Saturday, July 3, 2010

Please don’t sting the armed forces as Bureaucrats mess with them

By Yogendra Bali
As one who has watched the growth of Indian Armed Forces as splendid institutions of defence of a resurgent democracy for almost sixty years, the recent tendency to sting and smear the forces, is obviously disturbing and distasteful. Of course it is the right of everyone to express his opinion freely in a democracy. It is equally the right of others to differ with them. But opinions, to be credible, have to be honest, well intentioned and well informed not just subsidiary parts of sting operations so much in operation these days.

Those, who might like to sit in judgment over the Armed Forces on the basis of an odd aberration here and there would give themselves away the moment they seek to compare the uniformed with the non-uniformed in terms of rank, pay, status and experience. Such comparisons are odious and offensive. For example, if one is over influenced by reports of some IAS officers being caught red handed in traps laid for catching the corrupt, by civil agencies, that would not mean that the entire Indian Administration is corrupt. Similarly, if some officers of the foreign service or the revenue service are held on charges of corruption that should not earn the entire revenue services or the entire foreign service the charge of being corrupt. If a police inspector is held for taking bribe or torturing the innocents, that should not be an indictment of the entire police service. There has to be a balanced approach towards the issue of crime and punishment while assessing services which are based on the principle of laying their lives for the defence of the country. If outsiders chose to smear the Indian Armed Forces for their own frustrations and defeats on the battlefront it is understandable. But if insider resort to sting and smear it has to be carefully examined on their motivation and objectives.

There are some, who overlook the tough disciplinary system and military law system in which violation of discipline and code of conduct are summarily tried and dealt with unlike in civil administration, where those accused of corruption and often cognizable criminal conduct get away after long and tortuous inquiries and litigation. Military courts of inquiry, though confidential, are fair and fast track and Court Martials spare none in dealing out punishment to those found guilty. The Armed Forces are very sensitive about maintaining their honour and very senior officers too have to prove themselves innocent before a Court Martial. It should go to the credit of the Armed Forces and not made out to be a slur on their name. In fact there are some who feel that such an “Administrative Law” should also be enacted for Civil Services to hold summary inquiries and fast track court martial punishment for the civil bureaucracy in cases of corruption and criminal misconduct.

There were also those disgruntled souls today who even grudged the soldiers their ration and some compensation for serving in high altitude snowbound and burning hot desert areas of the country. They forgot these were people who had committed their lives to the nation and often laid down their lives to defend the democracy. Who else but a soldier would prove his accountability by giving his life. On the countrary there were cases where a former Defence Minister had to threaten the civil top brass with a high altitude posting to get the taste of the life at the Siachen Glacier. That yielded approval of a long pending proposal to provide snow-scooters to jawans posted at Siachen and other snow bound areas.

Few armies of the world have had to come out to the aid of the civil authorities in order to help in a variety of emergencies including disaster management as the Indian Army. But oddly enough the same civil administrators and their apologists who are quick to seek help from the Armed Forces are among the first to start bickering campaigns on issues for which they have neither understanding and training, nor experience. Calling a general names would not make one a great civil servant, serving or retired.

A soldier’s real test is on the battlefield. The “Indian” as a soldier, coming from the same families which produced teachers, engineers, doctors, scientists, writers and various categories of government officials had his role to play in building new India, both in the cantonements and the civil streets. The Armed Forces had produced some of the best governors for the large and problematic states of India. Their governing assets were the discipline, dedication and selfless approach to challenges of the day. No wonder they were objectives of envy and grumbling by their civil compatriots.

In conclusion I would point out how the Armed Forces are emerging as the carriers of the global power imprint of the Indian democracy. The numbers of joint army, air force and naval military exercises, including counter terrorism exercises being held every year shows esteem in which they are held by the highest military powers of the world like US and China. The last comment of my argument. Please do not equate the clerk with the soldier. They are both doing different jobs. Let them do what they are doing.
Extracted: Click link below to read the full article
Please don’t sting the armed forces

Maoists attack CRPF men to snatch weapons

NEW DELHI: Three months after it lost 76 men in an ambush by Maoists, the CRPF suffered another massive loss in Bastar: 26 of its men were killed when the Maoists attacked a road opening party in Narayanpur district.

CRPF special DG Vijay Raman told the Times of India that 26 CRPF men have been confirmed dead and 5 injured. The casualties may be higher. "These are not final figures," Raman said.

The attack took place just three kilometres from a CRPF camp in Dhaudhai on a road leading to the densely forested Maoist-controlled Abhujhmad area.

The party of "about company strength with 70 personnel" was on its way back from clearing the road when the Maoists opened fire from a hilltop.

"We are in the process of evacuating our men. Some have been brought back. Others are being brought back to safety," said R K Dua, IG CRPF. He added that while two seriously injured men had been evacuated by helicopter, the air sortees had to be suspended as evening fell.

Brigadier B K Ponwar, who heads the Jungle Warfare College in Kanker said, "You have to be doubly secure when making the return journey along the same route. You need to secure all areas from where you can be fired upon."
26 CRPF personnel killed in Maoists attack in Chhattisgarh by Supriya Sharma, TNN, Jun 29, 2010, 09.03pm IST

Chronology of Naxal attacks
  • June 29, 2008: Maoists attack a boat on Balimela reservoir in Orissa carrying four anti -- Naxalite police officials and 60 Greyhound commandos, killing 38 troops.
  • July 16, 2008: 21 policemen killed when a police van is blown up in a landmine blast in Malkangiri district of Orissa.
  • April 13, 2009: 10 paramilitary troops killed in eastern Orissa when Maoists attack a bauxite mine in Koraput district.
  • April 22, 2009: Maoists hijack a train with at least 300 people on board in Jharkhand and force it to Latehar district before fleeing.
  • May 22, 2009: Maoists kill 16 policemen in the jungles of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra.
  • June 10, 2009: Nine policemen, including CRPF troops and officers, ambushed by Maoists during a routine patrol in Saranda jungles in Jharkhand.
  • June 13, 2009: Naxals launch two landmine and bomb attacks in a small town close to Bokaro, killing 10 policemen and injuring several others.
  • June 16, 2009: Maoists kill 11 police officers in a landmine attack followed by armed assault. In a separate attack, four policemen were killed and two others seriously injured when Maoists ambush them at Beherakhand in Palamau district.
  • June 23, 2009: A group of motorcycle-borne armed Naxal rebels open fire on Lakhisarai district court premises in Bihar and free four of their comrades including the self-style Zonal Commander of Ranchi.
  • July 18, 2009: Naxalites kill a villager in Bastar and in a separate incident torch a vehicle engaged in road construction work in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.
  • July 27, 2009: Six persons killed when Naxals trigger a landmine blast at Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh.
  • July 31, 2009: A special police officer and another person killed by Naxals in Bijapur district.
  • Sep 4, 2009: Naxals kill four villagers in a forest in Aaded village in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district.
  • Sep 26, 2009: Naxals kill BJP MP from Balaghat Baliram Kashyap's sons at Pairaguda village in Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh).
  • Sep 30, 2009: Naxalites set ablaze Gram Panchayat offices at Korchi and Belgaon in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
  • Oct 8, 2009: 17 policemen killed when Maoists ambushed them at Laheri police station in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
  • Feb 15, 2010: 24 personnel of the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) killed as Maoists attack their camp in Silda in West Midnapore district of West Bengal.
  • April 4, 2010: Maoists trigger a landmine blast killing 11 security personnel of the elite anti-naxal force Special Operations Group (SOG) in Koraput district of Orrisa.
  • April 6, 2010: 75 CRPF personnel and a Chhattisgarh police official killed in a naxal attack in Dantewada district.
  • May 8, 2010: Eight CRPF jawans were killed when Naxals blow up a bullet-proof vehicle in Bijapur district of Chhhattisgarh.
  • June 29, 2010: At least 26 CRPF personnel killed in a Naxal ambush in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh. Source: PTI
    They want weapons. During the course of my inquiry into the (April 6) Dantewada ambush...
    Maoists attack CRPF men to snatch weapons
  • Friday, July 2, 2010

    Ex Servicemen forced into protracted litigation for legitimate pension

    Reducing backlog: Litigation policy good but not enough
    The Tribune Friday, June 25, 2010, Chandigarh, India
    The government as a ‘responsible and efficient’ litigant is an attractive proposition and the Union Law Minister’s belated announcement of a national policy to reduce the number of pending cases to achieve that end is certainly welcome. While over two crore cases are said to be pending before various courts in the country, Law Minister Veerappa Moily acknowledged that 70 per cent of them involve the government as either the petitioner or the respondent. Government litigation, as the Prime Minister once admitted, crowds out the private citizen from the system. Dr Manmohan Singh had then cited a survey conducted in Karnataka, where 65 per cent of the civil cases involved the government as litigant, sometimes on both sides. Under the new policy, the government would cease to be a ‘compulsive litigant’ and, as far as possible, would refrain from filing appeals against orders, assured the minister. The move will save the government both time and money as surveys reveal that the government actually loses over 90 per cent of the appeals.

    A close watch would be kept on the implementation of the policy, said the minister and indicated that empowered committees, to be chaired at the national level by the Attorney-General, would be set up to monitor the implementation and fix the accountability of different departments. Though the objective is laudable, the measure is simply not enough. The government officials who fail to apply their mind and squander public money in unnecessary litigation must receive deterrent penalties for the policy to become effective. Government officers, who force citizens into protracted litigation to secure their dues like PF, pension, insurance or compensation, must also be held accountable. The Law Commission has often cited instances of the government pursuing frivolous litigation or as a “matter of prestige”. Often the officials are vindictive and vengeful, arrogant and determined to harass the citizens. For the policy to work, therefore, these busybodies must be made accountable for their action.

    In its eagerness to reduce court cases, it is hoped, the government will not fall into the trap of letting off the big sharks. As it is, the Indian judiciary and the state are believed to be soft on the rich and the powerful. It would be tragic, therefore, if the really culpable, especially among the elite who bend the rules, are allowed to get away.
    Rank Pay: Lt-Gen writes to Sonia against Centre's appeal
    Pension bonanza for ex-servicemen after Supreme Court ruling: 16 Mar 2010, 2006 hrs IST,IANS
    Grant of Rank Pay- Review Petition slapped by Union of India in the Apex Court
    When the Government Becomes an Adversary of its Ex-servicemen

    Disease of corruption: The scale of loot enormous

    The Tribune by Inder Malhotra Friday, June 25, 2010, Chandigarh, India
    Betrayal of Bhopal and Recruitment Scams
    EVEN in the midst of the current rage, recrimination, blame game and damage limitation over the “betrayal of Bhopal” there was at least one other news item that drew attention. The son of the chairman of the Bombay-based Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) and eight others from diverse places had been arrested for leaking the question paper for the all-India recruitment examination to rather petty posts of assistant locomotive pilots and assistant station masters. But such is the state of unemployment in rising India that for 20,000 posts on offer a lakh of aspirants were competing at the Bombay (sorry, Mumbai) centre alone. For the RRB chairman’s son and cohorts this was literally a golden opportunity.

    For, according to the Central Bureau of Investigation, they had sold the question paper to no fewer than 444 candidates at Rs 3.50 lakh each! But luck seems to have run out on these suckers because soon after the arrests the relevant examination was cancelled. The Bombay RRB chairman was suspended immediately. But by the time the authorities decided to arrest him, too, he had done the usual vanishing trick.

    Only the most na├»ve would dismiss this as small beer, compared with the scale of loot in some other sectors. It is part and parcel of an established, and apparently ineradicable, pattern that extends far beyond Bombay or the railways alone. It afflicts all government agencies and organisations where mass recruitment takes place. A retired high railway officer with whom I discussed the scandal, retorted: “Why should the railways alone be honest,” he asked me with mock sternness, “when every recruit to paramilitary forces and indeed to the police in every state has to buy his way in”?

    Can CRPF succeed in anti- Maoist/ Naxal Operations?
    This suddenly reminded me that in May last year a massive scam had exploded in the recruitment to the Central Reserve Police Force. The CBI had arrested and produced in a Patna court an inspector-general, two deputy inspector-generals and three battalion commanders of the paramilitary force. The charge against them was that they had extorted from the recruits to their ranks a sum of Rs. 225 crore over a few years.

    Some time earlier a chairman of the Punjab Public Services Commission had also been apprehended after several crores of rupees in cash were recovered from his residence. His modus operandi allegedly was to collect from every police inspector desirous of becoming deputy superintendent of police Rs. 2.5 lakh. There was a similar tariff for all other recruitments and promotions. And, with regret and reluctance, I must record that, according to sources most sympathetic to the military, tragically the jobs-for-cash contagion has begun to spread to the army recruitment, too.

    Two initial, if painful, questions arise at this stage. If cash is the only or the main key to recruitment, what happens to merit and suitability and, at one remove, the efficacy of vital national organisations? Secondly, and more importantly, whoever has to pay lakhs of rupees to secure a job, won’t he use whatever opportunity that job offers him to amass at least 10 times that amount?

    MCI lowers the Nation's Medical Standards
    Since the problem is much wider than that of recruitment to the government’s countless branches, let us look at the broader picture. Not long before the railway recruitment scam in Mumbai had come into the open, the startling news of the arrest of the president of the Medical Council of India, Ketan Desai, had burst. He had allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 2 crore from a Punjab medical college to give it a year’s extension to run a 100-seat MBBS course. The exact amount of Rs 2 crore, neatly packed in cardboard boxes, was seized when a professor of the college concerned was delivering it to a “middleman”.

    Dr Desai’s angry and loud denials have yielded place to silence because far too many skeletons have tumbled out of the cupboards of the MCI, the sole controller of medical education until the other day. Alarmed by what had come to light, the government belatedly dissolved the MCI’s executive committee and replaced it by a compact board of governors. Nobody is prepared to explain, however, as to how Dr Desai had been able to run the MCI as a virtual personal fiefdom for so long.

    Bureaucrats delve deeper
    There has been a cascade of such cases of egregious corruption in recent times but they are only the proverbial visible tip not of the iceberg but of the glacier. For example, the Postmaster-General of Goa was arrested in Mumbai while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 20 crore. In Bhopal, two relatively junior IAS officers - constituting an enterprising husband-wife team - were also arrested. The cash recovered from their home amounted to Rs 3 crore, and the CBI estimated their total wealth to be Rs 40 crore, an obvious case of assets disproportionate to known sources of income. In New Delhi, a mere police inspector owning assets worth Rs 12 crore was also arrested. But because no charge-sheet was filed against him in 60 days he is out on bail.

    Minister Madu Kodu amasses Rs 4000 crore
    And this brings me to the incomparable case of Madhu Koda who is alleged to have amassed Rs 4,000 crore (not an amount to be sneezed at) during just two years when this lone independent MLA was the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, courtesy the Congress. Before that he was Mines Minister in the BJP-led ministry, which only proves that the gift of the grab cuts across party lines. If Mr Koda’s case underscores the enormous dimension of amounts involved in alleged graft, it also shows that nothing happens to those in very high positions, no matter how grievous the charges against them. He and his henchmen were arrested more than a year ago. Has anyone heard a word about the progress of this case?

    Satyam and Spectrum Scam
    The perpetrators of the gargantuan Satyam scam in Andhra were arrested well before Mr Koda. Their prosecution hasn’t begun, nor would it. All such cases routinely disappear in the impenetrable maze that is the politico-bureaucratic-judicial labyrinth. As for A. Raja, Union Minister for Communications, even the most preliminary investigations would not be held into the G-2 Spectrum mega-scam (an estimated loss of revenue Rs 60,000 crore), thanks to the “compulsions” of coalition politics.

    Is it any surprise then that corruption in India has become a galloping cancer without cure, and that this deadly disease is steadily spreading to every vein and sinew of the nation?
    Disease of corruption: The scale of loot enormous

    Corps of Signals History: Clarifications and Comments solicited

    Dear Veterans,
    I am presently working on chapter 12 of Volume III of the Corps History dealing with Regimental Institutions, Sports and Adventure. This is the last chapter and I am looking forward to the end of the grind!
    While researching the history of the HQ Mess, I have across some interesting facts.
    The 2nd Meeting of the Indian Signal Corps Committee was held on 15 May 1947. It was chaired by Brig HD Beadon and attended by Col BD Kapur, Majors AC Iyappa, Bhattacharia, SS Chaudhary, Mohd Suleman, MBK Nair, Lall Husain, Prem Singh and GH Simoes (Secretary). Minute No 9 reads as under:
    Minute No 9 OFFICERS CENTRAL MESS
    In view of the possibility that the ISC School may have to move out of HOLKAR State, it was agreed to defer the move of the Officers Central Mess from JUBBULPORE to MHOW till the final location of the Indian Signal Corps School was decided
    The 3rd Meeting of the Indian Signals Committee (1st Meeting of newly reconstituted Committee) was on 1-2 April 1948. It was chaired by Brig CHI Akehurst and attended by Brigs BD Kapur and BS Bhagat; Cols RN Batra and Apar Singh; Lt Cols AC Iyappa, SN Bhatia and ID Verma; Majs RS Tiwana, JV Pinto and KK Tewari (Secy) and Sub Maj V Govindaswami. Minute 11 reads as under:
    Minute 11 FORMATION OF “IND SIGS HQ MESS”
    (a) It was unanimously agreed that the Officers Mess at IND SIGS School should be the “IND SIGS HQ MESS”. In view of the fact that no facilities for a proper mess existed at MHOW at present, it was decided that IND SIGS Centre Officers Mess JUBBULPORE will continue to be regarded as ‘HQ’ Mess for the time being.
    (b) It was agreed that ‘financing’ of proposed HQ Mess should be commenced immediately. Half a day’s basic pay (on new pay code) annually was agreed as the basic subscription towards this fund from all officers of the Corps. It was proposed that Sigs Dte (Sigs Adm) be asked to open a separate account for this fund and devise means of collection of same from officers through their units annually.
    A year later, the above decision was modified, and the 2nd Meeting of the Indian Signals Committee held on 24-26 May 1949 decided that with immediate effect the mess of the School of Signals as opposed to that of the STC will be known as the “Indian Signals Headquarters Mess”.
    Was there a likelihood of the Holkar not permitting the ISC School to be set up at Indore? Of course, at that time the princely states had still not joined the Union. Can any veteran throw some light on this?
    It also appears that the HQ Mess functioned at Jubbulpore from Apr 1948 to May 1949 ie about year. Is this correct?
    I would be grateful for comments
    Maj Gen VK Singh (Retd)

    History of MHOW Garrison
    On the 3rd June, 1818, the great grandson of Balaji Vishvanath surrendered to Sir John Malcolm at Mhow near Indore. On the 28th December, 1817, the army of Holkar attacked the English at Madhidpur and were completely defeated. The remains of Holkar's army were attacked by General Browne and destroyed on the 10th January, 1818, at Rampur. In the meantime Tulsibai had been murdered by her own troops, and on the 6th January, the young Holkar had made his peace with the English by the treaty of Mandasor and become their subordinate ally. He gave up his lands south of the Narbada and abandoned all his claims over Rajputana, while the English undertook to maintain a sufficient field force to protect his state. This force still exists and is the Mhow garrison.
    A history of the Maratha people

    Olive Green: Brief history of MCTE, Mhow

    Brief history of MCTE, Mhow by Ambreen Zaidi, Bhopal, February 05, 2006 Archives Hindustan Times
    MILITARY HEADQUARTERS of War (MHOW) Cantonment was founded by Sir John Malcolm as a sequel to the Treaty of Mandsaur signed by the British Government and the then Holkar king.

    Three premier training institutions of the Indian Army viz. the College of Combat, Infantry School and Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE) are located in the cantonment.

    The spirit of the cantonment is irrepressible, showing a quaint defiance to the inexorable march of time. During and even after World War I, the Corps of Signals was officered by individuals from the Royal Signals trained in the United Kingdom.

    From 1933-40, Indian commissioned officers were trained at the Signal Training Centre (STC) Jabalpur and Army Signal School, Poona. Besides this, specialist training was imparted at the Telecommunications School, Agra and Communication Security School (Cipher) at Mhow.

    A Signals Officers Training School, as part of the STC (British) Mhow, trained cadets commissioned into the Royal Signals as well as the commissioned officers of the Indian Signal Corps during 1940-46. All these institutions, except the Army Signal School, Poona, were amalgamated at Mhow on October 1, 1946 to form the Indian Signal Corps School. After independence, it was renamed the School of Signals on June 25, 1948.

    The school was organised to train Young Officers (No 1 Squadron), Tech Training (No 2 Squadron) and Cipher Training (No 3 Squadron). However, in 1947 the squadrons were renamed Coys. By early 1949, the establishment was revised again and the school redesignated the School of Signals.

    In 1952, the Army Signal School was also moved from Poona to Mhow and retained its separate identity till July 1, 1953 when it was absorbed as part of the School of Signals. The wings were redesignated as Tactical, Technical, Cipher and All Arms Wings. Consequent to national emergency in 1962, a requirement was felt to give pre-commission Signal training to cadets from the Indian Military School (now the Indian Military Academy).

    Thus, an additional ‘cadets’ wing came into existence in February 1963 as an affiliate to the Tactical Wing. It was later called YOs Wing. On October 1, 1967, the School was redesignated as the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, and Tactical and Technical Wings became Faculty of Combat Communications Engineering (FCC) and Faculty of Communication Engineering (FCE) respectively.

    Graduation from School to College in 1967 also saw addition of Technical Maintenance and Training Aid Wing and the Equipment and QM Wing.

    With the advent of computers, the Faculty of Computer Technology and Systems was added in February 1971. EMC/EMI Cell was established in 1980 as part of the prestigious project of the Department of Electronics.

    This cell was then expanded and on June 19, 1986 it became the Army EMC Agency, a separate establishment that is now the Army Centre for Electromagnetics (ACE) wef January 1, 1997. Establishment of the Cadets Training Wing on July 10, 2000 heralded the dawn of another era in the history of Mhow Cantonment.

    Did you know?
    SEVERAL CENTURIES ago, an innkeeper put a small slotted box on each table with a sign ‘To Insure Promptness’, and hence, the word ‘tip’ was coined from the initial letters of this sign. However, the practice of tipping is almost universal though in certain exclusive establishments like the Officer’s Mess it is discouraged. The general rule is that a tip equivalent to 10 per cent of the bill is paid to the waiter. One should be careful not to tip too lavishly as it arouses scorn from others and appears unduly ostentatious. On the other hand, too small an amount brings resentment.
    Snooker
    The game of Snooker was conceived in Jabalpur. Origins of the game of Snooker are generally regarded as being in the latter half of the 19th century. Billiards had been a popular activity amongst British army officers stationed in India who stole the idea from the Indian game Carrom, and variations on the more traditional billiard games were devised. One variation was to add coloured balls in addition to the reds and black which were used for pyramid pool and life pool. This gave birth to the game of Snooker. Although snooker's origin is not recorded explicitly, it is generally held that a Colonel Sir Neville Chamberlain (no relation to the World War II Prime Minister) conceived the game in the British Army Officer's Mess in Jubbulpore, India, in 1875. Was this Mess subsequently designated as Officers Central Mess?
    OLIVE GREEN | Brief history of MCTE, Mhow
    Diary of 2/4th Battalion the border regiment, 1914-19

    Frightened by a dragon, India shies away from Taiwan

    MD Nalapat The National
    Last Updated: June 27. 2010 8:50PM UAE / June 27. 2010 4:50PM GMT
    The two Asian giants may share a 4,250-kilometre border and trade goods and services in excess of $60 billion every year, but when it comes to slights – perceived and otherwise – Beijing’s memory is elephantine.

    India has given sanctuary to the Dalai Lama since 1959 and harbours more than 130,000 Tibetan refugees. In return, China has helped India’s rival Pakistan acquire nuclear weapons and missile systems. It helped block India’s membership in the UN Security Council and fought to the last minute in 2008 to prevent the lifting of restrictions on nuclear trade with India.

    It is no wonder then that while there has been only one war between the two nations in 4,000 years (China soundly defeated India in 1962), relations between the two countries have been cool, if not frigid. Beijing believes in an eye-for-an-eye, preferably two – a penchant that drives the hand-wringing, naturally timid Indian establishment slightly crazy.

    Nowhere is that fear more evident than in relations between India and Taiwan, a small island that nonetheless boasts an economy more than a third of the size of India, with foreign-exchange reserves double the size of New Delhi’s, at about $400 billion.
    Frightened by a dragon, India shies away from Taiwan
    China Trade Pact Draws Taiwan Into Economic Embrace June 28, 2010, 9:06 PM EDT By Frederik Balfour

    Pakistan to train Afghan military officers

    July 01, 2010 13:59 IST
    In a significant policy shift, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai [ Images ] has agreed to send a group of military officers to Pakistan for training, a decision which could raise eyebrows in India [ Images ].

    An agreement has been worked out confirmed Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Karzai's national security adviser, who said under it a "limited" number of officers would be sent for the training. The new deal comes on the heels of recent high-level contacts between the two countries.

    "The move is a victory for Pakistan, which seeks a major role in Afghanistan as officials in both the countries become increasingly convinced that the United States' war effort there is faltering," The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

    "This is meant to demonstrate confidence to Pakistan, in the hope of encouraging them to begin a serious consultation and conversation with us on the issue of the Taliban [ Images ]," Spanta was quoted as saying.

    Though the number of Afghan officers is said to be between a handful and a few dozen, but it has enormous symbolic importance as the first tangible outcome of talks between Karzai and Pakistan's military and intelligence chiefs that began in May, the daily said.

    "It is likely to be controversial among some Afghans who see Pakistan as a Taliban puppet-master rather than as a cooperative neighbor, and in India, which is wary of Pakistan's intentions in Afghanistan," the Post said.

    Some key US officials involved in Afghanistan said they knew nothing of the arrangement. "We are neither aware nor have we been asked to facilitate training of the Afghan officer corps with the Pakistani military," Lt Gen William B Caldwell IV, head of the NATO training command in Afghanistan, said.
    Pakistan to train Afghan military officers

    Comments by BRAD PITT on Jul 01, 2010 09:28 PM
    I feel the biggest blunder that the US made was blindly trusting the Pakistanis. Its pretty clear that they have been taken for a royal ride and made to look like a impotent force that is in no man's land. The war is going nowhere because the Pakistanis are giving covert support to the terrorists and playing a dubious double role. Here in the West, there is silent anger at the audacity with which Pakistan has been playing a double role and made a mockery of the whole game plan. I believe that the whole double game will eventually backfire on Pakistan with passage of time and flare up internal strifes within Pakistan

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    The Unique Identification Authority of India

    The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has been created as an attached office under the Planning Commission. Its role is to develop and implement the necessary institutional, technical and legal infrastructure to issue unique identity numbers to Indian residents.

    On June 25th 2009, the Cabinet also created and approved the position of the Chairperson of the UIDAI, and appointed Mr. Nandan Nilekani as the first Chairperson in the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister. Mr. Ram Sewak Sharma has been appointed the Director General.

    The Mission
    The role that the Authority envisions is to issue a unique identification number (UID) that can be verified and authenticated in an online, cost-effective manner, and that is robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities.

    The Timelines
    The first UID numbers will be issued over the next 12-18 months counted from August 2009. The first number would be issued between August 2010 to February 2011. Over five years, the Authority plans to issue 600 million UIDs. The numbers will be issued through various ‘registrar’ agencies across the country.
    The Unique Identification Authority of India
    Aadhaar Authentication API Specification Relased by UIDAI

    Fakes visit School as HRD Officials

    Kolkata: A case has been filed against the three people who visited La Martiniere for Boys School claiming that they had been sent by the union human resource development (HRD) ministry in connection with the investigations into the suicide of a student, police said. The HRD ministry has said that it did not send any team to inspect the school.

    "A specific case has been launched against the three people based on the complaint of the ministry of human resource development made to the office of the Commissioner of Kolkata Police," said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Damayanti Sen.

    "The team members claimed they were representing the HRD ministry, which they were not. They also had Ashoka emblem on their cards which they were not supposed to carry," said Damayanti.

    The HRD ministry has even sought details from the school of the three people - Ramesh Bhattacharjee, Anthony Arun Biswas and Dilip Datta - who visited the school June 23.

    "Officials from the detective department lodged the FIR against the three persons," said an officer of Shakespeare Sarani police station.

    The premier city school courted controversy following allegations that Class 8 student Rouvanjit Rawla committed suicide after being caned by the principal Sunirmal Chakravarthi. Rawla's father has lodged a complaint against the principal and four teachers

    The state government has already announced that it would form an authority where students and their parents can express their grievances about schools and teachers.

    The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights also conducted a probe and expressed dissatisfaction over the teaching environment in the school. Source: IANS
    Case against trio who visited La Martiniere as HRD team
    Read more Fakes
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    IESM: South Zone Veterans Meet at Bangalore

    Dear Veterans,
    My salute to Col Rajan and his team for organising the SZMV meet on 27 June in a professional manner and their commitment to the cause of ex-servicemen and their dedication to strengthen the roots of IESM movement. The honourable home minister Karnataka Dr Acharya also graced the meeting with his presence. He heard various speakers and aslo addressed the gathering. He confirmed that Karnataka Govt will take up the issues concerning the ex-servicemen with Central Govt.

    Many speakers expressed their views in a friendly atmosphere on number of issues. The main thrust of all speakers was to improve the condition and Izzat of ex-servicemen all over India. The speakers also expressed their resolve to strengthen the IESM and wished this movement to spread all over India to help solve all problems of ex-servicemen.

    Vice Chairman and Gen Sec addressed the meet and stressed on the strengthening the IESM to ensure that all ex-servicemen get the due respect and lead a respectable life as responsible citizen of India. He confirmed that views expressed in the meeting have been noted and will be put up for discussion in the GB and subsequently to all members of the core group and all state conveners. A consensus decision will be arrived at keeping in mind the views of all conveners. The decision of the IESM head office will be communicated to all soon. In the mean time all conveners were requested to maintain status quo and follow the latest instructions of the IESM head office.

    All present confirmed in one voice their resolve to strengthen the IESM.
    Regards
    Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM
    Gen Sec IESM

    SEMINAR AT BANGALORE
    Dear Rajan
    On my return late last night, I would like to thank you for organising the seminar on sat & Sunday at Bangalore. The manner of conduct of the whole show speaks volumes of your and your band of ESM.

    The presence and speech of the State Home Minister was exceedingly significant.

    The points made by the various speakers were valid indeed especially with regard to organisation of IESM, membership, pension dues, donations and membership etc. I am sure that all the proposals would be considered seriously once your report of the meet is received.

    I would like to specifically mention the three conveners from the NE states who for a change were made to feel a part and parcel of the IESM family. I would be wanting if I also did not mention the lady who single handedly pursued the recruitment drive successfully for Convener Mysore.

    Finally I would be failing if did not thank my host Admiral Vasanth who not withstanding his age and work pressure went out of his way from recieving and seeing me off at the airport and lookong after every requirement of mine in between.
    Congrats once again.
    Regards,
    Vice Admiral Barin Ghose (Retired)
    Head Pension Division
    Indian Ex Servicemen Movement

    Rank Pay: Lt-Gen writes to Sonia against Centre's appeal

    Bhopal, June 30 : An Indian Army veteran has approached United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Law Minister M Veerappa Moily regarding the Centre's filing an appeal against a Supreme Court judgement favouring military officers who had been denied benefit of Rank Pay.

    "A committee of secretaries met to consider the judgement and within a week (a record of sorts) decided to appeal against it, as it was 'unviable'," Lieutenant-General (Retd) S K Bahri, Param Vishisht Seva Medal, wrote in a letter to Ms Gandhi. A copy was provided to UNI.

    Can a fraud detected by the apex court be wished away due to its financial cost, the veteran asked while adding that in his earlier mail to Mr Moily he informed the Minister that the Centre's action is against Mr Moily's own statement that the Government should not be a persistent litigant.

    ''After your (Ms Gandhi's) assurance at Amritsar, inclusion in the Congress manifesto, declaration by the President (Pratibha Devisingh Patil) in her opening address to Parliament, the Finance Minister's statement in the Budget speech and proclamation by the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) from the ramparts of the Red Fort, One Rank One Pension remains a mirage,'' Lt-Gen Bahri pointed out. --UNI
    Rank Pay: Lt-Gen writes to Sonia against Centre's appeal

    Vox Populi
    If armed forces personnel would have been in the habit of giving up in the face of all odds, then these babus would have been serving the Pakistani/ Chinese government and not the sovereign nation called India/ Bharat. And what to talk of politicians, less the better...
    Keep on fauji, there is no runners up in the war.
    The chief of bureaucracy is the Cabinet Secretary who alone recommends/ approves/ advises and dictates to his superiors & juniors respectively to initiate all anti- ex-servicemen actions/ measures whether in courts or elsewhere. Hence, he should be taken to task by Ex-Servicmen Movement (IESM)/ League (IESL) by resorting to the RTI Act. Prime Minister, Ministers and the President do not meet face to face with the delegations of ex-servicemen as they lack the moral courage and do not want to discuss issues which they already know in their heart of heart that the stand taken by ex-servicemen is right. At least, they are still left with this much of decency.
    Pension bonanza for ex-servicemen after Supreme Court ruling: 16 Mar 2010, 2006 hrs IST,IANS
    Grant of Rank Pay- Review Petition slapped by Union of India in the Apex Court
    When the Government Becomes an Adversary of its Ex-servicemen

    CWG: If the games were held in Dantewada the Maoists would have lost their raison d'etre

    Senior Congress leader and former sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar has slammed the current United Progressive Alliance government under Dr Manmohan Singh for the huge amount of 'wasteful expenditure' being incurred on the Commonwealth games, saying that if a part of this money had been spent on the Bhopal Gas victims it would have brought the affected 'some relief'.

    "Holding the 10-day, Rs 20,000-crore jamboree reflects a misplaced sense of pride and distortion of national priorities. If not on development of a chronically poor nation, the money could have been well spent on bringing basic sports to every mohalla and panchayat,” former Union Minister for Panchayati Raj and Sports Mani Shankar Aiyar says in an article.

    The outspoken Aiyar, who was recently nominated to the Rajya Sabha, has in a signed article taken on the government over the Commonwealth Games and questioned the UPA's policies on this issue.

    Aiyar said the original promise was to hold the games within Rs 150 crore and this money was to be recovered from endorsements and ticket sales. Expressing shock, he said the expenditure has already touched Rs 20,000 crore and his fears were that the expenditure would eventually exceed Rs 60, 000 crore. Aiyar said that the Bhopal gas victims could have benefited if some part of this money could have been diverted for their welfare and rehabilitation.

    Aiyar, who was also the panchayati raj minister said that when Rs 600 crores was given for the Gram Nyayalas (rural courts) after a lot of haggling, both the planning commission and the finance ministry reminding him that India was a 'poor country.' He said that the same planning commission and finance ministry were not giving out money for the games and no questions were being asked in the process. Aiyar said that originally it was decided to hold the games in Bawana in north-east Delhi dominated by villages to ensure the growth and development of that region. So how were the games shifted to the posh areas of Delhi, which is already developed.

    Giving the example of East Manchester where the Commonwealth Games were held in London, he said the most backward area was chosen to benefit the poor and the unemployed. As a consequence of this, Walmart set up its biggest store employing 18000 boys and girls while Microsoft's European headquarters was located there because of the Commonwealth Games.

    Aiyar said that if the games had been held in Dantewada and if 20,000 crores had been invested there, the Maoists would have lost their raison d'etre.

    Hitting out at both the Delhi state and central governments, Aiyar said that the effort appeared to be to impress foreigners at the cost of the poor and the needy, with beggars having been removed from Delhi's streets because they left a bad impression on foreigners, but this, he says will not drive away poverty.

    Aiyar has been a constant and consistent critic of the kind of wasteful expenditure that the Indian government is spending on a one time gaming extravaganza which will neither promote sports in the country, nor create any sporting infrastructure nor benefit the country in any form, except to spend money like water, for a cause which has no meaning.

    In India, as Aiyar foresees, the only good that will come out of the Commonwealth Games will be a decision to never again bid for such an event until every Indian child gets a minimum to eat and is assured a basic education and a playground with trained coaches to discover the sportsperson in himself/ herself.
    Panchayati Raj Minister Slams UPA Government
    Who gains from the Games?

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    National Security: Brace for two-front war, Army told

    Rahul Datta | New Delhi Tuesday, June 29, 2010
    In an unprecedented move that has confirmed India’s concerns about China’s growing military might, the Government has for the first time given a directive in writing to the armed forces to enhance their military capabilities vis-a-vis the neighbouring country and prepare for a two-front war scenario with China and Pakistan.

    Asking the armed forces to prepare themselves to fight simultaneous wars on the eastern and western fronts with China and Pakistan, Defence Minister AK Antony has directed the chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force to rapidly modernise and upgrade their weapon systems and tone up operational preparedness.

    The Services have been assured full support from the Government in this endeavour, sources said.

    Explaining the significance of the directive, the sources maintained that it came against the backdrop of the armed forces’ apprehensions about the rapid modernisation programme of their Chinese counterparts. The directive will allow the armed forces to build capabilities to rapidly move troops from one theatre of war to the other by procuring more transport planes and improved rail and road network for ferrying weapons systems.

    Modern warfare was all about speed, lethality and mobility and the directive would go a long way in helping the armed forces achieve this objective as soon as possible, the sources added.

    The directive follows the Cabinet Committee on Security’s (CCS) nod to the Army to raise two more mountain divisions (each division has 10,000 troops) on the China front. With the focus on improving infrastructure, the Army was last year allowed to raise two mountain divisions. It means that in the next four or five years, it would have four divisions on the China front.

    The Government has also removed the 10-year cap on recruitment and permitted the Army to go for fresh intakes. Coupled with this important development, the Government has cleared the proposal to acquire more than 200 Howitzer guns for these divisions through the foreign military sale route from the US.

    “The Howitzer guns are light. These can be dismantled and carried on horseback or by helicopters to the remote and rugged terrain of Arunachal Pradesh and other such regions in Jammu & Kashmir where road infrastructure is non-existent,” sources said.

    While the two-front war concept was in public domain and being discussed in seminars and TV debates, the political leadership had so far refrained from joining the debate. The recently-issued directive clearly indicates that the Government has finally heeded the concerns of the armed forces and given them unambiguous orders to go ahead and do the needful, sources said.

    This decision would give the necessary momentum to the security establishment to improve the infrastructure, including all-weather roads right up to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and airports and helipads in remote regions of States like Arunachal Pradesh. In fact, the armed forces are already engaged in upgrading nearly 25 airports in the North-East and the project is likely to be over within the next two years.

    India and China have a 5,000-km-long disputed border and the Chinese have over the years rapidly improved their logistical lines by building roads right up to their side of the LAC. India is in a disadvantageous position as the terrain on its side is hilly and building roads there takes more time than in the plains, sources said, adding that the slopes on the Chinese side are gentler.
    Brace for two-front war, Army told by Rahul Datta | New Delhi

    Preparing for a Demographic Dividend

    At the World Economic Forum’s fall meeting in New Delhi, five experts discussed the challenges and opportunities India faces as its population becomes increasingly youthful. These include improving the education system, providing better housing, luring capital to support innovation, and implementing policies that will engender confidence in the economy.

    The five experts are Sudhakar Balakrishnan, CEO of Adecco India, a staffing and human resources services firm based in Bangalore; Thomas Crampton, Asia/Pacific social media strategy director for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, part of WPP PLC; Shobana Kamineni, executive director of new initiatives for the Apollo Hospitals Group, which operates 46 hospitals in India and overseas; Naresh Malhan, managing director of Indian operations for the employment services firm Manpower Services India Private Ltd; and C.K. Prahalad, considered by many to be the world’s number one mangement guru, who unfortunately passed away on April 16, 2010.

    The discussion, moderated by Booz & Company Chief Marketing and Knowledge Officer Thomas A. Stewart, took place on November 9, 2009, at the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit in New Delhi. Booz and Company is an international management consulting firm.

    The Summer 2010 issue of STRATEGY+BUSINESS, the management magazine published by Booz & Company, carries a full account of the illuminating discussion. It’s reproduced below.
    Ram Narayanan
    US-India Friendship

    with Sudhakar Balakrishnan, Thomas Crampton, Shobana Kamineni, Naresh Malhan, and C.K. Prahalad; moderated by Thomas A. Stewart (click here)

    Demographics are destiny. Countries with a large and expanding workforce and relatively few people of dependent age (under 15 or over 64) can reap what Harvard School of Public Health demographer David Bloom has called a “demographic dividend.” Young, unencumbered workers spur entrepreneurship and innovation, enabling significant gains in productivity, savings, and capital inflows. As fresh ideas flourish, governments can focus on improving infrastructure and helping to fund such critical technologies as intelligent transportation systems, smart utility grids, and renewable energy. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the demographic dividend can increase a country’s GDP growth by as much as a third.

    No country is better poised to take advantage of the demographic dividend than India. In 2020, the average age in India will be only 29 years, compared with 37 in China and the United States, 45 in western Europe, and 48 in Japan. Moreover, 70 percent of Indians will be of working age in 2025, up from 61 percent now. Also by 2025, the proportion of children younger than 15 will fall to 23 percent of India’s total population, from 34 percent today, while the share of people older than 65 will remain around just 5 percent. China’s demographics are not as rosy as India’s, because the government’s policies to limit population growth will have created an abnormally large cohort of people over age 60 by 2040. Other emerging nations, such as Pakistan, Indonesia, and certain countries in Latin America and Africa, will produce much larger workforces in the coming years. But their demographic dividends may be inhibited by political and social instability that impedes efforts to put this young population to productive use; a country with massive numbers of unemployed young people and no constructive economic outlet for their dynamism is headed for trouble.
    Preparing for a Demographic Dividend

    Welfare of ex-servicemen continues to take a backseat

    Hindustan Times 15 JUN 2009 a year ago... The Ex Servicemen Commission as promised is only on paper and nothing of material has been effected.

    IN UTTAR Pradesh, about 75 per cent posts of the Zila Sainik Adhikari have been lying vacant for the last five years. Hence there are no jobs for ex-servicemen. As a result no welfare activities could be carried out in the state for them. This was stated by Col (retd) Prakash Bhatt of Noida Veterans Forum, at a meeting organised at Arun Vihar Community Centre last Sunday. Noida Veterans Forum is a newly formed body of retired Army officers working for the betterment of the ex-servicemen.

    It is also in the process of setting up a helpline for veterans,war-widows and their dependents in distress. Addressing the gathering of ex servicemen, Bhatt held the Directorate General of Recruitment (DGR) responsible for having failed to do its job.
    “Only 10 per cent of the retiring personnel could be trained by the DGR in 2005,while only 30 per cent could be given jobs,” he remarked.

    “Creation of Army, Air Force and Navy placement cells substantiate the fact that DGR hasbeen ineffective. But since all of these are not working in synergy, much is left to be desired,” he added.

    Col Bhatt also spoke about the discriminatory rules that exist for Noida ECHS beneficiaries, wherein a Noida resident is not entitled for treatment at a hospital in Delhi. He also stressed that annuity for gallantry award winners should be made uniform in all states. Allaying the fears of the retired soldiers, Brig (retd) K.P.Singh Deo, former Defence Minister,who is also the secretary, Ex-servicemen Department, All India Congress Committee, stated that the Central
    government has approved the formation of a separate pay commission for defence services. Besides an ex-servicemen commission will also be formed. Agreeing that the state of most Sainik Boards is appalling, Deo said that the ex-servicemen commission is being formed precisely to improve the condition of Sainik Boards at central, state and district level. IN UTTAR Pradesh, about 75 per cent posts of the Zila Sainik Adhikari have been lying vacant for the last five years. Hence there are no jobs for ex-servicemen. As a result no welfare activities could be carried out in the state for them.

    This was stated by Col (retd) Prakash Bhatt of Noida Veterans Forum, at a meeting organised at Arun Vihar Community Centre last Sunday.

    Noida Veterans Forum is a newly formed body of retired Army officers working for the betterment of the ex-servicemen.

    It is also in the process of setting up a helpline for veterans,war-widows and their dependents in distress.

    Addressing the gathering of ex servicemen, Bhatt held the Directorate General of Recruitment (DGR) responsible for having failed to do its job. “Only 10 per cent of the retiring personnel could be trained by the DGR in 2005, while only 30 per cent could be given jobs,” he remarked. “Creation of Army, Air Force and Navy placement cells substantiate the fact that DGR has been ineffective. But since all of these are not working in synergy, much is left to be desired,” he added.

    Col Bhatt also spoke about the discriminatory rules that exist for Noida ECHS beneficiaries, wherein a Noida resident is not entitled for treatment at a hospital in Delhi.

    He also stressed that annuity for gallantry award winners should be made uniform in all states.

    Allaying the fears of the retired soldiers, Brig (retd) K.P.Singh Deo, former Defence Minister, who is also the secretary, Ex-servicemen Department, All India Congress Committee, stated that the Central government has approved the formation of a separate pay commission for defence services. Besides an ex-servicemen commission will also be formed. Agreeing that the state of most Sainik Boards is appalling, Deo said that the ex-servicemen commission is being formed precisely to improve the condition of Sainik Boards at central, state and district level.
    Welfare of ex-servicemen takes a backseat. In Uttar Pradesh, about 75 per cent posts of the Zila Sainik Adhikari have been lying vacant for the last five years. Hence there are no jobs for ex-servicemen.

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Government sets up GoM on energy

    References
    Energy Security = Energy + Security: Pragmatic Euphony
    Govt sets up GoM on energy: Indian Express

    It seems that those who call such meetings ie PMO do not understand the role of various actors in different facets of National security.
    The big problem in India is that the MOD is secluded from Foreign relations. The External Affairs Ministry comprising of bureaucrats of the similar genre as the IAS feel that they are the only ones who know every thing about diplomacy and external relations of India. The reality is far from it and one can see how they have created an image of a weak India who runs to Western countries for a motherly hug when our neighbours inflict wounds on us.
    Energy Security has definite and crucial connotations of seaward defence, Air defence, Army's deployment and Homeland defence.
    Even the name of the Home Minister is missing!! I suppose HE IS THERE.
    Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh (Retd)
    Former Signal Officer in Chief

    The unsung heroes of Indian democracy

    The unsung heroes of Indian democracy: Express Buzz
    Vir Sanghvi First Published: 27 Jun 2010 01:28:54 AM IST

    Do you know the name of the Chief of Army Staff? The Chief of Air Staff? The Chief of Naval Staff? Or, if you want to stick to the army, the most high-profile of the three services, do you know the name of the Deputy Chief of Army Staff?

    Okay, I am guessing here but I reckon that you had difficulty naming all three service chiefs and had to struggle with remembering the name of the Deputy Army Chief before giving up.

    Is this a bad thing? Well, it is if you look at American parallel. In that country, generals are huge media figures. General David Petraeus, who was behind the surge in Iraq, has been on innumerable magazine covers, takes questions from interviewers on TV on a regular basis and was even cited by John McCain in the Presidential debate as the cure for all of America’s war ills.

    Nor is this new. American generals have always been public figures. You could argue, that during the Second World War, America needed to publicise such figures as General Eisenhower (who commanded the D-Day operation and later became President) and General Patton (later the subject of a hit movie starring George C Scott). But in the post-war phase many generals have become household names: Douglas McArthur, William Westmoreland, Norman Schwarzkopf and of course Colin Powell.

    Moreover, generals often cross the divide to join politics. Eisenhower and Powell may be among the best known but there are loads of others including Alexander Haig (who died recently) who was Richard Nixon’s Chief of Staff, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state and who was once regarded as a potential president. The American parallel is significant because of a blow-out that occurred last week. General Stanley McChrystal, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, was profiled by Rolling Stone magazine. In the profile, the General and his staff made several disparaging remarks about the civilians on the administration’s Afghanistan strategy team and sneered at Vice-President Joe Biden.

    The quotes were leaked in advance of publication, set off a predictable uproar and led President Obama to take the virtually unprecedented step of calling McChrystal to Washington and firing him face-to-face over a 30-minute meeting at the White House. McChrystal is well-known in the US, has frequently been interviewed and has regularly appeared on TV. Perhaps, as a consequence, Obama made sure that his replacement was even more high-profile: General Petraeus.

    What’s interesting is that neither Petraeus nor McChrystal are America’s equivalent of our Chief of Staff. Yet the media profile they enjoy in the US is higher than any Indian army chief (with the possible exception of Sam Manekshaw in the years after the Bangladesh victory) has ever enjoyed. Some of this may have to do with the fact that both Petraeus and McChrystal commanded armies in countries where the US was at war. But it is hard to think of an Indian parallel where Indian commanders (not the Chief himself) are so well-known even during war time.

    Nor do our generals become so personally identified with the war effort. Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf became heroes on the back of the first Gulf War while much of the anti-war fervour during Vietnam was focused on William Westmoreland (who even got abused in anti-war-songs) personally.

    Maureen Dowd, in the New York Times, suggests that McChrystal was “a product of the warrior-god culture: four-star generals with their own public relations teams.” And it is certainly true that American generals have their own media teams and are frequently advised on how to project their own images. Dowd’s is a recurring theme in US criticism of the army. In the best-selling book, Seven Days in May, a charismatic General (played by Burt Lancaster in the film version) plots to overthrow the President. And when President Harry Truman fired the iconic General Douglas McArthur over differences on policy towards China, there were fears that such was McArthur’s popularity that Truman might damage his own standing by axing such a “warrior-god”.

    I have often thought that one reason why Americans find it so easy to do business with military dictators in South America, East Asia and Pakistan is that they are used to the idea of formidable military men. We find soldiers who have seized power faintly repulsive. Americans, on the other hand, warm to them. But when you think about it, there is something intriguing about our refusal to worship “warrior gods” particularly when we contrast it with the US experience. America’s wars (Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, Afghanistan, etc.) are all fought abroad and do not really place its own civilians at risk. Our wars are fought at home and the consequences of defeat can be dramatic: in 1962, we thought we had lost Assam; in 1965, the intention was to wrest away Kashmir. Because there is so much at stake, you might expect us to focus more on the men who command our armies.

    Yet, curiously, neither the Indian people nor the Indian army want to change the balance between the profiles of the military and the civilian administration. In 1965, we admired General J N Chaudhuri who commanded the army but within a few years, he had dropped out of sight. In 1971, Western analysts kept suggesting that Manekshaw was popular enough to stage a coup. Not only was this view mistaken, but the General (or Field Marshal as he later became) showed no such inclination.

    One of the most interesting things about our commanders is that even those we have held in the highest esteem — men like General Jagjit Singh Aurora or Air Marshal Arjan Singh — have never sought the limelight. In the aftermath of Kargil, General V P Malik could have parlayed that victory into a huge public profile for himself. Instead, he opted for a quiet retirement and now, has to be persuaded to come to Delhi or to talk to the media. Consequently, a situation has developed where Indians are content to let the army be. It is unthinkable for any magazine to want to profile an army commander (below the level of chief) or to assign a journalist to follow him around, the way Rolling Stone did with McChrystal.

    And even when journalists do try and get generals to talk most are tight-lipped. (It helps, I think, that most military men have a barely repressed contempt for the press!) Even when they do talk, off-the-record, rarely do senior officers seek any personal publicity for themselves.

    Contrast this with McChrystal. According to the Rolling Stone journo who wrote the story, not only did McChrystal make most of the damaging remarks within the first two days of their interaction, but the general’s staff insisted that the journo fly out to Afghanistan. In that sense, the general came across like a movie star eager to secure favourable coverage for his new release.

    To the credit of our forces, no Indian general would behave that way.

    I’m not sure why this is. It cannot be that our generals are simply respecting British tradition. The Pakistani army also came from the same stock and their generals tend to be megalomaniacs and publicity-hounds.

    I suspect that the army’s readiness to remain in the background and the low profile chosen by its generals are both relatively unsung manifestations of the success of Indian democracy. Even in this media-crazy age, our officers have not been swayed by the glory of personal publicity or lusted for fame. One more thing to be grateful to our armed forces for.
    — Exclusive to TNSE. More at www.virsanghvi.com. Follow him at twitter.com/virsanghvi
    The unsung heroes of Indian democracy

    COMMENT
    Writing in the TIME magazine at the height of the Emergency in August 1975, Claire Sterling wrote: “Neither development is likely to leave the Indian Army unmoved. And that is perhaps the crux of the situation. India’s standing Army of nearly a million men has been resolutely non-political since Independence. But it is also sensitive to the smallest slight to its honour, dignity and military independence, not to mention the nation’s sovereignty; and it is steeped in loyalty to constitutional principles……”.

    The article concludes: “Depending on how fast and how far she goes in changing from a traditional Prime Minister to the one-woman ruler of a police state, the Indian Army ~ the one group with the power to stop the process ~ could intervene. If it were to do so, it would almost certainly be not to replace her with a military dictator , but to restore the institutions it has been drilled in to defending since birth”.

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    How many Ex Servicemen have been employed for safety of tourists in India?

    Domestic Tourism registers an impressive growth during 2009
    Sunday, June 27, 2010 15:58 IST

    Market Research Division of Ministry of Tourism compiles data on “domestic and foreign tourist visits to States/ UTs” received from Ministries/ Departments of Tourism of various State Governments and UT Administrations.
    Following are the important highlights of data for 2009:
    (a) Domestic Tourist Visits to Sates/ UTs
  • During 2009, the number of domestic tourist visits to the States/ UTs was 650 million as compared to 563 million in 2008 and 527 millions in 2007.
  • During 2009, the number of domestic tourist visits to States/UTs registered an increase of 15.5% over 2008 as compared to increase of 6.9% in 2008 over 2007.
  • The top ten States in terms of number of domestic tourist visits (in millions) during 2009 were Andhra Pradesh (157.5), Uttar Pradesh (134.8), Tamil Nadu (115.8), Karnataka (32.7), Rajasthan (25.6), Maharashtra (23.7), Madhya Pradesh (23.1), Uttarakhand (21.9), West Bengal (20.5) and Gujarat (15.9).
  • The contribution of top 10 States was about 88% to the total number of domestic tourist visits during 2009. The percentage shares of top 5 States were Andhra Pradesh (24.2%), Uttar Pradesh (20.7%), Tamil Nadu (17.8%), Karnataka (5.0%) and Rajasthan (3.9%).
    (b) Foreign Tourist visits to States/ UTs
  • During 2009, the number of foreign tourist visits (FTVs) to the States/ UTs was 13.7 million as compared to 14.1 million in 2008 and 13.3 million in 2007.
  • During 2009, the number of FTVs to States/UTs registered a decline of 2.8% over 2008 as compared to an increase of 6.4% in 2008 over 2007. This decline in FTVs is similar to the trend of the decline of 3.3% in the foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) during 2009.
  • The top ten States in terms of number of FTVs (in millions) during 2009 were Tamil Nadu (2.37), Maharashtra (2.0), Delhi (1.96), Uttar Pradesh (1.53), West Bengal (1.18), Rajasthan (1.07), Andhra Pradesh (0.80), Kerala (0.55), Bihar (0.42) and Himachal Pradesh (0.40).
  • The contribution of top 10 States was about 90% to the total number of FTVs in the country during 2009. The percentage shares of top 5 States were Tamil Nadu (17.3%), Maharashtra (14.6%), Delhi (14.3%), Uttar Pradesh (11.25) and West Bengal (8.6%).

    Data show that domestic tourism registered an impressive growth of 15.5% in 2009 inspite of economic recession and other adverse factors for tourism. On the contrary, FTAs and FTVs registered a decline of 3.3% and 2.8% respectively during the same period. This brings out the importance of domestic tourism in the overall tourism development in the country. AD
    Domestic Tourism registers an impressive growth during 2009

    Two Dutch women raped, robbed in New Delhi

    Question: Is India a safe destination?
    How many Domestic and Foreign Nationals have been cheated, looted, raped and killed? Do we have the statistics compiled on all- India basis? The Tourism Ministry which had promised to employ ESM for safe guarding tourists is still on paper without any tangible outcome! Tourism Ministry will do well to warn and give out the statistics of tourist victims and issue an advisory accordingly for citizens safety.
  • Sunday, June 27, 2010

    Indian Bureaucracy and how it works for itself

    Spend Your Budget. This is the most important rule of bureaucracy and starkly differentiates bureaucracy from the purposes of private business. In a bureaucracy, however, profit is not an issue. If you don't spend your budget, you may be congratulated on your economy, but then the reasoning will be that now you don't need that extra money in your next budget. So your budget will shrink, without any other benefit accruing to you. A shrinking budget then means shrinking power in the bureaucratic system. This is the last thing that a bureaucrat wants. Therefore, you must always spend your budget, and economizing is a sin devoutly to be avoided. Spending your budget, you can proceed to the next step, which is:

    Fail. Whatever it is that your bureaucrat is supposed to be doing, if you don't do it very well but can produce a reasonable argument that your failure is from lack of money (or enough power), then you can (if you've spent your budget) always ask for more money, i.e. to be "fully funded. The success of such deception, of course, is the fruit of the next rule:

    Cover Your Ass. If you are a bureaucrat, you want to be sure that nothing is ever your fault. If it were, and if you were not simply starved for the money and power that you are seeking, then the reckoning might actually cost you money, power, or even the existence of your job.

    Replace Useful Work with Useless Work. A good way to avoid accountability is if a new bureaucratic goal is created that is unrelated to the actual supposed mission of the bureaucracy. It is then easy to meet the fictitious goal and proclaim success, when nothing has been done about the original mandate.

    Multiply Procedures and Paperwork. Something like "Outcomes Assessement" is an example of another excellent bureaucratic strategy. If there is a problem or complaint, then obviously we need to do something about it; and to do something about it we obviously need studies, more bureaucrats, and "solutions" that involve new rules, new procedures, less autonomy for those on site, esoteric jargon, and a great deal more paperwork. If the studies take long enough, and the procedures and paperwork are voluminous enough, then the original problem or complaint may simply be forgotten long before the system actually gets around to doing anything substantive. Even better, if the rules and procedures are of the "useless" variety, then there is no threat that anything would ever get done about the matter anyway. Useless procedures and paperwork provide much of the steam for the operation of Parkinson’s Law (Cyril Northcote Parkinson, 1955), that "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion." After all, if extra time actually helped in accomplishing the original mandate, then the original mandate might actually be accomplished. But if the original mandate doesn't get accomplished, then obviously more time is need and, as we have seen, more money and power are probably also going to be needed. This will all benefit the bureaucracy marvelously. GOM or EGOM are typical examples.

    Pass the Buck. An excellent way to cover your ass is to deny you have responsibility, not just for things that go wrong, but for the whole issue. The Bhopal Gas tragedy and 25 years of fooling the victims is a fine example.

    Don't Rock the Boat. An excellent way to avoid responsibility in bureaucracy is not to be noticed. That is one meaning of not rocking the boat, or not making waves. And, of course, an excellent way of not being noticed is to pass the buck.

    Jerk People Around. Once bureaucrats have their unions and their power, what do they do with them? Well, they "serve the public." If they don't actually serve the public very well, there is not much that can be done about it, since they will have the protection both of the civil service system and of the unions, and it may be all but impossible to fire them. So why not have some fun in the meantime? Just say no. The public needs to be reminded that they are at your mercy, so you might as well make things as difficult for them as possible. It helps that an inefficient "spend your budget" bureaucracy is going to have tons of rules and regulations, where they are most likely to be incoherent and even self-contradictory. So you will have no difficulty quoting one rule to one person and another to another, requiring them to do different things, both of which can then be retroactively invalidated by a switch in the rules which can be described as:
    It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

    The reasonable response of the bureaucrat (who isn't even of the choosing of the voters in the first place) to this would be, "Sounds like a good idea to me!" You do not want law or regulation to be a "rule of action," because then people would know beforehand what is required, prohibited, or allowed. Your power, to decide all those things arbitrarily, would be diminished. Indeed, looking at almost any part of National or state regulations, no one can honestly deny that they "be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood." This is not an accident. It serves a purpose. And we see something else. Regulations are not created by elected legislators. Politicians have covered their own asses by passing the power of making regulations to bureaucrats, creating the unconstitutional system of "administrative law." The irresponsible bureaucrat thus comes to rule the modern state. The only drawback of this is its twilight existence. The bureaucrat needs to be faceless, both so as not to rock the boat with superiors but especially so that he can play his essential political role. The politicians who give bureaucrats power will always take credit for whatever works but then will always blame the bureaucrats for whatever goes wrong. As long as those bureaucrats are kept faceless, and it is the "system" that is the problem, then we actually have blame without accountability and without consequences. Nothing need be done, unless, of course, it is to give the bureaucrats more money and more power, because, after all, what else could really be wrong?

    The above Rules have been cleverly applied by the successive Central Pay Commissions to degrade/ downgrade the Rank and Pay of the Indian Armed Forces.
    Extracted and Modified from the original:
    The Practical Rules of Bureaucracy
    Justice Hegde resigns: The Good and the Bad- Fighting the corrupt Bureaucratic system is impossible

    SCPC: Pay of Majors and Equivalents

    Petition with Armed Forces Tribunal
    Sir,
    Through RMS Blog I wish to state that the petition filed by 139 Officers of the rank of Major/ equi though confined to the particular rank has a major overall implication. As and when the petition is admitted all officers of the rank of Honorary Captain to Brigadier would also be entitled to enhanced pension.

    The four clauses of sixth cpc report viz Modified parity, Extant provisions to continue, fitment benefit for serving as well retired officer to be same and pension should not be less than 50% of pay. All officers barring those granted fixed pay scale shall be benefited from the judgement.

    All that the veterans have to do is to remember their basic pension of vth cpc multiply it by 1.86 and then add half of Grade pay and MSP. This should be pension payable to them wef 1-1-2006.
    Regards
    Veteran Avtar Singh

    A tribute to Col Neeraj Sood who laid down his life in defence of his Country

    For Col Neeraj Sood who laid down his life in J&K while chasing militants

    Rest In peace.
    O! My brother-in-arms.
    For you wished very young,
    To be thus destined.

    Expect not your countrymen,
    Or political masters
    To mourn or give a trime.
    For them your life is yet another brine.

    TV channels will show a flick or two,
    So will print media do.
    But all will be forgotten
    In another day or two.

    Only your family will carry the cross
    Of missing son, brother
    Husband or father
    For rest of their life.

    Rest In peace.
    O! My brother-in-arms.
    For you wished very young,
    To be thus destined.

    Penned by Shiv Om Rana
    24th June 2010

    Final farewell to a braveheart

    A LETTER TO THE EDITOR THE TIMES OF INDIA
    SENSITIVE COVERAGE BY THE TIMES 0F INDIA
    Sir,
    Colonel Neeraj Sood was killed in action in an encounter with terrorists on June 22 in Kupwara district of J&K. His final rites with full military honours were performed in Delhi on June 24.

    One felt touched by the coverage given and the photograph of the tricolour-draped body of the late Colonel--with Army colleagues acting as pall-bearers--that appeared in The Times of India on June 25 ("Final farewell to a braveheart").

    It was a fitting tribute paid by your newspaper to a gallant soldier who, like a true leader, led his troops from the front in operations, and laid down his life for his motherland and the security and honour of its citizens.

    Even as we feel anguished about this untimely and sad demise, we offer our most heartfelt condolences to the next-of-kin of the martyred Colonel Neeraj Sood. May his soul rest in peace! May God give his family members, relations and friends enough strength to bear this irreparable loss!

    Just a small request, Sir. Such news concerning the Armed Forces personnel should be included in the section "NATION" of the newspaper and accorded front-page prominence. If ordinary Toms, Dicks and Harrys can find a place on the first page of The Times of India why not our heroes who deserve to be honoured at all times. Let people across the length and breadth of India know what all sacrifices our brave soldiers and their families are making and what all trials and tribulations they are undergoing for the sake of their countrymen.
    Regards.
    Sincerely,
    SC Kapoor
    Wing Commander (retd)

    Final farewell to a braveheart
    Joel Joseph, TNN, Jun 25, 2010, 05.16am IST
    NEW DELHI: When Priti learned about her husband Colonel Neeraj Sood’s death in an encounter with militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Tuesday, she displayed no emotion. Her family members pleaded with her to cry, but she showed a stoic resignation to her fate and went about arranging her husband’s cremation. But on Thursday, when Col Sood was cremated with full military honours in Delhi, the reality sank in.

    When an officer asked whether Priti would like to place a wreath on her husband’s body, she begged everyone to let her hug him for one last time. Her family members prevented her from doing so, but the tri-colour was partially lifted for her to see her husband’s face. Gently, she caressed his face and touched his feet. She then clutched the national flag that draped her husband’s body close to her heart and cried.
    ‘‘I can’t let him go, I don’t want anything else. Just get him back for me. He said he’ll come back,” is what she kept saying as tears rolled down her cheeks. Their daughter, 11-year-old Mishika, sobbed silently close by.

    The 39-year-old commanding officer of 18 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) was killed after he was shot in the head while carrying out counter-insurgency operations. ‘‘He was a dare-devil but kept a cool mind. He believed in leading from the front. We had many memorable moments together. He always outplayed us at sports,” said Lt Col Shailender Singh and Lt Col Uttam Dixit, who were his batchmates in NDA and IMA and had known him for 22 years.

    Many retired and senior officers too came to pay their last tributes.” I was his instructor in NDA when he was a cadet in hunter squadron. He was full of life and excelled at sports,” said Col Rajneesh Handa.
    A few of his friends from Ferozepur attended the cremation. ‘‘Yaar tha hamara, yaar chorh ke chala gaya. We became friends when he was posted in Ferozepur. I spoke to him on Saturday and told him we are planning to come to Srinagar for a vacation. He was very happy to hear that,’’ said Nitin Gupta, trying hard to control his tears.
    joel.joseph@timesgroup.com
    Final farewell to a braveheart

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