On the one hand, the enemy is attacking us with American made missiles from across the border, and in another, a Group Captain rank officer of Indian Air Force is caught supplying sensitive and secret documents to Pakistani agents. It is indeed a serious matter. It is dangerous for the country. The other day Pakistan fired missile which was supplied to it by the United States of America for use against Al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan. Pakistan is now using the missiles to hit our civilian locations. Our soldiers were also martyred when Pakistan forces fired the American missiles on our military posts. The Indian forces retaliated and we too have inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy side. But any retaliatory action has limited result. Hitting the enemy like we did in the surgical strike last year is more effective. There is a saying — “offence is the best defence”. We should go on the offensive to deal with our enemy.
There is a serious charge against the Group Captain of the Air Force for passing on secret documents to Pakistan. These documents are said to be giving details of our armed installations. The accused officer was posted at the Air Force Headquarters in New Delhi. It was after 10 days of intense interrogation of the officer by the counter intelligence wing of the Air Force that the officer was handed over to Delhi Police which has registered case under Official Secret Act. A Delhi court has sent the accused officer to five days of Police custody.
The Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan is said to have laid “honey trap” on the officer on the Facebook. Two Facebook accounts of two Pakistani women were used. The accused Group Captain indulged in ‘chats’ with Pakistani women. The officer apparently was charmed by their sexual overtures. On January 31, the Air Force took the Group Captain into custody. Some more people may be involved in the espionage episode.
Classified Documents Grading
The classified documents of all the three sections of the Defence Forces namely the Army, the Air Force and the Navy are given different grading of secret to top secret. In Defence Forces there is strict rule for using social media. The Defence forces have limited permission to use social media. They cannot post their pictures in uniform nor are they allowed to share information on social media about their place of posting. The officers are not supposed to share information about their camps, posts and offices. Even after such strict rules the Air Officer got trapped by the Pakistani women.
Ditching the Nation
But this is not the first case when our Defence Force personnel have passed on secret information to the agents of the enemy. Some 30-35 years ago, then Maj. Gen. Frank Larkins, his brother Air Vice Marshal Kenith Larkins and Col. Jasbir Singh were caught giving top secret defence documents to the agents of the enemy nation. It was known then as Larkins secret leaks. Charges against all the three officers were proved. After serving the sentence in prison the guilty officers returned to lead normal life. One rotten fish is enough to pollute the entire lake. But by and large all officers of the Defence forces are committed and highly patriotic. Their nationalism is beyond doubt as they are ready to sacrifice their life for the nation. But this is also a fact that few officers in the greed of money betray the cause of the nation and divulge secret to enemy countries and their agents.
Doing espionage on Armed forces is unpardonable. Such officers don’t deserve any leniency. They must get harshest of punishment under the law. They are like Jaichands and are traitors. They stab the country from behind.
The ISI of Pakistan is always on the look for obtaining information on our defence preparedness. They work to destabilise India and to create troubles including planting terrorist attack in our country since they cannot succeed in winning a war. In the past, Pakistan faced defeats in the war against India, be it 1965, 1971 or the Kargil incursion of 1999.
Pakistan has waged a proxy war against us by terrorists attack. Right from Khalistan activists in Punjab to Separatists of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has been providing funds and arms to these anti national forces.
Former President of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq had an important role in establishing ISI to hit India without a war. The headquarters of ISI is in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan. President Zia-ul-Haq had posted select Army officers to make the organisation a strong dirty trick department of Pakistan Army.
The Mumbai Terror attack of 2008 and bomb blasts in the Indian Embassy in Kabul was executed by the ISI. The Pakistani agency ISI is always active in finding moles in India who could work for it as agents for money. At times it succeeds in getting vital information on our Armed forces through Indian agents.
In the history of Independent India, no case has come like the Sama Espionage case. In 1980, over 50 jawans of 168 Brigade deployed on the line of control were apprehended on the charges of spying for Pakistan. There is no point in discussing this incident in detail here. But it must be said that all those apprehended were given severe punishment. It will be interesting to find how the enemy country picks up agents from within the Indian Armed Forces to work for it. How few coins become heavier than sense of duty and patriotism? We must try to find out how the enemy country traps our forces.
It was only last year when had prolonged stand off with China in Doklam on the Eastern sector of Indo-China border. Once the charges against the Group Captain of Indian Air Force cause in spying for Pakistan is proved, the man should be punished with maximum sentence for the crime.
(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)
R K Sinha