Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Monday, 31 August 2015

From Today's Papers - 31 Aug 2015

Revisiting 1965 war
What happened to national war memorial?
With a definite bruised eye in 1962 and a clear-cut victory in 1971 India has mixed feelings about 1965. Officially starting its commemoration on August 28, the day Indian soldiers captured Haji Pir Pass 50 years ago, the Modi government is projecting it as a victory celebration. The truth will come out once official war documents are declassified. Pakistan too claims victory and celebrates “Youm-e-Difa (Defence Day) on September 6. Independent accounts acknowledge that India had the upper hand. It had captured four times more territory than Pakistan. However, "in war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers,” said Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, himself the author of the shameful Munich Agreement.

A war usually reflects a leadership failure. A true leader does not invite or inflict death and destruction. A war or war-mongering may help a leader capture or consolidate power. But these are all petty, personal goals. Those who have experienced a war, lost their dear ones know what it means. A life lost is dismissed as a casualty. The collateral damage — the destruction of cities/towns/villages, the cost of dislocation of people on both sides — is not even taken into account. The focus remains on who won, who lost. Money wasted in causing death can be used to improve the quality of life. Some see motives in the Modi government’s move. Lal Bahadur Shastri, a non-Nehru-Gandhi Prime Minister, is being dug out of planned oblivion like Sardar Patel, which is fine. However, also remember Shastri's slogan: “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan”. Today the (ex-)jawan is fighting for one rank, one pension and the kisan is forced to commit suicide.

A nation must decide how wars, sacrifices and heroic acts of soldiers are to be commemorated. The commemoration should reflect the collective will of the people. It need not be a festive occasion or include a carnival or mock displays of operations. During the 2014 poll campaign Modi had promised a national war memorial. Finance Minister Jaitley earmarked Rs 100 crore for it in his first budget. The amount lapsed since it was not used. This year the government has decided to forget it.
India, Pak have no option but to travel path of peace
Death looms large on the borders. The uncalled for manifestation of muscular power of the Pakistani army is visible in the ghastly sight of scattered bodies of women and children on either side of the international border.

Without any fear of contradiction, it is a matter of record that the guns that boom from across the international border and the Line of Control are responsible for the killings on both sides of the border. There is always a provocation from across to which the Indian Army retaliates. The bullets and mortars draw no distinction between Hindus and Muslims nor do they spare women and children, not even infants.

Why is the blame being attributed to the Pakistani army? There are many answers. But one would explain this. On the night of August 22 when the National Security Adviser-level talks between India and Pakistan were cancelled, soldiers on the Pakistani side lit the sky in the Poonch sector with celebratory gunfire and the bursting of crackers as if it was Eid. It substantiated the fact that the Pakistani army was against discussing terror. The Kashmir issue was just a passion-arousing camouflage. Separatists were led on to a path of delusion.

Spare border residents
It was a situational irony; the separatists were desperate to become a part of the terror narrative while their claim remains that they are pursuing a “peaceful movement.” This ripped off all pretensions that Pakistan was not part of the terror campaign in Kashmir. It has adopted some ideologues, who in turn have recruited executers of terror in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan is playing with fire, and will be punished. This jingoistic rhetoric adds to the tragedies suffered by border residents. Instead of helping them live in peace, such ultra-military noises and violence on borders have perforated their homes and crowded cremation grounds and graveyards.

Nuclear threat
The border residents want peace not mortar shells. They are scared of the warmongering by Pakistan. Pakistani generals have now opted for the most dangerous game of nuclear blackmail. It has been threatened that Pakistan will use nuclear weapons of mass destruction if India fails to follow its line. It was clear from Pakistan National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz‘s explicit assertion, “Pakistan is a nuclear power.” It was as if Aziz was revealing a secret – the world knew of it much before Chagai hills in Baluchistan shook in May 1998, when Pakistan conducted atomic explosions.

The supposed elevation of Pakistan having the “third largest nuclear arsenal in the next five to ten years,” by two American think tanks might have sounded music to ears of many in Pakistani establishment, but it could signal Armageddon. Pakistani nuclear physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy rightly asked: “Is the third largest large enough”. He has warned of a catastrophe.

A disturbing question is why civilians are being killed. There is no logic. It is senseless violence. Pakistan might be attempting to highlight what it calls the “Kashmir issue”. But it is a big smokescreen for the real intentions. True, that India lost its conventional war superiority lever by the 1998 nuclear explosions with Pakistan going in for tit-for-tat atomic explosions. Threatening the use of nuclear weapons is as crude as it could be. Read with Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif’s squinted profile of India as the “only external threat” to his country. This also explains why Pakistan is perpetually keeping the borders hot and killing civilians.

War mindset
The General Headquarters of Pakistani army in Rawalpindi has readied its plans which smack of a war mindset. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who could not stand up to Pervez Musharraf’s Kargil misadventure in 1999, is once again a portrait of helplessness in 2015. Nothing has changed in Pakistan in all these years.

General Sharif knows that the military actions do not go unchallenged. India’s response, when provoked, is robust. Our nation is having an illusion about the existence of ceasefire that was brought about in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-Pervez Musharraf era in 2003. It believes that it is responding to the “ceasefire violations” by Pakistan. When there is daily violence on borders, the ceasefire stood ripped apart long ago.

There is another disadvantage for India. Pakistan takes the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan to the shelled homes and slain civilians because that is part of Islamabad’s strategy to keep the K word for the international community. India doesn’t do that because it still believes in the efficacy and decency of bilateral diplomacy. Pakistan should travel the same path for peace. The two countries have no option but to do so. Otherwise, civilians will continue to die and we will have nothing but mourning wails filling the air.
A war that tested Indian nationhood
The 1965 War was not a war India initiated but it turned out to be a war India needed. It provided just the spark that reinvigorated our national arrangement
Harish Khare
FIFTY years ago this month the Indian nationhood was tested. Pakistan chose to initiate a war against India. This was the first grave crisis the country faced without Jawaharlal Nehru at the helm.

The country was still reeling under the setbacks on the India-China border, but the physical locale of that conflict was on the sparsely populated periphery. This time around, the country was called upon to defend itself against an adversary who sought to inflict damage in the geographical heart of India.

Pakistan had astutely chosen to strike at a time when India seemed most vulnerable. Let it be recalled it was a time when India was flirting with tentativeness. Nehru had passed away, there was a new prime minister who was yet to carve out a place for himself in the public imagination, and, whose authority was being snipped at from within the ruling party. The economic situation was defined by a foreign exchange crisis and food shortages. If the Naga agitationists were being difficult in the North-East, the Kashmir valley was in plain disquiet. And, then, in the third week of January, 1965, came the language implosion.

The Constitution had envisaged that as of January 26, 1965, the country would switch over from English to Hindi as the official language. The entire 'South' erupted, with Madras being the epicentre of a massive political earthquake. Suddenly the very ability of “the Centre to hold” was in doubt. Internally, the democratic mechanisms produced conciliation and compromises; but, the outsiders seemed to have drawn wrong conclusions about Indian resilience.

Perhaps the most erroneous inference was drawn by Pakistan's president, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, who probably saw in the diminutive Lal Bahadhur Shastri a weakling and a pushover. Ayub and his generals had initiated a probing mission in the Rann of Kutch, and though India responded adequately, the matter ended up in international arbitrator's chambers.

Ayub and company were probably encouraged in their adventurism by a devious British foreign policy establishment. The British, led by that conniving mind, Duncan Sandys, were smarting under a rebuff from US President John F. Kennedy, who had refused to accept the British argument that the West should take advantage of India's trouble with China to impose a Kashmir settlement. The Brits were active again, lending a conspiratorial ear to Pakistan and its mischievous propaganda that a “revolution” was round the corner in Kashmir.

When Pakistan pushed India to the wall, Shastri turned out to be the man of the moment. He allowed the Indian armed forces a free hand to roll back the Pakistani aggression. And, then, on August 13, he went on air and bluntly told Pakistan: “I want to state categorically that force will be met with force and aggression against us will never be allowed to succeed.” Two days later, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, he made himself crystal clear. He remained unfazed even in the face of a Chinese ultimatum.

The “war” lasted 48 days. And, then the diplomacy took over, leading to the “peace” at Tashkent. Perhaps China was the only long-term winner in this conflict. Beijing cleverly sensed Pakistani bitterness at American even-handedness and stepped in the breach. India was now saddled with a very heavy strategic burden: a China-Pakistan alliance.

The 1965 War was not a war India initiated but it turned out to be a war India needed. It provided just the spark that reinvigorated our national arrangement. As a contemporary observer noted presciently: “The fiery ordeal had cleansed the nation's soul and forged a rare unity among the people. Through the valour and sacrifices equally of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Anglo-Indians and Parsi youths and the Indian armed forces' sterling performance in the field of battle, that miracle had been wrought. It further underscored the inherent strength of a composite, secular state that is India.”

 India was tested. It came out with flying colours, on and off the battle field.
OROP: Fasting veteran collapses, hospitalised
New Delhi, August 30
A 70-year-old Army veteran who was on a relay hunger strike here as part of agitation by veterans for early implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’ today collapsed on stage and was rushed to the Army hospital where his condition is said to be stable.

The incident took place even as the protest by ex-servicemen entered its 77th day.

Havildar Bal Singh was rushed to the Army Research and Referral hospital after his health took a turn for the worst and he fainted. Veterans said his condition is stable now.

The incident happened a day after the ex-servicemen wrote a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, stating that he and the government will be held responsible if any untoward incident happened.

The government had last night said that it had “significantly narrowed down gaps” with the agitating veterans but held out no concrete assurances over the vexed issue. Representatives of the veterans also held a meeting with Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag at his house earlier today.

“It was a routine meeting and nothing more. We met at his house,” Lt Gen Balbir Singh (Retd) President of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement told PTI.

As the ongoing protest at the Jantar Mantar entered its 77th day today with constant flow of family members and other supporters, a group of Harley Davidson bikers from Delhi also came to the spot riding their motorcycles to show support to the veterans.

Close to 22 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she has retired.

So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lt Colonel who retired after 1996. — PTI
Border firing to dominate Indo-Pak DG-level talks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 30
Cross-border firing has figured prominently in Pakistan’s tentative agenda, comprising around 20 points, that it has provided to India for the Director General-level talks scheduled to be held between the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers from September 9 to 13.

A BSF official said Pakistan had been crying hoarse over “firing” despite the fact that its own security personnel had been resorting to indiscriminate shelling at civilian areas and BSF outposts along the border. Around 250 ceasefire violations by Pakistan had been reported this year, he said.  On Thursday, Pakistan Rangers opened firing in Arnia and RS Pura sectors of Jammu, killing three civilians and injuring 17 others. “The cross-border firing is on our list too,” a BSF official said.

On August 25, India and Pakistan had exchanged their tentative agendas for the talks at the Attari-Wagah border check post. The agendas are exchanged to understand each side’s concerns and demands. The talks, held biannually, were last held in December 2013.

Sources said currently, the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers were telephonically verifying the claims made by the other side in discussions at the Attari-Wagah border post. For example, if the Pakistan Rangers have complained about a ‘bundh’ (mud wall) at any particular location, the BSF will send a query to their own formation in that area. The BSF would, thereafter, respond to their counterpart whether such a structure existed.

“Our tentative agenda too comprises about 20 points, which has been handed over to the Pakistan Rangers. After the completion of the verification process by both the sides, the final agenda for the talks will be fixed by the two forces on September 9. It may contain lesser number of issues as compared to the tentative agendas,” he explained.

India’s agenda also demands for better channels of communication. Currently, the lowest level of communication is a flag meeting, which cannot take place during night, meaning one side has to wait till next morning to raise any issue.

The BSF agenda has not mentioned anything on the Dinanagar terrorist attack as, according to them, the route of the entry of the terrorists into India was still unclear.

The Pakistan delegation comprising the two Director Generals (DGs) of the Punjab Rangers and Sindh Rangers, which are deployed at the Pakistani side of the border, will arrive in Delhi on September 9. Before the formal discussion on September 10, the DGs of the two forces will discuss the agenda over breakfast that day and some matters could be removed.

“This is what happened during the DG-level talks between the BSF and the Border Guard Bangladesh held last month. Both the sides decided not to discuss killings at the border,” said sources.

During formal discussion if one side did not agree on any point, it would be raised again during informal discussions between the officers of the two delegations. On September 13, the Joint Recording of Discussion will be held, which is the signing on the issues agreed upon by the two parties. “An important issue is that they are coming and talking. After the cancellation of the NSA talks, this meet is important for understanding each other,” said the sources.
Sustained Army operation takes heavy toll on NDFB(S) in N-E
Bijay Sankar Bora

Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 30
The Army engaged in relentless operation against proscribed insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction) and killed two hardcore militants allegedly involved in the murder of class X girl Priya Basumatary and killing of adivasi villagers in December 2014.

Sources said the militants were killed in a joint operation by the Army and the Assam Police in a forest area of Chirang district on Saturday. Those killed were identified as Gwndai and Jwanthi, top leaders of the terrorist group. They were responsible for massacring adivasis on December 23, 2014, and were part of the G Bidai-led NDFB(S) core group.

The security forces have also been on the lookout for these militants for their alleged involvement in the murder of Basumatary on August 20, 2014, whom they had suspected of being an informer of the security forces.

Two rifles (M16, AK 47), one pistol and some magazines were seized from them along with a huge quantity of ammunition and other material.

The operation against the NDFB(S) was launched in the wake of adivasis’ massacre and it is being monitored by the Union Home Ministry. The operation has so far resulted in the arrest of about 180 hardcore members of the outfit, besides their 280 sympathisers. About 20 hardcore cadres of the outfit have been killed so far.

Sources said the sustained Army operation had virtually annihilated the outfit. About a group of 25 hardcore NDFB(S) militants led by senior leader G Bidai were now being targeted by the security forces as their capture or killing would break the backbone of the outfit.

Bidai militants are at large in thick jungles in and around Manas National Park close to India-Bhutan border. The group had a close shave on May 7 when their camp was busted by the security forces. They have been on the run since then. In July, they sneaked into Bhutan to escape the Army onslaught. Two senior members of the group, B Birdao (alias Bipin Brahma) and Philip Basumatary, were recently arrested by the security forces.
TV ignored ’65 war victory event: Parrikar
Panaji, August 30
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has taken a dig at news channels, saying they are busy covering a complex murder case and ignored an event held to celebrate the country's victory in the 1965 war.

"The Indian news channels these days choose to concentrate their entire strength on a complex murder case, while ignoring the commencement of golden jubilee celebration of India's victory over Pakistan in 1965 war," he said, addressing a function organised to hand over 'rakhis' to soldiers here last evening. — PTI
DRDO defends Ramdev baba photo-op with Manohar Parrikar, Army
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has explained the presence of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh with Ramdev at its Leh event last week as a “coincidence”.

“It was a coincidence, not a planned thing… The RM (Raksha Mantri) happened to be in Leh on an official visit and he was invited. The Army Chief, the Northern Army Commander and 14 Corps Commander were also invited due to protocol. Even three elected leaders from Congress were present on stage,” a senior DRDO official, who was seated on the dais during the event, told The Indian Express. The Army Chief was accompanying the Defence Minister for his visit to Leh-headquartered 14 Corps.

