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Monday, 22 October 2012

From Today's Papers - 22 Oct 2012
Pak fomenting trouble in India again: Shinde
Rules out withdrawal of security forces from Valley for time being
Tribune New Service

New Delhi, October 21
For the second time in two months, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today accused Pakistan of fomenting trouble in India.

"We have credible information that Pakistan is helping terrorists enter our territory,” Shinde said on the sidelines of an event to mark Police Commemoration Day here today. “We have intelligence inputs and we are alert," Shinde said, advising people to be “extra vigilant” during the ongoing festival season.

This is the second time in two months that Shinde has accused Pakistan of stirring trouble in India. Earlier on August 19, in the middle of the exodus of the North-Easterners from South India, Shinde had telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik. The official statement of the Home Ministry then quoted Shinde as having expressed concern to Malik “over the issue of social media-networking sites being misused by the elements based in Pakistan to circulate false pictures and stories to whip up communal sentiments in India and has sought Pakistan’s full cooperation in checking and neutralising such elements”.

Shinde, who took over as Union Home Minister on August 1 replacing P Chidambaram, today reiterated that security forces cannot be withdrawn from the Kashmir valley till normalcy was completely restored there.

"When I was in Jammu and Kashmir, people asked me to pull out the Army from the Valley, but I told them that we can’t do it till the situation is peaceful. We will remove the Army when the situation is peaceful," he said. The minister has already indicated that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) — to which Chidambaram wanted some amendments — cannot be removed from J&K.

Earlier, at the Police Commemoration Day ceremony, Shinde paid tribute to 575 securitymen who laid down their lives on duty in the past year. While 383 personnel from the state police forces were killed between September 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012, 192 troopers of the central armed police forces died during the period this year.

Meanwhile, India has sought to toughen its posture on allowing a Pakistani judicial commission to visit India again to cross examine the Mumbai terror attack witnesses.

There has to be a quid pro quo, India has said, sources revealed adding that Pakistan has to allow a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on a reciprocal basis to examine the material evidence collected against the arrested 26/11 terror attack prime accused, including LeT commander Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi and six others, against whom trial is going on in a Rawalpindi court, sources added. Islamabad had asked New Delhi to allow its panel to visit Mumbai again.

An eight-member Pakistan judicial commission had visited India in March following a bilateral agreement which said the commission would not quiz the magistrate, who had recorded the statement of Kasab, the investigating officer of the case and two doctors, who conducted the post-mortem examination of slain terrorists.

The Rawalpindi court dealing with the 26/11 case rejected the evidence collected by the commission saying it had no "evidential value" to punish those involved in the Mumbai terror attack.
Delhi terror plot accused killed in J&K encounter
Was a top LeT commander; another militant also killed
Majid Jahangir/TNS

Srinagar, October 21
Two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants, including a top commander of the outfit who was a member of a module that was allegedly involved in an attempt to carry out blasts in New Delhi earlier this year, were killed in a fierce encounter in north Kashmir’s Sopore town.

Three security men were also injured in the encounter that began on Saturday afternoon. A house was also razed to the ground in the gun battle.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, SM Sahai said the killed militants included the divisional commander of LeT - Muzamil Amin Dar alias Urfi alias Abu Hushaam, a resident of Badambagh in Sopore.

"Dar was part of the Delhi blast conspiracy in which two militants were arrested - with the help of the J&K Police - in February. Dar, a local militant, was also involved in the killing of Special Police Officer Riyaz Ahmed on September 7,” ," Sahai said.

The police identified the other militant as Abdullah Shaheen, a Pakistani national.

Police sources said that Dar came on the security radar when the Delhi Police and Jharkhand Police - after an input from their counterparts in J&K - arrested two LeT militants Ahtesham Malik and Tauseef Ahmad Pir in February.

After their arrest, the then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had claimed that a major attack in Delhi had been foiled.

“Dar was the third member of the module. When his name surfaced, Dar went underground and continued operating from Sopore,” he said.

The police said that the operation was launched at 3.30 pm on Saturday at Shallapora locality after an input was received about the presence of 2-3 LeT militants.

“During the search, the militants opened fire and a CRPF man was injured. While maintaining a tight cordon around the area, we evacuated civilians from 10 houses,” said a police officer in Sopore.

During the night, the security forces put the operation on hold.

The search was relaunched this morning in which a Deputy Superintendent of Police had a narrow escape when bullet hit his helmet. An ASI and an Army jawan were also injured in the morning raid.

“The encounter ended at 1 pm with the killing of the two militants,” the police said.
Redefine civil-military relations
Delay may not be in the nation’s interest
by Air Marshal R. S. Bedi (retd)

THERE is a growing feeling across the spectrum that the ever-increasing disconnect between the government and the armed forces is hurting the cause of the nation. Lack of harmonious relations and growing mistrust between the civil and military bureaucracies is the root cause for this situation. The sorry state of affairs may prove detrimental to national security. What happened during the last few weeks of former Army Chief Gen V.K. Singh’s tenure is a reflection of this very malaise. The country’s military chief taking his own government to the highest court in the land was a matter of grave concern. It became a national issue, showing both the government and the armed forces in bad light. Its ramifications were obvious.

The roots of this mistrust lie in the past. Nehru’s penchant for keeping the armed forces at the periphery, away from the power centre, sowed the seeds of this problem. This was evident when in the late forties and the early fifties the government introduced some far-reaching structural changes in the armed forces. While initially, the heads of the armed forces were designated as Commanders-in-Chief, they were soon downgraded in 1955 as Chiefs of Staff. This was viewed with a certain degree of trepidation, for it divested them of direct command of their respective forces. Their headquarters had already been reduced earlier to an adjunct of the Ministry of Defence outside the government orbit.

What led the government to undertake such far-reaching changes is not difficult to infer. The political hierarchy was uncomfortable with the hitherto powerful military. Senior bureaucrats too were equally keen to downsize it, having seen it functioning from a position of authority during the British Raj.

But for Lord Mountbatten’s timely intervention, the Chiefs almost got placed directly under the Defence Secretary. On representation from the British Chiefs of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force that they were being accorded a lower protocol than the Defence Secretary, the Viceroy advised Nehru against this. Total absence of military officials and experts in the Ministry of Defence was another issue and a unique arrangement that was also considered professionally unsound by the Viceroy. But Nehru did not pay heed to his advice on this issue. Obviously, he had something else in his mind.

He did not want the armed forces to be associated with any mainstream national decision-making body. Nehru’s repeated assertions that the armed forces in a democracy must function under civilian control reflected his mindset. While this is undoubtedly true, it must not be misconstrued as bureaucratic control, as it has turned out to be in our context. The armed forces in India have been marginalised to a subservient status. It is this unusual nature of civil-military relations that leads to friction and disputes between the two all the time.

In fact, Lord Ismay’s higher defence management was based on the concept of committees at different levels where exchange of views between the political authorities, the civil bureaucracy and the military could take place before arriving at any decision. Unfortunately, it did not take long for the political leadership in this country to ignore this and instead resort to adhocism which only led to further isolation of the armed forces from the decision-making process.

The consequent lack of communication and increasing trust deficit made the relationship all the more tense. When the then Army Chief, Gen Thimayya (1957-1961) tried to move an armoured brigade into Delhi, it alarmed the Nehru government. This was despite the fact that there had never been an occasion in the past that should have aroused the government’s suspicion about the armed forces’ allegiance and commitment to the Constitution. This might have had something to do with military takeovers across the border and elsewhere in the fledgling democracies.

The military in India had never harboured any aspiration of acquiring political power and yet it continued to remain suspect. In 1964, at Nehru’s death, then Army Chief Gen J. N. Choudhrie moved some troops into Delhi purportedly for controlling crowds at the funeral that raised fears among the government circles that the Army was planning to take over the reins of power. Not quite convinced of the Chief’s assertion, the government went to the extent of tapping his telephone.

The mistrust thus created has continued to mar the mutual relations. Recent commotion in government circles consequent upon the movement of a couple of regiments into Delhi on the day Gen V. K. Singh decided to go to the court at the height of his tussle with the government is a reflection of this very mistrust. Vested interests took no time even to insinuate ulterior motives to the Chief. Civil-military relations had hit rock-bottom.

As of now, there is disproportionate distribution of authority and responsibility. One wields authority without responsibility and the other holds responsibility without authority. The armed forces have to struggle to convince the uninitiated bureaucracy of the legitimacy of everything that they need, whether it is an operational necessity or an administrative requirement, for they control the defence forces’ budget. Except for some minor dispensation here and there, even the revenue expenditure is largely controlled by the civilian bureaucracy.

To keep the armed forces at the cutting edge of technology in an environment of competitive armament has become a herculean task. They have sadly lost their institutional autonomy due to progressive encroachment of their domain by the bureaucracy. US defence analyst Stephen P. Cohen of Brookings Institution writes in his famous book on India, “Arming without Aiming”, about this unique position of Indian armed forces wherein, unlike anywhere else, they are neither a part of the government nor do they control their own money.

Civilian bureaucrats are drawn from diverse backgrounds with little or no knowledge of matters military. They show lack of understanding and grasp. They tend to be high-handed instead of engaging in meaningful dialogue. They are unable to take expeditious decisions even in cases of urgent matters. There are innumerable such examples that only add to the heartburn. The armed forces have not only been subordinated but rendered helpless too. They stand denuded of their stature and eminence, hitherto associated with the elegance and glamour of the uniform.

This is the nature of treatment meted out to the armed forces that have stood by the governments of all hues without any discernable leaning towards anyone or any ideology. Their loyalty and integrity have been beyond reproach. They have kept this diverse nation intact and secured it from internal as well as external threats. Whether it is the glaciated heights of Siachen, the scorching desert of Thar, the hard-to-penetrate thick jungles of the Northeast or the remote outposts of the snow-bound Himalayas in the North, the men in uniform are there forever, ensuring the sovereignty and safety of the nation. They ask no questions; they just move on with their assigned task. What should have been a symbol of national pride and reverence is not idolised or cherished.

It is hard to comprehend the government’s continued proclivity towards the mistrust of the armed forces despite there being not even the slightest proof of disloyalty. The decades-old paranoia of the armed forces is preventing harmonious relationship for optimal performance. The cavalier manner in which the armed forces are being treated at present is not in the long-term interest of the country’s security. Any further neglect of the armed forces leading to injustice will only help accentuate their alienation.

The lackadaisical attitude of the political leadership towards the armed forces has only reinforced the perception that either it does not care or it trusts its all-pervasive bureaucracy so much that it fails to see its machinations. Pay, pensions, modernisation, weapon acquisition and manpower augmentation all face impediments at the altar of the bureaucracy. The frustration and helplessness that the armed forces feel in everyday life are demeaning, to say the least. Time has come for the government to redefine the civil-military relations on an equitable basis.
Understanding China’s world view
Shyam Saran

The Chinese will insistently demand and sometimes obtain explicit formulations from a friend and an adversary alike on issues of importance to their interests, but will rarely concede clarity and finality in formulations reflecting the other side’s interests. Thus, there is the recurring demand that India reaffirm, time and again, its recognition of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. In 2003, during Prime Minister Vajpayee’s visit, China conceded Sikkim as a part of India but this was not explicitly recorded in a written formulation. In 2005, during Wen Jiabao’s visit to India, China went a step further and handed over maps of China, showing Sikkim as part of India. Recently, some Chinese scholars have pointed out that the absence of an official statement recognising Indian sovereignty leaves the door open to subsequent shifts if necessary.

China is the one power which impinges most directly on India’s geopolitical space. As the two countries expand their respective economic and military capabilities and their power radiates outwards from their frontiers, they will inevitably intrude into each other’s zone of interest, what has been called “over-lapping peripheries”

I recall seeing the record of conversation between R.K. Nehru and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1962, some months before the border war erupted in October that year. R.K. Nehru drew attention to reports that China was leaning towards the Pakistani position that Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory. He recalled to Zhou an earlier conversation, where when asked whether China accepted Indian sovereignty over J&K, he had said, rhetorically: "Has China ever said that it does not accept Indian sovereignty over J&K?" or words to that effect. At this latest encounter, Zhou turned the same formulation on its head, to ask, "Has China ever said that India has sovereignty over J&K?"

Much of the misunderstanding and lack of communication that has characterised India-China relations may be sourced to the failure on India’s part to be conversant with Chinese thought processes. It is easy to accuse the Chinese of betrayal, as Nehru did after the 1962 war, but a clear awareness that deception is, after all, an integral element of Chinese strategic culture, may have spared us much angst in the past. Such awareness should certainly be part of our confronting the China challenge in the future.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao with Dr Manmohan Singh: China is respectful of India’s role in multilateral fora, where on several global issues Indian interests converge with China.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao with Dr Manmohan Singh: China is respectful of India’s role in multilateral fora, where on several global issues Indian interests converge with China.

Chinese ‘contextualise’

Another important feature of Chinese thinking is what I would call, "Contextualising". Significant decisions and actions must always be located in a broad assessment of political, economic, social and even psychological factors that constitute the stage setting for the proposed activity. This lends an inherent prudence to Chinese strategic thinking, but once events have brewed to the right mix and the timing is right, action must be swift and decisive. The Chinese strategist may wish to avoid war, if such a war carries inordinate risk. However, the use of force is an essential and accepted part of pursuing national interests and war is not necessarily an unmitigated evil. The Indian attitude towards the use of force and the dangers of war is more ambiguous. The use of force is often seen as a failure of diplomacy, not an extension of it. And this is an important difference between the two countries. The conversations between Nehru and Mao in 1956 on the nature of war reflect this clearly.

Let me try and illustrate this by examining some of the events leading up to the 1962 border war. In January 2005, Chinese TV broadcast a documentary entitled "The Secret History of the China-India War". This documentary is important for two reasons. It painstakingly spells out the domestic, regional and international context within which the decision to launch the attack against Indian border forces was taken. It refers to the hesitation within certain sections of the party leadership to "make an enemy out of India", at a time when China was still recovering from the ravages of famine and the disastrous consequences of the 1958-61 Great Leap Forward. The international situation was also not judged to be favourable. The ideological conflict with the Soviet Union, the commentary says, had now become a state-to-state conflict as well. The United States continued with its hostile policies towards China and the Chiang regime in Taiwan was becoming more aggressive. This is an example of the "contextualizing" approach. This probably corresponded to the assessment of Chinese posture on the Indian side; briefly, that while border skirmishes would continue, China was unlikely to engage in a full-scale war.

However, from the summer of 1962, the "context" had begun to change and the clues to this change were missed by the Indian side. After having retreated to the "second line of leadership" in the wake of the failure of the Great Leap Forward, Mao plotted his return to absolute leadership, using the PLA with the new Defence Minister Lin Piao, who had replaced Marshal Peng Tehuai, as an ally. The TV documentary points to differences of opinion within the Party leadership on the border issue. This, it said, was settled by the denunciation of those who counselled restraint, as "right opportunists". While having temporarily ceded the administration of the Party and the Government to other veteran leaders like Liu Shaoqi and Peng Zhen, Mao appears to have taken charge of issuing directives to the PLA personally, on handling border tensions with India. It was he who decided in August, 1962, to engage in a full-scale military assault on Indian forces, and to "liquidate the invading Indian army". But this was done only after his commanders had reported that the Indian side simply had neither the numbers nor the equipment to withstand a Chinese attack, particularly if the attack was of an unexpected scale.

On the international front, too, there was a window of opportunity, mitigating some of the constraints. In June, 1962, Chinese Ambassador Wang Bingnan had enquired from his U.S. counterpart in Warsaw whether the U.S. would take advantage of India-China border tensions, to encourage a Taiwanese attack on the mainland. He obtained a categorical assurance, which he claims in his memoirs, played a big role in the decision to go to war with India. Thanks to the impending Cuban missile crisis, the then Soviet Union sought Chinese support by conveying its intention to side with China in the border conflict with India. China may not have known about the looming US-Soviet crisis, but it certainly profited from the Soviet change of heart, temporary though this proved to be. Perhaps it is too much to expect that Indian decision-makers would have connected these dots together, but that is precisely what is necessary in dealing with China.

The other example of the importance of contextualising may be seen through a contrary example. In 1971, during the Bangladesh war, the US and China were allies supporting Pakistan. Kissinger tried to persuade the Chinese to attack India along the Sino-Indian border as a means of relieving pressure on their common ally, Pakistan. In the papers of Alexander Haig, who was the White House Chief of Staff at the time, it is reported that he did receive a formal reply from the Chinese side, conveying that China had decided not to move troops to the Sino-Indian border. One can confidently surmise that the constraining ‘context’ in this regard was the Indo-Soviet treaty of 1971.

The Wangdung incident

Lest any one believes that Chinese strategists always get things right, I would like to recall what happened in 1986 during the Wangdung Incident in the Eastern sector. In 1985, China began to signal that the so-called "package proposal" for resolving the border issue, essentially legitimising the post-1962 status quo, was no longer on offer. In official talks, Chinese officials stated explicitly for the first time that since the disputed area in the Eastern sector was much larger than in the Western sector, India would have to make significant concessions in that sector and China would reciprocate with appropriate concessions (unspecified) in the West. It was also conveyed to us that at a minimum, Tawang would have to be transferred to the Chinese side. When we pointed out that just three years back in 1982 Deng Xiaoping had himself spelt out the package proposal as we had hitherto understood it, the response was that we may have read too much into his words.

The shift could have been related to a greater level of confidence following China’s rapid growth and the fact that a young and as yet untested Prime Minister had taken office in Delhi. This was followed by the discovery in the summer of 1986 that the Chinese had crossed the Thagla Ridge and occupied a feature called Le, built permanent barracks as well as a helipad. This was in some way linked to the hardening of the Chinese position on the border and the new insistence on India making concessions in the Eastern sector.

An undiplomatic offensive

I recall accompanying Ambassador K.P.S. Menon to lodge a protest with the then Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister and being witness to a most undiplomatic offensive and vituperative harangue by the latter. He claimed that China was, of course, on its own territory, that it was only "strengthening border management" after the neglect of recent years and that India would be prudent not to over-react. Soon thereafter I was transferred from Beijing to Tokyo, but en route in Delhi I attended a strategy session called to discuss our counter moves. There was, I admit, a reluctance to take any military counter measures. However a couple of weeks later I learnt that the then Army Chief, Sundarji, had airlifted troops and occupied the parallel ridge, known by the peaks Lurongla, Hathungla and Sulunga , overlooking the Sumdorung river. Two forward posts, Jaya and Negi, were set up across the river just below the ridge and only 10 metres from a Chinese forward post. The Chinese were taken completely by surprise as perhaps were our own political leaders. The then External Affairs Minister, N.D. Tiwari, was transiting Beijing on his way back from Pyong Yang after attending the Non-Aligned Coordination Bureau meeting that September, to try and assuage Chinese anger. I was accompanying him en route to Tokyo having been deputed to Pyong Yang to assist our delegation. Senior Chinese Foreign Ministry officials were at hand at the airport to receive our delegation. In the brief exchange that took place at the airport, our Minister’s protestations of peace and goodwill were met with the not unreasonable comment that while our leaders were talking peace they were making aggressive military moves on the ground at the same time. China would only be satisfied if Indian troops vacated the ridge they had occupied. China would not be fooled; it would "listen to what is said, but see what action is taken."In later talks we agreed to vacate the heights on our side if the Chinese retreated behind the Thagla ridge, but since they were not ready to do so, we stayed put as well.

While we may not have planned it this way, the Chinese judged our actions through their own prism: that we had countered their unexpected move by a well orchestrated counter move of our own. Subsequently, I am told, that the offensive and overbearing tone adopted by Chinese Foreign Ministry officials also changed to being more polite and civilized The next several years were spent in the two sides discussing disengagement in this sector and finally in 1992, the eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation was ended and a number of confidence-building measures adopted. The lesson to be drawn is not that we should be militarily provocative but that we should have enough capabilities deployed to convince the other side that aggressive moves would invite counter moves. This is the reason why it is so important for us to speed up the upgradation of our border infrastructure and communication links along all our borders, not just with China.

Chinese perceptions

Currently, there are two strands in Chinese perceptions about India. There are strong, lingering attitudes that dismiss India’s claim as a credible power and regard its great power aspirations as "arrogance" and as being an unrealistic pretension. The other strand, also visible in scholarly writings and in the series of leadership summits that have taken place at regular intervals, is recognition that India’s economic, military and scientific and technological capabilities are on the rise, even if they do not match China. India is valued as an attractive market for Chinese products at a time when traditional markets in the West are flat. China is also respectful of India’s role in multilateral fora, where on several global issues Indian interests converge with China.

I have personal experience of working closely and most productively with Chinese colleagues in the UN Climate Change negotiations and our trade negotiators have found the Chinese valuable allies in WTO negotiations. In such settings the Chinese comfortably defer to the Indian leadership. I have also found that on issues of contention, there is reluctance to confront India directly, the effort usually being to encourage other countries to play a proxy role in frustrating Indian diplomacy. This was clearly visible during the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in Vienna in 2008, when China did not wish to be the only country to oppose the waiver for India in nuclear trade, as it could have since the Group functions by consensus.

China may have refused to engage India in any dialogue on nuclear or missile issues, but that does not mean that Indian capabilities in this regard go unnoticed or their implications for Chinese security are ignored. It is in the maritime sphere that China considers Indian capabilities to possess the most credibility and as affecting Chinese security interests. These two strands reflect an ambivalence about India’s emergence — dismissive on the one hand, and a wary, watchful and occasionally respectful posture on the other. Needless to say, it is what trajectory India itself traverses in its economic and social development that will mostly influence Chinese perception about the country.

Impact of Indo-US ties

Additionally, how India manages its relations with other major powers, in particular, the United States, would also be a factor. My own experience has been that the closer India-US relations are seen to be, the more amenable China has proved to be. I do not accept the argument that a closer India-US relationship leads China to adopt a more negative and aggressive posture towards India. The same is true of India’s relations with countries like Japan, Indonesia and Australia, who have convergent concerns about Chinese dominance of the East Asian theatre. I also believe that it is a question of time before similar concerns surface in Russia as well. India should be mindful of this in maintaining and consolidating its already friendly, but sometimes, sketchy relations with Russia. The stronger India’s links are with these major powers, the more room India would have in its relations with China.

It would be apparent from my presentation that India and China harbour essentially adversarial perceptions of each other. This is determined by geography as well as by the growth trajectories of the two countries. China is the one power which impinges most directly on India’s geopolitical space. As the two countries expand their respective economic and military capabilities and their power radiates outwards from their frontiers, they will inevitably intrude into each other’s zone of interest, what has been called "over-lapping peripheries". It is not necessary that this adversarial relationship will inevitably generate tensions or, worse, another military conflict, but in order to avoid that India needs to fashion a strategy which is based on a constant familiarity with Chinese strategic calculus , the changes in this calculus as the regional and global landscape changes and which is, above all, informed by a deep understanding of Chinese culture, the psyche of its people and how these, too, are undergoing change in the process of modernisation. Equally we should endeavour to shape Chinese perceptions through building on the positives and strengthening collaboration on convergent interests, which are not insignificant. One must always be mindful of the prism through which China interprets the world around it and India’s place in that world. It is only through such a complex and continuing exercise that China’s India challenge can be dealt with.
India honours its 1962 dead after 50 years
By C. Uday Bhaskar

India finally honoured its long ignored ‘shaheed' -- soldiers who had laid down their lives defending flag and national sovereignty -- in the brief war with China that began with the surprise People's Liberation Army (PLA) attack on under-equipped and ill-clad Indian troops on October 20, 1962.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony, accompanied by the three service chiefs and the venerable five-star Marshal of the Air Force, Arjan Singh (a World War II veteran), led the nation in laying a wreath at Delhi's war memorial at India Gate.

This has been described as a gesture of epic proportions, for ever since the humiliating defeat that India suffered with nearly 3,000 troops killed in the icy Himalayan heights, the Indian state led by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru chose the path of obdurate and self-imposed amnesia.

A long festering border and territorial dispute that had its origins in the colonial-era demarcation (imposed on Tibet and China by imperial Britain during the heydays of the British Raj in India) was at the heart of the Sino-Indian dispute. The month-long war left India stunned and Nehru was taught a lesson by Mao. The war ended as suddenly as it began when China withdrew unilaterally.

The Indian troops, equipped with vintage World War II ordnance and cotton clothing, acquitted themselves with characteristic gallantry and raw courage. Certain battles such as Rezang La will compare with the legendary Thermopylae. However, there was an abysmal failure at the highest political level in India and PM Nehru and his abrasive and arrogant Defence Minister Krishna Menon were unable to cope with what Mao had unleashed.

To its shame, over the last 50 years, the Indian state chose not to acknowledge the death of its soldiers -- those who defended the nation to their peril. The unstated reason was it would sully the image of Nehru to recall or commemorate the 1962 war. India's distinctive strategic culture derived from the Buddha-Gandhi tradition of ‘ahimsa' and non-violence is reflected in the discomfiture of the Indian state in empathetically and astutely dealing with either military victory (the 1971 India-Pakistan war) or defeat and this is an abiding trait.

To their credit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Antony took this brave decision to finally acknowledge the war by honouring those killed in 1962 -- and while it may not be the beginning of a long-awaited mea culpa, it is nonetheless welcome. The families of those who died may find some succour and the Indian military and its three million veterans, some solace.

Antony also briefly dwelt on the trauma of 1962 and asserted: "I would like to assure the nation that India of today is not the India of 1962. Over the years, successive governments learning lessons from the past strengthened our capabilities and modernised our armed forces ... we are confident our armed forces will be able to protect the border in event of any threat."

Fifty years after the October 1962 war, Sino-Indian relations are more stable, though the territorial and border dispute remains exactly where it was -- frozen in time. The complex Tibet issue and the presence of the Dalai Lama and his followers in India irks Beijing. India remains wary of Chinese intent and the received wisdom is that Beijing's deeper objective is to contain India in the subcontinent and that Pakistan is a useful strategic proxy.

The much hyped Asian century is predicated on the rise of China and India who have a combined population of more than two billion. Strategic restraint has been the lodestar for the political leadership since the 1993 peace accord signed by the two Asian giants.

Commercial and economic opportunities beckon and bi-lateral trade is expected to cross $100 billion soon. But for China and India, neither co-operation nor conflict is preordained.

Sino-Indian relations will be tested when a new leadership assumes the helm in Beijing in early November and defines the contours of its relations with Washington and New Delhi. India will have to review its past more objectively to manage its future orientation apropos China.

The first step was taken on Saturday.
Setback for private defence industry
MoD might re-tender ambitious Future Infantry Combat Vehicle project, 2 years after calling for and getting bids
Ajai Shukla / New Delhi Oct 22, 2012, 00:58 IST

The private sector’s much tom-tommed opening into defence production, via the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), intended to replace the army’s 2,600 BMP-2s at an estimated cost of Rs 50,000 crore, faces an uncertain future. The defence ministry (MoD) is contemplating scrapping the current tender and restarting anew. This comes after sitting for two years on the FICV proposals from three private sector consortia and one public sector entity.

In early 2010, MoD invited Tata Motors, the Mahindra Group, Larsen & Toubro and the MoD-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to give proposals to develop an FICV, a lightly armoured vehicle that carries infantry into battle alongside tank columns. After evaluating the four proposals, MoD was to select two “development partners”, who would then compete to develop a prototype each. The better of the two would be selected for the army.
But the MoD’s acquisitions wing, which must make the shortlist, now complains the tender (called an Expression of Interest, or EoI) did not define the criteria by which the winners would be selected. It wants a fresh EoI to be issued, with the criteria specified.

The wing cites the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) of 2008, where Para 22 of the “Make” category, covering the FICV project, says: “The EoI should also lay down the broad parameters of the evaluation process and acceptance criterion for the system under development.”

However, the MoD brass realises that cancelling the EoI (drawn up in the ministry) and going back to 2010 would involve a serious loss of credibility. Besides, the “Make” category itself outlines the acceptance criteria, specifying that, “the contribution of the Indian industry in the critical technology areas should be the key criterion in assessment of various proposals”.

The three private sector companies worry that restarting afresh would result in the loss of at least 18 months to two years as MoD prepares a new EoI and then goes through a fresh evaluation process. Meanwhile, the project teams the proposed vendors have set up for the project would continue to bleed money.

“We have already spent about Rs 28 crore on the FICV project. Now, we will have to evaluate our options to see how this programme is going to roll out. It has already been delayed by two years and we foresee at least another year’s delay,” says Brigadier (retired) Khutab Hai, who heads the Mahindra Group’s defence business.

The “Make” category of the DPP lays down the procedure for Indian industry to develop “high technology, complex systems”, to “ensure indigenous research, design, development and production of capabilities sought by the armed forces”. It also mandates that MoD will fund 80 per cent of the cost of developing each of the two FICV prototypes, while the shortlisted vendors will pay 20 per cent each. While the cost of developing and manufacturing 2,600 FICVs can only be roughly estimated, senior executives from two of the competing companies estimate the bill would add to about Rs 50,000 crore. This makes it India’s biggest-ever indigenous project.

According to the EoI, reviewed by Business Standard, FICV has been conceived as a multi-role platform that must perform three roles. First, it must be a battle-taxi providing “mobility in battle for infantry, so that it can keep pace with armour”. Second, it must “provide fire-support to the assaulting/dismounted infantry”, i.e. spray the enemy with machine gun and cannon fire as the dismounted infantrymen charge at them. Third, and most ambitious, FICV should hold its own on the mechanised battlefield, even against much more heavily armed tanks. The specifications say FICV should “destroy enemy tanks, infantry or fortifications in conjunction with armour or independently”.

The FICV must also have “adequate amphibious capability for crossing of water obstacles like canals, rivers and stretches of sea”; and be “air portable” (i.e. in a transport aircraft’s cargo hold, or slung under a helicopter with chains). Its firepower must include a “fire-and-forget” third-generation missile, a cannon and machine guns, operated through a “digital, fully integrated, fire control system, with state of the art sensors and all-weather surveillance devices”.

This would allow the FICV to destroy enemy tanks more than four km away, well before the tank can engage the FICV with its main gun. The EoI also demands the capability to destroy “attack helicopters and low-flying, fixed wing aircraft”.

Pakistan helping terrorists enter India, claims Indian home minister
NEW DELHI: The Indian Home Minister accused Pakistan of helping terrorists enter Indian territory, reported CNN-IBN on Sunday.

“We have information that Pakistan is helping terrorists to enter our territory,” alleged Sushil Kumar Shinde, the Indian home minister.

“We are on alert,” he added.

“When I was in Jammu and Kashmir, locals ask me to remove the army from the valley but I told them we can’t till the situation is peaceful,” added the Indian home minister.

He said that he told the people he would “remove the army when the situation is peaceful”.

Pakistan and India face constant tensions and have been trying to resolve these through visits and trade.

Earlier, President Asif Ali Zardari visited India and invited his counterpart to Pakistan.

Recently, the Indian defence ministry claimed that Pakistani soldiers fired heavy weapons into Indian-administered Kashmir and killed three civilians.

India also accused Pakistan of stirring the panic that led to an exodus of people from northwest India.
Indian Navy conducted motivational tour for 20 J & K civilians
MUMBAI: Twenty civilians from the Bandipur district of Jammu & Kashmir state arrived in Mumbai on an Educational Motivational tour organized by the Indian Army under 'SADBHAVNA' on October 18.

Defence officials said that this tour has been aptly called as 'Paigam-e-aman' as it brings the message of peace from the insurgency affected areas of J & K. The tour is being conducted by one of the Rashtriya Rifles battalion which is known for their professionalism in counter insurgency operations.

The civilians who hail from poor financial status and are from far flung areas affected by insurgency arrived here from Bandipur and will be further taken to Belgaum and Pune. "The aim of the tour is to spread the message of peace and also give the elders a brief exposure to the development, quality of life and historical places of interest in other parts of our country. Mumbai, therefore, was an easy choice for being selected as one of the destinations of the tour," said Chief PRO (Defence) N Vispute.

In Mumbai, they visited Gateway of India, Elephanta Caves, Nehru Planetarium, and Haji Ali along with various other historical places in and around the city as part of Mumbai Darshan. It is for the first time in their lives that they will be seeing a beach, Sea, ships, local trains, Skyscrapers and the life of the bustling metropolitan Mumbai.

Officials said that the 20 civilians later be departed for Belgaum.
Memories of a war we’d like to forget
1962 is a year seared in the collective consciousness of the Indian Army. What was it like for those battling the Chinese? How were crucial decisions taken? Defence analyst Major Gen (retd) Ashok K Mehta speaks with three officers who took part in the key encounters of Namkachu, Tawang, Sela and Bomdila

At 75, Brig (retd) Bhup Singh does not look a day over 60. Last week, he returned from Head Quarters 4 Corps at Tezpur where veterans of 7 Infantry Brigade of Namkachu fame shared their experiences of the tragic skirmish in the high Himalayas . The Battle of Namkachu started in early September 1962, when the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) began attacking Indian posts at Namkachu in North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) near Tawang . This was in response to India's forward policy of establishing posts close to its claim lines, and Jawaharlal Nehru's threat to evict the Chinese from the strategic Thagla Ridge. India's erring political leaders and their ill-chosen army commanders were somehow convinced the Chinese would not attack. But when they did, it caught India in a Himalayan Pearl Harbour. What were the events that led to the battle? I asked Bhup Singh. This is what he recalled:

The Namkachu affair

"I was a Second Lieutenant with sixteen months of service and chosen by the Chief of General Staff, Lt Gen BM Kaul along with 79 other officers to promulgate India's forward policy. Translated on the ground, it meant establishing 80 posts to assert our claim lines. One of these posts was Dhola which turned out to be located five km inside Chinese territory at Chedong. This fact was communicated to Head Quarters who ordered the post to stay put. On September 9, the Chinese surrounded Chedong, taking away the post commander, Capt Mahavir Prasad's map which confirmed the transgression . The Chinese asked him to vacate. This was the first provocation. The second was a probing attack against Chinese bunkers ordered personally by Gen Kaul which he witnessed and left in a huff when it failed. The pompous declaration by Nehru on October 12 that he had ordered the Indian Army to evict the Chinese from Thagla Ridge overlooking Namkachu was the third provocation. Gen Kaul had moved 7 Infantry Brigade from Tawang down to Namkachu uncovering Tawang to evict the Chinese. All this while, we were told that the Chinese will never attack. But they did, launching a preemptive on October 20, rolling down from Sangdhar heights behind us. We were sitting ducks as we had been told we were not to fight the Chinese but to defend the area to assert our claim lines. We had no grenades. There were only 100 rounds of ammunition and twelve 3-inch mortar bombs with the whole brigade. After our ammunition ran out, I was captured."

Takeover of Tawang

Brig (retd) DK Khullar was a young fire direction officer at Tawang and had the unique distinction of being present at Sela, Bomdila and Chacku. He revisited these heights in 1995 to refight the battles in order to write his stinging rebuke of the political and military leadership in When Generals Failed. He explained the events of the time thus: "We gave away Tawang to the Chinese on a platter by foolishly sending the brigade to Namkachu. On October 23, after Army Commander Lt Gen LP Sen reviewed the situation at Tawang, we were withdrawn to Sela which was such a strong position that its commander, World War II veteran Brig Hoshiar Singh called it Shila! There was a lull in fighting from October 23 to about November 14 when the Chinese built the road from Bumla to Tawang in record time to bring forward guns and logistics. On November 10, Lt Gen Kaul addressed officers at Sela: 'You will spend the winter here. We will launch a spring offensive to recapture Tawang' . By November 17, Chinese Special Forces had infiltrated and outflanked Sela and Bomdila. They were behind our positions everywhere. The panicky GoC 4 Infantry Division, Maj Gen AS Pathania ordered a withdrawal which the Chinese knew through intercepts. Two impregnable fortresses got abandoned by default resulting in disorder and collapse of resistance . The rest is history."

The Bomdila bungling

Ninety-four-year 'young' gunner, Brig (retd) Gurbux Singh, till the other day, was gallivanting in his World War II Wilys jeep. He is writer Khushwant Singh's younger brother and lives on the floor above him in Delhi's Sujan Singh Park. When I met him last week, he was reading John Schmidt's The Unravelling of Pakistan, savouring Emmanthal cheese and dark chocolate, to be followed by Johnnie Walker Red Label. "Have a drink" he said. "Too early, sir," I replied. "In which case, I will draw the curtains," he responded and went on to explain the unfought battle of Bomdila.

"I was told Bomdila had no importance, political or military. All eyes at the time were on Sela. In a 16-company brigade position , I was left with four companies; my other troops milked despite my protests. We were led to believe the Chinese would not attack this season so we had six months to prepare. The concept of battle was unclear . Gen Harbaksh Singh, who took over temporarily from Gen Kaul when he fell sick, pushed for Sela while I thought Bomdila was a better bet. Alas, we were caught not inside our fortresses but in a running battle with the Chinese. On 17-18 November the Chinese occupied the hill tops around Bomdila. As there was no one to give orders , I ordered the withdrawal to a lay-back position at Chacku. We are all to blame. There was lethargy. Had we prepared, we might have done better."

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