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Thursday, 4 October 2012

From Today's Papers - 04 Oct 2012
Lt Gen Brar returns, IB to review his security
MHA didn’t know of his travel plans, but the Army unit in Mumbai & Military Intelligence were in the loop
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, October 3
Injured Lt Gen KS Brar (retd) landed back in Mumbai from London today. The Ministry of Home Affairs has tasked the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to review his security.

Suspected Pro-Khalistan militants attacked Lt Gen Brar on Sunday in Central London. He is under “Z category” security but was without any guard at the time of the attack in which four assailants tried to kill him by slitting his throat with a knife.

Sources in the MHA said the ministry had no knowledge about his visit to London. As per standard operating procedures, the MHA should have been informed about it. Before going to London, Brar had reportedly informed the Army unit in Mumbai about his travel plans, including the location of the hotel where he would be staying.

The Military Intelligence (MI) in Delhi was also in the loop, but its mandate is only to arrange for his security in India. In case of foreign visits, the MHA and the MEA should be informed. Lt Gen Brar is guarded by a group of Army’s own commandos who are rotated every few months. His visits aboard have been sporadic.

Lt Gen Brar was the divisional commander of the 9 Division of the Army that was tasked to flush out militants holed up in the Golden Temple.

For the security agencies, the immediate task at hand is to establish if the London-based group that attacked Lt Gen Brar had any prior knowledge of his visit or was it an impromptu attack. At present, the opinion is divided among security circles. Had it been a well-planned attack, the assailants would have been better armed, a senior functionary said.

Their second task is to find out if the assailants had prior knowledge about his visit, then who was their source in India. Those in the security set-up are amazed at the tenacity with which Lt Gen Brar was being pursued despite living in a high-security naval housing complex in South Mumbai.

Another unanswered question is how did the assailants conclusively identify a 78-year-old man on a London street as Lt Gen Brar. This indicates that a latest photograph of Brar was with the four knife-wielding assailants.

An internal exercise has been started to ensure that there is no gap in communication when Lt Gen Brar goes abraod again. The IB has a dedicated wing studying pro-Khalistan militants based in India, Germany, Belgium, the UK, the US and Canada. It is likely that it will be made mandatory for the Military Intelligence to keep the IB and RAW informed about Lt Gen Brar’s security.
Punjab Police: Attack handiwork of youths influenced by radicals
Jangveer Singh/TNS

Chandigarh, October 3
Youngsters influenced by radical Sikh propaganda and not trained terrorists could have been behind the attack on Lt Gen KS Brar, according to Punjab Police officials who track movement of radicals here and abroad.

Lt Gen KS Brar (retd) (C) being escorted out of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport after his arrival from London in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Lt Gen KS Brar (retd) (C) being escorted out of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport after his arrival from London in Mumbai on Wednesday. — AFP

There is a feeling among police circles here that the attack was the work of amateurs and not trained professionals. Officials said the fact that even three attackers could not overpower the General or attack him in a manner that could be described as fatal, indicated they were novice and had not been sufficiently motivated to “go for the kill” at all cost.

Sources said the fact that the attackers did not use firearms also indicated that they were more interested in sending out a message. Terrorist organisations, on the other hand, would plan such attacks meticulously, they added. They gave the example of how the Babbar Khalsa had flown in terrorists from abroad to execute Rashtriya Sikh Sewa head Rulda Singh two years ago.

Officials, however, claim they had been preparing to counter such a scenario in Punjab for around six months. They said the events following awarding of death sentence to former Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassin Balwant Singh Rajoana in March this year gave a fillip to separatist forces. The state-managed protests after Rajoana was awarded the death penalty helped radical forces to stage a comeback among youth abroad.

Sources point towards the propaganda unleashed by “Sangat” television abroad and collection of $1.5 million in two days after a Sikh youth died in a clash in Gurdaspur during protests held to demand clemency for Rajoana. The incident gave boost to the radical cause, they said.

Sources said the inflow of funds to separatists abroad resulted in its onward flow to former militants in Punjab. They said such people, including Daljit Singh Bittu and Kulbir Singh Barapind who were arrested recently, were under pressure to show results in Punjab. The Punjab Police claims both Bittu and Barapind had been distributing money to militant families in Punjab.

The Punjab Police has decided to oversee the security arrangements of all officers who had been associated with anti-militancy operations. Though the security cover had been thinned in some cases, it has been further strengthened in case of high-risk individuals including former state police chief KPS Gill and some religious leaders.

Intelligence agencies have asked the Centre to take steps to counter the anti-India propaganda among youth abroad.
Failure of Central agencies: Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
In a rather delayed reaction to the cowardly attack on Lt Gen KS Brar, the Punjab Government fell short of condemning the incident by concentrating on denying any role of the state in his protection.

The government described as "factually incorrect, wild and irresponsible" the allegation that it had downscaled the threat perception to Lt Gen KS Brar from 'Z' to 'Y' category.

“Lt Gen Brar is not under the protection of the Punjab Government but of the Mumbai police,” said Harcharn Bains, Adviser to Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal on National Affairs and Media.

Bains said the threat perception is categorised by the Government of India and not by the state governments. The Punjab Government does not come into the picture at all.

Bains said, "We are surprised that attempts are being made to link this incident with the Punjab Government. It is common knowledge that for all high-threat perception categories such as ‘Z’ or ‘Y’, the decision rests with the security agencies of the Government of India.

“The security cover is also provided by them and not by the state government. We are surprised that a former Chief Minister like Capt Amarinder Singh should pretend not to know this. There is no ground for such an allegation.”

Bains said the incident amounted to a “security lapse” on the part of the Government of India agencies. “It was for the Central security agencies to inform their counterparts in the UK about the presence and movements of Lt Gen Brar in that country. It is clear that they failed in this primary task.”

There appeared to be no coordination between the Central agencies and the Indian High Commission in London, he said.

“For all those having such threat perception, it is normal practice to keep the agencies of the host country informed about the arrival, presence and detailed itinerary of the person. In all such cases, the diplomatic channels are automatically pressed into service. But in Lt Gen Brar’s case, these blue-book norms have obviously not been observed.”

Bains said the Centre should clarify the position on the subject and, if necessary, hold a full-scale inquiry to fix responsibility.
Attack on Gen KS Brar: Leaked info, major lapses
New Delhi: On Tuesday night as Lt Gen KS Brar and his wife Meena were speaking calmly, in a matter of fact manner on NDTV, describing the circumstances under which they were attacked in London by what increasingly looks like pro-Khalistani elements, one couldn't but admire the brave couple for having warded off the assailants.

In Gen Brar's own words this is what  happened: "My wife and I went to Piccadilly Circus for dinner, we were returning to the hotel at about 10 pm in the night, there's a passageway between Oxford Street and Branson street where my hotel is located and it was there that suddenly four bearded tough looking gentlemen , Sikhs wearing black jackets and black clothes pounced on me, one of them pushed my wife to the side, she fell down and started screaming for help. Three of them charged at me, one pulled a 'kirpan', a dagger or a knife, can't remember exactly what it was now, at that time there was a scuffle, and he tried to assassinate me and he slashed my neck with the knife, I fought back, being an army man, I knew how to defend myself, I kicked, and boxed and warded off the attack, but in the meantime they had already slashed my neck but probably didn't have the time to slice the whole neck off, following which some people from the vicinity came to help as my wife was screaming and then these guys ran away.

He also goes on to say how in a matter of minutes, the London Police, Metropolitan Police arrived and the ambulance arrived. " They wheeled me on a stretcher on to the ambulance and straight to the hospital, the doctors were alerted. I arrived in the hospital and they examined me,   all the tests, blood pressure, ECG, etc. Then senior surgeon came in and examined me and he said I would require surgery under general anaesthesia. So they took me to the operation theatre and the surgery lasted about an hour. They opened up the wound to check whether the nerves had been cut or the arteries had been pierced and luckily none of that had happened, so they patched me up. And after I came out of the general anaesthesia, they brought me down to general ward and more doctors came to examine me after the surgery," General Brar explained.
Beyond the immediate shock and admiration however, there are worrying questions that demand answers on the gaps in the narrative.

Let's look at the sequence of events in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

When asked, the Indian High Commission in London said it had no information about the General's visit or his programme in London. External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, speaking from New York told journalists that the General had not kept the External Affairs Ministry informed about his visit.

Since the General was inaccessible in the first 24 hours after the attack, it was assumed that the minister's assertion was right.

But by Tuesday morning, as Gen Brar spoke to NDTV's London correspondent and other media outlets it became clear that he had--like any disciplined soldier--done what is normally expected of him given the fact that for over 25 years now Gen Brar and his wife have been living under Z+ category security.

The Mumbai-based Gen Brar, as per standard practice, said that he had informed local army authorities about exact details of his visit to London, including flight and hotel details.

"I don't inform the government, I inform the local military authorities...the military authorities in Bombay and Pune, then inform Delhi Army headquarters, and I suppose they inform the ministry. So who is supposed to inform them, I don't know. I have no direct access to London," Gen Brar elaborated.

Enquiries at the Mumbai-based MGG Area HQ revealed that it had indeed passed on the exact details of the General's travel plans to the Foreign Division under the Directorate of Military Intelligence (MI-FD, as it is called in Army HQ lingo). Officials under MI-FD, under normal circumstances would have informed both the MEA and the Defence Attache in London about the General's visit.

So here are the questions that need answers:

    How come the MEA's first reaction was to say it had no information about Gen Brar's presence in London?
    Is it because the Army HQ did not pass on the information to London?
    Or did the High Commission sit on the information, assuming that after so many years of Operation Bluestar, the threat to the General was non-existent?
    An internal inquiry would perhaps bring out the facts but beyond the procedural lapses, there are other disturbing indications that should worry both the intelligence agencies and Army authorities.  They are:
    Is there a dedicated cell of Khalistani elements tracking every movement of the Brar couple in Mumbai?
    How come Gen Brar's travel plans, supposedly known to only a handful few within the Army, were known to his enemies?
    The attackers in London knew exactly who to attack. Which means they had Gen Brar's latest photographs. Who supplied his latest pictures to them?
    Are Intelligence agencies, who are supposedly keeping tabs on the resurgence of pro-Khalistani elements across the country, keeping track of those trailing Gen Brar's movements?

When the Brar couple returns to Mumbai, they will perhaps remain forever cocooned in their high-security home located in the Army area, but for the Army and intelligence agencies the real work should begin now to get to the root of the leak that led to a near-fatal attack on one of our most accomplished soldiers.
Kayani visit behind delay of Indo-Russian defence talks?
Even as Pakistan Army chief Gen. Ashraf Parvez Kayani commenced a three-day visit to Russia starting on Wednesday, India suddenly announced the postponement of the visit of the Russian defence minister to India and holding of important talks on defence cooperation with Russia by six days on the request of the Russian side on the grounds that the Russian defence minister was required to attend a 'programme of the Russian President'.

The 'India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation' meeting that was to be held on Thursday has now been postponed by six days to October 10.

While MoD sources said 'there was nothing more than meets the eye', the timing of Gen. Kayani’s visit to Russia and postponing of the Russian defence minister’s visit to India by the Russian side has triggered enormous speculation on whether Gen. Kayani’s visit to Moscow had anything to do with the sudden postponement.

It is no secret that Pakistan is attempting to strengthen ties with Russia and persuade Russia to sell it arms. Russia, so far, has been hesitant to do so because of its strategic ties with India.

An Indian government source said the sudden postponement should not be interpreted as a snub by Russia.

But there have been several irritants in the Indo-Russian defence ties due to constant failure of the Russian side to meet deadlines for defence sales to India such as that of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier.

“The meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation which was to be held tomorrow has been deferred due to the inability of the Russian co-chair of the commission and defence minister Serdyukov to travel to India as scheduled,” the MoD said.
Swedish Investments in Indian Defence Crucial
NEW DELHI (IDN) - The Swedish defence and security company Saab Technology signed end of August a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian private-sector company Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Limited. Saab, with total sales of US $3,582 million in 2011, holds a vital role in Sweden's defence industry.

Partly as a result of changing economic conditions, the firm's strategy is now directed towards international cooperation, with greater focus on investments in Asia in general and India in particular.

Swedish defence industry is internationally renowned for its high quality of competence and its top-edge and sophisticated technology. A broad-spectrum, advanced military-industrial base in Sweden developed during World War II without much influence from foreign interests or investments, comprise a part of the country's 'neutrality politics'. Saab, being one outcome of this development, is the number one company within its sector in Sweden today.

With the recent MoU, Saab commits to strategic investments in Pipavav to a value of $38 million – investments that will mainly be focused on enhancing Pipavav’s infrastructure capability, maintenance and building of military hardware for the Indian army as well as for export purposes. Additionally, the two companies have signed a technical partnership agreement, securing the continuation of an already ongoing cooperation and an extension of Saab’s engagement in Pipavav.

Saab is involved in partnerships with several large Indian companies, i.e. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), The Mahindra Group, Wipro, Samtel, FFV Services and S.M Creative Electronics. As of now, Saab’s business base encompasses ground combat systems, coastal surveillance systems, signature management, electronic warfare systems as well as communication equipment and avionics. The company’s recent investments, however, reveal an interest in expanding the product line to other segments of the defence and security industry.

Saab’s commitment to the Indian defence industry is characterised by several incentives to support and develop an indigenous Indian defence industry, to contribute to research and development, facilitate knowledge- and technology transfers, and generate customized solutions to the Indian market. Two examples of such attempts are the Saab India Technology Center in Hyderabad – a research centre and development facility in cooperation with Mahindra Satyam, and a sourcing office in Bangalore with focus on supplier development.

Opportunities in India

Saab's increased interest in the Indian defence industry can be understood as part of a larger structural change in the international geo-economic context. The Asian region, with sales amounting to SEK (Swedish Krona) 5,176 million for 2011, is Saab's second largest market.

On the other hand, Sweden, and large parts of Europe, are struggling with economic instabilities, distressed markets, and diminished political and public support for retaining a strong defence industry. This can be seen, for instance, in the decrease in Swedish military expenditure by 18 per cent during the past ten years - a fall from 2 to 1.3 percentage points of GDP. In India, however, the trend has proceeded in the opposite direction, with military expenditure increasing by 78 per cent, to $46,086 million, for the same time-period.4 In addition, India is also the largest arms import nation in the world - making the country a ‘hub’ of potential for foreign investors.

Saab intends to make India its new home market, which is explained by India's strategic position in Asia, its emerging industrial capacities, democratic political and social foundation, and a comparably lenient regulation on their defence industry in relation to other major Asian nations such as China and South Korea. With its presence in India, Saab will have a prime position in the expanding Indian market for defence and security products as well as earning a more direct access to the rest of the emerging Asian economies.

Saab is still a small player in relation to some of the giant defence and security firms, which makes it even more important for the company to establish a trustful relationship with the Indian industries and be a responsible partner. The company's strategy to sustain its competitive advantage is to contribute to capacity building and transfer of technological know-how for local partners, commitment to the development of an independent defence base and an enhanced civil security, and social development. India should value such an approach and support smaller scale collaborations with similar actors.

Strengthening Ties

Scholars and expert committees have raised concerns about the deficiencies in India's defence industrial sector. The defence and security industry is under heavy policy and export constraints, making innovation and structural improvements difficult.

India has thus to reconstruct its policy towards foreign investors if the country is to have a strong defence profile and safeguard its increasingly important role in the region. Despite these impediments, some advances have been made to attract foreign expertise, one of which is giving Indian private firms the chance to participate in the defence sector.

The benefit of this initiative for foreign investors, like Saab, is that partnering with private firms is much easier compared to public sector companies. Entering into a Joint Venture (JV) also provides the foreign investor greater chances of winning contracts than by acting independently.

Furthermore, as a JV is free to engage in offshore production, the foreign stakeholder will, by locating parts of its operations in its home country, have the opportunity for supporting the domestic industry and labour force. However, the most recent FDI policy allows foreign firms a 26 per cent stake in JVs with Indian companies – a level considered too low to attract relevant and sufficient technologies and expertise from abroad. A raise in the FDI cap to 49 per cent has been suggested, which would provide greater incentives for foreign investments as well as making the JVs more competitive in the domestic and export markets.

In the recent MoU between Saab and Pipavav, the companies stated how they would be targeting global markets, besides meeting Indian and Swedish requirement for specific military segments. Hence, these types of partnership, or JVs, will aid Indian firms in accessing new European markets. As a result, there will be opportunities for increasing procurement from Indian companies, providing India a reversed role in the current arms trade market.

There are, however, still some holdbacks to improved and increased partnerships with foreign companies, which stem from offset policies. If India is to enhance its defence industrial capabilities and attract advanced military technologies through foreign participation from nations such as Sweden, offset policies must continue to meet the interests of foreign investors.

The 2008 provision of 'banking of offset credits', which allows foreign vendors to accumulate credit for discharging their future obligations, attempts to obtain long-term engagement by the supplying firm and is a sign of an economic policy more open to international economic influences. However, the current two-and-a-half year’s validity period for banking of offsets is not a strong enough enticement for foreign investors.

A longer banking period, along with further incentives to enable private participation and foreign partnerships, would be necessary for India to attract the right military technology and competences for its defence industry. Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence must make the requirements for future use of the accumulated credits more explicit, and be pragmatic about the areas in which new investments should be placed to benefit the Indian industry in the best way possible.

*Rebecka S. Rydberg is Research Intern at the Defence Economics and Industry Centre, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. This is article is an abridged version of an analysis which appeared on IDA wesite pn September 28, 2012. [IDN-InDepthNews – October 3, 2012]
India-Russia defence talks put off till Oct 10
A last minute decision to postpone talks between the defence ministers of India and Russia, scheduled for Thursday, came as a surprise to the Ministry of Defence. Moscow deferred the meeting saying that the Russian Defence Minister had been held back as his presence was required at a programme of the President.

The talks have been rescheduled to October 10, but the last minute change — sources said that information about the delay came only two days before the talks were to take place — has raised eyebrows, especially as Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani landed in Moscow for a three-day visit on Wednesday.

A terse statement by the Defence Ministry merely stated that the meeting of the India-Russia Inter-governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) was “deferred due to the inability of the Russian Co-Chair of the Commission and the Defence Minister Serdyukov to travel to India as scheduled”. “It has been conveyed by the Russian side that the Russian Defence Minister was required to stay in Russia for his urgent participation in a programme of the Russian President,” a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

Sources said that while it was informally conveyed that a meeting of armed forces commanders had been called by Russian President Vladimir Putin, necessitating the presence of the Defence Minister, the last minute change is being seen as “very unusual”, almost akin to a snub by Moscow.

The Pakistani army chief, who arrived in Moscow on Wednesday, will meet top military leaders of the nation as well as Putin. With the Russian defence minister delaying his visit to India, Kayani is now expected to call on him as well and discuss matters of bilateral interest. The Defence Ministry has had to cancel a joint press conference that was scheduled for Thursday.

This year’s bilateral defence talks were expected to be heated, given the touchy topic of the Gorshkov aircraft carrier that will once again fail to meet its deadline for delivery to the Indian Navy in December. Another pressing issue is the fifth generation fighter aircraft that India is ‘jointly’ developing with Russia. India has revised its earlier estimate of the time it would take before the fighter is inducted from 2017-18 to a more realistic deadline in the early 2020’s.
You do not invite crisis that you cannot tackle
Mao needed a pretext ‘to teach India a lesson'. Some senior officers of the Indian Army and the country’s politicians offered it to him, which is why 1962 happened

One of the reasons why the Sino-Indian conflict has remained a deep scar in the nation’s psyche is that very few people know what exactly happened on the slopes of the Thagla ridge in October 1962, though one does not need to be Inspector Jacques Clouseau to discover why the famous Henderson-Brooks report has been kept out of the eyes of the Indian public for 50 years. The reason is simple: In 1962, the bosses in New Delhi were unable to tell the local commanders where the border in the Tawang/ Ziminthang sector was.

A few months after the debacle, the Union Government requested Lt Gen Henderson-Brooks and Brigadier Prem Bhagat (HBB) to prepare a report of the events which led to the fiasco. Many have since asked: “What on earth has stopped the Government to open the HBB report to the public?”

Between 1962 and 1965, RD Pradhan was then Defence Minister YB Chavan’s Private Secretary. In his memoirs, he provides some insights on the issue: “Chavan was apprehensive that the committee may cast aspersions on the role of the Prime Minister or the Defence Minister.” Mr Pradhan adds: “(Chavan’s) main worry was to find ways to defend the government and at the same time to ensure that the morale of the armed forces was not further adversely affected.” Mr Pradhan concluded: “Chavan earned the gratitude of the Prime Minister.” Was it by classifying the HBB report forever?

In 2008, answering a question on the HBB Report, Defence Minister AK Antony told the Indian Parliament that the report could not be made public because an internal study by the Army had established that its contents “are not only extremely sensitive, but are of current operational value.” Nobody will believe that a 49 year-old report is still of ‘operational value’.

In 2005, veteran journalist and former MP Kuldip Nayar requested, under the RTI, the Ministry of Defence for a copy of the report.

During the hearings of the Commission in March 2009, the Defence Ministry articulated the official stand: “Disclosure of this information will amount to disclosure of the army’s operational strategy in the North-East and the discussion on deployments has a direct bearing on the question of the demarcation of the Line of Actual Control between India and China, a live issue under examination between the two countries at present.”

On March 19, 2010, in a ‘decision notice’, the Central Information Commission states: “The disclosure of information of which the Henderson Brooks report carries considerable detail on what precipitated the war of 1962 between India and China will seriously compromise both security and the relationship between India & China.” As a result: “no part of the report might at this stage be disclosed.”

Inspector Clouseau would say: “I know that”.Let us return 50 years ago. In early October 1962, the Chinese military intelligence had gathered that Indian forces were planning to ‘attack China’ on the Thagla ridge on October 10 (Operation Leghorn). A few days earlier, Mao had told his Party’s colleagues: “It seems like armed coexistence won’t work. It’s just as we expected. Nehru really wants to use force. This isn’t strange. He has always wanted to seize Aksai Chin and Thagla ridge. He thinks he can get everything he desires.”

Though there was no question of the Indian Army ‘attacking China’ with no food, no warm clothes, no armament or ammunition supply, the Chinese seemed to have perceived the situation differently.

Was Mao looking for a pretext?

The answer is to be found in the accounts of senior Indian Army officers, the unwilling actors in the ‘Himalayan blunder’. Maj Gen Niranjan Prasad, the GOC of

4 Infantry Division in his book The Fall of Towang describes the setting: “The McMahon Line from just north of Khinzemane, as drawn by Sir Henry McMahon in 1914 with a thick blue [in fact, red] pencil on an unsurveyed map, was not an accurate projection of the Himalayan watershed line. …In this process the position of Thagla ridge was, to say the least, left ambiguous.”

The survey had been completed in 1913 by Capts Bailey and Morshead, but it is true that it was rather sketchy (one inch to eight miles). If one follows the watershed principle, the Thagla ridge was the logical border, but the fact remains that the old map which was the reference for India’s position on the location of the McMahon Line, showed the Thagla ridge and the Namkha Chu, north of the Red Line. Further surveys were unfortunately not conducted after India’s independence.

In 1960, the Government of India had mooted a new policy to establish posts right on the border; it was the famous ‘Forward Policy’. The siting of these posts and their exact location was, however, decided mainly by the Intelligence Bureau and not the Army.

The local Commanders (Corps, Division and Brigade) were not happy and they made it known, but nothing could stop the folly of the ‘authorities’ in Delhi.

Brig Dalvi recalled: “Many generals, including General Umrao Singh [33 Corps Commander], opposed the indiscriminate opening up of more posts. …The setting up of posts in disputed territory is a different matter. It is an act of rashness, whoever decreed it and with whatever authority, unless we had the means to settle the resultant dispute on the battlefield.”

As Maj Gen Niranjan Prasad noted, the local commanders had no choice, though they could certainly have resigned, but in an almost war situation, it was not an easy decision to take.

The Intelligence Bureau and its Director, BN Mullick had no clue about the exact position of the border and the Chinese preparations.

On 14 August, 1962, Brigadier DK Palit, Director of Military Operations visited the Corps Headquarters in Tezpur. He was told about the issue about the Line.

In his memoirs, War in the High Himalayas, Palit recalled the encounter: “On my return to Delhi I referred the Thagla dilemma to the Director of Military Survey. The latter commented that as the existing maps of the area were ‘sketchy and inaccurate, having been compiled from unreliable sources’… He confirmed that the recognised border was the watershed, but qualified this statement by adding ‘the exact alignment of [the border] will depend on accurate survey…it would take two to three years to complete’.”

When Palit enquired with S Gopal, the Director of the Historical Section, Gopal explained that since the boundary talks with the Chinese in 1960, the Government of India had been aware that the actual terrain in the area of the tri-junction was different from that depicted on the Simla map. But Palit adds: “What Gopal had not told me — and I found out only later — was that the Chinese had not accepted our arguments and had counter-claimed Thagla ridge, as Chinese territory.” By then, it was already too late to go back, at least for the egos of the main actors in Delhi.

Mao needed a pretext ‘to teach India a lesson’. Some senior Indian Army officers and politicians offered it to him. However, the fact that the Chinese attack occurred simultaneously in all sectors (Tawang, Walong in NEFA and Ladakh) is certainly proof that the operations had been prepared well in advance by the communist regime in Beijing, which didn’t really need a pretext.
Sri Lanka to continue to train its military personnel in India
Colombo: Notwithstanding stiff opposition from political parties in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka on Wednesday asserted that it was "very firm" on continuing the training programme of its defence personnel in India and ruled out sending them to countries like China.

Sri Lanka's powerful Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, also the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said his country looks at India in a "much bigger way" than China.

During an interaction with visiting Indian journalists, Rajapaksa admitted that the recent attacks against Sri Lankan citizens in Tamil Nadu has "hurt" their feelings, but said no one in his country had any "hard feelings" for India or its people.

"No. We have never (thought about it) because in our long history since the days when we moved from British shoulders all training (to army personnel) were done in India or in Pakistan," he said.

The minister was responding to a question whether Sri Lanka was reconsidering the training programme for its military personnel in India and possibly get them trained in countries like China in the wake of protests in Tamil Nadu.

Dwelling on the issue, he said it has been the practice for any new batch to be sent to India for training and that Sri Lanka has no plans to change the tradition.

"There can be various opinions, but we can't (shift the programme). We are very firm on that and we have confidence (that it will continue). We have not even thought about," he said when pressed further on whether Sri Lanka would stop sending its personnel to India.

He noted that starting from the Defence Secretary to Army commanders, everyone has been trained in India. "Everyone go to India first and only then they are sent to other countries like USA (for training)," he said.

Rajapaksa's comments assume significance in the wake of almost all political parties in Tamil Nadu coming on a single platform to oppose the training programme to Sri Lankan military personnel in India.

Initially, the parties protested the presence of Sri Lankan personnel in Tamil Nadu, but later widened their demand by asking the Indian Government to scrap the entire programme and send them back home.

However, India has made it clear that the training programme would continue.

On whether Sri Lanka was moving close towards China, he said: "We look India in a much bigger way."

Speaking about the attacks against Sri Lankan pilgrims in Tamil Nadu, Rajapaksa said that it "hurt" the feelings of Sri Lankan people because it had happened in India, which is regarded as a "big brother and a country which shows the way" for his nation.

"It hurt our feelings, we cannot hide that because we always think India as our big brother or who shows us the way and how should we work. India has taught us all good things. We never thought this will happen…But we have no hard feelings towards India or its people," he said.

The minister, who is in-charge of reconstruction of the war-torn Northern Province, also noted that most of the pilgrims who were attacked in Tamil Nadu were of Indian-origin Sri Lankans.

Asked whether such incidents will cast a shadow on Indo-Lanka ties, he replied in the negative and appreciated the Indian Government's initiatives to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in the future.

"I believe that the people of Tamil Nadu understand that nobody gains from such incidents," he said
Private Sector Can Ease Indian Army's Maintenance Burden'
New Delhi: MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul) is a concept hitherto confined to the civilian aviation sector. Now, an industry lobby is promoting this as a means by which the Indian Army can cut down its maintenance costs and improve its operational preparedness.
"A modern army's equipment readiness has to be sustained at high levels to meet the demands of a complex and uncertain operating environment. This becomes crucial since the Indian Army is looking at capabilities for quick deployment, reducing repair cycle time, inventory overhang and repair costs," an official of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) explained.

"The Indian Army's modernisation strategy is focused on acquiring capabilities that will enable it to succeed in any operation today or in the future. Operational sustainment of weapon systems aims to retain these capabilities throughout its lifecycle.

"The proliferation of land weapon systems across the complete spectrum in the military necessitates effective implementation and integration of an MRO environment so as to keep the user in a state of mission readiness 24x7," the official said.

Toward this end, FICCI and the Indian Army's Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) announced that the first international seminar on MRO in Land Systems would be held in New Delhi on Dec 3-4.

The seminar aims to institutionalise measures for the Indian Army adopting MRO for its land systems "through forging strong public private partnerships, so as to ensure military equipment meets operational requirements in a cost effective manner", the official said.

The seminar will bring together MRO domain experts, IT solution providers and stakeholders from industry, including policymakers, regulators and manufacturers, to deliberate on and help evolve the MRO policy systems for land systems that will achieve the stated objectives of mission readiness.
Indiscipline in armed forces: Where lies the blame?
Today, the most discussed topic about the armed forces is the steady decline of standards of discipline. "The good old days" are remembered with pride and the present 'state of affairs' are often deplored.

As the Adjutant of the Indian Military Academy (January 1977 to July 1979), besides other duties, I was also responsible for maintaining discipline and imparting disciplinary training to the Gentleman Cadets, which would last for their lifetime.

When I am asked to comment on the falling standards of discipline in the armed forces, the lyrics of the Hindi poet Pradeep come to my mind. The words are set to music as the poet laments, 'Dekh tere sansaar ki haalat, Kya ho gaya Bhagwan, kitna badal gaya insaan.'

Take a close, hard look at today's society. There is a fall in standards of virtues, values, discipline, family ties, loyalty, sincerity -- everything. Everyone wants to take short cuts to achieve money and success.

Post Independence, the ultimate desire of the youth was to join the armed forces. Sixty five years later, today, even 'traditional Army families' are encouraging their youth to join multinational organizations or the administrative services.

Everybody wants 'quick money' and 'immediate luxuries'. Working with the armed forces is considered to be difficult, tough, and a thankless job. Glamour and power lies in other occupations. Even the hands of daughters and sisters are not offered to an army man because of frequent transfers and postings to Siachen and other inhospitable terrain.

The morale of a jawan (in any of the three services) is dependent on:
The environment of his social circle -- friendly, hostile or indifferent.
His comfort zone -- living conditions, food, recreation and leave.
Security of his family back home.
Most importantly, his self respect -- how he is viewed by his seniors and peers -- his status in society.
His salary -- It affects his social status with his civilian counterparts and boosts his incentive to serve, even in difficult terrains.

Discipline has always been the cornerstone upon which is built the tradition name, fame, and valour of the armed forces. It is discipline that separates the rice from the chaff.

When the civil administration fails -- be it earthquakes, floods, riots, children stuck underground or any other calamity, the armed forces always adorn the mantle of the saviour and is considered to be the only reliable friend who is always available 24x7.

Why then have the standards of discipline gone down?

Let us examine the changing trends:
Educational qualifications: The jawan is much more educated today. Minimum qualification required today is a Class 12 pass. The same qualification exists for an NDA officer's entry. The jawan does not hold the officer in awe any longer. He also has basic luxuries like cable television, a refrigerator, a motorcycle etc.

Probably, he may have appeared for the NDA exam and not been successful. He has had greater exposure than his father or grandfather, who also served in the armed forces.

Today he wants more!If not monitored correctly, frustrations levels will set in quicker than ever before.
The Officer-Jawan relationship: Major General Henderson Brookes visited my platoon when I was a Second Lieutenant. "Do you know the names of all your men," he asked. I replied in the affirmative.

"Can you recognise each one from behind when they are wearing their helmets?" I truthfully replied that I would not be able to recognise them all.

Thereafter came his profound statement, "You must! That is all you will get to see in War!"

Wise words, which carry a lot of meaning. The Officer-Jawan bonding is definitely quite fragile today.
An officer's tenure with the battalion: The average Infantry Officer spends about 50 per cent of his 20- to 23-year tenure outside the battalion doing professional courses and staff and instructional tenures. Today, the trend is for officers to take a two-year study leave and do management or other vocational courses, which will help him rehabilitate after retirement.

Remember, the average officer retires at the young old age of 52 to 54 years. To further compound matters, there is an acute shortage of officers and junior commissioned officers. The middle rung of officers is stretched to breaking point.

Stress levels are high. Hostile environments of insurgency operations, cross border infiltrations, etc, with a 'no mistake' tag attached are a very heavy responsibility on the officer's shoulders.

Commanders at all levels feel the stress. This aspect will have to be addressed if we wish to overcome lapses in discipline.

When you rub shoulders with your jawans, you bond with them. They know you, you know them. 'Know your men and they will follow you to hell and back.'
Family responsibilities: A jawan is still a teenager when he leaves his village/home to serve the country. He moves from Ladakh to the North-East, Manipur to Rajasthan [ Images ], Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] to Chennai and so many other places, and is able to meet his family only once a year on annual leave.

His family has to fend for themselves almost at all times. Education of his children, medical care, electrical connections, water problems -- basic household matters that assume major proportions due to insurmountable hurdles caused by the callous attitude of the civil administration.

When officers of Lieutenant General rank have faced problems, one can just imagine what a jawan must be going through. Dwindling joint family systems, emphasis on sound education for children and educated, career-oriented wives are adding to the family responsibilities, which rest upon on a jawan's shoulders today.

Social values are rapidly changing. The officer and jawan are both part of the same society. There are always some rotten apples in the basket. These are more exceptions than the rule. The armed forces have a glorious past on which are based the traditions and values of a regiment or a battalion.

These traditions are engrained in both officers and jawans alike. 'Espirit de Corps' is very much alive and followed religiously. "Paltan Ki Izzat" still remains all-important. An officer or jawan even today is ready to shed his blood and make the supreme sacrifice for the regiment, for the country.

Nothing will change that. When the chips are down, the armed forces will always respond positively, effectively and swiftly. The enemy (internal or external) will be given a befitting reply always and every time.

Lessons from the past which still apply and must be learnt:

Bond with your jawans.
Serve the battalion/regiment. Serve the jawans like they serve you.
Ensure that the jawans get the same facilities and comfort that you enjoy. It is their lawful right.
Give the jawans the respect that they duly deserve. Do not neglect them or turn them away.
Take time out to know the men you command. Make an effort to know of their families, their villages, their problems. Address their problems. You will earn their love and respect eternally.
Be a good, upright officer. Remember, reputation is more important than rank. Look after the jawan and there will be no question of indiscipline and falling standards of discipline.

Every Officer and anyone in the chain of command must not forget the motto of the National Defence Academy -- 'Service Before Self'. Remember the words of Field Marshal Sir Philip W Chetwood, written on the walls of Chetwood Hall at the Indian Military Academy. He places the jawan next in importance after the country.

Field Marshal Chetwood says, 'The honour, welfare and well being of your men come next always and every time. Your own welfare and well being comes last always and every time. Sometimes over the years, the meaning of these words fades away and is forgotten; that is when trouble can raise its ugly head.'

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