Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

From Today's Papers - 13 May 2015

Politicians skip ceremony to honour slain CRPF men
Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, May 12
No mainstream politician turned up for the wreath-laying ceremony of the two slain Central Reserve Police Force men, who were killed in a militant attack on Monday in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The jawans expressed unhappiness over the absence of politicians at the ceremony organised by the CRPF this morning to pay tributes to its two slain men at Humhama, on the outskirts of the city. Only senior police and CRPF officers attended the ceremony.

“We feel bad that no politician turned up,” said a CRPF jawan. “We risk our lives to protect our country. At least the politicians from the ruling party should have been present," he added.

The anger was visible among CRPF men at the ceremony as no official from the civil administration too was present on the occasion.

Most of the ministers of the PDP-BJP coalition were in Srinagar and they attended their offices at the civil secretariat. While Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who holds the charge of Home Minister, was in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, his deputy from the BJP Nirmal Singh arrived in Srinagar at 12.30 pm. “I reached Srinagar late and could not attend the wreath-laying ceremony,” said the Deputy Chief Minister.

However, Inspector General, CRPF, Atul Karwal downplayed the issue. “We have the full support of the political hierarchy. The presence is not as much important as the support that we need," Karwal said. “We feel we have the support and the DGP (Director General of JK Police) is here,” he added.

“As a force we are determined to not let such incidents bring our morale down or let the boys feel that we can’t handle this challenge. Our officers and men are highly motivated and from such incidents we become stronger, better,” Karwal told reporters at the wreath-laying function.

Two CRPF men, including an officer, were killed on Monday afternoon, when militants ambushed their patrol party at Sangam in Anantnag. The bodies of ASI Omkar Nath Singh of Uttar Pradesh and constable Tilak Raj of Himachal Pradesh were flown to their native places after the wreath-laying function.
US Marine Corps Helicopter Missing in Nepal Quake Area
Washington:  A US Marine Corps helicopter involved in disaster relief efforts in Nepal was declared missing today while working in the vicinity of Charikot village, a spokesman for US Pacific Command said.

Army Major David Eastburn, the spokesman, said US military personnel were responding to the disappearance of the UH-1 Huey helicopter and the incident was under investigation.

Eastburn said it was not immediately clear how many people may have been aboard the helicopter when it was declared missing.

Charikot was one of the villages hardest hit by a 7.3 magnitude quake today.

The quake was the worst aftershock following the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal last month.
India’s National Security Management: Crying For An Overhaul – Analysis
By C. Uday Bhaskar*

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares for his first visit to China next week, the unresolved territorial and border dispute will be a major issue on the summit agenda. The incursion by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops when President Xi Jinping was in India in September last will provide the context and both leaders will seek to avoid such exigencies.

India has to enhance its comprehensive national power to be able to better manage the uneasy bilateral relationship with China and the country’s composite national military capability is an integral part of this calculus. However, the stark reality is the steady increase in the military gap between India and China that is growing in favor of Beijing and Delhi’s inability to adequately redress the situation. India does not seek military equivalence with China but a degree of sufficiency and an operational profile that will enhance stability in the bilateral.

A useful reality check is provided in the Sixth Report of the Standing Committee on Defence that was submitted to parliament on April 24. It draws critical attention to the many immediate inadequacies and institutional infirmities that continue to plague India’s dysfunctional higher national security structures. The chairperson of the committee, Major General B.C. Khanduri (Rtd), an accomplished military veteran and former cabinet minister and chief minister, is to be commended for a comprehensive 118-page report that covers eight major subjects viz: the Defence Budget and Capital Outlays, the BRO (Border Roads Organization), Coast Guard, Defence Estates, MES (Military Engineer Services), Married Accommodation Project, Defence Public Sector Undertakings and the Welfare of Ex-Servicemen.

The observations and recommendations are unambiguous and the words “dismay” and “displeasure” that have been used in the report reflect the anguish of the Khanduri-led committee over the many ills that have tenaciously resisted any meaningful redress over the last two decades plus.

