Pakistan, like India, wants to believe that every terror attack that takes place in their soil is the handiwork of militants and the secret services. While India has solid reasons to consider that most of the attacks are sponsored by Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI, Pakistan takes refuge in a reverse idea as a counter attack to India’s allegations.
Many Pakistanis believe that the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai was actually carried out by the Indian intelligence with aid from Israel. They say it’s not the ISI, but RAW and the Israeli intelligence Mossad that carried out the operation to show Pakistan in bad light.
Undoubtedly, this is too preposterous an idea to deserve an iota of merit. But why would Pakistan think Mossad had anything to do with this dastardly attack that killed nearly 164 people and wounded over 300?
The answer lies in the late 60s and the 70s. The story goes that back to September 1968, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gave a go ahead to form a foreign secret intellignce and RAW was founded with RN Kao at its boss. On the PM’s insistence, Kao established contact with Israel’s Mossad . The aim was simple; Israel will help the new-found RAW in building intelligence to counter threats to either of the nations.
The political scenario projected three countries as prospective threats to India and Israel: Pakistan, China and North Korea. Pakistan was already in talks with North Korea in 1971, and simultaneously training Libyans and Iranians to handle Chinese and North Korean military equipment.
Covert nuke programmes were also shaping up in Pakistan in the 1970s under the leadership of President Zia-ul Haq. It was no secret that France was helping Islamabad to build a plutonium reprocessing plant. But what the world didn’t know was that a uranium enrichment plant was also coming up at Kahuta.
However the plutonium plant didn’t quite take off as France decided to pull out, and Pakistan used all its powers to keep the Kahuta plant a secret. General Haq was worried that big brother America will intervene in the project and this too will go kaput.
When RAW and Mossad got wind of this covert nuke project, they sent a spy to Kahuta. What happened next was no less than any of those James Bond or Mission Impossible plots. The agent sent a contact to a hair dresser’s shop in Kahuta where scientists from the plant frequented for haircuts. He picked up some hair samples from the place and put it to scientific test.
The samples revealed presence of high radiation and bomb-grade uranium, thus confirming the rumours. The agent then found a mole in the Kahuta plant who agreed to obtain a blueprint of the Pakistani nuclear project in exchange for a bribe.
All these were classified information, and RAW-Mossad passed it onto the PMO, where Morarji Desai was the head. Apparently, Morarji Desai was in friendly terms with Haq, and he called up the dictator President to boast about his knowledge: “General, I know what you are up to in Kahuta. RAW has got me all the details.”
Many believe Morarji Desai’s slip was not innocent. He hated Indira Gandhi, and detested RAW for it was her brainchild. Whatever be the cause, the repercussion was severe for agency. Powered by the sensitive knowledge, General Zia damaged the entire RAW network in Pakistan and agents were found, and killed. Soon after, the network went dead.
Not to lie low, Israel planned to destroy the Kahuta facility in an air attack. But Morarji Desai refused to help in “interfering” a neighbour’s affairs. He turned down the request of letting the Israeli attacking plane use a refuelling facility in India.
The Gandhian ideology of Morarji Desai cost RAW a great deal. It lost its men, and resources too, for the PM had scores to settle with the fiery Indira Gandhi.