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Thursday, 28 August 2008

From Today's Papers - 28 Aug

Jammu hostage drama ends
Three militants, 3 captives killed in gunbattle
Tribune News Service & PTI

Jammu, August 27
Security forces tonight killed the last of the three militants who held seven persons — four children and three women — captive in a house on the city outskirts, ending a 19-hour hostage drama and gunbattle.

However, there was no official word as yet on the fate of the hostages inside the two-storeyed house at Chinore on the city outskirts, 20 km from the International Border with Pakistan.

Jammu SSP Manohar Singh said the lone militant who had held out was killed shortly before midnight.

Earlier in the evening, security forces killed two of the three militants who had
taken the children aged between three and nine years, their mother and two other
women, hostage.

After eliminating all ultras, security forces launched a search operation in the house to ascertain if booby traps had been laid, the SSP said.

One militant was killed in the early stage of the encounter that began around 7 a.m. today and the second terrorist was shot dead in the evening after a three-hour lull in the gunbattle, Jammu IGP K. Rajendra told reporters.

Shortly before curtains came down on the hostage drama, the mother of the children was allowed to move out of the house and she told the security forces not to do anything which would endanger the lives of the hostages.

IGP Kuldip Khoda said the second militant was killed while he was trying to escape under the cover of darkness.

The militants, who were suspected by the police to have infiltrated across the border under the cover of firing by Pakistani forces yesterday, first came in a goods carrier and attacked an Army checkpost in the Domana-Mishriwala area on the Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch highway this morning, killing two civilians, a jawan identified as Havildar Vijay Kumar and a JCO Naik Subedar V.V. K. Paarkashan.

After this, the militants in khaki uniform hijacked an autorickshaw and took refuge in a house belonging to a man identified as Billu Ram but not before resorting to indiscriminate firing in which a fourth person was killed. Three jawans were also injured, an Army spokesman said.

The police said one woman was earlier rescued from the house. Security personnel surrounded the house and took up positions on its roof.

The police said efforts to rescue the hostages were hampered because there was only one entrance on the ground floor of the residential building.

The operation to flush out the militants was planned in such a way to avoid any civilian casualties, officials said.

After the killing of the two militants in the house, a third terrorist kept on firing on security forces in the crowded area.

Authorities evacuated the densely populated neighborhood where the militants
were holed up.

Cash, arms flow in Poonch for separatists

EVEN AS the administration appears lax, the Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir continues to slip into the hands of separatists with alarming reports that cash and weaponry are being pumped into the district to create more trouble and turn the district into a terror hotbed.

It may be recalled that the state administration had ignored recent warnings about militants’ plans to strike in Jammu in a big way resulting in Wednesday’s (August 27) militant attack in Chinore.

According to reliable defence sources, around Rs 3.50 lakhs have arrived in the past few days for separatist elements in Poonch, besides weapons to foment more trouble in the district and create a Kashmir-like situation in the border district.

Cash has been distributed among the top agents of separatist camps with the assurance that more money and weapons would follow once the situation goes out of control of the district administration.

It may be recalled here that around 15 families of the minority community have already migrated from Dhalera and Bhench areas two days ago while some more are likely to migrate if the situation continues to remain grim. A delegation of Poonch residents of the minority community led by senior Supreme Court advocate and a Poonch resident SS Lehar met the divisional commissioner and apprised him of the volatile situation in the district forcing migration of the minority community from Dhalera and Bhench areas. The delegation asked him to act fast.

Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS) leaders, Dr Narender Singh and Sanjay Nagpal also addressed media on Wednesday asking for immediate steps to stop migration of minorities from Poonch and held the local administration responsible for the lacklustre attitude for the past few days. They also demanded handing over of the district to the army immediately.

Secessionist forces inimical to the unity of the state have provided funds to the tune of Rs 3.50 lakh for distribution among the people belonging to the separatist elements within the majority community for the purpose. This amount is being distributed among the separatist population residing in six to seven villages surrounding the Poonch Township. A big cache of the materials including some heavy weaponry has also been brought for further supply to local mentors.

The motive of this agenda is to create a Kashmir-like situation in the otherwise peaceful Poonch district of the Jammu region where demand for annexation of this area with Pakistan or independence could be raised along with the demands of the Hurriyat Conference. In regard to the recent reports of violence in some villages surrounding the Poonch town, the same was the part of this secrete game plan.

Separatist elements inhabiting these villages raised pro-independence and pro-Pakistan slogans and on the midnight of August 25 and 26, where people assembled at local mosques and raised objectionable slogans through loudspeakers to create panic and fear among minorities.

To support the obnoxious designs of the Kashmir-based separatists, sources informed that a group of Pakistan-trained militants waiting on the porous parts of the Poonch border tried to infiltrate to this side, but the alert security forces foiled their recent bid to cross the border while militants got supporting cover of the Pakistani Rangers. The district administration, unfortunately, not understanding the plan of the separatists is not helping the nationalist people.

Displaying hostile treatment for the people, the administration has not provided curfew passes to select media persons while those who create nuisance are treated well. This treatment was amply demonstrated recently when a group of media persons were denied curfew passes for their objective reporting.

Justice Mathur chairperson of Armed Forces Tribunal

JUSTICE ASHOK Kumar Mathur, a retired judge of the Supreme Court has been appointed as chairperson of the Armed Forces Tribunal. The tenure of appointment of Justice AK Mathur as chairperson in the Armed Forces Tribunal will be for a period of four years from the date of assumption of the charge or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.

Born on August 7, 1943, Justice Mathur was enrolled as an advocate of the Rajasthan High Court in 1967.

He served as assistant government advocate and deputy government advocate and later as government advocate of Jodhpur from 1969 to 1978. He was appointed as additional advocate general of Rajasthan in 1981.

Justice Mathur became additional judge of Rajasthan High Court in 1985 and permanent judge of the same court in 1986. He was transferred to the Madhya Pradesh High Court in 1994, and was appointed chief justice of the same court in 1996. Justice Mathur was transferred to Calcutta High Court in 1999.

He was elevated as Judge of the Supreme Court of India on June 7, 2004, and retired this month.

Army's move against infiltration a success

Nitin Gokhale

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 (Line of Control, Kashmir)

The militants, who struck Jammu by holding children and women hostage on Wednesday, are suspected to have come through the international border.

One of the main reasons why terrorists are now attempting to infiltrate from the international border as they did on Tuesday is Indian Army's most successful campaign to curb infiltration of terrorists from across the 700-km long Line of Control (LoC).

Mohammed Hashim, caught by the Indian Army in north Kashmir in July, might consider himself unlucky in trying to cross the LoC this summer since he came up against a new counter-infiltration strategy of the Indian Army.

"Number one measure is the vigilance of the troops. Then we have strengthened the fence totally. This year, we have resuscitated it well in advance. The next step was to integrate all our surveillance systems. When you put all this together, we have created almost an impregnable situation," said Lt General Mukesh Sabharwal, 15 Corps Commander, Srinagar.

The strategy is clearly more effective. On ground, the methods are further fine-tuned.

"They are coming in small groups. We use all sensors to detect them at the earliest. Direction finders and optical instruments are used. Radio intercepts come in handy and finally, all our troops are equipped with night visions on their weapons. This gives us tremendous capability. The fencing has really worked for us," said Col K Biswas, commanding officer, 12 Assam Regiment.

The idea is to engage the terrorists at the LoC itself.

A fresh, innovative strategy adopted by the Army has clearly kept the level of infiltration into Kashmir down to a minimum in 2008.

Terrorists eyeing Jammu for infiltration

Zaffar Iqbal

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 (Kanachak)

With the Army successfully blocking large-scale infiltration along the Line of Control, terrorists are now shifting their attention to the International border manned by the Border Security Force. They are now eyeing the Jammu sector to get into India.

Militants cut a fence on the India-Pakistan international border in Kanachak twenty kilometres from Jammu to enter into Indian Territory early on Tuesday morning.

About 30 heavily armed men opened fire at the Border Security Force observation posts. Few of them have managed to enter Indian Territory. A hunt is now on to get them. This is the second infiltration attempt in Jammu in three months.

"Two to three militants managed to infiltrate into the Indian territory, they were at a distance of 150 metres, so we could not target them," said G S Virk, DIG, BSF.

In May, a large group of militants infiltrated into Indian Territory in a similar fashion by cutting the border fence near Samba. The BSF suspects the infiltrators have the Pakistan army's support.

"There is a sensitive situation in our neighboring country, I think they are taking advantage of all that, and creating an atmosphere of distrust so that peace process and dialogue are delayed," said G S Virk, DIG, BSF.

There have been many cases of ceasefire violations since it was declared in November 2003. On Monday, five BSF jawans were injured in firing in the Poonch district.

Clearly, stopping infiltration still continues to remain the biggest challenge before the security forces.

DRDO to seek help from foreign experts to retain talent

Press Trust Of India / New Delhi August 27, 2008, 19:05 IST

With the attrition rate reaching alarming levels, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will now rope in foreign experts to devise ways to retain top scientists engaged in strategic programmes.

DRDO's Recruitment and Assessment Centre(RAC), responsible for recruiting scientists, has invited human resource experts from the US, Britain, Germany, Australia and Israel to understand how these countries are managing to retain bright talents for their scientific programmes.

The initiative comes at a time when many strategic and futuristic programmes of DRDO are getting delayed because of manpower crunch and failure of the organisation to attract top brains.

"High rate of attrition is a serious problem affecting our strategic programmes and that is why we have invited the foreign experts to guide us in attracting and retaining top talents," Director of RAC, Arun Kumar said.

DRDO recruits about 1,000 scientists every year across all its 52 laboratories and the high attrition rate, which is around eight per cent, has become a key factor affecting its growth.

The urgency is reflected from RAC's move to organise a four-day workshop beginning September 17, probably first type of such workshop in India, where foreign experts as well as HR managers from Infosys, Wipro, Tata, ISRO, CSIR and Department of Atomic Energy will share their experience with DRDO on various aspects of man-power management.

"These developed countries are known for their successful scientific and strategic programmes and we hope their inputs will help us in developing a wide array of tools to stem the flow of scientists to greener pastures," Kumar said.

Heat on Jammu border
28 Aug 2008, 0136 hrs IST,TNN

NEW DELHI: With the Army managing to thwart a majority of the infiltration bids along the Line of Control (LoC) this summer, the Pakistani "handlers" of militant outfits are trying to push in terrorists through the International Border (IB) now.

That is the assessment of the security establishment here in the wake of the spurt in infiltration bids along the IB in recent days, with the latest one being the successful attempt by some militants to cross-over in the Kanachak area in the early hours of Tuesday.
As per the latest assessment, there are 750-800 terrorists already active in J&K. Hundreds more are positioned in "launch pads" along the LoC and IB to cross over into J&K, with the aim being to take advantage of the ongoing turmoil in the state as well as unleash havoc in the run-up to the assembly polls.

As Army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, told TOI last week, there are as many as 40 terrorist-training camps still operating across the border, with 20 in Pakistan, 18 in PoK and two in the Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Minister of state for defence, M M Pallam Raju, on his part, on Wednesday said, "We expected that there will be attempts to disrupt the election process and infiltration is part of that gameplan. Forces that are behind the disruption want to show that they exist. We are making all efforts to see that they do not get a upper hand...they will be neutralized."

Anticipating the infiltration spike, the Army had laid a strong "three-tier counter-infiltration grid" along LoC as soon as snow in the mountain passes began melting in March-April. This put paid to plans by outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed and al Badr to send militants across the 778-km LoC, with "successful infiltration" till July this year being just about 35% of last year's count.
"Consequently, while infiltration bids along the LoC continue, militant outfits seem to be also turning their attention to the the 198-km-long IB in J&K now. Overall, we have recorded around 150 infiltration bids already this year," said a senior Army officer.

There is another source of worry. Pakistani Army is increasingly resorting to cross-border firing this year, breaking the November 2003 ceasefire over 30 times already since January.
"Many of the ceasefire violations have been accompanied by infiltration bids, confirming the suspicion that Pakistan Army is again providing covering fire to infiltrators," he said.

analysis: The new political landscape —Talat Masood

People are now looking forward to civilian rule, despite memories of the current politicians’ dismal failures of the past. Political leaders have to demonstrate that they are prepared to manage the complex affairs of the state and confront the war on terror at the same time

It was no surprise that the coalition between the PPP and the PMLN broke up so soon. It is extremely difficult to manage grand coalitions that comprise major rival parties that have a history of bitter confrontation.
As I had mentioned in one of my earlier columns, even mature democracies like Germany, Austria and Israel that formed coalition governments with two major parties were not successful and had to revert back to either aligning with smaller regional or minor national parties or had to call for re-election.

The differences on the judges’ issue and Mr Zardari’s decision to stand for the office of President catalysed the breakup; though from the very first day misgivings and lack of trust were manifest on several issues and policy positions.
Consequently, the government remained dysfunctional and the country in a state of limbo for these five months. The two parties could however justifiably take credit for removing President Musharraf without major political upheaval.

This however begs the question: having removed Musharraf and failed to stay together as coalition partners, will the two parties and their leaders succeed in promoting the democratic process, with one remaining in government and the other posing as the opposition? They could still retrieve the situation provided they play their respective roles according to universal democratic norms and not lapse back into the infighting and intrigues of 1990s.
In the new emerging coalition there will be greater reliance on smaller regional and ethnic parties. Past experience in other countries has shown that in the long-term this type of political arrangement has a salutary impact on nation building. The smaller provinces are able to develop a higher stake in national politics and can extract greater concessions for elevating their economic and social conditions.

In India, the small provinces of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have lifted themselves to the larger national scene in this manner and are getting greater political space. Similarly, if MNAs from Balochistan and the NWFP remain vital in keeping the coalition intact, they can demand more equitable and judicious allocation of national resources.
The PMLN can play a crucial national role as an effective and robust opposition. The two parties should engage in healthy competition for better economic, social, foreign and defence policies rather than dragging each other down and taking the system along with them, as they have done in the past.
The PPP has always remained weak in governance. Their culture of patronage and lip service serves the politics of expediency at the local level but is inimical to good governance, and in the long-term hurts the party as well as national interests.

The PPP leadership has to operate and function in an ethical matrix. Politicians in many countries including India and the US are not known for high morals yet when it comes to top leadership their character and conduct is impeccable. Mr Zardari will have to make an earnest effort at rehabilitating his image.
Nawaz Sharif claimed high ground by sticking to the demand for the restoration of judges and for choosing a former chief justice with sound credentials as his party’s presidential candidate. But his future conduct would be the determining factor for his political career.

Clearly, Mr Zardari, by opting to be the President, will politically become the most powerful person in Pakistan. There is the danger that by default or design the centre of power will shift from the parliament to the presidency. But the nature of the problems the country faces requires that rulers seek greater consensus and support rather than amass power. Moreover, over-centralisation of power cuts against the principles of parliamentary government and damages the federal character of the state. One of the major flaws of President Musharraf’s rule was his concept of unity of command, a major factor in alienating the smaller provinces.

The fragility of our democratic institutions due to prolonged military rule and the huge challenges that the country is currently facing demand that both the PPP and the PMLN in their respective roles should work together to place the country on a more stable democratic foundation. The country not only faces a formidable fight as a frontline state in the global war on terror, but is the severest victim of it.
Pakistan’s central role in the war on terror and as the only Muslim nuclear power also implies that the country will always remain important in the global context. Equally threatening and mutually reinforcing is the steep economic decline. There are several other issues that require national consensus to lift the country from its present impasse. Issues that should be dealt with on a priority basis are the insurgency in Balochistan, acute energy shortages, growing lawlessness, high illiteracy and on the external front, stabilisation and improvement of relations with India, Afghanistan and the United States.

Apart from strengthening state institutions and addressing current challenges we have to do nation building as well in which the coalition partners and the opposition can both play a positive role. Regrettably, even after 61 years of independence we are still uncertain and confused about our identity and are in search of a raison d’etre.
Many in the tribal belt, the NWFP and urban parts of Sindh are seeking an ethnic identity to secure themselves, sometimes even against state interests. Many in Punjab and other parts of Pakistan seek identity through promoting hostility toward India or by promoting their interpretation of Islam. Large parts of the tribal belt and the NWFP have come close to being Talibanised and it is no longer possible to close one’s eyes to the reality that obscurantist forces could gain control of more areas and link up with similar forces in Afghanistan.
There is hardly any effort by our leaders or civil society to use a people-oriented approach in developing a common and enduring national ethos. It is only through social and economic transformation that the people would find a common cause to stay united.

The politicians and civil society had always maintained that the army had too frequently imposed its will on the nation and its vitality had been suppressed. People are now looking forward to civilian rule, despite memories of the current politicians’ dismal failures of the past. Political leaders have to demonstrate that they are prepared to manage the complex affairs of the state and confront the war on terror at the same time.
In addition they have to mobilise efforts toward both nation- and state-building. To expect that the current leadership will be in a position to tackle these complex problems would be far fetched, but we have to confront these problems and find solutions to them sooner than later.
The writer is a retired Lieutenant General
of the Pakistan Army. He can be reached at

Shri Pallam Raju’s valedictory address to INDAIR-08 Seminar

Following is the extract from the address delivered by the Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju at the Valedictory Session of the ‘INDAIR-08: Strategic partnering of IAF and Industry on Modernisation and Indigenisation’ seminar in New Delhi today.

Defence Procurement Procedure is in existence since 1992. I would like to draw your attention to the changes incorporated in the scope of these procedures. The changes have been evolved over the years based on our practical experience. The Defence Procurement Strategy initially started from the 'buy' category and subsequently grew to 'Buy and Make' category. Today we focus on the ‘Make' category. The inference is simple and straightforward. India is a globally recognised force to reckon with in the field of science and technology. The potential of Indian Industry as of now lies in development of technology, implement it and make an impact in the global market.

India has a strong industrial base. Our strength is the large pool of technically qualified manpower. This joint event organised by the IAF and CII is an indicator that there are ample opportunities for the Indian Industry in the defence sector. The timing and the theme of the event "Strategic partnering of IAF and Industry on modernisation and indigenisation" is appropriate in the present scenario. Our objective now should be to strengthen ourselves economically and technologically. The need for partnerships both on the strategic and technological front should focus on issues to widen our policy and developmental options. Strin

gent quality and safety requirements make the field of military aviation technologically complex and demanding. The foreign defence vendors are in the process of preparing to offer aerospace technologies to competent players including manufacturers and design houses. The offset clause is expected to offer a bonanza of business to the Indian Industry. The Indian industry will thus have to upgrade their infrastructure to be in the race. The right moves in the next couple of months will reap multifarious benefits in the years to come.

Defence-Industry partnership should be with wider perspective to achieve our goal of self-reliance. The focus should be towards creating a self-reliant industrial and technological base that will enable India to play a deciding role in the world market. The present commercial environment in the global market should be used to attract financial inflows for development and to offer our skills for outsourcing services. It is definitely possible with a vibrant Indian private sector whose participation in production activities in the defence areas is growing at a rapid pace. The resultant mutual benefit in all probability would be collectively seen in the form of growth of our nation at large.

Self belief, determination and perseverance are important factors in this field of R & D than the technical potential and infrastructural resources. I am optimistic that this two day interaction would have broken all barriers and developed trust and faith to join hands and work as a team. The mantra is "team work" that will strengthen our all round capabilities. The present policies of the government are aimed at providing ample opportunities to the Indian defence Industry in a transparent way.

The country should strengthen its indigenous research, design and manufacturing capabilities. The government of India is fully committed to support and enhance the self-reliance efforts. The IAF and vibrant Indian industries will have to work as a team towards the goal of self-reliance and contribute to effective exploitation of our new acquisitions.

The conclusion of this seminar which was aimed to garner our resources and reassess our strength and weaknesses is truly not the end but just a beginning in our journey towards greater self-reliance. I have no doubt in my mind that each element of the industry and defence would continue closer interactions and achieve meaningful results to make the nation proud. Let us grow technologically and commercially and provide effective resources to our armed forces.

Anomaly in reviewed pay commission: IAF chief

August 27th, 2008 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS -

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) The government must take immediate steps to restore the parity in the pay scales of officers of the rank of Lieutenant Colonels and equivalent with their civilian and Coast Guard counterparts who have been awarded more emoluments by the Sixth Pay Commission, says Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major. Major has made the plea in a letter to Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Indian Navy chief, urging him to intervene before the government implements the recommendations made by the pay commission.

“The finance ministry is introducing yet another anomaly by lowering the extant of parities of officers of the armed forces, of the Lt. Col. (and equivalent), by retaining them in pay band-3, while raising similarly placed civilian and paramilitary officers to pay band-4,” Major wrote in the letter sent Monday. A copy of the letter was made available to IANS.

“It is reliably learnt that civilian and paramilitary officers in the extant pay scales S-24 (Rs.14,300-400-18,300) and S-25 (Rs.15,100-400-18,300) will be placed in pay band-4, whereas the same is being denied to the armed forces officers (Lt. Col. and equivalent) who were already in S-25,” Major said.

The IAF chief has pointed that because of this the civilian officers who were in the lower pay bracket (S-24) and were hitherto drawing lesser pay than Lieutenant Colonels and officers of equivalent ranks would now draw a higher basic salary.

At present, the India Army, the Indian Navy and IAF have 11,187, 3,528 and 4,216 officers, respectively, of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and equivalent.

“This is not just affecting a Lt. Col. Because of this the pay of Coast Guard’s commandant with 23 years of experience will be equivalent to a Rear Admiral with 30 years of experience,” a senior army official said.

The cabinet Aug 14 cleared the revised recommendations of the pay commission, granting huge hikes to five million government employees, with special attention paid to military and paramilitary personnel.

According to the government, the revision translates into a 20 percent hike over the 40 percent across-the-board increase the pay commission had recommended.

The government promised at least three promotions for defence personnel and civilian employees under the modified assured career progression (ACP) scheme.

Civilians will be assured of promotions after 10, 20 and 30 years of service. Junior and non-commissioned officers and personnel below officer rank (PBOR) will be eligible for this after 8, 16 and 24 years of work.

The Military Service Pay recommended by the pay commission has been doubled to Rs.2,000 for PBORs and retained at Rs.6,000 for officers up to the rank of brigadiers.

Middle level officers - colonels, brigadiers and equivalent - are now placed in the highest pay band of PB-4. Lieutenant generals overlooked for promotion as army commanders due to lack of residual service will get the grade of an army commander.

The report of the Sixth Pay Commission, headed by Justice (retd) B.N. Srikrishna, was submitted to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram March 24.

It led to protests from both civilian and defence personnel, following which the government appointed a committee under Cabinet Secretary K. Chandrashekhar to study the various demands for financial corrections.

The three service chiefs also made a joint representation to Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

It is not only about pilots

When push comes to shove, culture eats strategy for lunch! ~Jack Walsh

In response to the previous post, this blogger recieved an email from a friend. Some extracts:

…everyone loves to talk about the pilots, but what about the “bonded labour” situation being faced by engineers and other ground service officers. The shortages of 400 officers in the ground duties are mainly in the enginnering cadre, not in other ground cadres - accounts, administration, logistics etc.

Each cadre is managed separately and has an identity of its own. The new recruitment in these cadres is also matching the targets. Moreover, officers grounded from flying also move into these cadres at later stages of their service due to various reasons, such as medical fitness etc.

What are the deficiencies in each of these cadres? Nil or very minimal, if we go by the IAF figures themselves. Then why is there no clear exit policy in place for these officers? Can you provide an answer?

No. This blogger cannot provide any authentic answer. It only adds another chapter onto the long list of illogical, immoral and blatantly illegal decisions taken by the services. One of the differences between a happy and an unhappy organisation is how well the structures and processes in the organisation match its objectives. The IAF is intent on running an unhappy organisation, which is organised and managed in a way that eschews its stated objectives: looking for thoughtful management and career development or even a well-run organisation.

In the past, the Indian defence services were typically structured and managed to reflect the objectives of honesty and good service while ensuring happiness and satisfaction of its serving members. In recent years, the Indian defence services are ostensibly doing the same thing they always did, but now in a completely inappropriate way - trampling over individual freedom and breeding dissatisfaction among the rank and file with their inchoate HR policies.

This brings us to the larger point raised in the last blogpost. The major issue here is not only about the exit policy in the IAF. It is about the propensity of the services top brass (including the respective chiefs) to blatantly lie, fudge facts and get away with murder because the media [which should have educated the larger public - politicians, bureaucrats, and the judiciary included] refuses to question the services.

This condonation by a free and invigorating media lies at the root of belligerence shown by the services to its serving members, with total disregard to the laws of the land. While the media is not holding the services top brass accountable, there is no policy of confirmation of individual appointments by the Parliament. Imagine a situation, as in the US, if an Air Chief, before taking over, had to face the Parliament or a parliamentary defence committee and answer some difficult questions. Besides answering some questions about the turf war between the services [say control over helicopters and UAVs, nuclear resources etc.], the future strategy of the IAF, there would be some questions about the Exit Policy in the IAF and he’d have to explain the reasons for a 180 degrees turnaround since Air Chief Krishnaswamy’s tenure. All this would be in full public view and a lazy media is sure to pick up on the highlights and eventually blow to pieces the “holy cow” image of the services and their chiefs.

Alas, this will remain a pipe dream in India. For the simple reason that the bureaucrats, politicians and judges would also have to go through this process of confirmation by the Parliament in full public view. Does anyone court trouble for himself or herself? Obviously not, but then this Japanese proverb may get some of them thinking on a different track–

We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

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