Paraphrasing Army-Civilian Dichotomy in Kashmir

Paraphrasing Army-Civilian Dichotomy in Kashmir

Adfar Shah In the dark heartlessness of flying bullets, the general name given to all belted forces by locals (Kashmiris) is military/security forces and the ‘Army’. Though security forces consist of various agencies like army, state police, CRPF, BSF and others but people simply address all with one collective/common name as ‘Army’ (the greatest burden of and credibility challenge to army as an organization).This is perhaps because the oppressed hardly feel interested in classifying the oppressors (as a majority of masses still assume of these security forces, reflecting the social image of armed forces). Kashmir undoubtedly is a peace fragile zone (unpredictable every time) and the Kashmiri identity (lost under suppression) still continues to be like the gown of the poor man that needs to be mended without delay as the patches of pain and misery have been bombarding the common collective psyche since decades now(especially since1990’s). The question amid this whole disarray and incessant turbulence is whether armed forces particularly army as a credible institution of the nation has lived up to the mirror image of goodwill ambassadors or merely proved a tool of the repressive state apparatus? I am doubtful. Has the army ever tried to or evaluated its total intervention and assessed the positive impact of its social interventions like Sadbhavana (Good-will)? Has it ever tried to study or gauged the local perception or impact about all its good will programmes like good will education (in army schools), national integration tours, etc,)? I am unsure. Despite of the fact that conflict is purely political, finding answer to, have the men in uniform ever treated the turmoil hit masses especially the Northeast and Kashmiri people as the people of their own country or their own public or have been dealing with them merely with an ‘enemy’ perception (iron hand treatment) is a question for the armed forces in general especially for the army as a credible and responsible institution of the country. Since 1989, when the armed conflict started, there has been every attempt to alienate Kashmiris from the time and space. Their dissent voices have been continuously crushed with force every time, their freedom of expression and right to live with...

Military and Indian Politics- The VK Phenomenon –

Military and Indian Politics- The VK Phenomenon –

Retired Chief Of Army Staff General VK Singh’s appearance with the right-wing Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at the Rewari (Haryana) ex-servicemen rally has split the opinion on the ethics and morality of soldiers joining politics in India. The main argument put forth by many including political parties is that this would set a wrong precedent and impact the apolitical nature of the armed forces. Newspapers also speculated that this coming together might also result in induction of General VK Singh into BJP. Now that calls for some serious investigation. The armed forces are apolitical to the extent that they do not interfere in active politics while in service in any capacity nor do they serve interests of any political party. But Indian constitution gives each member of the military community to exercise his/her right to franchise. So to that extent each soldier is free to choose his ideology or have political leanings which in no way affects his/her professional judgement or conduct as an apolitical member of the military. Secondly, the armed forces are known for their integrity and loyalty to the flag. Since India’s birth, the armed forces and its persons have displayed the highest sense of commitment and dedication in their personal and official capacities as a disciplined force of the republic, despite reservations of some bureaucrats and politicians, as displayed in the run up to the Indo China war of 1962. But the sacrifices of the armed forces over the last 64 years have allayed any such misapprehensions. Thirdly, post retirement, which happens at an early age for the soldiers, they have been known to join politics and have served the country with distinction. Gen SK Sinha, Gen Roy Chowdhury, Gen BC Khanduri are some names that come to mind. By their very disciplined and committed stands in the political arena these ex-servicemen have infused quality leadership with a vast understanding of strategic issues. If more ex-servicemen join politics upon retirement the quality and character of political leadership in the country is bound to improve manifold. Next, the interests of serving and retired defence personnel have suffered because of politician’s ignorance of military matters and bureaucratic firewall between the two. In times to come, more and more retired military persons will join politics as defence forces have large number of people...

Chinese Intrusion – Psychological Challenge ? – Lt Gen PC Katoch, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SC (Retd)*

Chinese Intrusion – Psychological Challenge ? – Lt Gen PC Katoch, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SC (Retd)*

As per indigenous media, the government has surmised that the Chinese intrusion in area of Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) of Ladakh region is a localized action taken by the concerned PLA commander in the area. How such an assessment has been arrived at will remain under wraps but the media is also reporting that the Indian Army Chief has met the Defence Minister and that the Army has recommended tougher response. Understandably, the recommended response has not been elaborated. The Indian Foreign Minister is scheduled to visit China in first week May as prelude to Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang visiting India later in the same month. Also, that flag meetings between the Indian Army and PLA are continuing on the standoff despite the Chinese Foreign Ministry stating categorically and repeatedly that PLA has not crossed the LAC. Feeding the information that this Chinese action is ‘localized’ may serve the immediate political aim of soothing public and media outrage temporarily but not analyzing the issue in finer detail would be fooling ourselves and constitute disservice to the nation amounting to treason. There have been some 400 transgressions by PLA across the LAC during 2012, as informed by the Defence Minister to the Parliament. These, as also similar incidents in previous years, have been generally described as the PLA coming up to “their perception of the LAC”. The presence of some 50 Chinese firming in at DBO since April 15, 2013 has also been remarked about “as these things keep happening” but is that really so? This presence of the PLA platoon has been reported 10 kilometres deep inside Indian Territory. The Times of India dated 26th April says 18 kilometres. However, what is more significant is the admission by our Ministry of External Affairs that this PLA platoon is sitting more than three kilometers beyond even the “Chinese perception of the LAC”. That makes it a ‘deliberate intrusion’ which really cannot be passed off as mere routine transgression based on differing perceptions of the LAC. Media is also reporting that the assessment of this being a localized affair has been surmised from recent flag meetings. However, how much of what is said should be taken...

A Dialogue with Sir R. Gopalakrishnan

A Dialogue with Sir R. Gopalakrishnan

R Gopalakrishnan is an Executive Director with one of the largest Indian business groups – Tata Sons, a holding company to one of the largest Indian business groups The Tata Group.He was educated from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata at the University of Calcutta. He has worked with Hindustan Levers Hindustan Unilever for over 31 years before joining the Tata Group. Siddharth Acharya: From Hindustan Uni-Lever to Tata, Please share your experience on transition of Indian Economy and how do you see Indian Inc? R. Gopalakrishnan: Well I always say that first half was LPR (License Permit Raj) career and second was LPG means Liberalization Privatization and Globalization. My career grew in the middle of LPG and in the first four years under the pressure of all the crisis which was there in 1991. The broad thing that happens in every entrepreneurial activity is that under pressure you respond better. But our brain is wide to think that best decisions are taken when our brain is calm. I strongly feel best decisions are taken in pressure. And that is reflected in trend of affairs of our economy. Siddhartha: Sir, you made a very strong statement that Crisis makes a leader…..what does make you think that way? R Gopalakrishnan:  See there is nothing smart about leadership….What makes a big leader is the ability to perform under the pressure because anyone can sit down and give you immense gyaan. Suppose if I am an entrepreneur and banks are chasing me, distributors do not want to pay you, lenders have to be paid…you can turn into negative ways and follow wrong crowd….Whatever you learn from life you learn through struggle. Struggle and crisis are the best leaders…We never chase struggle for heck of it..It comes down, so that is the elaboration on my part. Pragnesh Podar: Does it apply to individual and nation as well? R Goplakrishnan: Absolutely. It applies to human effort as an individual, family and as a nation. you see best lessons learnt are not learnt; I would give you an example…When Congress movement started in 1885, it was not started by an Indian, it was started by a Scotsman and he started in Chennai....

THE STALEMATE AND THE STEPS – Kashmiri Awaaz

THE STALEMATE AND THE STEPS – Kashmiri Awaaz

Introduction   Kashmir problem is with the world since 1947, the year of the partition of India.  Now the world is apprehensive about nuclear war between India and Pakistan over this issue.  The UN and the US want both sides to start discussions, but the important question is on what basis the discussion can take place. India’s position has been consistent that ‘Borders cannot be altered, No plebiscite, relations will be guided by the Shimla Agreement and The Sino-India model should be followed’. But Pakistan disagrees and maint that solution based on the ‘line of control’ is not acceptable and moreover the status quo is a part of the problem not part of the solution.  The unresolved status of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute has pushed us to three wars in addition to three minor ones and might well have triggered a wider and more sinister war between the two countries in 2002, if diplomacy, realism and commonsense had not prevailed.”  The positions of the two contending sides do not have any common ground so far; as a result, solution is encoding them.    The Background of the Problem   Problem started in 1947 when British was dividing India into two parts to separate out Muslims, who had demanded a separate homeland for themselves and the non-Muslims.  Pakistan had refused to give a chance to the old princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and attacked in the guise of tribal Pathans on 20th October 1947.  The Maharaja asked India for help and joined India on 26th October 1947.  However, by that time Pakistan had already occupied about 1/3 of the Kashmir.  The UN Security Council resolution of April 1948 had suggested a plebiscite for the people of Kashmir after it would be vacated by Pakistan: India would be allowed to maintain some forces to maintain the law and order.  Pakistan never vacated the area and as a result, the referendum could not happen.  During the last six decades a lot of demographic changes took place, the most notable one is the expulsions of the non-Muslim communities both from the Pakistan occupied Kashmir and also from the Indian Kashmir.  Non-Muslims were driven out from the Pakistan occupied areas of Baltistan, Skardu, Hunza and Gilgit, the four...

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