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Monday, 16 December 2013

From Today's Papers - 16 Dec 2013

 Chinese troops apprehend five Indians in Chumar

New Delhi, December 15
Chinese troops apprehended five Indian nationals in Chumar area of Ladakh well inside the Indian territory and took them to their side of the border, in perhaps the first such incident along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The five people were handed over to Indian side by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops after efforts were made in this regard under the existing border mechanisms between the two countries, sources said here.

The five Indian nationals, along with their cattle, were apprehended by the PLA troops a few kilometers inside the Indian territory in Chumar area and were taken to their camp across the LAC in an apparent bid to stake their claim on the area, they said.

The army headquarters sought to play down the incident, saying that the matter was resolved “amicably”, but sources said the Chinese side relented only after the local Indian Army authorities sought a flag meeting on the matter and warned that the issue would be raised at a higher level. It is learnt that the local army authorities on both sides established communication on the issue, they said.

The incident has come after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement with China in October, seeking to prevent any flare-ups between the armies of the two countries on the LAC. — PTI
A victory that went beyond the battleground
The Bangladesh War marked a spectacular victory over Pakistan and defeated the Two-Nation theory on the basis of which Pakistan was created. It was India’s first foreign military intervention in the backdrop of a hostile United States and China that surprisingly was fought without a strategic aim or vision.
Dinesh Kumar

Exactly 42 years ago on 16th December 1971, Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, who headed the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan, signed the Instrument of Surrender to India’s General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Army Command, Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, in Dacca (later renamed Dhaka). That one-page landmark document signed at the end of a 13-day-war marked three simultaneous historic events — a spectacular Indian military victory over an abject Pakistani defeat, the territorial break up of Pakistan leading to the creation of Bangladesh as an independent sovereign nation; and an ideological defeat of the idea of Pakistan with the ripping apart of the Two-Nation theory that stipulates a Pakistan for the Muslims and an India for Hindus.

By the end of the war, 93,000 Pakistanis had surrendered to Indian forces marking the world’s largest surrender in post World War-II military history which remained the case until the large scale surrender of Iraqi forces to the US-led coalition in the one-sided 1991-92 Gulf war. All this by a nation that had attained freedom after being partitioned by the British colonialists only 24 years earlier. The 1971 India-Pakistan war was the third war India had fought in a preceding short span of nine years, one of which had resulted in a humiliating territorial defeat to China in 1962 and a second that had resulted in a lost victory to Pakistan in 1965.

In all previous post-Independence wars and military engagements, the Indian armed forces had fought to either defend or consolidate the territorial integrity of the country. And thus this Bangladesh War, as it is known, was the first ever military intervention by India in a sovereign country. Indeed this war presents a fascinating study of war preparation and military tactics and, yet, a lack of strategic thinking; a spirited fight given by the Pakistani soldiers in the face of all odds and despite sound logistical planning by the Indian Army; some delicate diplomatic balancing with the great powers; and both international and domestic power politics. Just how well India handled both the run up to and the conduct of the war is borne by the fact that most western scholars, especially Richard Sisson and Leo E. Rose in War and Secession: Pakistan, India and the Creation of Bangladesh, have acknowledged the Bangladesh war to be a sound example of implementation of all the key principles under the Just War theory or justum bellum – the jus ad bellum and jus in bello clauses which, respectively, are about the ‘circumstances’ and ‘conduct’ of war.

East-West differences

Differences between East and West Pakistan, which were separated by 1,200 miles across a large Indian land mass, had begun immediately after Partition with a strong lingual grievance after Mahomedali Jinnahbhai announced in his first and also the last visit to East Pakistan on 21st March 1948 that Urdu would be the national language of Pakistan. This eventually led to the February 1952 language riots that resulted in police shootings and deaths. While this provided the initial spark, the long list of severe dissimilarities and grievances were all too pronounced – lingual and cultural differences, lack of representation of Bengalis in both the government and the military, uneven economic development between East and West Pakistan, failure of the government to make a constitution that lasted, and, subsequently, electoral mismanagement.

The point of no return came after the Central government in West Pakistan reneged from its announcement to convene the post December 1970 election for national assembly in which the Awami League would have, with its numerical majority, formed a government with Mujibhur Rahman as Prime Minister following a first ever free and fair election. What followed instead was a severe military crackdown on the night of 25/26 March, 1971 which turned out to be, as described by no other than Niazi, ‘a display of stark cruelty more merciless than the massacres of Bukhara and Baghdad by Chengez Khan and Halaku Khan or at Jallianwala Bagh by the British general Dyer’.

The magnitude and extent of the repression was subsequently acknowledged and detailed by Pakistan’s Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report and by even General Agha Yahya Khan, the President-cum-military ruler at that time. The military crackdown had continued throughout the year leading to massacres that claimed between a conservative 26,000 to a staggering 3 million lives.

Repercussions for India

These incidents had serious repercussions for India which eventually led it to militarily intervene. India was forced to play host to a massive 10 million refugees (9,899,305 to be precise) that were accommodated in 825 relief camps spread over 2,800 km across several states bordering East Pakistan making it perhaps the largest influx of refugees after World War-II and the 1947 British-facilitated Partition of the Indian subcontinent. Of these 10 million refugees, as many as 7.2 million had entered India within a short span of four months. The refugees, who cut across all religious persuasions and every strata of society, were accommodated at tremendous cost (US$ 500 million followed by another US$ 700 million as calculated by the World Bank which is valued much higher today) and accounted for less than half the world’s refugee population that stood at 27.6 million at that time. Yet, as the International Commission of Jurists noted, the UN did not take note of the large scale human catastrophe and treated it as an Indo-Pak issue.

The huge refugee problem considerably added to the adverse economic, social and political strains in the already overpopulated, poverty stricken and trouble-torn north eastern states where Pakistan had been allowing Chinese operated training camps in East Pakistan for Naga and Mizo rebels. Economically, in addition to considerable drain on resources, the influx of refugees was affecting the job market in an overcrowded labour market thereby depressing wages and inflating prices with 3 million refugees having entered the job market. The Left parties had been quick to exploit some of the legitimate complaints in West Bengal and Tripura over the economic impact of this influx. On the sociological and political front it was threatening the internal stability of a complex political system in the tribal north eastern states which pitted indigenous communities with the ‘outsiders’ and added fuel to the Nagas and Mizos fighting its secessionist battles.

No cake walk

Even after getting about seven months to logistically prepare for the war and the fact that India had stopped Pakistani aircraft from overflying Indian airspace while blockading the sea around both West and East Pakistan, the Indian Army fought a tough battle which had in fact begun with Indian troops entering East Pakistan on 21st November, i.e. 12 days before West Pakistan declared war on India by launching air strikes on 3rd December 1971.

Surprisingly, as brought out by Lt General Jack Fredrick Ralph Jacob in his book Surrender at Dacca: Birth of a Nation, there was no clear strategic aim and no considered overall strategy. Even until 13th December, i.e. three days prior to the surrender, Dacca was not on the agenda for capture. The focus was more on capturing towns and cities which until then didn’t make strategic sense. Even otherwise both Lt General Jacob and Lt General Niazi (The Betrayal of East Pakistan) bring out in their respective books that the Indian Army met considerable resistance and was forced to fight a tough war despite complete air and naval superiority over the Pakistani forces.

The Indian Army, which lost 1,421 soldiers and 4,058 wounded with another 56 soldiers missing, presumed dead withdrew from newly created Bangladesh 13 days ahead of the scheduled date of withdrawal and before leaving assisted in quickly rebuilding bridges and roads, clearing mines, opening ports and repairing runways. On the western front India fought a relatively ‘holding’, ‘limited’ and defensive’ war and did not take advantage of the situation to settle the Kashmir issue by military means which has been met with some severe retrospective criticism.

The Indian government looked after the prisoners far beyond the requirements of the Geneva Convention which has even been acknowledged by Niazi who narrates how the Pakistani prisoners lived in concrete barracks and according to their respective ranks while Indian soldiers lived in tents. In contrast, Indian soldiers were tortured, beaten and humiliated by the Pakistani army. Further, India refused to handover the captured Pakistani troops for trial to the leadership of newly formed Bangladesh despite knowing well that many had been guilty of perpetrating repression in East Pakistan. But the safety of the Pakistani prisoners was guaranteed under the Instrument of Surrender, a unique clause not found in most surrender documents.

Tight rope and no lessons learnt

At the international level, India had to balance an anti-India Nixon-led US regime and a pro-Pakistan China to which India had only nine years earlier lost a war. A week after the war begun, a hostile United States despatched its naval Task Force 74 centred around its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal. The war ended shortly before its arrival but by then the UN was breathing down India to end the war. Only four months earlier, in a major balancing act, India had managed to sign a 20 year Treaty of Friendship with the Soviet Union which until then had been supplying light weapons to Pakistan but on India’s request kept vetoing UN attempts at ceasefire.

Yet 42 years later, the shortcomings remain the same and continue to haunt. The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) then lacked operational intelligence which remained the case in the subsequent military operations in Sri Lanka (1987-90) and the Kargil War (1999). Coastal security and capability of launching amphibious operations remains deficient (evident 37 years later during the 26/11Mumbai terror attacks) as does logistics preparation (evident during Operation Prakaram in 2001-2002) while the post of Chief of Defence Staff remains an illusion and strategic thinking a casualty. Indeed India remains an unenviable case study for the adage ‘those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it’.

Prominent turn arounds

    A.K. Fazlul Huq, a one-time member of the Muslim League, had ironically moved the historic Lahore Resolution in 1940 seeking the Partition of India and the creation of a Pakistan. The same year he left the Muslim League to form the Krishak Sramik Party. Soon after Independence, Huq declared at a speech in Kolkata that he could not accept the idea of two Bengals. “…India exists as a whole…I shall dedicate my service to the cause of the motherland and work with those who will try to win for India—Hindustan and Pakistan—a place among the countries of the world”.
    Another prominent Bengali and member of the Muslim League, H.S. Suhrawardy, who moved a resolution on 9th April 1946 for a Pakistan that included Bengal and Assam as a Muslim majority Pakistan, later shifted to India where he lived in exile for some years before returning to fight for Bengali rights.
 Give reasons for every ruling, SC tells AFT
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, December 15
The Supreme Court has directed the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) to give reasons for its ruling in every case to facilitate consideration of the appeals.

Since the apex court’s judgments had “widespread ramifications,” it was necessary that the SC decided the appeals after assessing AFT’s views in each case, a Bench comprising Justices TS Thakur and Vikramajit Sen explained.

The Bench issued the directive while considering an appeal against an AFT order giving partial relief to Naib Subedar Narsh Chand in the matter of seniority and pension.

“We have carefully considered the impugned judgment but are unable to locate the reasons that have persuaded the AFT to grant only partial relief. There can be no gainsaying that where a component of the relief prayed for is being denied it is an imperative that reasons should be disclosed for doing so.

“This is as important as justifying the grounds on which the grant of relief is predicated. We would be handicapped and accordingly remiss in taking up the issue of the reliefs that have been granted, without having the benefit of the views of the AFT, especially since our decision will have widespread ramifications,” the Bench pointed out.

Sending the appellant back to the AFT for appropriate remedy, the Bench said it had clarified in another case that there was no vested right of appeal to the SC against the final decision of the AFT. It was imperative that every appeal to the SC should be preceded by a plea made before the AFT to the effect that the controversy raises a question of law of general public importance.

In the event that the AFT disagreed, it was necessary for the appellant to apply for leave of this court in terms of Section 31 of the AFT Act, 2007, the SC ruled in the verdict delivered on December 13.

Pension case

    An SC Bench issued the directive while considering an appeal against an AFT order giving partial relief to Naib Subedar Narsh Chand in the matter of seniority and pension
    The court said: “We have carefully considered the impugned judgment but are unable to locate the reasons that have persuaded the AFT to grant only partial relief
    We would be handicapped and accordingly remiss in taking up the issue of the reliefs that have been granted, without having the benefit of the views of the AFT, especially since our decision will have widespread ramifications, it said
Army chiefs look for defense cooperation between India & US

Washington: Army chiefs of India and the US have reviewed the ongoing army-to-army cooperation and opportunities to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, including through joint training exercises and military exchanges.

The review was undertaken at a meeting here between India's Chief of the Army Staff, General Bikram Singh and his US counterpart General Ray Odierno during General Singh's on December 2-5 visit to the US.

General Singh also utilized the opportunity to discuss the US-India defense relationship with other senior US military leadership and advance India's military interests, according to a statement by the Indian embassy here.

The visit assumes special significance in the light of enhanced defense cooperation between the two countries over the last few years and rapidly increasing engagements under the framework for India-US defense relations.

The Army Chief visited important defense establishments of the US military and met a number of high-ranking defense and civilian officials in Washington.

General Singh was inducted into the Carlisle; Pennsylvania based US Army War College (USAWC) International Fellows Hall of Fame, an outstanding honor in the international military community.

Singh who is an alumnus of the USAWC having graduated with the class of 2004, was honored for "having made a significant and enduring military/humanitarian contribution to international peace and stability" while holding the highest military rank in India.

He delivered a keynote speech to the USAWC graduating class of 2013-2014.

During the visit, General Singh was honored with a full honors ceremony by US Army Chief of Staff.
Myanmar Army chief visits CIJW School
 VAIRENGTE, Dec 15 – Soe Win, the vice senior general, chief of Myanmar Army and Deputy Commander-in-chief Defence Services of Myanmar visited the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Vairengte today.

Major General Rajeshwar Singh welcomed the chief of Myanmar Army to the CIJW School on behalf of the Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh.

This was a part of the last leg of his six day visit to India. At the CIJW School, Soe Win witnessed training activities and demonstrations by the Army staff. He also held discussions on key issues concerning training and enhancement of military ties between the armies of the two neighbouring countries.

Major General Rajeshwar Singh said that the visit of Soe Win assumes importance since army contingents and military officers from Myanmar come for training at the school on a regular basis. Since December 2010, there has been no contingent from Myanmar to the institute.

The vice senior general is looking for more army-to-army interactions and his visit would certainly enhance defence cooperation and augment the growing relationship between the two countries, Rajeshwar added. It is to be mentioned that during his current visit, Soe Win met President of India Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi.
India helping in having our own army: Karzai
 India and Afghanistan have agreed to deepen defence and security cooperation to increase the operational capabilities and mobility of the Afghanistan National Security and Defence Forces (ANSDF).

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, especially in military training and equipment, were “very productive, resulting in satisfaction for the Afghan side.”

In an interaction with journalists and strategic affairs experts here on Saturday, he said, “We hope to have an army to defend Afghanistan through its own resources and its own citizens. To that objective we are being helped by India.”

Afghanistan had given a wish list of military equipment as well as sought greater cooperation in building up a battle-capable ANSDF. India was wise to carefully weigh the implications of greater defence cooperation, he said.

The President declined to give details about the wish list, but noted that this cooperation was on for a long time.

Besides defence and security, Dr. Singh and Mr. Karzai on Friday also agreed to work with Iran for developing new trade routes to facilitate trade and transit to Afghanistan and beyond. One of these is a land route beginning from the Iranian port of Chah-bahar. It enters Zaranj on the Afghan border from where India has built a road feeding into the garland highway connecting major Afghan cities. A spur connects Afghanistan to Central Asia, thus opening up further prospects for India’s trade and economic drive in non-traditional markets.

Mr. Karzai said both Kabul and New Delhi had applied for land at Chah-bahar to set up administrative and trade facilitation offices. He wanted Central Asian countries to also participate in this endeavour.

The President was confident of India going ahead with $11 billion Hajigak iron ore project, but pointed out that the Afghans were being very cautious about opening up its mineral resources for exploitation to prevent them from becoming a source of trouble as is the case in some African countries.

On the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that has seen Mr. Karzai and United States officials exchange harsh words, he said both India and Afghanistan wanted U.S.\NATO troops to continue being stationed in the country. “It is good for Afghanistan as they will fill a certain vacuum of resources and bring to Afghanistan in a larger way a sense of stability.”

“We also discussed why we should have the peace process launched before the BSA and why we need complete protection of citizens. So the Prime Minister and I agreed on the need for Afghan conditionalities to be fulfilled. They need not frame it that way. Both are necessary – their presence in Afghanistan as well as protecting Afghan homes against attacks.”

Asked if the U.S. might walk away completely if the BSA, in its present form, is not signed, he laughed away the suggestion, describing it as “brinkmanship.”

Talks with Taliban

Mr. Karzai described talks with the Taliban as the “need of Afghan people”, but drew a distinction between those who are with terrorist networks in their actions and outlook and those drawn into insurgency due to circumstances beyond their control and that of the Afghan government.

He disapproved of the killing of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s Hakimullah Mehsud a day before he was to hold peace talks with Islamabad. “The U.S. should have given an opportunity to engage in talks. It should have waited to see if those talks would be successful.”

The President praised Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for expressing his desire “in very clear words” for an improved relationship with Afghanistan and India.

According to a Ministry of External Affairs release, Dr. Singh conveyed India’s confidence in Afghanistan’s ability to build a strong country that also contributes to regional peace and prosperity. The two leaders also agreed to work on further strengthening regional cooperation, it noted adding that India is hosting the next meeting of the Senior Officials of Heart of Asia in January.

Mr. Karzai also met President Pranab Mukherjee, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.

Mr. Mukherjee hosted Mr. Karzai to a private dinner on Friday evening where the two leaders discussed bilateral, regional and international issues of common concern. Mr. Mukherjee recalled his visit to Afghanistan to inaugurate the strategic Zaranj-Delaram Highway.Mr. Karzai is accompanied by Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Zarar Ahmad Osmani, National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Acting Minister of Commerce & Industries Shaker Kargar and other senior officials.
Nephews of Kargil martyr in the service of the nation
Like many other parents, their father, mother, and other relatives joined in to congratulate the two boys who on Saturday walked their ‘antim pag [Final Steps]’ out of the hallowed portals of the historic Chetwode building to become officers in the Indian Army.

Nephews of a Kargil martyr, Vivek Giri (23) and Vishal Giri (24), are brothers who passed out together from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) on Saturday. Their father is a Subedar in the Army. “My uncle died in the Kargil war and that inspired me to join the Army. It isn’t about death. The Indian Army is all about honour and integrity,” said Lieutenant Vishal Giri after his epaulette was adorned with two stars post the passing out parade.

Rachit Pande (23), who graduated in Chemistry, reiterated that living up to the tradition of the Indian Army even at the cost of his life was his goal. “My father is a Colonel in the Army but that did not inspire me to join the Army,” Lieutenant Pande said.

With 617 Gentleman Cadets (GCs) crossing the portals of the Chetwode building on Saturday, the number of officers who have passed out of the IMA since its inauguration in 1932 reached 54,188.

Of the GCs who passed out, the highest — 105 — were from Uttar Pradesh. This was followed by 80 from Haryana, and 46 from Uttarakhand.

So far, a total of 1,614 Foreign Gentleman Cadets (FGCs) have passed out from the IMA, of whom 71 FGCs participated in Saturday’s passing out parade.

Of this year’s FGCs, 52 were from Afghanistan and the remaining 19 FGCs were from the friendly foreign countries of Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Nepal, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan.

The number of FGCs from Afghanistan has increased in the last two years with the increase in the number of seats for Afghans in the IMA and the National Defence Academy (NDA).

Sixteen senior officers from the Afghan Army, some of whom were accompanied by their families, witnessed the parade. These officers were trained at the IMA between 1974 and 1982. The officers said it gave them a great sense of pride to return to the land which helped Afghanistan and continued to do so.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who was the Reviewing Officer at the parade, commended the GCs for maintaining ‘high discipline standards.’

“We are a peace loving nation,” Mr. Antony said. He said no one should perceive this as a sign of weakness.

Mr. Antony congratulated the Army for showing unprecedented valour while handling the catastrophe that struck Uttarakhand in June this year. “I would like to congratulate all the officers and men of the Indian Army and the Armed Forces for the exemplary courage shown during the unprecedented calamity in the State of Uttarakhand.”

The Sword of Honour was awarded to Akshat Joshi for best all-round performance. He was also awarded the Silver Medal for standing second in the Regular Course.

A resident of Chandigarh, Lieutenant Joshi is the first in his family to be in the Indian Army. “Had I to choose between the Army and my family, I would always choose the Army and my parents would want me to do the same,” he said.

Lieutenant Joshi said what most of the Army officers would do was to live by Chetwode’s motto according to which safety, honour, and welfare of one’s country came before everything else.

Kamlesh Mani was awarded the Gold Medal and Vicky Duhoon was awarded the Bronze for standing first and third, respectively, in the Regular Course.

The Silver Medal for standing first in the Technical Entry Scheme Course was awarded to Ashwin Nagpal and the Silver Medal for topping the Technical Graduate Course was awarded to Ratan Singh.

Bhutan’s Kuenga bagged the Silver Medal for the best all-round performanceamong FGCs.

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