Saturday, September 25, 2010

Army’s role is conflict management, not resolution

Army’s role is conflict management, not resolution by Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd)
The Tribune Saturday, September 25, 2010, Chandigarh, India

The armed forces are involved in several internal conflicts, requiring that rules of engagement be formulated imaginatively, with safety and well-being of the local populace being central to all operations and the fundamental goal being the restart of the political process.

Terrorism and insurgency are not a new phenomenon but in recent years have come into special focus. Operations to tackle insurgencies and terrorism are above the level of peaceful coexistence but below that of war. Although not universal, this type of warfare underscores the capacity of the weak to impose considerable military and political pain on the strong. The aim of the terrorists is to change the perception of the populace and show the state in bad light. Their modus operandi is characterised by irrationality, indiscrimination, unpredictability and ruthless destruction.

Regular forces usually fail to grasp the essentially political nature of the conflict. Nor do they understand the limits of their own conventional military power in such political and operational settings. A major characteristic of such operations in our country is application of combat power to enhance "civil control" rather than cause attrition. In this respect the Indian Army is quite different from many others, including those of USA and Pakistan.

The Indian Army believes such operations need to be people-centric and conducted in a manner that they generate a groundswell for stability and peace. Rules of engagement are formulated imaginatively in the backdrop of political, legal and moral parameters. The populace constitutes the "centre of gravity" and therefore winning their "hearts and minds" is central to all efforts. Effective interface with media, as part of public information and perception-management, is also necessary.

Suicide terrorism, motivated by blind faith, is a strategy of coercion employed to compel a target government to change policy. Democracies are particularly vulnerable to such attacks for three reasons. First, their threshold of intolerable pain is lower than that of dictatorships. Secondly, democracies are more restrained than authoritarian regimes in use of force, and thirdly, suicide attacks may also be harder to organise or publicise in authoritarian states.

The Army has been dealing with a large number of internal conflicts. It has been fighting the Naga insurgency for nearly five decades and insurgencies in practically all other north-eastern states for over 40 years. In the 80s and 90s, a large part of the Army was deployed in Punjab to tackle Sikh insurgents, who at the behest of and with the full support of Pakistan, had let loose a reign of terror.

In Punjab, the Army had deliberately assumed a supportive role, with the police in the lead role, as the army did not want to alienate the populace in a state that is crucial for its operations against Pakistan. The police did a good job, but they could not have succeeded without the unobtrusive, yet crucial role played by the Army over a prolonged period in stabilising an extremely sensitive situation and bringing a modicum of confidence amongst the populace.

Since l989, the Army is the lead force for operations in Jammu and Kashmir to tackle insurgency, terrorism and proxy war unleashed by Pakistan, using both indigenous and foreign insurgents, and totally backed by it in all respects.

We have had two successes in the last fifty years, one in Mizoram and the second in Punjab. Both were resolved with the cooperation of the local people. Both took a long time because all counter insurgency operations are deliberate, time consuming and need a great deal of patience and perseverance.

In recent decades, terrorism has been directly linked to religious fundamentalism. In South Asia, Pakistan has been exporting Jihadi fundamentalist terrorism to Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India, as a matter of state policy. At times, it has managed to coerce some of our neighbours to assist it in this nefarious activity. Exporting terrorism is double-edged, as Pakistan is now discovering; for now they themselves have become the target of the insurgents they have trained and supported!

What is of grave concern to all nations and particularly to our country is the possibility of insurgents getting hold of material for mass destruction, especially by countries like Pakistan that sponsor fundamentalism, either as state policy or by ignoring its spread. There is an ever-present danger of terrorists getting hold of nuclear, biological or chemical material, access to which must be denied by all nations as a major priority task.

The Army has evolved a unique perspective for fighting insurgents and terrorists in the last six decades, since it was first employed in Nagaland. Its view has always been that it is fighting fellow-Indians, albeit misguided ones. These insurgencies had to be managed, but not in a manner that would further alienate the populace. Operationally, this led to the renunciation of heavy weapons and making the "hearts and minds" campaign a central part of the strategy.

The Army believes that insurgencies are political struggles and hence their solution also lies in the political domain. Therefore, the fundamental goal is creation of conditions for restarting the political process. This is encompassed in the concept of "restoring normalcy", which requires that the level of violence be brought down for the political process to restart. It needs to be noted that the army views its role as "conflict management" and not "conflict resolution".

Uniqueness of the Indian doctrine is particularly dramatic when compared with similar operations by other countries. In US operations in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan; Soviet intervention in Afghanistan; Israeli operations in Lebanon; Russian operations in Chechnya and operations by Pakistani Army against their own nationals, attrition has dominated with the use of heavy firepower including air power. In contrast, the Indian Army has refrained from using heavy weapons or air power, which results in collateral damage and alienates the locals.

