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Thursday, 27 January 2011

From Today's Papers - 27 Jan 2011

Who is Major Laishram Jyotin Singh? 
Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: January 26, 2011 16:07 IST Ads by Google  Bajaj Allianz Insurance – Invest Single Premium of 25000, Get Maximum Returns on Maturity. Apply!  New Delhi:  Major Laishram Jyotin Singh, an Army doctor who died fighting a suicide bomber in Kabul, was Wednesday conferred the country's highest peacetime gallantry medal, Ashok Chakra, posthumously at the 62nd Republic Day parade here.  A family member received the medal from President Pratibha Patil, who conferred the honour at the start of the parade at Rajpath in the heart of the capital.  Born in 1972, Singh was commissioned in the Army Medical Corps in February 2003. He was granted permanent commission in April 2007 and posted with the Indian embassy in Kabul in February last year.  Thirteen days after his posting, a guarded residential compound attached to but away from the embassy -- housing six Army medical officers, four para-medics and two Army officers -- was raided by suicide bombers  A terrorist killed three security guards and then entered the compound to kill survivors. He opened Kalshnikov gunfire into the individual rooms and hurled grenades.  In the melee, five unarmed officers took shelter in one of the rooms, which came under grenade attack. The roof caught fire and spread to the bathroom where another five officers were sheltered.  Singh crawled out from under the debris of his room and, unarmed, charged at the terrorist and pinned him down.  He continued to grapple with the terrorist and did not let him go till the latter detonated his suicide vest, resulting in his death.  "Maj Laishram Jyotin Singh gave up his life for the sake of five of his colleagues, one of whom unfortunately was still charred to death, and another succumbed to his injuries five days later.  "His sacrifice, in addition, also saved the lives of two officers and four paramedics and two Afghan civilians within the compound," it said.

Indian, Chinese armies jointly hoist Tricolour
Mir Ehsan Posted online: Thu Jan 27 2011, 01:54 hrs Srinagar : It was a rare sight on the border at Ladakh this Republic Day as soldiers of the Indian and Chinese armies jointly hoisted the Indian National Flag. Defence spokesman, Northern Command, K S Rathi said that a border personnel meeting was organised between India and China on Wednesday at the Indian Border Personnel Meeting Hut in Chushul, Ladakh, to celebrate Republic Day. “The Chinese delegation was led by Senior Colonel Fan Jun. The delegation was received by the Indian Delegation leader, Brigadier Y K Joshi,” he said.  Rathi, commencing the meeting, said the Indian National Flag was hoisted and both the Chinese and Indian army personnel saluted the flag. “Later, the meeting was held in an atmosphere of mutual trust and camaraderie and greetings were exchanged.”  He said that both sides agreed to maintain peace, stability and tranquility in the region. Rathi said that at the end of the meeting both delegations saluted the Tricolour and the Chinese delegation was escorted back to Line of Actual Control. “The friendly interactions between the two forces have played a significant role in promoting and strengthening bonds of friendship, mutual trust and confidence between the two armies,” he said.  In the past few years, the People’s Liberation Army of China has made several attempts of incursion in Ladakh and even stopped the developmental works on the Indian side, raising tension in the region. The meeting is seen as a step to defuse tension in the area.  India and China have signed two landmark agreements, namely Peace and Tranquility Agreement in 1993 and Confidence Building Measures in 1996.

