The broad sweep of history has brought us together.”

“This is a moment for thinking creatively and strategically about what’s possible” between the U.S. and India, said Campbell.

The consensus of the four members of the Quad is that it is appropriate to be considered as an informal gathering, said Campbell, adding that they will not be taking steps in the near term to institutionalize. Campbell emphasized that the Quad is actually about promoting the common good, and “It is about deliverables that are of interest to the peoples of the Indo-Pacific.”

President Biden hosted the first in person Quad Leaders Summit on September 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. The leaders underscored their dedication towards working with ASEAN and its member states—the heart of the Indo-Pacific region—in practical and inclusive ways. The Quad committed to donating 1.2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, establishing a semiconductor supply-chain initiative, forming a green-shipping network, establishing a clean-hydrogen partnership, and launched a Quad fellowship that will sponsor 100 students per year—25 from each Quad country—to pursue masters and doctoral degrees at leading STEM graduate universities in the United States. The leaders discussed a common approach to emerging technologies, cyber security and addressing the challenge of climate change. They agreed to “closely coordinate our diplomatic, economic, and human-rights policies towards Afghanistan and will deepen our counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation in the months ahead in accordance with UNSCR 2593.”

The next Quad leaders summit will take place in Japan in 2022.

Thirteen Years After the Mumbai Terror Attacks, Perpetrators Yet to Face Justice

Washington, DC – Thirteen years after the Mumbai terrorist attack, the families of 166 victims – which included six American citizens – still await justice, while the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba masterminds of the attacks are safely under the protection of Pakistan’s army and intelligence agencies.

In response to Global Strat View’s (GSV) question about what steps the US is taking to bring the Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders to justice, a State Department spokesperson responded, “The United States remains committed to bringing those who planned and supported the 2008 Mumbai attack to justice. We continue to encourage the Government of Pakistan to take action against all militant and terrorist groups without distinction, including those responsible for Mumbai.”

In a phone interview with GSV, former Canadian diplomat and politician Chris Alexander said that this reflects the reality that the Biden administration, as with most US administrations in recent decades, has chosen to engage with Pakistan without proactive efforts or coercive diplomacy such as sanctions to change longstanding Pakistani behavior — this in spite of evidence that Pakistan remains a prolific state sponsor of terrorism.

Alexander, who served as the first resident Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2003-05, commented, “It is a policy paradox for a nation that has worked to counter terrorism around the world. This is a source of weakness for US policy, speaking to a pattern of inconsistency, especially with regard to Pakistan, that has harmed US national interests and the collective interests of US allies.”

In a joint statement issued by President Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Quad Summit in Washington DC in September 2021, both leaders “reaffirmed that the United States and India stand together in a shared fight against global terrorism” and “called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice.”

Pakistan’s support of terrorism continues unabated, while the US continues to say that Pakistan is an important partner in the war against terror. Earlier this year, a three-member bench of Pakistan’s supreme court headed by Justice Mushir Alam, acquitted Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh, who is accused of beheading US journalist Daniel Pearl. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has referred to Osama bin Laden as a martyr, and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi refused to condemn bin Laden. Pakistan continues to remain under increased monitoring (grey list) by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), but has so far remained off the black list.

As Dr. Christine Fair, Professor in the Security Studies Program within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, commented, “If one were to apply the criteria with reference only to the facts, of course, it would have to be blacklisted. The US and the UK consistently argue that it should remain on the grey list as a black listing would preclude Pakistan from access to IMF funding, which the UK and the US believe is critical to Pakistan.”

“Ordinary citizens worldwide understand that Pakistan has been duplicitous, that it has been the driving force behind the invasion of Afghanistan, and that it is the state sponsor responsible for the existence of these terror groups,” commented Alexander. “But the current US approach seems to be based on a form of policy Stockholm Syndrome, which can be traced back to the US relationship with China, and the Kissinger doctrine which holds that strategic partnership with China or Pakistan is so important that any conflicts or disagreements must be tolerated for the larger cause of US and Chinese or Pakistani comity.”

“This doctrine is totally indefensible today,” added Alexander, “yet the US and most of its closest allies have still not moved beyond it. The so-called ‘pivot to Asia’ that started under the Obama administration has so far done very little to change the reality of this outdated doctrine.”

The consequences of letting Pakistan off the hook for its actions has led to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in recent times. “They invaded an entire country that was the focus of a NATO mission, but no government is proposing any form of accountability,” continued Alexander. “Everyone has to ask themselves what their role is in this. India should be advocating for this, and working with the international community to hold Pakistan accountable. If there are no consequences, the entire international system is made vulnerable.”

Following a classified briefing on Afghanistan last month, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) issued a statement saying that the briefing “confirmed yet again what we’ve known all along: the United States is now less safe than before President Biden’s disastrous decision to unconditionally and entirely withdraw from Afghanistan.” US media reported that the Biden administration informed US lawmakers that they were close to an agreement with Pakistan about using their airspace to conduct military and surveillance operations in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s foreign ministry denied the reports.

Last week Pakistan hosted representatives from the US, Russia, and China to discuss the unfolding humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan that is forcing Afghans to migrate to neighboring countries. In a joint statement, they appealed for international humanitarian aid for Afghanistan and called on the Taliban to cut ties with terrorist groups.

