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Ex-RAW & ISI Chiefs Dive Into Kashmir, Jadhav & More in New Book

The conversations between Dulat & Durrani, guided by Sinha, took place in cities like Istanbul, Bangkok & Kathmandu.

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World
3 min read
Ex-ISI head Asad Durrani and Former RAW chief AS Dulat.
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In what is billed as a first-of-its-kind book, former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief AS Dulat and ex-Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) head Asad Durrani feature in conversation and discuss everything related to India-Pakistan ties: the surgical strikes, Kulbhushan Jadhav, Nawaz Sharif, Kashmir and Burhan Wani.

"The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace" is written jointly with Aditya Sinha and also touches upon other key issues like a comparison of RAW and ISI, Hafiz Saeed and even a freewheeling talk on the idea of 'Akhand Bharat', among many others.

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Sometime in 2016, a series of dialogues took place, which set out to find a meeting ground, even if only an illusion, between Dulat, who headed RAW from 1999-2000, and Durrani, Director General of the ISI directorate from 1990-1991. 

As they could not meet in their home countries, the conversations, guided by Sinha, took place in cities like Istanbul, Bangkok and Kathmandu.

On the table were subjects that have long haunted South Asia, flashpoints that take lives regularly. It was a deep dive into the politics of the subcontinent, as seen through the eyes of two spymasters.

On Ajit Doval

Speaking about Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his experience in Pakistan in the 1980s, Durrani in the book says that Doval now believes that the country should be “ruled with an iron fist”, reports The Indian Express.

Comparing Doval, who some have called “Modi’s henchman”, with Trump, he adds in his book: “He hasn’t changed policy... He shouts more, like Trump does, a lot of hot air. He provides that masala.”

However, he adds that Doval cannot be counted on to stabilise or improve the India-Pakistan relationship.

Next time he’s in Lahore or Islamabad, it will be for all the right reasons for India, but all the wrong reasons for the long-term relationship, and without wishing us (Pakistan) any benefit.
Asad Durrani in his book 

Dulat, however, counters Durrani’s statement and says that Doval isn’t a “hard-liner” on Pakistan. Instead, The Indian Express report quotes him as saying in the book, that he is merely convinced that “Modi is the greatest thing that has happened to India”.

He added that Doval is one of India’s “outstanding operational guys” and said that the latter’s only problem was that he didn’t trust anybody.

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On Kalbhushan Jadhav

Speaking about the retired navy officer, Kalbhushan Yadav, who was arrested by Pakistan on charges of spying, Dulat in his book has said that if these charges “were a RAW operation and he was a RAW spy, then it’s a pretty sloppy operation”, the report adds.

Durrani, in turn, said that Pakistan’s arrest of Yadav for “being a spy”, was an attempt by the country to “counter the Indian threat after Pathankot”. Expanding on this in the book, he said that since India was looking for links between Pathankot and Pakistani establishment, this was Pakistan’s counter-argument – “We know you’ve been doing this (in Balochistan).”

Both Dulat and Durrani, however, agree that the Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies should have been more discreet on the subject, the report adds.

On Kashmir Insurgency

The Indian Express report states that Durrani, who was ISI chief in 1990 when the insurgency first started in Kashmir, considers it Pakistan’s “biggest failure” that it wasn’t able to keep a lid on the Kashmir insurgency, that they “didn’t know how far it would go”, and that Pakistan’s leverage over the factions proved “less than successful”.

In his book, he said that the formation of the Hurriyat “to provide a political direction” to the resistance was a “good idea”, but that “letting the factions to do what they bloody well wanted to”, was not.

(With inputs from PTI and The Indian Express)

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