QUAD 2.0 or Tianxia: Options before the world - The Daily Guardian
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QUAD 2.0 or Tianxia: Options before the world

QUAD 2.0 has the toolkit to handle China. It needs to sit across the table and thrash out things. It would be prudent to get into a need-based partnership with focused objectives to bottle the Chinese genie.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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As per Gordon Chang, “Xi thinks everyone should acknowledge not only Chinese hegemony but also China’s rule… China’s ruler has both the right and responsibility to rule Tianxia, or all under Heaven!” Does the world want to be in this Chinese hell? If not, it needs the QUAD. It is a global imperative.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) was an informal strategic dialogue between the US, India, Japan, and Australia. It was born out of a disaster. The QUAD countries were the first and most active respondents of the 2004 Tsunami. They formed a “Tsunami Core Group”. It brought together the four nations best equipped to deal with the disaster. Incidentally, China has traditionally kept away from such relief activities. The first QUAD1.0 meeting was held on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meet in Manila in May 2007. In September 2007, a Naval exercise was held in the Bay of Bengal as part of the 2nd Malabar Series. It featured the four navies, along with the Singapore Navy. QUAD1.0 had differing perceptions, lack of clear purpose or objectives. There was apprehension that it would become an Asian NATO. The Chinese objected vehemently. It dissipated in 2008

 In 2017, the QUAD had a second coming due to Chinese coercive behaviour in trade, Doklam, and South China Sea. Representatives of the QUAD met in Manilla again in Nov, 2017. From then, things have progressed incrementally. QUAD2.0 centered around “Free, Open and Inclusive Indo-Pacific Region”, stable balance of power, promotion of a rules-based system and limiting Chinese assertiveness in its territorial and maritime claims. However, differences on threat perception, capabilities, strategic compulsions, priorities, constitutional bindings, and culture persisted to limit QUAD2.0. The Chinese have been dismissive about it. Their foreign minister remarked that the QUAD will dissipate like sea foam. However, China’s actions in the recent past have changed the scene completely.

China is waging a multi domain war and has become dangerously militant. The BRI and debt trap diplomacy forces 70 odd countries to politically align with China. Of the balance 120 odd countries, it needs support of about 30 (25%) countries to have a simple majority in any world/ international forum to pass any resolution. Natural differences of opinions will give China these numbers. If WHO is any example, China has cornered enough heft in other international institutions to parrot its line. It is also a Veto holder. All put together it is at a stage to reframe the global rules. It is cornering most consumer nations to continue dependence on it for manufacturing and daily supply. It is aggressively using diplomacy and military power to scare off countries which can take on the relocation and decoupling mantle. Even if decoupling is possible, it will finance that effort in the relocated country. Hence the location might change but the manufacture and supply chain could still be Chinese. Its manufacturing web and BRI can potentially continue to power its monopolistic rise and give it control over world trade. The BRI debt trap has ensured raw material and energy in streams at depressed prices (for the next 25 years at least) from most Africa, Middle East, and South America. It has weaponised its markets as experienced jarringly by Australia. It has also weaponised the Wuhan Virus to infect the world and debilitate it. Chinese armed forces are in the process of usurping the ‘Global Commons’ of the China Seas. Hence major sea trade routes could be sovereign to China. Its ‘Three Strategies’ — public opinion, legal exploitation, and influence operations have undermined governments and subverted democracies. It is also on a data suppression cum theft spree through normal electronic gadgets. It aims to build the greatest military on earth. It has protected its flanks with two impoverished nuclear mavericks — Pakistan and N Korea. These China dependent wild cards are let loose on its competitors to keep them unpleasantly occupied. N Korea on Japan, S Korea, and the US. Pakistan on India. Military-Civil Fusion has ensured that it gets front end technology at no cost or risk by theft/compromise. The risk, effort, investment, and thought are of progressive western democratic nations against whom their own technology is used to their detriment at their cost! It is amply clear that China is on a high roll of global subsidy. Their model is perfect for 1.4 billion Chinese who will be subsided by 6.4 billion of the rest of the earth as underlings. Chinese ‘Tianxia’ will be communist. Welcome to a new Sinic Global Order protected by the Great Firewall of Information. If this juggernaut is not stopped, I might end up as an orderly of Xi, in this ‘Tianxia’. I am naturally worried! So should you be.