India also held a regional security dialogue on Afghanistan last week attended by Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Pakistan and China declined to attend.

It is high time for the world to move beyond rhetoric and take action against state sponsors of terrorism like Pakistan to ensure a rules-based international order. Justice needs to be delivered, and delivered in a timely fashion. Otherwise, the victims of Pakistan’s actions, like the families of those who perished in the Mumbai attacks, are simply denied justice.

Tribal Farmer Woman Drags Water to Farms

Barren land Blooms in 100 villages

Jaipur, India – Farmers’ larger worry in the country may be inconsistent income, unpredictable climate and uncertain produce forcing them for menial labour and abandoning farming for the period of stress. This is a reality for those tribal regions also where mother nature has showered abundant grace but poor natural resource management has pushed the otherwise self-reliant tribal population into the vicious cycle of poverty, shifting a major burden on lakhs of women.

However, the silver lining is the sheer grit of a handful of women farmers breaking this cycle to see life smile back in the villages embracing change and pragmatism for the benefit of whole generation. Shahbaad bloc falls in the Baran district in south east of Rajasthan near coaching hub Kota with major population of Saharia and Bheel tribes. When one would cross either of the three rivers Kunnu, Reti and Sirsa to reach the Purampur village of the bloc to meet one such spirited farmer Kotha Bai from Bheel community, the scenic water streams of the rivers would flow freely touching our feet but ironically not deep enough under the ground.

Seasoned social worker Cheetar ji briefs about a vicinal village in dark zone because of utter neglect of water related works here. And that was a serious worry for the people here who would know the value of channeling water for sustainable agriculture and a safe future but not the methods of accomplishing this feat.

By the time we reached the village, dusk had gripped the village but the bustle of rural life was usual amid electricity cut. Kotha Bai was just back spending arduous hours in her fields under cultivation to attend to ailing goat, hungry cattle and inquisitive guests with equal warmth. This simple heart resolute 55 years old woman shares a story of real dark spells of her life when she would force migrate to cities with her husband for months to work as a daily wage labourer. No water, no work and food shortage in the village left no choice for them but to leave children and old parents to the mercy of the almighty. It was suffering beyond redemption, she recalls. Once, when the entire district was hit by severe drought and food crisis, the footprints of community organizations kindled hopes among women like her who joined the relief works undertaken by the government and social sector in her village.

She started participating in all village development activities and meetings to join the process of finding long term solutions to overcome misery, drudgery and poverty. Constructive interventions of social institutions working on the Gandhian model of holistic development guided the villagers to work collectively, dig water pits (talai) to store rainwater and to make way for rivers to their fields, recalls social worker Manju Bala Joshi who was part of this transformative action force. It took a few years of hard toil to build two check dams (anicuts) in the year 2006 in this village inhabiting about 60 families.

Each family contributed 20-25% of the cost of construction for sharing fruits of development and community ownership. Kotha Bai was president of the village development committee (VDC) and this was an opportune time for all to share concerns for reviving agro-economy by adopting small savings, restoring community culture, ensuring education for all, care for girl child and enjoy benefits of government schemes. Water passages (nadi) and canals (nahar) were also built, 4000 feet pipelines rolled out to reach each village farm and water was river-lifted from check dams.

Kotha Bai was at the forefront of every effort and would also face a backlash from the orthodox members of the community when she started devoting more time for village initiatives. But she remained firm with the rock support of her husband Hath Singh, who would value her relentless work and possibilities of opportunities unleashing with change in mindsets. She lost her husband some years back but has already earned enough respect that the villagers now look up to her for every major decision.

With the water reaching directly into farms, the irrigation and cultivation movement started to see the village economy flourish. Now every household in Purampur village has a bank account, small savings, gas cylinder and knowledge about farm markets for fair deal. Most are affording tractors and motorcycles also.

Kotha Bai is leading a network of more than five thousand women from nearby villages and enjoys all love of her sons, daughters in law and grandchildren. It’s her five hectares of cultivated fields we saw in another visit in daylight with one crop damaged by locust attacks but rest that of maize and sesame grown in a larger area nourishing the soul of Kotha Bai and those who take pride in her success. She shows us her pucca house alongside the original wooden-mud brick one, built from Prime Minister Awaas Yojana money with two out of three rooms stacked with pea and wheat grains. She earns Rs 3-4 lakh a year from these farms, keeping best quality grains and vegetables for daily nutritional needs of her family. Her one son helps her in farms while other works as a school teacher. With the check dams, water passages and canals she built, the groundwater is getting recharged for nearly hundred adjoining villages and her ideas of multi cropping are adopted by many smart farmers in the region.

This indomitable woman with strong faith in karma wakes up to the call of every crisis and once started repairing the broken check dam, the lifeline of farms here, alone. Only after seeing her strain, the whole village joined hands later. This is how she leads with the power of her actions. Her words implore fellow villagers to care for nature and long stretches of barren land bows to bloom with the profundity of her wisdom and experiences.

Minimalist living and pure fresh food cooked on a unique two mouth earthen stove (chulha) and hot plate (tava) served with affection assure us of revival of deep ecology if this village model is replicated faster in regions wrestling with similar challenges and pain of migration.

US Joins the International Solar Alliance

Glasgow, Scotland – US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry announced today that the US has joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as a member country.

“It has long been coming, and we are happy to join the International Solar Alliance, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the lead in making,” said Kerry. “We worked out the details and this is a process we are pleased to be a part of. This will be an important contribution to more rapid deployment of solar globally. It will be particularly important for developing countries.”

Welcoming the US as the 101st member of the ISA, India’s Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Mr. Bhupender Yadav said that this move will “strengthen the ISA and propel future action on providing a clean source of energy to the world.”

On November 2, the ISA, India Presidency of the ISA, and the UK COP Presidency launched the ‘Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid’ (GGI-OSOWOG), during the World Leaders Summit of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The Steering Committee of GGI-OSOWOG is comprised of five members – the US, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and India. To help deliver the vision of One Sun One World One Grid, 80 countries have resolved to combine their efforts to create more inter-connected grids, endorsing the One Sun Declaration.

At a steering committee meeting of GGI-OSOWOG, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that the, “United States is excited to be back in the climate conversation”. Citing the One Sun Declaration, Secretary Granholm said that, “all the energy humanity uses in a year is equal to the energy that reaches the earth from the sun in a single hour. The GGI-OSOWOG is focusing on the two most important pieces of the puzzle. We at the US Department of Energy are happy to be a partner with GGI-OSOWOG.”

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched in 2015 at the 21st session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-21) in Paris, France by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the former President of France Mr. Francois Hollande. The launch was attended by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the heads of state of about 120 nations who affirmed their participation in the Alliance to dedicate efforts for promotion of solar energy.

Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss Defamation Claim

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has rejected a motion to dismiss a defamation claim filed by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) against veteran journalist Terry Milewski and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) for the report “Khalistan: A project of Pakistan.” In a statement to Global Strat View, Milewski said, “This decision is based on complaints by SFJ about things that I did not say in the article or anywhere else. The ruling alleges that I admitted having no evidence for things which, in fact, I never said. I merely “admitted” that I had no evidence for claims I did not make – which is why I did not make them.”

“Even so, the decision faults me for having no proof that Sikhs for Justice is “financially supported, “controlled” and “organizationally connected” to or by Pakistan,” said Milewski. “None of those claims is made in the article, or even implied. I issue an open invitation to anyone to read the article and to tell me, for example, where I suggested that SFJ is funded by Pakistan. It’s obvious that I did not. Nor did I suggest that SFJ is controlled by or organizationally connected to Pakistan.”

Milewski said that the spin that SFJ have placed on this very preliminary hearing, which does not even touch upon the matter of defamation, is entirely false. “SFJ also complained that I portrayed them as a mere puppet of Pakistan in the referendum campaign. In reality, I described SFJ as “the driving force in the campaign for a referendum.” The Macdonald-Laurier Institute and I stand behind the report, which is firmly rooted in evidence,” he said.

Justice William Black’s ruling in this case can be viewed here: Sikhs for Justice v. The Macdonald-Laurier Institute, 2021 ONSC 7063 (CanLII). There is no date set for a trial.

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) recently made a formal request to Canada to declare the SFJ a terrorist entity.


Khalistan: A Project of Pakistan” was written by Milewski and published by MLI in September 2020. SFJ served MLI and Milewski with a Notice of Libel on October 15, 2020. On November 10, 2020, MLI and Milewski responded that they would not be removing any part of the Article and would not issue an apology. The Claim was issued on December 1, 2020 and the Statement of Defence was filed on February 18, 2021.

Nana Patekar and his NAAM for Farmers, River Revival and Climate

Jaipur, India – He ruled the screen and became an iconic figure of Indian cinema expressing angst of the society in his own effusive style. National awards, Filmfare and Padma Shri (India’s fourth highest civilian award) remain a crowning glory for his towering presence in every story he attempts to tell on the performing stage, in both Hindi and Marathi . Tracing the origin of intense emotions with impeccable dialogues and comic genius in Nana Patekar, we land on to a veritable story of an ardent boy of 13 years who would walk 10 miles each day to reach school and start earning before touching adulthood. Passion for theatre at an early age was a way to purge and at the same time draw the attention of his father, who would travel to watch him perform taking pride and reassured of his future. Oblivious to the mise en scene, the script of real life was at a toss with sudden loss of father and his business. Shocked but not shattered at life’s beating, Nana walked up to the theatrical semblance of cinema to echo those sentiments which kept boiling in the psyche of the nation, shoving his own but silencing none. Through ‘Prahaar’ he adorned a soldier’s way of life receiving four years of hardcore army training two decades ago. With the highest respect for the military uniform and service, he has acted upon his calling to address some of the most urgent issues within the boundaries of the nation including farmers’ suicides and misery of the soldier’s families martyred or killed on duty.

I had felt the stir when farmers’ suicides in the state of Maharashtra would make headlines, but a solution to the problem was nowhere in sight. The issue has since gone trans state where the distress of small and marginal farmers has been left largely unattended and lost into the din of verbosity. In the year 2015 the headlines flashed in the news rooms with Nana Patekar taking up the cause, and expressing his pain over the loss of farmers’ livelihoods due to severe drought that had hit the state. Natural disasters and climatic emergencies had forced migration leading to health and food crises. He shared his pain about poor treatment to the displaced people who have ever known to live with labour and dignity; and our respective roles in empowering people who face hardships. Without much ado, he picked up the cause and started offering support to the grieving families of farmers through the NAAM Foundation (Hindi acronym literally meaning Name).

As I get into conversation, I learn his simplistic explanation about individual actions at the core of which is personal satisfaction with what you do with your own strengths and sense of power. His philosophical fabric back stitched into discussions with people, officials and volunteers working closely with the farmer community, makes a serious attempt to nail the root of the problem. Sharing his concern about choking natural paths of flowing water as an extension of disruptive human tendencies, he cautions against not prioritizing restoration of water bodies in the villages as they remain central to the human civilization. Every other aspect of our social-economic well-being and self-reliance gets automatically addressed if we care for and conserve our local resources that nature has endowed upon us, he expounds.

NAAM’s role in changing lives and social dynamics is not something Nana is boastful about. His humility and reticence could appear to be unusual but it’s also because of his complete attention to the current crisis of flooding of villages and loss of precious human lives and habitats. He pays personal visits to the flooded areas of the state without media glare and his team works day and night for rescue and relief operations. On one hand is relief, on the other is preparing ground to plug the impending climate crisis through river-revival drives. As I delve into the details of water-centric works my count reaches up to 400 rivers and local water bodies desilted, catchment paths cleared, small dams constructed and plantations along the banks to check soil erosion. Spread across more than 350 villages of Maharashtra, rivers coming back to life and irrigation activities getting normalized with better water management and improved ground water levels is not a work which could possibly go unnoticed. Lockdown period also couldn’t dampen the speed of work as consistency is the value the ground team is trying to inculcate among participating forces.

It is work with complete community participation where the needs are identified by the villagers, and NAAM Foundation mobilizes resources from community, government and corporations. The team closely working with the families who underwent traumatic experiences of suicide committed by the bread earner, shared that improved financial conditions, young generation opting for farming and dairy as a remunerative activity; and reversal in the trend of migration to cities in search of work is boosting the village economy. When people become part of such transformation, collective consciousness for self-awareness is a bigger gain.

Climate change is on top of the agenda for the United States and India is seen as key contributor in achieving Climate neutrality by 2050. India is not ready to buy the idea of net-zero easily seeing its own development pace and priorities. The underlying meaning of cooperative partnership between the two countries could, however, be further emphasized by bringing to light the relationship between large scale water conservation efforts and thereby reduction in energy consumption. Measuring the work of community-based organizations from the yardstick of reduction in climate footprints and attaining sustainability could be an added perspective to the water-oriented works with an engaged grassroots population, who contribute least to the climate crisis but get most of the burden through adaptation and mitigation efforts imposed on it. India is already leading from the front with state level climate action plans and policies. Rivers, fields and soils are climate sinks coming alive through consistent community driven works taken up with a vision. This must find more meaning in the larger climate discourse having potential to pull curtain from enigmatic and tech heavy climate dialogues which go beyond the common man’s intellect to be felt and acted upon.

If the Shakespearean phrase of ‘violent delights have violent ends’ be seen as prophetic for our world where flooding and vanishing water both play havoc with lives, we cannot go on a consumerist-capitalist spree as before. We cannot live in harmony if human societies are at loggerheads with nature. Climate emergencies can only be tackled with the interplay of community initiatives, policy support and informed choices. Just as Nana’s NAAM Foundation is doing with the firm belief in the power of each one, we need to wake up from the slumber and shake up our immediate world.

Secretary Blinken Shows Support for Religious Freedom, Tibet

New Delhi – In his first visit to India as Secretary of State, Antony Blinken kicked off a packed schedule of meetings on Wednesday July 28, with a show of support to the Tibetan cause. Secretary Blinken met with Ngodup Dongchung, a representative of the Dalai Lama and member of the Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan government in exile).

Blinken’s first engagement was a Civil Society Roundtable with the theme “Advancing Equitable, Inclusive, and Sustainable Growth and Development.” In his opening remarks at the Roundtable, Blinken stressed upon the shared values and beliefs of the Indian and American people, including human dignity, equality of opportunity, the rule of law, and freedom of religion and belief. “We believe that all people deserve to have a voice in their government and be treated with respect no matter who they are,” said Blinken.

Blinken commented that both democracies are works in progress. “As friends, we talk about that, because doing the hard work of strengthening democracy and making our ideals real is often challenging. We know that firsthand in the United States, where we aspire to be, in the words of our founders, a more perfect union. That’s an acknowledgement from day one of our country that in a sense we will always fall short of the mark, but that the way to make progress is by constantly trying to achieve those ideals. As I said before, sometimes that process is painful, sometimes it’s ugly, but the strength of democracy is to embrace it,” added Blinken.

Participants in the discussion included Geshe Dorji Damdul, the Delhi-based Director of Tibet House; constitutional lawyer Menaka Guruswamy; Inter-Faith foundation founder Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmed; and representatives of the Baha’i, Sikh and Christian communities among others.

Pakistan has been the lifeline for the Khalistani movement since it began 50 years ago

Global Strat View spoke with the veteran Canadian journalist Terry Milewski about his book, Blood for Blood: 50 Years of the Global Khalistan Project.

GSV Initially the Canadian government treated the Air India bombing as an Indian tragedy, with the then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney speaking to Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to condole “India’s loss”. It was not until 2005 that Canada declared the anniversary of the bombing a national day of mourning. Observing the 20th anniversary of the bombing, Prime Minister Paul Martin acknowledged, “Make no mistake: The flight may have been Air India’s, it may have taken place off the coast of Ireland, but this is a Canadian tragedy.” Do you feel that Canada initially treating this as an Indian tragedy affected what happened to the case many years later?

TM Yes I think it had a lot to do with it. I think at the outset the reaction of Canadian officials was two-fold. First, it’s a foreign aircraft, it’s an Indian aircraft. And they thought of most of the people on board as Indians. Actually most of them were Canadian citizens. Roughly 280 of them, out of 329 were Canadian, of Indian descent to be sure, but they were Canadians. Secondly, Canadian officials wanted to avoid any liability. Their thoughts went immediately not to the victims’ families, but for how the government could get off the hook for letting this happen. At first, amazingly enough, the Canadian government even argued that you couldn’t prove that there was even a bomb. Maybe it was some freak accident. So don’t blame Canada. That argument, of course, turned out to be nonsense. And the Canadian government denied any forewarning, any signs that such a thing was going to happen, but in fact it turned out that there were a whole lot of warnings. There were abundant, timely and specific warnings, which were ignored in sort of an alphabet soup of police and security agencies who didn’t work together, dropped the ball, kept secrets from each other. So yes, this certainly affected the response. And it took a very long time, far too long, for the government to accept, as you noted, that it was a Canadian tragedy.

GSV You talk about the ferocious religiosity of Khalistanis in the 80s and 90s, who marked Hindus for death because of their religion. Sikhs who weren’t devout enough faced the same fate. I’m reminded of one particular session of the Air India hearing in Vancouver describing an incident that took place in the Ross St Gurdwara. A Sikh woman brought her son to the gurdwara to buy him a kara, the plain bracelet that is worn by Sikhs, because they were traveling to India and she wanted him to wear one because he would be meeting his grandparents and other relatives. That woman and her son, both died on Air India flight 182. I don’t remember now who it was that commented that they deserved to die, because they were not true Sikhs and were just following Sikh customs for appearances. That was terrifying to hear for all of us who were listening. Tell me a bit more about this.

TM It certainly was evident, that Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the father figure of the Khalistan movement, wasn’t much of a Khalistani himself. He wasn’t campaigning for Khalistan. He was campaigning, in fact, for a more rigorous, puritan form of Sikhism. He railed more about smoking and drinking than he did about Khalistan. And people who tried to engage him in political discussions, to try to get him to lead a more overtly Khalistan movement, generally failed. The incident that you mentioned, is another example of this religiosity. The testimony you are referring to was actually about one of the accused at the Air India trial, Ripudaman Singh Malik, alleged to have paid for the bombing. A wealthy businessman. He was alleged to have said, look, these weren’t real Sikhs. Here’s an example. This woman was only buying a bracelet to make sure that the grandparents weren’t upset. They weren’t really dyed in the wool Sikhs. Nor was he, by the way, when he first came to Canada. He got religion, as it were, after he came to Canada. There are many other examples of the rampage of Khalistani terrorists inside Punjab, where if you put a foot wrong, it doesn’t matter if you were yourself a Sikh. You were also a candidate to be wiped out, or machine gunned, or bombed in public places, or in a bus. And that is one of the reasons why most of the victims in the Khalistani insurgency in the 80s and 90s were Sikhs. They included for example Sikh policemen, who were fighting to preserve order in the state. And members of their families, murdered by the dozen, by the hundreds, in order to discourage people from joining the police. And KPS Gill, the Sikh policeman, who effectively conquered that insurgency in the early 90s, by the end of ‘93 say, he noted – having counted all the bodies – from the figures, from every police station all over Punjab. He counted 21,000 victims, of which 60 percent were Sikhs.

GSV And Bhindranwale, as you write in your book, chided Ujjal Dosanjh for cutting his hair as well.

TM Dosanjh was one of those who did try to engage Bhindranwale in political conversation. Visiting with his children to show them the old country. From Canada. He was a clean shaven, educated lawyer. Went to the Golden temple with his three sons, who were asking him, Dad, why do these men have weapons in a holy place? You told us the Golden Temple was the holiest place of the Sikhs, and there are men going around with AK-47s. So what’s that about? And their father said, well that’s a good question. And he challenged Bhindranwale at his daily open house, if you will, and in front of the assembled congregation, tried to get him to talk about what were his political views, what were his political ambitions. And Bhindranwale didn’t want to engage. He was more interested in the fact that Dosanjh had cut his hair. And he said that made Dosanjh a bastard, and he threatened to cut Dosanjh’s throat. Pointing to the armed men around him, you know we could cut your throat for that. So cutting throats was ok, but cutting hair was not. So that gives you a flavor for how this religious fanaticism had a lot to do with it. I don’t say that it had everything to do with it. There were indeed Khalistanis who didn’t have this additional affliction. But it was certainly, at the root of the struggle, there’s no question that this was an anti-Hindu movement. To get back at the Hindus, to get revenge at the Hindus. As one of the accused at the Air India trial put it in his speech, in 1984, at the height of the troubles, in New York, the founding convention of the World Sikh Organization – Until we kill 50,000 Hindus we will not rest.

GSV You write in your book that the curse of Khalistan doesn’t have a favorite party, it dooms them all. Even today, Talwindar Singh Parmar’s image is proudly displayed in the Dashmesh Darbar gurdwara in Surrey. Let’s talk about what happened with the 2018 Public report on the terrorism threat to Canada.

TM That’s an embarrassing episode for one party, particularly the party that was in power, but similar episodes happened with the other party. It’s not a left and right thing, it’s not a liberal conservative thing. They all do it. They all pander to the Khalistanis. And that’s one reason why they don’t point the finger and react when the others do it. Because they have no standing to do that. Everybody does it and they all know it. So they don’t criticize each other for it. Which is another reason why it continues, and what I mean by it, is this pandering whereby Khalistanis in Canada, keeping the flame of the cause of independence alive, are very well organized, and diligent about developing their political influence by helping out aspiring politicians at election time. They say look, we’ve got our agenda. And we want you to help us, and in return, we’re well enough organized that we can bring you thousands of votes. What do you say? And the politicians say, bring it on. I’m your friend. I will look the other way when we go to the Vaisakhi parade, and posters of Talwinder Singh Parmar, the leader of the Air India bomb plot, and thereby, Canada’s worst ever mass murderer, are paraded in the Vaisakhi parade and garlanded with gold tinsel. Making him out to be a hero, a model to Sikh youth, a martyr of the Sikh nation. This man butchered 300 completely innocent civilians who had nothing to do with any actions by the Indian government against the Sikhs or anything like that. He didn’t care who he was killing. There were more than 30 Sikhs on the plane. More Sikhs dying in this supposedly holy cause for the Sikhs. So the fact that all the parties benefit and play footsie with the Khalistanis, at election time, means as I say that they tend not to criticize each other for doing that. Which means that the whole thing goes on. Nobody objects. So that when something happens like the World Sikh Organization led a lobbying campaign to edit the public safety terrorism report, which you mentioned, to take out the threat, to edit out the threat of Khalistani terrorism, then the politicians say oh well we want to keep in the WSO’s good graces. We want to please them in the hope that they’ll help us again in the next election. So yeah, they’ll take it out, edit it. And score 1 for the WSO. They succeeded. Political influence works. And they’re very good at keeping it.

GSV This is the political spinelessness that Ujjal Dosanjh refers to when he says, “We are on the way to becoming a nation of panderers and politically correct people, and that’s almost spineless.” And he himself has been a very successful politician and never needed the support of these groups as you have pointed out. Politicians can take a stand, it won’t affect them getting elected.

TM Yes, that’s true and it’s a very important point that, for all that I just said, there is this you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours arrangement between the Khalistani lobby in Canada and the various political parties. It’s not really based on reality, because if you examine the record, you will find that the Sikhs don’t go out and vote for the overwhelmingly pro-Khalistani candidate. Because most Sikhs want nothing to do with the WSO. The vast majority are not interested in these old country politics. That’s one reason they live in Canada. They are done with all of that. It’s a bad memory. Remember that in Punjab, their homeland, it’s a really bad memory. Those 21,000 dead were their uncles, cousins, and aunts, sons, wives and daughters. If you look at the record, and you mentioned Dosanjh, probably the most successful Sikh politician of his generation in Canada. Always, since he first came to Canada, clean shaven, secular, but still a Sikh. His father was a Sikh, his grandfather spent years in British jails fighting for independence. Pretty good Sikh pedigree if you want to put it that way. He was elected, and re-elected for 20 years in Canada, both provincially, rising to the post of Premier of British Columbia. And federally, rising to the post of Minister of Federal Health in the Paul Martin government. Despite the fact, and he did this openly, and many didn’t have his guts to put it bluntly. Despite the fact that he openly condemned the violence, and went against a very threatening small minority of Sikhs who wanted to pursue a violent course of action in their fight against India. And who threatened his family with death repeatedly, hounded them, left messages on their answering machine – We’ll kidnap your wife, we’ll kill your children. And he carried on. And he was re-elected every time, which tells you something. His riding of course was heavily Sikh population. Vancouver South was his riding when he ran federally. So you can’t tell me that what he was doing was somehow anti-Sikh. It was anti a small minority Khalistani Sikh. And that’s a key point we may get to if you like. It’s often as though when you take on that small minority, they always complain that you’re anti-Sikh. It’s like if I say I condemn white supremacy, and they say you shouldn’t say that because it’s against all whites. No it isn’t, it’s against white supremacy. But that is the nonsense you encounter, and even Dosanjh himself a Sikh encountered when criticizing a small minority. They pretend that the entire Sikh community identifies with them. And I thank you for raising the point. In Dosanjh’s case and many others, it turns out that’s not true.

GSV In your book you write, “Sikhs were not aliens in India. They weren’t before partition, and they aren’t now.” In a recent Pew Research Center Report on survey of religion in India, 95% of Sikhs said they are very proud to be Indian and 70% said a person who disrespects India can’t be a Sikh. In such a scenario, what makes the Khalistani idea still survive amongst the diaspora in the West- especially in Canada, UK and US?

TM It is a puzzling question. And I wish I had better answers for you. It’s true that enormous majorities in India reject the Khalistan movement. You may recall there is a section in my book where I discuss voting results. The outcome is microscopic, in terms of their share of the vote, for 30 years. Last time out they got 0.3 percent, so not quite one third of one percent. It’s absolutely as close to zero as you can get. In fact, none of the above got a higher vote total than the separatists did. So why does it survive in the diaspora, well that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still a small minority, and the evidence is that it is a small minority. Just that that small minority is organized, they are smart about the media and politics as we’ve already discussed. And their memory of India, since many of them were banned for many years from visiting India, they didn’t realize, they weren’t familiar with what India is like. And India has grown up, they’ve had a Sikh president, they had, the last Prime Minister was a Sikh. For 10 years. A Sikh of great distinction, Manmohan Singh. So I think that the isolation outside India of the diaspora to some degree accounts for the survival of the Khalistani idea in the diaspora. They’re not really clued in to what it is like in India, where millions voted for example for Captain Amarinder Singh as the Chief Minister of Punjab. A fervently anti-separatist Sikh. And finally I should say that this small minority is self-selected. The diaspora is self-selected. They didn’t want to live in India. So naturally the people who are not in favor of India tend to be greater in number in the diaspora, proportionately, than they are in India. As I say, I wish I had better answers as to why it survives. But we’ve already discussed the principal one which is the tolerance and pandering of mainstream political parties. They can prosper in that environment where the Sikh majority is not involved in politics. They are doing the same thing as the rest of us, they are trying to get to work on time, raise their children, and so on. Where that is the case, and it is the case in Canada, the UK, the US, Germany – wherever there is a large proportion of Sikh immigrants. They simply opt out of politics, and that leaves the field clear for those who wish to manipulate.

GSV As you said, it is a small minority that supports this movement. They moved away for a reason, so if they want Khalistan, I don’t see the diaspora moving back.

TM You’re right. The cause is dead. You know, this is interesting history, but the cause is dead. Well, not exactly. Bear in mind there is a very active lobby group that is trying to organize a referendum. They are very vocal on Sikh independence, they are very active on social media. They organize rallies and protests, and they vilify the Indian government, and they talk about 1984, what they call the Sikh genocide, the massacre of Sikhs, the inexcusable massacre of Sikhs that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. So they keep it up, but in addition, there have – in the past two-three years – been some half a dozen killings, actual murders, inside Punjab, which the police suspect have a Canadian angle, meaning that money was paid, money was raised to pay the killers in Punjab. And money was raised in Canada. So far I haven’t seen indictments, in one case, directly attributing crimes in India to Canadian personalities, or to Canadian money. But there does seem to be evidence in a number of cases, so many in fact that when Mr. Justice Patel of the Delhi high court had to rule on the government’s ban, on this group Sikhs for Justice which was campaigning for a referendum, he cited a number of actual criminal cases which the government was able to show which were brought against people who seemed to have contacts outside the country and notably in Canada.

GSV The Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) have aligned themselves with China and Pakistan against India. You’ve reported in your book that they sent a letter to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, they also sent a letter to China’s leadership saying that we are with you against India. That we support you. The SFJ website is banned in India. In fact, one of the interviews that the late Tejinder Singh (founder and editor of India America Today), did with Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, was banned on YouTube by the Indian government. But you published their proposed map of Khalistan in your book, which includes much of India but not an inch of Pakistan, which is surprising as many areas of importance to Sikhism are in Pakistan such as Nankana Sahib – the birthplace of Guru Nanak – and Kartarpur Sahib. Let’s talk about that a little bit.

TM Well it is a puzzle, it’s extremely hard to explain except for the fact, and it is a fact, that Pakistan has been the lifeline for the Khalistani movement since it began 50 years ago. Even when Khalistan was just an idea in the mind of Jagjit Singh Chauhan, living in London in 1971, and hearing from the then Pakistani leadership that we need to get back at India for the Bangladesh war for 1971 we need to get our revenge for our defeat, at the hands of India, so we’d like to tear off a piece of India just as Bangladesh was torn off and became no longer east Pakistan, but an independent country. So we’ll help the Khalistan movement. It is extremely revealing, it’s not just puzzling is it, it’s extremely revealing that with all of the places, and you’ve mentioned a few, in Lahore, was the capital of the Sikh empire 200 years ago under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. A legendary figure, not just in Sikh history but in Indian history. Kept the British at bay better than a lot of others for his entire reign. It was only after he died that the Sikh empire was slowly absorbed into the British empire. But that’s ancient history. How do you explain now, today, that with all of that Pakistani Punjab history, how come the Khalistanis do not claim one inch of Pakistani territory? Because they are very free with the territory they claim on the Indian side, saying they are going to end “India’s illegal occupation of Punjab”. But not Pakistan. So why is that? Well, it’s very hard to explain unless you admit that they can’t do without Pakistani support. They simply can’t trespass on the generosity, they can’t presume upon the generosity of Pakistan, without jeopardizing, the only country that has sustained the Khalistan movement for all of these five decades.

GSV And for people who claim to be supporters of Sikhism, they don’t protest against the treatment of Sikhs in Pakistan, the abduction of young girls, forced conversions, and attacks on gurdwaras. You don’t hear anything about that from them.

TM And that’s very puzzling too, you’re right to bring that up. Remember that at the time of partition, in Punjab as a whole, there were about two million Sikhs resident there. Now in Pakistan it is down to a few thousand. Well, why? What happened to them? Answer, they’ve been driven out by the abuses against all religious minorities in Pakistan. You speak for example of forced conversions, abductions of Sikh girls. There have been something like 55 or 60 cases over the last couple of years. And then if Sikh families try to get their girls back, there have been attacks on gurdwaras. Even Ranjit Singh’s statue has been defaced. It’s only been up for two years and it has been defaced twice already. People took a hammer to it and knocked his arm off. I mean he was a heroic figure in the history of the entire region. So I think that this only adds to the case, it becomes more than a suspicion at this point, that Pakistan is playing, as it always has, a crucial role in providing safe haven for the Khalistani movement. Places where they can train, hide out, get medical care, and muster and then smuggle across the border into Punjab. Been happening since 1971.

GSV In your book you write “Western governments were not keen to take sides in India’s internal battle.” The arrest of Jagtar Singh Johal from Scotland in India in 2017 for several targeted killings in Punjab shows the continuing danger for India of the Western indifference for Khalistani supporters active in their backyard. What is your advice for India- what should it do to educate the world on the dangers of this approach?

TM The Indian government has not scored a great success in the propaganda war over this. They have been unable over many years to convince western governments to be more proactive, more aggressive, packing down on the Khalistani movement. In part because they always had very weak answers on the difficult questions they faced in reply. Take 1984 for example. An enormously sensitive subject for the Sikhs, because of the massacre that we mentioned after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Well, did the Indian government have a good answer? No they did not, because for decades, decades went by when the cover up continued. Did the Congress party come forward and say yes, we admit, we will confront the members of our party who encouraged, winked at, aided or were complicit in those massacres? I didn’t hear that, did you? Nobody heard that. They kept up the cover up. The police likewise. Pains anyone to say, the police were standing by and letting it happen in many cases. And they too were complicit, and they too, they covered up for each other. So when the Sikhs reasonably raised this as an example of government oppression, and discrimination against Sikhs, guess what? They were right. And so it has only been in recent years that this long denied, long delayed justice has started far too late to be realized. Now Sajjan Kumar I believe is still in jail, he’s an old man now of course. Justice came very late and insufficiently. It’s only been in recent years that Manmohan Singh, a Sikh Prime Minister, was the first to stand up and on behalf of the nation and apologize, as qualified as the apology may have been, but still it was something, better than nothing you have to admit. For that reason and among many others, the Indian government, well, they could only really step up themselves and say look, the killings by Sikh terrorists are intolerable and disgraceful if they admitted that the killings by Hindu mobs were also intolerable and disgraceful. And what have they got. And now they have a situation where SFJ routinely refer to the massacres as Sikh genocide, and almost nobody knows about the 21, 000 killed in Punjab. Much greater numbers of Sikhs and Hindus murdered in Punjab. All of those Sikh policemen and all of those Sikh policeman’s families, and they Hindus dragged off buses and machine gunned in the ditch. People don’t know about that. The Sikhs frankly have done a better job at propaganda, making their case. Because they were handicapped, the Indian government was unable to make that case. Because they didn’t want to talk about the massacres. Well, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be silent about one massacre and make a fuss about the other. It’s got to be both, and it’s only now that really the Indian government has admitted all of that and confronted all of that. That would have made it more persuasive in previous decades if they’d said that look, to western governments, we admit the errors of the Congress party and the police. And we’re going to put people in jail about it. We’re going to pursue them aggressively in court. We’re going to do something about it. Then fairness would have required, then western governments would say that now we’re going to listen to you.

GSV After your report “Khalistan: a project of Pakistan “ came out last year, there were reports of ‘50 Sikh scholars’ asking the Macdonald-Laurier Institute to retract the report. The names interestingly included those of supporters of Kashmiri separatism like Dr Hafsa Kanjwal and Dr Idrisa Pandit. Do you think there has been an active effort to link the Khalistani project with Kashmiri separatism from India over the years, and how far has it succeeded?

TM Yes there certainly has been on the Pakistani side. Going back to, you may have noticed in the book, I discuss in some details, about Talwinder Singh Parmar, the founder of the Babbar Khalsa in British Columbia and the leader of the Air India bomb plot. And it was notable that he died in the company of five other gunmen, two of whom were Pakistani agents. One Kashmiri. And in the files of the investigation you will find detailed evidence of the close links, common training, common strategy between Khalistani militants and Kashmiri militants. It’s the so called K2 strategy: we’re stronger together. We both have a common agenda, to at the very least bleed India, make trouble for India. Kashmiris don’t care if Khalistanis get their own country. Khalistanis may not care if Kashmiris get theirs. But they both care if they can double their effectiveness by working together and they certainly did. For Pakistan as a geopolitical matter of course, that’s equally essential. The Pakistanis were hardly backing the Khalistan movement because they are romantic about the Sikhs and they love the Sikhs and they want them to have their own country out of the goodness of their heart. Quite the reverse. In the words of Jagjit Singh Chauhan, the father of the Khalistan movement himself, the Pakistanis were cynically exploiting the situation of the Sikhs. They just wanted the Sikhs to make trouble for India to get back at India, to keep India on the back foot in the long running geopolitical contest between these two arch enemies. To work together, it simply made sense. It’s been remarkably ineffective. Certainly in recent years, because if you are going to support an independence movement in Punjab, there needs to be an independence movement in Punjab. You can have all the strategic reasons you like for helping them out, but who’s they? At a time when they get a fraction of one percent of the vote, there’s no there there. The actual movement wanting independence in Punjab has died out to the point where people outside trying to promote it have no one to work with.