A major tenet of operations in India is the use of minimum force, creating a secure and conducive environment and finally aiming at addressing the root causes of the conflict. The underlying aspect is a humane approach towards the populace in the conflict zone and use of measured force against insurgents and terrorists. The policy underscores respect for human rights, upholding laws of the land and encourages "neuteralisation" of terrorists by surrender and apprehension rather than only seeking "kills".

This strategy pays careful attention to political imperatives and thus represents a significant doctrinal evolution. The Army has paid a heavy price by incurring casualties in its efforts to save innocent persons from collateral damage. It does so to ensure that innocent civilians do not become casualties of continuing violence by terrorists who are least concerned with deaths, maiming and psychological ill effects of their actions. The huge number of Army's casualties in such actions is a testimony to the sense of duty, professionalism and the discipline of all ranks.
The writer is former Vice Chief of the Army Staff
Army’s role is conflict management, not resolution
Related Reading
Purposeful package for deploying veterans by Lt gen Harwant Singh- The writer is former Deputy Chief of the Army Staff

Friday, September 24, 2010

Misplaced Priority of National Disaster Management Authority

The Vice Chairman National Disaster Management Authority, Gen N. C. Vij released the ‘National Disaster Management Guidelines – Management of Drought’ compiled by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), here today. Speaking on the occasion he emphasized that drought is not merely a physical phenomenon characterised by conditions of soil, water and vegetation. It has a very deep implication on the social life and behaviour pattern of rural people.

The Guidelines for the Management of Drought have been formulated after a ‘nine step’ process fully taking on board various Central Ministries and Departments and the States. The process also included wide consultations with scientific and technical institutions, academics, technocrats and humanitarian organizations. The draft guidelines documents were circulated to all the Ministries/Departments at the Centre and the States for their feedback. All workable suggestions have been incorporated. (only six out of nine steps have been described the other three presumably falls under OSA- probably and perhaps not disclosed)

NDMA in its guidelines has identified many current challenges in drought management including;
  • criteria followed for drought declaration and the time when the drought is declared differs across the states
  • indicators used and the methodology followed for drought intensity assessment and drought monitoring differ largely from state to state
  • data sharing for drought assessment and drought declaration
  • insufficient use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools by various agencies in management of drought
  • Lack of check dams in the rainfed areas results in inadequate storage-water in times of need or drought
  • Lack of community participation in drought management activities at the village/tehsil level, and the low levels of involvement of Self Help Groups, NGOs and the corporate sector.
    Read more:
    NDMA Guidelines on Management of Drought Released

    Comments and Suggestions
    NDMA should focus on Disasters and not on Drought (which is only a water management problem).
    NDMA has a Vision but no Mission
    What then should be NDMA's Mission Statement?
    NDMA mission should be to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

    What is Disaster?
    It strikes anytime, anywhere. It takes many forms- a hurricane, an earthquake, a tsunami, a flood, a fire or a hazardous spill including radioactive contamination, an act of nature or an act of terrorism. It builds over days or weeks, or hits suddenly, without warning. Every year, millions of Indians face disaster (On going floods in India is an example), and its terrifying consequences.

    What is Drought?
    Drought is only one component of a disaster which is mainly due to lack of rainfall (leads to farmers distress) caused mainly by excessive deforestation and compounded by man's greed to deplete natural resources. This should be addressed mainly by the Environment, Irrigation and Agriculture Ministry. The bureaucrats need to get their act together to Manage Disasters. Just by merely placing a retired General as Vice Chairman is not likely to improve Disaster management!
  • Thursday, September 23, 2010

    CWG: National Shame Personified

    Click image for enlarged print: courtesy Hindustan Times

    Related Reading
    CWG mess saddens Indian athletes
    Analysis: Why the CWG has gone horribly wrong
    'Trespasser' brings down false ceiling at Nehru Stadium TNN
    More athletes pull out of Commonwealth Games
    PM steps in; calls Gill, Reddy for meeting
    US counter-terror chief: CWG is an appealing Lashkar target
    CWG crisis: NZ delay arrival, more pullouts

    Bengal Sappers rescue 1,200 in 3 days

    Roorkee, September 22. Personnel of the Bengal Sappers provide medical aid to an old woman; and (right) pass through a sugarcane field in their boat to rescue marooned villagers near Laksar on Wednesday. Photos: Navreet Milton

    The havoc created by the Solani river in parts of Uttarakhand in the past few days due to incessant rain has forced the civil administration to requisition the services of the army to undertake rescue and relief operations on a war footing.

    The Bengal Sappers in Roorkee have been providing succour to marooned villagers for the past 72 hours in Laskar and nearby villages of Jogawali, Dabkikhera, Dhadeki, Hastmoli, Mathani and Monawala. Laksar in Haridwar district has been badly hit this monsoon. Jogawali village, known for revenue generation through its rice and sugarcane crops, is one of the worst affected villages.

    Columns of the Bengal Sappers have rescued marooned villagers and provided them with food and medical aid.

    The fact that the submerged areas are crocodile infested made it difficult for the villagers to wade through the water to safer areas. It was a relief for them when army rescue boats arrived with rations and medicines.

    Food packets have been provided by the civil administration while medical relief is being administered by army doctors.

    There were many villages which could not be accessed initially by rescue teams. It was only after persistent efforts of two rescue teams comprising four Sapper officers, two medical officers, eight JCOs and 100 jawans of the Bengal Engineer Group that the teams could navigate their way in dangerous crocodile and snake-infested flood waters and reach the marooned villages.

    It is now three days that army rescue teams from Roorkee have been engaged in rescue operations.

    They have evacuated 1,200 persons from 15 to 18 villages and administered medical aid to almost 750 victims.

    The army has also distributed 7,600 food packets to flood victims. An army doctor said that most cases were of fever, diarrhoea and severe dehydration.

    Dabkikhera village, which had a habitation of 250 houses, has been wiped out by floods. Though most rescued animals have been provided shelter in buildings, their survival is in doubt as no fodder is available. Uttarakhand has seen such devastation due to floods after 32 years.
    Bengal Sappers rescue 1,200 in 3 days Tribune News Service

    Majors Rank Pay Enhanced by AFT

    Dear Friends,
    Jai Hind.
    An email received from Lt Cdr Avtar Singh is appended below.
    On behalf of YOU ALL, ‘i’ congratulate ‘Cdr Avtar Singh & team’ and other Majors and equivalents for having fought the case well.
    Very well done friends.
    I am attaching the copy of the judgement to this email.
    We all should also congratulate AFT to have organised an efficient website where all the required information is available.
    Kindly give widest possible publicity to this email. Print out the relevant portions of the judgement and post these at all suitable places like CSD outlets, ECHS Polyclinics, Officers Clubs and Community Centres etc.
    In service of Indian Military Veterans
    Chander Kamboj.

    Hard Copy of Judgment

    Respected Brigadier,
    Through RMS Blog I wish to inform all veteran of the rank of Major and equivalent that hard copy of the judgment has been received by us.
    The judgment can be accessed on either tomorrow after 1800 hrs or the day after.
    I also wish to thank all my brother officers for supporting both financially as well as morally in fighting for the cause.
    It is unimaginable that an unknown person can be trusted to this extent. Finally I request IESM and all NGO to use their good offices to prusuade the Govt not to waste their time in moving to court {which I feel they (the Govt) will not}.
    (Minor editing done ot make the statement clear – Chander Kamboj)
    Avtar Singh
    Lt Cdr

    Disability Pension- Anomalies Broad Banded by MOD

    Wednesday, 22 September, 2010, 6:03 PM
    Dear Raman,
    I am sorry I could not revert to you till now. The following is a detailed answer, so that it can be given wide publicity, perhaps through the "Report My Signal - Blog" of Chander Kamboj.

    There are anumber of anomalies in the war injury pay / disability pay as applicable to pre Jan-2006 personnel and post Jan-2006 personnel. The two most important are:
  • Lump sum approach for pre-2006 and percentage of pay for post-2006 disabled / war injured persons. This is patently wrong and adopted by the MoD arbitrarily, as the Sixth Pay Commission had recommended the percentage of pay approach for all, as is applicable to civilian disabled personnel since the Fourth Pay Commission. In the lump sum approach all affected personnel tend to lose out.
  • The anomalous situation of Broad banding, for which the MoD again created two classes, viz. those who were invalided out soon after their war injury / disability and those who opted to serve and went home on superannuation or on completion of pensionable service.

    I wrote to the Raksha Mantri on both the above aspects. However, when no action was taken by the MoD, I filed a case against the anomaly of Broadbanding with AFT, Chandigarh Bench and won the case. It is a very detailed judgement of 30 pages, but the crux of the judgement, dated 04-08-2010, is as under:

    "it is held that the persons including the petitioners, being discharged on attaining the age of superannuation, or on completion of tenure, or being retired etc., if found to be suffering from disability to the extent of 20 % or above, and being attributable to or aggravated by military service, would be entitled to the benefit of rounding off / broad banding, at par with the persons, who are prematurely invalided out.

    The respondents are directed to make calculations, and make payment of the amount becoming due, in consequence of this judgement, within a period of six months from today, faiing which the amount shall carry interest @ 8% w.e.f. the date the amount became payable till actual receipt of the amount by the respective petitioners."

    The judgement is for all affected cases and not just for me. The MoD has two options now. Firstly, appeal against the verdict and fight in a higher court or secondly, accept the verdict and issue an implementation letter before the time stipulated by the AFT. So far, the MoD has taken no action. My gut feeling is that the MoD is unlikely to challenge the verdict.

    Now, coming to the second and bigger anomaly, viz. lump sum versus percentage dispensation. Again, I had requested the Raksha Mantri for rationalisation. No action has been initited by the MoD on this either. It is on this that Col Kahlon now wants to go to court. I have already filed my case in AFT Chandigarh and I hope to win this too, for all affected personnel. Col Kahlon must have come to know of it and hence his offer.

    My suggestion is that there is no need for everyone to file individual cases and waste money, as my case has already started and the AFT has asked the MoD to file their comments.

    To answer your specific query whether litigation is the only answer? It seems to be so as many overtures made by different individuals and organisations have not borne fruit with the MoD. Some people are even trying for ‘Modified parity", which in my view is a weakening of the case, as our case is very strong.
    I am endorsing a copy to Chander.
    Warm regards.
    Vijay Oberoi
    Former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS)
    Former Director Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)
  • China defies global censure, to build giant N-Plant in Pakistan

    China defies global censure, to build giant N-Plant in Pak
    Beijing/Washington: Unfazed by global concerns, Beijing and Islamabad are in talks to set up a new giant one gigawatt atomic power plant in Pakistan, as China is set to expand its investment in nuclear power generation by nearly USD 120 billion over the next decades.

    US and India have both expressed concern after China signed a deal in February to build the additional two 300-MW reactors.

    Qiu Jiangang, Vice President of the state run China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), which has already helped built Pakistan's main nuclear facility at Chashma in Punjab province, said his company was in talks to set up another giant nuclear plant in Pakistan, 'Wall Street Journal' reported.

    "Both sides are in discussion over the CNNC exporting a one gigawatt nuclear plant to Pakistan", he told a meeting in Beijing without giving any details.

    Besides the main plant at Chashma, the Chinese company is completing a second reactor there and has contracts to build two more 300 megawatt reactors.

    China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has already helped built Pakistan's main nuclear facility at Chashma in Punjab province.

    Qiu said, that the first reactor was operating safely and the second one was being tested and expected to start formal operations by the end of the year.

    US and India have both expressed concern after China signed a deal in February to build the additional two 300-MW reactors.

    Quoting US officials, 'Wall Street Journal' said, such plans required special exemption from the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which China joined in 2004 and which is supposed to regulate the global nuclear trade.

    Besides the main plant at Chashma, the Chinese company is completing a second reactor there and has contracts to build two more 300 megawatt reactors.

    The paper said, Vann H Van Diepen, the US acting assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation had suggested before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in July that the US would vote against such an exemption.

    Pakistan is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and there are concerns by US, Western Nations and India that Pakistan's nuclear material may fall into the hands of Al Qaeda and Taliban who are based close to the Pakistani capital.

    The Chinese plans to export yet another nuclear plant to Pakistan comes as Beijing has unveiled plans to invest nearly USD 120 billion to increase nuclear power generation to 70-80 gigawatts by 2020, the 'China Daily' reported today.

    The paper said to fund the new spending spree CNNC would list its subsidiary CNNC Nuclear Power Co Ltd.

    China has stepped up investment in nuclear power in an effort to slash its carbon emissions and reduce the nations reliability on coal for energy needs.
    Read more
    China defies global censure, to build giant N-Plant in Pak
    Pakistan plans nuclear power surge

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Kashmir Dynamics, Pakistan Antics and Chinese Gymnastics at India's Borders

    Indian Express by C. Raja Mohan Posted: Sat Sep 18 2010, 02:53 hrs
    Having squandered some of the best years in the history of India’s external relations, the UPA government’s defence policy is now condemned to deal with some of the worst. Through much of its first term in government, the UPA had a relatively peaceful Jammu and Kashmir, a ceasefire on the borders with Pakistan, a measure of stability in Afghanistan, tranquil borders with China, and improving relations with all the major powers.

    That was the moment to undertake some comprehensive defence sector reforms, do the groundwork for rapid military modernisation, alter the internal dynamics of Kashmir, and catch up with China’s rising power potential.

    Sadly, the UPA government did not. It now confronts the prospect of the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, a breakdown in the peace process with Pakistan, a stalled boundary negotiation with China, internal turbulence in Kashmir, China’s questioning of India’s sovereignty over J&K, and deepening Sino-Pak cooperation across the board, including in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Meanwhile, the government’s hand-wringing in face of a crisis in Kashmir and the serious internal discord in the Congress party raise questions about the political will of the Indian state under the UPA government. It will be no surprise if India’s adversaries want to take advantage of widely perceived fecklessness in Delhi.
    Drawn in at the borders: Click here...

    People's Liberation Army
    China's military which, unlike most military organisations, also shapes (its) foreign policy, has begun to exert an increasing influence over policy decisions. Yet, Indian officials say they have few avenues to engage with the PLA, and warn that a lack of understanding over the PLA's strategic intentions has become an increasing source of mistrust in the relationship.
    The PLA is unlike any other military organisation. It is not apolitical – it has an influential political department that also comes up with policies, though is secretive about its functions. It also exists outside the purview of the government, serving the Communist Party and not the State. The PLA has been “an official foreign policy actor” throughout the history of the People's Republic of China, according to Linda Jakobson of the Stockholm.
    India to engage China's military as influence expands
    Can our Bureaucratic Foreign Policy makers match or stall PLA's aggressive March?

    Kalmadi from Indian Air Force what a disgrace

    Financial crunch? CWG asks Army to work for free
    New Delhi: Faced with a financial crunch, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee has asked the Indian armed forces to provide all services for the October 3-14 Games in New Delhi free of cost. The SOS from the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee says 'help us, work for us but please don't ask for money from us'. The Organising Committee wants Indian Army to contribute to a successful conduct of Games "free of cost". "Yes, we have asked for waiver from the Army," says Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi.
    Already, PSUs like Power Grid Corporation and NTPC have backed off from their sponsorship commitments. Within the private sector, too, stories of large scale corruption in the Games have dented the enthusiasm.
    With the Organising Committee's target of Rs 1800 crore now looking like a distant dream, it is a little surprise that it has been looking for freebies.Read more click here...

    Citizens Voice
  • from ashish_pai at 08:59, Aug 21, 2010
    Only a shameless Kalmadi can make such a request. The army is already over burdened in protecting us while these crooks like Kalmadi continue to loot us. Why cannot Kalmadi work for free? Even after bleeding the nation for decades he cannot stop himself from embezzling money. Now he wants the army to work for free. Hope his request is instantly rejected. I sincerely request the army to help us Indian citizens from these monsters like Kalmadi by putting them behind bars.
  • from raomeister at 09:58, Aug 21, 2010
    Recover all the money stashed away by Kalmadi, Mohindroo and Darbari and pay the Army. Make Kalmadi pay the difference between the market price and the price the OC CWG has paid for toilet paper, soap dispensers, unbrellas, tread mills, etc., If all this money is recovered there will probably be a surplus on the OC CWG's balance sheet.

    We are focused on delivering a great Games says Kalmadi
    Yes, we can do it. It is the firm belief of the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi that we will conduct the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi so well that all of India comes together as one and echoes this sentiment with pride. Yes, we are committed to realising the Indian dream of delivering the best Commonwealth Games.

    My faith in the people of Delhi and India is immense. I believe
    they will understand that the budget of the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi is just Rs 1620 crore, including salaries, taxes and rent. The responsibility of my team is to run the Games with this budget. People are well aware that the sports and city infrastructure development have been handled by the Central and State Governments directly.

    Sadly, those who mould public opinion seem to make little effort to present facts as they are. Let me cite the example of the case of a toilet roll being ‘bought’ for Rs 3751 each when the truth is that this is the price for a carton of 100 rolls. Such exaggerations were the order of the day and the media would not even carry the correct version...

    Talking of pride, I am a former Indian Air Force pilot. I would not do anything to dent that pride. Let me leave you with one assurance: the Organising Committee will leave no stone unturned to ensure the smooth conduct of the Games and to make you proud of the biggest celebrations of sport ever in India. Indeed, the people of Delhi must participate in the Games and encourage the athletes to deliver their best. Delhi has been a wonderful sport all along and there is no reason for it to change now.
    (This article first appeared in Hindustan Times on August 26, 2010)
    click here to hear what Kalmadi says as a Politician and not as an Airforce Pilot
  • Lakhs hit as flood waters rampage villages

    Lakhs hit as Tehri waters rise, Yamuna and Gandak in spate
    New Delhi/Dehradun/Patna: Many parts of North India, including the capital, were threatened by floods on Monday as a swollen Yamuna threatened to overflow its banks and the waters of the Tehri dam posed a danger to Uttarakhand, where at least 50 people have been killed. Further East in Bihar, lakhs were affected with the Gandak in spate.
    Lakhs hit as Tehri waters rise, Yamuna and Gandak in spate

    Can the Army Salvage the Commonwealth Games?

    RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also Associate Editor, Indian Defence Review.