The US led the world out of all crises from the Great Depression to the 2008 Financial Crisis, However, it stepped out of the global leadership role ever since the Wuhan Virus stuck the world. The trend had started earlier with President Trump’s “America First Policy”. It was exacerbated with the US inability to deal with the Wuhan Virus, race riots unseen for a long time, preoccupation with presidential elections, and a general fogging of its global outlook and power. Suddenly the world does not have a leader. Number One is temporarily incapacitated. Number Two is the Global Villain. The international community is in choppy seas. It is also evident that the US alone will not have the power to stop Chinese machinations. Powerful democracies must come together to sort out the problem. An aging EU is not willing to even look at the gauntlet. There is no other option than QUAD2.0.

The overall objective of the Quad2.0 was ambiguous to start with. However, as international focus is sharpening on an aggressive China, clarity is emerging. Hence the primary focus and aim should be to stall China from putting us underneath their Tianxia. If it amounts to containing and bottling it up even by force so be it. The rest of the objectives like open seas and rules-based order will follow. The four leaders need to put their shoulders to it together.

QUAD2.0 must provide leadership to the world. A superpower and three middle level powers; all four vibrant democracies comprising three civilizations – Western, Japanese, and Indian are a strong combination. Already this is finding traction with S Korea. Vietnam and New Zealand who are now part of QUAD Plus. In due course if things are put together, the EU will eventually join in. The deteriorating Sino Indian and Sino US relations and China’s unrelenting belligerence will propel QUAD2.0 into Global leadership. The US has been upping the stakes in the South China Sea. This has already emboldened the Philippines to pivot away from China. Indonesia has followed suit by conducting a four-day exercise in the South China Sea. An uptick in alignments with the QUAD2.0 is visible. The converse is that once the QUAD takes up the leadership role, the US will automatically assert itself.

QUAD2.0 has tremendous military potential. The US and India have strong and experienced Armed Forces. Combined with forces from Australia and Japan, it will be an overmatch for China. Contrary to popular imagination, these countries need not even come to each other’s direct aid. A coordinated multidirectional threat/ application of force is enough. China needs to be forced to look at two or more fronts constantly. This paradigm is playing out now. It needs to be refined. QUAD2.0 will be best served if there is understanding and commonality of intelligence sharing, communication, and logistics with just operational coordination. Political consonance is more important.

 The economic dimension is more important than the military one. QUAD2.0 has three of the top five economies in the world. It is a healthy mixture of raw material, manufacturing, and consumer power with tremendous innovation capability. QUAD2.0 has the protective power of enforcing decoupling from China and creating alternative markets if it takes the PLUS countries along economically. US resolve and experience during the Trade War to challenge Chinese economic practices will be crucial.

While China’s greatest strength is its unitary Communist ideology, that is also its weakest link. QUAD2.0 has the global strength of being able to target the CCP. China’s game of dividing the opposition should be beaten through a unified approach. The US has already embarked on a program to attack the CCP. If QUAD2.0 de-legitimizes the ’One China’ policy and rejects ludicrous territorial claims, things will start falling in place. Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are waiting for quadratic solutions. The Great Information Firewall must be broken.

The prospects for the QUAD2.0 look promising. For long, India was a reluctant partner due to its non-alignment history, deep relations with Russia and the need to balance relations with China. However, with ‘gloves off’ on the China front those decks are cleared. It is time that we move past historical baggage to secure our interests. QUAD2.0 must have a frank word with Russia. They are next on the Chinese hit list. Already a warning shot has been fired over their brow with Chinese claims on Vladivostok. Further, Russia has a long border with China. With its miniscule population Russia cannot defend its huge territories from Chinese expansionism. If put in the correct perspective, Russia will see the light.

