Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Monday, 13 May 2013

From Today's Papers - 13 May 2013
Naxals kill 4 security men in Chhattisgarh
Doordarshan office, camp targeted in Bastar

Raipur, May 12
Four security personnel were killed while another was seriously injured in two separate insurgency-related incidents in Chhattisgarh's Bastar division, the police said on Sunday.

In the first incident, suspected Maoists attacked the Akashwani and Doordarshan Centre at Bade Marenga village on National Highway 16, 13 km away from divisional headquarters Jagdalpur, and killed three Chhattisgarh Armed Forces (CAF) personnel.

Another CAF personnel was injured and was later shifted to Raipur after initial treatment at the Medical College Hospital at Jagdalpur.

According to Bastar Superintendent of Police Mayank Shrivastava, five to six Maoist insurgents entered the premises by removing the fencing wire.

They first fired at the sentry, constable Alexander Ekka, killing him on the spot.

The insurgents then entered the relay centre and fired on the security personnel there.

Constables Silwani Ekka and Basudeo were killed immediately and constable Mazhar was critically injured in the attack.

On hearing the gunshots, the nearby police station was informed and a team rushed to the scene.

The insurgents fled towards the jungle firing indiscriminately but were unable to take away any arms belonging to the slain security men.

Later, Bastar Inspector General of Police Himanshu Gupta also reached the site and thoroughly enquired about the incident.

In the other incident, Maoist insurgents fired at a CAF camp at Sukma on Sunday morning, killing one man. He was identified as Samaylal Kanwar of the 11th Battalion. — IANS

Red terror

    The Maoists attacked the Akashwani and Doordarshan Centre at Bade Marenga village on National Highway 16
    Five to six Maoist insurgents entered the premises by removing the fencing wire. They first fired at the sentry, constable Alexander Ekka, killing him on the spot
    Then the insurgents entered the relay centre and fired on the security personnel there. Constables Silwani Ekka and Basudeo were killed on the spot and constable Mazhar was critically injured
India, Pak hint at resuming peace process
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, May 12
Soon after the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League (N) emerged victorious in the General Election, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today invited Nawaz Sharif to visit India, signaling that both sides are ready to ‘re-pick threads of peace’.
A statement by Manmohan Singh said he “expressed India’s desire to work with the new government of Pakistan in charting a new course for the relationship between the two countries.” Nawaz Sharif has been invited to visit India at a mutually convenient time, the statement said.

Sharif’s keenness to ‘work with India’ had amply reflected in an interview to The Tribune (May 12) in which he talked about “restarting the journey”. During the interview Sharif was asked: “What about Pakistan’s relations with India, which have not improved despite efforts? Your own initiative in 1999 was derailed after the historic Lahore visit by Atal Behari Vajpayee. Where would you pick up the threads to improve relations with India?”

The PML leader responded: “From where we both left it in 1999. That was a defining moment and I think we will have to start the journey again from the same point. I am quite inclined and prepared to do that. I think that this is the only answer to the problems of the two countries.”

Sharif and Vajpayee made the famous Lahore declaration in March 1999 only to see a bloody war in June-July 1999 in Kargil when Gen Pervez Musharaf was the Army chief.

Today, Manmohan Singh not only extended his congratulations to Nawaz Sharif and his party for an emphatic victory in Pakistan’s elections, he also congratulated the people and the political parties of Pakistan for braving the threats of violence and voting in large numbers.

The PM’s invite to Sharif could see a turnaround in the relations between the two neighbours, which witnessed many negative incidents in the past six months. In December 2012, Rehman Malik, the verbose Interior Minister of Pakistan, stirred a controversy when he, on a visit to India, equated the 1992 Babri demolition to terror attacks.

In January this year, the beheading of two India Army soldiers along the LoC had the Indian Army Chief Gen Bikram Sigh seething with anger as he told Islamabad: “India reserves the right to retaliate at the place and time of its choosing”. The PM had then intervened and added weight to back the Army Chief saying: “It cannot be business as usual with Pakistan after the heinous act. Those who are responsible will have to be brought to book... I hope Pakistan realises this. The government’s point of view has been communicated in detail by the Defence Minister, Foreign Minister and the Army Chief.”
Ladakh intrusion: Beijing’s strategic shift
The Chinese action is a violation of the 1994 Agreement on maintaining ‘peace and tranquillity’ on the borders. It is thus fair to assume a serious thought process behind it. It could be that the new leadership in Beijing wishes to speedily establish a new set of rules of engagement — both political and military — for other states in its neighbourhood
Lt-Gen (retd) VR Raghavan
AFTER many decades of carefully developed consensus on avoiding military conflict and resolving the boundary dispute through negotiations, Beijing sprung an unpleasant surprise. Its military action of occupying a forward position in Ladakh, though not wholly unanticipated, only reinforces the image of a belligerent state. While the ‘five-tent action’ was not in itself a military threat of significance, it is indicative of a new approach on the border dispute. Since the Chinese action is a violation of the 1994 Agreement on maintaining ‘peace and tranquillity’ on the borders, it is fair to assume a serious thought process having gone behind it. In this instance, Chinese actions speak far louder than the shrill language used by it officers in the meetings of border commanders.

