4 November 2012
PPC International News
In a further body blow to Pakistan, senior most leader of Baloch Nationalist Liberation Front, Gaffar Khan has declared Balochistan as an independent country. Appearing in a televised press conference in Switzerland, he declared Pakistan as a dead entity and while proclaiming Balochistan province as an independent country. We are quoting parts of the statement that he read out to media,
“ Pakistan was never a real nation. Unlike other nations, it was based on nothing but an ideology of hatred and bigotry. We the proud Baloch people have been suffering under the unjust and unwanted rule of Pakistani military which comprises almost exclusively of Punjabis. Our voices have been brutally trampled upon and silenced for decades. Thousands of innocent Baloch civilians have died in excesses perpetrated by Pakistanis. My own son and his pregnant wife were tortured and killed by these barbarians. Pakistani military which fancies itself as champions of Islam by bombing and killing unarmed civilians, but no more. Today along with blessings of all of Balochi leaders we are going to end this unjust occupation of our land. From now on Balochistan is an independent sovereign country free of Paki tyranny. Governments of India and Afghanistan have already given recognition to our nation and I urge heads of all the other nations to follow their lead.”
There has been no reaction from Pakistan as yet as the country is without any semblance of governance after retaliatory Indian nuclear strikes. It’s powerful military which called the shots earlier is broken and scattered, first after the infighting between two powerful Generals and Indian attack that followed. There has been absolutely no opposition to Indian advance in Pak occupied Kashmir either where locals have been largely supportive of Indian troops till now. We are still waiting for reactions from other nations to come in.
4 November 2012
Major cities in Chinese mainland were rocked by violence after rumours of death of Admiral Xedong leaked out. He was arrested on charges of masterminding a conspiracy to smuggle nuclear tipped ballistic missiles to Pakistan, one of which destroyed a small western Indian town killing more than 25000 people. India had then release audio recordings of Adm Xedong conversing with a Chinese intelligence officer in Pakistan, where he had ordered the launching of missiles. An investigation team organised by Chinese President Lin had arrested Xedong and whisked him away to an unknown location for interrogations. Absolute secrecy was maintained so as to prevent his co-conspirators from influencing the investigations.
But today as rumours of his death started appearing on internet, people started appearing in streets of his birth place Guanzhou carrying placards condemning President Lin. Within hours there were reports of protesters taking to streets in Nanjing, Wuhan and Gulyang. A small group of protesters in Beijing trying to march towards Tiananmen Square was forced to break up by Chinese riot police. Some of the protest marches got out of control as people started arson and pelted stones and Molotov cocktails at official buildings and police forcing authorities to enlist help of army in dealing with protesters. Internet access in most parts of China has been severely curtailed as almost all sites and forums not sanctioned by Chinese authorities have been blocked.
An official from the home security department, however claimed that Admiral Xedong is alive and well in protective custody. Terming the unrest as a result of malicious rumour mongering, he denied all reports of Xedong’s death as an attempt to disrupt peace in China.
Taiwanese parliament has expressed serious concern over the situation in China as relations between the two neighbours are at an all time low following a shoot down of a Taiwanese fighter plane by a Chinese warship. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior law maker from the ruling party expressed concerns that China might use the excuse of spreading civil unrest and tensions with India to launch a surprise attack on Taiwan in an attempt to capture it. Echoing his sentiments, official spokesperson of Taiwanese government issued a warning to China cautioning it against further misadventure. Taiwanese defence forces are already on full battle alert to guard against any such attack. United States too has come in support of Taiwan and dispatched two carrier battle groups as an warning against any Chinese misadventure in the region.
4th November 2011
Somewhere in India
Defence Secretary Pillai had 24 hour access to Indian Defence Minister who was also looking over tasks of Prime Minister. PM had been operated upon to correct his heart condition and was still in ICU. Although the work load and responsibilities were enormous, DM seemed to be thriving and egging on his colleagues and subordinates to perform even better. DS Pillai didn’t mind it at all and had been involved in hectic parleys with Chinese himself. He called DM with a new message from his counterpart in Chinese ministry,
“Sir, Chinese want to negotiate. They’ve agreed to some of our demands.”
If he was affected by the news, DM gave no outer sign of it, “Some of them ?”
“Yes sir. They’ve agreed to allow us access to Admiral Xedong in prison. We can dispatch a team to interrogate him this evening itself.”
“They are not deporting him ? What about rest of his co-conspirators ?”
“According to them, investigations are still going on and they haven’t arrested anybody else yet pending further developments. Access to other suspects will be on case by case basis.”
DM nodded warily, “Sure. What else ?”
“They are ready to consider our claim on PoK, pending further high level talks of course.”
DM showed first sign of real interest, “ That’s interesting. Anything about Shaksgam Valley and Aksai Chin ? “
“According to them, those areas are Chinese territory. Concessions if any will be given on areas held by Pakistan only.”
“We’ll see to that. What are their demands ?”
“Unconditional release of all of their civilians, sailors and soldiers that we have in our custody. Giving back their submarine and nuclear missiles, an official apology for attack on Chinese positions inside POK and sympathy on Xinjiang and Tibet civil unrest issue.”
DM snorted in amusement, “That’s interesting. You’ve done a good job Shri Pillai. Let me think on this or a while.”
Call was disconnected and everybody in room shared glances. Apparently, Chinese had been facing their worst nightmares, isolation and condemnation from rest of the world, rebellion in two provinces, covert attacks by multiple parties on overseas assets and worst of all, loss of face.
NSA chief Angad spoke first, “That’s quite generous of our peaceful neighbours !”
DM raised his eyebrows questioningly to which Angad replied, “They have given up nothing while asking for everything. POK was never theirs to begin with, it was between us and Pakis. Aksai Chin and Shaksgam Valley don’t even figure in negotiations.
We get to interrogate Xedong but no extradition. We can’t prosecute him in our courts, almost all of other big fish will wiggle free and we’ll never get one single extradition. Fat lot of good it’ll do to us.
Now, look at their demands. They’ve asked for all of our bargaining chips and then some more. Sympathy on Xinjiang and Tibet ! What the hell they are smoking ? Asking for release of prisoners is one thing but what’s the deal with their unconditional release ? I say, let every single one of them rot in our jails till the guilty Chinese are extradited and executed. “
DM sighed and spoke, “You said it yourself that a lot of highest ranks were involved in whole conspiracy. Do you think either of them will get punished ? Even Xedong has been arrested only because Peng probably sees him as a threat and thus he is the most convenient scape-goat.
If I had my own way, I’d have launched those Gilgit missiles on these idiots the moment we had captured them. Would have saved us the hassle of negotiating with these retards.”
“I’d have shrunken in horror if anybody had said this a week earlier, but right now, I can’t say that I disagree After what they’ve done to us since the last 50 years, I feel like obliterating them myself..” Angad paused for a while while looking absently at the bunch of papers lying before him. “Anyway, what do you think we should do right now ? Send a team to interrogate Xedong right now ?”
“I don’t suppose that’s going to mean anything. Maybe Xedong is just a smoke screen. I am reasonably sure that he will say exactly what he will be taught to say by his masters. A bloody sacrificial goat if anything at all.” DM shook his head in anger then spoke again, “ But we don’t have any good information on rest of his companions ourselves. So we can’t put any pressure on them. Let’s take the bait for now. See what we come up with. Assemble a team and coordinate with Chinese over this offer. Regarding POK and Aksai Chin, I’ll pick up a team for negotiations myself. Nobody makes any public statements right now and everything is strictly on need to know basis unless I specify otherwise. Now let’s get busy.”
Mes Aynank, Afghanistan
Mes Aynak in Afghanistan is 69KM South east from Kabul and 25 km from Pakistan border. It lies along the famous Silk Road and was one of the biggest Buddhist centers in Afghanistan till 7th century AD and major stronghold of Kushan empire till 4th century BC. Although it’s relation with Kushan empire is largely forgotten, it’s still famous for it’s archaeological importance as the second biggest archaeological site related to Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan. It gained notoriety in late 1990s as a training camp for terrorists run by where Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and was again promptly forgotten until a Chinese mining company won the contract for mining copper in 2007 for $ 3.5 Billion. The area is believed to hold the 2nd largest copper deposits in whole world. Afghanistan government is expected to earn $ 800 million even before the mining starts in earnest with royalties worth billions coming in later.
Owing to it’s unexplored archaeological treasures, Chinese agreed to halt all mining activities until the site was properly surveyed and excavated by archaeologists. Although the mining was expected to start in 2014, there was considerable pressure on under-funded and under-staffed international archaeological teams to release as much area as possible for mining. Such moves had been been condemned from various quarters, with some people equating actions of Chinese firm equivalent to those of Taliban destroying Buddhist statues and artifacts in Bamiyan. But money is a strong motivator and Chinese had succeeded in persuaded enough people in power to start mining excavation on a plot on site much before the agreed time line. By early 2012, 500 Chinese workers hired by Chinese State Mining Corp. had already landed and begun initial groundwork on the site. A large number of Afghan civilians were also hired and pressed to work. For a country like Afghanistan it was like manna from heaven and nobody except the archaeological community and Americans was really complaining.
Sentiment among American public, whoever cared to know about the issue was of righteous betrayal. Thousands of American lives were lost and trillions of dollars spent in helping Afghans and it was Chinese who were stealing multi-billion dollar under their very noses.
Although most of the supervisors and all of the management was Chinese, going was good initially. But as with most foreign run operations, the tensions started to develop between the local workers and their foreigner supervisors. While Chinese could not understand the Afghan or muslims revulsion of pork, alcohol and ban on most forms of entertainment, Afghans on their part were put off by what they felt somewhat arrogant and exploitative attitude of their Chinese supervisors. But after a few initial hiccups, both parties were able to get along tolerably well. The mining process was slowly picking up steam with scale of operations increasing steadily.
It was on such a day that Rastin Khan walked in to the cabin of his Chinese supervisor asking for a holiday for himself and a few of his colleagues, which incidentally included most of his fellow villagers who worked alongside him. Wen Gong, was one of the few Chinese personnel on site who knew Pashto, one of languages spoken by Afghans. He took a look at the company’s official holiday calendar and pointed it to Rastin, “ No holiday here Rastin. Can’t do that.”
Rastin exceeded his Chinese supervisor in height by at least 14 inches and he looked down up on the diminutive man as one would look at a kid, “You don’t understand. It’s my brother’s marriage and I along with my cousins and village men need to be there. It’s just for four days.”
Wen shook his head emphatically, “ No, what you ask for is simply impossible. We cannot allow so many people to go on leave at this time. 18 workers ! Why do you need so many people for so long anyway ?” Even before Rastin could open his mouth to reply, he spoke again, “ It’s impossible anyway. You’ll have to come to work. We need every single man here.”
Rastin expressed an expression of exasperation. He was not used to some dwarfish guy in funny clothes and language boss him around like a lowly servant. But the mining job one of very few paying jobs in the country and he swallowed his pride and controlled his steadily rising anger, “ He is my only surviving brother. If I and my village men are not present in wedding, it’ll be very inconvenient and shameful for my whole family and my village. I cannot afford to lose face like this.”
Now loss of face was one expression that Wen was familiar with. But still he had to save his own, “I cannot help you in this matter then. You can take one day off tomorrow but we are facing shortage of workers and anything beyond that is impossible .”
“One day !” Rastin exclaimed with disdain. “What will I do of one day’s leave ?”
Wen cut in coldly, “That’s all Rastin. Take this or leave the job. We have a long line of applicants begging for work.”
Rastin shouted in anger, “ Just because you have the mine, you think that you can treat us like dirt ? My father is head of my village and we take orders from no one. Least of all, stinky little rats like you.”
The burly Afghan’s loud voice had begun to cause some commotion amongst his fellow countrymen. Some of them stopped whatever work they were busy with and started jostling to hear the conversation. This attracted the attention of Chinese guards, who started waving and gesturing the workers to get back to work. The commotion was interrupted by the sound of door crashing open and supervisor Wen following half flying in to the crowd. A stunned silence befell the crowd only to be broken by sounds of Afghans shouting and gesturing wildly by the appearance of Rastin a moment later. A few Chinese officers flanked by armed guards came running to the rescue of Wen who was lying dazed surrounded by a somewhat hostile crowd. Arrival of armed guards further infuriated the Afghan, resulting in a fair bit of jostling.
Although the unarmed Afghans formed a smaller part of the workforce, Chinese workers thought better of antagonizing them further. But an example had to be set. It was one unruly worker today, tomorrow there will be five. Such behaviour in an Chinese enterprise was simply unacceptable and the senior Chinese manager fired Rastin and few of his friends on the spot. The announcement was greeted by loud abuses and flash strike of all the Afghan workers. They were in turn warned of dismissals themselves, but the warning fell on deaf ears. Instead, it served as the proverbial last straw for the Afghans, who went on a rampage inside the premises. A large quantity of recently imported shiny new machinery was broken and set on fire, followed by parts of the office building. Chinese guards were becoming increasingly nervous and it was only a matter of time before a few bullets were fired. Rastin along with 6 other workers were shot, 3 of them died some time later.
Members of powerful local tribes took the incident as a personal insult and grave provocation. As is the case with all such cases, blood had to be paid for with blood. It being Chinese made no difference. A Lashkar of 180 men was soon assembled which ambushed the mining site just a few hours later. They attacked armed with RPGs, Machine guns and AKs before the besieged Chinese had any chance of organisng proper defence or call for help. Most of the NATO forces were away from the area and had little desire of getting involved in another useless bloody skirmish involving locals and Chinese. As such, the Afghan Lashkar had little difficulty in overwhelming the defences and taking hundreds of Chinese personnel hostage. Except for a twenty senior officials, all of them were tied and forced marched towards general direction of Pakistan before letting go.
The incident didn’t go well with Afghan government either. It immediately came under enormous domestic pressure to renegotiate the contract with Chinese, if not kick them outright.
Few KM North of Gonggar PLAAF Base
Qinghai–Tibet railway is one of the biggest marvels of human engineering. This railway was the first one connecting Chinese occupied Tibet to mainland China. Constructed at the cost of nearly $ 4 billion, it traverses one of the most inhospitable and harsh terrains. Total length of track exceeds 2000 Km and highest railway station in world is on this line itself (5000m +). A significant portion of the railway is constructed over semi-permanent perma-frost which poses it’s own challenges during warm conditions. Special measures were taken to solve the problem, which included passive cooling, deep concrete supports and sun shades.
Apart from the engineering challenges faced during the construction, the extreme altitude and cold weather poses serious problems to passengers and daily operations. It’s not possible to operate normal trains at this altitude. So China had to import special trains with built in oxygen supply for passengers and ultra high grade environment control. Even the diesel locomotives are custom built.
Quite a few people thought all of this effort as a waste of money and effort. But the Chinese government thought different and poured all the resources it could spare. The strategic advantages brought about by this line vindicated all the stubbornness displayed by Chinese. Amount of cargo being transported in and out of Tibet increased by nearly 300%. But the most obvious advantage was the strengthening of Chinese stranglehold over Tibet. This railway line provided China with unprecedented ability to deploy forces over most of Tibet much faster and cheaper. Thus they had a significant advantage over India which left most of it’s border routes undeveloped in an extremely counter-productive defensive strategy.
At the moment this fact was quite obvious to the three man special forces operative team as they lay waiting just a few meters away from the famous track. Intelligence reports had indicated that numerous trains loaded with men and weapons were on their way to Tibet from mainland China as PLA rushed to quell the rebellions in Tibet and Xinjiang, while at the same time maintaining enough forces on standby to deter India. The railway track was proving to be invaluable in these conditions. Many of the PLA bases were constructed close to railway lines to take maximum advantage. Although the forces were stretched thin, steady arrival of reinforcements was proving to be life saver for Chinese commanders. It allowed them to keep existing forces directed towards India on station, while still maintaining overwhelming superiority over spirited but less capable rebels.
As of now, mission of the spec-ops team was to cripple this vital cog in Chinese occupation of Tibet and then some more.
The sophisticated Motorola radio handset cackled in to life in hands of the team leader, “ Leopard Alpha, This is Leopard Charlie. We confirm arrival of target in 15 minutes at ambush point 1.”
“Roger that Leopard Charlie.” Leader of Alpha team had to shout in to the radio to make himself heard as icy winds nearly drowned out his voice at normal volume. If he hadn’t spent two weeks acclimatizing to the altitude he’d have serious trouble doing even that. Trekking such long distances carrying heavy loads as he was was simply out of question. Inhaling the cold air deeply, he ordered his companions to get ready. On the leader’s signal, the two men broke away and took positions at a few meters distance from each other.
Trap was almost ready, all they had to do now was to wait for the prey.
Their target, a cargo train of nearly 40 trailers carrying an arsenal worth of Chinese armoured personnel carriers and tanks was within their sights in a few minutes. It’s specially designed diesel engine pulled the load quite effortlessly as it chugged on. Leopard teams waited with bated breaths as the moment of reckoning came closer. The operatives checked their weapons and adjusted the sights one last time. Right on the estimated time, the train reached it’s intended point and it’s engine shook as bunch of small explosives went off under it’s wheels. A small group of soldiers and engineers on-board looked here and there bewildered as wheels of the engine broke away amidst showers of sparks and fire. Their emotion of surprise soon turned to horror as 4 rocket propelled grenades slammed in to the engine and the single passenger compartment behind it from different directions. The soldiers who survived the initial assault jumped out and started to run only to be mowed down by murderous small arms fire. The attackers had ample time to plan the ambush and not a single person on the train was left alive. They emerged from their cover still firing on anything moving and started converging on ill-fated train.
Within next few moments a small army of armed men had collected around the train, working feverishly unstrapping the APCs and tanks. They lacked proper equipment to do the job and thus the going was slow. Leopard Alpha leader noted the fact and shouted instructions in broken Tibetan to hurry up the process. The result was a significantly rougher handling of the vehicles as they left the trailer to land at ground, but the process picked up speed. Time was of essence . It was only a matter of time before Chinese noted the missing train and sent somebody to investigate. Whoever did this better be a long distance away from the site when Chinese came with reinforcements.
It took nearly 20 minutes for men working at breakneck speeds to unload required vehicles and fill their fuel tanks. Once finished, a large number of men got in to the vehicles and started to drive them away towards the road nearby. One Tibetan man came jogging towards Leopard Alpha and smiled. “Thanks for the help. Will see you soon.”
The leader saluted and smiled back, “ Take care Wangdak. There is still a lot of work to be done.”
Wangdak grinned and saluted back. Both men shook hands and he turned to climb in to one of the two Chinese Type-96 tanks that had been unloaded from train. Leopard team went on to it’s work immediately. Working separately, they attached more explosives to the stricken train and then melted away in to the terrain. A few minutes after their departure, a series of explosions shook the area as the explosives did their work, destroying the train along with it’s cargo and damaging a large portion of railway track along with it. Leopards felt rather than saw the explosions, but didn’t turn to see the result of their work. They still had more missions to complete. One of them was another sabotage mission that’ll put the Qinghai–Tibet railway out of commission for months by destruction of one of numerous bridges on the line.
The convoy of stolen vehicles soon came across a road that led to their destination, Lhasa-Gonggar Forward Air Base, nearly 50 Km south-west of Lhasa. Owing to highly tense conditions, lots of PLA convoys were traveling from one location to another and they moved fast without raising any suspicion. Just another convoy on it’s way to deployment somewhere.
In spite of that, every man in convoy was nervous. It was only a matter of time before news of the attack and theft of vehicles was reported and an alert sounded all over the region for the rebels. They needed to act really fast if they wanted to have any reasonable chance of their mission succeeding. They soon reached Galashan tunnel, one of the longest tunnels in Asia at nearly 2.4 Km. Beyond it a 3.8km long bridge lead to a small town named Jiazhulinzhen. Lhasa-Gonggar base was just on it’s outskirts. Normally a civilian airport which served tourists and Tibet residents, it was a hotbed of activity. But at that time, a significant part of the air traffic was military. Numerous Chinese military transport planes were present on the base, loading and unloading men and supplies. According to rumours a detachment of J10s was scheduled to land at the base within next 12 hours to fly CAP missions. But as with most rumours, it was not confirmed yet. But the security seemed to be beefed up and every vehicle was undergoing stringent security checks.