However, there are other internal contradictions in the QUAD2.0. Japan has a pacifist constitution. How far will it go if the penny drops? Japan and India are the only countries with direct territorial disputes with China. Their interests and perceptions are different from the US and Australia who are extra regional players. The Australian problem with China is more economic and Pacific centered. The US sees direct competition from China and clearly wants to contain it. The US has historically preferred alliances however it is now diluting NATO. The ‘America First’ mantra of the US puts questions on its reliability as an alliance partner. Then there is a question whether there should be an alliance or a partnership. In my opinion these are good issues to handle and we must thank China for giving shape to QUAD2.0.

QUAD 2.0 has the toolkit to handle China. It needs to sit across the table and thrash out things. It is now widely accepted that an alliance is not feasible. It would be more prudent to get into a need-based partnership with focused objectives to bottle the Chinese genie. Alliances can be thought of later. “It’s time for free nations to act” as per US Secretary of State. The free nations must also decide whether to slide into the hell of a Chinese ‘Tianxia’ or bring the QUAD2.0 on.

Lt Gen PR Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on his blog www. gunnersshot.com.

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Defence

Emergence of Indian Armed Forces since 1947

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The Indian armed forces, with strength of over 1.3 million, are the fourth largest army in the world today. Since independence, the forces have undergone a gradual transformation in their strength, operational ability, and role. As an associated force to the British armed forces in different military operations as well as to maintain internal security, the most dedicated, decisive, and strong combat power of the modern world with the aim of safeguarding the interests of the country against any internal or external threat.

The transformation of the armed forces started with the beginning of the Second World War. The strength of the military had significantly increased from 6 lakh to 2.5 million during the war. However, the impending independence of India led to British apathy towards armed forces, resulting in a drastic reduction of manpower, depleted logistics, and weaponry. The 1947 Indian Independence Act was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom on July 5, 1947 to partition British India into two new independent dominions, India and Pakistan. The act received Royal Assent on July 18, 1947. As a prelude to the Indian Independence Act, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced on February 20, 1947, a grant of self-government to India not before June 30, 1948. The Mountbatten plan was announced on June 3, 1947, having specified an outline of the proposed transfer of power and partition of India.

The partition of armed forces and distribution of military assets were formulated as per the provisions of Sections 11, 12, and 13 of the India Independence Act. A Partition Committee was formed on June 7, 1947, with two representatives from each side and the viceroy in the chair, to decide about the division thereof. As soon as the process of partition was to start, it was to be replaced by a Partition Council with a similar structure. As per the provisions of the act and the consent of the Partition Committee, the division of the British Army took place on June 30, 1947. Out of 11800 officers and 5 lakh other serving personnel, they were divided into a ratio of 64% for India and 36% for Pakistan. Similarly, assets, including ordnance factories and training establishments, were also re-distributed. However, the process of distribution was very complex as various military units had mixed religious structures. Hence, the inter-unit transfer of troops also took place. In the same way, all sixteen ordnance factories were located in India. Hence, it was retained by India and a lump sum payment was made to Pakistan to develop its infrastructure. The defence training institute remained in Quetta, and India had established another training institute at Wellington.

The Northern Command of the British Indian Army was allotted to Pakistan, whereas the Southern and Eastern Commands became part of the Indian Army. The Central Command was raised during the war and was disbanded in September 1946. Later on, Delhi and East Punjab Command were raised on September 15, 1947. During the process of transformation and division, 144 army units were disbanded. 61 units of the Indian Princely forces were returned to the states. The Brigade of Gorkhas, recruited in Nepal, was split between India and Britain. Of the Indian divisions which took part in World War II, the 6th, 8th, 10th, 14th, 17th, 19th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, 26th, and 39th were disbanded, those remaining being the 4th, 5th, and 7th Infantry Divisions, the 1st Armoured Division, and the 2nd Airborne Division. Hence, the Indian Army was left with 88 infantry battalions, 12 armoured regiments, and 19 artillery regiments at the time of independence.

At the time of partition, the nations inherited a split air force that was weak in quantitative and qualitative terms. The assets of the Royal Indian Air Force were divided on a one-third basis, under which India and Pakistan got six and two fighter squadrons, respectively. The Indian Air Force, at that time, was composed of around 900 officers, 10,000 non-commissioned officers, and over 820 civilian technicians and administrative staff.

Reallocation of naval resources reduced the operational capability of the Indian Navy to maintain vigilance and patrol the eastern and western coasts of India as well as the islands of Andaman and Nicobar.

After Second World War in 1945, the Indian Armed Forces had only one Indian General officer, Major General Hiraji Cursetji of the Indian Medical Service officer. In addition to him, one brigadier from medical, three Indian brigadiers from combatant arms, and 220 other Indian officers in the temporary or acting ranks of colonel and lieutenant-colonel were part of the Indian armed forces. Till May 1947, the Indian Armed Forces had only 14 Indian officers at the rank of brigadier serving in combatant arms, with no Indian flag, general, or air officer in the combat arms of the armed services.

Sir Claude Auchinleck was the last Commander in Chief of British India. He was reappointed on August 15, 1947, as Supreme Commander of India and Pakistan till November 11, 1948, when this post was abolished. He played a crucial role in monitoring and executing the division of armed forces between India and Pakistan. It is an irony that the first Indo-Pak War and the intrusion of the Pakistan army took place in Kashmir while he was the supreme commander of both countries. As well, both commanders in chief of the Indian and Pakistan armies were officers of the Royal British Army and were reporting directly to him.

General Sir Rob McGregor MacDonald Lockhart, a senior British Army officer, was the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from 15 August 1947 to 31 December 1947. He was succeeded by General Sir Francis Robert Roy Bucher on January 1, 1948, and he handed over the command to the first Indian officer, General KM Cariappa, on January 15, 1949.

Similarly, Air Marshal Sir Thomas Walker Elmhirst was the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Air Force since 15 August 1947 to 22 February 1950. Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee became the first Indian Air officer to took over Chief of Air Staff on April 1, 1954. He continued till November 8, 1960.

Rear Admiral J.T.S. Hall happened to be the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Navy from August 15, 1947, to August 14, 1948. Vice Admiral Ram Dass Katari was the first Indian to become Chief of the Indian Navy on 22 April 1958 till 4 Jun 1962. Hence, the transformation of the Indian Armed Forces was completed in 1958.

The Indian armed forces faced the biggest challenge at the time of partition. This process of transfer of power, assets, and demographic migration on a religious basis has witnessed the transfer of more than 14 million populations across the border, clubbed with massive violence and clashes. During this entire process of independence, responsibility for maintaining law and order was handed over to India’s own Armed Forces. Despite the heavy loss of manpower, logistics, and firepower, the armed forces acted in a very professional manner. Over and above, during this crisis of migration, the sudden attack of the Pakistan army and militia on Jammu and Kashmir was the real litmus test for our defence forces. Undoubtedly, joint operations by the Indian Air Force and Army halted the intrusion and saved Kashmir. Armed forces successfully completed the accession of Junagarh and Hyderabad and later on the annexation of Goa into India in 1961 into India.

Independence and the division of armed forces resulted in a heavy loss to the armed forces and took decades to recover. Since then, the Indian military establishment has gone into phases of transformation, namely post Indo-Sino war in 1962, the recommendation of Gen K.V. Krishna Rao in 1975, followed by the post Kargil war since 2000 onwards. The Indian armed forces have now entered into the era of the biggest reforms since independence, comprising of the creation of integrated theatre command, battle groups, cyber, space, nuclear, and strategic forces, and the implementation of CDS and the Department of Military Affairs. The modern Indian armed forces are in the process of convergence as a global superpower with complete dominance on land, sea, air, and space. Indeed, it is a great transformation of the armed forces since independence.

