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Friday, 18 July 2014

From Today's Papers - 18 Jul 2014

1962 and the truth behind it
 The Defence Minister should declassify the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report on the India-China war. This will add to the Government’s credibility and assure the nation that the Army is prepared for any threat on the northern border

Following the humiliating defeat of India in the 1962 war against China, the Army Headquarters instituted an operational review. On December 14 that year, Lieutenant General Henderson Brooks, who was to be assisted by Brigadier PS Bhagat, was ordered to inquire into what went wrong with training, equipment, the system of command, the physical fitness of troops and the capacity of commanders at all levels. The inquiry was restricted to a review of Indian Army operational functions and command failures.

The Henderson Brooks-Bhagat committee submitted its report, in April 1963. During the conduct of the inquiry, YB Chavan, then Union Minister for Defence, was apprehensive that the committee may cast aspersions on role of the Prime Minister or the former Defence Minister.  However, the sources say that this report did review the events which led the debacle and politico-military relations prior to the war.

On September 2, 1963, purportedly after reviewing the report, Chavan castigated the Army in Parliament and surmised that Indian losses were the result of poor military leadership and high-level interferences in tactical operations. Other reasons listed for the Indian defeat included: Unpreparedness of the troops for mountain warfare and unfamiliarity with Chinese tactics, equipment shortages during training and combat, difficulties in mountain communications, inadequate military intelligence, the unexpectedness of the Chinese assault and the numerical superiority of the Chinese forces.

But the Defence Minister failed to recognise the heroic battles fought in the Walong and Chusul sectors. For example, C Company of 13 Kumaon, led by Major Shaitan Singh, fought to the last man and last round at Razangla at 1,600 feet, before being overwhelmed. Of the 123 jawans, 114 were killed, including the company commander. This was a battle which has no parallel in the annals of modern military history.

In April 2010, then Defence Minister AK Antony told Parliament that the report could not be declassified because its contents “are not only extremely sensitive and are of current operational value”. Are we once again lacking in our preparations on our northern frontiers? During the election campaign, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad of the BJP had called for declassification of the report. Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley had gone a step further to say that public interest demanded that the top-secret document not remain in the Government’s vault indefinitely.   But having become the Minister of Defence now, Mr Jaitley has changed his mind.

Some say that the reason behind Mr Jaitley’s u-turn is advice from the Army, which does not want the report to be declassified. But why should the Army not want the report to be declassified given that it has already faced the flak of the then Defence Minister in 1963? Moreover, there are volumes written on this subject, including declassified Central Intelligence Agency papers, that make clear different aspects of military and political infirmities, thereby belaying claims of secrecy.

The main cause of India’s defeat at China’s hand was Jawaharlal Nehru’s faith in India-China friendship, despite indications to the contrary. When General KM Cariappa brought to the his notice in early 1951 that some Chinese troops were apprehended with maps showing parts of the North East Frontier Agency as part of China, he retorted, “It is not for the Army to decide who the nation’s likely enemies would be.”

Talking about the Army’s preparedness, Lieutenant General KS Thimayya, while handing over his resignation to Nehru following differences with the Defence Minister  Krishna Menon said, “With the present state of the Army, I can hardly assure success. We are not prepared. All my efforts — as also of others — have failed for the past 24 to 30 months to make the Armed Forces a viable defence force. So let someone else do the job — I request my resignation be kindly accepted.” Nehru persuaded him to withdraw his resignation, but nothing was done on Gen Thimayya’s recommendations.

To assess the Chinese threat, then Chief of the Eastern Command Lt Gen SPP Thorat held an exercise, code named ‘Lal Quila’, in Lucknow, in March 1960. It was attended by all Principal Staff Officers from the Army HQ. It was clearly brought out that, with the troops, weapons and equipment available at that time, a Chinese attack could not be contained or defeated, and the ‘forward policy’, advocated by the Defence Minister and General Officer commanding the North East, Lt Gen BM Kaul, was not practical.

But Lt Gen Kaul differed with the assessment of Lt Gen SPP Thorat. Defence Minister Menon even called Lt Gen Thorat a warmonger, and never sent the Lal Quila report to the Prime Minister. Later, during a discussion on ‘forward policy’ at the Prime Minister’s Office, Intelligence czar BM Mullick, who had close links with the CIA, opined that the Chinese would not react. His views were unequivocally accepted.

