National SecurityOpinion

THE UN-ENDING WAR: From Proxy War to Info-War against India

The Toolkit posted by Greta Thunberg had a ‘foreign expert’ as a resource person. This name was also central to an OSINT investigation on info-war against India – Pieter Friedrich. It turned out that it was an elaborate design that was under play since 2007.

Name of one of the key players of our story came up in the toolkit dropped by Greta Thunberg. The toolkit had mentioned a foreign expert as a resource point – Pieter Friedrich. It was startling. Pieter was part of a story we were already working on for about a month in context of info-war against India.

The Info-War/psy-war is one of the fanciest discussion topics. Yet, its gravity and impact in India doesn’t seem to be registering even with major stake-holders. Our attempt was to try and map one such network, and bring to light its scale of operations. We did expect it to be an elaborate design against India but their operating ways shocked us.

During the turmoil of 1980s, a hitherto unknown Khalistani Bhajan Singh Bhinder @Iqbal Choudhary appeared on the scene. He claimed his origins from Malaysia, and was operating from the US. He was funding the terror network for carrying out large-scale violence in various cities in India through another Terrorist Lal Singh with the help of Pakistan’s ISI. Indian escaped the attack as Lal Singh got arrested from Dadar railway station. These attacks were part of a larger conspiracy called K-2 (Kahsmir – Khalistan) which hatched in Lahore under the patronage of Amir ul Azeem, the then Secretary of Jamaat –e-Islami. They got support from several Pakistani establishment players.

At the same time in US, Bhinder and his gang got involved in a major trans-national drug trafficking network, and a DVD piracy network. To fund their drug network, they managed to take control of one of the most prominent Gurudwaras in the US (Fremont Gurudwara). Fremont receives millions of dollars in contribution from devotees every year. All this while Bhinder has also been trying to get weapons to send to India via Pakistan. An investigation by DEA Special Agent Tim Lum reveals that Bhinder was looking for massive fire power to be sent to India. The deal however failed to materialize, as Bhinder got suspicious about the Agent.

With the change of millennium Bhinder also changed his methods. To implement his plans he set up a ‘white face’, that could be the face for the info-war operations. By 2006-7 Bhinder finds a young Christian Missionary Pieter Freidrich, who seemed to have a decent verbal and writing skill but was still lacking economic means. Pieter came on board and found a new role as an anti-Gandhi crusader.

To provide credibility to Pieter, some institutions and organizations formed in the US – prominent being Organization for Indian Minorities (OFMI) in 2007. OFMI was set up for the cause of minorities in India –but had no Indian or even Indian-origin minority in it. Pieter was also given prominent space in another similar organization Sikh Information Center (SIC), which was working for Khalistani agenda. To further boost Pieter’ credibility, some books got published in his name. The same year OFMI was set up and Pieter brought to public notice. The design seemed almost a replica of what was happening in phase I, except the weapon replaced by information.

It seems their early attempts were not very smooth. In a rather peculiar manner, Pieter changed 3-4 names during this time. He wrote books in various aliases, and used different alliances in various events with different names. The modus operandi was standard: set some books published in his name, few articles in compliant online ‘news portals’. Create some social media avatars and start connecting with potential amplifiers. In the process build credibility and then hijack the narrative of every possible genuine ground protest to suit their agenda. And they have a singular agenda – to tarnish India’s standing in the world.

Bhinder – Pieter duo first started their tirade against Mahatma Gandhi. The aim was to malign the image of non-violence associated with India. It is not surprising that the names of the duo along with OFMI keeps coming up with every vandalism of Gandhi’s statue in the US. But to dent India’s image and kill its peaceful non-violent image, it was necessary to provide an alternative narrative. Hence, they were targeting Gandhi by painting India as a ‘fascist state’.

This elaborate design and planning that has been underway since 2007 at least was driven by a singular motive – to target India’s interest. This is tried to be accomplished in some major ways:

Targeting idea of India – non-violence & Mahatma Gandhi – replacing it with an alternate image of ‘fascist India’; Targeting India’s territorial integrity – working towards K-2 design; Targeting India’s interests abroad by working against Indian origin American politicians; and Whitewashing Pakistan’s sins – clean chit to Pakistan (ISI) in Kabul Gurudwara Bombings & questioning Pulwama attack.

As noted, despite the planning, it was hard for them to get space in Indian media, unless endorsed by Indian intellectuals. In a remarkable feat, Pieter managed to hook up a significant following amongst India’s major influencers. The brilliance of this operation was not the planning and execution –the makers also wanted to make it self-sustainable. Pieter had started a fundraising for his cause, and claims to have gotten close to $ 30 k (out of a $ 50 k target). The beauty of the project is also evident from the list of media and social media amplifiers, which includes who’s who amongst Indian social media luminaries. Not, a lion’s share in OFMI and Pieter’s promotion come from Pakistan, from Cabinet Minister to Influencers and Media. Pakistani Minister Fawad Choudhary is one of the prominent promoters, whose uncle Choudhary Sr. had played a significant role in orchestrating the terror attacks in India.


While some of the OFMI and Pieter’s promoters may have been in collusion with him, others might have been fooled by their projections – A White Expert and a U.S. based Organization. But it would be fair to assume that they would in general be aware about the nature and extent of info warfare in present time, particularly against India. That they fell for this charade is an irony of epic proportion.

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