The author is, SM, VSM Former Additional DG (AFMS) & Expert in Defence, International Strategies & Current affairs.

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Defence

A SALUTE TO THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF KARGIL BRAVEHEARTS

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o commemorate the 23 years of victory over Pakistan in the Kargil War of 1999, the Indian Army on Monday organised a motorcycle expedition from New Delhi to the Kargil War Memorial at Dras (Ladakh).

The 30-member rally was flagged off by Lt Gen B S Raju, the Vice Chief of Army Staff from the National War Memorial, New Delhi on Monday.

Over the next six days, the team of 30 serving personnel who have embarked on this expedition will endeavour to replicate the indomitable spirit of the Kargil brave-hearts by rekindling the spirit of fortitude, courage and adventure synonymous with the Indian Army, said the Ministry of Defence.

The bike rally would pass through Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh before culminating the expedition at the Kargil War Memorial, Dras on 26 July 2022.

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2 ARMY OFFICERS KILLED IN ACCIDENTAL GRENADE BLAST

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Two Army officers were killed in an accidental grenade blast along the Line of Control in the Mendhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch, the Defence Public Relations Office said on Monday. During the treatment, one army officer and one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) succumbed to their injuries.

JCO Sub Bhagwan Singh

Captain Anand

“Last night, an accidental grenade blast occurred in Mendhar Sector, Dist Poonch, when troops were performing their duties along the Line of Control. The blast resulted in injuries to soldiers.

During the treatment, one officer and one JCO succumbed to their injuries, “said PRO Defence Jammu.

According to the Defence PRO, the blast occurred along the Line of Control (LOC) on Sunday night, when the army troops were performing their duties, thus injuring them. All the injured soldiers were immediately evacuated to Udhampur via helicopter.

As per the reports, one officer and one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) succumbed to the injuries.

The Indian Army expressed grief over the death of two officers.

The Indian Army tweeted, “General officer commanding (GOC) @Whiteknight_IA and all Ranks salute brave hearts Capt Anand and Nb Sub Bhagwan Singh who made the supreme sacrifice while performing their duties on the LoC in Mendhar Sector. We offer deepest condolences to their family members.”

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MAKE IN INDIA PUSH: IAF TO INDUCT COMBAT AIRCRAFT

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Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Sunday said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to induct Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and Light Combat Aircraft MK-1A and MK-2 along with the 114 multirole fighters. This will be done to bolster India’s combat capabilities through indigenisation under “Make-in-India” in the future.

The IAF chief said that the move will not only “strengthen the Air Force” but also bring a “huge boost” to the Indian aviation industry as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative of the Narendra Modi government. “On the aircraft front, we are looking ahead for the AMCA and the LCA MK-1A and also the LCA MK-2 a few years from now. The case for 114 MRFA is also progressing well. With this, it will not only strengthen the Air Force but also bring a huge boost to the Indian aviation industry,” ANI quoted the Air Chief Marshal as saying.

“We have already committed for seven squadrons of AMCA. The numbers for the LCA MK-2, we will take a call as and when the first production model comes out and we start inducting the aircraft into the air force and we can always increase the quantity based on its performance and rate of induction,” he added while speaking about the number of units of the aircraft that the IAF is planning to induct.

When asked about the timeline of the induction of the S-400 air defence system from Russia into the forces, he said that it will be done as per the schedule adding that all deliveries should be completed by the end of next year. “The induction program of S-400 is going as per the schedule. The first firing unit has been inducted and deployed. The second unit is also in the process of getting inducted. Delivery schedules are on time, hopeful that by the end of next year all deliveries will be completed,” Chaudhari said.

“The threat of multiple fronts always exists. The capabilities of the air force in handling two fronts at a time will necessarily have to keep getting bolstered by the induction of various platforms. On the ground, we will need more radars, and additional SAGW systems and all of these are going to come from indigenous sources, for which the action is already at hand,” he added.