It is useful to recall that China’s 1962 military offensive in Ladakh had commenced with similar military moves. Its forces had closed up to Indian posts, almost surrounding some, and insisted on their withdrawal. The Indian Army, not wanting to commence a shooting match, did likewise and opened new posts. The Forward Policy, as it was termed, where this writer led such a group in erstwhile NEFA, now Arunachal Pradesh, ultimately unfolded into a full-scale war. As we now know from documents in public domain, the Chinese plan had been carefully thought out and approved by Chairman Mao, who had larger strategic purposes behind this.

The repeat of the Chinese forward border move, 50 years after 1962, can also be seen as part of a strategic continuum. At the time it was couched by Beijing as response to Indian moves, an argument now ominously repeated. Indian moves in 1962 were in response to China’s construction of a major highway through Aksai Chin in Indian territory. The reality in 2013 is vastly different, in which the Chinese have over a decade and a half improved their military infrastructure significantly against Indian border, both in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. The Indian side is attempting, albeit belatedly, to improve infrastructure and military capacity on its side. There should thus be no cause for complaint since all this is taking place within Indian territory. The case being made out that Indian forces acting aggressively have led to the Chinese action is thus only a weak explanation for the belligerent Chinese military action. It is also similar to the sequence of events in 1962.

Actual control

Indian activity on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh is worth a thought or two. The LAC is in fact a non-existent line! During the 1962 war, the PLA advanced many miles into Ladakh. This was to secure enough territory to provide depth to its highway in Aksai Chin. On achieving this operational purpose, the PLA withdrew but retained a meaningful presence in Aksai Chin. Its military thereafter patrolled regularly and demonstratively up to the Karakoram Pass in northern Ladakh and to other areas in the south. In the lengthy negotiations which followed, the Chinese indicated that the area which they patrolled was the de facto Line of Control. Indian and Chinese patrols have over the decades adhered to this line, which is neither marked on maps, nor by any pillars, etc., on ground. Chinese have often referred to the LAC as “you know where it is, as we do where it is”. Patrols from both sides would leave evidence of their having visited points on the LAC by way of cigarette packs, food tins, etc. If occasionally they saw each other, they waved, looked at each other through binoculars and went their ways.

This arrangement of mutual acceptance of the LAC and Rules of Engagement worked adequately over the decades, even as Beijing and New Delhi engaged strenuously to define the boundaries in all sectors, extending from the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh, through UP-Tibet, up to the MacMahon Line to the tri-junction of China, India and Myanmar. This was hugely reinforced by the 1994 Sino-Indian Agreement, which confirmed the commitment of both sides not to use force to change status quo and established clear Rules of Engagement for each other’s military. President Jiang Zemin, during his visit to India, where he addressed the Lok Sabha, had reinforced this Agreement.

The major change in the situation came about by the wide-ranging development of infrastructure in Tibet. It included the now famous Lhasa rail line, numerous airfields and permanent military garrisons. This impressive engineering and economic investment surprisingly extended close to Indian borders in Arunachal and to the Indian claim lines in Ladakh. In its usual meandering fashion, the Indian government took a decade to start work on its side and the network of tracks, roads and creation of new military capacity began to emerge. The forces which manned the LAC and the Arunachal border began to improve and strengthen their tactical position through observation towers and defences. Patrolling became frequent, leaving no one in doubt of the Indian determination to defend its positions. The Indian decision to raise two more Mountain Divisions in Arunachal Pradesh evoked considerable attention.

The developments in Ladakh are more likely to be guided by a shift in strategy in dealing with India than response to Indian capacity-building in Ladakh.

What next

Should India expect some more of such ‘five tent’ actions elsewhere in Ladakh, or even in Arunachal Pradesh on the McMahon Line! The reality of a deliberate violation of a carefully drafted 1994 Agreement, in the face of improved dynamic of India-China relations, is therefore at best a provocative step and at worst part of a larger inimical politico-military strategy. What can be India’s options, given its memories of 1960s and the evidence of Beijing’s choice of assertive and even muscular PLA actions in the Asia-Pacific and the South China Sea?

The actions of the new leadership in Beijing are being closely watched in all major capitals. Its demonstratively different and militarily visible measures in the South China Sea have not left anyone in doubt of a new politico-military dynamic operating from China. This was in evidence even before the US ‘Pivot,’ now framed as a rebalancing of relations and military postures, was announced. It will be true to say that the Chinese shift in operational postures had led to the US response.

Indian policy makers will need to determine if the developments in Ladakh are a spillover of the new Chinese strategy for dealing with its neighbours. It could be that the new leadership in Beijing wishes to speedily establish a new set of rules of engagement — both political and military — for other states in its neighbourhood. These leaders had also unmistakably suggested that the India-China boundary issue should be settled before long. Does it mean that Beijing no longer looks at this as an issue left over from colonial history, requiring time to resolve! If that be the case, Indian diplomacy and military establishment will find a new set of challenges ahead.

Sophisticated handling

Notwithstanding the hyper response from the Indian media, particularly the electronic, New Delhi handled the mini-crisis with skill. The Foreign Office, MOD and the Army, backed by the IAF’s substantial assets in reserve, worked closely. National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon’s role in allowing all players to have a say and yet bringing about a single coherent plan requires special mention. The Cabinet accepted the option analysis and gave a go-ahead, in itself an achievement for a beleaguered group of political leaders. Only those who know the challenges in such operational coordination can understand the effort it entails. The Army had offered more than one contingency plan which would put pressure on the Five Tent elements and on Beijing. Such initiatives would have placed the Five Tent position in jeopardy and in turn forced Beijing’s hand, to avoid a loss of face.

Not long thereafter, the Chinese team changed tack and sought a way out through a mutual pullback. The peremptory demand for the Indian troops to go back had mellowed. A small but carefully planned military initiative, backed by diplomatic skills, had brought about a positive response, without escalating the situation. The Foreign Minister’s carefully crafted statements left many wondering about the future of the Chinese Foreign Minister’s trip to New Delhi. All this combined to get Beijing and its PLA Command to descend from its arrogant posture. The longer the standoff lasted the greater would have been Beijing’s loss of credibility as a ‘rising but responsible’ power.

India will need to brace itself to other new demonstrations of Beijing’s belligerence, requiring a long-term strategy involving politico-military plans. We may see the Chinese return to showing intransigent postures, perhaps even during its PM’s visit. The demonstration of sturdy resolve, confident military action, and skilful diplomacy during the Ladakh standoff has set new markers in Indian crisis management. As has been famously said, military action without a diplomatic plan never succeeds while there can be no diplomacy without a military backup.
Sex and the armed forces

It was the onset of autumn in 2007 and for Major General A K Lal, the weather in Leh was just perfect for a good yoga session.

At Karu, a white desert terrain at 11,600 feet altitude, where Lal commanded the powerful 3 Infantry Division that faced challenges from both Pakistan and China, he was almost the monarch of all he surveyed, to borrow from William Cooper’s Solitude of Alexander Selkirk.  But that monarch fell from grace almost as soon as he completed the yoga session, for asking his junior woman officer to assist him with his fitness regime.

For acts that he committed during that yoga session, which according to the lady officer were sexual in nature, he was court-martialed the same year after a court of inquiry found him culpable of acts unbecoming of an officer. The charges from the woman officer led to bitter acrimony, with Lal’s family—his wife and daughter—jumping into the fray with counter-charges at a press conference held in Chandigarh, where it was alleged that the complainant’s behaviour too was not officer-like.  They claimed that there were negative internal reports about her conduct in the army, prior to her making the sexual harassment allegation.

Lal’s court martial, though, held him guilty of the offence of sexually harassing the woman officer after a year-long proceeding and ordered his dismissal from army service.

With that ended an illustrious career that was so promising that Lal, who was a National Defence College graduate, would have definitely gone on to be promoted as a Lieutenant General at least, getting to command a Corps. But that was not to be and the charge of molesting a woman officer was his undoing.

The latest such sex crime allegations to hit the Indian armed forces are the claims by the wife of a Navy marine commando, a 26-year-old lieutenant, that her husband had an extra-marital affair with the wife of his senior officer.

An IIT graduate who is currently preparing for the civil services examination, the woman also alleged that her husband forced her to have sex with his fellow officers. The officer is at present posted at the INS Venduruthy naval base in Kochi.

In the first week of April this year, the woman filed a police case in Kochi against her husband and his fellow  officers and their spouses, apart from lodging a complaint with the Naval headquarters on her allegations in early March.

The 25-year-old woman’s allegations, which included wife-swapping, has come as a bolt from the deep blue sea for the Indian Navy, which organises the Navy Queen beauty pageants for its officers’ better-halves within the Kochi naval base during the Navy Ball, a coveted social event in the coastal city.

The Navy, on its part, denied the allegations of the woman, claiming she and her husband had a marital discord and the other senior officers and their spouses had only intervened to help reconcile, with the existing societal support system in the naval base.

After Defence Minister A K Antony’s intervention in the matter and with the woman meeting him to raise the issue, the Navy wrote to him after an internal inquiry, noting that her allegations had no merit.

However, a fortnight ago, the Navy began an in-depth probe into her allegations and asked her to depose before a board that is inquiring the matter. But the woman, citing her civil services exam, has refused to appear before the probe panel, sources said.

The media glare on the woman’s allegations, which the Navy feels is wild, has hugely embarrassed the armed forces.

“Yes, such cases being reported by the media do embarrass the armed forces. The reaction, however, seems to be disproportionate to the number of cases that happen in the armed forces,” says Brigadier (retired) S K Chatterji.

“The claims of wife-swapping being too prevalent in the armed forces are all bunkum. I have served all my life in the military and I can say with authority that one odd sexual harassment case could be reported.

“For all practical purposes, the career of the officer or officers, who indulged in such acts, is over. For going against the service’s laws and culture, they will be punished and that too severely, as has been witnessed in the case of even some senior officers,” Chatterji points out. He blames such depravity on human failings and appeals that institutions should not be blamed for the commissions and omissions of individuals.

“There may be one odd case where an individual or two may have indulged in such acts in a military station, just as it could happen in a civilian residential complex where several families live. But to say it is part of military culture is far-fetched. One odd incident of sexual harassment can take place in any organisation anywhere in the world,” he adds.

The law and punishment are the same whether sex crime is committed by an officer or a soldier. The only difference is the manner in which such cases are handled. While a soldier is summarily court-martialed by his commanding officer, a commissioned officer faces a general court martial that is convened to try him. If not, there is always the provision of an administrative action that can be invoked under the existing laws (See Box) to punish a soldier or an officer. Yet, at no point is a sexual crime hushed up, say officers. The reason for that is the military is too conscious of its discipline and the morale of its troopers.

“If such cases are ignored, it could lead to serious disciplinary issues, apart from causing internal acrimony. That will only mean a command and control breakdown, which could mean a certain defeat in war. The forces need to focus on fighting the enemy than among themselves,” a serving lieutenant general notes.

“I would say that such cases (of sex crimes) are not uncommon (in the armed forces). But the number of cases is not that alarming,” opines former Indian Army’s Judge Advocate General Major General (retired) Neelendra Kumar.

With a four-decade service in the Indian Army, most of it as a military law practitioner, Kumar notes that discipline is generally very high and there is zero tolerance to sex crimes in the forces. Major General Lal’s instance is a case in point.

But this case of alleged sexual misconduct, which is still under a police probe and is yet to be established, is just one among the 30-odd cases of sexual misconduct of officers from the Army, Navy and the Air Force that have been reported since 2004.

Agreeing with Kumar that such cases were not uncommon, another Judge Advocate General branch officer Colonel (retired) S K Aggarwal says he was aware of at least three cases of sex crimes against Army officers that are at present being tried by courts martial in the country.

When General Shankar Roy Choudhury was the Army chief from November 1994 to September 1997, at least seven senior officers in the rank of Brigadier and above were sacked or their sacking orders confirmed for the offence of “stealing the affection of a brother officer’s wife” or adultery or extra-marital affair in the civil society’s terminology.

One of them was Brigadier M S Oberoi, who approached the Karnataka High Court, aggrieved by the Indian Army’s decision to compulsorily retire him in 1991 after a probe held him guilty of having an affair with a lieutenant colonel’s wife.

Though the high court accepted Oberoi’s petition challenging his compulsory retirement in 1994, the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court and the punishment meted out to him was upheld.

Indian Army officers say, at present, they have a case on hand in which an Army infantry unit’s commanding officer, posted in Jammu and Kashmir, has been accused of having an affair with the wife of his second-in-command.There was also another case in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, where an officer got involved with another serving officer’s wife and has now ditched his own wife, who is an army doctor. The estranged couple has a child.

In yet another case in the 13 Sikh Light Infantry unit, a Colonel has been charged with sexually harassing another officer’s wife. The accused officer is now attached to a unit in Ferozepur for the last two-and-a-half years, but no progress has been made in that case. According to officers, who did not wish to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media, there were a number of Lieutenant General-rank officers and their equivalents in the Navy and the Air Force, who have had extra-marital affairs with their fellow officer’s wives. “Yet, all of these incidents took place over a period of a couple of decades. The instances are definitely few and far between. Such cases are rare,” says a serving Major General, who did not wish to be identified.

“Given the size of the armed forces and the isolation that they face from society and families as a general rule, the incidents do happen. But whenever such cases come to the notice, suitable and prompt action is taken against the offenders,” says Kumar.

The izzat (respect and pride) of the battalion one services weighs heavily on one’s mind all the time and that’s deterrence enough for an officer to desist from getting involved in such unsavoury indulgence.  “But, any perversion can take place in any human mind any time,” Kumar says.

In March 2011, in a rare instance when the defence minister got to reply to questions from Members of Parliament on sexual offences in the armed forces, he noted that between 2008 and 2010, seven officers were punished after probes into eight cases of sexual harassment of women officers.  Antony also professed “zero tolerance” to any case of sexual harassment and exploitation of women officers.

“All commands have been directed by the Army headquarters that cases of sexual harassment will be viewed very seriously. “All naval personnel are sensitised regularly on this issue at various fora and various sensitisation capsules and workshops on the subject have been introduced in the Air Force,” adds Kumar. He further informs that the Army issued comprehensive instructions on the definition of physical harassment and the procedure for taking action against defaulters.


In August 2010, a military court struck off six years of military service of a serving Colonel who molested a woman officer during their posting in Jammu and Kashmir in 2008.

The general court martial, which had assembled in Udhampur, the seat of the Indian Army’s Northern Command, directed that Colonel Anurodh Mishra would forfeit six years of his service when considering him for further promotion.

That meant the Colonel will suffer the ignominy of being junior in rank and service to all officers who joined later than him in the six years preceding his commission in the Army.

The five-member court martial, headed by Brigadier Arvind Datta, reprimanded him after hearing arguments from the complainant, Major Megha Gupta, and the defendant, an officer with the Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (EME) Corps.

According to the charges read out against Mishra, he had called the woman officer to his residence on the pretext of official briefings and misbehaved with her, when the two were posted with the 39 Mountain Division in the border state.

Earlier, a court of inquiry had held that Mishra was prima facie guilty of molesting the woman officer. However, he approached the Armed Forces Tribunal contending that a false case was made out against him due to personal enmity at the instance of his senior Lieutenant Colonel. The tribunal, however, refused to interfere in the court martial proceedings.


Earlier this month, a Lieutenant Commander was dismissed from the Indian Navy on the orders of Antony after a probe found him guilty of having an affair with his senior’s wife.

Without identifying the officer, defence ministry officials said the dismissal was recommended by the Navy headquarters after a probe that held him guilty of “stealing the affection of a fellow officer’s wife”, an offence under the naval service laws and rules. They, however, did not share further details about the officer or the case.

In another low for the armed forces, a commander of the Indian Navy, who was serving on India’s lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat, was dismissed from service, again earlier this month, after he was found guilty of sending lewd text messages to several women.

According to the Navy, the naval officer was dismissed by a General Court Martial (GCM) in Mumbai. The name of the officer in the rank of Commander (equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel in the Army) was recommended for dismissal by a court martial in January. He was later dismissed from service, says Indian Navy spokesperson Commander P V S Satish.

He adds that the officer was dismissed on the charges of “conduct unbecoming of an officer”, as he was using multiple numbers to send lewd text messages to several women, both inside and outside the force.

In 2011, Antony had ordered the dismissal of a Navy Commodore, an officer equivalent to the Army’s Brigadier, on charges of sexual misconduct for having an illicit relation with a local woman while on a posting to Russia to oversee the repair and refit of a major warship India had bought from the Russian Navy.

Commodore Sukhjinder Singh was ousted from service after a probe found him guilty. His affair with the Russian woman came out in the open after a photograph of the two in a private moment became public and got published in newspapers.

It was suspected then that the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier’s price, which was fixed originally at $974 million in 2004, was hiked to $2.34 billion in 2010 after Sukhjinder got compromised due to his illicit relationship.


In June 2003, the wife of a Colonel complained to the then Army chief General V K Singh’s wife Bharti Singh, president of Army Wives Welfare Association, that Army engineer-in-chief Lieutenant General A K Nanda had sexually misbehaved with her when she was accompanying her husband on an official tour of Israel.

Nanda was also there in Tel Aviv along with his wife then and the complaining woman was none other than Nanda’s Technical Secretary C P S Pasricha’s wife.

She had alleged that Nanda visited her hotel room when her husband was away on the pretext of gathering an official file and took advantage of her being alone to molest her.

The complaint was made after the entire team of officers completed its official tour of Israel, and later holidayed in Cyprus.

A court of inquiry that went into the allegations punished Nanda with just an administrative reprimand for violating service decorum. The Army, however, did not specify which service decorum Nanda violated.

The court of inquiry, though, also pulled up Pasricha for misleading it and administered reproof to him too.


Indian armed forces, which has the third largest contingent in United Nations peacekeeping missions, has performed creditably in its role on foreign land. Its service, however, got blemished after allegations of sexual misconduct emerged from Congo, where the Indian Army has been deployed since 2005 and is now the largest troop-contributing force.

In December 2008, complaints emerged that Indian peacekeepers were sexually exploiting local Congolese women and reports in this regard were received by the United Nation’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

After a four-year probe by both the OIOS and the Indian Army headquarters in New Delhi, it turned out that at least one of the complaints could be true, thereby bringing disrepute to Indian peacekeepers.

A court of inquiry concluded by the Indian Army in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, found enough ground for disciplinary action against a soldier from an Indian Army regiment, whose DNA matched with that of a child born to a Congolese woman. Three other army personnel, including a major, were charged with control and command failure. They were punished with administrative action.

When complaints emerged in 2008, an entire battalion of the Indian Army’s Sikh regiment came under the OIOS scanner, following the startling revelations about sexual misconduct by men from that unit by four Congolese women.

The complaints gained credence after children with distinct Indian features were born to these women. One of them had claimed that she used to meet up with the Indian Army man at a Goma hotel in North Kivu.

She also claimed that she was from a poor family and the Indian Army man would give her gifts and money.

In another UN-related case in 2008 again involving troops from the Congo mission, three Indian Army officers were arrested by the South African police in Pretoria after a women resident of Plettenberg Bay complained that they had raped her.

The officers were on a holiday in South Africa from their duties at the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo headquarters in Kinshasa when the alleged crime took place. The officers were picked up by the police from a bed-and-breakfast facility in Mossel Bay in March 2008.


In what came as a major embarrassment for the Indian Army, a Lieutenant Colonel, who had gone to Dhaka in Bangladesh to attend a training course in one of their military academies, fell prey to a honey-trap cleanly laid out by a woman spy from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Pakistani equivalent of India’s external snooping agency Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).

The officer, from an infantry unit, faced a court of inquiry, which ascertained if he passed on any sensitive information on the Indian Army’s deployments and plans when he was under the spell of the Pakistani beauty.

The officer had been in Bangladesh in 2011 summer for just about a couple of months when he allegedly developed an intimate relationship with the woman, who was acting at the behest of Pakistan. He had met her at a social gathering in Dhaka.

However, after he got compromised, the woman spy from ISI began arm-twisting him into giving away Indian military secrets.

Unable to bear the pressure from ISI, which had reportedly videotaped him with the woman, the officer opened up about his unenviable position to the Indian High Commission authorities in Dhaka.

Soon after, India’s R&AW came into the picture, and the officer was immediately packed off to India sometime between September and October that year. On his return to India, Indian Army counter-intelligence experts interrogated him. After the debriefing, a court of inquiry went into his role in the episode and he was later punished.


The real life story of a Major, who was a doctor with the medical corps, is a typical Indian masala movie thriller.

The anti-climax has all ingredients to make it a super hit—a love triangle, estrangement, a fake suicide and an eloping.

The doctor, who was posted at a military hospital in Dinjan cantonment in Assam’s Tinsukia district in 2007, played out his part to perfection, only his efforts went for a toss at the end of the year-long drama.

The officer, to fulfil his lust for a brother officer’s wife, planned and executed his own fake suicide. He left his car on the banks of Brahmaputra River and a suicide note in it, to make it appear as though he jumped into the water to end his unhappy life.

However, his body was never found despite the Indian Army getting divers to fish out the mortal remains. It also never surfaced.

Around the same time, the wife of a Colonel with an artillery unit posted in the same area, too went missing from her home in the cantonment.

Incidentally, the Major’s wife, who too is a doctor in the Army medical corps in the rank of a captain, was on a UN mission and was posted abroad at the time he got involved with the artillery unit Colonel’s wife.

The Military Intelligence (MI) unit’s antenna went up as two persons —a man and a woman—went missing from the same Army establishment almost at the same time. They began picking up the thread to put the pieces of the puzzle in place.

The probe by the MI led to the finding that the Major had faked his suicide to elope with the Colonel’s wife.

The Major was finally traced to a city in south India and was arrested. He was court-martialed on charges of “desertion” and “stealing the affection of a brother officer’s wife” and cashiered from service in 2008.

Bad calls

Probably the first-ever case of dismissal of a woman officer was that of Squadron Leader Anjali Gupta of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2004-05.

Gupta had accused three colleagues—Squadron Leader R S Choudhary, Wing Commander V C Cyriac and Air Vice-Marshal Anil Chopra—of sexual harassment.

However, a court of inquiry, headed by then Director General Medical Services Air Marshal Padma Bandopadhyay, dismissed the charges against the officers. Gupta was charged with insubordination, indiscipline and financial irregularities. She was court-martialed in Bangalore and ordered to be cashiered from service in 2005. Gupta committed suicide in September 2011.

In July 2008, Captain Poonam Kaur, who was then posted with the 5682 Army Service Corps battalion in Kalka, was dismissed from service after she levelled allegations of mental and sexual harassment against three senior officers—Colonel R K Sharma, Lieutenant Colonel Ajay Chawla and Major Suraj Bhan.

A court of inquiry found no basis for her complaint. Kaur was court-martialed in Patiala on 21 charges. She was found guilty of levelling false allegations against her seniors, disobeying orders of her Commanding Officer, providing false information to get accommodation meant for the married and discussing her service matters with the media.

What the military law says

For all crimes that are sexual in nature, the Army Act, 1950 has provisions that are stringent. Similar laws apply in the case of the Navy and the Air Force too.

Section 45 (Unbecoming conduct): Any officer, junior commissioned officer or warrant officer who behaves in a manner unbecoming his position and the character expected of him shall, on conviction by court martial, be liable to be cashiered, be dismissed or to suffer such less punishment as is in the Act mentioned.

Section 46 (Certain forms of disgraceful conduct): Any person subject to the Act who is guilty of any disgraceful conduct of a cruel, indecent or unnatural kind; or maligns, or feigns, or produces disease or infirmity in himself, or intentionally delays his cure or aggravates his disease or infirmity; or with intent to render himself or any other person unfit for service, voluntarily causes hurt to himself or that person, shall, on conviction by court martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years.

Section 63 (Violation of good order and discipline): Any person subject to the Act who is guilty of any act or omission which is prejudicial to good order and military discipline shall, on conviction by court martial, be liable to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years.

Section 65 (Attempt): Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in Sections 34 to 64 and in such attempt does any act towards the commission of the offence, shall, on conviction by court martial, if the offence attempted to be committed is punishable with death, to suffer imprisonment for a term which may extend to 14 years. If the offence attempted to be committed is punishable with imprisonment, to suffer imprisonment for a term, which may extend to one-half of the longest term provided for that offence.
China army crossed LAC on April 10?
Searching questions were raised within the China Study Group (CSG) on Indian surveillance capabilities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the exact date of Chinese incursion in Depsang Plains before they were detected on April 16.

An apex body comprising of defence, home, foreign secretaries, intelligence chiefs, director general military operations and vice-chief of army staff, CSG, met at least four times during the incursion crisis.

Top government sources said there was a view within the CSG that the Chinese PLA transgressed into the Indian notional LAC and pitched up tents as early as April 10.
However, senior army officials, replying to written queries from HT, deny this.

“The area under Depsang is under regular surveillance through multiple means. The transgression was detected on April 16 by various measures in place to maintain surveillance along the LAC,” said an army official.

While the army claims that the PLA could have pitched elaborate tent structures within four hours, situation reports from the area reveal that the ITBP area patrol from Burtse camp sighted Chinese troopers some 1.2km from their forward post at 11.30am on April 15.

The Indian patrol started following their transgressing Chinese counterpart as per the 2005 bilateral protocol throughout the day.

The pitched tents were detected a day later by the Indian Army surveillance helicopters and confirmed by unmanned aerial vehicles, leading to a face-off near Raki nullah at a distance of 300 metres. The first meeting of the CSG took place on April 17.

Denying any quid pro quo with the Chinese in defusing the face-off on May 5, the government says heavy diplomacy worked for India.

But it is quite evident that the Chinese PLA withdrew from the Depsang Plains after the Indian Army removed a forward fortification in Chumar area, some 500km from the incursion site.

External affairs minister Salman Khurshid has gone public saying  a “tin shed” was dismantled due to Chinese objections that it was on their side of the LAC, the Army told the CSG that a “patrol rest point” was dismantled.

The dismantling of the fortification with a commanding view of the area was raised by the Chinese PLA in the first border patrol meeting itself on the issue on April 18 and discussed by the CSG a day later.

The Chinese had earlier also protested against detention of its so-called two revenue officials by Indian Army in Chumar in June 2012.

For the record, senior army officials said: “Status quo ante of April 15 has been restored along LAC by both sides.”

The withdrawal of the Chinese PLA from the face-off area was critical to New Delhi as the tents were so strategically placed in the bottle-neck area of Depsang bulge that prevented the Indian troopers to patrol some 750 square km of area.
Border beef-up and pact on table

INS Hansa (Goa), May 11: India will continue to beef up its border defences despite the Chinese foray into Ladakh but will also negotiate a frontier pact that Beijing has proposed, defence minister A.K. Antony said here today.

Antony said an Indian Army official was part of external affairs minister Salman Khurshid’s delegation to China. Khurshid was in Beijing on May 9 and 10 during which a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) that Beijing has proposed came up for discussion.

“I have not got the latest feedback yet. But we are negotiating it (the BDCA). The standoff (in Ladakh) is over. We have the right to develop our infrastructure in our own land just as China has in its territory,” the defence minister said when asked if the Chinese had objected to India’s border defences.

Khurshid, back from Beijing, too said in New Delhi that the two countries were working on a new BDCA, a PTI report said.

The disclosure that negotiations on the BDCA have begun is surprising because the foreign ministry had indicated last week that the Centre was still studying the Chinese proposal. There was even suspicion that the Chinese “incursion” was a pressure tactic to force New Delhi to begin discussions on the BDCA.

India-China issues on the un-demarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC) are now governed by rules framed under a 1993 Peace and Tranquillity on the LAC Agreement, a 2005 agreement on confidence-building measures, and a joint secretary-level mechanism agreed last year.

China is now emphasising that the understanding between the security forces on the LAC be further institutionalised.
Infra build-up along China border to go on
New Delhi has no plans to slam the brakes on infrastructure development and building up of military capacity along the disputed border with China, defence minister AK Antony said on Saturday.
Six days after the territorial standoff with the Communist neighbor in eastern Ladakh ended, the minister said India had the right to develop infrastructure “on its soil” just the way China was entitled to ramp up capacities on its land.

“The army and air force have increased capacities on our land in recent years. That will continue,” said Antony, soon after he commissioned the navy’s first MiG-29K squadron here. 
He said India was negotiating a new border framework with Beijing as a step towards resolving the niggling territorial dispute that has plagued bilateral ties.

Asked if the army had demolished a bunker in southeast Ladakh’s Chumar area to end the three-week standoff in the windswept Depsang flats, Antony refused to divulge details saying that both sides had restored status quo that prevailed before the April 15 incursion.

The Indian Army and the Chinese PLA simultaneously pulled out of the faceoff site on May 5.

Indian soldiers were eyeball-to-eyeball with Chinese troops in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector for three weeks starting April 15, after Chinese troops set up tents and took up positions 19 km into Indian side of line of actual control (LAC).

Both sides have returned to pre-April 15 positions.

China has repeatedly asked the Indian Army to stop infrastructure build-up and construction of bunkers in Fukche and Chumar areas of Ladakh.

It has also articulated concerns about infrastructure build up, including reactivation of advance landing grounds, in the DBO sector in the north and Nyoma in the east during the last four to five years.

The Chinese contention is that some of the build-ups along the LAC are in violation of protocols governing borders that had not been mutually delineated.
L&T in race for Rs 2,000 crore howitzer tender
PTI | May 12, 2013, 03.45PM IST
NEW DELHI: An Indian private company is for the first time in direct competition with a foreign vendor to supply 100 self-propelled howitzers to the Indian Army in a deal expected to be worth over Rs 2,000 crore.

Indian L&T and Russian Rosobornexport are in a straight contest to supply the 100 self-propelled tracked howitzers to the Army and the trials of the two guns are slated to begin in June-July time-frame this year, defence ministry sources said.

The guns are being procured by the Army as part of its more than Rs 20,000-crore artillery modernisation programme, which has been stuck after the bofors gun deal scandal, they said.

Not a single new artillery gun has been inducted ever since the infamous Bofors contract for 410 field howitzers became a political issue in 1986.

The gun being offered by the Indian firm is learnt to have been built and developed in collaboration with South Korean Samsung Techwin and is based on its "K9 Thunder" self- propelled howitzer.

Under the contract between the two firms, the Korean firm will provide key technologies to L&T for local production of the howitzer.

After the trial phase gets over by early next year following the winter evaluation of the guns, the Army will find out the lowest bidder and include the chosen guns in five regiments of its artillery units.

Under its artillery modernisation plan, the Army envisages induction of 2,814 guns of different types from both indigenous and foreign sources.

The force has plans of procuring more than 300 indigenous versions of the Bofors howitzers being produced by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and is also in the process of upgrading the 130 mm artillery guns to the 155mm 52 calibre standard.

It is also procuring around 145 ultra light howitzers to be deployed in mountainous borders with China and Pakistan from the US under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal expected to be finalised soon between the two countries.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal