Pak trying to extend arc of violence: Army Chief
Says western neighbour using new methods to create unrest in J&K
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 1
Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag today accused Pakistan of adopting new tactics to extend the “arc of violence” and creating unrest in Jammu Kashmir.
General Suhag was speaking at a function organised to mark the golden jubilee of the 1965 Indo-Pak War. He spoke about the threats and challenges for the Army due to activities of Pakistan. “New methods continue to be employed (by Pakistan) to create unrest in J&K. Recent instances of terrorist violence are clear pointers to extend this arc of violence to other areas,” he said.
“Our threats and challenges have become more complex. As a result, the commitments of the Army have increased manifold in scope and intensity over the past few years.”
"(Because of) the frequency of ceasefire violation and infiltration bids by our western neighbour, the border remains live and active," he said.
“We are acutely aware that the short and swift nature of future wars is likely to offer limited warning time… It calls for maintaining high levels of operational preparedness at all times, something that has now become inherent in our operational strategy,” he said.
The two-day seminar was inaugurated by Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar stressed the need to include stories of gallantry and sacrifices by brave soldiers during the 1965 Indo-Pak War in the school curriculum. Despite limitations, the Indian armed forces displayed professional approach and earned praise and respect in the 1965 war, he said.
The war highlighted that the entire military establishment of a nation must constantly refine its processes to ensure territorial integrity and counter hostile actions, he added.
“The present-day environment also requires a similar approach, with alertness and readiness, so that we can deter any such action and ensure a peaceful environment,” he added.
Chief of the Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan also addressed the gathering.
Hamid Ansari released two books on the historical perspective to mark the occasion. The first one, “1965, Turning the Tide: How India Won the War”, is written by former strategic affairs editor of NDTV Nitin A Gokhale. It talks about exploits of the Army. The second one written by Air Marshal Bharat Kumar is titled “Duels of the Himalayan Eagle: The first Indo-Pak Air War”. This deals with exploits of the IAF.
Retired veterans also attended the function.
Can’t take Kalia case to ICJ, govt tells SC
New Delhi, September 1
The Centre today informed the Supreme Court that India could not approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the inhuman torture of Kargil war martyr Captain Saurabh Kalia and other prisoners of war (POWs) by Pakistan. It said both countries were in the Commonwealth whose members had agreed not to approach the ICJ over hostilities and armed conflicts.
Solicitor General (SG) Ranjit Kumar made the statement in response to a query by a Bench comprising Justices TS Thakur and Kurian Joseph as to why the government was shying away from the ICJ when it was going to the global forum for resolving water disputes.
The ICJ could be approached only if both countries were willing, he said. The SG said the government had paid salaries and pension of 54 POWs, believed to be in Pakistani jails ever since they went missing in the 1965 and 1971 wars. The amounts were handed over either to their families or deposited with the judiciary wherever there was no claimant. In some cases, the amount was over Rs 50 lakh. The arrear payments representing salaries and pensions were made in 2012-13 by presuming that the missing personnel were in service till the time of their normal superannuation, the SG said.
The Bench, however, wanted to know whether the compensation included interest for the delayed payments. Before the SG could respond to the query, the Bench adjourned the hearing for a week at the request of some of the petitioners.
Besides a PIL filed by Kalia’s father, the SC is hearing petitions over the 54 POWs and others and an appeal by the Centre against a Gujarat High Court judgment on the issue. Of the 54 personnel (38 officers and 16 in other ranks), 27 were in the Army, 24 in the Air Force, two in the Navy and one in the Border Security Force. The SG said the status of the 54 POWs was not known as the Pakistan government had time and again refused to acknowledged their presence in its jails.
Militant movement keeps security men on toes in CM’s hometown
Suhail A Shah
Anantnag, September 1
Heightened militant movement in Bijbehara, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s hometown, has been keeping security agencies on their toes for the last more than two months.
At least four youths from Bijbehara town have joined militant ranks over the past few months, said Anantnag SSP Abdul Jabbar.
They had been actively moving around the town over the past couple of months. The SSP said the movement of militants increased considerably at any place in case they had locals among their ranks.
Militant presence was not new for the security grid in Kashmir. Given the new-found political importance and strategic location of the town, security agencies were leaving nothing to chance.
The visibility of security forces in and around the town increased manifold in the evening. More than half a dozen police and Army vehicles could be seen patrolling the town.
“There is VIP movement in the town almost on a daily basis. The Chief Minister’s immediate and extended family lives here. We have to remain extra cautious,” said a police official.
Bijbehara is spread on both sides of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway and provides an alternative route to Pahalgam. Many tourists, including Amarnath pilgrims, prefer the route for its scenic beauty and better condition of roads.
“These things make the town more important and we have to be on our toes round the clock,” the official said. Security agencies were trying strategically to restrict the entry of militants into the town by patrolling the periphery.
“We have been able to push them to the upper reaches in the Dachnipora area, east of Bijbehara town,” said the police official.
“They prefer to hide in orchards there and it will be easier for us to confront them away from the population in case we get any inputs,” he said.
He said over the last month or so, militants had quite a few close shaves in and around the town, which had reduced their movement to some extent. “Let me assure you that by November, we will neutralise all of them,” the official said.
The new wave of militancy had not left the town untouched. Experts said the reasons were “radicalisation and a sense of injustice”.
The police official maintained that there always were personal and individual reasons for most of them to jump into the militant fray.
“There is an example of one of the militants in Bijbehara. He had been to school with Waseem Malla, Hizb operative from Shopian. Proximity to Malla led him into militant ranks,” he said.
Majority of Kashmiris with India: Army
Tribune News Service
Jammu, September 1
The Army today claimed that there were only a ‘few noisy people’ who spoke about Pakistan in the Kashmir valley while the ‘silent majority of Kashmir was still with India’. It appreciated the role of Kashmiri people in the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
“Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of Pakistan since the Partition and the 1965 war was the outcome of its (Pakistan) obsession with Kashmir. Initially, they (Pakistan) wanted to give it the colour of an uprising in Kashmir as it had pushed in a large number of intruders but its plan failed. Hats off to the Kashmiri people,” Maj Gen Sanjeev Narain, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Tiger Division, said while talking about how Kashmiris had fought against Pakistan in the war.
The GOC was addressing the faculty members and scholars at the University of Jammu during a daylong seminar to celebrate the 50 years of India’s victory in the 1965 war.
The seminar was organised by the department of history, University of Jammu, in collaboration with the Tiger Division of the Army.
The GOC said, “...There are a few noisy people who speak about Pakistan, but the silent majority is with us (India).”
The Army officer, who stressed analysing history in the right perspective, said the 1965 war was a misadventure of Pakistan due to its wrong assessment as the neighbouring country had underestimated India’s strength following the 1962 war with China.
“It (Pakistan) made wrong assessments about India’s strength that resulted in the misadventure on its part. Firstly, Pakistan thought that the Indian Army had not recovered from the defeat of the 1962 war with China. They also thought that they had better equipment as compared to India,” the Army officer said.
He said Pakistan had never thought that India would open up the front along the international border as it had believed that the war would be restricted to the Line of Control and Rann of Kutch.
“Pakistan also wanted to test its newly-acquired Patton Tanks and the Khemkaran sector proved to be the grave of those tanks, where over 400 tanks were either destroyed or captured by us,” the GOC said.
He said Pakistan was proved an aggressor in 1965 by a United Nations team, which also concluded that India’s action was in self-defence. “War is a national effort and everybody must understand it in the right perspective,” he remarked.
Earlier, Prof RD Sharma, Vice Chancellor of the University of Jammu, delivered the opening address and threw light on various aspects of the 1965 war. He shared his personal experiences of the war as a resident of the Jammu region.
Prof Jigar Mohammad from the history department delivered the welcome address.
Rajiv Gandhi mulled backing ‘anti-Russian’ groups in Pak
Washington, September 1
Contradicting perceived proximity to the Soviet Union in the Cold War era, India under then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had toyed with the idea of supporting anti-Russian civilian groups in Pakistan if the then Zia regime was thrown out by Moscow, a recent declassified CIA document has claimed.
According to CIA documents of the era, which were recently declassified and posted on the CIA website under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which is similar to India’s Right to Information Act, Gandhi wanted non-interference from both the United States and the then USSR.
“Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi would like both the USSR and the United States to end their involvement in South Asia,” noted the 31-page CIA document titled ‘The Soviet Presence in Afghanistan: Implications for the Regional Powers and the US’.
While taking note of the historic India-USSR relationship in particular in the defence field, the CIA report of April 1985 noted that India is likely to become increasingly concerned about long-range Soviet intentions in the region and could find itself moving towards confrontation with the Soviets if Pakistan was effectively neutralised.
“New Delhi regards Pakistan as a strategic buffer against the USSR and would oppose Moscow’s effort to dominate Pakistan,” said the report.— PTI
Army’s blade runner to break his own record
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 1
Noted blade runner Major DP Singh, who had lost his leg during active service in Jammu and Kashmir in 1999, is looking to break his own record of running in high-altitude areas. He will be participating in the Ladakh Marathon on September 13.
“This will be a record for any amputee to run at 12,500 feet. I will break my own record of running at 10,000 feet. I am dedicating this run to saviours of our country, the veterans,” he said in an e-mail sent to ex-servicemen.
He will start his journey from Jantar Mantar in New Delhi – the venue of the ongoing agitation by the veterans for implementation of one rank, one pension (OROP) – to Leh. En route to Leh, he will stop at Jalandhar, Ambala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Udhampur and Srinagar to interact with veterans on the OROP. His disability has failed to deter his spirits and he has been regularly participating in marathons and sporting events.
Defence Ministry approves purchase of 48 more Mi-17s
Clears new cost benchmarking for procuring Rafale jets
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 1
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) today approved the purchase of an additional 48 Mi-17 V5 helicopters from Russia a cost of Rs 6,992 crore and seven squadrons of the Akash surface-to-air missiles for Rs 4,798 crore. It also cleared a new “cost benchmarking” for procuring French fighter jets, Rafale.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the apex decision making body of the (MoD) met tonight and was briefed by the cost negotiation committee (CNC) for Rafale. The CNC had hit a stumbling _block over clauses and tweaking of weaponry technology which were driving up the costs.
Sources said one of the main stumbling blocks was the offset clause that India was insisting on, something which the French plane maker, Dassault Aviation, says will drive up the cost of the aircraft. The offset clause means a foreign company has to invest back a portion of the deal into India by procuring some parts locally.
The Indian Air Force is also seeking modifications in the jets to allow integration of only selected weapons instead of the ones being offered by the French. This too will drive up the cost.
France is insisting that the ‘benchmark’ for the price for India cannot be lower than what Egypt and Qatar have agreed to pay for the same plane. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had during his visit to France announced his decision to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets.
Four airfields – Purnea, Bhita, Panagarh and Avantipore – will also get newair traffic control (ATC) radars. Barring Avantipore, all others are in East or North-East.
For the Army, the DAC approved the making of 102 short 10-metre vehicle-carried bridges for Rs 490 crore. For the Navy, there will nine new _tugs boats that pull out bigger warships from harbour. Bharat Electrical Limited (BEL), a public sector company, will create facilities at docks to repair radars and electronic warfare suites used in warships.
Five Naval warships will get tele-medicine facilities allowing sailors to get access to top-class medical facilities while at the sea. The Navy will also get eight single-engine Cheetak helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
India's Security Environment Complex: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar
New Delhi: India's security environment was complex, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Tuesday, while Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh noted that the borders were active with infiltration bids and ceasefire violations.
"The security environment today is complex... (We) need to be vigilant all the time," Mr Parrikar said at a tri-services seminar here to commemorate the 1965 India-Pakistan war.
General Dalbir Singh, meanwhile, said frequent ceasefire violations and infiltration bids by militants has kept the border in Jammu and Kashmir active.
He said that while new methods were being used to create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, recent examples showed that there were attempts to extend the disturbances to other areas of the state as well.
"(Because of) the frequent ceasefire violations and infiltration bids by our western neighbor, the borders remain live and active. New methods continue to be employed to create unrest in J&K," he said.
"We are acutely aware that the swift, short nature of future wars are likely to offer limited warning time - this calls for maintaining very high levels of operational preparedness at all times," the general said at the seminar.
The defence minister, talking about the war, said Pakistan paid for its "misadventure" in 1965, and India clearly won that war although skeptics called it a draw.
"Skeptics call the outcome of the was as draw... But my own experience... as a nine-year-old when the war happened, listening to All India Radio, my impression was it was a decisive victory for India," he said.
He said Pakistan did "miscalculations" when it believed people of Jammu and Kashmir will support it.
"The people of the valley did not support the invaders, they provided critical information to us," Mr Parrikar said.
He said Pakistan thought it had an edge over India with latest weapons given by the US, and also underestimated India's political leadership.
"India gave a befitting reply to Pakistan's misadventures," he said.
The minister said India fought with less advanced weapons and equipment, yet won the war.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee and Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Indian Navy chief Admiral RK Dhowan were also present at the inaugural of the two-day seminar that will analyse the 1965 war.
Pakistan lost the war with India in 1965, new documents reveal
The Pakistan Army, which launched an attack in the Chamb- Jaurian sector on September 1, 1965, was on the verge of capturing Akhnoor. The force was commanded by General Akhtar Malik, an Ahmadiya. There were some in the Pakistan Army, who did not want General Malik to get credit for the 'victory', and overnight, he was transferred and the command was taken over by General Yahya Khan.
The change of command resulted in delay of the attempt to capture Akhnoor.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army, which was taken by surprise, asked the Indian Air Force for assistance. There was an immediate response from the Indian Air Force, though it lost four Vampires on the first day of the war.
Farooq Bajwa, a Pakistani research scholar, has authored the book after studying the declassified Brirish and American documents and memoirs and unpublished reviews of the war.
The thrust of the message that runs through the book was that Pakistan was concerned that the Indian Army was strengthening itself after the humiliating defeat that it suffered in 1962, had gained the support of the United States , which was engaged in its own war in Vietnam, and was keen to bring India to the negotiating table to discuss the future of Jammu and Kashmir. It was gradually losing the advantage it had of being allied with SEATO and CENTO.
The first step was the attack in Kutch. Pakistan occupied the Kanjarkot Fort and on February 1965, the Indian Army was authorised to get it evacuated.
India ordered a general mobilisation in the area. Concerned, the British Government intervened, and following negotiations, the Kutch agreement was signed on 1 July, 1965 and a cease fire came into effect.
Pakistan had hoped that it would force India to the negotiating table to discuss Kashmir, but did not succeed.
Disappointed, Pakistan took the next step in Jammu and Kashmir. Code named Operation Gibraltar' it sent thousands of Pakistani soldiers and paramilitaries from Pakistan occupied Kashmir into Jammu and Kashmir disguised as Kashmiri guerrillas, to engage Indian forces in the state.
The author says that 'the majority of Muslims and their leaders' in Kashmir did not rise up at the behest of the infiltrators. Gauhar, a Pakistani author, says, when the Gibraltar forces arrived in the Valley, "they were met by a frightened and hostile population".
Unsuccessful, Pakistan then decided to take the next step. As directed by General Ayub Khan in his letter to the Foreign Minister and the Commander in Chief, the aim was 'to take such action that will defreeze the Kashmir problem, weaken Indian resolve and bring her to the conference table without provoking a general war. However, the element of escalation is always present in such struggles. So whilst confining our action to the Kashmir area, we must not be unmindful that India may in desperation involve us in a general war violate Pakistan territory where we are weak. We must, therefore, be prepared for such a contingency".
The task was given to General Akhtar Malik. Öperation Grand Slam' which was launched by him was successful in capturing Chamb. Jaurian and Akhnoor were the next targets. But the Chief of the Pakistan Army, General Musa ordered a change of command and Geneal Akhtar handed over command to General Yahya Khan.
With Chhamb under severe pressure, General J. N. Chaudhri, the Indian Army Chief, asked the Indian Defence Minister for air support.
The new commander of the Pakistani forces, the author says, followed the advice General Ayub Khan 'who decided to follow the advice of Musa rather than Malik and limit the offensive so as to avoid all out war with India. There was a delay in the progress, which gave India time to reinforce the defences.
The author says, "Despite its bold objectives and initial success, Operation Grand Slam failed in its military objectives."
India then decided to attack Pakistan at its own place of choosing. The go ahead for the invasion was given by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Defence Minister Y. B. Chavan, and H-Hour for the attack on the Lahore front was fixed at 0400 hours on September 6.
The Indian Army attacked Lahore on three fronts - Wagah -Lahore, Harike-Khalra- Barki, and Khem Kharan -Kasur Axis. Pakistan had to redeploy its forces and the progress of its forces in Chhamb sector came to a virtual halt.
In the battles that followed the Indian Army troops, led by Lt.Gen. Joginder Singh Dhillon, reached the Icchogil Canal on the Grand Trunk Road (called the BBRD canal) by Pakistan on September 6, but was pushed back by the Pakistan Army. Pakistan lost Burki village and fierce battles took place in Asal Uttar in the Khem Kharan -Kasur axis.
The objectives of the Indian attack called "Riddle", the author says, was a mystery. The destruction of Pakistani armour was more important than the occupation of towns.
The author quotes General Chaudhri, as saying that the occupation of Lahore had never been an Indian objective and that once pressure on Akhnoor had been eased India's objective was to degrade Pakistan's armour and capability of offensive action by drawing its forces into a battle and destroying them.
Pakistan's counter attack, called operation 'Mailed Fist' was a brave attempt to save the situation, but it also saw the abandoning of Patton tanks by its personnel.
The author also gives details of the Indian attack on Sialkot by a force commanded by Lt. Gen P.O. Dunn who had with him the 1 Armoured Division commanded by Maj.Gen. Rajinder Singh Sparrow.
The author also gives some details of the 'side show' in the Rajasthan sector and the details of the air battles.
He points out that both India and Pakistan did not attack civilian targets during the war.
Meanwhile, international pressure was building up on India and Pakistan to stop the war. The United States had put in a freeze on military supplies.
The impact was more on Pakistan, but India too was in a difficult situation, considering that China was an adversary.
A cease fire came into effect on 22 September 1965 at 0700 hours GMT.
The author has extensively quoted CIA and British Intelligence reports about the performance of the Indian and Pakistani army and air force units during the war.
It was estimated that Pakistan lost 250 tanks out of a total of 99, most of which were Pattons, while India lost 300 out of 1,500, mainly Centurions and Shermans of World War II vintage.
Pakistan reluctantly agreed to Soviet mediation. Tashkent was chosen as the place for mediation. Bhutto was sceptical about Tashkent producing anything useful and sarcastically commented that Shastri was 'quite the little Napoleon these days'.
The author gives extensive reports of the goings on at Tashkent, and the efforts Premier Kosygyn. The Tashkent Declaration was signed in the afternoon of January 10.
According to the author, Premier Kosygyn persuaded Lal Bahadur Shastri to give up the captured areas, including those in Jammu and Kashmir like the Haji Pir Pass, and exchange prisoners of war.
The author says: There is little doubt that the declaration was a diplomatic triumph for India and a defeat for Pakistan. Whatever the ambiguity of the result on the battlefield, the only reference to Kashmir - for which the whole war had been fought - was a passing reference in Clause I which merely recorded that the issue of Kashmir war was discussed'. The reality was the issue of Kashmir 'was simply not discussed by the Indian delegation at all'.
After the signing of the declaration, a banquet was held on January 10. Lal Bahadur Shastri suffered a heart attack the same night and passed away.
Next morning flags flew at half mast on the road to the airport at Tashkent, and 'with a gentle gesture from Kosygin, Ayub assisted Kosygin in lifting Shastri's coffin on to the aeroplane to return his body to India.
The author concludes:"When the fog and noise of war cleared, medals were awarded, bodies buried and Tashkent signed, India and Pakistan were exactly in the same position geographically.
Written by a Farooq Bajwa, a Pakistani scholar, the book is objective in its approach and gives insights into the minds of Pakistan Army commanders and also how the world looked at the conflict.