At a time when the three armed forces – the army, air force and navy – have been drawing attention to the many gaps in their inventory profile, it is both anomalous and inexplicable that over the last fiscal year, the defence ministry was able to expend only 87 percent of its allocated $35.94bn . The defence budget is broadly divided into two heads – the revenue and the capital – with the latter component catering for the induction of new inventory and modernization of existing platforms and equipment.

While the optimum ratio for military inventory is 30:40:30 (meaning 30 percent state-of-the-art equipment; 40 percent current technology; and 30 percent being inventory that is entering the cycle of obsolescence and phasing out), the Indian military receives just 38 percent of the total defence outlay for capital, and this has been grossly inadequate. Even in this head, the imbalance is glaring.

In the last fiscal, only $850mn were spent towards procuring new inventory while as much as $9.6b went towards payments for old contracts and in the current financial year – the corresponding figures are $950mn and $11.2bn. The principal reason why this pattern persists is the inability of the national exchequer to maintain the degree of fiscal fidelity that is called for in the defence sector and enforcing stringent and often counter-productive funding disbursals and a very tight control on the purse strings.

The Khanduri committee report again noted with dismay the state of the border roads near the territorial areas currently disputed with China and the contrast on the other side wherein Beijing has created the necessary infrastructure to enable their military in the event of an operational exigency.

Paradoxically, these glaring gaps in the overall Indian defence preparedness have been staring the political apex since the days of prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the 1962 war with China. Subsequently the 1999 Kargil War and the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai have only heightened the need to address the inadequacies in higher defence management and embark on the structural and systemic changes that are imperative.

A brave attempt was made in the aftermath of the Kargil War and the A.B. Vajpayee government set up a Group of Ministers to implement the institutional changes that were recommended. However, this remained inconclusive and currently India’s status apropos reviewing and redressing higher national security management may be compared to that of an intrepid person trying to cross a chasm in two leaps.

The net result of such complacence and insular tinkering with the larger gamut of national security (of which the military is a critical and visible but not the only component) is a series of cumulative delays and loss of comprehensive national capability. This is manifest in the poor material state of the Indian military across the board and the inability of the system to better integrate the paramilitary and police into the national security lattice. Furthermore, Defence R&D and domestic military production capabilities languish with episodic attention being paid to these sectors (for the record, the DRDO is still headless) and the management of the national intelligence agencies leaves a lot to be desired.

The last decade under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was a period of alarming stasis across the board – and both the material status of the Indian military and the human resource management led to a number of anomalous developments including allegations of a coup and the most unseemly controversy over the selection of the army chief. In addition, the status of the armed forces in relation to the rest of the edifice of government has been deliberately lowered leading to needless resentment in the ‘fauj’ – both in the serving fraternity and among ex-servicemen. The most shameful act has been that of the ‘benevolent’ Indian government and the Ministry of Defence challenging the legitimate compensation and benefits awarded to those injured in war or related operations.

The word dysfunctional to describe the current state of India’s higher defence management is a considered one. The most striking illustration of this malignancy and indifference is the reality that 68 years after attaining independence, India still does not design and produce a personal weapon that is comparable to the global median. Hence the Indian soldier is compelled to fight an adversary from a basic disadvantage – and yes, the country imports this piece of equipment with a two million plus uniformed constituency.

However, if the parliamentary standing committee is the only forum now available – considering that India rarely has a constructive and sustained debate in parliament on the subject – the present political matrix of the Modi-Parrikar-Khanduri combine may be the most favorable for Delhi to embark on the much needed review of what ails India’s national security management.

A number of useful task force reports on national security management are available with the government but have not been made public. These include the ones headed by the late K. Subrahmanyam as also the Vijay Kelkar, Rama Rao, Ravindra Gupta and Naresh Chandra committee reports. Releasing these documents to the public for an informed critique and providing them to the legislature would be a very useful first step. But will the Modi government pick up this gauntlet? Hopefully the prime minister’s China visit may yet prove to be the catalyst.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal