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Thursday, 15 January 2015

From Today's Papers - 15 Jan 2015

DRDO chief’s ouster: Parrikar against contract appointments
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 14
While Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today downplayed the unceremonious ouster of Dr Avinash Chander as chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), two distinct possibilities seemed to have worked against Dr Chander that led to his removal.

The first is the issue of him being appointed on a “contract basis”, as raised by Parrikar today, while the second is the mystery surrounding a reply by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to a petition filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Parrikar today said: “Such senior positions should not be on contract. There are so many eligible persons, we will find someone good from the DRDO, the senior-most person of a cluster head (a kind of regional chief) will head the organisation”.

He maintained Dr Chander’s tenure had ended in November last and was extended on a contractual basis by the previous government. Dr Chander, when asked if he was hurt at the sudden move, today told The Tribune: “I have no comments to offer”. He had yesterday said he was not informed prior to his removal. The Department of Personnel has no specifications or rules to appoint, or not to appoint, a Secretary to the Government of India on a “contract basis”.

On Tuesday, AS Kiran Kumar was appointed the Secretary of the Department of Space as also Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Space Commission. The Department of Space is under the Prime Minister. According to the order issued by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, he is being re-employed on a “contract basis”. A source said Parrikar did not want a person on “contract” in the DRDO, but there was no such binding policy on appointments on contract.

Another source pointed to a parliamentary question in Rajya Sabha on September 6, 2012 in which the Minister of Personnel V Narayanasamy, had replied “there is no policy formulation for appointing the Secretaries in Union Ministries and Departments on contract”.
As the minister today defended the action, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) while replying to an RTI petition in December had added to the mystery.
It had replied to a Dehradun-based individual, Prabhu Dandriyal, saying “this office has received three complaints against Dr Chander and a copy was sent to the Cabinet Secretary for appropriate action on May 23, 2013”. Notably, this was even before Dr Chander was appointed for a period of three years on May 31, 2013.
Dr Chander, who is part of the Agni-V nuclear missile project, was removed yesterday though his contract was valid for 16 more months. Besides heading the DRDO, Dr Chander is Secretary, Defence Research and Development, and also the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister. He had retired on November 30 on attaining 64 years of age and was given a contract for 18 months till 31 May next year.
LeT militant killed in Valley gunfight
Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, January 14
A Pakistani Lashkar-e-Toiba militant was killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir Sopore town on Wednesday.

The exchange of fire broke out in Sopore, 50 km from here, after security men cordoned off Sofi Hamam locality late last night when the presence of Lashkar militant was detected in a residential area.

While the Army identified the slain militant as Abu Sufiyaz of Lashkar, the police said that slain militant was working under the name of Assadullah. “Assadullah, a Pakistani national, was active in Lolab area of Kupwara district from last year and had recently shifted to Sopore,” said police. Army’s Rashtriya Rifles unit along with the Special Operation Group of J&K Police launched the operation late last night after information about the presence of a militant in Sofi Hamam. “The area was cordoned off preventing escape of terrorist. In the morning, a contact was established with the militant and in the ensuing gunfight he was killed,” the Srinagar-based defence spokesman said.
Reconciliation process driven by ISI
G Parthasarathy
Implications of American withdrawal from Afghanistan
American military interventions in recent times — be these in Vietnam, Somalia, Lebanon, Libya, or Iraq — have undermined regional stability and left deep scars on the body politic of these countries. The society and the body politic of America have felt the tremors of these misadventures. The American military intervention in Afghanistan, code-named “Operation Enduring Freedom”, commenced in the aftermath of 9/11. Its combat role ended 13 years later on December 31, 2014. The Americans tried to win “Operation Enduring Freedom” cheaply, outsourcing many operations to the erstwhile Northern Alliance. Adversaries comprising the Mullah Omar-led Afghan Taliban, Al-Qaida, thousands of Islamic radicals from the Arab world, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China’s Xinjiang province and ISI-linked Pakistani terrorist groups escaped across the Durand Line, to safe havens under ISI protection, in Pakistan.
The US has paid a heavy price for this folly. Some 2,200 of its soldiers were killed in combat, suffering heavy losses in the last four years after it became evident that it was pulling out.  As the US was winding down its military presence and transferring combat responsibilities to the Afghan National Army (ANA), an emboldened Taliban and its Chechen, Uzbek, Uighur and Turkmen allies have emerged from their Pakistani safe havens and moved northwards. In subsequent fighting 4,600 Afghan soldiers were killed in combat in 2014 alone.  The Afghan army cannot obviously afford such heavy casualties continuously, if morale is to be sustained. Its available tactical air support and air transport infrastructure are woefully inadequate. The Afghans do not have air assets which were available to the NATO forces.
Apart from what is happening in southern Afghanistan, Taliban-affiliated groups are now increasing their activities in northern Afghanistan, along its borders with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China's Xinjiang province. Afghanistan’s northern provinces like Kunduz, Faryab and Takhar have seen increased attacks by the Taliban allies, from Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. These Central Asian countries are getting increasingly concerned about the security situation along their borders.  American forces are scheduled to be halved in 2015 and reduced to a token presence, just sufficient to protect American diplomatic missions by the end of 2016. Not surprisingly, President Ashraf Ghani has asked the US to review its withdrawal schedule.
Afghanistan's southern provinces, bordering the disputed Durand Line with Pakistan, are increasingly ungovernable. Following Gen Raheel Sharif's assault on the Pashtuns in Pakistan's tribal areas, over one million Pashtun tribals have fled their homes in Pakistan, with an estimated 2,50,000 fleeing into neighbouring Afghanistan. If Mullah Omar, his Taliban associates and Sirajuddin Haqqani's terrorist outfit are finding safe havens in Pakistan, Mullah Fazlullah and his followers in the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) appear to have disappeared into the wilderness, in Afghanistan. Senator Kerry will likely secure a waiver on legislative requirements that Pakistan has stopped assistance to terrorist groups operating against Afghanistan and India, to enable the flow of American aid to Pakistan. The reality, however, is that even after the Peshawar massacre of schoolchildren, terrorist groups like the Haqqani network, Jaish e Mohammed and Lashkar e taiba receive safe haven and support in Pakistan.
Despite professed American understanding of a “change of heart” in Islamabad  and Rawalpindi, the reality remains that Mullah Omar is still leading the Afghan Taliban from a safe house in Karachi. The day-to-day conduct of operations in Afghanistan has reportedly been transferred by the ISI to one of his deputies, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour. The Taliban attacks within Afghanistan reached unprecedented levels in 2014. Moreover, while Washington proclaims that any process of “reconciliation” between the Taliban and the Afghan Government will be “Afghan led and Afghan driven,” the reality is that Rawalpindi will ensure that the entire “reconciliation” process will be controlled and driven by the ISI. China, now endorsed by the US as the new “Good Samaritan” to facilitate Afghan “reconciliation,” has maintained ISI-facilitated links with Mullah Omar’s Quetta Shura. Beijing will naturally endorse the wishes of its “all-weather friend,” Pakistan.
Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbours, which are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), to which India was recently admitted, can expect little from this organisation to deal effectively with their concerns, given the fact that China has been now joined by Pakistan as a member of the SCO. Given its growing economic woes and sanctions imposed by the US and its allies, Russia will have little choice, but to fall in line with China, though its special envoy Zamir Kabulov has expressed Moscow’s readiness to supply weapons to Kabul “when it will be necessary to supply them”. Past Russian policy has been to supply weapons to Kabul on strictly commercial terms.
Adding to the prevailing uncertainty is the fact that Afghanistan is today ruled not by the provisions of its Constitution, but by a patchwork coalition of two formerly implacable political foes, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. The political gridlock in Kabul is tight.  After the presidential elections, which were internationally regarded as neither free nor fair, the ruling duo, stitched together by Senator John Kerry, took months just to agree on the names of new ministers. India can obviously not countenance the return of an ISI-backed Taliban order in Afghanistan.  The US-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement envisages the possibility of a US military presence “until the end of 2024 and beyond.” Will it be realistic to expect a war-weary US and its NATO partners, now heavily focused on combating ISIL and radical groups across the Islamic world ranging from Iraq, Syria, Libya and Lebanon, to Somalia and Nigeria, to continue to bail out a politically unstable Afghanistan? Will the Americans and their allies continue providing Afghanistan adequate air support, weapons and financial assistance amounting to $5-10 billion annually?
These are realities we cannot gloss over. A thorough review of issues like safety and security of Indian nationals and our missions in Afghanistan, access and connectivity through Iran and completion of assistance projects like Salma Dam and Afghan Parliament, has to be undertaken.
India’s security apparatus far from satisfactory
Satish Chandra
The concept of national security is often defined in excessively narrow terms and taken to simply connote the preservation of territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state. Accordingly, the safeguarding of national security is felt to be largely dependent upon the state's military capabilities, the efficacy of its internal security system and its ability to forge effective diplomatic alliances designed to keep foes in check.
Such a limited construct of national security is clearly inadequate. It neither takes into account the innumerable additional factors impinging on national security, nor the new challenges of the 21st century such as globalisation, climate change, terrorism, cyber crime, proliferation, pandemics, etc.
Indeed, in a paper entitled “Redefining Security”, Richard H Ullman compellingly argues that defining national security primarily in military terms is dangerous as it causes states to “concentrate on military threats and ignore other, perhaps even more harmful, dangers. Thus, it reduces their total security”. A good example of the dangers of overly focusing on military muscle, at the cost of other aspects of nation building, is the breakup of the Soviet Union, which can, in part, be attributed to its huge defence spending during the Cold War. An even better example, closer home, is Pakistan’s single-minded focus on its military, to the neglect of other sectors of national life with obvious disastrous consequences.
One of the important additional factors critical to the preservation of national security is economic strength. This is essential not only for maintaining the coercive institutions of the state, but also the basic infrastructure such as roads, railways, telecommunications, energy and industrial systems, which constitute their backbone. It also enables the state to enhance its influence abroad.
Another critical component of a country’s national security is the well-being of its people. Taken in its broadest sense, well-being constitutes a powerful and effective vaccine against disaffection as well as a propellant for development and economic growth. Such well-being not only demands the availability of all basic economic requirements of life for the common man, but also that of good education, healthcare and employment in an environment conducive to the liberty of thought and expression, with the state ensuring the rule of law and good governance.
Clearly, national security — in our complex and interdependent world — must necessarily be viewed in a holistic and an all-encompassing manner. It requires the preservation of the independence, integrity and sovereignty of the state against external and internal adversaries; promotion of economic growth with equity, ensuring food, energy and water security, besides human development with particular emphasis on education, health, housing and sanitation; creation of a knowledge-based society with a focus on science and technology; deft management of multifaceted challenges like terrorism, proliferation and climate change, which are a feature of globalisation; provision of good governance, where the rule of law and the efficient delivery of services is assured in a non-discriminatory fashion; and effective institutional mechanisms to manage national security. In short, there is no facet of national life that does not impinge on national security. Underperformance in any area of national life inevitably impinges adversely on national security.
Such a holistic view of national security recognises that the determinant of security is not just the coercive elements in a state’s armoury, but its comprehensive national power. The latter is a composite of capabilities in many areas such as coercive institutions, science and technology, economy, manpower (both in terms of size and quality), infrastructure, governance, leadership, etc.
National security index
In order to assess how well-secured a nation is, as compared to its peers, it is necessary to develop a national security index that evaluates its comprehensive national power. In fact, such an exercise was undertaken in a preliminary fashion by the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) in 2001. The factors included for the assessment of comprehensive national power are size and intrinsic resources, human capital, scientific and technological capabilities, economic strength, military power and leadership quality. The results are not particularly flattering to India. It ranks 23rd among 30 countries. The top five countries are the US, Australia, China, Canada and Japan.
The holistic nature of national security demands that appropriate structures are in place for its oversight and for providing direction. Such structures were created in India in 1999 by way of the National Security Council system, comprising the National Security Council and other appropriate adjuncts by way of the National Security Adviser, NSCS, National Security Advisory Board and Strategic Policy Group.
It is unfortunate that though all adjuncts of the NSC, in particular the NSCS, exist solely for enhancing India's national security, and, indeed, dream, think and breathe security, the nation's performance in this area remains far from satisfactory. This may be attributed to apex-level lack of sensitivity to security, both in the political class and bureaucracy. This is reflected in the non-implementation of many recommendations contained in the Group of Ministers’ report on “Reforming the National Security System” that had been accepted by the Cabinet Committee of Security in May 2001, and the more recent recommendations on security-related issues by the Naresh Chandra Committee in 2012. It is also borne out by the fact that the NSCS — far from having been nurtured and strengthened as it was in the first few years of its existence — was allowed to atrophy inter alia through the introduction of multiple chains of command and a hiving off of some functions, resulting in severe staff depletion and loss in efficacy. Clearly, if we are serious about making India secure, the NSC system must be reinvigorated because it alone is specifically mandated to think holistically about national security and is equipped to provide across-the-board oversight in this regard.
Maritime security: Navy, Coast Guard get ID readers
New Delhi, January 14

