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Monday, 26 January 2009

From Today's Papers - 26 Jan 09


Ashok Chakra for nine bravehearts
26/11 heroes Karkare, Kamte, Salaskar, Major Unnikrishnan and Delhi cop MC Sharma on coveted list; 13 to get Kirti Chakra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 25
As many as six security personnel, who laid down their lives fighting terrorists during the Mumbai attack, will be awarded the Ashok Chakra — the highest award for gallantry during peacetime — on Republic Day.

The list includes former ATS chief Hemant Karkare, additional commissioner Ashok Kamte, Inspector Vijay Salaskar and assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Ombale, National Security Guard commandos Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havildar Gajender Singh. In total, 11 bravehearts would be honoured with the Ashok Chakra. Among other awardees include Delhi police hero inspector Mohan Chand Sharma who was killed during the Batla House encounter, Colonel Jojan Thomas of the Jat Regiment and Havildar Bahadur Singh Bohra of 10 Parachute Regiment. The two Ashok Chakras, which were announced earlier, would be awarded to assistant commandant Pramod Kumar Satapathy of the special operations group and RP Diengdoh of Meghalaya Police.

In total, the President Pratibha Patil has approved 428 gallantry and other defence decorations. This includes 13 Kirti Chakras - the second highest gallantry honour during peacetime. Mumbai cop Sanshak Shinde is in the list of Kirti Chakra awardees. His non-inclusion for the highest honour has resulted in a controversy in Mumbai. Attired in civil clothes, he was the first cop to have battled Ajmal Amir Qasab and Ismail Khan at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on November 26.

In total, 13 Mumbai policemen had been recommended for the honour, but only four made it to the final list. The government has already said it would not be possible for it to give the Ashok Chakra to everyone recommended.

The others to get Kirti Chakra are: Lt Col Saurabh Singh Shekhawat of the Special Forces 21 Parachute Regiment, Lt Col Osiris Das of Kumaon Regiment, 13 Rashtriya Rifles, Capt Zala Ajitkumar Arshibhai of Special Forces 2 Parachute Regiment, Capt Paras Limboo of Assam Regiment, 59 Rashtriya Rifles, Subedar Indra Bahadur Pun of Special Forces 4 Parachute Regiment, Havildar Rale Santosh Tanaji of Maratha Light Infantry, 56 Rashtriya Rifles.

Naik Tape Yajo, 1 Assam regiment, Nitya Nanda Bora from Railways, Sapper V Satish NSG, Arun Chitte, R Powar, Shashank Shinde, Mukesh Jadhav - all Maharstahra Police.

The President has also approved one Bar to Shaurya Chakra, 30 Shaurya Chakras, 91 Sena Medals, one Bar Nao Sena Medal, four Nao Sena Medals, one Bar to Vayu Sena Medal, four Vayu Sena Medals, 29 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, two Uttam Yudh Seva Medals, one Bar to Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, 50 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, five Yudh Seva Medals, two Bar to Vishisht Seva Medals, 122 Vishisht Seva Medals, one Bar to Sena Medal, 40 Sena Medals, eight Nao Sena Medals and 14 Vayu Sena Medals. Two Tatrakshak medals (gallantry), three Takrakshak medals (meritorious service) and 49 Mention-In-Despatches have also been also announced.

428 get gallantry, defence awards

New Delhi, January 25
As many as 428 gallantry and defence awards will be conferred by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on the Republic Day tomorrow.

Kirti Chakra (13): Lt Col Saurabh Singh Shekhawat; Lt Col Osiris Das; Capt Zala Ajitkumar Arshibhai; Capt Paras Limboo; Subedar Indra Bahadur; Havildar Rale Santosh Tanaji; Naik Tape Yajo; Nitya Nanda Bora; Sapper v Sathish Corps of Engineers/51 Special Action Group (NSG); Constable Arun Raghonath Chitte; Constable Ambadas Ramchandra Powar; Inspector Ssashank Chandrasen Shinde; Home Guard Mukesh Bhikaji Jadhav.

The Bar to Shaurya Chakra Award: Zalim Singh

Shaurya Chakra (30): Maj Rajesh Singh; Maj Amit Slathia; Maj Chirag Singh Barak; Maj Srinivasan Vikram Cherian; Maj Raman Yadav; Maj Vijayant Chauhan; Maj Rajinder Kumar Sharma; Capt Kuldeep Raj; Capt Anil Dhiman; Capt R Balakarthik; Capt Ravinder Singh; Lieut Prashant Siwach; Subedar Dhian Singh Dogra; Havildar Tribhawan Singh; Lance Havildar Aziz Mohd; Naik Sukhvir; Lance Naik Banai Singh Gurjar; Sepoy Sunny Tomar; Sepoy Ravinder Sharma; Rifleman Thoudam Sunil Singh; Praveen Kumar; Group Capt Suryakant Chintamn Chafekar; Superintendent M Sundaram; Asst Exec Engg (Civil) Santosh Kumar Singh; Driver ( BRO) Surinder Pal; Driver ( BRO) Jaikrit Singh Rawat; Capt Amitendra Kumar Singh; Naik Manesh; Pritam Lal, Conductor, Delhi Transport Corporation; Dev Kumar, ITBP.

