Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kalmadi determined to find the conman of XIX CWG 2010

Wednesday, 04 August, 2010 DD News
Under-pressure Kalmadi says ready for CAG or judicial probe

Cornered by allegations of corruption in the CWG preparations, under- fire Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi has said he is ready to face any CAG or judicial probe into the financial transactions related to the event.

"I, as Chairman of the Organising Committee, am prepared to face any scrutiny by (Comptroller and Auditor General) CAG or even a judicial probe for all financial transactions being reported by the media. All the people found guilty will be punished and brought to book," Kalmadi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Kalmadi's statement came a day after more allegations of irregularities and the Indian High Commission's e-mails being 'doctored' came to light. The Congress party also distanced itself from the Pune MP.

Kalmadi reiterated that the all transactions were carried out by the full approval of the OC's various finance committee and he did not have any individual say on these matters.

"The financial procedures at the Organising Committee are well laid down and transparent. Any proposal that is prepared by the Functional Area Head first gets vetted by the OC Finance Committee which has two representatives of Government of India, and after that it is referred to Finance Sub-Committee, comprising of three Senior representatives of Government of India," he explained.

"Thereafter, the proposals are submitted to the Executive Board for its final approval. Chairman OC, in his individual capacity, does not have any financial powers," he added.

Kalmadi said, nonetheless, he has taken note of the various reported bunglings.

"60 days are left for the start of XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 to be held in New Delhi and 43 days for Games Village to open when about 8000 athletes and Officials from all continents of the world start arriving to participate in the Games," Kalmadi said.

"During the last week, media has come out with various stories regarding the irregularities in the orders/ procurement etc. of QBR Launch Function at London/Overlays and association of M/S Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM) in obtaining the Sponsorship for the games.

"I have taken a serious note of these reports and appointed a three member committee headed by Mr. Jarnail Singh, the Chief Executive Officer and two members, Mr. G. C. Chaturvedi, Special Director General and Ms. Gurjot Kaur Chief Vigilance Officer of Organising Committee to look into all the details of QBR Launch Function, Overlays and SMAM issues. The Committee has been asked to submit its report by August 5, 2010," the statement read.

The Indian Olympic Association chief was left red-faced on Tuesday when the Ministry of External Affairs said that the e-mails from the Indian High Commission that he made public to justify huge payments to a UK-based firm were 'doctored'.

His back against the wall, Kalmadi has been isolated in the OC as well with some his own colleagues demanding an emergency meeting to discuss allegations of corruption, which have also been highlighted in a Central Vigilance Commission report. (DD-4.8)
Under-pressure Kalmadi says ready for CAG or judicial probe

Mani Shankar Aiyar airs views to ensure a "clean and successful" CWG 2010
...Read full article

MEA attempt to reduce corruption in the Passport Offices

Wednesday, August 04, 2010
The Government has launched the Passport Seva Project at four Pilot sites in Karnataka on May 28, 2010 under the jurisdiction of Regional Passport Office, Bangalore. This will be followed by launch at three Pilot sites (Chandigarh, Ambala and Ludhiana) under the jurisdiction of Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh. Following validation of the Pilot projects, the remaining 70 Passport Seva Kendras will be established across the country in a phased manner. Under the Passport Seva Project Scheme, the time target schedule for issue of passport under normal and Tatkal category is as follows:

This information was given by Shri S.M. Krishna, Minister of External Affairs, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.
Passport Seva Project

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pakistan bleeding India and the Dragon spewing fire

Fighting a ‘limited war’: It is a flawed concept? by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)

IT is not clear as to when the idea or the concept of a “limited war” was first evolved and articulated. Maybe it was the fallout from the procrastination, dithering and timidity in our response and an alibi for the missed opportunity of a suitable riposte to a major mischief by Pakistan at Kargil. Such response would have put an end to the slow-bleeding of India by Pakistan. Or was it the result of the fiasco of “Operation Parakaram” (mobilisation of Indian defence forces consequent to the attack on Indian Parliament) where we thought we could go in for a limited war and then backtracked on conjuring up the prospects of a larger conflagration? It takes a minimum of two contestants to make war. Therefore, both must subscribe to the idea of a limited war. It cannot work when one of the contestants does and the other does not fall for it.
... Read More

Another three years: Army Chief More Powerful Than The President
by Abhijit Bhattacharyya 02 Aug 2010
ISI head as chief
NO Pakistani army officer can match Kayani’s professional experience and exposure. He has held all the important and sensitive “India-centric” commands. As a Major- General, he commanded the 12th Infantry Division, Murree, deployed to all over the Line of Control. This was followed by a three-year stint as Director-General, Military Operations from December 2000 to September 2003. On promotion as Lt.-General in September 2003 Kayani became commander of Rawalpindi’s X Corps for a year and then Director-General, ISI, for three years (October 2004 to October 2007). On his elevation in 2007, Kayani became the first ISI chief, in the history of Pakistan, to become the army chief.
One of the most crucial aspects of Kayani’s career is his connection with the US armed forces. He has done the Infantry Officer Advanced Course in United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia; the US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies, Honolulu, Hawaii. The US administration welcomed his appointment as army chief, notably the then CIA chief Michael Hayden, the National Intelligence Director, Mike McConnell, and the Central Command Chief, Admiral William Fallon. The US military high command even predicted that being a “soldier’s soldier”, the Pakistani army under Kayani would perform much better than his predecessor Pervez Musharraf.
Thus, Kayani’s apparently “apolitical” and professional image gave him a distinct advantage. It enhanced his acceptability to the quarrelling politicians of Pakistan. “Civilians” may constitute the “boss-in-front”, but Kayani remains the fulcrum and the invisible centre-of-gravity. Kayani asserted himself when he removed Musharraf’s men from sensitive positions in September 2008. He changed four of the nine Corps Commanders and appointed a new head of the ISI. He always consults civilian leaders, and Zardari and Gilani have no reason to complain. When Zardari offered to send the ISI chief to New Delhi for discussions in the immediate aftermath of 26/11, Kayani turned down the proposal. The President’s failure made Kayani politically more powerful than his own Head of State.
... Read more

East of Singapore August 03, 2010
Nitin Pai demystifies the anarchy of international relations
Global Times, an English language daily newspaper owned by the People's Daily, Communist Party of China's mouthpiece, devoted an astonishing 11 of its 22 editorials last month to threatening the United States, South Korea, Vietnam and Southeast Asian countries for challenging China in the western Pacific. The strident criticism rose into a crescendo last week, with the newspaper delivering a thinly-veiled military threat. "China's long-term strategic plan should never be taken as a weak stand, " it warned, and while "[it] is clear that military clashes would bring bad results to all countries in the region involved, but China will never waive its right to protect its core interest with military means."Using state-controlled media to send signals to other countries is an old trick. In this case it allows the Chinese government to make the threat, yet claim that it is honouring its commitments under its 2002 agreement with ASEAN, where the parties pledged to "undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned."
... Read more

Bridging the Gap: General Colin Luther Powell

The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don't help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don't increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider this:
Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don't follow anyone who's not going anywhere.

With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.
"A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses."

The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate - for the good and the bad.

Note: Be not mistaken. This is applicable to family as well as friends. love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will always be your family no matter what. Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above.

"In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us. In Adversity We Know Our friends."

"Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them."
"If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude..."
Colin Powell

We thank Brig PT Gangadharan for sending us the link
Bridging the Gap

Women officers to get permanent commission in non combat arms

Serving women army officers won their first round of legal battle with the Government on Monday assuring the Supreme Court that it will consider giving them permanent commission in legal and educational branches.

However, these officers demanding permanent commission in combat, infantry and other wings of the army will have to wait for a longer period to get this recognition.

Seven years after the protracted legal battle, Government, which was at the receiving end in the apex court, gave an undertaking that women serving officers of Short Service Commission will be considered for permanent commission in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) and educational branches of army.

The undertaking in this regard, which stated that the exercise will be completed within two months, was submitted by Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium before a Bench comprising Justices J M Panchal and Gyan Sudha Mishra.

The Bench recorded the undertaking which said, "The Solicitor General on instruction states that women short service commission officers in service shall be considered for permanent commission in JAG and educational branch of Army."

The court also recorded the undertaking that the case of Major Lina Gurung, a short service commission officer, who is retiring in August will be considered on priority subject to the requirements.

After the SG gave the undertaking, the Bench stayed contempt proceedings against army till further orders for not complying with the Delhi High Court directions to grant permanent commission to women serving in the armed forces.

"In view of the statements made at Bar by the Solicitor General, the contempt proceeding is stayed till further order," the Bench said.

In all there are 2,200 women officers including 1,200 in army, 750 in air force and 250 in navy, according to Defence Ministry figures.

The Bench asked the government to file an additional affidavit elaborating the nature of duty assigned to the officers getting permanent commission.

The court said after receiving the details from the Army, it will further examine the issue of permanent commission for women Army officers.

Currently, women are inducted in the Army as officers under Short Service Commission for a maximum period of 14 years whereas their male counterparts are eligible to receive permanent commission after five years.

The Bench wanted to know whether so far no lady officer had ever been sent to the battlefield.

The SG said that there has not been any such case since "the appointment in infantry leads to the battlefield".

While concluding the hearing, the court asked the Army to show from the records that the male officers who are given permanent commission after the SSC are sent for battle training.

The apex court had on 26th July asked the Army to produce before it the government notification which debars women officers from getting permanent commission in the armed forces.

The Army had moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court judgement directing the armed forces to grant permanent commission to women serving in the armed forces.

Sixty serving and retired women officers from Army and Air Force had moved the High Court which had said they should be treated equally with male officers.(SS-02/08)
Women officers to get permanent commission in non-combat arms

ECHS: Veterans continuing battle for health care

1. I really wonder after the Battle has been lost and won was it worth going through the ECHS for fixed dentures? At the end of the day I have ended up paying Rs 16000/- for the fixed dentures to cover the gap of 4 teeth on top (now 6 teeth denture) and one bottom gum (now 3 teeth fixed denture).
2. It took over a dozen visits to ECHS BH, Tilak Nagar star imaging and path lab, R&R and of course finally Rampal Dental Clinic in GKII.
3. I am presently reasonably satisfied with the job which had my approval while on the Dental Chair. Initial cost was quoted as Rs 1 Lac for Top Quality fixed Dentures. I said spending a lac at this age for elephant’s teeth is not worth. In one of the sittings I settled for flexible dentures for Rs 10000/- and in the final sitting the doctor while on the dental chair recommended that I should go for the fixed denture of a reasonable quality which would cost Rs 30000/- as the health of the teeth on both sides is bad and would have to be treated in 6-8 months. When I said the cost appears to be still beyond my budget. Negotiation landed up to Rs 18000/-.
4. Now I have sets of partial two fixed dentures of hopingly reasonable quality. I was told ECHS pays only Rs 500/- per month tooth denture. Rs 2000/- was finally reduced and I ended up finally paying Rs 16000/-.
5. There may be many similar cases which go unreported. As a post treatment ECHS may be able to comment that did I receive the correct treatment or I paid excessive through decision was ultimately mine for which I do not blame anyone from the ECHS. I wonder did I gain anything going through the ECHS for my dental treatment keeping in mind the time spent in waiting and trips made that is for the ECHS to decide.
6. I really wonder if I got true value for my money. Did I benefit from the noble idea of ECHS’s envisaged aim of extended health arm to reach near the veterans door step?
Veteran Col RC Patial , SM

National Anthem rendered by a young girl

The national anthem of India so beautifully rendered by a very young child (we don't know her age). Really cute - God bless her.
I wonder how many of our politicians know the words correctly!
Brig BU Kumar (Retd)

Monday, August 2, 2010

DA eligibility from 01 July 2010

Monthly All India Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (Base year 2001=100), shortly known as CPI-IW has been announced by the Government for the month of June-2010 today.

As per this announcement made by Labour Bureau, Government of India, Government of India, CPI-IW has increased from 172 (for the month of May-2010) to 174 for the month of June-2010. (Base 2001=100)

Check this Labour Bureau, Government of India website for more details.

CPI-IW for the month of June-2010 is significant for Central Government employees as it culminates the 6 months cycle for calculation of effective Dearness Allowance with effect from 1st July 2010.

If you want to calculate Dearness Allowance with effect from July-2010, get the average of monthly All India Consumer Price Index (IW) with the base year 2001=100 for the preceding 12 months and apply the same in the following formula

Dearness Allowance = (Avg of AICPI for the past 12 months – 115.76)*100/115.76

You don’t need to break your head much in this arithmetic as we have an online tool to calculate the DA, given the index for the preceding 12 months.

Proceed from here to GConnect online DA calculation tool

Based on this calculation the Dearness Allowance eligibility with effect from 1st July 2010 works out to 45% i.e., an increase of 10% from the present DA of 35% with effect from 1st Jan 2010.

Also check this previous GConnect article for detailed study on Central Government Employees Dearness Allowance Calculation based on CPI-IW

Please note that this is only attempt to estimate Dearness Allowance w.e.f July-2010 using the method adopted by Government for calculation of DA in the past. DA with effect from 1st July 2010 is yet to be announced by the Government.
Tentative DA eligibility w.e.f 1st July-2010

India racing to build tunnel through range to avoid Rothang pass

Traveling on the Rohtang Pass road in northern India can be treacherous, with various natural and animal obstacles, so India is building a tunnel. By LYDIA POLGREEN New York Times Published: July 31, 2010

ROHTANG PASS, India — The name of this white-knuckle pass, one of the highest in the world, means “pile of corpses” in the Tibetan language. Every year a few dozen people die trying to cross these spiky Himalayan peaks.

For six months the road is snowbound, putting at the mercy of the elements tens of thousands of Indian troops posted beyond it in this remote but strategically important region along India’s long and disputed border with China.

In the past decade, as China has furiously built up its military and civilian infrastructure on its side of the border, the Rohtang Pass on the Indian side has stood as mute testimony to India’s inability and unwillingness to master its far-flung and rugged outermost reaches.

But now, India is racing to match its rival for regional and global power, building and bolstering airstrips and army outposts, shoring up neglected roads and — finally, decades after it was first proposed — building a tunnel to bypass the deadly Rohtang Pass.

In June, work started on the ambitious project, which will take five years and require boring five miles through the Pir Panjal range. Several other tunnels, which would allow all-weather access to Ladakh, which abuts the Tibetan Plateau, are also in the works.

“What India is belatedly seeking to do is to improve its defenses by upgrading its logistics,” said Brahma Chellaney, an analyst who tracks the India-China relationship at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, in an e-mail. “By building new railroads, airports and highways in Tibet, China is now in a position to rapidly move additional forces to the border to potentially strike at India at a time of its choosing.”

As a result, he said, “The Sino-Indian border remains more unstable than the Pakistani-Indian frontier.”

India and China are hardly enemies, but much of the 2,521-mile border they share is disputed or ill marked. The two countries fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962, and while these days they have, on the surface, a mostly cordial relationship, it is marked by tension over border disputes and the future of Tibet and its leader, the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India.

China’s push to develop its infrastructure on its side of the border — including an all-weather railway to Tibet that includes the world’s highest tunnel, at 16,000 feet — is viewed with considerable suspicion in India.

For much of its history, India has regarded the Himalayas as a form of protection, not a barrier to be overcome, said Rajeswari Rajagopalan, an expert in India-China relations at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

“The Indian side has been very slow to develop the border areas,” Ms. Rajagopalan said. “They believed if you improved the infrastructure it would only allow the Chinese to walk into your territory. This was very foolish and na├»ve.”

Three hundred miles of winding road lead from the town of Manali, through the verdant Kullu Valley, to Ladakh, an alpine desert that abuts the Tibetan plateau.

Tens of thousands of Indian Army troops are stationed among Ladakh’s barren peaks, and the region borders several potential trouble spots, including Aksai Chin, a region that India claims as part of its territory but that China administers. North of Ladakh is the Siachen Glacier, a river of barren ice that India and Pakistan have fought over intermittently since the 1980s. Both countries maintain outposts on the glacier, which sits at an altitude of 20,000 feet.

During the summer, thousands of trucks, laden with supplies to last the harsh mountain winters, rumble up the two roads that lead to Ladakh, from Manali and Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir.

The road from Ladakh to Srinagar is also closed in the winter, and because of its proximity to the Line of Control that splits Kashmir between India and Pakistan, Indian officials worry that the road can easily be cut, as it was in 1999, when the two countries clashed at Kargil.

Gurmeet Kanwal, a retired brigadier who runs the Center for Land Warfare Studies, a New Delhi research institution, said India could not afford to be cut off from its most vulnerable reaches half of the year.

“As long as we have these territorial disputes you cannot rule out another border conflict,” Brigadier Kanwal said. “We would like to make sure that we can deploy our forces in the right quantities in the right places.”

The tunnel has been on the drawing board for decades, said P. K. Mahajan, the chief engineer on the $320 million project. He first became involved as a young engineer in 1988, when he helped carry out a feasibility study, five years after the project was first proposed by Indira Gandhi, then the prime minister.

“It is only now that these projects are seeing the light of day,” Mr. Mahajan said.

The challenges of building a long tunnel in the rough environment of the Pir Panjal are enormous. The Himalayas are the world’s youngest mountain range. They shift and grind, still moving, expanding and shrinking.

That makes life tough for people like Thomas Riedel, a German contractor working at the north end of the tunnel. Because no one is sure what kind of rock will be found inside the mountain, the tunnel will be built using a painstaking method of blasting and digging, rather than the tunnel-boring machines that have revolutionized tunnel construction in recent years.

“Nobody can look inside the mountain,” Mr. Riedel said. “That is where we will find problems.” Just weeks into what will be at least five years of digging, the workers encountered their first unexpected obstacle: a foot of snow. In June. The tunnel will sit beneath more than a mile of snow-covered rock for much of its length. Ventilation will pose a huge problem.

People who live on the other side of the Rohtang Pass say the tunnel will transform their lives.
“For six months, we are prisoners,” said Chetan Devi, a schoolteacher who lives in a town beyond the pass. “In the winter, you have to risk your life to go to Manali.”

The tunnel will turn an ordeal of several hours, even in the summer, into a brisk 20-minute trip.
Virender Sharma, the chief government official in Kyelang, the main town of the Lahaul Valley, which sits between Manali and Ladakh, said that last winter 21 people died trying to cross the Rohtang Pass on foot. People were found frozen solid, he said, “sitting with rucksacks on their backs, water bottles at their sides, but they were dead.”

Winters in the Lahaul Valley are a miserable affair, he said.
“During summer, it seems very pleasant,” Mr. Sharma said. “In the winter, there is no light. No vegetables. No mail. Nothing to do in the evening. If there is an emergency, you are practically at the mercy of God.”

For the engineers building the tunnel, it is not merely a matter of logistics, but also a matter of national pride. “Once this tunnel is complete, it will be an engineering marvel for the whole nation,” Mr. Mahajan said.
Hari Kumar contributed reporting for New York Times
India Digs Under Top of the World to Match Rival

IESM: One Rank One Pension

Dear Colleagues,
I had been in North East of India and have been off the net since 21 July 2010. The Governing body met from 1000 hours to 1300 hours today. It was attended by Satbir, Vinod Gandhi, Krit Joshipura, Aditya Jaini, CK Sharma, Sharan Ahuja, Rakesh Chaturvedi, and self. Decisions taken on various points will be communicated separately.
Some colleagues have (again) suggested that OROP should be based on length of service in the rank at retirement and not total service as the IESM have been consistently projecting. Their view is fully respected. However, we need to remember that we have to go for a formula that benefits the maximum. Over 97% of the ESM are JCOs and OR for whom we are fighting. Unlike the officers (who retire by age) they all retire by service. For them ‘service in the rank at retirement’ has no relevance. For example, a Subedar superannuating after 28 years of service must get the same pension as any other Subedar with similar service. His service in the rank of Subedar varies not only from Regiment to Regiment but also from battalion to battalion within the same Regiment. In fact in fixed class composition battalions, since promotion prospects vary, the difference may even lie – and often does – from one class to another. Therefore, applying the criterion of ‘service in the rank at retirement’ will be highly discriminatory. All this had been taken into account when pursuit of OROP commenced in April 2008.
Among officers there may be some individuals who will stand to gain or lose from one criterion or the other. It will not be advisable to give an officer- orientation to OROP as a concept. Majority gain must remain our focus.
A related point is the use of terminology of OROP. There has been a well-reasoned suggestion that we should replace the term with some other, such as complete or total parity, military pension or the like. This might be in the hope (perhaps vain) that the government would be more receptive to the new term. I would recommend that we retain OROP as it has become a psychological magnet and a rallying point for ESM and any change might be misconstrued to imply that we have diluted our stand and have betrayed the ESM. OROP has also become known in the society.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

War Heroes Comic publication

My dear Col AS Butalia,
On 14 Aug 10 we will be releasing the Next Indian War Comic on Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan AC at the Vivekananda International Foundation (3 San Martin Marg Chankyapuri, New Delhi) in a function from 1730- 1930 h.

India is heading for a period of great turbulence and challenges in the form of Jihadi Terrorism and LWE as also the significant long term threat from China and the immediate and very real threat from Pakistan. Is our youth prepared to face these challenges? Is the country? Today the Indian Army itself is short of some 12000 young officers at the cutting edge. As a nation we need to reinvent ourselves if we are to surmount these major threats to our national security. We need to spread the time tested values of Duty , Honour, Country.

We need to get old fashioned Patriotism back into vogue in the national conciousness. How do we revive these fast eroding value- systems? How do we overcome the climate of cynisim, corruption and moral collapse? By creating a new, Post-independence Mythology around our Military Heroes who laid down their lives , who gave their today for our tommorrow.

Indian war comics seeks to immortalise these martyrs in our collective memory.The First of this series on Capt Vikram Batra was released by Gen VP Malik. The second was on Col NJC Nair AC, KC one of the highest decorated Indian Army officers. The Latest is on the Hero of Mumbai, the saviour of 26/11- Maj Sandeep UnnikrishnanAC - The braveheart of Mumbai.

If we forget such national heroes and icons we do ourselves a great dissevice as a nation and as a people. Nations are built on the trans personal values of Patriotism, courage and Sacrifice. These heroes did not lecture about these value. They lived them in their lives; they laid down their lives for their beliefs. The youth of a country needs such role models, such beacons of light in an encircling gloom of cynisism and the rising stink of corruption and debasement of values.

Please join us on the eve of Independence to salute the sacred memory of these Martyrs and to pass on their tales of valour to the coming generations.

The artist who has done the drawings for these War comics is from Manipur! Any greater proof that India is one?

May I request All ESM fraternity to join us in this noble venture? Could you please pass on this message?
Maj Gen G D Bakshi
Deputy Director (Research)
Vivekananda International Foundation

Sunday, August 1, 2010

National Security: Pakistan exposed

The latest documents had much to reveal about Pakistan's complicity in terror network in the region. This led to some patriotic drum-beating in India – as if Pakistan had been caught with its pants down and now America would be forced to act.
Nothing of the kind will happen. America has been seeing Pakistan with its pants down for quite a while. For example, it said more than once in recent weeks that Osama bin Laden was living in Pakistan. Blandly Pakistan denied it. And America let it rest at that. Pakistan is for America a pill that is too bitter to swallow and too sweet to spit out, a classic diplomatic trap.
US trapped by ISI; advantage Taliban

The United States must demand that Pakistan state unequivocally whether it is “with us or against us”. For nearly a decade now, their caveat-linked policy has cost America untold harm, billions of dollars and hundreds of dead citizens. The latest gaudy gush from WikiLeaks will leave the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department soggy and irritable for many days. But one aspect of the leak-that concerning Pakistan’s brazenly unstinting support for the insurgency in Afghanistan — should be news to absolutely no one.
Pakistan a double dealing nation by Tunku Varadarajan

The biggest ever leak of military documents — will it lead to course correction? Quite a question given the layers of dubious pragmatism at the basis of the US-Pakistan relationship. Besides, how do you wake up somebody pretending to sleep? What does the 90,000-plus classified documents on Afghan War show? Two things are the most obvious-the Americans have lost the script in the Hindu Kush and that Pakistan has emerged as a full-fledged terrorist State, supporting and sustaining terrorist groups that are capable of carrying out worst kinds of nightmarish attacks in any parts of the world today.
A decade of lies and murders by Wilson John

Within the global defence industry, all eyes are now on India, which has been sharply increasing its defence budget as it seeks to modernise its armed forces.
This year India’s budget for new armaments was increased by 25.46 per cent from last year’s level of $13bn, and foreign companies are trying to get a piece of it.
To exploit the potential in India’s military market, defence companies such as BAE, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin and EADS, have set up joint ventures with Indian private sector companies for local armament production.
So far, though, the investments are small, and the ventures are focused mainly on basic equipment, such as bullet proof trucks and aircraft parts, rather than the high-end, cutting edge defence technology India so desperately craves.
In New Delhi, policy-makers are now busily debating whether raising its 26 per cent cap on foreign direct investment in defence could help attract even more capital, and persuade Western defence companies to introduce more cutting edge technology into their local Indian ventures. However, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has just weighed in - airing its serious doubts.
Part of the problem is the US still has tough controls on the export of high technology to India - a legacy of the days when India was still considered a nuclear pariah, and subjected to punitive sanctions. Despite all the high blown talk of a US-India strategic partnership, the export controls remain.
Selling arms to India: between a rock and a hard place by Amy Kazmin

Tales of honour and uniform

In Army career, we come across various incidents. Apart from the battle field, the emotions expressed by the characters involved are typically human and that also peculiar to our own soil. In this series, I want to bring out some such tales. May look like fiction. But are true.

The year was 1979.
This is the story of Gunner Sardhool Singh form Punjab and Havildar Abdul Hameed from Chennai, Tamilnadu. Sardhool Singh was from Artillery and Abdul Hameed was from Army Service Corps. They met each other in tragic circumstances. They were travelling in a 3 ton Vehicle, which was part of a convoy from Srinagar to Jammu . Both were proceeding on their annual leave. Short of Udhampur, their vehicle skidded in the snow & plunged into a deep ravine, 300 feet down. Most of the occupants of the vehicle died. But, both the characters mentioned above survived and were evacuated to MH Chandigarh, by helicopter.

Sardhool had both eyes damaged and escaped with slight bruises. But, Hameed was in a precarious state. At the Hospital he was placed in DI List, admitted in the ICU. By mid night, he came to his senses and asked the Sister attending him, as to the fate of “the tall handsome Sardar Gunner”. She told him that he was out of danger but both his eyes were damaged. Out of curiosity she asked him as to how he knew him. Hameed said, “while travelling, that boy was quite anxious to get home fast, because he told me that he was married just six months back. He wanted to present his wife with the Pashmina Shawl he bought in Leh.” After some thought, he requested the Sister to kindly let him know of his condition in the morning.

After two nights, Sister Anasuya Theresa, was on duty again in the ICU. Hameed’s condition had further deteriorated. He was in life support system. With great difficulty, he gestured her to remove his mask so that he could speak. The Sister placed her ear close to his mouth. Hameed told her that he wanted to donate his eyes to the ‘Handsome Sardar’ if that could help him getting his vision back. The sister immediately rushed to the Office Cub board and came back with a form. He signed it. Then he made one more request. He wanted to meet Sardhool immediately. The Sister, knowing from her experience that this might be the last wish of the patient, brought Sardool in a wheel Chair. Sardhool was overwhelmed and tears were pouring from his bandaged eyes. Hameed was quite composed, like most of the human beings who reach their final moments. “ Sardhool, I had an ambition to make a pilgrimage to Haj, in my life time. Now it is impossible. Though you will have my eyes, being a non Muslim you cannot make it either. But, try and visit Nagoor Dargha once, any time convenient to you”.

Years rolled by. Indra Gandhi was assassinated in 1984. The anti Sikh sentiment led to many meaningless violence across the Nation, reverberating even in the South as far as Coimbatore . The Surgeons could save one of his eyes, with the other getting partial vision. In December 1988, Sardhool decided to fulfil the ambition of his benefactor. He found out about the Nagoor Dharga, which is visited by the people of all faiths. He reached Chennai by train. Colonel Sarma, who was his Battery Commander in 1979, was in Chennai, with the IPKF. Learning from Sardhool, who was a Havildar by now, the purpose of his visit, he immediately arranged for his onward journey.

Sardhool returned from his trip looking emancipated. Sarma called him over for a dinner at his flat. After a couple of drinks, Sardhool opened up.
“Saheb, after the accident, I felt that I also should have died instead of living as a blind man. Suddenly the Sister in the Hospital told me about the offer made by Havildar Hameed, whom I befriended only during our short journey together. I could only hear his voice. I felt that it was not Hameed but one of our own Gurus speaking. His last wish was so simple and practical, considering the great sacrifice he was making. I till today revere him as my eleventh Guru. To me it was not a request. It was a command from our own Guru. But, it had taken me nearly 10 years to fulfil his request. I am really ashamed. The Visit to Nagoor Dharga taught me many great lessons. In every religion, there are outstanding men, who live a normal, ordinary life, but full of pure thoughts. The man who is devoted to his own Religion will never dare to insult the other Religions. In Nagoor I saw the people from all the faiths paying their homage, but none sacrificed his own faith. I went around the Dharga four or five times, as if showing Hameed through his own eyes, the place he revered so much".

Sarma was impressed by his narration. Simple but great truth coming from a Sikh Soldier. “Okay, Sardhool, what have you resolved after your visit to the Dharga. Every one who visit the Dharga, I am told, take a vow”. “Saheb, I have taken two vows. First, to follow the foot steps of Hameed in helping others”. “That is commendable. What about the Second Vow?” “ Shaeb, I will never trim my beard in future”.
(Veteran Raman)
Col (Retd) TN Raman

Curtains on Kargil Divas week ending 30 July 2010

Dear Friends,
Jai Hind.
Good number of states and cities organised the Kargil Divas– each one did their best– they all deserve our congratulations. Many of the organisers spent weeks of sleepless nights to organise the functions on Kargil Divas.

I feel the major credit to set the ball rolling for Kargil Divas celebrations, well in time, goes to Col RP Chaturvedi, Member Governing Body IESM and Chief Coordinator of Kargil Divas functions.

On behalf of YOU ALL, ‘i’ congratulate Colonel RP Chaturvedi for this grand success of Kargil Divas in India and abroad.

With cooperation from YOU ALL, we will do still better in the coming years to educate Indian public about the sacrifices being done by the Indian Armed Forces and to make them realise the injustice the nation is doing to us all.

Two emails received from Col Chaturvedi are reproduced below.

I strongly recommend that all the veterans who spoke in schools, or gave speeches on Kargil Divas anywhere else, forward their lecture scripts and further suggestions to Col Chaturvedi rpchaturvediatgmaildotcom, for keeping records which will be shared with all future organisers of Kargil Divas.
Please do oblige.
In service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.

We have just returned from the function organized by Delhi Poetree at the American Centre, KG Marg, New Delhi.
A one and half hour of sheer listening joy.
Performed jointly by "Delhi Poetree" and "The Drum Circle", the alternating poetry, patriotic songs and captivating Drum beats kept the 200 audience enthralled. The finale' - ''Kargil' - a composition of mesmerizing drum beats and poetry narrating the scenes of the bloodiest battles during Kargil 99 had the audience join the drums with claps for at least 8-10 minutes. Deeply inspiring. It earned a standing ovation. What Magic.
Gen Satbir (Vice Chairman IESM) was requested on stage, to felicitate a fauji poet, Col Puran SIngh, who recited some of his very inspiring and interesting poems.
We thank Delhi Poetree, and the Drum Circle to have associated with the Kargil Divas activities, and above all, to the ever energetic and dynamic Mr Amit Dahiyabadshah, who made this possible.
This then brings down the curtains on Kargil Divas 2010. Auf Wiedersehen!!
With Warm Regards,
Col RP Chaturvedi,

Heartiest Congratulations General (Maj Gen RS Mehta, Mohali), on the ISR. I read your mail reproduced in Report My Signal. Deeply encouraging.

Such 'Continuous Education Programs' are indeed the right way, for spreading a larger awareness about intrinsic qualities of discipline, perseverance, initiative etc, so ingrained, and the reason for successful military functioning.

Through the base we have built up in schools during our interaction during the Kargil Divas, it is likely we would be able to organize more such periodic interactions, but at the very least these could be focussed around the Vijay and Kargil Divas commemorations. Its just as well that these events fall six months apart. Regularly done, it would be fruitful in bringing independent India's military history into the public psyche.
All the best in your ( OUR) future endeavors.
With Warm Regards,
Col RP Chaturvedi,

Congratulations for the tremendous success of Kargil Divas celebrations in India and abroad thanks to your own personal selfless devotion to the cause and unrelenting hardwork. Of course everyone helped to make the event memorable. But as the main organiser / coordinator, the bouquets are yours as would have been the brickbats.
My personal salaams and gratitude sir to you and to the rest of the IESM community.
(Cdr Arun Saigal)

Thanks to the hearts and souls behind Delhi Poetree for remembering the martyrs and to Col Chaturvedi and Brig Kamboj for letting us know that there are people outside the military fraternity who still have their sense of gratitude in tact.
regards n bw
Maj Ravindran

Kargil war a saga of bravery and courage

A Report on Kargil Day function held on- 26th JULY 2010 at Dehradun
Kargil war was unique saga of bravery and courage in a difficult terrain
Dehradun Ex-Services League arranged a programme where all Ex- Servicemen of Dehradun, irrespective of any affiliations, assembled at old Rangers College hall, 25 Subhash Road on Monday the 26th July 2010 at 1030 hrs to pay tributes to Kargil War Heroes. The Chief Minister Uttarakhand, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank was the chief guest on the occasion and shri Ganesh Joshi, MLA Rajpur and an Ex Soldier, the Guest of Honour. The Chief Minister, the Guest of Honour and the Patrons Lt Gen Anand Swaroop, PVSM, MVC, and Air Marshal G Sen PVSM, AVSM, VM, and Lt Gen OP Kaushik PVSM,AVSM,VSM, Lt Gen K.K.Khanna, PVSM,AVSM,VSM, and Brig KG Behl President DESL, laid wreaths at Kargil War Memorial and on behalf of all and came to join the function being arranged at old Rangers College hall to honour the Kargil War Heroes and their families assembled there. A large number of Ex- Servicemen, including Air Martial B.D.Jayal, PVSM,AVSM,VM, Lt GEN CB Jhaldiyal, Maj Gen C Nandwani, Retd Commissioner Shri SS Pangti, participated in the function to pay tributes. Brig Behl presented to the Chief Minister list of demands of Ex Servicemen and requested him to announce acceptance of some of those today.

Welcoming all especially the Chief Minister, guest of Honour, senior officers and invited Veeranganas and members of the families, Brig Behl emphasized the importance of Kargil War which was unique and a saga of bravery and courage. The exemplary courage was shown in a terrain which was extremely difficult with a very steep slope, at a height ranging between 10000 to 18000 feet full of boulders in cold windy weather, on top of which the enemy was spitting fire with full force. To pierce through such a field and capture posts where enemy was fully entrenched, needed lions heart and courage, which our Heroes showed at the stake of their lives to bring honour to the country by fluttering Indian National Flag on those posts.

The honour given to these heroes too was onerous and set tradition for the others to follow. Earlier the bodies of the shahids(dead), used to be cremated in field itself and the kith and kin were informed and their belongings were sent to them. But a new tradition was set in Kargil War and then onwards bodies of all those, who laid their lives in field, are sent to their homes and are cremated with full military honours. It was a big change, which gave satisfaction to the families and units who could perform last rites of their Heroes.

Another important decision was to give pension to the old parents and dependents in addition to the widow and provide job to one of the members where ever possible.

In this war 533 lost their lives and about 3000 were injured. Some of them were honoured with different Gallantry awards which included 4 PARAM VIR Chakras, 9 Mahavir Chakras and many Kirti Chakras, Vir Chakras and other medals and awards and decorations. Air Force played a big role in this war and gave support to destroy enemy positions especially when they had the limitations not to cross LOC. We salute their bravery and courage. It is an occasion to remember all of them and pay our homage.

In this war, quite a large number of soldiers from Uttarakhand(76) showed their valour at the cost of their lives and 18 of them came from Dehradun District alone. We are proud of them and pay our homage. Most of the veeranganas and or members of the families are with us today and the Chief Minister will himself honoured each of them.

The Media too played a big role in this war and took courage to move with troops to forward areas and transmit live action pictures on TV screens at home for all to watch, realise and appreciate how difficult the areas and assaults were. We are really thankful to all those involved and sufferings they faced. We thank Print and Electronic Media who kept us informed of all activities.

As a mark of respect and rememberance to the Kargil War Heroes a candle will be supplied to all participants which they will light at the gate of their entrance to their houses at 8 pm on 26 July 2010.

Mr. Ganesh Joshi, MLA and Guest of Honour, who is an Ex Saervicemen, praised the good work being done by the Chief Minister and his Govt. and high lighted the genuine demands of Ex-Servicemen and impressed upon the chief Minister to make declaration on some of the demands on this historic Day especially of Martyrs Memorial for the State, rebate on the sales Tax on sale of vehicles booked through CSD, and opening of a Gorkha centre .

Major Gen OP Sabarwal, SM former President of DESL, said that the Kargil War took place due to Pakistan Army taking over vacant Indian posts immediately after snow melted. They had plans to cut off the National High way that would have denied access to Ladakh and Siachin. He said that about 66,000, persons have lost their lives due to terrorism. He blamed the Central Govt. for their weak policy on Defence. He pointed out that Rs. 50 crores have been spent on the security of Kasab and 30 crores on Afzal Guru but they have no money when it comes to Defence requirements. Gen Sabarwal wanted Govt. to go offensive rather than defensive every time.

Brig PS Gurung, YSM whose son attained martyrdom, said that the satisfaction which the parents get from the martyrdom of their sons was much greater than the tears they shed in life.

The Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ the Chief Guest apologized for the delay, especially from the senior officers and others who left during the time.. He said that Uttarakhand is like the head of the country and it needs to be treated like that by the every one including the Central Govt. in solving state matters and provide all the assistance needed for its development. Security is most important as it touches the International Boundary. He was happy on the big gathering of Ex-Servicemen and the families of Kargil War Martyrs. He announced that next time onwards Kargil Day will be celebrated by the Govt. as Shaurya, Day, in schools and colleges as well where students should learn from the exemplary bravery, courage and sacrifices made. He announced sanction of Rs. One Crore for the construction of State War Memorial. He also declared exemption of sales Tax imposed by the state Govt. on the purchase of vehicles through CSD for which they go to other adjoining states to save that and in the process the state loses revenue indirectly. On the demand of exemption of House Tax, the CM also assured that he will study the house tax being charged by other states and will ensure that it is least in this state, if not full exemption.

Regarding reestablishment of Gorkha centre at Dehradun, the CM assured that he will personally take up this proposal with the Defence Minister.

The CM said that his Govt. was committed to working for the welfare of the soldiers and their families and the Govt. has taken many steps in this direction. He assured Brig Behl that all demands/ suggestions submitted will be looked into. He said that Uttarakhand had been a land of warriors and its youths always came forward to sacrifice their lives for the Nation. He remarked that though Punjab had the maximum number of casualties during Kargil war but Uattarakhand, keeping in mind the population of the state, had the largest number of Martyrs. He added that when some soldier sacrifices his life for the Nation, he is not lost but becomes immortal.

In his vote of thanks, Brig Behl, thanked all who came to make this function successful, especially Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, for his generous announcements and Mr. Ganesh Joshi and members of the families of Kargil war warriors. He thanked FRI and their staff who helped and made the premises available. He thanked Lt Col BM Thapa, who compered the function and Hon(Capt) AS Gosain as both of them worked hard to make it a success. Brig Behl also thanked his team of officials and heads of Shakhas who helped in organizing it and made it successful.

Military needs to respond to media onslaught of corruption charges

Dear Veterans,
Yesterday evening, the team of Head Lines Today, comprising Sawant Gaurav, Manoj Joshi & the anchor Rahul Kanwal, was at it once again with another expose. The Formation involved was 2 Corps, one of our Strike Corps. This time, the Army as well as the well meaning Veteran Fraternity, were left speechless. The onslaught was so vehement, in spite of some sensible points & suggestions made by Gen VP Malik & Ajay Shukla, the Defence Analyst. In normal circumstances, I would have reacted to such expose in a different way. But, viewing the full episode, telecast at 8 pm & 9 pm, I felt some thing is drastically amiss in our system of checks & balances. In fact, it was abundantly clear that any such system is totally absent.

Through out the show, on the top left hand corner of the screen, there was an in set window, showing a Subedar Major of the Provost Unit, counting wads of currency notes given as bribe, in his own office. While counting the currency, he also instructs the contractor to send bills for 3 colour TV sets, 'bills only'.

There was a Lt Col from the Ordnance, seated in a Delhi Restaurant with the under cover contractor, placing orders for Radiator Caps. When the contractor mentioned as to who will believe that a Radiator Cap if quoted as Rs 6,400/- the Lt Col advises him to change the nomenclature to "Cap Radiator with Chain Assembly".

Some of the banners streaming below the show were:
  • 'Sold the honour for a few thousands'
  • 'If uniformed Army Officers can be bought so cheaply, how can we blame the ISI for breach in our National Security.
  • 'Chinks in the Armour'
  • 'Rot in Ordnance Units'
  • 'Traitors in Unifrom'

    Gen Malik accepted that the expose was in the interest of the Nation & also of the Army. But, by sensationalising the issue the Channel is also doing a great disservice to the morale & reputation of the Army. With deep sense of anguish, visible on his face, he regretted that some where down the line the present lot of officers were caught in five star culture & living beyond their means. In our days the Officers Mess functions used to be better than a five star in its grace & dignity.

    In the previous show at 8 pm, Maj Gen Ashok Mehta made a pertinent point that we cannot keep explaining every corruption case in the Army highlighted by the media, as mere aberration by a few individuals.

    Is corruption in the Army becoming a habit or still to be regarded as an aberration?

    The entire panel agreed on the point that Army does not spare anyone, however high he may be in the hierarchy. Point given said Sawant Gaurav, "but only after the expose from the Media. Where are your checks to ensure that the same is nipped in the bud"?

    "Most of the present purchases & bribe pertains to Annual Training Grant. The Generals must show the way. The senior Officers must be held responsible for negligence in carrying out specific checks" said the Anchor. A Col or a Lt Col, the former from the Provost Unit, are senior enough. Still what deprivation they can have after the Sixth CPC, to accept the bribe of a few thousands, at the cost of honour, dignity & fair name of the Army. So, salary is not the criteria any more. Greed is the reason.

    At least now the Army should wake up. With the effort of every individual, right from the Jawan to General, the Army's reputation has been built over the decades. The road to such a high pedestal was paved with valour, honour & sacrifice.
    Veteran Raman
    Col (Retd) TN Raman
    Video Clips Part 1 to 8
    Friday | July 30, 2010 | 00:00 IST
    Headlines Today's camera exposes how some corrupt Army officers of Ordnance Corps are taking money after passing inflated tenders at the ordnance depots.
    Army officers caught taking bribe: click here
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