The former US military intelligence captain, who saw Pakistan interference in Afghanistan up close but felt frustrated over not being able to go after ISI-backed Taliban in hot pursuit under US policy, is an ardent supporter of a free Balochistan.
Captain (Rtd) Dipesh Chatterjee got a Bronze Star for his heroism in the battlefield of Afghanistan. He supports the idea of full US military supplies to the Baloch freedom fighters, but says the Indian soldiers have to play their role under the responsibility to protect clause of the new norms of international laws because “Indian military establishment is culturally and politically better tuned with the people of Balochistan.” an MA in international relations and MS in Computer science, he had two deployments to Afghanistan (Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Meritorious Sevice Medal) and one deployment to Iraq (Valorous Unit Award). He was also awarded the “Knowlton Intelligence Award” for lifetime achievements in the Intelligence Community.
Q. Pakistan says US troops are chocolate boys who cant match the Taliban fighting prowess. How do you respond to that?
A. Pakistani Generals are known to roar in public while purring in combat. In 1971 the Pakistani General so called “Tiger” Niazi promised that Hindu Soldiers were too weak to fight his beef eating Pakistani Soldiers. But when time came, he happily surrendered with 90,000 Pakistani Soldiers to the Indian Army.
The US Army is the world’s most lethal land fighting force in the history of mankind. We have never lost a battle and defeated evils like Nazism, Communism and Al Qaeda. Can Pakistan say the same facts about their achievements?
Q. 1- When you were posted in Afghanistan, what did you learn about Pakistan sponsoring of terrorism?
A. All Haqqani network and Hizb E Gulbuddin Halmatyar fighter’s, even the lowest levels originated from Pakistan. In Logar province, Pakistan was managing its entire Kabul suicide bombing team that was responsible for attacks on ISAF headquarters as well as Indian Embassy in Kabul. The US rules of engagement were strict in Logar to appease Pakistan which prevented use of heavy weapons against this group. Eventually we lost 6 soldiers in just one town in Logar trying to capture these Pakistani terrorists of Haqqani network. One of my US Soldier’s daughter is an orphan because the US military was not allowed to open artillery fire on Haqqani terrorists who attacked our platoon. It is a painful memory to bring back.
Q. Why do you think Balkanization of Pakistan is good for the world and are US policy makers steering towards the idea of a free Balochistan. Is that a feasible idea?
A. Balochistan is a strategic gateway for China into the Arabian Gulf. Once CPEC and Gwadar is complete, China will station a massive naval nuclear armed fleet in The Arabian Sea. This will act as a force multiplier for Iran and give Saudi Arabia the option of leaving US influence for Chinese domination. In turn US control as well as influence of the Middle East would be completely lost. This would be total defeat for freedom and absolute victory for terrorism.
Once complete, CPEC-Gwadar corridor would also help end the rise of India and undermine the strategic partnership between the US and India. A weak India will mean the US will be caught in more endless conflicts around the region with a stronger enemy fully backed by a strong Chinese naval fleet.
A Free Balochistan allied with India and the US will allow the US to maintain strategic military presence in the region. Additionally, a free Balochistan allied with India would counter Radical Islamists in the region and provide US forces an exit strategy in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq and the gulf region.
Q. Why do you think India has to take the lead in freeing Balochistan? is that possible since Pakistan is dangling it nukes in the face of New Delhi?
A. India has to take the lead when it comes to “boots on the ground” in Balochistan as the Indian military establishment is culturally and politically better tuned with the people of Balochistan. As a result, an Indian presence in Balochistan will not be seen as an invading force. The allied state of Afghanistan will also support such an expanded presence.
The US has limited Human Resources and an already stressed out military. In such a case, US policy should back India in the US Congress, United Nations and against Pakistan. The rest could be managed by the secular democratic Republic of India.
Q. How can India help when Pakistan dangles it nuclear arms in the face of New Delhi?
A. Pakistan and India’s nuclear equation is not mutually assured destruction as Pakistan lacks such capability. As a result, Pakistan’s nuclear bogey is merely a lie that the country was using as a veil to promote terrorism with impunity. The Indian military’s surgical strike in 2016 and ongoing policy of hot pursuit has proved that Pakistan’s nuclear option is not really an option.
India as a nuclear armed rising super power must focus on strategic goals in Balochistan unhindered by any nuclear threat made by Pakistan.
Q. While Balochistan struggle for freedom is legitimate, Baloch militants too at times become judge, jury and executioners. What will your advise be to them?
A. The Geneva conventions provide special rights to all freedom fighters as well as insurgents. I expect the Baloch freedom fighters to fight for their rights by all means necessary. Pakistan must be reminded to follow Geneva conventions with Baloch freedom fighters which means they have no right to arrest or kill anyone without warrants and due judicial process. Pakistan must follow UN rules on Human Rights and understand the plight of the Baloch people.
Baloch freedom fighters are also ambassadors for the cause. As a result their actions creates perception for the rest of the world. We need support from the free world in order to successfully meet the objectives of the Baloch people. Hence, we must respect the human rights of the innocent as well as show mutual respect for those we don’t agree with while struggle for our rights.
I urge the Baloch freedom fighters not to harm innocent civilians accordingly.
Freedom of religion is also very important for the Balochs and I would advise the Baloch diaspora to work with Indians and Americans to bring these rights to Pakistan.
Q. There is some talk about US using Gwadar Port for supplies to Afghanistan. What is the likelihood of it really happening?
A. Pakistan will not allow usage of Gwadar unless US cuts a deal with China. Gwadar port has been in China’s hands for over a decade now and illegally occupied. If US, NATO wants to make a deal with Pakistan for Gwadar, their real masters in Beijing will have to approve it. India will oppose it. Any deal with Islamabad will be harmful to the Balochistan cause.