The convoy lead by rumbled to a halt just outside the main gate of base. Two security guards with confused expressions on their faces walked hesitatingly towards the slightly unusual visitors. Four rebels in PLA uniforms with their fingers ready on triggers of their AK56s jumped out from trailing Type-92 APCs and flanked Wangdak’s tank as he opened it’s hatch. Chinese guards halted ad saluted on seeing the leading officer. Although they had no information of arrival of any convoy, they knew better than to challenge a PLA Colonel. Wangdak’s confident orders in flawless Mandarin removed any hesitation that they had in their minds. Clearing the first security hurdle, the convoy drove in to the airbase and spread out, taking up strategic positions around it’s premises.
For Chinese, first indication of the fact that something was wrong came when nearly a dozen armed men walked in to the air traffic control building and tied up all the guards after disarming them. Once finished, four men stayed back in the control room with loaded guns pointed at the profusely sweating traffic controllers who were ordered to refuse all requests for landings and take offs. All the passengers were shunted into the airport lobby. This was not hard to do as there were little passengers owing to escalating tensions with India. Their number were further reduced with military aircraft forming bulk of traffic
In the meanwhile both Type99 tanks followed by 2 APCs drove up to the military hangar area. A small guard detail was cut down in a hail of bullets before it had any chance to react. A small group of armed rebels then jumped out of APCs and
swarmed in to the area, searching for weapons and supplies and killing anybody who resisted. They found a IL76 and two Y8 transport planes, both of which were promptly set on fire.
Another group of APCs drove around the premises finding and destroying any anti-air defense asset they could find. The maps they had were not very reliable but their job was made easy as encountered very little resistance. The men were about to finish the last of the KS-1A SAM launchers when warning of arrival of Chinese reinforcements came in.
They were coming in from a small Chinese military base few Km south of Lhasa. Tibetan spotters positioned near Galashan tunnel noticed their arrival and went to work. They waited as first of the vehicles crossed the tunnel and reached the bridge. A soon as it was there, the bridge was rocked by a massive explosion which blew apart a large portion cutting off all the reinforcements. One truck and an APC were destroyed as the powerful explosion tossed them in to cold river water below. Another explosion inside the tunnel a few minutes later destroyed any remaining chance of retaking the base from rebels anytime soon.
But the two Mi-17s armed with machine guns and rocket pods which followed the convoy minutes later had no need of any road. Unfortunately for Chinese. they too proved to be of little use. Two shoulder fired SAMs took care of both, as the first chopper crashed even before it had spotted any rebel. Seeing the fiery fate of it’s companion, second immediately turned tail and raced back.
Wangdak ordered his men to gather up and load all the military supplies that could be carried away and move out. Their work there was done. His men followed the orders with clockwork precision and started moving out within minutes. Their departure was marked by a series of explosions which first blew up the ATC building followed by fuel storage facility. Last of the explosions made dozens of crates on the runway putting the air base out of operational readiness for days at least.
Whole thing happened in front of a few hundred civilians, many of them foreigners all of them with phones and cameras. Only a miracle could censor news of such an event.
Nat Geo Mission Army is Nat Geo India’s 4th Mission property. After the super successful Mission Everest, Mission Udaan, and Mission Navy, Nat Geo cameras now take you inside the Indian Army!
In this episode, Nat Geo takes you inside the Armoured Corp — the glamour boys of the Indian Army! Get an inside look at the state-of-the-art battle tanks – the T-72 and the T-90 tank, the mainstay of India’s tank force. Watch the complex flotation manoeuvres by the amphibious ICV’s in water. Our Final 5 get trained to drive the T-90 tank and get an opportunity to fire it!