Decoding the Dragon India can’t be complacent on national security
by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd) THERE can be no greater proof of failure of India’s foreign policy than the reality of our unsatisfactory relations with all our immediate neighbours. From Pakistan in the West to Nepal and China in the North, Burma and Bangladesh in the East and Sri Lanka in the South, our relations with these countries vary from hostility to indifference. China’s influence in countries on our periphery has been on the increase. In addition, China has this ‘String of pearls policy’. Though it is a nightmarish situation, India’s security establishment seems to sleep well. The Maoists’ problem and the one in Kashmir are security challenges being addressed in a cavalier fashion. Even if one is to discount the problems in the North-East, the overall security scene is disquieting. We have been decidedly and overwhelmingly complacent on the issue of national security. Not only has our foreign policy failed to create friendly environment on our periphery but grossly neglected the emerging threats. This policy suffered further setback when distant Japan, Australia and some South East Asian countries acquiesced to China’s claim that Arunachal Pradesh is a disputed territory. China has been calling it South Tibet and not a part of India. Moreover, China has declared Jammu and Kashmir a disputed territory and started stapling visas of visitors from that state. More recently, it has reaffirmed its stand on this issue by denying visa to a senior army officer posted in Jammu and Kashmir and who was leader of a military delegation to China. This stance of China and reportedly inducting large body of troops into Gilgit region of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) is to give a fillip to the ongoing turmoil in the Kashmir valley, besides controlling any unrest in this part of POK. While China occupied large tracts of territory in Ladakh, Pakistan illegally acceded the Shaksam valley in PoK to it. China is also reported to be improving the Karakoram highway and setting out to build a high-speed railway line to Gwadar port on the Gulf of Oman, for transporting oil to Tibet and Xinjiang province from where it can be ferried to mainland China. There are suggestions flying thick and fast in the media that India must strongly protest against this Chinese move into PoK. But, protest to whom? China will summarily dismiss such protests and going to the United Nations will merely resurrect the old ghosts of Jammu and Kashmir. At best India can deny visa facility to Chinese, but what of the massive trade we have with that country? China’s policy keeps time on its side while complacency is our forte. Even keeping time on its side, China has been assiduously and with single-mindedness creating overall military capabilities and military infrastructure in Tibet and spreading its influence in countries on our periphery. It has with equal zeal and purpose followed the policy of using Pakistan as a proxy and a cheap option to tie down India locally. Then, there is the ‘String of pearls policy’ to squeeze India from all sides. China is building its naval strength at a furious pace and making forays into the Indian Ocean. We have slept through more than half a century, ignoring the emerging security scene and the gathering storms all around and within India. Not only have we been complacent but decidedly negligent of the emerging security threats, both internal and external. At 2 per cent of GDP for defence as against 7 per cent of China out of GDP, twice the size of ours, India’s lack of concern for its security ought to appear alarming, even to one with impaired vision and the dimwitted. In the real world, economic strength in the absence of military power is unsustainable. The gunboat diplomacy and wars of nineteen century were to capture markets and enhance influence and commerce for economic gains. The power play of the 21st century is going to be no different except that the form, formulations and contours of policy and coercive techniques will undergo a change. For long we have been indulging in a puerile debate on the issue of ‘development versus defence,’ as if the two are mutually exclusive and in no way reinforce each other. The mandarins in Delhi have been smug in a world of make believe. To quote Arun Shourie, “Corresponding factors that keep us from growing as fast as our potential are precisely the ones that weaken our defence. The same holds for constituents of defence: the choice is not, ‘valour or high technology,’ cyber warfare or conventional warfare or nuclear capability but capabilities across the broad spectrum.” China has developed the Gwadar port and it will have a strong naval presence there. This port is at the mouth of straight of Hurmoz through which oil supplies from the Middle East flow to India. The strategic importance of this move by China does not seem to have fully dawned on the Indian security establishment. The Chinese Navy will also have berthing facilities at the Sri Lankan and Burmese ports. Radars at Coco Island keep watch over the naval ship movement from mainland to Andaman and Nicobar Islands and India’s missile launches from the Balasore missile range in Orissa. India has helplessly watched developments in Nepal. It is with China’s help that the Sri Lankan government was able to decimate the Tamil Tigers. China, even with a late start, has galloped ahead, leaving us far behind in the fields of economy, science and technology and military capabilities. It is not our case that the developments on the Tibet border and in POK are the harbinger of an early conflict, but these do not bode well for India. These developments need to be taken as a wake-up call and shake ourselves out of our complacency and stupor. Activating a few airfields and adding some roads or two mountain divisions and deploying two squadrons of fighter aircraft or lodging a protest will not do. These are knee-jerk reactions and reminiscent of our actions leading to the 1962 war with China. India as a nuclear and emerging economic power, in the midst of potentially unstable regimes and with ambitions to exercise influence for the stability and security of the region and to safeguard vital national interests, cannot have military capabilities which in no way match those of the potential adversaries. Equally, an antiquated and potentially dysfunctional decision-making and operational system in the defence apparatus is anathema to the successful conduct of defence and foreign policy. India’s ability to meet future security challenges is highly suspect and this state of affairs cannot prevail any longer without seriously jeopardising national security. There is, therefore, the requirement of evolving a comprehensive and long term national security policy taking into account the current and future security concerns and synergising these with foreign policy. Thereafter, we must work assiduously to develop military capabilities backed by diplomatic thrusts to meet the security challenges of the future and be in a position to exercise influence in our immediate neighbourhood. We need to double our efforts to enhance our economic strength and create compatible defence capabilities.
Forces can’t overrule civil hospitals’ say: SC
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service Chandigarh, October 11 The Supreme Court has held that when a specialist civilian hospital has certified an individual to be free from a medical disorder, the Air Force cannot stick to its finding that he is medically unfit and thereby deny him a job opportunity. Upholding an earlier High Court order, a Division Bench of the apex court, comprising Justice JM Panchal and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, has dismissed a special leave petition filed by the government against the High Court order. Observing that the process of medical examination by the Air Force, in this case, was “a cause of serious concern”, the High Court ruled that the findings of the Air Force’s appeal medical board could not be sustained in view of the positive findings of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, especially when the institute had been informed that the petitioner had been rejected from the defence services. The High Court directed that the Air Force would be obliged to take the petitioner into service and not disqualify him on medical grounds. The Air Force had rejected him for having heart murmur. The Union of India had contended that the conditions of disease for civilian appointment were different from that of appointment in defence services. The High Court observed that no medical text or journal had been brought to its notice that said that a person might not have a disease if he was looking for a civilian appointment, but that would become a disease when it came to military employment. “By no stretch of imagination can it be said that for a civilian appointment the heart condition vanishes or is differently defined for a military appointment,” the High Court ruled. The court had also observed that within the Air Force medical board itself, different diseases and ailments in relation to the petitioner curiously kept coming in and going out. First, there was weight discrepancy and heart murmur. Then weight discrepancy vanished and hydrosil appeared along with murmur and lastly, hydrosil vanished within a day leaving behind systolic murmur.
CRPF jawan kills three colleagues, self
Tribune News Service Guwahati, October 11 A CRPF jawan gunned down his three colleagues before shooting himself to death in Manipur this morning. The incident took place at a Food Corporation of India (FCI) warehouse at Sangaiprou, near the airport in Imphal West district where the jawans were posted as sentries. Superintendent of Police, Imphal West district, L Kailun said CRPF constable F Mohan opened fire with his service weapon following an altercation and killed three jawans before killing himself. One of the jawans died on the spot, while two others died while being taken to hospital. The three jawans killed in the incident were identified as Pradeep Nair, S Rajan and Eswar Rao. They were from G Company of the 143 Battalion of the CRPF.
Non-permanent Member Polls India set to enter Security Council
United Nations, October 11 India is all set to get a seat on the Security Council as a non-permanent member after a gap of 19 years through the elections to be held tomorrow in the United Nations General Assembly. India is expecting an easy win since Kazakhstan pulled out from the race earlier this year and there is no other challenger from the region. While the Asian, African and Latin American seats are going uncontested, with only one candidate each, the two seats for Western Europe and others Group are being fought for by Canada, Germany and Portugal. South Africa is a shoo-in for the African seat, which leads to a configuration of three emerging economies - India, Brazil and South Africa - being on the Council at the same time. In the run-up to the elections, the Indian envoy to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri pointed out that BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations will occupy places in the Security Council in the coming year, and could present a united front on several contentious international issues. "BRIC coordination in the Security Council becomes a fact of life," Puri had said. Indian diplomats have been canvassing for the spot for the past three years. To win, India needs two-thirds of the General Assembly vote, which adds up to about 128 giving the green light to India. India's last stint on the Security Council was in 1992. The five new countries will be replacing Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda. Colombia is expected to come in place of Mexico. Meanwhile, India is pushing for Security Council reform and hoping that change comes in the next two years while it is already in the Council. If Germany wins the spot, then all four members of the G4 (India, Brazil, Japan and Germany), which want to become permanent members, will be on the Council. The terms of the elected countries start January 1. At their last meeting in New York in September, foreign ministers of the G4 members decided to push ahead with Security Council reform and seek results at the earliest. Speaking at the annual debate of the General Assembly, Foreign Minister S M Krishna said that "an overwhelming majority" of nations wanted expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats. — PTI
Naval Chief begins visit ti Israel
Harinder Mishra Tel Aviv, Oct 11 (PTI) India''s Naval Chief and Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma heading a high-level delegation began a four day visit to Israel, as New Delhi and Tel Aviv are poised to start joint development and production of futuristic weapon systems and platforms. Defence sources here described the visit a part of "service to service cooperation" during which wide ranging defence cooperation between the countries will be reviewed. Verma, invited by his Israeli counterpart Eliezer Marom, will also call upon Defence Minister Ehud Barak, Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and other senior defence officials during his four day trip. He will visit the Haifa cemetery tomorrow to lay a wreath on the memorial of fallen Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the liberation of Haifa during World War I. A large number of Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in this region during the First World War and nearly 900 are cremated or buried in cemeteries across Israel. A unique ceremony commemorating the sacrifice of Indian soldiers was observed this year on September 22 as part of the Haifa Day celebrations. The Indian army commemorates September 23rd every year as Haifa Day, to pay its respects to the two brave Indian Cavalry Regiments that helped liberate the city in 1918 following a dashing cavalry action by the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade. In the autumn of that year, the Brigade was a part of the Allied Forces sweeping northwards through Palestine in what is seen as the last great cavalry campaign in history. "No more remarkable cavalry action of its scale was fought in the whole course of the campaign. Machine gun bullets over and over again failed to stop the galloping horses even though many of them succumbed afterwards to their injuries", is how the Official History of the War (Military operation Egypt and Palestine: volume 2) describes the Indian troops bravery. Captain Aman Singh Bahadur and Dafadar Jor Singh were awarded the Indian Order of Merit (IOM) and Captain Anop Singh and 2nd Lt Sagat Singh were awarded the Military Cross (MC) as recognition for their bravery in this battle. Major Dalpat Singh (MC) is known in the annals of history as the Hero of Haifa for his critical role in the Liberation of the city. India and Israel are said to be recently discussing the prospect of further expanding defence relationship with strategic implications. The volume of defence business between the two countries can be gauged from the fact that Israel has already supplied Barak missiles to the Navy, night fighting devices to the Army and the Air Force and improved the radar network of the Indian Air Forces supplying hitech electronic warfare systems and information technology. The first of the three Phalcon airborne early warning radar systems (AWACS) supplied by Israel as part of a 1.1 billion USDs deal has given a big boost to India''s reconnaissance capabilities. As per local sources, India is Israel''s single largest importer of its defence equipment constituting about 50 per cent of Israel''s defence exports and about 30 per cent of India''s imports. India has also sought to replace weapons procurement from Israel with joint development projects, including potential sale of the jointly manufactured defence equipments to other countries.
The Man Who Saved India in 1965, General Harbaksh Singh
Oct 10, 2010 Madan Singh Lt Gen Harbaksh - unknown Lt Gen Harbaksh - unknown Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh was army commander during the 1965 Indo- Pak war. He saved india when he disobeyed the order by COAS to retreat beyond the Beas river. The 1965 war was in many ways a water shed as far as Indo Pak wars is concerned. It established India as the dominant power in the sub continent. The start was however not auspicious for India. The Indian army only 3 years back had been badly mauled by China and the Pakistan government thought the man who headed the Indian Government, the diminutive Lal Bahadur Shastri as a weak person. Pakistan Misconceptions General Ayub Khan, the Pakistan President breathed fire and thought the time ripe to settle the Kashmir issue once for all with an armed conflict. The Pakistan Army also felt confident and believed in the myth that one Moslem soldier was equal to ten Hindus. In addition they had formidable weaponry supplied by the United States including the famed Patton tanks replete with infra red and night vision devices. The Indian Army was still in a process of reorganization and in contrast to the Pakistan was not that well equipped and their armor consisted of obsolete Sherman and AMX tanks. The Indian army chief was General JN Choudhry and the Army commander, Western Command was lieutenant General Harbaksh Singh. Ads by Google Online Share Trading It All Started With ICICIdirect.com Open Integrated 3-in-1 Account Now! ICICIdirect.com Check Out The New SX4 VVT Engine with Auto transmission. SX4-For The Man In Every Gentleman www.MarutiSX4.com Operation Gibralter The Pakistanis started the operation by infiltrating large number of Mujahidin into Kashmir in Aug, 1965.Code named 'Operation Gibralter’, the Pakis had the fond hope that the Moslems of Kashmir will rise up in revolt against the Indians. Nothing such thing happened and the local people aided the Indian army in every way. Seeing the collapse of their plan in the valley the Pakistan leadership mounted an assault in the Chamb Jaurian sector. The plan was sound and consisted of cutting the valley from India. But the Indian's fought resolutely and the Indian PM (unlike Nehru) ordered the Indian Army to open a front in the Lahore sector to relieve the pressure on the Chamb sector. The Fateful Order to Withdraw and the Aftermath This took the Pakistan army by surprise, but they soon got their wits about themselves and advanced with a vast array of tanks in the khemkaran sector on September 6,1965. When army headquarters learnt of this assault by Pakistan armor, the COAS General Choudhry was at his wits end. He then issued a fateful order to the Army commander General Harbaksh to with draw to a line south of the Beas River. General Harbaksh an out and out professional officer who had been a POW of the Japanese in the Second World War flatly refused to with draw .it was one of the moist fateful decisions taken in Military history. General Choudhry cautioned Harbaksh with the words ‘Do you know what an armored thrust is?’. Harbaksh however stood his ground and decided to fight the Pak armor thrust. Had the General carried out these orders, not only would have half of Punjab been under Pakistani occupation, but the morale of the Indian Army would have hit rock bottom The Indians fought valiantly and the famed Patton tanks floundered and the advance got bogged down. The battle of khemkaran was a decisive moment of the war and resulted in it become a grave yard of the Patton tanks. Many Pak tank crew just fled, forgetting the one Moslem and ten Hindu theory. Last Word General Choudhry then visited Harbaksh Headquarter and nothing more was said of that fateful order. But India will forever be grateful that Harbaksh held his nerve and disobeyed the COAS. This is the stuff of what great generals are made off. Harbaksh certainly deserves his place in the soldier’s hall of fame. He carried out the one quality of a great a general lasting victory. The end of the war established India as the dominant power in SE Asia and also put paid to the theory that Hindus are poor soldiers. The general is no more and we can only cherish his memory as he takes his place among the great soldiers of history in Valhalla. Despite his service record, General Harbaksh was not promoted as COAS (Army Chief) and just faded away, but his name is the greater for it.