Defending the presence of the Defence Minister at the event, the official said it was aimed at bringing DRDO into the limelight. He added that Cabinet ministers in previous UPA government were also present at transfer of technology (ToT) signings during their tenure. “I have been present at signing of ToT agreements with Jairam Ramesh and Pallam Raju,” the officer said. On accusations that Ramdev’s presence hinted at an attempt to saffronise DRDO, he said: “There is no controversy except a manufactured one. The current government has made Dr Christopher as head of DRDO. Isn’t he a Christian? DRDO has also had APJ Abdul Kalam as its head.”

Last Sunday’s event at Leh was signing of ToT agreement between DRDO and M/s Patanjali Ayurved Ltd for a non-exclusive licence of five seabuckthorn based products — beverages, tea, capsules and jam — developed by DRDO’s Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR). These technologies had earlier been given to two other private companies by DRDO on non-exclusive basis.

This ToT from DRDO is part of its joint initiative with FICCI, called Accelerated Technology Assessment and Commercialisation (ATAC) programme, which commercialises spin-off technologies developed by DRDO. FICCI brings potential private players that can absorb the technology, and manufacture and market the product. According to DRDO, more than 90 ToT agreements had been signed with private companies under ATAC so far and another 140 were in the pipeline.

“Patanjali approached us through FICCI some months back. We followed the ATAC process and Patanjail was selected as a purely commercial decision,” added the official. The DRDO argues that Patanjali is a recognised brand in natural health products, adding that its manufacturing facilities are certified by WHO-GMP, and it can scale up the products for commercial use.

Stung by criticism that DRDO was wasting its resources in frivolous pursuits of food products and life sciences technologies, the official said only 1.6 per cent of DRDO’s budget went towards life sciences and less than 2.5 per cent of its human resources were employed in these labs. “Take the case of our DIHAR lab at Leh. From a time few years ago, when 100 per cent of fresh supplies for Army’s 14 Corps were flown in from Chandigarh, 40 per cent of fruits and vegetables are now being sourced locally, from technologies developed by this lab. Imagine the savings and ease this has brought,” the official said.
Three Army officers suspected of disclosing military info on Facebook
NEW DELHI: In yet another case of leaking of military information through social media, three Army officers are now under the scanner for divulging location of battalions while indulging in salacious chats on Facebook.

Sources said a colonel, who is re-employed at the Army War College in Mhow after retirement, a major from the Rajput Regiment and a lieutenant from the Ordnance Corps have been found prima facie guilty of giving out parts of the ORBAT (order of battle) in clear violation of laid-down security protocols.
"It looks like an online honey-trap since they were lured into the chats by a person posing as an attractive woman, who had posted suggestive pictures, on Facebook. The officers were having sexually explicit chats with the person, who in exchange often asked them specific information about the location of units and brigades," said a source.

While the three officers will now face punishment, either through administrative action or disciplinary action in the shape of a court-martial, the directorate general of military intelligence has written to all Army formations in the country to reiterate the existing social media and cyber-security norms.

Incidentally, several officers have been punished through court-martial in recent years for posting "classified information" like the location of a battalion or a warship, or their patrolling patterns, on social networking websites, as earlier reported by TOI.
The Army directives hold that military personnel should maintain operational security as well as follow the same high standards of conduct online as they pursue offline. The personnel have been asked not to post their pictures on their profiles on networking websites, as also not disclose their affiliation to the Army.

Faced with ever-increasing attacks by Pakistani and Chinese online espionage agents, the Indian armed forces have taken serious note of the frequent "leaking" of confidential data and information through the internet.

This has also led to further tightening of cyber-security and computer usage norms, ranging from strict access control and proper firewalls to "air gap" between secure and insecure networks and curbs on use of digital storage devices.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal