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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

From Today's Papers - 28 Oct

Wish You A Very Happy Diwali

Constitutional Crisis - Threat Vs Reality

The recent actions by the service chiefs, wherein the implementation of the pay commission recommendations were put on hold till a final decision on the anomalies is taken by the government, has drawn considerable comment and flak from a section of the media. Similarly, the Naval and Army Chiefs' communication to their respective commands, informing them of this delay, has been criticized. The critics have termed their actions as 'defiance' and 'insubordination'. Fears have been expressed that such an unprecedented move, if left unchallenged and unpunished, would embolden future chiefs. It may the constitutional order .... maybe even the dreaded C word!

The voices, apparently inspired by motivated interests, are crying wolf about something which may happen in the future . What about what is already happening for the past so many years - isn't the bureaucracy already undermining the system for their personal gains every day?

A simple exercise will tell you the difference between the military and the bureaucrats. Go down to NOIDA. First visit Sector 15A - the abode of babus (old babus never retire - they just step into other roles to continue receiving government patronage). Notice the houses, the parks, the cars. Now drive on further to Sector 28 where the retired faujis are fading away. Notice anything? Any differences? These are not the palatial bungalows like you saw a little while back. Why? aren't the two services supposed to be paid similarly? Where does the difference lie?

The fact is that the bureaucrats are eating their way into a plush lifestyle - at the cost of the nation. The latest example is the blatant subverting of the constitutional process and overriding the cabinet decision by granting four increments to themselves rather than two as approved by the cabinet.

Where is the sanctity of the constitution that these people keep beating their collective breasts about?

Sainik School Rewari to commence classes next year

Mineguruji 27 October 2008, Monday

THE SAINIK School Rewari, second in Haryana, will start functioning from the next academic session of 2009-10. Applications for admissions to both Rewari and Kunjpura (Karnal) Sainik Schools have been invited by 10th December 2008.

Stating this here today (October 27), the spokesman of the district administration told that initially, the admissions to only sixth standard would be made in Rewari Sainik School while, for Kunjpura Sainik School, admissions in standard sixth and ninth will be made.

The All India Sainik Schools Entrance Examination will be held on January 4, 2009, at four centres- Kunjpura (Karnal), Rohtak, Rewari and Delhi. He said that medium of writing examination for both classes is Hindi as well as English but the question papers for class nine will be only in English. The medium of instructions in the school is English.

Why blame us?

I read Arundhati Ghose’s article “Services’ contempt of civil authority is not casual” (October 22). The article unnecessarily blames the three Services for trying to go against the Constitution by deliberately misinterpreting a letter written by the three Chiefs. It also blames the politicians for widespread corruption while the bureaucrats are mainly responsible for it.

The government’s main purpose is to govern the country but unfortunately the country’s governance, which is in the administrators’ hands, leaves much to be desired. The armed forces have also been suffering due to the bureaucrats’ opposition to the legitimate requirements of the military.

In India, the Ministry of Defence consists of bureaucrats only while in a mature democracy like the US, the military officers and bureaucrats function together in the Ministry of Defence.

Democracy is well established in India. The bureaucrats have been using the fake threat of military dictatorship in India to have full and absolute control over the armed forces to ensure that the military becomes completely subservient to the bureaucrats.

Maj-Gen RAJENDRA NATH (retd), Chandigarh

When defence is linked to terror

Chandan Haygunde Posted: Oct 28, 2008 at 0109 hrs

Pune, October 27 Reflects loss of army’s faith in government, says retired colonel

Retired army officers being questioned by investigative agencies for their alleged links with the Malegaon blasts has not come as a surprise to Col Jayant Chitale (retd), the man who once started a commando academy to form suicide squads for carrying out attacks in Pakistan.

Chitale said army officers were angry for the failure of the government in tackling terrorism. “They are also losing faith in the judiciary for its failure to give prompt and proper punishment to terrorists,” he said.

