Discussion on Siachen De-militarization with Air Chief Marshal Tyagi, Co-chair Track-II
I had occasion to discuss the Siachen De-militarization Issue with Air Chief Marshal Tyagi (Retd) today (02 November 2012) during a break in the National Security Seminar at the USI. ACM Tyagi as you know was the Co-Chair of the Track II Team whose agreement with their Pakistani counterparts at Lahore to demilitarize Siachen was put on the net first by Atlantic Council of Ottawa that broke the news to the world, particularly Indians. Given below is the gist of our conversation.
he said that each and every member was individually selected by Atlantic Council of Ottawa and not by GoI.
1)To my query as to how the Track II Team was selected, he said that each and every member was individually selected by Atlantic Council of Ottawa and not by GoI. He has no idea how Atlantic Council of Ottawa got these names.
2). Queried about the source of funding, his response was that the complete expenses at various locales including in Pakistan were borne by Atlantic Council of Ottawa (implying travel, stay, meetings, the works which obviously would be five star). I then asked him if he knew that both the Atlantic Council of Ottawa and Atlantic Council of US are actually extensions of Pakistani Army and funds would obviously be coming from the Pakistani Military / ISI. He said “so be it” but their job was only dialogue.
3). I then asked him which government officers briefed the Track II Team and what exactly was the content of such briefings? He said that it is the Track II Team that asked for briefing from MEA and the Military. The MEA briefing was largely about the visit of our Foreign Minister to Pakistan and this briefing had NO mention of Siachen, and the Track II Team also asked NO questions about Siachen (rather strange !). In the briefing by the Military, the Military categorically stated they did not want demilitarization from Siachen.
the Track II Team also asked NO questions about Siachen (rather strange !). I
4). I further asked when the MEA did not give any directions for demilitarization and the Military was categorically against it, why did our Track II Team agree to demilitarization? He responded that this was their individual view. I expressed astonishment why such an agreement was signed in the first place. To this, he said no one affixed their signatures and it was not an agreement but really an account of what was discussed. I pointed out that the document talks of ‘agreement’ and not ‘record of discussion’ but he insisted there was no agreement.
5). I asked him what the de-briefings were after the various meetings. He said there were no de-briefings but a report was sent by the Track II Team to the Raksha Mantra, MEA, NSA and Service Chiefs (some other members maintain that after each visit the Track II Team did get in touch with MEA and Military representatives).
6). I asked him why the Indian public has been kept in the dark and why not put out a statement in the media. He said that my article had already done that.
He then asked me whether I still consider their actions as “treason”? I replied I was more convinced now that without any directions by MEA towards demilitarization and our Military firm on NO demilitarization, this “Private Body”, as stated in his e-mail, had still gone ahead to discuss and agree to withdraw from Indian Territory
7). He then asked me whether I still consider their actions as “treason”? I replied I was more convinced now that without any directions by MEA towards demilitarization and our Military firm on NO demilitarization, this “Private Body”, as stated in his e-mail, had still gone ahead to discuss and agree to withdraw from Indian Territory in violation of both the Constitution of India and the 1994 Parliament Resolution reiterating that entire J&K is part of India. He then said he had erroneously mentioned “Private Body”. Actually, they were “individuals” in their own private capacity. When I pointed out that he was the Co-Chair, he said he had acted in his individual capacity and had absolutely “no control” over the other Track II Members. Their conversation was akin to the discussion he was having with me.
I said I do not agree as the two are hardly comparable when a strategic issue like withdrawal from territory is being discussed at international level with a military heavy Pakistani body. His response was that I was welcome to my views and he would not like to continue the discussion any further. At that juncture he also said the he had received some questions by someone called Devasahayam but he was not going to respond to any questions from any quarter. I had other questions but the conversation had ended abruptly.
You may draw your own conclusions from the above including examining why an organization like Atlantic Council of Ottawa funded by the Pakistani Military /ISI would spend millions to hold conferences in different exotic locales and with what aim.It is not without reason that the Supreme Court of Pakistan recently ordered the Pakistani Government to take legal action against General Mirza Aslam Beg and General Asad Durrani for distributing millions of rupees among politicians to rig the 1999 general elections while both held the appointments of Pakistani Army Chief and Director General ISI respectively. There is definitely more to this murky affair than meets the eye.