In defence of graft
By Srinath Raghavan Jan 27 2011  The court martial of Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath in connection with the Sukna land scam is a welcome move by the Army to set its house in order. This case along with the Adarsh Society scam has turned the spotlight on corruption in the military. It is widely assumed that these cases underscore the extent to which corruption from our public life has seeped into the armed forces. Isn’t the military a mirror of the society it serves? This assumption is mistaken. In fact, the corruption highlighted by these cases stems from an increasing divergence between the armed forces and Indian society. And this growing civil-military gap could have other, more serious consequences.  It is commonplace to assert that armed forces reflect the societies from which they arise. But it is wrong. The fact is that civil society is based on an expectation of peace.  Military society, by contrast, is predicated on the expectation of war. If this weren’t true at a fundamental level, there need be no hyphen between civil and military. It is this distinction that basically enables civil society to retain the option of using force in pursuit of its policies. Problems, however, could arise if the difference in attitudes and values between the civilian and military worlds (particularly that of elites) becomes too wide.  In the Indian case, a civil-military gap has existed from the outset. India’s civilian elites have had no direct experience of military service. Interestingly, the drafters of the constitution explicitly provided for the possibility of conscription — a step that could have reduced the civil-military gap in the medium term. But the executive decided not to enforce compulsory military service in peacetime and to continue the tradition of a volunteer force.  The subsequent expansion of the gap can be traced to developments in both the civilian and the military end of the divide. Among the former, perhaps the most important changes have been in the realm of the economy.  The opening up and rapid growth of the Indian economy over the last two decades have considerably increased the disparity in economic profiles of the civilian and military elites. Prior to this, the military elites could take comfort in a putatively better social profile: “glamour” was an important motivator for officers joining the services. But India’s vaulting economic growth has transformed the social profile of civilian elites and pushed it well above that of the military.  Prominent factors exacerbating the divide from the military side are the recruitment, training and personnel policies adopted by the military. The Indian military recruits its officers at a much younger age than most other democracies that have a volunteer force. The National Defence Academy (NDA) provides a combination of undergraduate education and pre-commission training. The cadets join at the age of 17-18 (it was 16 until the late 1980s) and are commissioned — after further training at the service academies — at the age of 21-22. To be sure, the services have a direct entry scheme which takes in officer cadets after their graduation from the university. But since the late 1980s the senior ranks of the armed forces are overwhelmingly staffed by officers who have gone through the NDA route.  By contrast, the Short Service Commission (SSC) schemes have largely been unable to serve their purpose. The idea of the SSC was to recruit officers who would serve for a fixed period of 5-10 years and then move on. The aim of the SSC, however, remains substantially unfulfilled. The important point from our perspective is that the number of military officials transitioning to the civilian world through this route remains small. Part of the reason for this is that the military provides little by way of serious preparation for an alternate civilian career. The army has a Directorate of Resettlement, but even its most sought after programmes (a course lasting a few months in a top business school, not a full-fledged MBA though) scarcely prepare officers for an increasingly competitive employment market.  The longer an officer remains in service, the more he is hurt by the absence of appropriate resettlement preparation. In consequence, many officers who attain pensionable service but face no prospects of career growth remain reluctant to retire. Moreover, many of them seek re-employment after retirement. The fact that even the most successful officers cannot hope to match the economic and social profile of their civilian contemporaries is surely a key driver for increasing corruption. It is the widening civil-military gap that is eroding the military’s organisational values and discipline.  Corruption, however, is not the only consequence arising from this gap. Equally troubling are some of the ways in which the military is seeking to maintain and project its institutional identity and distinction. This can be seen most clearly in the military’s approach to women officers, which both indicates and potentially accentuates the civil-military gap. Although women have been inducted into the military since 1992, they can serve for no more than 14 years. The military leadership is averse to granting them Permanent Commission owing to what are described as “operational practical and cultural problems”. The military is unwilling to offer women anything more than permanent commissions in the legal and educational branches. This attitude forced some women officers to seek redress from the courts. In March 2010, the Delhi high court directed the government to grant permanent commissions to women officers commissioned before 2006. At the military brass’ request, the government has appealed against this ruling. The contrast with the opportunities for women in the civilian sector (both private and government) is stark indeed.  The recent scams embroiling the military are indicative of a larger trend that could have deleterious consequences. Tackling the growing civil-military gap will require a creative set of policies that will foster a new balance between institutional and societal considerations. Such reforms are imperative for democratic control of the military as well as national security.

The US desire to make India a bulwark against China
Thu, 2011-01-27 02:28 — editor      * Article  By Asif Haroon Raja  The US dream of converting India into an effective bulwark against China had been perceived sometime in the late 1990s when India had got itself fully aligned with USA after the demise of its earlier patron USSR. No other country in Asia was prepared to undertake this role since none have the military capability to do so.  Moreover, China’s foreign policy is peaceful and its military strategy is defensive in nature. At no stage China has tried to grab any country through use of force or tried to topple a regime through intrigue. It has always endeavored to extend its influence in the third world through policy of goodwill and providing military and economic assistance on soft terms. This policy has helped China in enhancing its respect and increasing its sphere of influence far and wide including South American states.  Conversely, USA having imperialist designs has been pursuing aggressive policies to undermine third world countries through covert war, economic and military sanctions and launching physical attacks. In the vital Middle East wherefrom bulk of its own, its western allies and Japan’s oil needs are met, it has turned Israel into a bully to keep the Arab world terrorized and submissive. It has made military bases all over the world to keep a firm check on all regions. After the fall of its chief rival Soviet Union in 1991, China has emerged as a power which has the potential to challenge its world monopoly.  Already China has overtaken USA in the economic field and is moving rapidly to bridge the military and technological gap. Its rapid rise and USA’s decline particularly owing to ongoing global recession and war on terror has made the situation precarious for USA. Notwithstanding that China is extending all out support to USA to prevent its economic collapse, yet both are competitors and rivals and not partners. The US has borrowed huge loans from China, yet it wants to cut surging economic power of China to size so that it could retain its unchallenged uni-polarism.  It is under such strategic compulsions that USA threw bait to India to become a bulwark against China in return for huge material benefits. The latter readily took the bait because of its own burning ambitions of becoming a regional and a world power. It is happily playing the game since the very thought of being tipped as a bulwark against a potential super power gives myth loving and megalomaniac Brahmans an inner pleasure and boosts their mythical beliefs. Unresolved border disputes with China and its thorough spanking at the hands of Chinese soldiers in the 1962 border conflict are other reasons to accept US offer. It is suchlike inner urges that former Indian Army Chief Gen Kapoor as well as current Chief Gen VK Singh have been giving vent to their fanciful wishes by stating that Indian military has acquired the capability to trounce both China and Pakistan in one go.  Besides satisfying its egoism of being seen as a matching military power of China, development of its conventional military strength and nuclear power helps India in its drive to browbeat Pakistan and to forcibly make it accept its hegemony. With the active help of USA and the west, India is determined to disable Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence either by getting its modest nuclear program rolled back or to build up its weapon grade nuclear capability massively. Discriminatory Indo-US nuclear deal and allowing India access to Nuclear Suppliers Group is a step in that direction.  All this humbug of bulwark against China is in reality a farce since India has neither any desire to confront China nor it has the physical and mental capability or even will to harm China. In reality, India wants to become economically and militarily so strong and awesome that it is in position to overawe Pakistan and force it to forget about Kashmir issue and accept India’s hegemony as a fait accompli. The US is behind this game plan.  On one hand it is beefing up military and economic strength of India hugely, on the other hand it is systematically weakening Pakistan’s economy and its military strength. Pakistan Army, ISI and nuclear program has been consistently subjected to vicious vilification campaign which is still continuing.  While the US never tires of pointing fingers at Pakistan and finding never ending faults, it sees India as flawless and sinless. Since 1990 there has not been a single occasion when even a lowly American official ever spoke a word against India what to talk of hurling accusations. Indian security forces brutal practices in IOK and against minorities in India since ages do not bring even a frown on the foreheads of champions of human rights and democracy. India’s record of cross border terrorism is an open secret but it has never been admonished. As against their haughty and bossy attitude towards Pakistan’s leaders, the US officials bend over backwards to keep India pleased and appeased. They remain eager to attend to Indian demands and their concocted security concerns but care two hoots for genuine security concerns of Pakistan which is supposed to be a non-Nato ally.  None of India’s neighbors in South Asia are at ease with India and are wary of its intrusiveness and its desire to turn them into its satellites. India’s RAW has been blatantly supporting anti-state elements in neighboring countries. Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal are its biggest victims. Behind the glitter of so-called shining India projected through state controlled media, it is a moth eaten country and its fragmentation is a forgone conclusion. The 28 states artificially bonded into Indian Union will fall like nine-pins since all the minorities living in India and low caste Dalits are fed up of the coercive four-fold caste system imposed by 2.8 Brahmans, who are genetically perfidious, cunning, cruel and deceitful. With such a dismal state of affairs, it is ludicrous to call India a bulwark against China.  Idea of bulwark helps India in hiding its embarrassment as to why over 700,000 Indian forces in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) have utterly failed to crush the freedom movement waged by few thousand ill-equipped Kashmiris against whom the whole world has shut their eyes and ears. The mismatch is going on for the last two decades and now unarmed teenagers have come in the forefront. Indian Army has failed to quell any of the 30 armed insurgencies raging within India of which Maoist movement is the most dangerous since it has grown into an existential threat to Indian integrity. It is been unsuccessful in overawing Pakistan which is five times smaller in size, population and resources. Indian Army suffered humiliation in Sri Lanka in 1987-88, when it tried to defeat its own creation Tamil Tigers known as LTTE. Ultimately, Sri Lankan Army crushed LTTE decisively.  It is because of deep seated prejudice of the US and western countries against Muslims that they have adopted a discriminatory posture towards Pakistan. They see India as their natural partner and consider it morally right to bestow it with all the favors without taking into consideration what grave affects it will have on the security of Pakistan in particular. While the US and the west see Pakistan as black and India as white, the world has begun to see the ugly face of India. It is now common knowledge that India is the sole terrorist state in South Asia and has disturbed the peace and stability of this region.  Bogey of bulwark has been raised by USA purposely since it gives it a legal cover to assist India lavishly. It helps India to justify its heavy increase in defence budget each year and its mad rush to buy most expensive and advanced armaments and technology. Pakistan is silenced by assuring it that India’s military buildup is directed against China.  While India is ever ready to pounce at a weak opponent, it will never pick up courage to clash with a more powerful or even an equivalent military power. It doesn’t even fight a weaker opponent fairly and instead indulges in covert war and psychological war to further weaken it from within before entering the battlefield. With such a cautious mindset and lack of will, it is simply out of question that India will ever confront China militarily.  India may agree to back up USA if the latter decides to attack China, but will jump in only when it is absolutely sure that the US is winning and not otherwise. The possibility of USA attacking China is also ruled out given the US current vulnerabilities and its track record of striking smaller and weak countries only. Under the circumstances, the dream of making India a bulwark against China will remain confined to sand model exercises only.

India needs to strengthen military capability: Swamy
Special Correspondent India needs to strengthen its military capability and forge closer ties with strategic neighbours to offset the growing influence of China in Asia, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said on Wednesday.  Delivering a lecture on “China-A Challenge or an Inspiration?” after receiving an award for his campaign for cleaner governance instituted by the Dr. Chitra S. Narayanaswamy Centenary Trust, Dr. Swamy said India, which had a history of squandering opportunities to cement ties with potential allies, had “to wean back its neighbours.”  He pointed out that at the moment almost all neighbours such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma or Pakistan shared closer ties with China than India.  As a nation that was hesitant to seize the offer for friendship from Afghanistan, failed to see Indonesia as a natural ally or refused to undertake Sri Lanka's Hambantota port project (that went to China), India finds itself in a tight position where none of its neighbours will support it in a standoff with China, Dr. Swamy said.  Dr. Swamy also wanted India to scale up defence expenditure to at least five per cent of the GDP for strengthening military capability and acquiring advanced weaponry. Only an India that was stronger militarily and had more friends among neighbours could command respect from China, he said.  Dr. Swamy said tackling the menace of corruption was also vital for India to realise its aspirations to be a force to reckon with. Pointing out that corruption was a disease born from greed Dr. Swamy called for rebuilding society on the principles of “sanatana dharma.”  Former Central Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal, who presented the award to Dr. Swamy, described him as a one-man army against corruption and bad governance.

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