“Incidents like India handing over a terrorist to the enemy in the plane hijack case and politicisation of the Afzal Guru issue are having a demoralising effect on the army, forcing the officers to plan their own ways for countering terrorism,” he said.

Chitale had formed the Maharashtra Military Foundation (MMF) in Pune in October 1993 and a few years after that started a Commando Academy at Badlapur.

“I wanted to form suicide squads for carrying out attacks in Pakistan. I had also informed the Central Government and the Army Headquarters about my plan. My first suicide squad was ready in 2002. I had to close the academy for some reasons, but I am still training the youths in self defence techniques and motivating them to join the army,” he said.

Asked about the association of retired army officers with Hindu outfits, he said, “Officers are generally not against Muslims. There are excellent patriotic Muslim officers in the Army. Politicians are showing no will to counter Islamic terrorism. So some retired officers may think of countering Islamic terrorism for which they may develop contacts with Hindu organisations”.

Even the top brass in defence forces are unhappy with the way politicians are tackling terrorism. But the possibility of retired officers joining extremist groups for countering terrorism is rare. Officers below the rank of major might be thinking on those lines...
hikant Mehendale, Military historian

Some officers feel there is no religion but a lot of politics and economics behind terror activities. But the majority of the officers, especially those who have worked more in border areas, feel that terrorism in India is religion based. These officers say they were not able to speak about it openly while in service,

Anand Saraf, founder Sainik Mitra Parivar

I don't feel that officers who have served the army would ever take to the extremism to counter Islamic terrorism.
Col (retd) Pradeep Brahmankar, Apex Careers

20 killed in US missile strike in Pak tribal areas

Press Trust of India

Monday, October 27, 2008 (Islamabad)

In stepped up attacks on Taliban and Al-Qaida bases in Pakistan's tribal areas, a suspected US drone fired missiles on a militant commander's house killing upto 20 people, including a prominent commander.

Haji Omar Khan, a Lieutenant of Afghan Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, was killed when two missiles slammed into a suspected militant training camp near Ladha town in South Waziristan close to the Afghan border early this morning, local TV channels reported.

The latest attack, the twelfth in the last one month, targetted the house which intelligence agencies said belonged to a close aide of one of the Taliban commanders.

According to reports militants cordoned off the scene of the strike and the identity of the 20 bodies in the rubble was not known.

The attack came even as Prime Minster Yousuf Raza Gilani said that US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal belt were weakening the country's efforts to combat terrorism. Last week, the Senate or Upper House of Parliament had condemned the missile strikes, saying they were unacceptable.

Members of the Senate also pointed out that the strikes had continued despite assurances from the US that no such attacks would take place.

"Certainly (US attacks) are proving counter-productive to (the government's) efforts of isolating extremists and militants from the tribal population, which was going through the formation of tribal lashkars (militias)," Gilani said.

Gilani described the missiles strikes as attacks on Pakistan's sovereignty and said they would not be tolerated. The government would take all possible steps to stop the attacks, he said.

Infantry day observed

Bangalore Oct 27 Infantry Day, celebrated on October 27 every year, was observed at the War Memorial of the Parachute Regimental Training Centre here today.

It marks the day on which the first infantry soldier of the Indian Army landed in the Kashmir valley to counter Pakistani invasion in 1947, a Defence press release said.

Brigadier N George, Commandant CMP Centre and School, Brigadier P S Ravindranath, Commandant Parachute Regimental Training Centre and Lt Gen (Retd) K Nagaraj led the gathering in paying tribute to Martyrs of the Indian Army's Infantry.

A Special Sainik Sammelan was organised to mark the occasion, the release added.(Agencies)

India plans to unify special forces

27 October 2008

India's army, navy and air force special forces (SF) are to be unified in one rapid-action force under a new joint operations doctrine that emphasises the SF's role as "potent force multipliers" in future conflicts.

The classified document, prepared by the integrated defence staff (IDS), reportedly stresses the "jointness" of India's SF units in collective operations behind enemy lines.