In May 1961, when Lt Gen Thimayya retired, Lt Gen Thorat was not promoted. Instead General PN Thapar was appointed as the Army chief and Lt Gen Kaul as the Chief of General Staff.  Both were pliant and backed the ill-fated ‘forward policy’. In the aftermath of the humiliating defeat, the duo, along with Menon, resigned in ignominy.
Reliance think-tank advises Modi govt: Involve private sector in defence manufacturing in big way
Close on heels of the Government of India’s controversial decision to raise the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in defence sector to 49 per cent, the powerful Reliance Industries Ltd’s New Delhi-based think-tank has asked the Modi establishment to make “a critical doctrinal shift in the country’s approach to national security”: transform the Indian defence sector by “encouraging the large-scale entry of the private sector into the defence research and development and industrial sectors.” And for this, it indicates, there is an urgent need to increase the country’s defence budget, which is allegedly very low.
The top think-tank, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), in its latest report titled “Rebalance and Reform”, authored by well-known policy experts C Raja Mohan, Manoj Joshi, Ashok Malik and Samir Saran, reminds the Modi government that the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in consultation with the Ministry of Defence has already taken the first step in identifying “areas for private sector involvement in production of defence hardware such as radars, armoured combat vehicles, warships, electronic warfare and aircraft.”
Pointing out that right now the “private sector involvement has been restricted to small-value defence contracts and supply of low-tech equipment”, the think-tank suggests that the Modi government should not restrict to 49 per cent FDI in defence. “The government should encourage greater FDI in the defence sector and ensure that India’s defence production becomes commercially viable, with the country becoming a net exporter and entering global supply chains for defence weapons and systems”, it insists.
The think-tank further says, “The government should establish a Defence Research, Technology and Industry Commission comprising of top defence bureaucrats and private sector leaders to encourage public-private partnership across the spectrum in the area of defence.” It adds, “In particular, public-private partnerships for research on transformative and emergent technologies should be encouraged.”
And for this, it favours India is in a unique position to cement its place as a global player in the defence sector. Pointing out that “India must have a strong and decisive leadership at the helm of the Ministry of Defence”, the think-tank wants the government to revive what Jawaharlal Nehru had abolished long time back in order to keep supremacy of democratic establishment over a centralized defence establishment.
It says, “The government should appoint a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to assume charge of the Integrated Defence Staff headquarters. The CDS would head the tri-service institutions such as the Strategic Forces Command and the Andaman & Nicobar Command. He would be in charge of coordination and prioritisation involved in writing the armed forces Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) and the five year plans”.
It further says, “He would lead the shift of the country’s armed forces to the concept of theatre commands and take charge of any out-of-area contingencies. The CDS would be the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and hence be the principal military adviser to the government”.
All this is important, the think-tank believes, because India is “today is confronted by a host of new security challenges”. While “some of these challenges lie in new domains, such as space and cyberspace”, others follow as a result of “new dynamics … within the domain of traditional security challenges, such as terror outfits operating in the country or the spreading Left-Wing Extremism (LWE).”
Declaring that “the Indian security apparatus is not adequately equipped to deal with these challenges effectively”, the report states, “The process of modernising and equipping of the armed forces and police has not progressed at the desired level.” It believes, “Ineffective management has led to the Air Force numbers declining significantly, the Navy suffering from a shortage of ships and submarines and obsolete weaponry for the Army. “ It would also strengthen India’s “position among the global powers”.
If all this happens, the think-tank indicates, “the government would be able to “fast track the delayed ongoing projects and acquisition plans of the three Services, such as the LCA Tejas, the Scorpene submarine, the IAC II aircraft carrier, the nuclear powered attack submarines; the modernisation requirements of the army such as battlefield management systems, night-fighting capabilities, enhanced firepower; and the deeper integration of technology in modern warfare.”
Only then would it be possible to fight LWE, which “continues to be the country’s biggest internal security challenge”, the think-tank says, reminding the government, “Nearly one-third of the country’s territories are affected by LWE, causing huge loss to the economy and compromising its service delivery machinery.”
It adds, “Security efforts need further reinforcement in terms of better coordination among states and the Centre and improved intelligence and policing. Developing a comprehensive surrender package is also the need of hour to neutralise threats from LWE.”
Armed forces' doctors: Bond for early quitting raised
The government spends some Rs.1.7 crore (Rs 17 million) on training an armed forces' doctor. With many of them quitting before serving the mandatory 20 years, the severance bond for doing so has been raised to Rs.25 lakh (Rs 2.5 million), with the amount rising to Rs.30 lakh (Rs 3 million) for those who have done specialised courses.

The bond will be further enhanced by Rs.1 lakh (Rs 100,000) per year for next five years, the defence ministry official said.

With the armed forces already facing a 12 percent shortage of medical professionals, 21 doctors have so far quit the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) in 2014, up from the 19 who quit in 2013.

Between 2007 and 2014, so far, 1,347 doctors were commissioned, while 153 quit.

All those who quit have paid the requisite severance bond, hitherto Rs.15 lakh for undergraduates, Rs.5 lakh for postgraduates from a civilian background and Rs.15 Lakh for post graduates with an AFMS background.

In 2003-04, the bond amount was raised from Rs.3 lakh to Rs.15 lakh after 27 medical graduates quit before the stipulated time.

Starting from the 2014 academic year, a doctor who has done his MBBS (undergraduate) or MD (postgraduate) from the AMFS will have to to pay Rs.25 lakh for leaving the service before completing his stipulated time.

Doctors who have done super specialty courses would have to pay Rs.30 lakh for quitting prematurely.

"The increase in bond money may help in bringing down the attrition. While some doctors feel they have a better future outside the forces, over last few years, especially after the Sixth Pay Commission, there has been some change in attitude," the defence ministry official said.

"The high stress environment is one of the major reason doctors leave, but the forces spend a great deal of money in training doctors. Adding to that, the quality of training is much better than most other civilian colleges. Therefore, retaining our doctors is important," the official added.

"The lure of self employment, a higher-paying private sector with stability in terms of no routine transfers and better prospects for the family in civilian areas are some of the factors we feel are taking the doctors away," the official said, adding: "There are more patients in army hospitals, lesser facilities, and longer working hours."

At the same time, "we are proud of our doctors who face all odds to serve the nation", the official noted.

AFMS is a tri-services organization that functions under the defence ministry. It has 5,800 doctors and 620 dentists to cater to 13.25 lakh serving armed forces personnel. It oversees the functioning of hospitals of all three services, and is one of the critical logistics arms of the armed forces in both war and peace.

There are nearly 133 military hospitals -- 111 of the Indian Army, 10 of the Indian Navy and 12 of the Indian Air Force -- across the country under the AFMS, along with 90 field hospitals.
7 killed, 2 injured as Indian army crane truck rams into cab
Srinagar: Seven persons were killed and two others injured Wednesday morning when an Indian Army crane truck part of convoy rammed into a Tavara vehicle at HMT in outskirts of Srinagar city, official sources and eyewitnesses said.

They told GNS that nine persons were injured critically after an army Crane truck bearing registration number 01P013859W of 51 RR hit the Tavera vehicle (JK01P-1464) near Noora Hospital at HMT. The crane truck was part of army convoy and was travelling from Srinagar-Baramulla while as the civilian vehicle was on way from Sopore to Srinagar.

All the injured were shifted to hospital where three persons succumbed to injuries on way to hospital and four others passed away after being admitted.

Mohammed Rafiq Antoo son of Ghulam Mohammad of Dugliteng, Baramulla, Ghulam Nabi Dar son of Mohammad Ismaiel of Kranshoo Colony, Sopore, Ghulam Hassan Bhat (driver) son of Abdul Samad of Dangarpora in Baramulla, Naseer Ahmad Mir son of Mohammad Jamal of Mumkak, Sopore, Pir Mohammed Syed from son of Pir Sharif-ud-Din of Ashpir, Sopore, Mohammad Ramzan son of Ghulam Nabi of Sopore and a woman Zareefa wife of Ashiq Hussain of Diver Pattan. The husband of Zareefa, Ashiq Hussain and Sheikh Zaid son of Abdul Qayoom of Naseem Bagh, Sopore who also got injured in the mishap has been admitted in SKIMS Soura.

The condition of both the persons is said to be critical, they said.
Soon after the accident, the locals stage massive anti-army protests and clashed with police.

They said that the youth tried to set the crane truck on fire and thrashed the driver of the crane truck; however, the army soldiers fired few shots in air to disperse the angry protesters.
The contingents of army immediately reached to the spot and rescued the driver identified as Hawaldar Krishan Singh and the crane truck

“The youth later pelted stones on forces and in the meantime police reached to the spot and fired teargas shells to disperse the youth.

Reports said that two more persons who were received minor injuries during protests were admitted in Noora hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, when the news of mishap spread in the native places if the deceased passengers, hundreds of people took to streets and staged anti-army demonstrations.

Reports of stone pelting clashes were also received from several places at Sopore town following the killing of seven persons in road mishap. Among the deceased four persons belonged to Sopore Township.

Army regrets

Army’s Srinagar based defence spokesman in a statement issued to GNS said that an unfortunate accident involving a Tavera and an Army Recovery vehicle occurred at Lawepura village on the National Highway resulting in three fatal and two non-fatal casualties.

Army regrets the unfortunate loss of lives and conveys deepest condolences to the families. The accident is under investigation and all possible assistance will be provided to the Police in their inquiry.

Police files FIR, seizes army vehicle

‘Situation under control’

A police official told GNS that today in the forenoon an unfortunate road accident occurred at Parimpora due to head on collision between an Army recovery Van and a Tavera passenger vehicle. “Seven passengers have died and two more got injured who have been hospitalized”.

The driver of the vehicle Hawaldar Krishan Singh has been arrested and the crane truck was seized, the official said, adding that a case under FIR no. 139/2014 under section 279, 337, 304 A RPC has been registered in Police Station Parimpora and investigation into the matter has been taken up. In aftermath accident there was some minor law and order situation which has been brought under control, the official said. (GNS)

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