The Bar to Sena Medal (Devotion To Duty): Col Sanjay Pratap Singh Vishwasrao

Sena Medal (Devotion To Duty), 40: Maj Gen Kulwinder Singh Sethi; Maj Gen Vijay Kumar; Maj Gen Vinod Bhatia; Maj Gen Deepinder Singh; Maj Gen Darshan Lal Chowdhary; Maj Gen Shiv Kumar Sharma; Maj Gen Thykkandy Padmini; Brig Ravi Pandalai; Brig Rakesh Nandan BrigVijay Kumar Pillai; Brig Khurshid Maneck Balsara; Brig Arvind Kumar Rathee; Brig Pattiarimal Mohamadali Hariz; Brig Raymond Joseph Noronha; Brig Mavelimannil John Mathew; Brig Ashok Kumar Ganguly; Col Surender Singh Lamba; Col Vikal Sahni; Col Deepak Talwar; Col Deepak De; Col Arun Pratap Singh Rajura; Col Deepak Garg; Col Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu; Col Mrigendra Kumar; Col Debashis Das; Col Yashvir Singh Rangi; Col Rajesh Kumar Sharma; Col Rajendra Rai; Col Harpal Singh; Col Mukesh Gurung; Col Amar Nath Kukreti; Col Dinesh Kumar Singh; Col Jitender Singh Bangar; Col Yash Pande; Col Anil Khetarpal; Naib Subedar Ming Mar Gurung; Havildar Karamveer; Havildar Pukhrambam Narajit Singh; Mo Anil Kumar Vohra; Maj Gen Abhaya Kumar Gupta.

Sena Medals (Gallantry), 91: Col Siddharth Tewari; Col Santha Kumaran Pa; Col Sanjeev Kumar Dutta; Lt Col Gurvinder Singh; Lt Col Patwardhan Sagar Vinaykumar; Lt Col Anil Mahadev; Maj Sudhanshu Dixit; Maj Padmanabhan Ke; Maj Devinder Chaudhary; Maj Hitesh Kumar Dhankhar; Maj Sunil Ganapathy; Maj Sudhir Khandka; Maj Biranchi Narayan Nayak; Maj Amit Kumar Dogra; Maj Suresh Narayanan; Maj Kartikeya Kukrety; Maj Gaurav Singh; Maj R Senthil Velan; Maj Vipin Kumar Singh; Maj Lokanadham; Maj Jagdeep Bhogal; Maj Bhanu Pratap Singh; Maj Pankaj Kumar; Maj Amit Pal Singh; Maj Ram Dayal Vyas; Maj Bandaru Anoop; Capt Jayant Pattanaik; Capt Prabhmeet S Manik; Capt Manish Sobti; Capt Aveg Goel; Capt Abhishek Bahl; Capt Ashok Bhandari; Capt Kunwar Saurabh Singh Bist; Lieut Nallasivam Ravi Kumar ; Lieut Pushp Raj Pandey; Lieut Ishwar Singh Rawat; Subedar Ranbir Singh; Subedar Khogendra Singha; Naib Subedar Salunkhe Arun Nana; Naib Subedar Shiv Charan Singh Gurjar; Naib Subedar Jaibag Singh; Naib Subedar Krishan Kumar; Havildar Ram Chandra; Havildar Pawan Kumar Dogra; Havildar Avtar Singh; Havildar Sukhrib Singh; Havildar Bhanwar Singh; Havildar Sahab Singh; Havildar Diwan Singh; Havildar Anand Singh; Havildar Ilyas Ali; Lance Havildar Bachche Lal Yadav; Lance Havildar W Arun Singh; Lance Havildar Rakesh Kumar; Naik Laxman Singh Negi; Naik Lara Oraon; Naik Khim Bahadur Thapa; Naik Vinod Singh; Naik Venu Gopal S; Naik Lekh Raj; Naik Randheer Singh; Lance Naik Shiv Pratap Singh Shaktawat; Lance Naik Shankar Jai Kishan; Lance Naik Kush Kumar; Lance Naik Bhai Shambhaji ; Lance Naik Javaid Ahmad Wani; Lance Naik Mohan Lal; Lance Naik Satish Kumar; Sepoy Jujhar Singh; Sepoy Prithvi Singh Rathor; Sepoy Sultan Singh; Sepoy Anil Singh Raikuni; Rifleman Prakash Thapa; Rifleman Kesar Singh; Rifleman Vijay Kumar; Rifleman Nagarajan Sampath; Rifleman T Sitachu Fithu; Rifleman Arjun Kujur; Rifleman Gagan Singh; Rifleman Ajay Kumar; Rifleman Mohamad Hadish; Gunner Naveen Kumar; Gunner Chhavi Ram Singh; Paratrooper Jay Karam Tigga; Paratrooper Dipankar Sarkar; Paratrooper Jaiveer Kumar; Maj Sanjay Kandwal; Maj Manish Mehrotra; Havildar K Murugan; Havildar Azad Singh; Naik Sate Singh.

The Bar to Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry): Commander Satyabrata Dam

The Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry): Wing Commander Amitabh Sharma.

The Nao Sena Medal (Devotion To Duty), 8: Commodore Lingom Venkata Sarat Babu; Commodore Shekhar Mital; Capt Sanjay Jasjit Singh; Commander Yashodhan Pratap Marathe; Commander Sundaresan; Commander Vennam Srinivas; Surgeon Lieut Commander Raveesh Kumar; Bhanwar Singh Charan

The Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion To Duty), 14: Group Capt Shishir Yashwant Koshe; Group Capt Sanjeev Kapoor; Wing Commander Alok Sharma; Wing Commander Rohit Mahajan; Wing Commander Sameer Mehra; Wing Commander Sanjay Dhankhar; Wing Commander Venigalla Srinivas Choudary; Wing Commander Pawan Kumar; Wing Commander Nirmalendu Nath Sinha; Wing Commander Pushpendra Singh Nara; Wing Commander Jasvir Singh Mann; Wing Commander Vikram Pathak; Squadron Leader Nitin Khanna; Squadron Leader Samrath Dhankhar; Commandant (Junior Grade) Ashok Kumar Yadav.

Tatrakshak Medal (Gallantry), 2: Pradeep Kumar and Uttam Navik

Tatrakshak Medal (Meritorious Service), 3: Dy Insp Gen Mohinder Singh Dangi; Dy Insp Gen Ashok Kumar Singh Chauhan; Dy Insp Gen Bikram Keshari Patasahani

Mention-In-Despatches (49): Lt Col Vinod S; Lt Col Harpreet Singh Bhinder; Maj Imon Samanta; Maj Dinesh Singh; Maj Bheemaiah; Maj Ravi Kant; Capt Ananda Bose; Capt Vikrant Prasher; Subedar Magha Ram Khilery; Subedar Hanuman Ram Jat; Subedar Shakti Chand Chandel; Subedar Santosh Pal; Subedar Amar Singh; Havildar Karamjit Singh; Havildar T Kamlalven; Havildar Haosianthang Zou; Lance Havildar Sam Bahadur Gurung; Naik Sukhvir Singh; Naik Chatar Singh; Naik Jagraj Singh; Naik Balraj Singh; Lance Naik Abdul Rashid Khan; Sepoy Angrej Singh; Sepoy Rakesh Singh; Sepoy Dharam Pal; Sepoy P Bosco Maram; Sepoy K Lalbiak Sanga; Rifleman Hans Raj; Maj Gurbir Singh Kahlon; Maj Navneet Bakshi; Maj Ranjeet Srivastava; Captain Mudassar Iqbal; Capt Anil Kumar Mishra; Capt Chetan Sharma;Lieut Abhijeet Yadav; Lieut Arun Singh Chauhan; Subedar Ambeswar Gayan; Subedar Sukhdev Singh; Havildar Sanwar Mal; Havildar Rajender Singh; Naik Dharm Beer Singh; Naik Prabhbir Singh; Lance Naik Navin Singh; Sepoy Amit Singh; Rifleman Chiranjibi Bhujel; Lieut Tej Pratap Singh; Havildar Padam Singh Rawat; Rifleman Kumaresan Sampath; Rifleman Diwan Singh

Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (50): Lt Gen Yatindra Singh Panwar; Lt Gen Arun Kumar Nanda; Lt Gen Anil Kumar Lamba; Lt Gen Raj Kumar Karwal; Lt Gen Pradeep Khanna; Lt Gen Shreedharan Shyam Kumar; Lt Gen Gautam Banerjee; Maj Gen Rakesh Kumar Loomba; Maj Gen Praveen Chandra Kharbanda; Maj Gen Shankar Ranjan Ghosh; Maj Gen Partha Mohapatra; Maj Gen Surendra Pratap Rai; Maj Gen Balakrishnan Venugopal Nair; Maj Gen Kanwaljit Singh Oberoi; Maj Gen Ajay Kumar Singh; Maj Gen Ram Kanwar; Maj Gen Jagbir Singh ;Maj Gen Panemangalore Gopalakrishna Kamath; Maj Gen Jatinder Singh; Maj Gen Munish Sibal; Maj Gen Rajiv Kumar Kalra; Maj Gen Vinod Kumar Tiwari; Maj Gen Syed Ata Hasnain; Major Gen Jai Prakash Nehra; Maj Gen Sankarapilla Sarachandran Nair; Maj Gen Ashok Kumar Choudhary; Maj Gen Subrahmanyam Sunder; Maj Gen Ram Pratap; Maj Gen Hira Lal Kakria; Maj Gen Charanjit Singh; Maj Gen Palvinder Singh Bhalla; Vice Admiral Vasant Shripadrao Dixit; Rear Admiral Bola Radhakrishna Rao; Rear Admiral Ayalur Raman Radhakrishnan; Rear Admiral MP Muralidharan; Rear Admiral KC Sekhar (retd); Rear Admiral Mohinder Badhwar; Rear Admiral Kannan Bhagavatheswaran; Air Vice Marshal Jasbir Singh Panesar;Air Vice Marshal Sapan Kumar Karmaker; Air Vice Marshal Shyam Bihari Bajpayee; Air Vice Marshal Baldev Singh; Air Vice Marshal Belligund Krishnamurthy Murali; Air Vice Marshal Arup Raha; Air Vice Marshal Muthumanickam Matheswaran; Air Commodore Gudipudi Rajendra Prasad; Air Commodore Paramjit Singh Gill; Air Commodore Vinod Kumar Narang; Air Commodore Rao Biradavolu Keshav; Air Commodore Suneel Shripad Soman.

Yudh Seva Medal (05): Brigadier Bipin Rawat; Brigadier Subrata Saha; Brigadier Umesh Kumar Gurung; Brigadier Devinder Singh Dadwal; Col Mohan Singh Shekhawat

The Bar to Vishisht Seva Medal (02): Maj Gen Umang Kapoor; Brigadier Laipharkapam Nishikanta Singh.



Pin Pakistan down
Promises to fight terrorism are not enough

AT last the US has realised that Pakistan has emerged as the epicentre of terrorism. President Barack Obama has said that “the central front in our (the US) enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism” includes Pakistan and Afgha-nistan. The problem in Afgha-nistan as also in India cannot be handled successfully unless the situation in Pakistan is taken in view. There are at least 30 terrorist outfits operating from Pakistan. India is obviously one of their top targets. The Al-Qaida and Taliban bases inside Pakistan in the areas bordering Afgha-nistan are intact. Not only that, terrorism continues to enjoy official patronage clandestinely. Thus, it remains a major threat to peace and stability in South Asia despite all that is being done against the scourge.

The very fact that the Obama administration has appointed Mr Richard Holbrooke as its Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan shows that the US is serious about breaking the Pakistani leg of terrorism. The US has also told Pakistan categorically that Islamabad cannot expect US aid for non-military purposes without launching a serious drive against terrorism and extremism. But all this cannot satisfy India, which has been pressing for concrete results, as stressed by Defence Minister A. K. Antony. India has been suffering the maximum at the hands of Pakistan-based terrorists operating with the help of intelligence agencies. There remains no doubt about it after the Mumbai carnage, which was not possible without official support. There are even reports that the terrorists received training from the Pakistan Navy.

The world must find a way to punish Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism. This has become essential to send across the message that any country indulging in this heinous activity cannot escape the wrath of the world community. No pretext can be accepted to defend the killing of innocent people. Any argument based on the cause and effect theory will only go in favour of the terrorists. That is why international pressure should continue on Pakistan to force it to show results. If Pakistan fails to deliver the goods in a fixed timeframe, the international community should itself take the responsibility of accomplishing the task. There is no time for dithering.



In the Cold

Posted by Madhu

Srinjoy Chowdhury,
Senior Editor, TIMES NOW


Before we begin this quirky little tale, here are the numbers. India, a country of 1.1 billion people has an army of 1.1 million soldiers. Thirty thousand are officers and almost at the top of the pyramid, after considerable winnowing, are left about two hundred major-generals. Sixty of them make it to lieutenant-general and of course, there can be only one chief. But just think, two hundred out of many thousands means drastic pruning at every stage. Men are separated from the well, not so capable men and eventually, just a handful has the right to be called ‘General Saab’.

Even among this elite club of 200, there are a chosen few. These are the three-dozen men with a future, men who get to command a division, a unit of about 12,000 men. And among the divisions, many of which are strung along India’s difficult borders is 3 Infantry Division.

Commanding 3 Division is quite a job. First, it’s not really a division but virtually a corps, a unit that usually comprises three divisions. For, it defends 1,160 kms of India’s border, and perhaps, some of the most difficult areas. The gentleman in charge of 3 Division faces China and Pakistan. And yes, a considerable chunk of the division is parked in Siachen, the world’s highest and most inhospitable battlefield. There is also Ladakh, easily -40 degrees Celsius in winter and barren throughout the year, not to mention the small matter of the increasingly aggressive Chinese army on your doorstep. Siachen, weather-wise is even worse. If soldiers didn’t die in the mid-Eighties because of the shelling, the cold killed them.

One man gets the responsibility to be GOC. And he should be quite a guy: capable enough to handle a division as challenging as 3 Divison and therefore, good enough to do better.

Now, for the sting in the tail. Well, tale actually. Look at the list of the last eight major-generals who commanded the division and you see what the army euphemistically calls 100 per cent wastage. The list begins with P.K. Renjen, a gunner officer. After his command, he held several other posts and faded away. His successor, V.S Badhwar, is remembered for all the wrong reasons, being the general in charge when the intrusions into Kargil unexpectedly happened in 1999. Several thousand Pakistani soldiers had entered and dug in, but his patrols hadn’t noticed a thing till they were fired upon.

Expectedly, nothing much happened to Badhwar, but his successor Sheru Thapliyal’s case is even more curious. He had had a good career but they say you can’t choose your parents. Well, it isn’t easy to choose your bosses either. Both his bosses are remembered as men who rarely gave anything more than 7-7.5 on ACRs of officers, a way of ensuring a long, lingering professional death. Thapliyal and his successor Rakesh Das, who was defence attach√© in Pakistan, fell to the same ACR trap and were sent on their way.

A few more good men followed: Ravi Malhan and P. Rajagopal, both paratroopers and ‘Tally’ Sidhu, an armoured corps officer, all consigned to obscurity. That brings us to Anil Lal, just dismissed from the army after being under the scanner for a series of alleged un-officer like activities.

Of the eight, two have clearly messed up for different reasons and needed to be sent home. What defies explanation is why the other six generals were made to walk into the sunset. Sure, you will hear how much of a pyramid the army is—200 major-generals and 60 lieutenant-generals-- but as far as explanations go, it is about the lamest one you can find. The man you send to command 3 Division should be and is hand-picked: he cannot be just any major-general but a man with a future, a man with sufficient capability, with √©lan to face the Chinese and the Pakistanis at the same time. What’s the bottom line then? You’re either sending a lame-duck for one of the most sensitive jobs in the army or you’re sending a good man and then, shafting him after he finishes a really tough assignment! Or, is there another explanation that no one knows about?

There is something that we do know…. One army commander remembered for leaving behind broken careers courtesy, his tough markings, wrote to his army chief in the evening of his career. He admitted he had been a little tough and could anything be done. Some good did come out of it and a major general marching towards obscurity was rescued but it was too late for a couple of GOCs.

The 3 Division hoodoo has got so bad that some officers, rumour goes, would rather opt out of commanding a division comprising 25,000 troops, 675 officers who are part of 23 battalions, including Ladakh Scouts, ITBP and Vikas units. A normal infantry division has only nine.

The question top officers in the army now ask is: “How long will this run of bad luck continue?”





India and the ‘K’ word
Need to educate the world about Kashmir
by T. P. Sreenivasan

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Obama nominee for the United Nations Susan Rice are like the men who, we concede, have one thought in their mind 80 per cent of the time when they are with pretty women, but will be considered indecent and offensive if that thought is expressed. No one who has taken an interest in the India-Pakistan imbroglio has Kashmir off his mind at any time. But the moment he utters the "K" word in public in the context of India and Pakistan, all hell breaks loose. No Indian spokesman will concede that Kashmir is at the core of the conflict, a mantra that the Pakistanis themselves seem to have abandoned because of the extreme sensitivity of the Indians. No wonder then that the youthful and affable British Prime Ministerial aspirant, who was invited to Amethi to be feted by his Indian counterpart, suddenly became a hateful figure.

Ms Susan Rice or her speech writer saw nothing wrong in inserting the mellifluous and familiar word, Kashmir, in a list of "hotspots" dotted with words unfamiliar to her listeners like East Timor and Liberia. She is not the first to make such sweeping references. Mr Bill Clinton and Mr Boutros Ghali were criticised by India more than once for such unfriendly references to Kashmir. Ms Rice was positively wrong when she listed Kashmir in the list of places where the United Nations has, "for more than six decades, played a critical role in forestalling renewed fighting, helping to resolve conflict and repair war-torn countries, providing humanitarian aid, organising elections and responding to threats to international peace and security".

The United Nations has done none of these in Kashmir. All that it has done is to incur the wrath of India every year by making a reference to the work of the United Nations Monitoring Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which we do not recognise, but we continue to nurture. Indian reaction to such references has bewildered many in the past, but staff work in various foreign offices ensure that no one utters the "K" word in Indian company. Newcomers, who see the logic of addressing the "root cause" of the India- Pakistan conflict more than burn their fingers in Indian fury. In one stroke, Mr Barack Obama lost some of his sheen in Indian eyes when he not only uttered the "K" word, but also expressed his intention to do something about it.

For India, treating Kashmir as the core of the conflict in South Asia is not just offensive, but factually wrong. In the present scenario of terrorism, which threatens the very existence of India, Kashmir is just a small part of the problem. If Kashmir was the issue, the cancer of terrorism should not have spread from South Asia to other parts of the globe.

But most outsiders are convinced that if the Kashmir issue is resolved, Islamic fundamentalism will have one less grievance to fight for. They know that Palestine is another root cause, but that is a little bit too close to the bone for them. Interestingly, we have no hesitation in declaring that Palestine is at the core of the conflict in West Asia even if it hurts Israel and its supporters. After 9/11, India and the United States began to say that to look for root causes is to condone terrorism. But the vast majority of countries and commentators maintain that poverty, injustice and denial of the right to self determination are some of the issues that lie behind the spread of terrorism.

Mr Barack Obama, Mr David Miliband and Ms Susan Rice may have learnt their lessons and may refrain from talking of Kashmir as the core issue to us or in public pronouncements, but they are sure to say that behind our back, when Pakistan and others stress this point. They know that the Nobel Prize is waiting for the one who resolves the Kashmir issue to the satisfaction of India and Pakistan. So their actions will always be to deal with Kashmir in other guises like Obama's designation of Mr Richard Holbrooke as the special envoy for Pakistan, Afghanistan and related issues. The same is the case with the other dirty word in the Indian lexicon, "mediation". Mr Boutros Ghali, Mr Kofi Annan, Mr Bill Clinton and Mr Barack Obama have been ready to mediate and what holds them back is only Indian sensitivity to the word, but not the substance. We have no qualms to ask them to exert their influence on Pakistan to do our bidding, but we do not want it to be a two-way street extracting concessions from both. We shall never forget the Tashkent experience. Lal Bahadur Shastri did not die in vain.

Our position that there is no such thing as the Kashmir issue is right legally and constitutionally. Just because Pakistan desires a part of India, it does not mean that the onus of dealing with it is on India. But it is an urgent issue for the world because of its potential for war. We ourselves have conceded the point when we agreed to include it in the agenda of the composite dialogue. Khrushchev became our best friend when he declared that Kashmir was an integral part of India. Today, we expect our best friends to say merely that it is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan that should be resolved by the two countries. But even when they say it, they have the unexpressed fear that the emergence of the nuclear genie in South Asia has added a new dimension to India Pakistan conflict.

Whether we like it or not, world powers will meddle in South Asia for that very reason. Moral indignation over the use of certain words may be acceptable in diplomacy, but we should recognise that the rest of the world sees the situation differently and may have prescriptions unpalatable to us.

Indian diplomacy has been successful in delinking the terrorist threat to India from the Kashmir issue by stressing its international dimensions. By identifying the mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the source of terror, the world has moved away from Kashmir. But we should not be paranoid about the "K" word, if newcomers like Obama, Miliband and Susan Rice utter it. Our case on Kashmir is beyond question and we lose nothing by educating them on this matter in detail.

Mention of Kashmir by itself should not be treated as an unfriendly act. It should serve to highlight the need to constantly educate the world about Kashmir. We cannot take it for granted that everyone has read or absorbed the marathon speech that V.K.Krishna Menon made in the United Nations Security Council. The process of patient education must continue.

The writer is a former Ambassador of India to the United Nations, Vienna.



Pak urges US to stop missile attacks

Press Trust of India

Sunday, January 25, 2009, (Islamabad)

Pakistan on Sunday urged the US to halt missile strikes in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, saying such attacks are counterproductive for the war on terror as they caused civilian casualties.

Calling on the new administration of President Barack Obama to review its policy for tackling terrorism and extremism, the Pakistan government said it had already conveyed its concerns over the missile strikes to the US.

The move came a day after two missile strikes in North and South Waziristan tribal regions killed at least 22 people, including children.

Up to eight suspected foreign militants were also killed in the attacks, media reports said. These were the first missiles strikes carried out after Obama assumed office.

"We maintain that these attacks are counterproductive and should be discontinued. Pakistan urges the US and NATO to adopt a holistic and more effective approach to countering extremism and terrorism," said a statement issued by the Foreign Office spokesman.

"Pakistan has consistently lodged strong protests with the US government against drone attacks, which constitute an infringement of Pakistan's sovereignty. Yesterday's attack in the Waziristan area which caused civilian causalities is a matter of great concern. These concerns have been conveyed to the US side," the statement added.

The spokesman also said that with the advent of the new US administration, "it is Pakistan's sincere hope that the US will review its policy and adopt a more holistic and integrated approach towards dealing with the issue of terrorism and extremism".



Cold Start or a Cold Myth?

Mon, 2009-01-26 04:17

By Adnan Gill

If there was ever a need, the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of India’s damning reports on the depleted state of Indian military’s readiness took the hot-air out of the myth of Pakistan Army specific 'Cold-Start Doctrine' (CSD). If CAG reports weren't damaging enough, recent media reports of feeble condition of the Indian military have made it the laughing stock. The rundown condition of the Indian military’s legacy hardware has taken the sting out of its numerical superiority; a far cry from an aggressive strategy of the CSD.

Some years ago, in a hope to leverage its conventional superiority over Pakistan, the Indian Army announced a new offensive doctrine. he doctrine envisioned a quick mobilization of Indian strike formations against Pakistan without giving away battle indicators. n a 2004 military exercise, with a huge fanfare, live fire demonstrations and allot of ata-boy pats on their own backs, the doctrine was declared a complete success.

In strategic terms, the CSD was conceived to box the Indian civilian-leadership into committing into a Blitzkrieg like offensive operations. The Indian military believes long mobilizations give enough time to the Pakistani patrons like USA and China to mobilize world opinion against any military action. They believe, their political leadership easily succumbs to the world pressure, and in the process denies the military its due share of victories. Therefore, at least in theory, the new war doctrine would have lowered the threshold for the leadership to pull the trigger from the outset.

However, the rapidly deteriorating health and legendry unreliability of the Indian military hardware severally handicapped the fruitarian of otherwise a brilliant strategy. CSD was basically an attempt to copy NATO’s "come as you are" war doctrine. It was an integration of three levels. At the top was 'Combat Command'. The Combat Command headquarters commanded the 'Battle Groups', consisting of armored regiment and mechanized infantry battalions. The Battle Groups were integrated with the attack helicopters of the Army Aviation and squadrons of the Air Force for close support and surveillance. At the bottom were the 'Combat Teams'; something on the lines of US Army Airborne Rangers.

Similarly, the Indian Cold Start Doctrine too was constructed around the idea of rapid mobilization of the Special Forces and mechanized strike formation supported by the attack helicopters and ground attack squadrons. This necessitated the relocation of all formations headquarters from central India to the forward positions of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Suratgarh sectors. It also called for 70 dedicated Indian Air Force (IAF) squadrons for close air support. Additionally, the Indian Navy’s aviation was to support the diversionary amphibious operations to force Pakistan to fight on several different fronts.

Executing such extremely fluid and complex manures would have been next to impossible without a highly sophisticated C4I (Command & Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) network or Net-centric. In theory, the system optimizes resource management for the battle commanders by funneling information of a continuously-evolving complex community of people, devices, information and services onto single platform. However, even the Americans are still trying to debug and streamline a functional Net-centric system. In India’s case, with the exception of the intelligence feed every other piece of Net-centric system is still decades away from becoming a reality.

Such a doctrine is prohibitively expensive strategy. It demands huge stockpiles of spares, fuel and ammunition near the staging bases, heavy-duty air lift capacity, highly sophisticated C4I network, resource hungry training, and the highest levels of mission-readiness all year around. All of which makes raising and maintaining such a force practically out-of-reach of the Indian means.

Another key factor keeping the CSD dream turning into a reality is the vintage Soviet hardware, plaguing the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy. As late as October 2008, CAG warned, India was in real danger of operating with only half its sub-surface force levels, and cast serious doubts on the reliability of the submarine-launched Klub land-attack cruise missiles. It said, only half of its strength was operationally available which were also too old to stay in service.

CAG was also highly critical of the IAF preparedness. It revealed gaping holes in India’s air defenses. According to the report, "Shortage of medium power radars needed for ground control and intercept was as high as 53 percent of the projected requirement. IAF's holding of low-level transportable radars, which are assigned the role of providing early warning, was merely 24 percent of the actual requirement of the IAF." CAG also rapped Ordnance Factory Board’s for substandard production of ammunition.

Indian defense analysts like Manoj Joshi not only echoed CAG’s criticism, but further disclosed the alarmingly low mission readiness levels of the military. He revealed the Army lacked adequate stocks of ammunition and other key equipment to fight Pakistan. His source claimed, "The 400-odd Bofors guns we bought in the 1980s are falling apart for want of spares, the (600-odd) Shilka anti-aircraft cannon are in desperate need of upgradation. And this is just the tip of the iceberg." He added, the tank fleet is also in dire shape, and it did not have any mobile artillery to speak of.

Joshi's following comments serve as a rude reminder of the Cold Myth of Cold Start. He concluded, "Experts admit that notwithstanding the numbers, the armies of the two countries are evenly matched. This means that if India can capture territory in Pakistan, the latter could also do the same in India."

India’s strategic stockpiles of fuel, ammunition and spares along with its dwindling war wastage reserves will have to be maintained at full levels at all times for the Cold Start Doctrine to have even the remotest chance of hot operations. Nonetheless, CSD’s Achilles’ heel turns out to be the cold-reality of India’s obsolete military hardware and lack of cold-cash to afford such a hotly expensive doctrine.

- Asian Tribune -



Distortion in Indian thinking

Air Marshal Ayaz A Khan (R)

Addressing a two-day Joint Amphibious Warfare symposium in Pune, General Deepak Kapoor Chief of Army Staff Indian Army warned that a war in the subcontinent would create tension and disturb peace in the entire Southeast Asia. Gen Kapoor said that the Indian Army was in a state of full preparedness to face any situation. That is why, all the countries in the world are trying to defuse this alarming situation and making efforts to avoid a war in the region.

Earlier his statement that the Indian Army was ready to attack Pakistan, was published with banner headlines by all Pakistani dailies. His accompanying photograph in uniform with dark hallows round his eyes made him appear as a Frankestein monster, and were frightening for some Pakistani reporters. Indian Army Chief cannot make such statements without a nod from the Indian government. In his address in Pune, he underplayed his earlier threat, putting the onus on the world community, to pressure Pakistan to do, what Indian wants it to do. From cursing and blaming Pakistan for the November 26, Mumbai terrorism, and threatening it with imminent war, Indian stance has changed to pressure persuasion, with continued defamation. Kapoor was speaking, as a chief guest, at the two-day Joint Amphibious Warfare Symposium which concluded yesterday at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune. In the background of the prevailing tensions between India and Pakistan over the Mumbai terror attacks, Kapoor said that the Indian Army was fully alert and prepared to respond to any situation without delay. His are calculated statements, with camouflaged threat, of war in case of another Mumbai like terrorist attack. Several prominent Indian defense analysts attending the symposium said that India had almost declared war on Pakistan in the aftermath of the deadly Mumbai terror attacks. They described Pakistan as a failed regime.

Their reasoning that military confrontation was not the best option, has logic and wisdom, but calling Pakistan a “failed state” repeatedly is more for the international gallery. Despite being called “Terrorist Central”, by ex-President George W. Bush, and American politicians, generals and admirals, the new US leaders including President Barrak Hussian Obama, have a soft corner for Pakistan, and are likely to make a determined efforts to help pull Islamabad out of its present difficulties. While resorting to surge in Afghanistan, huge funds are likely to be allotted for the up lift of tribal areas, to mitigate the suffering of the long neglected tribal Pushtuns. It is about time that Indian rulers and political thinkers look at Pakistan’s efforts to control violence and fight terrorism with wisdom and understanding of its limitations. Threats and bad mouthing Pakistan will achieve nothing.

Retired Rear Adm. Raja Mohan Menon, a foremost Indian political analyst speaking on “Geo-strategic importance & current international involvement in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)” reasoned, “The loss of lives in the terror attacks is not as painful to enter into a conflict with non-integrated groups comprising mismanaged states.” Referring to 1971 war with Pakistan, he said, “It would be the same scenario in the Indian Ocean Region ( IOR ) in the years to come and India would be dragged into similar conflicts to protect its vital national, economic and strategic interest.” Calling Pakistan a mismanaged state, is not entirely true.

After the assassination of a charismatic leader like Benazir Bhutto, the general election was successfully held, and the sympathy vote brought an elected government led by Pakistan’s People Party into power. The country has returned to democratic polity, and is dealing with terrorism with a sense of urgency. And is also attending to other lingering problems viz power outages, recession, inflation, corruption and good governance, to its best ability.

Lawyers problem, and wavering support of Muslim League (N) the largest coalition partner are matters of concern, and need to be resolved. Admiral Raja Menon calls Pakistan a mismanaged state, because he looks at it with colored glasses. He needs to be rational in his analysis and conclusions.

Retired Brig. Gurmeet Kanwal, director of Center for Land Air Warfare Studies (CLAWS), said that China’s policy is to confine India to the backwater of the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea, as it no more considers the Indian Ocean Region as Indian domain. With this perception, China could choke commerce through IOR. To say the least this is a hasty conclusion, and is in line with Indian thinking that People Republic of China is a dangerous enemy. Speaking on “India’s response to security challenges from China in Indian Ocean Region,” he said, “With the Chinese encirclement strategy, commerce through the Indian Ocean Region could be easily choked by way of disruptions of trade routes through sea. Defense of far-flung island territories and delineation of maritime boundaries are some of the maritime challenges for India, Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal reiterated. India is busy developing a blue water navy, with two aircraft-carriers, twenty submarines, 25 warships and hundreds of missile boats to defeat the Chinese Navy. But infact Indian naval build up is to threaten and block and choke Pakistani sea lanes and encircle Pakistan. India has become a big threat to Pakistan’s security and survival. The Pakistani nation, the government the politicians and the Ulema-e-Karam should take cognizance, should shed their differences, and unite to face the common foe.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like the only norm for grant of the gallantry awards is death and the status of the personnel dead..the government would have done well to grant the highest peace time award to all persons who died. Not only shinde but there are several hotel exployess and even fire brigade personnel who had exhibited conspicuous bravery beyond the call of duty... their dedicated action has been rendered worthless due to the manner in which the nominations for the award have been accepted.. we continue to have double standard.. someone has been also granted the highest medal just for acting as jeep driver.. kudos to our democratic country...

    A police officer, known as an encouner specialist, has been awarded “Ashok Chakra” for taking the job of a driver and for locking his subordinates including gunmen in the dicky of the qualis jeep. As if this was not enough, noise is now being made for an enquiry as to why the ak 47 gun allotted to him earlier was withdrawn. Would any one like to throw light on this issue as to what this officer would have done with the gun when his hands were engaged in holding the steering wheel of the jeep, To top this all the civic authorities have not lagged behind in adding their share of stupidity by felicitating the officer by naming a public garden after him. I have nothing against the officer who died and his family who is now suffering, they deserve full sympathy but that does not mean that the highest peace time gallantry award of the country is demeaned to such an extent. It will certainly be an insult to those who have actually fought for the country , laying down their lives while exhibiting devotiohn to duty, courage and gallantry of the highest order. George Bernard Shaw’s quote on martyrdom must have been in a lighter vein but has now become a reality.. he had said : “martyrdom is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability”. How true!

    The point here is as to how the so called encounter specialist who has killed almost a hundred of people(who are tagged as hardened criminals) whithout getting even a scratch on his body, got killed without firing a bullet (the fact is that he could not have fired any bullets as he had chosen to become a jeep driver apparently to please the bosses). This more than prove that his so called encounters with the criminals were staged.

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