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Thursday, 17 July 2008

From Today's Papers - 17 Jul

Sam Manekshaw Taught Us to Stand Up for Ourselves

New Delhi
The following is the text of the eulogy delivered by Jehan Daruwala, grandson of the late Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw at a memorial service here Tuesday for the former Indian Army chief:
It's been an overwhelming few weeks for us as a family, and now, I shall tell you about the man I knew, the man behind the one you all knew as Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw.
He would pick up the phone in the house and in a booming voice say "Feeeaaald Maaaarshaaaalll!!!" which would make my brother and I break out into fits of laughter.
At home, this man was the farthest thing from being the highest-ranking officer in one of the world's largest standing armies. To Raul, Brandy and me, he was always Sam, our most amazing, wonderful, and loving grandfather.
He was the man whose thick finger you held on to as you were taken around the garden and made to memorize the names of flowers.
The man who showed you how to wash behind your ears and tolerate extremely hot and extremely cold water baths without complaining.
The man who would tell you incredible stories - not just the public ones of the army that many have narrated before - but of growing up in Amristar, in a large Parsi family and a set of characters that sounded like they came out of an an Amritsari version of "Malgudi Days".
This was the Sam I knew, loved, and remember.
I am truly proud of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. As Indians, our family shares that pride with every other Indian who has shown respect for this hero. We have been truly touched by the public's esteem for him and all he stood for: in terms of his leadership, his dignity, his professionalism as a soldier and his regard for always doing the right thing and for this, we thank you.
To see the Amul posters up in Mumbai saying "
Jai Jawan. Jai Sam", to hear the anecdotes he always told as coming from other people, to see reverence with which the army took such good care of him in his final years, and to watch the press, friends and strangers from far and wide give condolences and pay tribute has been a truly touching and educating experience for me, who was born after his time as chief, a year after he left South Block and moved to the Nilgiri Hills.
People tell me, you should be so proud and consider your self so lucky that you had the Field Marshal for a grandfather. I am proud, I do consider myself the most fortunate grandchild in the world because I had Sam for a grandfather. It is this Sam that I attempt to share with you today, partly so that it may provide an insight into the qualities of the man behind the rank whom I loved dearly, but more importantly to tell you of another amazing legacy he left, to his family, which are the values we all now share and I hope I too carry in me. This is the Sam I remember and learned from.
Sam always wanted us to do things properly. His morning routine for example: walking up, putting on the BBC and setting his watch to exactly 5 1/2 hours ahead of GMT, to the chime of Big Ben, checking the mail in a particular order, going through the newspaper and folding it back for Silloo, showering and dressing in a particular order, until finally arriving at the breakfast table at 9 sharp would be a long detailed drill.
When we would stay with him during our summer holiday at Stavka, in Coonoor, we would immediately be dragooned into doing this all with him.
He made us do it right each time and called it not to do things 'a-ways'. He'd say to us he pushed us through the steps: "We'll make a Manshi out of you yet!"
Sam's capacity for fun was limitless. He would constantly joke with us, and gently bully us into getting ourselves into trouble with our grandmother. Every child, nephew, niece and grandchild of his remembers the look of Sam smiling wryly at one of us a moment after something he'd made us do made Silloo go "uh hmmm" in her most disapproving tone possible.
He would constantly check our grammar. Pronouncing a single word, showing ignorance when you really should have known better was always met with mockery.
"Son, do I say I am coming to come?
"No Sam.
"Then why are you saying I am going to go? It's wrong English!
He teased us until we learned to tease him back; he would play no end of practical jokes on us until we figured out how to avoid the booby traps and the ambushes. Finally, we discovered that we could speak up for ourselves and say: "That's not fair!" (without being cry babies) or even better, play the jokes back on him.
Sam also encouraged openness - and no secrets. He made us feel like we could confide in him about anything - even about our sweethearts. Two minutes later, the entire extended family would know, and any chance of taking our romantic interest seriously would be destroyed as we would always be thinking about how we would be teased at the dinner table. Yet, if we did settle into a relationship, it was Sam who would be the first to want to meet them and get to know them and accept them into the family
"No Sam, I'm not letting you meet her."
"What, are you ashamed of me, or are you ashamed of her."
"I'm not ashamed of anyone!"
"Then you're afraid I'll steal her from you. Tell her I sent my love."
And like a fool, I would.
But through all of this mirth, it was by permitting us to be absolutely silly and letting ourselves look and feel completely ridiculous at times, that he made us finally get over ourselves being embarrassed for silly things. He gave us the ability to learn, to be socially fearless, stand up for ourselves, always speak our minds honestly and frankly, and hold our own in any room with anyone no matter how big or small.
He brought lessons from his own childhood. The warmth of growing up in a loving family in Amritsar was something he so successfully passed on to his daughters; my aunt and my mother, and to his grandchildren. If there was one thing I remember that Sam wanted to share with me in a serious manner, it was this - the importance of family, and loving everyone in your family unconditionally.
I look at my extended family today and I am so incredibly happy that I am amidst wonderful, amazing, good-hearted people, in all of whom I see a bit of Sam and Silloo, and a legacy of his family from Amritsar.
Sam took us everywhere with him. My brother remembers Sam introducing us as "And this is a grandson, and that's another grandson." Sometimes he'd add our names and emphasize the Sam. This is "Jehan-Sam and that's Raoul-Sam."
Yet he instilled in me the strongest desire to be my own person, and to be known for my own abilities and not for whom I was related to. When people would good-naturedly and innocently introduce me in my teenage years as "the Field Marshal's grandson" in situations where such an introduction had no place, I would always huffily say "My name is Jehan." I used to get very annoyed about being introduced as someone's relative, rather than as me.
People would ask me, why I never considered joining the army. Sam never once in my ENTIRE LIFE suggested it. The army was his profession, we were expected to decide for ourselves, find our own profession and excel in them. He used to say. "Son you must always work hard, and play hard."
People have from time to time characterized my grandfather as being too proud, or a little arrogant. But if he ever came across as being that, in actuality he was far from it. In his quieter moments, reminiscing about his life with the family, he would - after narrating one of his many stories - pause for a bit, and then in the silence he would remind us of how lucky he was, and how blessed he had been to have life treat him so fortunately. He always knew he'd led an extraordinary life and he never took that fact for granted.
He always used to say, "I have always been a lucky man, and luck has had a lot to do with my success." Then, in typically Sam fashion, he'd add a bit of humor to every serious lesson. He'd stop, smile and say, "But, the harder I worked, the luckier I got!"
I see in every member of my family these qualities of Sam's. There is great humor, straightforwardness and candor, unconditional love, a respect of each others ability to speak their own mind and be their own person, a desire to always do things properly, and throughout, a constant awareness of how fortunate we all are to be where we are in life, and to have had Sam in our lives.
So now when someone turns around and asks "are you related to the Field Marshal" I think of all these qualities that I know he instilled in us, and smile back, look them in the eyes, and say yes "I AM related to the Field Marshal" and I'm proud of it.

`A country that refuses to respect its Armed Forces will eventually end up getting forces that will not respect the nation's aspirations'.

— Dr.Harsh V. Pant

Armed forces are vital for the defence of any country that wants to survive as an independent nation. Our disgraceful and anti-national UPA Rulers in New Delhi do not seem to realize this basic fact and are politically keen on once again inviting the yoke of slavery besides surrender of territory. After our Independence, we expected the rulers of India to realize one patent fact that our country holds a world record in slavery that lasted for centuries, not just a few decades as in the case of Russians in the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution of 1917.. Obviously, though unknown to the gullible and simple people of India, our rulers seem to be in an unspoken collusion with the enemy and actually wish to rundown, weaken, ruin, destroy and finally see the same flag flying over Delhi that flies over Lahore and Karachi today. All this is being done under the electoral vote bank political flag of pluralistic pseudo-secularism, which in actual practice only means State Promotion of Islam at the expense of Hinduism and Hindus in absolute majority in India.

Most people in India {more particularly our Union Cabinet Ministers and their servile Civil Servants (often Serpents!)} are not aware of simple statistics relating to BATTLE CASUALTIES. I am presenting below the essential data in this regard.

1.Indo-Pakistani War of 1948: 21 October, 1947 _ 31 December, 1948
1,104 killed & 3,152 wounded
2. Sino-Indian War 1962: 10 October _ 21 November, 1962
Killed 3,128 & Wounded 1,697
3.Indo-Pakistani War of 1965: 5 August - September 21, 1965
3,264 killed & 8,623 wounded
4.Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: December 3-December 16, 1971
3,843 killed & 9,851 wounded
5. Kargil War: May-July 1999
527 killed & 1,363 wounded

1,104 killed & 3,152 wounded
3,128 killed & 1,697 wounded
3,264 killed & 8,623 wounded
3,843 killed & 9,851 wounded
527 killed & 1,363 wounded
11,866 killed & 24,684 wounded

The total number of soldiers killed in all Operations since 15 Aug 1947, including the present Operations to contain and eliminate terrorism in Kashmir is 22,869 and the total number of wounded soldiers is over 50,000. Every soldier dead leaves behind: (i) Heart broken & grieving parents. (ii) A young aged widow, with a bleak future and the heavy responsibility of taking care of her aged in-laws and her orphaned young children without any resources. The Question is: Who cares? The answer is: Nobody. Rather sad. Why? Perhaps not one soldier who has sacrificed his life for the Country is the son of a Politician or an IAS officer or an IPS officer. Indeed Shameful.

The levels of degradation and demoralization of the armed forces of India today have become total. This process was initiated by that arch coward Pandit Nehru who was more afraid of Muslims than death itself. That is why he used the might of his transitory Prime Ministerial Office to hold back the Armed Forces on August 15, 1947, denying them their first victory by repulsing the savage Islamic attack on our secular ethos, ideology and territory. That is why the Armed Forces of India found themselves submerged in shame overnight, even while Jawaharlal Nehru was happy with his `Tryst with Destiny' speech on the midnight of August 14-15, 1947. For the common people of India — more particularly the Hindus of India—it was indeed a `Tryst with Treachery'. He was not the First Prime Minister of India; he was indeed the First Prime Disaster of India! Immediately thereafter, the Armed Forces were withheld in the cruelest manner in 1948 just when they were advancing and recovering our own territory in Kashmir. It was the second major step taken towards their demoralization. The same story was repeated in 1965 and 1971 when we returned to Pakistan the conquered territories and the captured Pakistan prisoners of war (94000 in 1971).

The Military Veterans of Karnataka, the Ex-Servicemen consisting of the Retired Officers of the Army, Navy & Air Force and Personnel below officer rank (PBOR), i.e. JCOs, NCOs & OR (and their equivalents) in the Army, Navy & Air Force have sent a petition to SHRI BS YEDDIYURAPPA, THE HON'BLE CHIEF MINISTER OF KARNATAKA. I am quoting some relevant excerpts from this petition:

1. There is a growing sense of resentment amongst the MILITARY VETERANS, on account of their pain and anguish brought about by years of neglect and apathy by the government of the India, in not addressing the various issues relating to their pension and resettlement.

2. In order to seek redressal of their grievances by the government of India, the MILITARY VETERANS have launched a movement: MILITARY VETERANS MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE to invite the attention of the government of India for the amelioration of their grievances relating to pension and resettlement.

3. The Hon'ble Prime Minister and the Defence Minister of India have been made fully aware of the fact that the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission are grossly unfair to the personnel of the Defence Services and that it would adversely impact the morale of the Defence Services; which the Nation can ill afford and ignore at its own peril.

4. The MILITARY VETERANS have decided to carry out a silent MARCH FOR JUSTICE on Sunday, 06 July 2008, in over 500 cities and towns all over the Country. Against this background, The MILITARY VETERANS have placed the following proposals for immediate acceptance and implementation.

(i) `One Rank, One Pension' [OROP] be sanctioned IMMEDIATELY. (For purposes of `Pension' the term MILITARY VETERANS shall include: widows/ parents /next of kin of soldiers who were killed in battle and also those who died in peace time, and in receipt of pension from Defense Dept.)

(ii) Institution of adequate welfare measures for proper resettlement of MILITARY VETERANS and lateral induction of Officers and PBOR into Central and State Services and PSUs, at appropriate levels, so that MILITARY VETERANS too have just, fair and equal opportunities to upgrade themselves and retire at the age of 60 years, at higher levels and appointments.

(iii) Reconstitution of the Pay Review Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary by way of inclusion of serving Armed Forces personnel of the three Services and a MILITARY VETERAN;

5. In case, the government of India still continue to turn a deaf ear to the pleadings of the Military Veterans, the War Heroes and Widows of War Heroes of the 1948 J & K Operations against Pakistan, the 1962 War against China, the 1965 War and the 1971 War against Pakistan and the 1999 Kargil Operations against Pakistan and those who fought and still are fighting against the Pakistan backed Militants in Kashmir; honoured and decorated for their supreme sacrifice and bravery with gallantry medals, viz. Param Vir Chakra (PVC), Ashok Chakra (AC), Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) and Vir Chakra (VrC) have resolved to return their gallantry medals to the President of India on 15 Aug 2008. What a SHAME and A SAD DAY that would be in the Annals of Indian History, exposing the ingratitude of the Nation towards its Military Veterans.

6. I am of the view that the effete Indian government is fooling itself if it thinks that by dragging its feet on the issue of the Armed Forces' dissatisfaction with the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, it can make the issue go away.

7. To conclude in the brilliant words of Lt Gen (retd) Vijay Oberoi:

`Under the circumstances, it may be best to disband the army and let the bureaucracy become `pseudo soldiers' and look after the security of the nation. In the bargain, they will be able to further improve their cadre too! If the reader discerns a sense of cynicism, déjà vu and desperation, it is indeed intended. Sudden death would any day be a more satisfactory arrangement. The noble `profession of arms' is being turned into a `profession of alms''!

8. Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), in a famous poem, paid his great tribute to the Armed Forces of Britain during the I World War (1914-1919).Those deathless words of Laurence Binyon are no less applicable to the glorious record of heroism and self-sacrifice of the Armed Forces of India after our Independence on August 15, 1947.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;

The great misfortune of India is that we don't have a single poet like Laurence Binyon to capture the gleaming and glowing deeds of our Armed Forces in War and Peace in immortal verse today.

(The writer is a retired IAS officer)

E-mail the writer at
"Mr V Sundaram" <>,
"Mr V Sundaram" <>,
"Mr V Sundaram" <>,

Air Force man may lose job over beard

Vikram Chowdhary

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 (Chandigarh)

Aftab Ahmad may lose his job if he doesn't shave his beard. He joined the Air Force as corporal seven years ago when he was 17.Three years ago, the Air Force permitted him to grow a beard but a month later, Aftab was told to shave it off as per air force regulations. Another person Zubair too had a similar story. Both moved the Punjab andHaryana High Court and got a stay.

But now, the court has decided the case in favour of the Air Force.''The honorable judge has given a reasoning that it is not essential for a Muslim to keep a beard but now the question is that the regulation say that a true Muslim, if wants to keep a beard he should be permitted to keep a beard,'' says Navkiran Singh, lawyer for Aftab and Zubair.

In 2003, the Air Force issued an instruction that said all Muslims who had beard at the time of recruitment and who joined the Force before the 1st of January 2002 can sport a beard. But there was a restriction on its length.Elders in the Muslim community are not amused.

''Beard is must in Islam. Muslims should have beard without even to offer Nimaz,'' says Maulana Mohd Ajmal Khan, Imam, Jama Masjid, Chandigarh.The two Air Force men are not giving up. They will continue their fight in the court. And if they fail to get any relief they say they are willing to sacrifice their job and not their beard.

Strengthening Ocean as a Substitute for India's Land Diplomacy

Maitreya Buddha Samantaray

New Delhi

Wed, 16 Jul 2008:

Be it India’s strategic interest in South Asia or Southeast Asia, its foreign policy strategy has been more tilted towards landmass connectivity. Deeper engagements with its nations of south Asia and Southeast Asian countries have been attpted primarily taking up arterial developmental projects.

Bus diplomacy with Pakistan, Bangladesh, road link with Tibet and linkage with South East Asia also through road- the Ganga Mekong Project-are noteworthy movements in this direction. But what is our success rate? Surely, it will give a sombre picture of our foreign policy choices. Is it not time enough for our policy framers to look beyond land that is to tap the relatively untapped strategic and economic importance of its ocean base?

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is yet to become a potential force primarily due to the growing sense of insecurity among the member countries towards India. Realistic assessment of India’s Look east policy will also depict the fact that India is yet to achieve the desired role and the biggest failure of Look east policy can be seen as failure to involve Japan in building economic relationship. Whatever success it has achieved in South East Asia, it is primarily due to its strategic positioning in ocean.

After the 9/11 blast, when it was reported that Al Qaeda is planning a major maritime terrorism in one of the choke points in the region to inflict major disruption in global trade and energy supplies, security of the ocean had suddenly become a subject of great importance not only for the member-countries of the ASEAN, but also for China, Japan, Australia and the US. It was US navy’s circumstantial engagement in Afghanistan and later in Iraq that provided ample opportunities to India to flaunt his maritime capabilities. US authorities even sought the help of Indian Navy in 2002 to escort their ships on their way to the Persian Gulf area from the Pacific. Joint naval exercise with countries like US, Australia, Japan, and Singapore from time to time has also strengthened India’s naval power credibility.

The US has been trying hard to expand its vital naval influence in South Asia with the help of India just to contain Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean region. As Israel has been expressing concerns over the nuclear proliferation into its neighbourhood by Pakistan and reportedly intended to hide its nuclear arsenal from the radars of US, there is also a possibility that the country may approach India with a proposal to deploy nuclear submarines in the Indian Ocean in a near future. With an attempt to secure a foothold in the Persian Gulf region, China had invested heavily in the Gwadar deep sea port as it provides China a transit terminal for crude-oil imports from Iran and Africa to its Xinjiang province. Additionally, due to its positioning, it can monitor US naval activity in the Persian Gulf, Indian activity in the Arabian Sea and other maritime cooperation activities with India in the Indian Ocean. Considering the immense importance of the ocean, media reports also claimed that during Indo-Pakistan war of1965, there were alleged Indonesian naval threat to the Indian Ocean. There have been reports that Indonesian President Sukarno had wanted the Indian Ocean to be renamed as the Indonesian Ocean.

Given the importance of the Bay of Bengal for the security of Asia, and the Arabian Sea as a passage for oil supplies to enhance global economic prosperity, India's security and economic concerns will impinge heavily on the Indian Ocean in the coming years. Surrounded by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh and the mainland, the Andaman and Nicobar islands are of particular geo-strategic importance. Port Blair can be developed as a strategic international trade centre. Indian government should explore the possibility of setting up a trans-shipment port in Great Nicobar Island. At present, approximately 61 per cent of India’s export and import containers are trans-shipped through Colombo. Due to the Great Nicobar’s strategic location and easier access to eastern ports like Singapore, international vessels could have saved deviation time and cut cargo interest paid by Indian exporters for loading and offloading in Colombo. India could become a hub of the international cargo business if trans-shipment port will be set up there.

So as a logical conclusion, is it not wise to concentrate on our maritime and naval strength which is our own, instead of knocking the doors of others? In the analogy of Jawaharlal Nehru,”to be secure on land, we must be supreme at sea”. Additionally, prospects of business dynamism in the ocean will particularly sustain interest in India and draw nations towards it in the long run. The need of the hour is to explore the role of the ocean in promoting global maritime trade and security. The concept of ocean as an integrating and stabilising force has to be explored in its entirety.

Maitreya Buddha Samantaray The author of this article is a Delhi-based security Analyst. He can be reached at

Beard not must for Muslims, says court

Chandigarh, July 16 (PTI): Punjab and Haryana High Court has barred non-Sikh air force personnel from sporting beards, saying it is not a “compulsive requirement” for a Muslim.

The court gave the ruling on Monday on petitions by two Muslim personnel of the Indian Air Force seeking permission to grow beards while in uniform.

A single-judge bench of Justice Pramod Kohli held that “growing beards at the most can be stated to be a personal choice and the same is not a compulsive requirement of a person professing Islam. Even if it is presumed to be so, it can be regulated, restricted, if public order, morality and health so requires”.

The court also vacated a stay it had granted to aircraft loading man Aftab Ahmed Ansari and Corporal Mohammed Zubair allowing them to grow beards.

The Supreme Court recently asked the high court to decide the case in three months after the air force filed a special leave petition .

The petitioners’ counsel, Navkiran Singh, said they would approach a division bench. He said his clients’ religion did not allow them to shave off the beards.

Four years after joining the air force, Ansari had sought permission to grow a beard. Denied, he went on 40 days’ leave and came back sporting a beard, according to the IAF case file.

Inquiry into officer charge


New Delhi, July 16: Defence minister A.K. Antony has ordered an inquiry into a complaint by a lady officer that she was harassed by her seniors but the army has called the allegation “baseless” and has insinuated that she was psychologically weak.

The army had begun an investigation on its own but the minister’s order today overrides that. A fresh court of inquiry is likely to be set up.

The officer, a captain with the Army Service Corps posted in Kalka, Haryana, sent a written complaint on July 13, saying she was harassed by three seniors after she was allotted “married accommodation” — dwellings meant for families. She is not married.

She was transferred to Kalka from Misamari in Assam in October 2007. In December, she asked for allotment of quarters meant for married personnel for compassionate reasons.

“On occasion, my parents and sister used to come and live with me there. However, this irked the three officers and they used to force me to throw them out. If I did not pay heed to them, I was sent on duties at far off places,” she said. She also alleged that she was under “house arrest”.

The army has strongly refuted the allegations. “Allegations of physical and mental harassment levelled by captain (name withheld) of Kalka-based ASC battalion against her superior officers are baseless,” the army said in a press release.

On June 30, the officer was asked to move to Pathankot to command a detachment of her unit. She accepted the order but later requested for its deferment till July 11 citing personal reasons. On July 11, she was again asked to move when she requested that she be allowed to move the next day. But on July 12, the captain refused to move to Pathankot, “thereby disobeying legal and legitimate orders”.

The army release added that in her last posting at Misamari, too, the officer had refused to obey orders. When she was questioned, then, too, she alleged “mental harassment”. An inquiry was conducted and disciplinary action “was contemplated” but she was let off because of her young age and pleas by her mother.

The China factor in India's nuclear debate

By M.D. Nalapat
Manipal, India — On July 22, should India's ruling alliance win its trust vote in Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will go ahead and work out an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. His partners for the past 51 months, the two communist parties, will use their 61 members of Parliament to oppose him – despite Singh having kowtowed continuously to them on economic policy, at the cost of economic reform. Today, the Indian economy is in far worse shape than it was when he took office in 2004, with government spending out of control, a doubling of the tax burden and a raft of restrictions on private initiative and enterprise.

Why, despite Singh having implemented a "communist lite" program as prime minister, are the two communist parties so anxious to defeat his government and thereby block further progress on the nuclear negotiations begun with the George W. Bush- Manmohan Singh statement on U.S.-India nuclear cooperation on July 18, 2005? After all, the two parties are openly pacifist, having opposed the country's nuclear weapons program since its inception in 1985, and the agreements now being discussed would significantly limit India's freedom of action to build an arsenal capable of responding against a nuclear attack.

Contrary to the reports and commentaries now appearing in the Indian media, the change in stand of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India has little to do with nuclear weapons or energy. It is based on what is perceived – despite ritual denials by the United States and India – to be the principal reason behind the July 18, 2005 accord: the integration of India into the defense architecture of the United States, in the manner of Japan.

Such an outcome would require massive transfusions of U.S. equipment and technology to India, something that thus far has been prevented by the dense web of technology sanctions imposed on India after the country's first nuclear blast in 1974. Unless this Gordian knot be cut, the extent of interoperability of the Indian and U.S. defense forces would be severely restricted, in view of differences in equipment.

Although India would like to buy U.S. defense equipment worth at least US$6 billion immediately, rising toward $20 billion in five years, at present U.S. laws restrict the sale to the world's largest democracy of sophisticated weapons systems such as the F-22 fighter aircraft, or undersea platforms and missile systems. Should the nuclear-related barriers be knocked down, it would be a matter of months before the United States were to emerge as a serious competitor to Russia in the sale of defense equipment to India.

It is this that worries China, for Beijing is well aware that a primary motivation behind the warming of ties between New Delhi and Washington is a shared concern over the growth of the People’s Liberation Army. An India that evolves into as close a strategic partner of the United States as Japan presently is would be a nightmare to Chinese military planners – hence the imperative of derailing the nuclear deal.

Should the IAEA and the NSG begin to consider the Indian proposal for a qualified exemption from the restraints barring countries with advanced nuclear technology from trading with it, China would have no option but to go along, lest it antagonize both India and the United States. Small wonder that the CPM and CPI have been vociferous in demanding that India not go before the NSG and the IAEA, and withdrew their support to the Manmohan Singh government on July 7, the day the IAEA was formally approached by India to consider an exemption.

Beijing had apparently calculated that the prime minister would prefer to remain in office rather than risk defeat over the deal. However, Manmohan Singh seems willing to risk all in a throw of the dice that will be decided on July 22, the day of the trust vote.

By opposing the nuclear deal, the two communist parties have landed in the same corner as the largest opposition party, the BJP, which seeks not to scrap but to renegotiate the agreement on terms more favorable to India. The BJP favors a robust triad of nuclear weapon platforms, on land, sea and air, unlike Manmohan Singh, who has long been ambivalent about nuclear weapons and who, as finance minister from 1991-96, cut spending on the nuclear and missile program.

Rather than the defense relationship – which is what excites the BJP – Singh looks at a closer relationship through the prism of economic development. The United States has become the largest trade and technology partner of India, as well as the favored destination for Indian students. Indeed, the multiplying links between the two powers are creating a grassroots momentum for an alliance.

If U.S. laws are amended to facilitate hi-tech collaboration, in the coming decade India and not China may evolve as the location for the manufacture of selected aerospace and other components. Small wonder that China’s leaders are hoping their communist allies in India will be able to prevent more cozy ties between the world's two most populous democracies.

However, even in the unlikely event of a government defeat on July 22, the process of an India-U.S. partnership will only have been delayed, not abandoned. Except for the communist parties – which have continually demonstrated an admirable loyalty toward first the Soviet Union and now China – almost every major political party in India favors a closer relationship with the United States. This is not surprising in probably the only country in the world where George W. Bush still enjoys a 60 percent favorable rating.

(Professor M.D. Nalapat is vice-chair of the Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair, and professor of geopolitics at Manipal University. ©Copyright M.D. Nalapat.)

Indian Army chief to visit Bangladesh

Bombay News.Net
Monday 14th July, 2008 (IANS)

Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor is to visit Bangladesh, possibly towards the end of the month, an official said.
'The details are being worked out but the visit will most likely take place towards the end of this month,' the defence ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
'This will essentially be a return visit for that of the Bangladesh Army chief (General Moeen U. Ahmed in February), the official added.
That visit, the first by a Bangladesh Army chief of India was considered significant as the political changes and the promulgation of an emergency in the country in January 2007 was strongly backed by the armed forces.
New Delhi hopes that the new dispensation in Dhaka would act on its complaints of cadres of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and other militants using Bangladesh as the staging post for raids into India's northeastern region.
Even more worrisome than the anti-India groups are the operations of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI) extremist group. India has blamed the HuJI, established in 1992 reportedly with assistance from Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front, for two sets of blasts in Hyderabad last year.
While the official was tight lipped on the agenda for Kapoor's visit, analysts said this would include improving bilateral ties and greater military-military interactions between the Indian and Bangladeshi armed forces.
India has been steadily reaching out to Bangladesh and during Ahmed's visit, had gifted him six horses valued at a little over Rs.35 million ($850,000) as a token of goodwill and friendship.
Kapoor had handed over the reigns of the two stallions and four mares to Ahmed.
'In the last four or five years, there has been an engagement of a positive nature, but there have been no concrete achievements. We need to turn that around,' an official had said at that time.
Ahmed is the first four-star officer of the Bangladesh armed forces.

Court dismisses suit on Manekshaw funeral

New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a lawyer’s plea seeking directions to the centre to ensure that the alleged lapses during the state funeral of former Indian Army chief Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw did not recur. P.L. Suneja, in his plea to Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, contended that the manner in which Manekshaw’s funeral was conducted was “shameful”. A division bench comprising Shah and Justice S.Muralidhar, however, dismissed the plea after Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra informed the court that the allegation was incorrect.

“He was given a state funeral at his home town at the initiative of the government and there is no provision which says flying the national flag at half mast on such occasions is automatic,” Malhotra maintained.

A large number of serving and retired Indian Army officers have expressed anger at the low key funeral accorded to Manekshaw, the architect of the country’s greatest military victor in the 1971 war that saw the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation from the erstwhile East Pakistan.

The highest government representation was in the form of Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju, while the three service chiefs were conspicious by their abscence.

Perhaps to atone for this, the Indian Army Tuesday organised a memorial service for Manekshaw at which Defence Minister A.K. Antony and army chief General Deepak Kapoor, among others, eulogised the Field Marshal’s contributions.

Antony, however, was non-commital on the demand from some sections for posthumously conferring Manekshaw the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian decoration.

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