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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

From Today's Papers - 18 Aug 2010

Rs 48 lakh vanish from IAF account
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, August 17 A sum of Rs 48 lakh has been pilfered from the public funds account of the Indian Air Force (IAF) using counterfeit cheques.  Sources said the sum was pilfered from the IAF account with the Canara Bank between June 4 and 10 this year. The public fund is equivalent to the treasury account operated by the state government departments and is used to disburse salaries etc.  The IAF, in three-pronged action has instituted an inquiry into the case. It has filed an FIR with the local police and ordered validation of all its public and non-public accounts held at all Air Force establishments across the country.  The fraud was detected by the Air Force Central Account Office (AFCAO) officials. Surprisingly, the withdrawals were done using counterfeit cheques and with forged signatures that the bank officials cleared.  The money was transferred through the bank against accounts of purportedly non-existent individuals, across the country.  The IAF said the bank had meanwhile agreed to reverse the entire lost amount to the IAF’s Public Fund as it was their responsibility to verify the genuineness of the cheques and their signatories. IAF’s discussions with the bank reveal that the forged cheques originated from various parts of the country based on fictitious bank accounts, presumably opened using fake documents like discharge book, certificate of service etc.

The Dust will settle down
Anjani Kumar  Policemen survey the scene of a Maoist massacre inside a forest in Jharkhand Policemen survey the scene of a Maoist massacre inside a forest in Jharkhand  Few had imagined the ramifications of the merger of Peoples War Group (PWG) with the MCCI and the formation of Communist Party of India (Maoist) in 2004 just before the Lok Sabha Elections. It was multi dimensional. One of it was the enrichment of the tactical experience of the two organisations which were hitherto operating in different terrain and diverse milieu. Though the new " Revolutionary Organisation" gained momentum, yet the cherished dream of establishing a "New democratic society" by the path of a protracted war appears to remain at best a utopia. In the process the country may have to lose many more lives and drain out huge amount of resources combating the menace of what is commonly called Left Wing Extremism (LWE).  The tactical experiences which the PWG had in Andhra Pradesh before the merger in 2004 and the field experiences of MCCI in other parts have made the CPI (Maoist) much richer and stronger in order to take on the security forces. The Maoists have learnt from their mistakes in Andhra Pradesh. From the late 1980s when PWG cadres were moving in North Telangana in very small groups ( ranging from 5 to 8), poorly armed, to the present time when in Dandakarnya and in the forests of West Bengal and Jharkhand, the CPI (Maoist) cadres are moving in larger formations of a Platoon and a Company and have also claimed to have formed Battalions, and with better weapons; it has been a long journey of learning from mistakes and improvising.  The response of the State in Andhra Pradesh was not confined to mere better tactical manoeuvrings in the jungle but also extended to issues like development of economic infrastructure, better employment opportunities and inculcating a sense of involvement with the developmental process among the people of remote and interior areas. The specialised units of the Police Department certainly played a very significant role but the response at the level of the lowest unit of administration i.e., Mandal was also very crucial. It was made possible only because of the unhindered support and guidance of the major political establishments of the State.  The contemporary scenario in the theatre of LWE gives the impression that perhaps it has reached a kind of peak from where movement in any direction will only lead to descent. Tactically the CPI Maoist does not have the wherewithal to sustain this level of Guerrilla activity over such a vast area simultaneously. The experiments of the LTTE in Sri Lanka have indicated that when Guerrilla Warfare moves from one stage to another, though it has some inherent advantages , it is fraught with many risks and contradictions. The LTTE was quite successful tactically till they were following the time-tested method of 'hit and run'. The moment they decided to manoeuvre their cadres in larger formations, they themselves became bigger targets for the conventional Sri Lankan forces.  Sooner rather than later, the Maoists in Central India may also fall prey to such inherent contradictions once the security forces operating there master the subtle nuances of unconventional jungle warfare. Furthermore, unlike the LTTE which had a very strong political base, the CPI (Maoist) have completely failed in India to have any such kind of a parallel set-up. Their support is limited to a few human rights groups, arm- chair thinkers and a handful of casual visitors to the forest.  The Guerrilla warfare perpetrated by CPI Maoist is being continued not by popular pressure but by the whims of its leaders, their number dwindling fast. In the last one year, they have lost more than a dozen of their top leaders. The remaining leaders have been working to maintain a system of ideological justification for waging war against the State. It is like imposing a dogma on a captive audience in the remote forest. Without a popular political base, such movements cannot spread beyond the remote and interior areas.  Gradually as the State reaches these remote and interior areas in a better and effective way, the Guerrillas will have no option but to shrink or move to new theatre as it happened in Andhra Pradesh. When the Maoists have to move from a situation of warfare on favourable grounds to the one which are not so favourable to them , they will find it extremely difficult to survive as it happened during their so called tactical shift from Telangana to the Nallamalla forests in the present decade of their struggle in Andhra Pradesh. Whether it is Ernesto Che Guevara in South America or Mao in China, it was a movement from one base to another after due consolidation of the first. Such a scenario is not developing in India despite the best efforts of the Maoists. Their growth in new areas has been at the cost of loss of influence in the areas where they had earlier been strong like Andhra Pradesh.  In 1961 Ernesto Che Guevara, while describing Guerrilla warfare after the Cuban victory, had mentioned that there are three fundamental lessons for conduct of revolutionary movements. They are:  1) Popular forces can win a war against the army.  2) It is not necessary to wait until all conditions for making revolution exist; the insurrection itself can create that.  3) In under developed State the countryside is the basic area for armed fighting.  Of these prepositions only the last one has some semblance of existence in India with reference to the contemporary developments in the forests of Bastar, Palamu, Malkangiri or Midnapore.  The security forces in India have the capacity to take greater loss and come back with rejuvenated spirit compared to the very small and poorly trained forces of the then Cuban establishment of Batista's dictatorship. The guerrilla fighters need tremendous help and support from the people of the area. This is an indispensable condition. However, the experiences in Andhra Pradesh have shown that the CPI Maoist could not sustain such a support for a reasonable length of time. The Maoists found themselves shifting bases repeatedly, from North to South Telangana to Nallamalla forests and finally to the AOB ( Andhra Orissa border). Sooner rather than later, they would find themselves in a similar situation in Dandakaranya.  Another advantage which the CPI Maoist is enjoying currently in the hot theatres of action is a good knowledge of the surrounding country side, particularly the approach and the escape routes. However, with fresh batches of trained security personnel coming out of the portals of various training centers, particularly in Chattisgarh, it would not be long before the Maoists would find themselves cornered.  The progress of revolutionary movement seems to have deviated from the envisaged path of their thinkers and planners. Furthermore, the periodicity of the setbacks of losing top cadres defies any progress of the kind explained above . It is just a matter of time before the country sees such movement largely contained and the dust settled down. A few successful ambushes in remote forest areas of Bastar do not convey any real " revolutionary advance ". It only reiterates the need to have better training of our security forces and a proper orientation on the counter Guerrilla operations where deception plays a key role.  The writer is in the IPS working as IGP Greyhounds, Andhra Pradesh. The views expressed in the article are his own and in no way represent the official understanding of any department or Government.

 Extravagant but useless
The so-called ‘surrender policies’ for Naxalites are unlikely to work, partly because they are flawed and partly because it is the government that appears more keen to surrender Uttam Sengupta  A blindfolded Naxalite after his arrest A blindfolded Naxalite after his arrest  State governments afflicted by the Maoist menace have tried very hard to formulate ‘attractive’ surrender and rehabilitation packages for underground Naxalites. Starting with Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal have all announced such packages from time to time. Some have revised and upgraded the offers and made them even more attractive, whenever necessary.  Most such packages offer a cash incentive to the rebels who choose to surrender and pay them a one-time grant and monthly stipends. Some of the packages offer land, houses and government jobs to family members while others stipulate that if they surrender with arms, they would be paid ‘extra’ depending upon the kind of arms they bring with them. A few such packages have tried to be innovative and offered to build a corpus for a few years, releasing the amount if the surrendered rebel behaves for a certain number of years.  Yet there have been very few takers. And the few hundred ‘Naxalites’, who have opted to surrender so far, have by and large been small fries working on the fringes. In any case, such surrenders have made little or no difference to the underground movement.  Even as a principle, ‘surrender policies’ look flawed. While it can be argued that elected governments have the right to declare an amnesty, condone criminal acts and discriminate between murderers and Maoists, the distinction is rarely sharp and clear. There is a thin line dividing a criminal, who kills for money, and a Naxalite who ostensibly kills to further the cause of a ‘Revolution’. While the criminal, once apprehended, is tried and punished, the Maoist can arguably walk out of his hideouts, surrender and , theoretically at least, live happily ever after under the terms of these surrender policies.  An insight into the underground movement was provided by a senior rebel leader , who once told this writer that he did not expect to see the ‘Revolution’ in his own lifetime. “ It would perhaps take 50 years or more,” he had said quietly but firmly, “ and we may not be alive to see it; but our job is to steer it to a higher level.” He readily admitted that the state had the wherewithal to crush them. “ But others will come up and take the movement forward,” he asserted. There is clearly a method in their madness. And unlike the popular presumption, generally Naxalites who matter are not bandits. They do not, therefore, behave like the dacoits from Chambal and jump at an opportunity to come out of the jungles.  A recent Press Trust of India (PTI) report quoted unnamed Bihar government officials confirming that several thousand Naxalite prisoners, 5000 to quote the report, paid tributes to one of the founders of the movement, Charu Majumdar on the same day. Incarcerated in prisons all over the state, they reportedly sang revolutionary songs and listened to speeches delivered by ‘senior’ partymen on the movement and Majumdar.  That even in prison the Naxalites are capable of such coordinated action is a significant pointer that strengthens the proposition that they be treated like political prisoners. If at all a dialogue is to be initiated, it should possibly start with this captive but committed audience.  A dialogue is of course not going to be easy, despite the President and the Prime Minister both calling upon Maoists for a dialogue in their Independence Day speeches. It is difficult, if not impossible, to hold such talks. There is, after all, no meeting ground between the elected government and Naxalites determined to overthrow the same government at gun-point.  The resources that the government seems willing to set aside for rehabilitating Naxalites, can be better spent on improving the ground situation. People at the village level need money, occupation and employment besides education and health services.  The government can certainly reward whistleblowers in the villages. Why cannot tribals hope to be rewarded if they detain a corrupt forest guard, timber smugglers or poachers ? Is it possible to reward them for information about illegal arms ? Can they actually get away if they raise their voice against policemen who frame villagers in false cases or point out the delinquent teachers and doctors who are missing from the villages ?  It is not poverty but injustice that often drives a man to join the underground. The government must, therefore, ensure justice and a clean and fair administration at the village level. It is only when the government dispenses justice, regains a position of strength and isolates people from the Naxalites that surrender policies will work, not otherwise.

Wipro set to enter defence sector
  New Delhi, August 17 The government is understood to have approved a proposal from Bangalore-based Wipro Ltd to enter the defence sector. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) had given its nod to Wipro for designing, developing and manufacturing defence-related software and had further referred the matter for the Finance Minister’s approval.  The case assumes importance as even the FIPB was not clear whether approval from them is required for companies engaged in software activities to enter the defence sector. — PTI

Govt gives nod for Wipro to enter defence sector
Press Trust of India / New Delhi August 17, 2010, 22:08 IST  The government is understood to have approved a proposal from Bangalore-based Wipro to enter the defence sector.  The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) had given its nod to Wipro for designing, developing and manufacturing defence-related software and had further referred the matter for the Finance Minister's approval.  The case assumes importance as even the FIPB was not clear whether approval from them is required for companies engaged in software activities to enter the defence sector.  Accordingly, the FIPB had directed the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to expeditiously conclude their deliberations in this regard.  Moreover, the major issue related to the proposal was whether IT companies who want to get into defence-related activities will be subjected to the cap of 26 per cent on foreign direct investment, as is the norm in the sector.  Wipro, which already has foreign institutional investment of 9.8 per cent, had been advised by the MoD to take FIPB permission before applying for a licence.  Under the current FDI norms, software companies with 100 per cent foreign equity can set up shop in India through the automatic route and can offer software services in defence.  However, a separate rule says FDI in the defence sector is only permissible up to 26 per cent.  The DIPP had communicated in a FIPB meeting on July 30 that deliberations between it and the MoD for finalising the classifications of defence-related items has not yet concluded.  However, the Department of Economic Affairs and MoD have supported the proposal.  It was also advised that since the proposal includes design, development and manufacture of systems and these are licencable items, as such approval is necessary even though the deliberations on software have not yet concluded.  The board accordingly deliberated and recommended the proposal for approval, subject to the above conditions.

China wary of India's military might: US
Rajat Pandit, TNN, Aug 18, 2010, 03.18am IST NEW DELHI: The fleet-footed Dragon may be rapidly spreading its wings across the globe but remains a wee bit wary of the flat-footed Elephant next door.  The US Pentagon's latest assessment of the expanding military might of China, which has now overtaken Japan to become the world's second-largest economy, holds that Beijing is "concerned" with the "strategic ramifications of India's rising economic, political and military power". Consequently, "to improve regional deterrence", the 2.25-million strong People's Liberation Army has moved "more advanced and survivable" solid-fuelled CCS-5 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles closer to the borders with India.  " China may also be developing contingency plans to move airborne troops into the region," says the Pentagon report on 'military and security developments involving the People's Republic of China'.  Though there is nothing new in all this to startle the Indian defence establishment, it does reinforce the point that China continues to upgrade its already massive build-up of military infrastructure all along the unresolved 4,057-km Line of Actual Control.  Satellite pictures, for instance, have long disclosed that a large area in central China, near Delingha and Da Qaidam in Qinghai province, has close to 60 launch pads for nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, which can easily target north India. Moreover, the new Chinese road-mobile DF-31A missiles, which can hit targets 11,200 km away, and the JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which have a reach beyond 7,200 km, are weapons which even has the US worried.  China, of course, continues to needle India with frequent troop incursions across the LAC, from Trig Heights and Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh to the "finger area" in Sikkim and Asaphila sector in Arunachal Pradesh.  The Pentagon report, in fact, says, "Despite increased political and economic relations over the years between China and India, tensions remain along their shared 4,057-km border, most notably over Arunachal Pradesh, which China asserts is part of Tibet and therefore of China, and over the Askai Chin region."  Holding that both sides "stepped up efforts to assert their claims" in 2009, the report refers to China's bid to block the ADB's $2.90 billion loan to India, claiming part of the loan was to be used for water projects in Arunachal. "This represented the first time China sought to influence this dispute through a multilateral institution," it says.  There is no getting away from the stark asymmetry between India and China in terms of strategic and military capabilities. But the 1.3-million strong Indian armed forces are no longer the ill-equipped forces they were during the virtual walkover in 1962.  India plans to test its most ambitious ballistic missile, the 5,000-km Agni-V, by early 2011 to add to its military deterrence posture. Moreover, apart from the almost ready-to-be-inducted 3,500-km Agni-III, IAF has already begun to base Sukhoi-30MKI fighters in north-east as well as upgrade several airstrips and helipads in the region.

IAF detects fraudulent withdrawals from its officers’ accounts
Neeraj Chauhan Posted online: Wed Aug 18 2010, 02:22 hrs New Delhi : In what may turn out to be a major scam across the country, the salaries, provident funds and retirement funds of defence personnel have been fraudulently withdrawn by unknown persons over two months ago. The Indian Air Force detected the withdrawals only two days ago.  According to the IAF and the Delhi Police, nearly Rs 50 lakh was withdrawn using cheques with forged signatures of Air Force’s authorised signatory. “Fraudulent transactions have already been detected in seven states. More forged cheques could have been used to withdraw money from the Army and Air Force bank accounts,” said a source.  Besides reporting to a Delhi police station, the IAF instituted an inquiry in the matter and ordered validation of its public and non-public accounts held at Air Force establishments.  The fraud came to light when Air Force Central Accounts Office officials checked the IAF’s Public Fund account at the Canara Bank’s Delhi Cantonment branch.  The bank cleared the counterfeit cheques between June 4 and June 10. A source said a total of 15 cheques amounting to over Rs 48 lakh were realised at Canara Bank in states including Bihar, UP, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Assam against accounts of purportedly non-existent individuals. Another Rs 14 lakh has been withdrawn through ATMs across several states, said the source.  A senior official said, “Some IAF officials could also be involved because the transactions took place at the same time, within one week...”  He added that there could be bungling in the accounts of Army as well, though till now only withdrawals from IAF accounts have been detected.  When contacted, Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander T K Singha said, “We have reported the matter to the bank. They will now file FIRs in other states where money has been withdrawn.”

Army suffers as govt delays big gun buy
 BANGALORE: The Indian Army’s urgent request for the 155-millimetre towed guns could take some more time to be fulfilled, with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) issuing a fresh tender for the procurement of the same.  The current Request for Information (RFI), issued on July 23, is the latest bid by the government to buy almost 1,600 guns for the country’s military, effectively canceling the earlier tender.  The previous tender, which was for 1580 units, called for 400 units to be purchased off the shelf and the rest 1180, to be license-produced in India by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) after transfer of technology  BAe Systems, Europe’s largest defence contractor, and one of the front-runners to land the lucrative contract has not confirmed its participation in the new tender.  “BAe Systems are looking at the documents, but have not yet decided how to proceed,” BAe spokesman Guy Douglas told the ET over the phone.  The Army has, time and again, underlined its pressing need for the guns, and has pointed to the acquisition as a vital cog in the ongoing modernisation of its dwindling and largely obsolete artillery systems.  Industry analysts say that the scrapping of the last tender could lead to a delay of 3 to 5 years in procuring the guns. “Since the Kargil War, several guns have landed up on the obsolescence list. The 155-millimeter howitzer was expected to replace guns of lesser calibre. What this amounts to, is that a number of them will remain in service, wellbeyond their shelf life,” Brig. Gurmeet Kanwal, director of the New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies. The MoD’s primary reason for canceling the tender was the fact that several contenders were blacklisted resulting in the presence of only one vendor in the race, an unacceptable situation for such a process.  In June, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had recommended the blacklisting of six defence contractors, including Singapore Technologies Kinetics, which had entered its FH-2000 towed howitzer in the tender.  The defence vendor was allowed to participate in the field trials, despite coming under a cloud, but was unable to test its gun, the FH-2000, after citing fears of damage during transit.  Over the last 25 years, the entire process of procuring the guns has been marked with a distinct sense of scandal. Furthermore, the decision not to award the contract to BAe, the maker of the politically sensitive Bofors gun has been criticised.  “The Bofors ghost has to be wiped out. Every successive government, since then, has been apprehensive, fueled by the thought of being tainted,” Deba Mohanty, senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, said.  The Bofors scandal of the 1980s led to the downfall of the ruling Congress Party, after then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and several associates were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB for winning the bid to supply the country’s military with 155-millimetre howitzers. Separately, the disconnect between the main players - the armed forces, MoD and the political executive has played a major role in creating procedural problems.  “The Army has been impacted in an extremely negative way. An integral part of the modernisation process has been stalled . Landbased armament modernisation forms a major part of the process, and that is exactly what has been hit,” Mohanty pointed out.  The MoD-sanctioned artillery modernisation plan is an ambitious strategy to equip the country’s military with the latest land-based armaments, with the government looking to spend about 18,500 crores across multiple tenders.

India's Military Threat Management Politically Flawed
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 11:28 Written by SAAG                By Dr Subhash Kapila  India today exists in a seriously embattled security environment, far more than ever in the last sixty three years, with external military threats having acquired menacing and dangerously devious contours, by virtue of having intruded into India’s internal security domains. India’s Armed Forces have determinedly and innovatively strategized to meet the expanded military threats to India with the resources given to them and the political constraints imposed on them by the Government of the day in the last sixty three years. Regrettably, India’s military threats management stands politically flawed by the strategic naivety, lack of strategic vision and vulnerability to external pressures of its political leaders and its policy establishment. India’s political leadership has yet to display its ‘will to use power and exercise power’ in the service of India’s security interests.     The Indian Republic is a parliamentary democracy and the Prime Minister exercises control and direction of India’s Armed Forces and India’s strategic responses to the hovering military threats. If that be so then the Indian Prime Minister is charged with effective political management of the multiple military threats that India faces today.  The buck stops with the Prime Minister and he is accountable for India’s security.  India’s two pronounced and major military threats are Pakistan and China, singly and in joint political, military and strategic collusion. India’s’ political leadership and the policy establishment needs to factor this harsh reality into their political, diplomatic and strategic policy formulations. India’s political leadership cannot resort to political and strategic ambiguities on this count and de-emphasize or devalue threats as that not only confuses and confounds those battling these threats on a daily basis but also tends to dull the sensitivities of the Republic’s citizens to the dangers lurking around them.  This subject can be a complete thesis by itself but then that is not the aim of this Paper. The aim of this Paper is to shed light on the flawed political management of the military threats to India by India’s political leadership in the present decade of the 21st Century when considerable lessons should have been learnt as a result of the external and internal conflicts that India has faced.  This Paper is intended for easy comprehension by India’s average readers so that they get sensitized to the looming threats that threaten the Indian Republic and is not crafted to prove one’s strategic mastery of issues.  Briefly therefore, this Paper would like to dwell on the following issues:      * The Pakistan Military Threat Must Not be Politically De-Emphasized     * The China Military Threat Management Needs Accelerated Approach     * Indian Armed Forces War Preparedness: A Vulnerability Perceived by its Military Adversaries.     * India’s Foreign Policy Formulations: Deficit of Strategic Component and Loss of Strategic Autonomy  The Pakistan Military Threat Must Not be Politically De-Emphasized  Pakistan has in the last sixty three years displayed a propensity to wage wars against India in 1947-48, in 1965, in 1971 and in 1999without any provocation from India. Strewn in the intervening period and alongside these wars has been the unleashing of proxy wars, state-sponsored terrorism and suicide bombings in heartland India.  Strategically, Pakistan Army which represents the Pakistan nation-state has exploited Islam as a religious force for holding Pakistan together, as a motivation for conflict for its Armed Forces and Islamic Jihad as a policy instrument of state by embracing and financing Islamic Fundamentalist terrorist organizations against India.  India’s political management of the Pakistan military threat has to be viewed at multiple political and military levels. The Indian political leadership is charged with the “intentions reading” of the Pakistani nation-state and the Indian Armed Forces with the assessment of the Pakistani threat in terms of capabilities and maintaining themselves in a high state of readiness.  The Indian political leadership and the policy establishment approaches to Pakistan are seriously flawed and stand in a state of “severe disconnect” with Pakistan’s demonstrated military intentions towards India and also with the mood of the vast majority of India’s citizens.  Pakistan’s “trust deficit with India is irreconcilable” and which stands examined in detail in my last Paper. Pakistan’s trust deficit with India arises from Pakistan Army being an implacable foe of India, recently re-asserted by Pakistan Army Chief, General Kayani.   Hence there is no scope for any reconciliatory approaches for peace with Pakistan as long as peace with India emerges on the Pakistan Army agenda. While war is not advocated, India’s political leadership would be well advised to ignore Pakistan until such time the Pakistani masses arise and overthrow the yoke of the Pakistan Army.  In terms of the Indian Armed Forces meeting the Pakistani military threat in all its manifestations, it is imperative for the political leadership to ensure that the Pakistan Army is not able to reduce the Indian military superiority differential by in-flow of United States advance military equipment and military hardware from China.  In passing and which does have bearing on India’s political leadership management of the Pakistani military threat is the imperative of political stability and security of Indian States bordering Pakistan. Jammu& Kashmir is in violent turbulence and Punjab is likely to witness fresh turbulence being generated from Pakistan. Rajasthan maybe deceptively quiet but its long desert borders are porous and open for exploitation by Pakistan. Gujarat is unnecessarily being provoked on political grounds and being made vulnerable.  Politically, India cannot b e seen where the Defence Minister is being publicly questioned on Pakistan related issues by the Home Minister. Why should the Prime Minister and the Home Minister question the Armed Forces Special Powers Act when the ground situation in Kashmir Valley is further diabolically stirred up in yet another shift in strategy by the Pakistan Amy to offset the gains made by the Indian Army and frittered away by politician?  The China Military Threat Management Needs Accelerated Approach  The China military threat continues to be real and continues to persist though for a year or two it seemed that China may have shifted from her adversarial mode against India. That optimism was short-lived. In the last two three years China escalated tensions along India’s borders with Tibet in terms of border inclusions and transgressions. Uncannily this was happening in a strange coincidence with Pakistan Army breaking the four year old ceasefire in Kashmir with General Kayani taking over as Pak Army Chief.  China continues with supply of military hardware to Pakistan over and above what Pakistan gets from USA. The end game of China being to offset India’s military superiority against Pakistan. Media reports also indicate that China continues to assist Pakistan in the nuclear weapons and missiles field. China’s present focus is to build up the military capabilities of the Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy.  China continues with it dilatory stance on the border settlement issue as it provides China with a pressure point against India. China has vastly upgraded its military infrastructure in Tibet and in close proximity to India’s borders to improve its war-waging capabilities.  Reverting to the political management of the China military threat by India’s’ political leaders, once again it needs to be viewed in the context of China’s “intentions reading” and the impact of China’s military buildup on India’s borders with Tibet.  India went seriously wrong on China’s “intentions reading” under Nehru. It cannot afford to go wrong a second time. India figures high in China’s threat perceptions when India both in terms of intentions and capabilities has not set any record as such. Chinese strategic analysts have gone to the extent of asserting in their writings that India needs to be taught a lesson again like 1962 and Chinese strategies need to focus on the fragmentation of India.  India’s political leaders have followed flawed approaches once again in not drawing the ‘redlines’ for China and whose transgression would be read as unfriendly to India and reflective of China’s real intentions.  In terms of the Indian Government’s response to Chinese up- gradation of military infrastructure in Tibet and on the Indian border with Tibet, some plans have been put underway but they are mired in inter-ministerial bureaucratic wrangles. It is reported that the new strategic roads sanctioned in the last few years are behind schedule as clearances by the Ministry of Environment are holding up progress. Is national security less important than environmental protection?  Apex level political leadership has to provide impetus in India’s upgradation of its military capabilities if the Indian Armed Forces are expected to provide a credible defensive deterrent against China.  Indian Armed Forces War Preparedness: A Vulnerability Perceived by its Military Adversaries  Even after six years of being in continuous power the present Indian Government, like its previous political counterpart has been oblivious to some major glaring deficiencies in the war preparedness of the Indian Armed Forces. These are the deficiency of 126 multi-role combat fighter planes for the Indian Air Force and air-defence radars. The Indian Air Force transport fleet of both transport aircraft and utility helicopters is woefully outdated.  The Indian Army’s requirement of thousands of its artillery guns has been held up for nearly a decade because of bureaucratic red-tapism in the contractual system. Surveillance radars for the thousands of kilometers of the Indo-Tibet border are scarce.  These are some of the major deficiencies that stand pointed out in the media and even in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report. No access is available to details of major deficiencies in spare parts inventories of weapon systems, communication equipment, and more significantly in the strategic reserves of logistics and fuel supplies.  For India’s political leadership war- preparedness of the Indian Armed Forces may just be reduced to a matter of statistics but for India’s military adversaries it becomes a vital factor in their military strategies and military planning against India.  No wonder within a couple of days of Mumbai 28/11 one had seen reports in the Pakistan media that India was incapable of retaliatory military strikes against Pakistan because of shortages in its war preparedness. Nothing could be a more damning indictment on the political management of India’s military threats.  India’s Foreign Policy Formulations: Deficit of Strategic Component and Loss of Strategic Autonomy  India logically should not have come to such a pass where it stands completely embattled by its military adversaries, had India’s political management of India’s military threats had not been flawed. The two major flaws have been the lack of strategic component in its foreign policy formulations and India’s loss of strategic autonomy.  Both these factors are interlinked as with loss of strategic autonomy, India’s foreign policy also lost sight of the strategic component that should have been factored in every foreign policy formulation.  This can best be illustrated by India’ strategic shift at the turn of the millennium in its foreign policy orientation from moving away from Russia to evolve the US-India Strategic Partnership. India painfully has started realizing now that in terms of countervailing power against China and Pakistan that it expected from USA,  has not been forthcoming.  In going overboard on the US-India Strategic Partnership, especially under the present Indian Government, India’s policy approaches towards its most immediate military threat, namely Pakistan became increasingly being dictated by the Washington strategic template on South Asia focused strongly on Pakistan.  India’s own Pakistan policy formulations stood superseded by American pressures.  Similarly on China, India has now come to realize that United States policy formulations on China did not factor-in India’s strategic imperatives beyond rhetoric.  As things stand today in the international arena, India is being perceived as a satellite of the United States without any corresponding gains for India’s national security. India itself is to blame for its distorted foreign policy formulations where in the last couple of years it stands reduced to the status of a “strategic co-equal” of Pakistan. Forget any recognition of its being a potential counterweight to China in Asian security.  Concluding Observations  If Indian military history since 1947 is any guide in terms of India’s military threats political management, it inexorably points that on every occasion when India stood embattled by its military adversaries, India’s political management of its military threats was seriously flawed in the preceding period. So also was the political neglect of the war preparedness of Indian Armed Forces.   India can longer expect strategically that it can successfully overcome armed inflicts by last minute crisis-management and reliance on the traditional valor of the Indian Armed Forces.  In a security environment when China as India’s long range military threat has upgraded it war-waging capabilities against India and Pakistan Army as India’s implacable foe has in an adept manner positioned itself strategically where both the United States and China feel obliged to bestow military hardware on Pakistan for ‘Balance of Power’ purposes, India’s political leadership has to awaken from its slumber and effectively provide the political management of India’s military threats and so also India’s war preparedness in a manner that India’s Armed Forces are not militarily handicapped or disadvantaged in any future conflict imposed by India’s military adversaries.

'Take charge and defend yourself'
DNA / Shruthi Goutham / Tuesday, August 17, 2010 9:25 IST  General TM John (retd) studied civil engineering in Trivandrum and was working with the Kerala government for a while before he joined the Army in 1962 owing to the Chinese aggression that besieged India then. “That was the first turning point in my life,” says the retired Army general.From 1962 to 1997 John served in the Indian Army, after which he settled in Bangalore.  John was working at St John’s Academy of National Health Sciences as a civil engineering consultant when the dreadful 26/11 attack struck Mumbai. This, says John was the second turning point in his life. He yet again gave up a high-paying job, and this time joined Civil Defence Karnataka state, as chief warden.  John says, “The 26/11 attack was an eye-opener, it revealed the unpreparedness of civilians in the face of terror or any disaster in general,” he goes on, “it made me think what if something of this scale struck Bangalore?” Explaining the need for such a force he says, “we have a minuscule police force and the only way to cope with a crisis such as this is to train civilians to take charge.”  Indian Parliament enacted the Civil Defence Act, 1968 in July that year — according to which — every major city in the country was supposed to have a civil defence unit. In Bangalore, until the 26/11 mayhem the unit was lying dormant. After which, under Jija Madhavan Harisingh, DGP, home guards, civil defence and fire services John and his like have been relentlessly working on reviving it. The Act prescribes 50 divisions per city with each division comprising of 2 lakh civilians. “Currently we have 22 division that are ready to go into action at any given point of time and we hope to reach the 50-target by the end of this year,” says John.  Their aim is to train ordinary citizens to handle any crisis situation be it a natural calamity, terror attack or fire. The state’s civil defence unit was at the forefront of the rescue operations when floods hit North Karnataka, October last. Under chief warden John, the state’s unit has also undertaken tree planting initiatives. Many are keen on joining the civil defence unit here. But the fact that they aren’t operating on full capacity shows that the requirement is still not met.  For John, who is over 60 years of age, the gratification that service to society brings, is the biggest motivation. “My kids are well-settled and I felt the need to do something for the city, that I now call home.”  John is optimistic about the India’s future prospects. “The youth in our country have great potential and that gives me hope.” Citizen awareness is translating into citizens’ activism, demanding accountability from stakeholders. “There is no doubt that our country will be a force to reckon with in sometime,” he smiles. URL of the article:

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