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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

From Today's Papers - 02 Jul 2014

 Sikh Regiment gets a new battalion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
The strength of the Sikh Regiment went up a notch when its battalion, 23 Sikh, was formally raised at the Sikh Regimental Centre in Ramgarh today. This takes the strength of the regiment to 19 regular infantry battalions and three Territorial Army battalions.

To commemorate the event, the Tricolour and the Regimental Flag were hoisted by Lt Gen GS Shergill, Colonel of the Sikh Regiment and Col Deepak Sharma, the new battalion’s commanding officer, at the Quarterguard where all ranks pledged their loyalty, devotion, sweat and blood to the nation and the regiment and affirmed their commitment to uphold traditions and values of the regiment.

A special sainik sammelan was also addressed by Lt Gen Shergill, where he congratulated all ranks of the valiant ‘Khalsas’ on the new raising and exhorted them to be a happy, motivated and cohesive fraternity and live up to the glorious legacy of the Army and the Sikh Regiment.

One of the highest decorated regiments of the Army with 73 Battle Honours, 38 Theatre Honours, two Param Vir Chakra, 14 Victoria Cross, two Ashok Chakra and 14 Maha Vir Chakra, the official history of the Sikh Regiment dates back to 1846 when the 11 Sikh Regiment was raised by the British. The regiment’s first battalion is now the Fourth Battalion of the Mechanised Infantry.
 Accession of J&K, a constitutional view
Adarsh Sein Anand

THE Indian native States, of which the State of Jammu and Kashmir was one, were those areas in the Indian subcontinent which were for internal purposes outside the administrative, legislative and judicial sphere of the British Indian Government. Each such State had a hereditary ruler, who, subject to the paramountcy of the British Crown, exercised, with some exceptions, unlimited power over the States ruled by them. These native States covered more than half the area of the Indian subcontinent and were referred to as Indian India. The other part of India comprising the provinces and certain other areas was referred to as British India. The rulers of the native States were sovereign, subject to the paramountcy of the British Crown.
The aftermath of the Second World War and the assumption of power by a Labour Ministry in England brought about a change in the British policy towards India. The delegation popularly known as “Cabinet Mission” arrived in India on March 23, 1946. On May 25, 1946, the Cabinet Mission circulated a memorandum dated May 12, 1946, in regard to the native States. In this memorandum the Mission affirmed that on the withdrawal of British Government from India, the rights of the States which flowed from their relationship with the Crown would no longer be possible to exist and the rights surrendered by the States to the paramount power would revert to the rulers of those States when the two new dominions of India and Pakistan are created.

The Cabinet Mission, however, advised the rulers of the native States to enter into negotiations with the successor government or governments and evolve a scheme of the precise form of their relationship. On February 20, 1947, the British Government announced that independence would be granted to British India. This was followed by another statement on June 3, 1947, setting out its plan for the transfer of power: “His Majesty’s Government wish to make it clear that the decisions announced above [about Partition] relate only to British India and that their policy towards Indian States contained in the Cabinet Mission Memorandum of 12.5.1946, (Cmd. 6835) remains unchanged.”

Thus, it would be seen that on the withdrawal of paramountcy, the princely States were to become independent.

Chamber of Princes

Lord Mountbatten, as the Crown representative, addressed the Chamber of Princes on July 25, 1947. He advised the princes and their representatives that although legally they had become independent, they should accede to one or the other dominion. Lord Mountbatten told the Chamber of Princes that accession of the State to either of the dominions was to be under the Cabinet Mission Memorandum of May 16, 1947, which contemplated surrender to the dominion of three subjects, namely, defence, external affairs and communications. Lord Mountbatten also caused to be circulated for discussion a Draft Instrument of Accession, which explicitly provided for surrender to the appropriate dominion the power over the three specified subjects and stated that the dominion would have no authority over the internal autonomy of the State. A State could accede to either dominion by executing an instrument of accession signed by the ruler and accepted by the Governor-General of the dominion concerned. The decision whether to accede or not and to which dominion were in the exclusive right and discretion of the Ruler. In the Indian dominion the accession was to be made under Section 6 of the Government of India Act, 1935, as adopted by Section 9 of the Indian Independence Act, 1947.

