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Sunday, 5 May 2013

From Today's Papers - 05 May 2013




http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130505/nation.htm#2
Army officer graft case: CBI may conduct more raids
Tribune News Service

Jammu, May 4
A day after the CBI conducted raids on the premises of a senior Army officer of Northern Command in Udhampur, Pathankot, Delhi and Gurgaon, the premier investigation agency today said a similar exercise may be conducted again to get to the bottom of a graft case involving supply of rations.

The CBI had yesterday raided the premises of Maj Gen VK Sharma confiscating some documents.

“The Army officer has been questioned but we have not arrested him so far. He had allegedly been taking bribes from contractors supplying rations to Army formations in Northern Command,” said SP (CBI), Jammu, Amandeep Singh. “We have seized some documents from the raids and if required more raids may be conducted again,” he added.

The officer had allegedly amassed assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. The Army had approached the CBI to probe the allegations against Major General Sharma. “An Army contractor had levelled serious allegations against the officer and consequently we had instituted a court of inquiry,” an Army source said.


Under scanner

    The CBI had raided the premises of a senior Army officer at four places over charges of corruption on Friday
    The officer is already facing a Court of Inquiry
    A supplier had accused the officer of financial impropriety in a contract case


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130505/ground.htm
How India should respond to China’s new tactics
Raj Chengappa

India's strengthening of defences may have spooked the Chinese, who sense there is a dramatic change in the balance of power on the border as compared to 1993, when they were still in full control. Rather than feeling inferior, India should now move with confidence and force a new equilibrium more favourable to it.

A platoon, five tents and a dog is what the Chinese intrusion 19 km inside the Line of Actual Control (LAC) comprises in a sensitive sector that India has regarded as being under its control. In that sense, it is not a big, belligerent message that China has sent to India. However, it has been sufficient to trigger a wave of condemnation and misplaced hysteria across India’s political spectrum.

Yet, as the standoff with China over the intrusion in Daulet Beg Oldie (DBO) sector enters its fourth week, it is apparent that this is not the initiative of a local Chinese Army company commander trying to settle territorial scores with his Indian counterpart in “both men’s” land, as the LAC has come to be regarded. The key to understanding the recent Chinese moves is to discern the multiple messages they have been sending India recently, some overt and others symbolic.

The continued presence of a small contingent of Chinese troops at the intrusion point without signs of a large army build-up to back them indicates that so far China would prefer the situation to remain fluid, and alter it depending on the response. Chinese government spokesperson Hua Chunying, while maintaining that Chinese troops hadn’t intruded, did not stridently contradict India’s assertions that this was India’s territory. She said “China and India are committed to resolving disputes, including the boundary one, through peaceful negotiations” and maintaining continuing “peace and tranquillity” on the LAC as part of the 1993 agreement the two countries had signed.
At three flag meetings held between the two armies after the intrusion, China reportedly insisted that India should halt work on certain infrastructure projects on the LAC that it believes are too close for comfort before it pulls back from DBO. Meanwhile, Beijing announced the dates for External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s visit to Beijing, May 9-10. Khurshid is expected to lay the ground for the visit of the new Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, later this month. That the Chinese premier chose India for his first foreign visit after taking over in March is a signal of the importance the new leadership places in its relations with Delhi.

Khurshid remained ambiguous over whether he would go to Beijing if the standoff continued, even as Opposition parties like the BJP demanded he call off the trip. But if Khurshid cancelled the trip it would mean spurning China’s offer to settle the border intrusion through “mutual understanding”. That is likely to result in the cancellation of the Chinese premier’s visit and an escalation of tensions on the LAC, which neither country wants, especially with both preoccupied with other pressing concerns.

Perhaps the answer to the recent Chinese intrusion lies in the statement made by the new Chinese President, Xi Jinping, to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when they met in Durban this March on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. While following the usual script on the border dispute of “a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement based on mutual understanding and accommodation”, Xi added significantly, “Let’s do the boundary framework agreement quickly.” Chinese leaders never make such statements on an impulse and India took it as a positive signal.

The border negotiation, elevated to the level of Special Representatives in 2003 during Prime Minister AB Vajpayee’s tenure, was a three-stage process. The first stage, an agreement on the political parameters and guiding principles signed in 2005, laid down among other things that the “differences on the boundary would be settled through peaceful and friendly consultations without use of force by any means.” The next stage was laying down a framework for settlement, which has made only glacial progress despite over a dozen meetings between the Special Representatives. The final stage was to delineate and demarcate the 3,500 km boundary line on a map as per mutual agreement.

If the DBO intrusion is seen in the context of Xi’s statement, it would be a signal from China that the status quo with regard to the boundary is no more acceptable to it. It is laying down the rules for a faster settlement on Chinese terms. The change in Chinese tactics appears to be in response to the rapid, almost frenzied, infrastructure development that India has done all along the LAC in the past five years.

India’s efforts may not match those of the Chinese, who have had the first-mover advantage, but it has built or is building a network of 72 strategic roads along the China border. India has set up seven advanced landing airfields, including the one at DOB, and three more are under construction. The Indian Army has set up two mountain divisions and there is talk of setting up a mountain strike corps. A squadron of Sukhois has been positioned in the east for deep penetration strikes into Chinese territory if required. Meanwhile, India is readying Agni V to counter any threat of a nuclear strike from China, apart from the Arihant, a nuclear submarine.

All this may have spooked the Chinese, who sense that there is a dramatic change in the balance of power on the border as compared to 1993, when they were still in full control and India was hesitant. So rather than feeling inferior, as we as a nation are wont to do while confronting China, India should move on the border issue with confidence, and force a new equilibrium more favourable to it. If China is saying “Don’t waste any more time, let’s fix the border issue,” India must say, “We are ready, whenever, and we are not going to take things lying down anymore.”

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/ins-arihant-india-s-n-powered-submarine-to-be-operational-soon-362705?pfrom=home-otherstories
INS Arihant, India's N-powered submarine, to be operational soon
In a big step towards securing India's nuclear deterrence capabilities, the reactor on board the indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant is set to become operational within three weeks. The submarine, which is over 100 metres long, has been undergoing trials in Visakhapatnam for the last three years . 

Dr VK Saraswat, the chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO, shared these exclusive details with NDTV (Read: Transcript of full interview). He said that once the Indian-made enriched uranium nuclear reactor - which has been in development for two decades - becomes operational, INS Arihant will be ready for sea-trials and will subsequently be commissioned. (Watch)
The induction of INS Arihant into the Indian Navy's fleet will complete the crucial link in India's nuclear triad - the ability to fire nuclear weapons from land, air and sea.  So far, the US, Russia, France, China, and the UK have the capability to launch a submarine-based ballistic missile.
Though this comes as good news for India's defence capabilities, there is some concern over the overall strength of India's submarine fleet. India has 14 conventional submarines that run on either battery or diesel and are aging and outdated. Each of them will have completed the standard life-span of 25 years by 2017.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Army-takes-a-step-back-in-Ladakh/Article1-1053993.aspx
Army takes a step back in Ladakh
The army has stopped patrolling the eastern Ladakh areas beyond the site where Chinese troops have taken up positions — 19km into Indian territory — to avoid escalating the stand-off.
Prior to the Chinese incursion of April 15 soldiers would carry out weekly surveillance on foot, according to army sources.

It is not clear when Indian troops last patrolled the area before Chinese pitched tents and set up a base in the Daulat Beg Oldie sector, bringing matters to a head between the two countries.
It is understood that the government may have advised the army not to comb the sector so that diplomatic efforts are not hampered.
“As of now, there are no plans to launch patrols behind the Chinese positions. Patrolling right up to our perception of the line of actual control may be seen as provocative,” a source said.

Launching armed patrols from other directions beyond the faceoff site is likely to send out a message that the Indian Army plans to cut off the supply lines of the Chinese troops  — one of the options that army has suggested to the government to counter the Chinese aggression.

Army chief General Bikram Singh had on Wednesday briefed the government on the ground situation.

The chief gave the government a slew of options to deal with the Chinese incursion, including a proposal to increase troop levels.

Three brigadier-level flag meetings between the two sides have failed to find a solution to the end the 17-day impasse.

There's growing suspicion within the military establishment that the intruding Chinese soldiers will hold on to the Indian territory for quite some time, if not permanently.

China has a tendency to ratchet up the border dispute at frequent intervals, especially before important high-level visits. The latest incursion is timed weeks ahead of Chinese premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to India.

http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/05/04/1253921?sac=fo.military
Soldiers from India's army are training at Fort Bragg
The 82nd Airborne Division Band struck up "Carolina in the Morning " as a coalition color guard held the U.S. and Indian flags side by side Friday on Fort Bragg.

The ceremony on Pike Field marked the beginning of Yudh Abhyas 2013. About 200 soldiers from the Indian army will be on Fort Bragg for the U.S.-Indian exercise through May 17. The scenario calls for the two armies to work together under a United Nations mandate.

"The United States has the world's oldest democracy, and India, the largest," Brig. Jagdish Chaudhari said.

"We have a lot to learn from each other, especially in our approach to handling the modern-day challenges."

Chaudhari is commander of the Indian army's 99th Mountain Brigade.

The 82nd Airborne Division is participating for the first time in the ninth annual U.S.-Indian exercise. U.S. Army Pacific, which is based in Hawaii, sponsors the exercise.

The division's 1st Brigade Combat Team is working with the Indian army's 99th Mountain Brigade. Units represented on the parade field also included the 3rd Squadron of the 73rd Cavalry Regiment and, from India, the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Gurka Rifles, the 50th Independent Para Brigade and the 54th Engineers Regiment.

During the ceremony, Sgt. Balkrishna Dave, a U.S. soldier who was born and raised in India, read the narration in Hindi. He is assigned to the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School on Fort Bragg.

The Indian soldiers gave the British-style salute with the open palm forward as the national anthems were played.

"The relationship between the two nations is unique," said Chaudhari, the Indian brigadier. "Both constitutions commence with the same words: 'We the people.' That is the level of partnership that we share."

The U.S.-Indian exercise dates to 2004. Yudh Abhyas is Hindi for "training for war."

"This year is the largest ever conducted," said Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.

"This is a very important time for us to conduct an exercise of this nature," Nicholson said. "America is in the 11th year of its longest war. It is a war being conducted in south Asia.

"India recently signed a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan, which will help to ensure that the stability going forward will continue after we depart with our military presence," Nicholson said.

"India has invested heavily in the Afghan economy, building roads, educating Afghans in Indian universities, offering help across all dimensions of Afghan society. We appreciate your help to create a more stable environment in this critical region of the world, where many of these soldiers you see before you have fought so long and hard."

Some regiments of the Indian army have longer histories than the United States, Nicholson said.

The exercise is important as the United States and the U.S. Army increase their focus on the Pacific, Col. Trevor Bredenkamp said. He is commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team.

Yudh Abhyas is occurring for the first time at Fort Bragg and in the continental United States, Bredenkamp said.

Both armies will learn about each others' cultures, as well as weapons and tactics, Nicholson said. The staffs will plan together in field training exercises and command post exercises, he said.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/chinese-incursion-defence-minister-a-k-antony-president-pranab-mukherjee-army/1/269331.html
Defence Minister A K Antony briefs President Pranab Mukherjee on Chinese incursions, steps taken by armed forces to tackle situation


Defence Minister A K Antony on Saturday informed President Pranab Mukherjee about the measures taken by the Government to resolve the issue of incursion by Chinese soldiers into Indian territory in Ladakh where they have pitched tents in Daulat Beg Oldi area.

The President, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, was briefed by the Defence Minister on the incursion issue and the steps taken by the armed forces to tackle the situation, Government sources said here.

The briefing by Antony comes a day after a BJP-led NDA delegation met the President to express concern over Chinese incursions into Ladakh along with the manner in which the case of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh was handled by the government.

The delegation led by NDA Working Chairperson L K Advani had also submitted a memorandum seeking his intervention on the two issues.

Antony briefed the President about the present ground situation and the preparations made by the forces to check any such incident along the Line of Actual Control with China.

Chinese soldiers have pitched their tents in the DBO area since April 15 and have refused to vacate the positions in the three failed flag meetings held between the two sides to resolve the issue.

The Chinese side has blamed Indian construction of infrastructure including bunkers and air-fields for provoking the situation but Antony has taken a tough stand saying it was not created by India and the country would take all possible actions to safeguard its interests.

China has maintained that if India dismantles its infrastructure there and then, it may consider India's requests.




Khurshid’s China visit fixed, but doubts persist
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 3
Amid the border stand-off in the Ladakh region, Indian officials today insisted the two-day China visit of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on May 9 was very much on. Yet there were reports saying his visit could be doubtful.

The contradictory reports emerged after he told reporters on board his aircraft bound for Iran that the progress in dialogue with China to end the impasse was not satisfactory.

Khurshid is due to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and other Chinese leaders to do the groundwork for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s trip to India in the third week of May.

Indian officials say India and China are in regular touch at various levels to end the current stalemate. “We have been able to communicate our concerns to the Chinese,” an official source said, emphasising that this was an event limited in its geographical scope.

Sources said India wants the two countries to return to the position that existed on April 15. Chinese spokesperson Wang Yi was quoted as saying in Beijing that India and China were committed to resolving disputes, including the one on boundary, through peaceful negotiations.


China on mind, Navy to double its air fleet
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 3
Faced with an expanding and growing expeditionary threat from the Chinese naval fleet, India today announced that it will double its naval air fleet over the next decade. New Delhi will add planes which have better capabilities besides the ability to strike at distances further away and also more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The naval fleet at present is dominated by ship-deck based helicopters, a small fleet of fixed-wing reconnaissance planes and even smaller fleet of ship-deck based fighters, the vintage sea harriers. “Naval aviation assets will double over the next decade,” said Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air) Rear Admiral DM Sudan while talking to mediapersons here today.

The first additions to this fleet accretion will take place in the next fortnight. These will, ironically, include Russian-produced fighters and US produced reconnaissance plane. India has been a USSR ally during the US-USSR cold war while Pakistan was a US ally.

The first squadron of the Russian origin MiG 29-K fighters will be inducted at Goa on May 11. By the yearend, these will be based on the sea-borne aircraft carrier, the Admiral Gorshkov, when it arrives in India later this year. This will be first addition of ship-deck based fighters in the Navy since the Sea Harriers in the early 1980s.

“The MiG 29-K is totally different aircraft from the MiG 29 which the Indian Air Force had procured in the late 1980s”, said Rear Admiral Sudan while adding that avionics, weaponry and technology have changed since the IAF procured the land-based version. The naval MiG 29-K will allow naval pilots to fly at speeds of 1370 miles per hour. The Sea Harrier can fly at 735 MPH. In comparison, the US primarily uses F-18-A as the attack fighter on its ships, the French use the Naval variant of the Raffale, the Russian are slowly shifting to the MiG 29-K while the Chinese are still testing the ship-deck based landing of its fighters.

The second accretion will more watched. On May 17, the first of the US-made long-range reconnaissance planes, the Boeing P8-I, is slated to be inducted. It is based on the Boeing 737 platform and is fitted with anti-submarine capabilities, sharp sensors and cameras that also operate at night. In July 2012, India opened a naval air station called INS Baaz on an island in the Andaman Nicobar archipelago. This base will have naval reconnaissance planes and its runaway is in the process of expansion to enable larger planes to operate. The INS Baaz is New Delhi way of keeping an eye on the Malacca Strait which is one of the most crucial maritime choke points.

The Navy is also looking to have one more squadron of the MiG 29-K while it is, so far, happy with the progress of the naval variant of the light combat aircraft. The indigenous aircraft carrier, under construction at Kochi, will be able to fly both the MiG 29-K and the LCA off its deck.

Adding more teeth

    Current naval fleet comprises ship-deck based helicopters, fleets of fixed-wing reconnaissance planes and sea harriers
    First addition will take place within fortnight; will include Russian-produced jets and US-made reconnaissance plane
    A squadron of MiG 29-K fighters will be inducted in Goa on May 11; will be based on the Admiral Gorshkov when it arrives in India later this year


Reinstate SSC women officers or face music, SC warns govt
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 3
Taking a serious view of the Defence Ministry’s reluctance to implement an order for reinstatement of women officers of the Army, Air Force and the Navy, the Supreme Court today said the government could ignore the SC directive only at “your own peril.”

A Bench comprising Justices RM Lodha and Kurian Joseph said the government’s inaction over the court’s February 20, 2013 order was not acceptable and warned that “consequences will follow.”

The Bench made the remark while hearing the pleas of about 50 short service commissioned (SSC) women officers who were forced to quit following denial of permanent commission (PC) to them.

The women officers have approached the SC seeking reinstatement and PC under the March 12, 2010 judgment of the Delhi High Court.

In its February 2013 order, the SC Bench had directed the government to reinstate the women officers subject to the condition that grant of PC to them would depend on the outcome of the appeal filed by the Centre challenging the HC verdict.

The Bench had also ruled that they would not be entitled to salary or seniority for the period between their release/quitting and reinstatement.

The SSC women officers, who had been released prior to the HC verdict, have approached the SC, pleading for grant of the relief enjoyed by those under the HC judgment.

The SSC women officers of the Air Force have also challenged a move to subject them to the 2011 human resource policy (HRP), which has raised the bar for being eligible to get PC from a qualitative rating of 6.5 to 7 in the annual confidential reports (ACRs). This is a ploy to stall their reinstatement and grant of PC, they say.

On being pointed out that the Air Force had earlier told the SC that the women officers would come under the 2007 HRP, the government counsel said it was due to a typing error. The Bench, however, was not convinced. “Your misconceived assumptions will not do,” it said.

The tussle

    A Supreme Court Bench said the government’s inaction over the court’s February 20, 2013 order was not acceptable and warned that “consequences will follow”
    The Bench was hearing the pleas of about 50 short service commissioned women officers who were forced to quit following denial of permanent commission to them
    In its order, the SC had directed the government to reinstate the women officers subject to the condition that grant of permanent commission to them would depend on the outcome of the appeal filed by the Centre challenging the HC verdict
    The Bench had also ruled that they would not be entitled to salary or seniority for the period between their release/quitting and reinstatement


Three-fold rise in ceasefire violations along LoC
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, May 3
There has been a consistent increase in the number of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. Data compiled by the Ministry of Defence reveals that there has been more than a three-fold increase in the number of such incidents over the past five years.

The number of ceasefire violations has gone up from 28 in 2009 to 93 in 2012. The figures for 2010 and 2011 are 44 and 51, respectively. Till April this year, the number of violations reported is 24.

The rise in ceasefire violations on the LoC comes in the backdrop of an uneasy truce along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and frequent incursions and assertive posturing by the Chinese troops. The latest incident, which has serious ramifications, is that of Chinese troops transgressing and setting up a tent camp 19 km inside the Indian Territory in Ladakh.

As far as the LoC is concerned, the most volatile sectors have been Krishna Ghati and Rampur in the general area of Poonch, which have witnessed 92 and 42 violations, respectively, since 2009. These sectors were also in the news earlier this year after an Indian soldier was beheaded and another killed and his body mutilated by Pakistani troops. Tension between the two countries had escalated following the incident, with the government and the service chiefs taking a tough stand on the issue. There was another incident of beheading of an Indian soldier in 2011.

Of the 18 sectors that the LoC is divided into, only four, Partapur, Dras, Gurez and Sunderbani, remained free. There were varying incidents of violations reported from other sectors. Kargil sector saw one violation in the past five years, while Rampur sector witnessed 30 violations in a single year. The number of violations was even higher in Poonch.

The ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan came into effect in 2003, following which both sides were to refrain from unprovoked firing at each other’s posts. Prior to the ceasefire, there was regular cross-border firing and even exchange of artillery barrages, which resulted in numerous civilian and military casualties on either side. Even after the ceasefire was imposed, there were reports of violations by Pakistan.

Truce, only in the name

    A ceasefire agreement came into effect between India and Pakistan in 2003
    There has been more than a three-fold increase in the number of ceasefire violations over the past five years
    Of the 18 sectors that the LoC is divided into, only four, Partapur, Dras, Gurez and Sunderbani, remained free
    Experts believe most of the ceasefire violations aimed at helping terrorists to infiltrate into J&K


Amid China stand-off, Salman Khurshid may cancel Beijing trip, say sources
In a toughening of stance over the border stand-off with China, External Affairs Minister Salman Khursid may cancel his upcoming trip to Beijing, sources have told NDTV. Mr Khurshid is scheduled to visit China on May 9.

NDTV had reported yesterday that the government is "in two minds" about the trip. Sources now say that Mr Khurshid's visit will be called off if there is no concrete response from China in the next few days.

Signs of that were evident when Mr Khurshid, who is currently in Tehran, told NDTV that the government is not satisfied with the ongoing talks with China over the border stand-off, adding he couldn't "predict with certainty" whether he would be travelling to China. He also said that his present focus was the "return of status quo" in the Daulat Beg Oldie area in Ladakh where an adamant China has refused to pull out its troops that have set up camps there. He also added that he hoped for a positive response from Beijing and would be "disappointed" if the latter refused to budge.

The toughening of stance comes amid backing from key ally Mulayam Singh Yadav, who today said that the government now seemed serious about tackling the Chinese incursion in Ladakh. Mr Yadav, who heads the Samajwadi Party, had just days ago slammed the Centre over its weak and "cowardly" handling of the China episode. (Read)

A platoon of Chinese soldiers had slipped across the border in the middle of the night on April 15, while two helicopters provided cover. They have pitched five tents in the barren Depsang Valley.

China denies any incursion; its soldiers have refused to move back over the so-called Line of Actual Control. Three flag meetings between local army commanders from both sides have failed to broker a compromise.

Can India ever shed its ‘soft state’ image?
The Chinese intrusion into Depsang Bulge in East Ladakh, approximately 19 km inside our perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on April 15, has brought back Indian diplomatic and defence establishment’s worst fears out in the open. The situation has unravelled India’s classic predicament: are we a soft state?

Despite India’s massive size - physically or economically - and power - military and economic - the country has essentially failed to act decisively in the face of difficult situations. Our establishment has rarely adhered to the English Axiom - “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Take for instance, the latest Chinese incursion inside our territory. The response of the civilian leadership, i.e. the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the PMO was of `denial`. Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid started by dismissing the incident and then describing it as localised “acne” sort of affair. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh borrowed Khurshid’s term and described the incident as “localised” when he should have led from the front and supported MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin’s statement that the “Chinese should revert to status-quo ante”.


Instead of firmly responding to the emerging challenge, the establishment adopted a despicable pretence to create an artificial environment of goodwill and bonhomie in the run-up to the May 20 visit of new Chinese premier Li Keqiang. The meek response of Indian leadership is baffling when the Chinese are busy violating the LAC.

Not so long ago, China had denied visa to the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister citing it as a disputed territory. Before that, it issued a stapled visa to Lt Gen BS Jaswal, the head of Indian Army’s northern command. The Chinese stance vis-a-vis Indian oil exploration efforts off the Vietnam coast is also a case in point. It only goes to show the extent of Chinese attitude which, to say the least, is hostile towards India. Their engagement with most of our neighbours is to encircle India and subdue our interests. Is it India’s responsibility alone to trumpet peace?

Even if we give the benefit of the doubt to our civilian leadership vis-a-vis China, it is baffling that why India is losing grip in the subcontinent. Is New Delhi’s diplomatic weight in the sub-continental capitals waning or has waned? Earlier, India’s supremacy in the subcontinent was contested, primarily by Pakistan and to a lesser extent by Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh, but it was never challenged by smaller neighbours such as Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives. The leadership in these nations heeded Indian concerns. The same cannot be said with conviction today.


In Maldives, pro-India president Mohammed Nasheed was ousted last year in a soft coup. The drama which unfolded since then and involved the Indian High Commission in Male is quite well-known to be recapped here. Likewise, Bangladesh especially under Khaleda Zia led governments adopts a suspecting and bellicose approach towards New Delhi. Not so long ago during Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Dhaka, Khaleda cancelled her meeting with the Indian head of state on dubious pretext.

Sri Lanka is becoming another theatre for Sino-Indian rivalry. Not only Chinese investments are increasing in the island nation, but also the two nations are on the same page on human rights. With Beijing as a leveller in Colombo, Indian calls for better treatment and political reconciliation of the ethnic Tamils in Lanka are being ignored. This is despite whole-hearted Indian support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the war with the LTTE.

India’s failure to protect its people has been laid bare in the most embarrassing manner vis-a-vis Pakistan. There has not been any tangible progress on the prosecution of the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. It’s an open secret that the ISI-led anti-India establishment in the Pakistani Army is waging an unconventional war and employs all strategies including plotting terror attacks to harm India and its interests. Whether it is within India or abroad, ISI has been doing it successfully against India for more than three decades now.

Unless Indian establishment realigns itself with these hard realities, it won’t earn the respect of its people as well as other nations. It`s time to prove Gunnar Myrdal (the man who coined the soft state term) wrong!




Rohit Agarwal
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Absolute perfection comes from the absolute.


That which is well built
will never be torn down.
That which is well latched
can not slip away.
Those who do things well
will be honored from generation to generation.
(Tao Te Ching).



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