"All future wars or conflicts will demand the SF play an increasingly dominant role at all levels of war, be it strategic, operational or tactical," the Ministry of Defence said in a statement about the new doctrine.

The IDS document is believed to recommend the unification of all three SF units into a rapid action force that would be trained and armed by Israel and networked through C4I systems.

For the successful conduct of joint SF operations, the doctrine reportedly stresses the essentials of actionable intelligence backed by attack helicopters, naval and artillery support and the delivery of precision-guided munitions.

However, senior military sources said "intra-service biases and turf battles", especially in the army, had "impaired" the employment perspective and mission capabilities of its 5,000-strong SF force.

Infantry Day celebrated

Press Trust of India

Monday, October 27, 2008 (Jalandhar)

Vajro Corps on Monday celebrated Infantry Day and a wreath laying ceremony was held and Core Commander Lieutenant General V S Tonk laid wreath at the War Memorial.

October 27 is celebrated as Infantry Day by Indian Army to commemorate the great saga of sacrifices and valour towards the call of duty by an Infantry soldier.

The day has been chosen to signify October 27, 1947, when the first Indian Infantry Battalion landed at Srinagar Air Field for the defence of Jammu & Kashmir against Pakistani aggression, an army release stated.

Wreath laying was followed by Sainik Sammelan held at Kalwant Hall. Lieutenant General V S Tonk addressed the sainiks.

He exhorted Infantrymen to always be in a state of high preparedness and fulfill the tasks assigned to them with fortitude, dedication, professionalism and pride.

Barakhana was also organized for all ranks at their respective unit locations. It was attended by ex-servicemen of Jalandhar District.

It was attended by all serving and retired Infantry officers.



IiN In the Line of Fire

1. Arundhati Ghose, former Ambassador to the UN at Geneva, has crossed the border( literally ) to project her concern of the high handedness of the Chiefs to raise questions about the viability of the Recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission ( 6th CPC). After wonderfully analysing the Geo Political Scenario of our country & our neighbouring States she comes to the brass-tacks of the issue. I remember a small joke my Directing Staff used to crack during the Field Training. He used to say, ‘Boys, Second Division of 2 Corps is advancing to our left. Third Division is to our right. You are all Platoon Commanders. Site your LMGs’.

2. In my previous article, ‘Weak Links in the Chain of Command’, I narrated the issue of MNS & how the Bureaucrats try & twist the whole facts to bring disharmony amongst the various echelons of our forces. And also misinform the public Now a senior Bureaucrat has taken up the mantle, to bring the Chiefs in the Line of Fire. Her main contentions are as follows:-

a. The chiefs have no right to address their troops.

b.The Chiefs have no right to express dissent over a decision of the Cabinet.

c. The Chiefs, by exhibiting their defiance, have violated the Constitution which they are supposed to up hold.

d. The Officers of the Armed Forces may be tempted by the example of Pakistan.

The Chiefs’ Address to Troops

3. The main problem with all the civilian writers, whether journalists or professional columnists or freelancers, is that they never served in the Armed Forces. Their meager knowledge about the Armed Forces is acquired when they happened to attend a party in the Officers Mess or a ‘Bara Khana’ in a unit during its Raising / Battle Honours Day. All their so called strategic knowledge comes from the ‘Janes Manual’. The result is, as Gen Vijay Oberoi puts it, ‘to make a mountain out of a mole hill’. One journalist claims that in the Services even a menu card in the Mess is classified as Restricted & how come the Chief of Naval Staff sent an unclassified signal to his Sailors. What a logic? He fails to understand that any communication intended to be passed on to All Ranks for their information will be done so, whether it is classified as “UN CLASS, RESTD, SECRET or even TOP SECRET”. The aim of the author of the communication was precisely the same.

4. Due to this trivial issue the Media went berserk & umpteen numbers of time went on repeating that the CNS had sent an Unclassified Signal to his men. Incidentally, matters of far greater importance like Air Space Violations are reported by Unclassified signals only, in order not to waste precious time in coding & decoding the messages, thus giving more reaction time to the Air Defence Systems. This matter of Revision of Pay Scales is not of any lesser importance. The men must know the reasons for the delay in the implementation of the same, which otherwise would have led to the loss of morale.

5. To put an end to this mundane discussion, addressing the troops is a command function. Let us not try to teach our Chiefs as to how to go about it. Our Chiefs have 40 years of service & experience under their belts. They became Chiefs, not purely by their service seniority like the Bureaucrats, but by they being whetted through various selection boards, at various stages of their career. We have trusted the Security of the Nation to them. Let us be confident that they will not fail us either in war or in peace.

The Chiefs have no Right to Dissent

6. Unfortunately, that was what they were doing all these 60 Years. Therefore, after every CPC the anomalies remained unresolved & increased in numbers. The degradation of the Armed Forces was planned & executed methodically with ‘Military Precision’, by the Bureaucrats, while the Chiefs were reduced to a status of mere spectators. They have not even been exempted from the Security Checks in the Airports, whereas such privileges were doled out by the Bureaucrats, to non constitutional or extra constitutional political persons to gain their patronage. Now the Chiefs have decided to put an end to all these anomalies. Like Lt Gen Harvant Singh states, had the Defence Minister told the Chiefs that the Cabinet decision was final, then the reaction of the Chiefs would have been the ‘Hobson’s’ choice. But, though a politician, the Defence Minister saw the merits of the case put up by the Chiefs & recommended to the Prime Minister for consideration. Now it was the turn of the Bureaucrats to go berserk, because they, including Arundhathi Gose did not expect such a turn of events. I confess here that most of the Ex Servicemen were also surprised.

7. Many media editors like Shekar Guptha, columnist like Inder Malhotra, Saikat Datta & others compare this with the mind set of Trade Unionists. Just pass a while & consider what would be the result had it truly been such a scenario. The Chiefs, unlike the Politicians & Bureaucrats, cannot go public with their grievances, complaints or demands. Because they, for that matter every soldier, have taken an oath of allegiance to the constitution. Now the lady from the IFS is demanding an explanation from the Chiefs & states that they owe it to the public. The Public is not demanding it. As per the Opinion Poll conducted by a leading National Daily, 96 per cent have voted favourably for the demands of the Armed Forces. It is again a Bureaucratic twist to deflect the focus of attention from the Bureaucrats, who have gone to the extent of fudging CPC Report to gain undue advantage of their enhanced emoluments.

8. To any sane person, the Chiefs, or for that matter any head of an Institution, has the right to project the problems to the concerned authority who can take remedial action. In this case it was the Defence Minister, since the Cabinet does not deal with the Chiefs directly. The Defence Minister did not see red, and cry foul, but Shekar Guptha did. As per his contention, the Chiefs should have been disciplined, but for want of a Defence Minister “half as efficient as the present one”. Probably Indian Express would do better with some other Chief Editor ‘half as efficient as the present one’

Violation of the Constitution

9. The word Constitution is the easiest to quote, but under what section no one has spelt out. If the Chiefs are prevented from representing for the Welfare & Equanimity of the Rank & File they command by the Constitution, they would be better advised to take the Hobson’s choice & tender their resignations. At least the Prime Minister did not think so. That is the reason why he has appointed a Group of Ministers to go into the anomalies presented by the Chiefs. The Bureaucrats were chagrined. This animosity is manifesting & showing in many ways, including reopening of the settled cases like the status of MNS, Free Rations to the Armed Forces Personnel, Canteen Facilities, and Provision of Sahayaks etc.

10. Arundhathi Ghost’s assertion that the Contempt of Services for the Civil Authority is not Casual may have some truth, historically. But it has become a reality today & is likely to continue in the future also. I need not give any justification for this sad turn of events, because she herself has given many areas of Bureaucratic lapses. But the major & most vital reason is that, over a period of time, all the Civil Govt Servants including the Lady, have taken it for granted that the Bureaucrats are synonymous with Political Leaders. Therefore, as per their perception the Services have two masters, the Political Leadership & the Bureaucrats. But the Armed Forces believe, rightly so, that the Civil Control means control of the elected representatives of the People, that is the Parliament, which in turn selects the Cabinet, to which they are responsible to answer. It is a well known fact that over a period of time, the Bureaucracy has usurped the managerial powers from inept politicians, so that they can establish their own fiefdom. Now the Bureaucracy has over grown the size of their boots & somebody has to show them their place.

11. At no stretch of imagination, the Armed Forces can or willing to replace the Bureaucracy. They are & will in the future also, remain apolitical. It has taken 60 years for them to understand the covert designs of the Bureaucracy & take a firm stand against the humiliating degradation.

Temptation to Follow Pakistan Model

12. Arundhathi Gose gives a dramatic twist to her article by alleging that the Army Officers may clandestinely plan to bring in Pakistan model, where the Army ruled the roost for decades & its Officers held plum posts & appointments. I am at a loss to understand as to whether she is expressing her genuine concern or trying to put an idea in the minds of the present Army Brass for their consideration. But on going through her entire article, I firmly believe that neither is true. She is trying to fire her ‘Brahmastra’, on behalf of the Bureaucrats, to shore up their sagging morale by a threat of Army Takeover. This apprehension is not new to the public who know the episode between Indira Gandhi & then COAS Sam Maneckshaw. The denial of Sam Bahadhur to the pointed question of the Iron Lady of Indian Politics still holds good.


13. In the game of chess, the end game is most important. In the present scenario, who ever wins, whether the Buearocrats or the Defence Services, the Nation will be the loser. It is time for the Political Leadership to assert itself & bring an end to the controversies. Both the Bureaucracy & the Armed Forces are two ends of the same spectrum. They should try & coexist, without treading on each other’s toes.


26-10-08 Veteran Raman

UN Military Commander in Congo Quits as Force Battles Rebels

By Robin Stringer and Franz Wild

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The commander of the United Nations' peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has left the post as the mission prepares to defend territory from advancing rebels.

Lieutenant General Vicente Diaz de Villegas y HerrerĂ­a, of Spain, ``indicated that for personal reasons he will not be able to continue with his assignment as planned,'' according to an e- mailed statement from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office.

The UN has appointed Brigadier General Ishmeel Ben Quartey of Ghana to head the force while it looks for a replacement.

The peacekeepers are poised to defend Goma, the capital of eastern North Kivu province, as rebels from the National Congress for the Defense of the People, or CNDP, advance after two months of clashes between the CNDP and the national army.

UN peacekeepers shot dead two protesters today as they attacked UN bases in Goma, according to police chief Colonel Sengelwa Kyo. The demonstrators were protesting the peacekeeping force's failure to protect civilians and help the army, Kyo said in an interview from Goma.

Ban condemned the violence against the UN force and called today for a cease-fire and for renewed efforts to negotiate peace in the area, according to the UN. The UN chief said the peacekeeping force would take necessary measures to protect civilians and UN personnel. More than 100,000 people have been forced from their homes in the violence.

South Asian Soldiers

The United Nations Mission in Congo, or Monuc, comprises some 16,475 peacekeepers, with the largest contributions of soldiers from Pakistan, India, Uruguay and Bangladesh. Diaz took command last month. The Spanish general's posting was expected to last about a year.

The CNDP is a remnant from Congo's two civil wars between 1996 and 2003 in which as many as 4 million people died. Its leader, renegade general Laurent Nkunda, claims he is defending his Congolese Tutsi minority from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, a mainly Rwandan Hutu militia active in the area.

The FDLR has formed a local alliance with Congo's army in areas they control in North and South Kivu, according to the UN.

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