    The run-up to the Commonwealth Games, which for us is an indicator of the health of the Indian nation, does not augur well. The games are a critical reflection of our collective psyche, national character, sense of patriotism, individual and collective integrity, self-confidence and pride, governance, level of corruption, and most importantly, leadership. Each of these aspects of national health seems to have acquired cancerous proportions, notwithstanding the repeated and revised claims of an upward trajectory in the growth rate of the country’s economy.

    For the past decade or so, the world has been seeing India as an economic and military power in the making. We seem determined to negate this growing impression by sabotaging the Commonwealth Games, an international event that we so enthusiastically bid for.

    Citizens like me were enthused that the games would provide an opportunity to showcase ‘A Rising India’. Instead, it seems to highlight some ugly truths. Nations use such events to galvanize people and lift the sense of national pride. But such is the sense of despair amongst the Indian people, the organizers and the government that one wonders how the country and the countrymen will fare in the event of a full-scale war.

    One segment of the political spectrum will be too happy if the games end up in a fiasco. Given the fractious and opportunistic nature of Indian politics, the opposition parties can be absolved of their cynicism with regard to the games, but the deplorable part is the bitter criticism from some responsible members of the ruling party. One of them publicly maintains that the games were a waste of money that could have been utilized for other purposes. The member is educated and erudite enough to understand the difference between “price of things” and “value of things” in the international arena.

    Such statements by responsible people in the government have sown doubts about the very desirability of conducting the games. Given the single reference point for leadership in the ruling party, it is difficult to believe that the politician concerned could be taking regular potshots at the games and their organizers without the tacit approval of the powers that be.

    What we thus see is the ugly manifestation of this politics of “keeping the house divided”. The nationalistic component of our polity has been missing in the preparation for the Commonwealth Games. Our power-hungry political leaders cannot be national leaders who focus on our prestige and purpose. The event also serves as a barometer of corruption in the country.

    The culture of ‘cuts’ is facilitating the growth of carnivorous elements in politics, officialdom and citizenry, all raring to consume India. They are killing the very spirit of India. Take the fact that there is no talk of preparation of our sports persons and teams for the event. We don’t even seem to be bothered about their performance.

    Contrast this with China’s accent on its performance in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. A nation does not become great merely by riding on an IT wave, or on nature’s bounties; it rises by the virtue of the character of its people. More than Mr Kalmadi and his team, the government of the day must be blamed for this mess. In fact, it is a microcosm view of governance and accountability in the country. If the games end in a fiasco, the world will blame India and not Mr Kalmadi for the criminal neglect of collective responsibility and monitoring mechanisms.

    Beijing Olympics was China’s achievement, and London Olympics for which the British are fully prepared two years in advance is going to be Britain’s achievement. The Commonwealth Games could still be India’s achievement. If the government thinks that the time period is short and the task formidable, it should immediately put the armed forces in-charge.

    Recently, the Indian Army had very smoothly and successfully organized the World Military Games. Besides, I have met scores of concerned fellow countrymen, who are willing to come forward and pitch in voluntarily by the toil and even meagre resources that they have, for the sake of India’s prestige and honour. Their only imperative is selfless leadership, which only the Indian Army can provide.
    Can the Army Salvage the Commonwealth Games?

    No threat to Games Village as floods raise water level

    Taj Mahal as Shah Jahan saw it
    A river in spate, the angry and overflowing Yamuna is now touching the foundation of the Taj Mahal, providing thousands of visitors to the 'Symbol of Love' a rare spectacle — "just the way the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan had wanted it to look." Heritage lover Sudhir Gupta said: "If the emperor had been alive and looking at the Taj from his confines in the fort he would have been mighty pleased, for that is how he had wanted it to look."
    Flood situation worsens in Bareilly & Moradabad Monday 20 September, 2010.
    More than 200 villages have been inundated in Bareilly and Moradabad divisions due to floods even as seven trains have been cancelled in the region.

    Vehicular movement on National Highway 24, connecting Delhi with Lucknow, which was closed on Saturday night after its section near Moradabad division was flooded, would remain suspended till 22nd September.

    More than 200 villages in Bareilly and Moradabad have been hit by floods due to incessant rain and release of water in Ramganga and Kosi rivers from Kalagarh, Naraura, Behgul, Nand Sagar and Dhaura dams.

    According to Central Water Commission report, Ramganga was swelling by 2 cm by every hour. The danger mark is at 204.83 metres. The water level had touched 206.78 metres last week. There is no threat to Games Village even if the water level rises
    Flood situation worsens in Bareilly & Moradabad

    Over 500 NDRF Personnel Deployed for Flood Relief in Uttarakhand, Up & Bihar
    2o Sep 2010, 17:27 IST
    The Government of India has sent six teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for rescue and relief work in Uttarakhand. Three teams comprising of 90 NDRF personnel along with 20 boats and other flood and rescue equipment have been deployed at Haridwar. Other three teams comprising of 101 personnel along with 25 boats and other flood and rescue equipment have been deployed at Rishikesh.

    As on date, Rs 87.49 crore is available with the State Government in their Calamity Relief Fund/State Disaster Response Fund account.

    In Bihar, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) consisting of 152 personnel along with 31 boats /equipments have been deployed in Gopalganj since 16-9-10 for rescue and relief work. Additionally, two teams consisting of 66 NDRF personnel along with 12 OBM boats have been deployed in Gopalganj on 19.9.2010.

    As on date 1491.28 crore is available with the Bihar Government in their Calamity Relief Fund/State Disaster Response Fund account. However the final figures will be subject to reconciliation between the State Government and State Accountant General.

    In Uttar Pradesh, a total of 79 NDRF personnel along with 11 boats have been deployed in Uttar Pradesh at Muradabad (39 personnel with 6 boats), Rampur (40 personnel with 5 boats). In addition 01 team comprising of 40 NDRF personnel with 5 boats and other flood and rescue equipment have been deployed in Rampur on 19.9.2010.

    As on date, Rs 667.04 crore is available with the State Government in their Calamity Relief Fund /State Disaster Response Fund account.

    Ministry of Home Affairs is constantly monitoring the situation in close coordination with the concerned State Governments and nodal Central Ministries.
    Over 500 NDRF Personnel Deployed for Flood Relief in Uttarakhand, Up & Bihar

    Kashmiris batting for terrorists or AFSPA?

    Revisiting AFSPA
    Don’t blame it for Kashmir problems
    by Gen (retd) V P Malik

    Kashmir is burning. Political leaders from the state, civil and human rightists, even the media will have you believe that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 (AFSPA) is responsible for this situation and should be revoked or diluted to help resolve the crisis. The Centre, after looking at the situation in a holistic manner and listening to the armed forces’ advice, finds it difficult to decide.

    What is the AFSPA? Why is this Act necessary? But first, let me narrate a real situation that took place 20 years ago. In early 1990 I was commanding a division that had troops deployed for counter-insurgency operations in Manipur, Nagaland and a part of Arunachal Pradesh. During the run-up to the Manipur Assembly elections, a political party leader, in order to garner students’ support and votes, made the removal of the AFSPA a major electoral issue. When he won the elections and became the Chief Minister, I went to call on him. I asked him what he planned to do about the AFSPA. He said that in view of the “popular demand”, he would write to the Home Ministry and have it removed from the state. I told the Chief Minister that it was OK with me. I will pull out troops from the 60-odd posts, concentrate them outside Manipur and train them for their primary role of fighting a conventional war.

    “But you cannot do that! What will happen to the law and order situation?” he said. I appreciated his concern and told him politely but firmly that I couldn’t help him to maintain that without a proper legal cover. I said: “I cannot have my subordinates hold me responsible for giving them any unlawful command.” Then, very respectfully I stated, “Sir, the best way out is to create conditions in the state wherein the AFSPA is not necessary. If you and the Centre do not consider and declare Manipur state to be a ‘disturbed area’, the AFSPA cannot be applied. Please do not blame the AFSPA for the problems of Manipur. The fact is that despite several elections in the state, we have not been able to create conditions when this Act need not be applied in Manipur. The armed forces cannot create those conditions. These are primarily of political, ethnic and socio-economic nature, under your charge now.”
    Don’t blame it for Kashmir problems... Read more

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    Changing AFSPA: Air chief cautions against dilution
    CHENNAI: Striking a favourable note with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Army Chief General V K Singh said on Saturday that the statute “is an enabling provision” and that it “is not arbitrary”.
    AFSPA not against Constitution: Army chief

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Mosquito bites at CWG Village bigger concern than terror attacks

    Melbourne: Australia's swimming coach Leigh Nugent says hygiene at the Commonwealth Games Village in Delhi is a bigger concern for him than the terror threats to the October 3 to 14 event.

    "You can go to a Western-style country and still get sick, but on the subcontinent they have bugs we have no resistance to," Nugent was quoted as saying by 'The Daily Telegraph'.

    "Things like vomiting and diarrhoea can run rampant through a team, wreaking havoc on months of preparation and destroying medal chances. So you have to be extra vigilant and make sure you have as many preventative measures in place as you can."

    Nugent said all the Australian swimmers have been given hand-sanitising gel, probiotics to boost immunity and long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and bug repellent plus mosquito zappers to guard against diseases such as dengue and malaria.

    "And even when you're having a shower, you should keep your mouth closed," Nugent said. "We're living in the village with probably 7000 or 8000 other people and not everyone has good hygiene, and you don't know who's touched the door in front of you," he said.

    "Touching things, you can pick up bugs that you're not used to in our normal environment and next thing you're sick and out of action. All of these bugs are invisible, so you have to be ultra-careful."

    Nugent said the swimmers have already instructed about personal hygiene during the October 3 to 14 event. "They're well educated in it, but it needs to be habitual," Nugent said.

    "When we're in our strategy camp in Kuala Lumpur we'll be really ramming that message home hard and prompting our athletes and our staff so that they stay fit and healthy. It's easy to forget, but you really can't afford to forget in this environment," he added.
    Hygiene at CWG Village bigger concern than terror
    Kalmadi's Challenge: Can he beat the Mosquitoes?
    Dengue: 72 new cases in Delhi; total No. at 2296

    Poor Governance and Corruption gives birth to Naxals and Maoists

    The Maoist threat – And what it Tells us about our Governance
    Posted on September 15, 2010 by Gopalkarunakaran
    This was written by me about three years ago after an opportunity to be part of group debating internal security threats to India. The group comprised of very eminent people, Mr Arun Shourie, Mr Ved Marwah, General Ved Malik, Commodore Uday Bhasker, Mr Ajay Sahni, General Patanker, Mr Rammoham of the BSF , Mr Ajit Duval of the IB. We were trying to put together a paper for the government to act soon. What was startling, but not surprising, was that the threat was well known – but till it reached the drawing rooms of the upper class, through attacks on Rajdhani trains and the stories began in the Media – it was unattended by the State of India. Do give me your views!
    by Col. Gopal Karunakaran (retd)

    There is so much noise in the media now on the Maoist – so many extreme views – on the one side the Home Ministry who see it as a law and order problem and on the other, left wing intellectuals who see the State being oppressive and unfair to the forgotten masses of India.

    What about the larger debate on what the Maoists are fighting for? Who are they? What are their demands? What do they want?

    Have our recent economic polices triggered social unrest in India, unknown to the small urban English speaking opinion makers and decision makers of India? It has now risen from a slow simmer, to a raging boiling point, creeping up into our drawing rooms, and finally drawing the attention of our ruling class...
    Read more
    The Maoist threat – And what it Tells us about our Governance
    India is safe, PC tells Naxal-wary investors
    Naxals out to capture power through the use of gun: Pranab Mukherjee

    Soldiers lost in the babu maze

    Deccan Chronicle September 15th, 2010 Soldiers lost in the babu maze by S.K. Sinha

    Since 1947, career prospects in the armed forces, compared to the civil services, have become phenomenally worse. Wholesale proliferation of higher ranks in the civil services since 1947 has resulted in India having the most top-heavy civil administration. This only undermines efficient functioning. In a state there used to be one chief secretary, but now there are dozens of super chief secretaries with higher rank and pay. Similarly, instead of one inspector general of police in a state, we have dozens of DGPs, ADGPs and numerous IGPs. There used to be only four levels of civil servants in the Central Secretariat, from undersecretary to secretary. That has now increased to seven levels, to principal secretary. In the police a new zonal level of functioning has been introduced in many states to supervise the supervisors. Almost all IAS officers end up as secretary or additional secretary, and all IPS officers as DG or additional DG. In the Army, the majority of officers cannot go beyond colonel. The shortage of several thousand officers in the Army underscores that the Army is now a very unattractive career.

    The protocol status of the Army in the table of precedence has also been successively downgraded with every revision of the table. After Independence, the Army Chief was initially ranked with the judges of the Supreme Court but above the secretary-general (this appointment was abolished after a while and in 1963 the appointment of Cabinet Secretary introduced). The Army Chief was now placed below Cabinet Secretary, and thereafter to many others. Today he ranks below members of the Union Public Service Commission.

    This persistent downgrading of the Army applies to all officer ranks in the Army. In 1972 we had proposed that the Field Marshal should get his full pay as he is not supposed to retire and be ranked with Bharat Ratna holders, that is, just below Cabinet ministers. This was not accepted and he was ranked along with the service chiefs, that is, below Cabinet Secretary. As for salary, Manekshaw was given arrears amounting to `1.2 crores after 33 years, a few weeks before he died. Imagine. Such shabby treatment of India’s first Field Marshal who led Indian arms to a great victory. A minister of state represented the Indian government at his funeral.

    The cause of the neglect of the Army in India is our irrational higher defence organisation on which the bureaucracy has a stranglehold, isolating the Army from decision-making. This does not happen in any other democracy. Unless this is set right, the Army will remain neglected.

    - The author, a retired lieutenant-general, was Vice-Chief of Army Staff and has served as governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.
    Extracted: Click Link for full article
    Soldiers lost in the babu maze


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