Dilli-Ottawa relations hit rock bottom over the row surrounding the killing of Khalistan movement leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Here's the larger picture of the murky world of foreign intelligence projects.

Nijjar’s killing and spy wars

Nadim Siraj

September 23, 2023: The Khalistan movement. Terrorism in Kashmir. Insurgency in the Northeast – what is common to these three things? All three of them are historical, sophisticated foreign undercover intelligence operations aimed at destabilising India in a controlled manner, from time to time.

Canada’s smoke-and-mirrors role in the simmering Khalistan movement is back in the headlines after a long time. In this tense atmosphere, let’s try to connect the dots, and let’s try to understand precisely why certain foreign powers are perpetually interested in meddling in India’s internal affairs and keeping the Indian establishment on its toes.

Everybody is talking about the Khalistan movement and Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was gunned down by mystery assailants in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18 this year. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set the ball rolling about the Khalistan debate earlier this week by openly accusing Indian government agents of eliminating the Sikh separatist leader.

Trudeau and Khalistan

Ever since Trudeau’s explosive remarks, India-Canada relations spiralled out of control as Dilli and Ottawa slapped punitive measures on each other. The debate about Punjab separatism and the validity of the Khalistan movement is firmly back in drawing rooms, dining tables, offices, clubhouses, neighbourhood shops, buses, trains, and all over social media. The talk of the town, everywhere, is this – is Canada trying to help Punjab break away from Bharat and become independent?

To understand this escalating problem, let’s take a step back and look at how the world of geopolitics works – the murky world of geopolitics. A world of snakes and ladders, undercover missions, red herrings, true lies, fake truths, and lots of unwanted deaths.

In 1947, when uncivilised British invaders reluctantly released their grip on India, they left us only officially. In reality, they never really left us for good. The hawks soon came back to haunt us in the shape of the modern-day Anglo-American West, led by imperialist Washington. Unable to physically control the Indian subcontinent, they used their sophisticated intelligence networks to pull the strings from a distance.

Basically, the collective West has been desperate to take control of the new India for two selfish purposes. One, the influential corporate players of the West see this country as an enormous marketplace teeming with cheap and immensely talented labour, and as a massive pool of 143 crore customers. They want to control this tempting and lucrative marketplace, so that they can make a fortune by doing business here, and eventually use that money to fund their own economic growth back home.

Secondly, the Washington-led western governments collectively want Dilli to become an obedient Asian ally in their coming war on a fast-rising China. America wants to hold on to its status as the world’s No.1 superpower. In that desperate race of hegemony, the United States is caught in an intensifying tug of war with the Chinese. To go about its mission, the US needs a major partner in Asia and ample military foothold near its enemy territory. In that quest, the US has only one thing in mind – how to control India.

Using their widespread and well-oiled spying networks, the West has opened up three disturbance projects in India during the past half a century. They are Punjab, Kashmir, and the Northeast states. The calculated instability is carefully ignited, funded, and orchestrated by the foreign intelligence apparatus.

Their task is cut out – to turn the three disturbed zones into bargaining chips for the West. The plan has been to use these bargaining chips to try to pressure the Indian establishment into taking orders from the West on various matters. That’s the root purpose of this foreign meddling.

The Five Eyes

Before we dig deep into these three intelligence projects, let’s first look at how the spying and disruption system works. The two most powerful weapons that the Anglo-American West has today are: its ability to control the global narrative, and the penetration of its spying networks. Thanks to these two weapons, the West has been able to gleefully carry out dozens of meddling, regime-change, and invasion operations since the end of World War 2.

For these covert operations, the West relies on a platform called the ‘Five Eyes’. The Five Eyes is an umbrella network of 21 domestic and foreign-focused intelligence agencies from five English-speaking countries – the US, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Five Eyes intelligence network includes some well-known spying agencies, such as the CIA (US Central Intelligence Agency), the FBI (US Federal Bureau of Investigation), and Britain’s MI-5, also called Security Service. This super-network behaves like a gigantic intelligence army, carrying out undercover meddling activities around the world; such as the Khalistan project, Kashmir separatism, and turmoil in the Northeast. The umbrella body is not a secret, having been formed following a formal deal called the UK-USA Agreement during the late 1940s.

The Khalistan project

Let’s first look at the insurgency in Punjab, since the Khalistan movement is now a hot topic of discussion. The separatist movement started way back in the 1930s, just when it seemed that British invaders would soon have to pack their bags and leave the subcontinent. The movement’s leaders basically want Punjab to become an independent country.

The Khalistan movement started building up slowly from the 1940s through to the 1970s. Then during the 1980s, after the Indian government under Indira Gandhi nationalised the oil marketing companies for having refused to deliver fuel to the Indian Air Force during the 1971 war with Pakistan, the Khalistan movement literally exploded onto the scene. It was clearly a cause-and-effect scenario.

The escalation was followed by highly disturbing chapters in Indian history, such as the Operation Blue Star crackdown of Khalistan separatists at the Golden Temple, and the deadly 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The Khalistan movement died down during the 1990s, but it is now back in the limelight.

Coming back to Canada’s role in helping destabilise Punjab, the question is: why do most of the Khalistan movement leaders operate from there? Well, that’s obviously because Canada is historically the most favourite destination for migrants from Punjab. The North American country hosts the world’s largest diaspora of Sikh people – it’s a sizable population of 7.7 lakh. That’s why, the US-led West conveniently uses Canada as the base camp for fuelling the Khalistan movement.

And why did the West select Punjab to be targeted? It’s because this region can serve as a convenient geostrategic location for western powers to have a toehold in South Asia someday in the future. The ethno-religious region of Punjab essentially straddles India and Pakistan on both sides of the international border. Also, Punjab is close to the crucial stretch of land covering Afghanistan, which has historically been misused and invaded by various foreign forces.

In addition to that, Punjab is also not very far from the western end of the arching Himalayan range; and that’s where lies the westernmost part of China – America’s sworn enemy.

So, what is the West’s gameplan here? It is this: If the Indian establishment refuses to carry out our orders from time to time, we will respond by repeatedly destabilising Punjab by fanning the Khalistan movement. That’s precisely the motive behind the project. In fact, the governments and deep states of Pakistan, Italy, and Germany, too, have been involved over the past, to various degrees, in supporting the Khalistan cause.

The Kashmir project

It’s the same story with the spectacular but restive Kashmir region. The separatist movement there began during the late 1980s just as Soviet Russia was crumbling into pieces. Also, right at that time, neocolonial corporate powers from a rising China and the stagnating West were rubbing their hands, getting ready to dive into the great Indian marketplace. Again, a clear cause-and-effect scenario emerged.

Various competing foreign players from West to East – and not in connivance with each other – needed to use Kashmir as a bargaining chip to prise open India’s precious economy. We saw a predictable sequence of events thereafter. Insurgency and terrorism in Kashmir and also across the country started intensifying, and just as all this was unfolding, the Indian economy was being opened up. Foreign companies began receiving a red-carpet welcome. Cause-and-effect, isn’t it?

Fast forward to today. More than 17,400 foreign corporations, mostly from the US and China, are doing business in India, both directly as well as through subsidiaries, according to the latest government data. These companies and conglomerates are minting money, and then repatriating the majority of the profits to their native economies. Flush with dough transferred from India, the western countries, as also China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore in the East, started becoming more prosperous, correspondingly offloading their poverty onto India.

So, what about terrorism and separatism in Kashmir right now? Things have gone quiet, compared to the tumultuous times of the early years of the instability. The question is this: did the foreign players decide to cool down their covert Kashmir meddling project because their plan to enter the Indian marketplace has succeeded?

In fact, in this race to control the Indian marketplace, there is a possibility that Moscow and Beijing, too, would have been interested to have their fingers in the pie over the disturbances in Kashmir. We all know that Pakistan is the epicentre of insurgency in Kashmir, and crucially, Islamabad is an ally of Beijing. Secondly, China routinely counters the Indian government’s proposals at the United Nations to designate most-wanted terrorists who operate in Pakistan and Kashmir. So, there’s ample evidence that China has never been on India’s side in the latter’s pursuit at dousing terrorism in the valley.

US diplomat spills it

There is yet another disturbing angle to the Kashmir meddling project. Way back in 1954, Chester Bowles, who was jointly the US ambassador to India and Nepal from 1951-53, wrote a revealing memoir of the time he spent on the Indian subcontinent. In his book ‘Ambassador’s Report’, Bowles revealed that the US government and the UN were both very closely monitoring developments in Kashmir at that time from an imperialist viewpoint.

Revealing numerous other inside stories, Bowles wrote that the US was culturing on precisely what should be done with the Kashmir valley – including whether that entire region deserves nationhood or not. From that book and many other inside stories and commentaries, we now know that the US indeed has a very deep hegemonic interest in the strategic Kashmir region.

Some commentators critical of Washington’s invasive foreign policy believe that if separatism in Kashmir is made to go out of hand, and if the valley hypothetically cuts loose from India, then America would instantly pounce on the prized land, either militarily or under the cover of a UN peacekeeping mission.

Imagine if the Pentagon indeed gets a large patch of area right at the meeting point of India, Pakistan, and China. It will be a major geopolitical breakthrough for the US military that is desperately trying to surround China and cut off Beijing from its ally Islamabad.

The Northeast project

The northeastern states also face the same problem of interference, but with more obvious signs and symptoms of the foreign hand. It is somewhat well-documented that Christian missionaries from Europe once flooded the entire Northeast region over a 20-year stretch between 1931 and 1951. It was almost as if it were some premeditated project. Soon after the missionaries arrived and settled down, multiple insurgencies broke out in various states of the Northeast. Cause-and-effect, again?

We have seen hotspots in Manipur – as you are seeing once again right now – and also in Nagaland, Assam, Mizoram, Tripura, and Meghalaya. If you look closely, there are about 16,500 churches in the Northeast. Among them, over 16,000 churches come under the fold of Protestantism, which is one of the three most popular denominations of Christianity. Catholicism and Orthodox are the two others.

Now, here’s an intriguing and undeniable link between the Protestant-focused missionary influence across the Northeast and the Five Eyes intelligence network of the West. What is that link? The five countries behind the Five Eyes network are informally known as the world’s five main Protestant countries. In geopolitics, they are often referred to as the ‘five homes’ of liberal Protestantism. Therefore, there’s every possibility that the Protestant Anglo-American West could be playing games in the northeastern backyard by using the Protestant missionary units camped there.

Of course, the West apart, China, too, often makes it clear that it won’t let the border areas have a sound sleep, focusing its instigations on the border with Arunachal Pradesh. The geographical positioning of the Northeast makes it a tempting target; a vital bargaining chip. For Washington, it lies in the vital friction zone between mainland India and mainland China.

So, once you start to join these dots, you will realise that there is a chilling link between the disturbances in Punjab, Kashmir, and the Northeast – an indelible pattern will emerge before your critical eyes. It’s as if these three disturbances have the same handwriting, or the same signature. The signature of various foreign powers from faraway Washington to nearby Beijing.

The Anglo-American West, in particular, has its finger in the pie in many other places in the world. Its knack for covert interventions is one of the reasons why it remains the biggest imperialist power of our times. Look at the disturbances surrounding the Kurdish region, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet, just to name a few.

The mainstream western media openly backs separatism and anti-state trends in these three places, just like it backs the insurgents in Punjab, Kashmir, and the Northeast using subtle and cunning wordplay. Take the CIA’s Free Tibet Movement, for instance. It’s an infamous western project to keep China on a tight leash. The West uses the Tibet project judiciously and sparingly to put pressure on Beijing.

Caught in the crossfire

Now, the whole point is: who actually suffers the most from these interference games and intelligence wars? It’s mainly the unsuspecting public. They are the ones who mainly get caught in the crossfire, and there are numerous examples of this. A look at the number of deaths says everything. Well more than 40,000 civilians have lost their lives as a result of the insurgency in Kashmir, and thousands more have died due to Kashmir-related and Pakistan-origin terrorist attacks.

In the Northeast states, several thousand civilians have fallen victim to multiple insurgencies – we don’t even have a genuine head count. As for the Khalistan movement, spare a thought for the 329 people who died on board the Air India Kanishka passenger plane that was blown to smithereens midair by Babbar Khalsa insurgents in 1985. Also, think about the 10,000-plus civilians killed during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The rioting was a fallout of Operation Blue Star – the Indian government’s crackdown of separatists at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

While people are hotly debating the ongoing Dilli-Ottawa standoff, they are not being shown the larger picture by the mainstream media. A larger picture that encapsulates the shady geopolitical games that modern-day empires are playing with India and many other civlisations around the world.

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(Image credit: Rawpixel)


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