The IAF chief further said that the forces are fully in sync with the Centre’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat push which has resulted in the “quick induction” of platforms such as the light-combat helicopter and aircraft and radar systems.

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Defence

SEARCHES FOR SURVIVORS ON, ARMY INDUCTS RADAR

Ajay Jandyal

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The Indian Army on Sunday inducted radars to trace survivors under the debris which was laid after a cloudburst struck the area near the holy shrine of Amarnath on Friday.“Xaver 4000 radar has been inducted and has been operational at Amarnath since late noon for finding any survivors under the debris,” said Indian Army officials. Earlier, Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha on Sunday visited a base camp in Pahalgam and met pilgrims.“The security personnel and administration have carried out an efficient rescue operation. We pay condolences to those who lost their lives. Efforts are underway to resume the Yatra along with repairing the path. Pilgrims should come, we will provide them with all facilities,” Sinha assured.

Rescue operations underway at cloudburst-affected areas of Amarnath, on Sunday. ANI

The Amarnath yatra was temporarily suspended on Friday, till further notice. 

However, the pilgrims have been waiting at the Baltal Base camp for it to recommence.As many as 35 pilgrims were discharged following treatment, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) Officials informed on Saturday.“35 pilgrims have been discharged following treatment. 17 people are getting the treatment and are likely to get discharged tonight. All safe and healthy,” said SASB Officials.The critically injured patients were airlifted to Srinagar.“Critically injured people were airlifted to Srinagar. 2 people who were buried but were alive were rescued. We’re taking all precautionary steps. 41 missing as per Jammu and Kashmir police out of which some were rescued. Yatra may resume within a day or two,” said Kuldiep Singh, DG, CRPF.As per the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) data on Saturday, at least 16 people have died in the cloud burst incident near the holy shrine of Amarnath.Meanwhile, four Mi-17V5 and four Cheetal helicopters of the Indian Air Force were deployed for rescue and relief efforts at the Amarnath shrine on Saturday.The Cheetal helicopters flew 45 sorties, carrying five NDRF and Army personnel and 3.5 tonnes of relief material while evacuating 45 survivors from the holy cave.Earlier the officials on Saturday informed that the LG chaired a high-level meeting to review the ongoing rescue and relief operations at Amarnath cave.Meanwhile, the Indian Army informed that they have pulled up “critical rescue equipment” to speed up the rescue operations in the affected areas.“Indian Army pulls up critical rescue equipment to speed up the process of rescue operations and route maintenance in view of recent cloudburst of Amarnath in which 16 people lost their lives while several are assumed missing,” said the Indian Army.

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Defence

LET TERRORIST TALIB HUSSAIN NOT A MEMBER OF BJP: J&K BJP CHIEF

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Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina on Monday said the most wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Talib Hussain who was apprehended from Reasi district is neither an “active member of the BJP nor a primary member”.

 Speaking to ANI, Raina said, “Hussain is neither an active member of the BJP nor a primary member. There was a letter circular, on the basis of which it is believed that Sheikh Bashir, who is the President of BJP Minority Front of Jammu and Kashmir had appointed Hussain on 9 May.” He termed the reports fake which claimed that one of the two most-wanted LeT terrorists, who were overpowered by locals and handed over to the police, was in charge of the party’s IT cell.

 The BJP leader further said after that Hussain had circulated a letter himself and resigned from the membership of the party on 18 May. “A couple of years ago, Hussain along with with his three colleagues used to come to the BJP office as a media person. He had also interviewed me many times, he used to call himself a reporter for a YouTube channel named ‘New Sehar India’,” Raina said.

 “As a journalist, Hussain clicked photos with us many times in the BJP office. Pakistan terror outfit wanted to target the head office of the BJP of Jammu and Kashmir. It has been done through the targeted medium and carried out such incidents,” he said. “It is too soon to say more on this matter as the investigation is going on. Not only the BJP, but all the offices of other political parties need to be more alert now,” Raina added.

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