Home Minister Rajnath Singh today gave away the first set of smart identity-checking scanners to the Chiefs of Navy and the Coast Guard which will be used by these maritime security agencies to check identity cards of residents of coastal areas.

Singh handed over separate Resident Identity Card (RIC) readers to Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan and Coast Guard Director General Vice-Admiral AG Thapliyal at an event in his North block office in the presence of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The scheme of preparing RICs for residents of coastal areas is being implemented by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, an office under the Union Home Ministry, and is aimed at strengthening coastal security measures in nine states and four UTs which have a sealine running along their borders. — PTI
Growing despite odds
The Army deserves the nation’s salute

The Indian Army has come a long way since 1949 when it got its first Indian General in Kodandera Madappa Cariappa as its Commander-in-Chief (subsequently renamed Chief of Army Staff in 1955) on this day 66 years ago. For the first 17 months immediately after Independence, the Indian Army was led by a British General. It was also during this period that the Army, headed by a British General, fought its first war — the 1947-48 Kashmir war. Exactly 15 days after the war ended, General Cariappa, the senior-most officer in the Army, was appointed to the top post. Since then the Army Day has been celebrated every January 15 in that honour.
The Indian Army has grown to be the world's third largest. It is also among the world's busiest and most experienced. The Army's long history of professional engagements ranges from fighting conventional wars with the two neighbours, China and Pakistan, fighting proxy wars and terrorism, participating in UN peace support operations, quelling riots to providing relief to the civilian population during natural disasters or situations arising from political and administrative mismanagement. Yet, all along, the Army along with the other services, has remained apolitical and unflinchingly subservient to civilian control and supremacy.
Over the years the Army has begun to face acute problems which pose a challenge to the country's security.  The Army faces major deficiencies in equipment ranging from bullet-proof jackets and rifles to big-ticket items such as artillery guns. Questionable progress made by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the country's premier defence body entrusted with developing core defence technology, has not helped and has rendered the Army (and the other services) hopelessly import dependent. Finally, the Army’s internal health is far from satisfactory. From officer shortages and questionable quality of officers to incidence of moral, financial and professional corruption, the Army is faced with a host of problems. While the Army must be lauded for its achievements and has every reason to celebrate, the government and the Army also must introspect and take corrective measures. The Army is too important an institution to ignore.
Get serious about defence manufacturing at home
Amitabh Kant
India can never be a secure nation till it does not grow at rapid rates of 9-10 per cent per annum, year after year, for the next three decades to be able to create jobs for its very young population. India has grown at this rate for a relatively short period, but it needs to do this for three decades. Manufacturing is a crucial issue and compels a very strong component of our GDP. Today, it is stagnant at around 16 per cent. It must go up to 25 per cent.
Other than manufacturing is how we manage our process of urbanisation; because in the next four decades, we are going to see 70 crore people move from rural areas to urban. Every minute, 30 Indians are moving away from rural areas. How we manage this in a planned, sustainable manner will be extremely critical for India. But when we touch on the aspect of defence manufacturing, we need to know that India is the world's largest importer of defence equipment. We import 70 per cent of our defence equipment. In the next several years, we will be importing close to $140 billion worth of equipment. In addition, we will be importing about $110 billion worth of homeland security equipment. These are the key challenges.
This government, after coming to power, has taken a series of measures to encourage domestic manufacturing in defence, one of which is key in terms of deregulating almost 55 per cent of the items on the defence category list. These have been removed and one can now go and manufacture after taking approval from the RBI. The challenges of deregulation and de-licensing have been undertaken by the government. Secondly, it has allowed the FDI to go up from 26 to 49 per cent; you can go up further to 100 per cent under certain conditions. One of the most critical things was that the earlier government had restricted it and said we will not allow FII to come in at all. And, therefore, a number of projects were held up because every single manufacturer across the world always has some FII component. This government has allowed it through the automatic route; in defence, you can go up to 24 per cent. In fact, in the last three to four months, we have cleared almost close to 44 applications where no licence may be required. We have also cleared 21 applications held up for various reasons. So, there is a huge amount of buoyancy as far as manufacturing within India is concerned.
Manufacturing constraints
A number of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) from abroad are looking at manufacturing in India, but having said that, there are several constraints in defence manufacturing for various reasons, one of which is simply the lack of preparedness within our Defence Ministry and the armed forces headquarters. The Government of India has adopted the “Make-in-India” programme, which is similar to what in the US is called the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) programme. What this programme envisages is that you will handle the private sector manufacturer, you will support him with research and development, you will do integrated planning, you will do intellectual property development within India. Over the last six-seven years, only two major programmes have been rolled out under this. One is the Future Infant Combat Vehicle, and the second is the Tactical Communication System.
In both these programmes, you need integrated project management teams to handle the private sector and both programmes have suffered high costs and gestation delays because of the constant changes in the integrated project management teams, people with inadequate knowledge, and lack of continuity. If you keep changing every two-three years, when you need six-seven years to develop the project, you will never be able to make defence equipment in India. Hence, first and foremost, you need integrated project management teams that are going to be there for the life of the projects. Short-term project management teams, ad-hoc changes, lack of knowledgeable people won’t do. You need men of the highest vision, with the highest technology skills, men of great capabilities to steer these projects through their life cycle.
Secondly, India should roll out about 30 more projects, not two, which is what it has done in the last five-six years. India needs to burst out of the long-term integrated project plans prepared by the armed forces. You need to look at what is the plan for 2012 through 2027, pick out 30 to 35 big-term ideas, put long-term perspective planning around it and see that these get manufactured in India. This requires a big vision, big perspective, big canvas, and unless that is done, defence manufacturing will be very difficult to do in India.
We need to prepare feasibility reports by the integrated defence staff headquarters; you need projects, concepts that are already identified, and you need to really push them hard. It is very important to pick up these projects and monitor them in a time-bound manner.
Resources for R&D
The third point is that defence procurement is essentially monopolistic and oligopolistic in nature and so you need to put in a lot of resources in R&D. You need to amortise that cost over a long period of time. You need a life cycle cost of technologies, you need to evaluate them over a long period of time and you need very specialised agencies to evaluate these projects.
If you want to become a great defence manufacturer, you need to give the private sector an equal footing, you need to produce not for India alone, but for global markets, and that can only be done by your private sector. You need to handle them, you need to really enhance partnership with the private sector and that the Defence Production Ministry is incapable of doing at the moment. Therefore, you need to create an agency that will strengthen and give the private sector an equal footing.
The US has a defence cost audit accountancy agency, which has 14,000 persons, all of whom sit in the offices of the OEMs. All the big military industrial complexes that you have seen emerging are all based on a cost-plus mechanism. It is not based on L1, so let us just forget L1. It is a very compact cost audit accounting system based on a plus-plus model and the Defence Ministry does not have a cost audit accounting strength. Unless you do not strengthen that, you will never be able to strengthen your private sector. If you keep going on L1, you will never be able to build it. You need to say, you need to create national champions. You need to say I want to have 25 big defence manufactures in India, private-sector driven, identify them, create them into national champions, boost cost accountants and create great national champions who would become your great defence manufacturers and drive India’s defence manufacturing. If that does not happen, it will be very difficult to do this.
Diplomacy has to play a very critical role. Defence manufacturing is technology-related and many countries do not pass on technology. It is when you do defence procurement on a long-term basis that diplomacy has to play a very critical role to enable the transfer of technology to take place. You can have the most liberal FDI regime, but you will not gain from it unless the Defence Ministry works very closely in tandem with the Ministry of External Affairs to enable the technology to be shifted.
The final point is that it is not just about manufacturing in the long run, it is also about manufacturing at very competitive rates, and to be able to make defence a very, very efficient industry. It requires a lot of work to kickstart projects and a lot of capacity-building within the armed forces headquarters and the Defence Ministry. It requires unleashing of new projects so that India can become a very credible military industrial complex. Great power status can never come till you do not become a great defence manufacturer, and defence manufacturing requires a huge amount of hard work, rather than merely allowing FDI.
A victory, an award & a letdown
Col P S Sangha (Retd)
Vijay Divas is celebrated as the day of India's greatest military victory in the Indo-Pak war of 1971. I have read an article by Rajiv Chandrashekhar, MP, about the rough deal that the Government of India has given to the personnel of the armed forces. My thoughts went back to December 16, 1971, when I was deployed in the Jaisalmer sector. In the evening when we came to know of the ceasefire and surrender of the Pakistan Army in the East, there was much celebration. Also, a sense of relief that we had come out alive from the short but violent conflict.
Just five days after the ceasefire came the first list of gallantary award winners and I was thrilled to see my name in the list of Vir Chakra awardees. Shortly thereafter came the declaration of monetary and other awards from the states concerned. Rajasthan declared that it would give Rs 2,000 in cash and five acres of irrigated land. Punjab offered Rs 5,000 in cash and five acres of irrigated land. Well, I was quite thrilled at the prospect of being the owner of ten acres of land apart from getting Rs 7,000 in cash.
A year later I had already attended the investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan but there was no sign of any awards. Then came a cheque of Rs 2,000 from Rajasthan and shortly afterwards Punjab too sent Rs 5,000. It may not seem much now but in 1973 you could buy a couple of scooters from the CSD with this sum. But still no news of the land. Finally, after eight years, I got a letter from the government of Rajasthan stating that since no suitable land was available, the government had decided to pay Rs 5,000 in lieu of the five acres of land. I just accepted it as a good soldier who goes to war as a matter of duty and not for monetary gains. As far as Punjab was concerned, the wait was much longer. Finally, in 1984, some 13 years after the war, I got a letter from the government stating that since no suitable land was available, a sum of Rs 25,000 was being paid in lieu of it.
So, that was it: Rs 7,000 in cash and another Rs 30,000 in lieu of 10 acres of land. My dream of becoming a landlord lay in a shambles. I, like most faujis, had been trained to accept adversity and move on in life. So, I did buy a new scooter but the rest of it just got spent on the good things of life.
Having read Mr Chandrshekhar's article I just got the thought that I got two-timed by the bureaucracy. If the same award was given to an IAS/IPS man, he would have made sure that he got the land and that too in a prime location. Then the other thought came to mind that if I had been smart, I could have gone and bought five acres of land north of Jaisalmer in the sand dunes with the Rs 5000 and maybe a half acre in Punjab for Rs 25,000. The Rajasthan canal had come into the area north of Jaisalmer and my five acres would have fetched me a good price. The half acre in Punjab would be worth a few lakhs today. That is how I missed becoming rich!
Is Secunderabad Cantonment turning into Army’s fiefdom?
Siddharth Tadepalli,TNN | Jan 15, 2015, 12.42 AM IST
HYDERABAD: The marching orders that the Army handed out to civilians last year, limiting their usage of some arterial roads in the Secunderabad Cantonment area, could well be only the latest in a series of such summons that the men in uniform have issued over the past three-four years. Only, the earlier directives failed to attract as much attention from the government.

A scan of the area surrounding the Army Ordinance Corps (AOC) suggests that close to half a dozen smaller, yet significant link roads, around the premises have been systematically shut down by defence personnel, leaving the common man severely inconvenienced. Apart from prominently displaying 'Road Closed' boards and deploying jawans to man these lanes, the Army has even gone to the extent of raising concrete walls in some places, to keep civilians at bay!

Most of these roads that include the Kowkur Road (near Bolarum Checkpost), the road in front of Rashtrapati Nilayam, the one near Army Public School, Bolarum and the Lakadwala gate among others connect people living in Bolarum and beyond to the core city. The irrational closure has forced motorists to take to the Rajiv Rahadhari (Karimnagar highway) which has significantly increased their commute time. That this alternative stretch is crowded at all times through the day and witnesses heavy truck traffic at night, only make matters worse.

"It has been over three years since the Lakadwala Gate and the Holy Trinity Church road have been cordoned off for civilians. When the residents' welfare associations in the area objected to the move, Army authorities went on the offensive and began constructing walls around the area. Now they are civilian-free zones," said Ashwin Nallari, a member of the Greater Alwal Allied Service Association. According to him, this ban was allegedly put in place after a golf ball hit a motorist driving along the road that subsequently led to a scuffle between the Army and the civilians. "So, in their own wisdom, the Army men decided to keep the road off-limits for civilians," Nallari rued.

If that wasn't enough, the men in uniform also put in place a rule according to which, civilians are now forced to carry a pass, predictably issued by the Army, in case they need to access any of these out-of-bound roads.

"But these passes that are issued by the Andhra Sub-Area Head Quarters are only meant for civilians who are employed within defence establishments," explained Maj Shiva Kiran (retired) Army officer, pointing out how the forces, in the garb of security issues, have been inconveniencing close to 13.5 lakh people.

Seconding his thoughts, another former Army officer, on condition of anonymity, said: "We had asked Army officials to constitute a committee comprising retired Army officials and security experts to gauge the threat perception to the area. But that has not taken place. If that had happened there could have been a more amicable solution to this problem."
Recollections of a Communicator:General K. M. Cariappa made the Indian Army Truly Indian
On January 15, we will be observing Army Day with a ceremonial parade in the Delhi Cantonment. It was on this day, in 1949, when General Kodandera Madappa Cariappa took over as the first Indian Commander in Chief of the Indian Army from General Roy Butcher, a British Army Officer.

Many of us who had the opportunity of serving with the Indian Army had read about General Cariappa and the role he had played in consolidation of the Indian Army, establishing high traditions.

I first came into contact with him in 1958 when I was working as the Assistant Editor of the Sainik Samachar, the multi-lingual weekly journal of the Armed Forces, earlier known as the Fauji Akhbar, which enjoyed the status of being the premier journal available in the reading rooms for the soldiers.

A month after my taking over as the Assistant Editor, I was told to cover a meeting of the Ex-Servicemens' Association which was being presided over by General Cariappa The meeting was being held at the National Stadium, near the India Gate in the Capital. I went to the venue about ten minutes earlier. I was introduced to General Cariappa. General Cariappa asked me my full name, where I came from and what was my educational and service background.

While making his initial statement, I was pleasantly surprised when he said that the Assistant Editor of the Fauji Akhbar was there, and mentioned that I was a post-graduate and that I would give good coverage for the meeting. He called me to sit by his side during the rest of the meeting.

When I left the meeting, he asked me to take interest in matters relating to retired soldiers. I was touched by his sense of involvement with the welfare of the troops.

The next encounter that I had with him was in 1963. I was posted in Jammu and Kashmir and had donned the uniform with the rank of a Captain.

My assignment was to cover the activities of the XV Corps-the troops on the Pathankot-Jammu-Srinagar-Leh-Chushul areas. I used to be on the road at least twenty days in a month, visiting Army units, or conducting senior journalists who were keen to observe and write how the Indian Army was being reorganised and re-equipped to face the Chinese in addition to the Pakistan Army. In the spring of 1963, I was asked to conduct B. G. Verghese who was then a senior correspondent of the Times of India to various units in Ladakh. I had arranged the itinerary for him, taking him from Leh to Chushul along the Indus, and driving up the Chang-la, the highest pass in the region. I had almost completed my task.

On the last morning, as I was getting ready to proceed with Verghese for the next appointment, the unit in which I was staying got a message that I should get in touch with the Divisional Headquarters. I rang up the General Staff Officer to find out what was the requirement. He heaved a sigh of relief and said that the Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Bikram Singh was in Leh and he wanted me around as General Cariappa was visiting the area.

I took George Verghese along with me and went to the Division Headquarters. I was ushered into the presence of Lt. Gen Bikram Singh, who was sitting on the lawns of the Alpha Mess, located near the Division Headquarters. He asked me what was I doing. I explained my assignment-that I was conducting a senior correspondent of the Times of India. He snapped back: "When the former Commander in Chief of the Indian Army is here, you have no business to muck around with civilians. Get out. You will get no facility from the Division and you may walk to Srinagar or wherever you want with that civilian".

Crestfallen, I was climbing the steps back to the Mess, when I saw General Cariappa coming down. He said, Hey Rao, what are you doing here. I muttered that I was conducting a correspondent of the Times of India to brief him about the Army defences in Ladakh. General Cariappa, said good you are here. He patted my shoulder and introduced me to Lt. General Bikram Singh as a bright young Public Relations Officer.

Lt. General Bikram Singh nodded in acquaintance and told me to join him when the Commander-in-Chief was addressing the troops. Gone was his anger against me. Meanwhile, I arranged for an escort from the Divisional Headquarters for George Verghese. General Cariappa was from the Rajput Regiment, and so was Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh. The speech of General Cariappa was heard with rapt attention. It was not in chaste Hindustani, but very motivating for the soldiers.

He told the soldiers that he had brought with him Kala Mirch-black pepper-from Coorg which will keep them warm in the high altitude, and create the right mood to fight the Chinese. He went round the parade ground distributing black pepper to each row of soldiers. He asked them about their food, general comforts, whether they received letters from home-and when he met Sikhs and Punjabis, inquired whether they got mustard oil. He knew the habits of soldiers of the Indian Army.

After the function, I got myself dropped at the Signal Centre to file my report to Delhi. As I got down from the jeep, General Cariappa said he was going to visit Kargil and asked me whether I was coming. Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh said yes, and told me to file a good report.

Next day, we landed in a propeller driven aircraft at a makeshift airstrip at Kargil. On arrival at Kargil, General Cariappa addressed the troops more or less on the same lines as he did in Leh and finished the stock of black pepper that he had brought from Coorg.

I remember the little flutter in the Kargil mess that morning, when he asked for a 'tailor kit'. He wanted thread and a needle. I managed it for him. He had a couple of buttons loose in his shirt. Patiently, he mended his shirt and got it pressed and wore it. All his clothes were in a small overnight bag. He was 'properly dressed' in a three-piece suit, when he sat down for his breakfast or dinner.

It was during this tour with General Cariappa that I heard many stories about his contribution to the Army and, on the lighter side, about his Hindustani. The story was that when he addressed troops on August 15 in 1947, he told the soldiers: "Is waqt aap muft, ham muft, mulk muft hai." For him the word muft meant 'free'.

General Cariappa was the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Command during the Jammu and Kashmir operations. General Roy Butcher, who was then the Commander in Chief, had tried his best to tie General Cariappa's hands during the operations by not approving plans to evict Pakistani 'raiders' from some sensitive areas. General Cariappa, as GOC-in-C quietly decided to clear the Pakistani raiders from Jammu - Naushera axis. He was then fighting on two fronts, the Army Headquarters led by General Roy Butcher and the Pakistani Army led by General Messervy.

Only recently, British records of that period have been declassified. Not many know that General Roy Butcher was more loyal to the King of England than the Government of India. He used to send messages to the British Government through the British High Commissioner, over the head of the Defence Minister. He also advised the Indian Cabinet against launching the operation against the Nizam's forces in Hyderabad.

He is reported to have said: "As your C-in-C, I ask you not to start the operations." And he offered his resignation if his advice was not heeded. There was a general silence while a distressed and worried Jawaharlal Nehru looked around. Sardar Patel, who was the Home Minister, remarked: "You may resign, General Bucher, but the police action will start tomorrow."

An angry Bucher stormed out of the meeting. All these indicated the importance for the Indian Army to have an Indian Army Chief. General Cariappa as Commander-in-Chief turned the imperial army into a national army. He raised the Brigade of Guards and the Parachute Regiments on an all-India caste composition and directed the raising of the National Cadet Corps and the Territorial Army.

General Cariappa was keen that Army Officers, on retirement, should have a say in the affairs of the nation. He did contest elections in Bombay, but lost. I last saw General Cariappa in 1986 when the rank of Field Marshal was conferred on him. When the order was read in the Rashtrapati Bhavan before the President Zail Singh handed over the baton, considering his age, he was offered a chair to sit down, but he preferred to stand-ramrod straight.

Not many remember that Field Marshal Ayub Khan served under General Cariappa in the British Indian Army. When his son Flt. Lt. K. C. "Nanda" Cariappa (who later rose to the rank of an Air Marshal) was taken prisoner after his Hunter aircraft was shot down during the 1965 war, Field Marshal Ayub Khan contacted General Cariappa in Mercara and offered to release his son.

The reply of General Cariappa was:"He is my son no longer... He is the child of this country, a soldier fighting for his motherland like a true patriot. My many thanks for your kind gesture, but I request you to release all or release none. Give him no special treatment".

A great deal of credit goes to Field Marshal Cariappa to have made the Indian Army, truly Indian. Today, the nation can take pride in the role played by the Army in guarding it against external threats and insurgency promoted by hostile elements.

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