Three options

On August 15, 1947, India became independent. In accordance with the Cabinet Mission plan of May 1946 following the creation of the dominions of India and Pakistan, Kashmir bordering on both India and Pakistan had, like any other native State, three alternatives, viz., to assert complete independence, to accede to Pakistan or accede to India. Power to take the decision vested exclusively in the ruler according to the British Government’s declared policy.

Dawn, the Muslim League’s official organ, wrote on August 24, 1947, “The time has come to tell the Maharaja of Kashmir that he must make his choice and choose Pakistan”. Should Kashmir fail to join Pakistan, “the gravest possible trouble would inevitably ensue”. This threat alarmed the Maharaja of Kashmir. Looking at the upsurge in the State, Sheikh Abdullah, who was in jail, was released on September 29, 1947. On October 20, 1947, a large column of several thousand tribesmen armed with “bren guns, machine guns, mortars and flame throwers” attacked the frontiers of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. “Srinagar trembled before the danger of the tribesmen’s invasion.”

The tribal invasion caused grave devastation in the State. The indecision of Maharaja Hari Singh gave place to deep-seated alarm and concern for his personal safety. On October 25, 1947, the Maharaja appointed Sheikh Abdullah as the emergency administrator. The raiders were fast approaching Srinagar, looting whatever came their way. The State was in imminent peril. Sheikh Abdullah advised the Maharaja that if the State was to be saved, he must accede to India and ask for immediate military help. This advice paved the way for accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India. The Maharaja also found no other alternative and addressed a letter to Lord Mountbatten, the Governor General of India, stating: “I have to inform your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request the immediate assistance of your Government. As your Excellency is aware, the State of Jammu & Kashmir has not acceded to either the dominion of India or Pakistan. Geographically my State is contiguous with both of them. Besides, my State has a common boundary with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic and with China. In their external relations the dominions of India and Pakistan cannot ignore this fact. I wanted to take time to decide to which dominion I should accede or whether it is not in the best interest of both the dominions and my State to stand independent, of course with friendly relations with both.”

After giving an account of the tribal invasion, the letter continued: “With the conditions obtaining at present in my State and the great emergency of the situation as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian dominion. Naturally, they cannot send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to the dominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so and I attach the Instrument of Accession for acceptance by your Government.”

Attached to the letter was an Instrument of Accession duly executed and signed by the Ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh.

Lord Mountbatten, the Governor-General of India, indicated his acceptance in the following words: “I do hereby accept this Instrument of Accession. Dated this twenty-seventh day of October Ninteen Hundred and Forty-Seven.”

The execution of the Instrument of Accession by the Maharaja and its acceptance by the Governor-General finally settled the issue of accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It was similar to the one executed by the rulers of other States.

Framing of the Constitution

The internal administration of the State was being governed by the Jammu & Kashmir Constitution Act, 1939. On March 5, 1948, Sir Hari Singh issued a proclamation inter alia stating: “…My Council of Ministers shall take appropriate steps, as soon as restoration of normal conditions have been completed, to convene a National Assembly based upon adult suffrage, having due regard to the principle that the number of representatives from each voting area should, as far as practicable, be proportionate to the population of that area.

“The Constitution to be framed by the National Assembly shall provide adequate safeguards for the minorities and contain appropriate provisions guaranteeing freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

“The National Assembly shall, as soon as the work of framing the new constitution is completed, submit it through the Council of Ministers for my acceptance.”

This proclamation was followed by yet another proclamation of June 20, 1949, issued by Maharaja Hari Singh:

“Now, therefore, I hereby direct and declare all powers and functions whether legislative, executive or judicial which are exercisable by me in relation to the State and its government including in particular my right and prerogative of making laws, of issuing proclamations, orders and ordinances, or remitting, commuting or reducing sentences and of pardoning offenders, shall during the period of my absence from the State be exercisable by Yuvraj Karan Singh Bahadur.”

Constituent Assembly

On May 1, 1951, Yuvraj Karan Singh issued a proclamation which inter alia contained the following directions:

* A Constituent Assembly consisting of representatives of the people, elected on the basis of adult franchise, shall be constituted forthwith for the purposes of framing a Constitution for the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

* The Vote at election shall be direct and [by] secret ballot.

The Constitution Assembly was invested with the authority to frame the Constitution for the State and to decide its future.

“Today is our day of destiny. A day which comes only once in the life of a nation… after centuries we have reached the harbour of our freedom which for the first time in history will enable the people of Jammu & Kashmir, whose duly elected representatives are gathered here, to shape the future of their country after wise deliberation and mould their future organs of the Government. No person and no power can stand between them and the fulfilment of this their historic task…,” declared Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah in his inaugural address to the Constituent Assembly and added that the Assembly shall give “its reasoned conclusions regarding accession”.

The Constituent Assembly which was convened on the basis of adult suffrage comprising the representatives of the people of the State and which represented the people of the entire State in unequivocal terms ratified the State’s accession to India, through a well-considered resolution of the Constituent Assembly on February 15, 1954. In the 12th session of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir held from September 29, 1956, to November 19, 1956, the drafting committee on October 10, 1956, presented the draft Constitution. After detailed discussions the Constitution was approved and adopted on November 17, 1956. Sections 1 to 8 and 158, which deal with the State territory, permanent residents, and the relationship of the State with the Union of India, came into force at once. The remaining sections came into force on January 26, 1957, referred to as the commencement of the Constitution.

The Preamble to the Constitution of Kashmir reads: “We, the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, having solemnly resolved, in pursuance of the accession of this State to India which took place on the twenty-sixth day of October, 1947, to further define the existing relationship of the State with the Union of India as an integral part thereof, and to secure to ourselves JUSTICE, social, economic and political;/ LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;/ EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among us all;/ FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the Nation./ In our Constituent Assembly this seventeenth day of November, 1956, do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.”


The people of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, thus, finally settled the controversy regarding accession through the Constituent Assembly comprising their elected representatives. No one, not even the worst critic, has ever doubted the representative nature of the Constituent Assembly. Self-determination is a one-time slot — the people of the State took a final decision and, therefore, the question of any further “self-determination” does not arise either legally or morally.

The ‘wishes’ of the people of J&K have been duly ascertained through the duly elected Constituent Assembly. The State’s accession, therefore, cannot any longer be questioned. The 1954 resolution of the Constituent Assembly was followed by incorporation of Section 3 in the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir which reads: “The State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.” The use of the expression “is and shall be” is significant. It talks both of the past and the future relationship of the State with the Union of India. This section is in affirmation and reiteration of the desire of the people of the State to be an integral part of India. It has been put beyond the powers of the State Legislature to amend by virtue of the mandate of Section 147 of the Constitution. This provision was apparently incorporated in order to “avoid and fissiparous tendencies raising their ugly heads in the future”.

Thus, in conclusion, it can be said without any reservation that the Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State to India on October 26, 1947, is legally sound, constitutionally binding, irrevocable and final.

The Tribune National Security Forum

The Tribune National Security Forum series on matters of national interest examines the controversy over the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India and Article 370. The first in a two-part analysis by a former Chief Justice of India looks at the circumstances and processes that led to the accession.

Irrevocable accession

* The execution of the Instrument of Accession by the Maharaja and its acceptance by the Governor-General finally settled the issue of accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

* The Constitution Assembly was invested with the authority to frame the Constitution for the State and to decide its future.

* Self-determination is a one-time slot — the people of the State took a final decision and, therefore, the question of any further “self-determination” does not arise either legally or morally.

— The writer is a former Chief Justice of India;  former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission; and former Chief Justice of the J&K High Court.
Army Chief Heads to China in Key Confidence Building Measure
Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh leaves for China late tonight as part of the new emphasis on increased military-to-military contact between the armed forces of the two countries. An Indian Army Chief is visiting China after nine years. (Also Read: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Urges Government to Act on China Map Issue)

Gen Singh is scheduled to meet the Chinese Vice President. More importantly, he will hold one-on-one meetings with the Vice Chairman of the all-powerful Central Military Commission and the Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army. (Chinese Troops Make Bids to Enter Indian Waters in Ladakh: Reports)

The Indian Army Chief will also address China's National Defence University.

The three-day visit is part of a plan for Confidence Building Measures or CBMs drawn up earlier this year by the two neighbours, who treat each other warily, not the least because of their long-standing border dispute. According to the plan, 10 Chinese and nine Indian military delegations are to visit each other throughout this year. (India Flags Concerns to China over Rail Link Through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir)

A Chinese PLA delegation led by one of its top military leaders, the deputy chief of general staff (operations)  Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, visited India in April this year and a team from  the Indian Army's Eastern Command is scheduled to visit the Lanzhou Military Area Command in Gansu Province.later this year. (China Fetes India, Myanmar, Says Beijing Poses No Threat)

Also this week, for the first time, a Chinese military-media delegation will be in India to hold talks with the Indian Defence Ministry's media and publicity wing.

During the April visit of the high-level Chinese delegation, India and China earmarked four locations along their contested border for holding emergency meetings to quickly resolve possible standoffs and intrusions of the kind witnessed recently, which have led to tension at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as the unsettled border between the two countries is known. (With Eye on China, Modi Government to Fast-Track Border Roads)

Last year, a group of Chinese soldiers intruded deep into Indian territory in the Depsang plains of Ladakh and camped for over a fortnight, leading to heightened diplomatic and border tension. (Army Chief Briefs PM Modi on Situation Along Line of Control, India's Border With China)

New Delhi and Beijing decided to pursue the CBMs after their prime minsters signed of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement in October 2013.

The plan to increase the frequency of military-to-military contacts will get a further boost when a two-year plan to post Indian Naval and an Air Force Attaches is implemented by end-2014. So far only an Indian Army Colonel and a Lt Col were posted in the Indian Embassy in Beijing.
New Indian Govt. Eases Standards on Company Blacklisting
India’s newly elected government will not cancel defense contracts or blacklist overseas defense companies until charges leveled against them are proved by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a Defence Ministry source said.

That decision came in the form of a directive from Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley during a recent meeting of senior MoD officials.

Between 2005 and 2009, the ousted United Progressive Alliance government had barred Singapore Technologies Kinetics, Israel Military Industries (IMI), Zurich-based Rheinmetall Air Defense, Corporation Defense Russia and South African company Denel from doing defense business in India for the next 10 years.

While the CBI recommended barring these companies, none of the charges that they received kickbacks have been proved.

Even the chiefs of the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy who had met Jaitley criticized the blanket blacklisting and cancellation of orders of some overseas defense companies, the MoD source added.

In addition to blacklisting, outgoing Defence Minister A.K. Antony had sent about 100 complaints to the investigating agencies.

A majority of the charges against overseas defense companies were leveled by competitors during the procurement process, and Antony would halt the entire program and forward the complaints to the investigating agencies, the MoD source said.

“There will be no immediate impact on any ongoing weapons procurement program due to the directive by the new government not to rush to blacklist overseas defense companies,” said Nitin Mehta, a defense analyst based here.

A New Delhi-based executive of an overseas defense company said that “overseas companies are greatly relieved from the threat of being blacklisted.”

The MoD is identifying measures that can be initiated in the next few months to remove bottlenecks in weapon procurement and boost defense preparedness. The exercise is being undertaken by the ministry at the directive of the prime minister’s office, the source added.

In addition to the decision about blacklisting companies, the MoD is considering what kind of inducements to offer — possibly in the form of tax incentives — to encourage overseas defense companies to bring sophisticated technology into tie-ups with domestic defense companies, the sources said.

The prime minister’s office has also asked the MoD to make a list of defense projects that have been pending for more than five years.

Blacklisting has contributed to shortages of ammunition and affected the purchase of a variety of howitzers.

In 2009, IMI won a $300 million contract to build a chain of ordnance factories in the state of Bihar to manufacture ammunition for Bofors 155mm guns — until blacklisting halted the program.

The blacklisting of Rheinmetall led to cancellation of the tender for wheeled 155mm/52 caliber guns for Indian Army artillery, in which Konstrukta of Slovakia and Rheinmetall of Germany were competing.

In 2005, the blacklisting of Denel on charges of paying bribes and kickbacks ended India’s tender to purchase 155mm/52 caliber towed guns. Denel had been the front runner.
Pakistan violates ceasefire on LoC in Kashmir

Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing at Indian positions late Monday night on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district.

Defence spokesman Colonel Manish Mehta told IANS in Jammu: "Pakistan army used small arms and automatic weapons to target our positions in Mendhar sector of the LoC late yesterday (Monday).

"The firing started from the Pakistan side at 11.35 p.m. yesterday (Monday). Our troops responded to the Pakistani fire using same calibre weapons.

"The firing exchanges continued in the area till 12 a.m. There was no casualty or damage on our side".

Pakistan troops have been violating the bilateral ceasefire agreement signed between the two countries in November 2003.

Indian army and the intelligence agencies accuse Pakistan of resorting to ceasefire violations to facilitate infiltration of armed guerrillas into Jammu and Kashmir.

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