Sunday, July 31, 2011

People First Mission Always: Indian Air Force

PIB Ministry of Defence31-July, 2011 15:17 IST
“People First Mission Always’’
Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne Shares
His Vision with his People
As He takes over as the 23rd IAF Chief

Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, took over as the 23rd Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), from Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, who retires after 42 years of illustrious service, at Air Headquarters, Vayu Bhawan, today.

In his address to the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Browne said, “The IAF is well poised on the path of transforming itself into a potent strategic force”. Outlining his vision statement for the IAF of – ‘People first Mission Always’, he said, “While induction of the state of the art equipment and systems would lead to a major upgradation of our combat potential, our biggest strength, ‘Our People’ must receive our highest attention.” “In whatever capacity you serve in the Indian Air Force, you remain our most valuable asset”, he added.

“I firmly believe that each one of us has a duty to care and look after the people placed under our charge. It is a sacred calling, for all leaders, men and women, irrespective of the rank and position. Our endeavour should be, to empower our subordinates, by giving them required operating skills, through dedicated training and mentoring”.

“While change is the hallmark of growth and progress, the biggest challenge facing us in the coming years, is to manage this fast paced change effectively, without compromising on high operational standards. Operating across a broad spectrum of equipment vintage, would test our innovativeness and capabilities. The nation has reposed a high degree of trust and confidence in our capabilities. It is indeed an onerous asking, and I am confident that as capable men and women we will work shoulder to shoulder in discharging our responsibilities befittingly”.

Born in Allahabad on 15 December 1951, Air Chief Marshal Browne was commissioned into the Fighter stream of Indian Air Force on 24 June 1972. He has had a varied operational experience of flying Hunters, all variants of MiG-21s, Jaguars and SU-30s.

He was a member of the initial core team which trained on the Jaguar aircraft in the United Kingdom and went on to command a premier Jaguar strike squadron subsequently. He is a Fighter Combat Leader and a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Alabama, USA. He has had instructional tenures at the premiere flying establishment – Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) – and the tri-services Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington.

In a career spanning 39 years, he has held various operational and staff appointments that include – Joint Director at Air War Strategy Cell at Air Headquarters, Chief Operations Officer and Air Officer Commanding of a SU-30 base, Air-I at New Delhi based Western Air Command (WAC) and Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air Headquarters. He was also responsible for establishing the Indian Defence Wing in Tel Aviv, Israel in Apr 1997, where he served as the Defence Attache till Jul 2000. From March 2007 to 31 May 2009 he functioned as the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (DCAS) at Air Headquarters and was responsible for IAF’s major Modernization Programmes.

Before taking over as the Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) at Air Headquarters on 01 January 2011, he was the AOC-in-C of Western Air Command, under whose command and personal supervision, the first ever landing of an AN-32 (fixed wing aircraft) took place at Nyoma, advance Landing Ground (ALG), located at an altitude of 13,300 feet on 18 September 2009.

Air Chief Marshal Browne is recipient of Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM), Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM), Vayu Sena Medal (VM) and is appointed as one of the Honorary Aides De Camp to the President of India.

Married to Mrs Kiran Browne, they have a son, Omar, a Su-30 MKI pilot and a daughter Alisha, who is working with a multinational company. TKS/MKR-
(Release ID :73587)
People First Mission Always

Taking STOVL to a New Level

F-35B - Taking STOVL to a New Level
Bringing short take off and vertical landing to a whole new level. The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter has advanced the technology of Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL). The F-35 true 5th Generation from every angle. - Courtesy of Youtubes LockheedMartinVideos.

Pakistan puts on its best face- Hina Rabbani Khar

Pakistan foreign minister bags attention on India trip- Accessories and style have media swooning, but is Hina Rabbani Khar really in charge of policy on Kashmir?
Declan Walsh in Lahore, Friday 29 July 2011 18.28 BST

Rarely has a Birkin brought so much attention. When Pakistan's new foreign minister, 34-year-old Hina Rabbani Khar, landed in India for talks this week, a media frenzy erupted around her style: the pearl necklaces, elegant costumes, Cavalli sunglasses and a stylish Hermes-made Birkin bag worth at least $9,000 (£5,500).

Khar's glamorous turn triggered a media swoon and became the buzz of the subcontinental chattering class. "Pakistan puts on its best face," read the Times of India headline; "Pakistan bomb lands in India," quipped the Mumbai Mirror.

The minister entered the lexicon of celebrity initials: "HRK" started to trend on Twitter – one letter off Bollywood's leading heart-throb SRK, or Shah Rukh Khan. Back in Pakistan, though, opinion was divided amid arguments about sexism, dynastic politics and the propriety of carrying a pricey handbag.

On a flight to Islamabad on Friday, Khar flicked through a stack of newspapers filled with her picture. "You don't want the attention to focus on the frivolous," she said. "A guy in my place would never get such attention; nobody would be talking about his suit. I refuse to be apologetic about it; I will continue to be who I am."

For all the frivolity, the trip was an auspicious start to a notoriously tricky job. Claims of a "new era" in relations seemed premature, but Khar broke the ice with her elderly Indian counterpart, SM Krishna, and negotiated several concrete measures to boost cross-border trade in the disputed territory of Kashmir.
clcik here to read more: Indo- Pak Kashmir Policy

Mismatch of Pak Military Demands Versus US Arms Sale

Shahid Javed Burki / Pakistan July 29, 2011, 0:37 IST
Business Standard Sunday, Jul 31, 2011
Shahid Javed Burki explains why mending ties with the US will be harder for Pakistan this time.

Following the rapid deterioration in the relationship between Washington and Islamabad in recent weeks, Pakistan is engaged in an intense review of the available strategic options. Islamabad-Washington relations have never been easy. But despite many ups and downs, there was a recovery every time, especially when the US felt it needed Pakistan to pursue its strategic objectives. In 1979, the US had needed Pakistan’s support to expel the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. Again, in 2001, America needed Pakistan’s air space to launch air strikes on Kabul as a punishment for the support it had provided to the terrorists involved in the September 11 attacks in the US.

This time, the rupture is as deep as the one in 1998, when Pakistan tested a nuclear device in the hills of Baluchistan. However, it appears that the repair work will be more difficult this time. This is for three reasons. One, Pakistan’s military leadership seems to have concluded that Washington is too unreliable a partner to bank on for long-term support. The suspension of one-third of the total amount that Washington committed to help the Pakistani military build its capacity to fight terrorism has confirmed the belief that China offers a better alternative for the needed support — of the total amount of $2.64 billion, $800 million have been put on hold. Over the years, Pakistan and China have been engaged in collaborating on a number of large military hardware projects. These include China’s support in building Khalid, a battlefield tank in a facility at Taxila near Islamabad. The Chinese are also partnering Pakistan to develop a fighter plane. Beijing may also invest in developing Gwadar as a deep-water port, which to be used by the naval forces of the two countries. Since Washington treats Beijing as a rival for influence in South Asia, Pakistan’s play with China will be seen as a zero-sum game — China’s gain will be seen as America’s loss.
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Chinese chequers

News Insight Sunday, July 31, 2011
Learn from the Sino-Indian border talks and apply it to Pakistan, says N.V.Subramanian.

25 July 2011: In its anxiety to resolve the border issue with China and make peace with Pakistan, India is giving the upper hand to both countries, its sworn enemies. India would be better off learning from China how to manage a subordinate power and applying those lessons appropriately with Pakistan.

China, broadly speaking, has huge problems in Xinjiang and Tibet. Unrest in the Uighur and Tibetan provinces enjoy varying degrees of Western and especially US support. Uighur separatism is tinged with Islamic terrorism with links to the Al-Qaeda and Taliban in the FATA region of Pakistan. To that extent, the support to the Uighurs is selective and cautious.

But the Tibetan cause for complete autonomy within China is more warmly and unconditionally embraced by the West. China fears Tibetan separatism more than Uighur nationalism, but the stature of the Dalai Lama limits its aggression against Tibetans. The Uighurs have no equivalent leader with a world following.

The Dalai Lama has made India his home. That is one cause for China's hostility towards India and the hidden reason for the 1962 war. China could have coaxed India in the past to pressure the Dalai Lama to leave the country in return for better relations. India would probably rebuff such a move. But there is no public evidence that China has explicitly made such a link.

Rather, China has never lost sight of its position as the biggest power in Southern Asia, and sought to deal with India on that basis. China has never said no to border talks, or to undertake CBMs on the disputed frontier. But it has never shown urgency to resolve the dispute.

On the other hand, India has been keen to settle the issue, and has consequently made compromises on the Tibetan matter. In doing so, India advertises its subordinate status. But China is playing for time. It calculates that in a not-so-distant future, it will be able to remake the border with India as it sees fit.

This may not -- and probably will not -- happen. But it does not stop China from dragging the border issue and preventing its resolution.

This is the model India must apply in its dealings with Pakistan. To be sure, there must be understanding between Pakistan and China on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, because a portion of PoK is ceded to China, in addition to what China seized in 1962. But it should not forestall India from occasionally turning the screws on Pakistan.

Currently, India is initiating and setting the pace for talks with Pakistan. Despite being an inferior power, Pakistan has adopted the big daddy approach of China, expecting India to do all the heavy lifting. The result is the onus always falls on India to make the talks a success. Even when terrorist attacks (like 26/11) disrupt talks, the pressure on India to pick up the pieces is enormous. The US also leans on India to do so.

This must change. The US is squeezing Pakistan for the first time in thirty years. Military aid has been suspended. US intelligence is making strenuous efforts to move into the interiors of Pakistan, in NWFP, Baluchistan and Punjab, to keep a watch on terrorists and feared WMD leaks to terrorist elements. The ISI is facing America's wrath as never before.

This may all alter. The previous position of friendly-unfriendly ties between Pakistan and the US may be restored. But it does not look likely, not at least in the immediate term. This may not make a difference in Pakistan's attitude towards India. 13/7 has been linked back to the Lashkar-e-Toiba. And Pakistan is embarking on a massive deterrence build up against India, while keeping up the anti-India rhetoric.

But the change from before is that the US will be less likely successful to pressure India to talk to Pakistan. If the US finds Pakistan a treacherous ally, how can India trust Pakistan, a sworn enemy since their simultaneous Independence? It is here, and now, therefore, that India must import the China model to Indo-Pak talks.
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Friday, July 29, 2011

Gap between Antony, service chiefs

New Delhi, July 28: The growing disconnect between A.K. Antony and the services came to the fore for the third time in two months when the defence minister told the IAF chief that he was displeased with remarks on Indian nuclear strike capabilities during the Pakistan foreign minister’s visit.

Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik was told yesterday his statement that India will retaliate massively to any nuclear strike by Pakistan was in keeping with government policy but not with the mood that Delhi wanted to create for the talks between foreign ministers S.M. Krishna and Hina Rabbani Khar.

Antony was himself restrained in his remarks on Pakistan on Tuesday when the air chief marshal made the statement at a news conference. The defence minister had said that same morning at a ceremony marking 12 years since the Kargil war (with Pakistan) that he did not want to say anything that would vitiate the atmosphere for talks.

The air chief’s statement was also frowned upon by the foreign office. At a briefing yesterday, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao was asked to comment on his statement by a Pakistani journalist.

Rao did not refer to it directly but said: “As far as the remarks that you referred to (are concerned), I would only bring you back centre stage to the discussions held between the two foreign ministers today, the very positive content of those discussions, the kind of direction that has been set as a result of these discussions. We are talking about peaceful co-existence that we need to see established between the two countries for the benefit of the two peoples. So, everything we say must keep in mind the aim that is common for both our peoples.”

The military top brass does not really speak out in public. In any case, they do so on far fewer occasions than ministers, but even then there is a friction with the civilian leadership now that is hard to ignore.

In May, after army chief General V.K. Singh said — again in reply to a question — that his force had the capabilities to conduct the kind of operation that the US commandos did to track and kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Antony had told the service chiefs to reduce interacting with the media.

However, Air Chief Marshal Naik repeated on Tuesday what General Singh had said in May — that Indian forces have developed surgical strike capabilities.

In the meanwhile, the row over the army chief’s date of birth has come to a head.

Last week, Antony ordered the army to accept May 10, 1950, as General Singh’s date and year of birth. The general’s matriculation certificate shows that it is May 10, 1951, and he had been asking for the army records to be corrected for many years.

Antony has also stopped the army chief from going to Singapore to attend the US Army co-hosted Pacific Army Chiefs Conference after two appeals, ostensibly because Delhi’s defence establishment does not want to convey the impression that it is aligned with the US.

But General Singh’s predecessor, General (retired) Deepak Kapoor had attended the conference both as chief and vice-chief.

Also, General Singh himself proudly sports a tag on his uniform that identifies him as “ranger”, an honour given to him in the US after he went through the arduous course in US military establishments.
Gap between Antony, service chiefs

New humility for the hegemon

This article and comments of readers are worth examining.
There is no doubt that India's relations with it's neighbors leave much to be desired. The Indian leadership and in particular The Indian Foreign Service need to answer for the present state of affairs.
I believe that the Indian Foreign Service treats neighboring countries as dumping ground for not favorite ambassadors and staff. The top IFS officials like to fly to exotic European and US cities and do not have the time to visit near by capitals. Most likely, for top promotions postings in Europe/USA etc carry more weightage. All this matters.
Our bureaucrats/ IFS do treat our neighbors as inferiors and we do have Big Brother attitude. It is surprising that India does not have desired relations with the only other Hindu majority country ie Nepal!
We do need improved relations with our neighbors to ensure greater progress and security.
Harbhajan Singh
Lt Gen

New humility for the hegemon
Too slowly, India is realising that poor relations with its South Asian neighbours hold back its global ambitions
Jul 30th 2011 | from the print edition

NO ONE loves a huge neighbour. For all that, India’s relations with the countries that ring it are abysmal. Of the eight with which it shares a land or maritime boundary, only two can be said to be happy with India: tiny Maldives, where India has the only foreign embassy and dispenses much largesse, and Bhutan, which has a policy of being happy about everything. Among its other South Asian neighbours, the world’s biggest democracy is incredible mainly because of its amazing ability to generate wariness and resentment.

Until recently it operated a shoot-to-kill policy towards migrant workers and cattle rustlers along its long border with Bangladesh. Over the years it has meddled madly in Nepal’s internal affairs. In Myanmar India snuggles up to the country’s thuggish dictators, leaving the beleaguered opposition to wonder what happened to India’s championing of democracy. Relations with Sri Lanka are conflicted. It treats China with more respect, but feuds with it about its border.

As for Pakistan, relations are defined by their animosity. One former Indian diplomat likened reconciling the two nuclear-tipped powers to treating two patients whose only disease is an allergy to each other. The observation underscores the fact that it takes two to have bad relations, and to be fair to India plenty of problems press in on it—many of them with their roots in India’s bloody partition in 1947. Pakistan has used a long-running territorial dispute over Kashmir as a reason to launch wars. It also exports terrorism to India, sometimes with the connivance of parts of the Pakistani state. India thinks Bangladesh also harbours India-hating terrorists.

With the notable exception of India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, who has heroically persisted in dialogue with Pakistan in the face of provocations and domestic resistance, India’s dealings with its neighbours are mostly driven by arrogance and neglect. It has shared shockingly little of its economic dynamism and new-found prosperity with those around it. Just 5% of South Asia’s trade is within the region.

Too little and too late, the neglect is starting to be replaced by engagement (see article). This week Sonia Gandhi, dynastic leader of India’s ruling Congress Party, visited Bangladesh—a first. And on July 27th India’s foreign minister hosted his Pakistani counterpart, the first such meeting in a year. He promised a “comprehensive, serious and sustained” dialogue.
To read more click here

Al Qaeda 2.0- Will it morph again?

Military Special Ops Chief Warns of Al Qaeda 2.0
Published July 28, 2011 | Associated Press

Aspen, Colorado – The top commander of U.S. special operations forces said Wednesday that Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda is bloodied and "nearing its end," but he warned the next generation of militants could keep special operations fighting for a decade to come.

Navy SEAL Adm. Eric T. Olson described the killing of bin Laden by a special operations raid on May 2 as a near-killing blow for what he called "Al Qaeda 1.0," as created by bin Laden and led from his hideout in Pakistan.

Olson said the group had already lost steam because of the revolts of the Arab Spring, which proved the Muslim world did not need Al Qaeda to bring down governments, from Tunisia to Egypt.

"I think the death of bin Laden was an upper cut to the jaw," Olson told a packed crowd, opening the Aspen Security Forum. "It just knocked them on their heels."

Olson echoed other administration officials who are predicting Al Qaeda's demise if a few more key leaders can be eliminated.

But the four-star admiral warned of the fight to come against what he called Al Qaeda 2.0, with new leaders like American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, who Olson said understands America better than Americans understand him.

"It will morph, it will disperse," he said. "It will become in some ways more westernized, (with) dual passport holders" and "fewer cave dwellers," he said.

Olson said others like al-Awlaki will probably refine their message to appeal to a wider audience, and seek ungoverned spaces to operate from, where they can smuggle in weapons and train their followers. He described how current offshoots like al-Awlaki's Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen are cooperating with militants in Somalia, describing what he called an "invisible bridge" between the two.

Nor did the admiral write off bin Laden's successor, Ayman al-Zawahri. He said al-Zawahri had not yet put his stamp on the organization, so U.S. counterterrorist forces do not yet know what kind of threat he will present.

He said the fight against all versions of Al Qaeda could keep U.S. special operations forces deploying at the same pace for another decade, even as U.S. conventional forces draw down from places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

The admiral said that will keep the pressure on his own already frayed force, which is now seeing the departure of many mid-level troops who joined just after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The force has nearly doubled in size since the attacks, from 32,000 to some 60,000, including SEALs, Army Special Forces Green Berets and Rangers, and Marine Special Operators. But he said nearly half that force is deployed at any one time, and that tempo is taking its toll on troops and their families, resulting in divorces or separations.

Olson agreed with the White House's newly announced policy to strike terrorists through focused action rather than full-scale invasion, preferably by training and working with the host country's forces. He cautioned against thinking raids would solve all U.S. foreign policy problems.

"This idea of being able to wait over the horizon and spring over and chop off heads doesn't really work," he said, describing the "yin and yang" of special operations as including capture-and-kill raids as well as long-term engagement with host countries' militaries. The latter involves U.S. troops "developing long-term relationships, learning languages, meeting people, studying histories, learning black markets."

"If you don't know that, you won't be an effective counterterrorism force," Olson said.

Currently the longest serving Navy SEAL, Olson is less than two weeks from retiring after 38 years of service. He'll be replaced by another Navy SEAL: Adm. Bill McRaven, the commander of the raid that got bin Laden.
Read more: Click here

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Response to strike from Pak will be very heavy: IAF chief

Rajat Pandit, TNN & Agencies Jul 26, 2011, 02.25pm IST
NEW DELHI: Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik on Tuesday said Pakistan's new tactical nuclear missile or expanding arsenal is of no worry to India.

He said India followed a 'no-first-use' nuclear policy but warned its response would be "very heavy" in the event of any nuclear attack on the country.

The IAF chief's statement came following the news report that Pakistan planned to add 24 nuclear-capable, short-range missiles capable of hitting all major Indian cities to its arsenal this year.

The plan is in line with Pakistan's official policy of having what is rhetorically called "maintaining a minimum deterrence", especially against India, the daily quoted sources as saying.

"Our nuclear policy is of no first use. It also talks about a very heavy response in case of a nuclear attack. It talks about a retaliatory and hard response, our policy talks about that," Naik, who demits office this Sunday, told a press conference, PTI reported.

Naik was responding to a query on the new Pakistani tactical nuclear missile 'Nasr' which is touted to be a 'game-changer' in future warfare.

He did not agree that the new missile will be a 'game-changer'.

"Tactical or strategic, it is a nuclear weapon. So, obviously our response would be absolutely violent as per our existing policy. I don't think it is a game-changer," he added.
Read more: Response to strike from Pak will be very heavy: IAF chief

India's Leading Export: CEOs

MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, left, and his brother Vindi Banga, right, a partner at Clayton Dubilier & Rice, both earned M.B.A.s at the elite Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad
Time Magazine: India's Leading Export: CEOs By Carla Power Monday, Aug. 01, 2011
The Banga brothers are two of a growing roster of global Indian business leaders, a roster that includes CEOs such as Citigroup's Vikram Pandit and PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi as well as the deans of both Harvard Business School and INSEAD. Yes, ArcelorMittal's Lakshmi Mittal had the advantage of growing up in the family business, but now the family business has grown into a global powerhouse under his leadership.
What factors account for the rise and rise of India-trained business minds? "Our colleagues in our Asian offices are asking the same question," laughs Jill Ader, head of CEO succession at the executive-search firm Egon Zehnder International. "Their clients in China and Southeast Asia are saying, 'How come it's the Indians getting all the top jobs?'" It could be because today's generation of Indian managers grew up in a country that provided them with the experience so critical for today's global boss. Multiculturalism? Check. Complex competitive environment? Check. Resource-constrained developing economy? You got that right. And they grew up speaking English, the global business language.
It's risky to generalize about India, a subcontinent of 1.2 billion people, just as it's simplistic to stereotype the Western executive or the Chinese business leader. Motorola's Sanjay Jha or Berkshire Hathaway's Ajit Jain, one of those tipped as Warren Buffett's successor, succeed due to talent and drive, not because they're Indian. And bosses like Nooyi spend most of their formative career years outside the country. Is it that they may just happen to be Indian? As Ajay Banga notes, "You are who you are because of what you do, not the color of your skin."
Extracted-Read more:,9171,2084441,00.html

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Americans diluting anti- bribery laws: Advantage India?

A quandary for U.S. companies: Who to bribe?
American companies doing business abroad have a problem: They don’t know who to bribe.
Federal law prohibits the bribery of some people but not others. And the business world argues that the rules of the road are not clear. One guy’s bribe, as it turns out, is another guy’s cost of doing business.
After having a hard time winning contracts from a Mexican utility company, the California firm shifted tactics, according to the U.S. government .
Using an intermediary, Lindsey Manufacturing allegedly bribed employees of the electric company. Among the sweeteners: a $297,500 Ferrari Spyder sports car, bought in 2007 at a dealership in Beverly Hills, Calif., and a $1.8 million yacht named Dream Seeker, paid for in part with money wired from a Swiss bank account.
Over several years, Lindsey Manufacturing did millions of dollars of business with the Mexican utility, the government said.
This year, after Lindsey Manufacturing and its president, Keith E. Lindsey, were indicted on charges of violating a federal anti-corruption law, they asked that the case be thrown out. Their argument was this: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) makes it a crime to bribe officials of foreign governments, but employees of a state-owned Mexican utility aren’t government officials.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of Washington’s most powerful business lobbies, says the Lindsey case shows that the law is bad for business and that the way the government is interpreting it has gotten out of hand.
“You’d laugh at the absurdity of it — unless you were Keith Lindsey and you were defending yourself in a trial in which how one defines ‘foreign official’ could mean jail and millions of dollars in fines,” Lisa A. Rickard, president of the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, wrote in a May online commentary.
“The Lindsey case and others like it have brought attention to the need to reform an outdated law that many believe is hurting American businesses’ ability to compete fairly in the global market,” Rickard wrote.
The FCPA was signed into law in 1977 amid revelations that hundreds of U.S. corporations had made illegal or dubious payments to foreign politicians, parties and government officials.
Congress explained the law in economic as well as moral terms.
Bribery “short-circuits the marketplace by directing business to those companies too inefficient to compete in terms of price, quality or service, or too lazy to engage in honest salesmanship, or too intent upon unloading marginal products,” a House report on the legislation said. The practice “puts pressure on ethical enterprises to lower their standards or risk losing business,” the report added.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Indian Military Officer Shortage and Crisis

The Tribune Sunday, July 24, 2011, Chandigarh, India
The Indian Military’s Officer Crisis
The Armed forces' officer cadre have been suffering from an alarming qualitative and quantitative crisis that includes officer shortages. But of greater concern is both the immediate and long-term implications considering the rapid pace at which military technology is getting increasingly sophisticated- by Dinesh Kumar

Gentlemen cadets at the Indian Miltary Academy. Photo: Manoj Mahajan
For the last two-and-a-half decades, the officer cadre of the world's fourth largest military, notably the Army, has been suffering from a severe officer crisis, notably officer shortfall, ever since the strength of the officer cadre was increased by 26 per cent in the mid-1980s. Since then, the Army's officer shortfall continues to fluctuate between 10,500 to 13,000 or 23 to 31 percent of its sanctioned strength. While officer shortages remains the most prominent and consistent component of the crisis in the Army, recent years have also witnessed considerable under-subscription in officer training academies; a spurt in requests for premature retirement; and frequent revelations of incidence of, and rise in, corruption - professional, financial and moral. Most disconcertingly, the incidence of corruption in the Army has involved even top ranks of lieutenant general and major general.

The officer crisis is a significant issue as it negatively impacts the overall efficiency of the armed forces as a fighting machine at a time when New Delhi is embarking on a major military modernisation programme against a backdrop of complex security concerns and the rapidly increasing sophistication of military technology.
Although there have been fewer revelations of corruption in the capital and technology intensive Indian Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF), the latter continue to similarly suffer an officer shortfall, which, as per latest figures (March 2011), is 1,818 and 837 respectively. Of this figure of 837 in the IAF, the pilot shortfall alone comprises 426 or over 50 per cent of the officer shortages.
The officer crisis in the armed forces is widely attributed to the severe decline in its popularity among the urban educated youth who, for the last two decades, have been ranking the military towards the bottom of their list of preferred career choices. The forces are no longer attracting the best and the brightest to its officer cadre. Careerism and corruption in the officer cadre has become a subject of much debate within the Army while the harsh service conditions have further contributed to making it an 'unattractive' career.
All through the 1980s and until the mid-1990s, parliament members displayed a remarkable indifference to the crisis as is evident from an analysis of data posted on the Parliament website. For example, of the total 608 questions on defence asked in a six-year period between 1984 and 1989, Lok Sabha members asked just two questions related to the officer crisis. In 1991 and 1992 (there is no such list for 1990), Lok Sabha members asked just four out of 310 questions on manpower related issues.
It was only from the mid-1990s onwards that parliament members began regularly asking questions on officer-related issues. The severity of the officer and manpower-related crisis in the armed forces has since led to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence producing six reports exclusively on human resource issues in the military between August 2001 and March 2011. In addition, the officer crisis has figured, even if in passing, in several other parliamentary reports during this period.

Causes for Officer shortfall
The officer shortages are primarily in the critical ranks of lieutenant, captain, major and lieutenant colonel and their equivalents in the Navy and the IAF. These ranks comprise the junior-to-middle rung of leadership which is considered the 'work horse' or 'mainstay' of the three services. Some of the key tasks performed by officers in these ranks include leading soldiers from the front, flying aircraft, driving ships and submarines and heading various specialist sections on board fighting vessels. Officers in these ranks also conduct various staff duties at the battalion, brigade, division, corps, command and army headquarter levels and in their navy and air force equivalents. They also head various ordnance and logistics depots, and technical workshops entrusted with maintenance, service and repair of an enormous inventory of equipment of one of the world's largest military.
In 1997, the Army took the unprecedented step of hiring advertisement agencies to launch a nationwide image promotion campaign to attract youth. The Navy and the IAF followed soon after with separate publicity campaigns. By then liberalisation of the economy had taken root and the Army was well entrenched in intensive and life-risking counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir. Successive defence ministers have been attributing the shortfall to 'the opening up of the economy' that have lead to 'new vistas of lucrative job opportunities in the civil sector' compared with the 'relatively risky and hazardous career in the armed forces'.
When the image promotion campaign was launched in 1997, the Army was facing an officer shortfall of 12,972 or 28 percent of the sanctioned officer strength. At that time the Navy and the IAF were suffering from a comparatively lesser shortage of about six percent (690 officers) and 12 percent (1,045 officers) respectively. But this decade-long campaign seems not to have led to any significant change for the Army. Since then, there has been no improvement in the Army - from a shortfall of 28 percent or 12,972 officers in May 1997, the shortfall, as of March 2011, is 12,349.
The officer shortfall in the Navy and IAF has shown no considerable improvement over the last decade-and-a-half. From an officer shortfall of 690 in December 1996, the Navy's current (March 2011) shortfall is 1,818. Similarly, the IAFs officer shortfall increased from 1,045 in December 1996 to 1,368 in March 2008 but had reduced to 837 in March 2011.
The late-noughties witnessed the highest the highest-ever under subscription to both the Indian Military Academy (IMA) and the tri-service National Defence Academy (NDA). In January 2008, the IMA recorded an unprecedented 66 percent shortfall in the number of cadets. Against 250 vacancies for the January-June 2008 term, a mere 86 candidates reported for training. Originally, only 148 applicants (or 59 percent) had qualified for selection. Of these 148 selected candidates, 62 (almost 42 percent) dropped out.
A similar situation prevailed at the NDA when again in January 2008 the number of cadets joining the course dipped to 192 (64 percent) against its capacity of 300 thus marking the highest cadet shortfall of 36 per cent in this premier training academy. The Army faced further embarrassment in April 2008 when only 11 engineers could be short listed for short service commission training courses against a vacancy of 107 at the Officer Training Academy.

Nuclear Supplier Group’s waiver to India?

Hillary to India: Take out your wallets!
Geopolitical notes from India by M D Nalapat

Bill Clinton is one of the biggest fund-raisers in the world. A check into the donors for his foundation would show names from across the world, including several not known to be interested in the numerous good causes that Clinton claims to champion. When she ran for office as Senator from New York and later as the Democratic Party challenger to Barack Obama in the last presidential elections, Hillary Clinton raised large sums of money, although these dried up when it became clear that she would lose to Obama. The Clintons know that it is economic issues that resonate strongest with the Democratic party faithful, and it is to their credit that they presided over a period of growing prosperity for the US population. Not merely that, unlike Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, who ran up huge budget deficits and sharply increased the debt of the average taxpayer, President Clinton was able to convert the Republican deficit into a Democratic surplus. Of course, in the process, he allowed changes in regulations that began the wave of speculative transactions that almost led to the collapse of the international economy in 2008.

Although newspaper headlines in India claim that Hillary Clinton came to Delhi and Chennai in India three days before “to strengthen the strategic relationship between the US and India”, the reality is that she came looking for a handout, and the larger the better. A gasping US economy badly needs cash from wherever it can find it, and US corporates look to their government to ensure that a steady and growing flow of Indian orders takes place. Secretary Clinton made no secret of this intention, although the hunger for cash was couched behind soothing words about India’s importance. Exactly the sort of idle compliment that sends officials, mediapersons and officials in India swooning in delight. Of course, the visit left Corporate India unimpressed. Clinton refused to give any solace on the issue of numerous obstacles being placed by the protectionist Obama administration on the employment of Indian software and other professionals. She declined to announce a single measure that would assist Indian exporters in entering the US market.

However, while she gave zero concessions to Indian commercial interests, Hillary made extensive demands on behalf of US business. One of the most obnoxious was her public demand that Manmohan Singh get passed in 2011 itself a law that would - in effect - allow US nuclear suppliers a free pass even if malfunctions in their equipment killed tens of thousands, the way the Bhopal factory of Union Carbide did a quarter-century ago. Although the house-trained India media refused to react strongly to such effrontery, presumably even two individuals as innocent of politics as Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are aware that there would be a huge public outcry at such an indemnity given to foreign nuclear equipment suppliers.

What Clinton wanted was that foreign suppliers get all the financial benefits of selling even untested reactors, while placing on the shoulders of the Indian taxpayer all the risks of a nuclear incident or accident. Watching her in action at Tuesday’s press conference with S M Krishna, observers may have been forgiven for thinking that they were back in the 1930s,when India was ruled by a colonial power and had to suffer constant dictation from that power, usually against its own interests.

Passing Through India

Passing Through India By Michael Auslin; National Review Online Friday, July 1, 2011 Calcutta, India
India, I was told, is an assault on one's senses. In reality, it intensifies them even as it overwhelms, making more distinct that individual scenes one picks out of the kaleidoscope of people, colors, and motion that make up everyday life here. There is no way to prepare for a passage to India, and as I traveled around the country for almost three weeks, there was no choice but to surrender to the chaos and to feel helpless at the poverty and desperation of the vast mass of people here. As an historian, I orient myself by building up my knowledge of a place's past, seeing how the present is shaped by what came before. But somehow that's not possible here. The serenity of the Taj Mahal or the tomb of Akbar the Great doesn't lead to thoughts of the great Moghul Empire -- they are irrelevant to the thrust of life swirling just outside their massive gates. Remnants of the Raj, in Calcutta or among the ruins of the British Residency in Lucknow, appear as brief punctuations, leaving concepts of law and administration, perhaps, but little effect on the struggles of daily life.
Life for many in India seems to be lived outside, on the roadside, whether in a city or out. Under the shade of trees, barbers shave clients while innumerable food and juice carts jostle with old men and ladies sitting on the ground surrounded by mounds of watermelons, mangoes, bananas, and other fruit, much of it rotting in the oppressive heat.
Public wells are surrounded by women washing clothes and men washing their bodies. Open storefronts or shacks selling every conceivable item, from sandals to industrial fans encased in sheet-metal siding, crowd the roads. Children run back and forth among the cars and sidewalk-dwellers, darting in and out of their homes, shanties that sit cheek by jowl just beyond the impromptu markets.
If the roadsides are pulsating, nothing can prepare one for the riot of cars, bicycles, scooters, autorickshaws, ox-drawn carts, pedestrians, and cows in the streets themselves. Traffic rules are a cruel joke: Lanes exist only as abstract lines painted on the road, people turn wherever and whenever they like, tailgating and honking are a part of nature, like the laws of physics. Families of three or four crowd onto motorcycles, babies held in mothers' arms while toddlers sit in front of their driving fathers. Autorickshaws designed for a few people carry a dozen or more. One time, wanting to avoid a traffic jam on the highway ahead, but having passed the turn off to an alternate route, my driver simple turned the car around into on-coming traffic to go back to the off-ramp. Yet I haven't seen one accident yet.
Dirt in India is but part of the landscape. As V. S. Naipul noted two decades ago, mounds of dust and garbage have hardened and fused, permanently covering curbs and banking up along broken sidewalks, becoming the ground on which more is built. It is like the desert reclaiming agricultural land, turning urban areas into waste lands. As a child in a middle-class neighborhood in suburban Chicago, I looked at trash as something that would soon be cleaned up, just as overgrown lots would have their grass cut eventually, and houses in disrepair would be fixed; such disorder seemed unnatural and temporary. But in India, the crumbling shacks, concrete-like garbage heaps, mass of carts, and piles of bricks and tires and disused building materials are all permanent. One realizes that they'll never be cleaned up, the city and town streets never brought into order. And that somehow makes time and history more real -- the permanence of the littered landscape.
That is not to say there isn't change. A cow eats garbage in front a gleaming new Toyota dealership. Luxury apartment buildings rise next to corrugated tin shacks. Yet what is fresh, clean, and modern is but another layer on top of the existing dirt and refuse -- it doesn't rehabilitate an area; it coexists, one new piece scattered among the debris of generations.
After a few days, my desire to write about India wanes. There is simply too much too assimilate, no way to understand how it all holds together, how government can hope to function effectively, how families living in shanty slums along the river continue to survive generation after generation. Maybe my problem is, I haven't met the Ambanis or Mittals or Bollywood stars yet, haven't talked with those with the power to shape their surroundings or to rise above tangled chaos of daily life. But of course whether I write or not, meet the powerful or not, is just is as irrelevant to life here as is the Taj Mahal. India will change you, a friend told me before I left. What he didn't add is that you can't change India.
Michael Auslin is a resident scholar at AEI.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Afghanistan Is Now India's Problem

The United States may soon have the option of washing its hands of Afghanistan. But with an untrustworthy Pakistani military exerting greater influence, India does not.

This week, the second U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue under the aegis of Barack Obama's administration will be held in New Delhi. While much attention will undoubtedly focus on July 13's horrific bombings in Mumbai, it's the impending drawdown of U.S. forces from Afghanistan that will likely consume most of the discussions.

India is a significant player in Afghanistan. It has the world's fifth-largest aid program there, having committed $1.5 billion in developmental assistance. It has played a key role in reconstruction and has developed training programs for Afghan civil servants and police. India has made these investments in the country because its policymakers are keen on ensuring that a radical Islamist regime does not return to the country, that Pakistan not wield a disproportionate influence on any future government, and that Afghanistan might serve as a bridgehead for India's economic ties to the Central Asian states.

But as the U.S. military drawdown has begun, there is growing apprehension in New Delhi that India's investments may be at risk. These fears are far from chimerical; India's past experiences with the Taliban regime provide much basis for serious anxieties -- and not just due to the radical movement's long-standing ties to Pakistan.

Above all, India fears that a reconstituted Taliban regime would allow a host of anti-Indian terrorist groups, most notably Lashkar-e-Taiba, to find sanctuaries and training grounds in Afghanistan. Some astute New Delhi-based analysts also worry that a resurgent Taliban may actually help broker a peace agreement between the Pakistani regime and Pakistani domestic terrorist groups like Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. That, they argue, could redirect the collective wrath of various jihadi organizations from internecine conflict and focus it on India, and more specifically Indian-controlled Kashmir. Finally, they are concerned that a Taliban-dominated regime would forge links with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and other jihadi groups in Central Asia, thereby adversely affecting India's quest for access to energy resources and markets in the region.

Yet New Delhi also sees the writing on the wall. In mid-June this year, India dropped its previously unyielding opposition to any form of reconciliation with the Taliban when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggested that India would be open to any form of reconciliation that is Afghan-led. This concession was far from trivial, and reflects India's recognition that it needs to demonstrate a degree of flexibility as the U.S. withdrawal approaches to ensure that its interests are not wholly ignored.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Indo Pak War-1947-A Unique War

Last week Kolkatta observed the 110th Birth Anniversary of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerji.

Addressing a packed auditorium of invitees to the Kolkatta University Institute, General S.K. Sinha, former Governor, Jammu and Kashmir State, recalled how shortly after independence India had to confront a very difficult situation in the State. In October 1947, Pakistan organized a clandestine invasion of the State by a force composed of Pathan tribesmen, ex-servicemen and soldiers ‘on leave’.

This precipitated the First Indo-Pak war after the two countries became independent. This was a really strange war. A very bright Foreign Service Officer Chandrashekhar Dasgupta who has served as India’s Ambassador to China from 1993-96 has written an excellent book on this Kashmir invasion titled “War and Diplomacy in Kashmir, 1947-48” in which he describes this war as “unique in the annals of modern warfare”.

“It was a war”, he writes, “in which both the opposing armies were led by nationals of a third country. British generals commanded the armies of the newly independent states of India and Pakistan. In India, moreover, the Defence Committee of the Cabinet was chaired by Lord Mountbatten, not Prime Minister Nehru. Thus the course and outcome of the Indo-Pakistan conflict cannot be explained simply in terms of the political objectives and military capabilities of the antagonists. A crucial determinant was the role of the British officers at the helm of the two armies and, in the case of India, the British Governor-General, Lord Mountbatten”.

Three top British Generals were serving in the Indian Army after August 1947. All of them got connected with the operation in Kashmir – Lockhart as Army Chief from 15 August, 1947, to 31 December, 1947, Boucher as Army Chief from 1 January, 1948 to 14 January, 1949, and Russell as Army Commander from August 1947 to 19 January 1948 when he was succeeded by Cariappa.

Throughout the period that Russell was Army Commander, S. K. Sinha, as Major, was General Staff Office Operations.

Of the above three British officers Lockhart proved disloyal to India, and had to be removed. Dudley Russell, in contrast, was very loyal. Maharaja Hari Singh acceded to India on the afternoon of 26 October, 1947. Russell told Sinha that there being an embargo on British officers serving either India or Pakistan from entering the Kashmir theatre Major Sinha as the only Indian officer in the region would have to conduct the operations.

For the airlift of troops from Delhi to Srinagar, Sinha was told on the first day only six Dakotas would be available. From the following day fifty civilian Dakotas of private airlines – mostly with European pilots – would be available. The airlift would have to be completed in fifteen days as Srinagar airfield would become unusable after that because of snowfall.

In his Kolkata speech, Gen.Sinha said that it was nothing less than a miracle to do as many as 800 Dakotas sorties at such short notice.

Lord Mountbatten has recorded: “In my long experience of war I have not come across another such massive airlift carried out so successfully.”

As a serving officer in the army at the time of independence, Gen Sinha was able to explain to me very clearly how disparate the situation was in the Army at that time as between British officers and Indian officers. Indian officers, he told me, lacked the seniority and professional experience of the British officers.

The highest rank held by Indian officers was of Brigadier. There were six officers in the rank of Brigadier including Cariappa on 14 August 1947. Among these six, there was only one Muslim officer, Akbar Khan. As for officers in lower ranks, Sinha said, we were about thirty to forty in the rank of Colonel and Lt. Colonel     

Gen. Sinha said: On the first day when we landed at Srinagar we were only 300 strong, and the enemy indulging in rapine and plunder in Baramulla about 1000 strong.

By November 7, Gen. Sinha said, India’s strength had increased substantially. So we were able to win a decisive victory. Baramulla was liberated and we advanced sixty miles to Uri where the valley ends and a gorge along the Jhelum starts to Muzaffarabad.

At this point, Gen. Sinha told the Kolkatta gathering, we received orders to cease fire and to halt the advance to Muzaffarabad. Our British Commander Russell was surprised by the orders. He felt we were losing a golden opportunity. He was of the view that the Indian forces should advance to Muzaffarabad and seal the border by securing the two bridges at Kohala and Domel. Sealing the entry points into Kashmir, he opined, would also relieve the pressure on the besieged forces in Poonch . Russell however, was overruled. The senior British officers in Delhi as also Lord Mountbatten, we gathered, did not want the Indian Army to get directly involved in fighting the Pakistan Army, which this advance to the border would certainly entail. It was argued that hitherto the confrontation was mainly with the tribal raiders. The argument did not have much merit. Everyone knew that Pakistani soldiers dressed in civilian clothes were in action along with the tribesmen, and all were functioning under direct command of the Pakistani army General, Akbar Khan.

Let not the Congress Party try to find scapegoats for the latest Mumbai outrage. The common man must be feeling amazed to read the Maharashtra Chief Minister blaming the blasts on the NCP just because the Home Portfolio in the State is with the Party.

The Union Home Minister himself has absolved R.R. Patil of blame when he asserted that there had been no intelligence failure, which meant that the local police set up was not at fault.

But is it not surprising that in case of the spectrum scam, even though three Ministers, all belonging to the same alliance partner, have had to be removed and later jailed, the DMK is being fondly protected by New Delhi on the plea of coalition dharma.

So far as the Mumbai killings are concerned, you can blame neither the Chief Minister nor the Home Minister of the State. It is New Delhi that is squarely responsible.

Both the P.M. and the Congress President must realise that unless GOI’s terror policy changes radically, such incidents will continue to recur.

L.K. Advani
New Delhi
17 July, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

How the U.S. Got It Wrong: Failure in AfPak

STEPHEN COHEN: India is a friend, but not an ally. Pakistan is an ally, but not a friend
Failure in AfPak: How the U.S. Got It Wrong by Stephen Cohen | July 15, 2011
The United States has failed to get South Asia right.
In India, the U.S. was caught off guard by New Delhi's refusal to revise legislation that would have permitted American firms to bid on projects in the immense nuclear market. This was followed by an Indian decision to exclude two American companies from the $10 billion competition for a multi-role combat aircraft. Both developments were crushing disappointments to those who had expected these deals to be the capstone of a new strategic partnership.
In Pakistan, the United States tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden without help from the government. Despite repeated denials, this "non-NATO" ally had been hosting Osama bin Laden for years in a small city notable for its military installations. The jury is out on Islamabad's exact role, but either of the two likely scenarios—a benign inability to capture, or active protection—casts doubt on the value of a decade of almost unconditional American inducements and support.
In Afghanistan, almost ten years after vanquishing the Taliban, there is still confusion about strategy. Should we continue with our counterinsurgency efforts, or move on to a more limited counterterrorism strategy? We still have no idea what role Pakistan will play in Afghanistan's future, let alone India, which already has a large economic role there. Reducing our assistance to Pakistan, as announced last week, may put additional pressure on Islamabad to perform, but it is just another isolated measure with few prospects of having any long-term effect.
There are several reasons why American policies towards India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have gone awry. One is that the United States lacks a clear conceptual understanding of what it calls "Af-Pak." Additionally, Washington is sub-optimally organized to think strategically and coherently about the area. Both of these insufficiencies are rooted in a wrong "theory of the region" which has led the United States into serial blunders.
For many decades, American policy towards India and Pakistan was derived from a Cold War framework. India was incorrectly seen as a Soviet ally just as Pakistan's reliability as an American ally was misjudged. This was a costly mistake because it not only neglected our overlapping interests with India, it ignored Pakistan's ability to exploit US tolerance as it covertly built nuclear weapons and nurtured a terrorist network that now poses a major threat to itself, India and the world.
Then, even as our Cold War imperatives started to wind down, we failed to prevent both countries from entering into a nuclear arms race and never confronted the one country—China—that was singularly responsible for Pakistan's proliferation. The United States was thereafter unable to stop Islamabad from turning into the world's nuclear ATM machine. At the same time, even while creating an exception for Israel, America dogmatically argued that the universal and treaty-bound approach to nonproliferation was the only way and scoffed at Indian efforts to manage proliferation regionally.
Finally, after 9/11 and the onset of the global war on terror, we hived off Pakistan from India and tried to de-hyphenate the two states, treating them as if they had no relations with each other except for the occasional crisis. This ignored a variety of historical, cultural and geostrategic imperatives that do tie the two states together, and it intensified our inability to take coherent decisions regarding the South Asian region.
These perceptional failures were compounded by faulty government organization. For example, the institutional setup in the military commands and the Defense Department perpetuate the India-Pakistan divide; the State Department is fragmented between the office of the Special Representative for Af-Pak and its South Asia bureau; and the White House has different reporting and decision lines for India and Pakistan.
The rise of India as a major power, the decline and possibly failure of Pakistan, increasing Chinese influence, and an unstable Afghanistan where we are entangled in a costly war cannot be managed without major organizational reform—including the creation of a new combatant command for South Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Organizational reform is a necessary but not sufficient adjustment. The United States also needs to correct course on three fronts.
More broadly, in the case of India, Washington must moderate expectations: New Delhi will not evolve into its new ally in Asia, like Japan. Our alliance with Pakistan will continue to stimulate Indian defense acquisitions from other suppliers—including Russia and Europe—as New Delhi will never want to rely on us to service their American equipment in case of a new conflict with Pakistan. The same reasoning applies to the 2008 nuclear cooperation deal: it improved relations, but did not make India an ally. New Delhi has a deep commitment to strategic autonomy, as indicated by its insistent use of the moderating prefix "natural" to describe its US relationship. In the end, India got what it needed from Washington, including recognition of its nuclear weapons program and support for its permanent membership on the United Nations' Security Council, at little or no cost.
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Remembering Indo China War of 1962

A last anecdote. One or two years after the war, I once saw Gen Kaul at the Grindlay's Bank in Delhi. By that time, he had retired. I went up to him and wished him. Kaul looked bewildered and had tears in his eyes. I was surprised, thinking I'd upset him somehow. "Do you recognize me, sir?" I said. "I was your Commander Signals." Moved, he hugged me and said: "Of course, Krishen! I recognize you. But do you know that you are the first officer to greet me? Usually when my officers see me they turn their heads and pretend not to recognize me!" Like Nehru, he was a broken man. 
Remembering a War: A PoW in Tibet by KK Tewari | | August 2002
A highly decorated officer who joined the British Indian Army in early 1942, KK Tewari was taken prisoner during the Chinese attack on India on October 20, 1962, when he was visiting the forward troops. He spoke to Claude Arpi

As a result of the Chinese threat on our northern borders, some time in 1959 the headquarters of the Eastern Command at Lucknow was given the operational responsibility for the defence of the borders in Sikkim and NEFA. I was at that time on the staff at HQ Eastern Command. The 4th (Red Eagle) Infantry Division was located at Ambala. Soon after it was ordered to move to Tezpur in Assam towards the end of 1959, I was posted as its Commander, Signals.

This division, trained and equipped for fighting in the plains, had suddenly been deployed to guard the borders in this high mountainous region. While a normal division is expected to defend a 30-40km front in the plains, we were assigned a front spanning more than 1800km of mountainous terrain.

Worse was to come. Even before the division could take over its operational responsibilities to defend the border with Tibet, orders for the execution of Operation Amar 2, for construction of accommodation for ourselves, were received from Army HQ.

This was the brainchild of Lt Gen B M Kaul, then Quartermaster General at Army HQ. We were supposed to build temporary basha accommodation. Besides the fact that my regiment had to provide communications for the division in an entirely new and undeveloped area, we had now to become engineers and labourers!

My first four months in command were a real nightmare. We would certainly have preferred to rough it out in tents and spend the time developing a reasonable communications set-up, getting our equipment properly checked and maintained, and getting the men used to working with the available equipment, which was antiquated and unsuitable for mountainous terrain and the excessive ranges.

Even at that time, there were hardly any roads in any of the five frontier divisions (FD) of Arunachal Pradesh. The road into Kameng FD, the most vulnerable, finished at the foothills just beyond Misamari. We were faced with shortages of every kind. It was during these early days in NEFA that one of the commanding officers of an infantry battalion sent an official reply written on a chapati. When asked for an explanation, he gave a classic reply:

"Regret unorthodox stationary but atta [wheat flour] is the only commodity available for fighting, for feeding, and for futile correspondence."

Sometime in 1962, orders came from Army HQ for Operation Onkar (the famous "Forward Policy"), which directed all Assam Rifles posts to move forward, right up to the border. Of course, we in the army were to back them. The idea was to establish the right of possession on our territory and to deter the Chinese from moving forward and occupying the territories claimed by them. But this order was certainly not backed up with resources.

At that time, our division had done almost three years non-family station service, and some of the units were already on their way out on turnover. Suddenly all moves out of the area were cancelled and orders reversed.

Brig John Dalvi, commander of the 7th Infantry Brigade in Tawang, was ordered to move his HQ on a man/mule pack basis to Namka Chu River area. An ad-hoc brigade HQ was created for the Tawang sector overnight with hardly any signal resources. At that time, I was the only field officer of lieutenant colonel or higher rank who had the longest tenure not only at the divisional HQ but among all the divisional troops. I should have been posted out after a two-year tenure in a non-family station. But I had also a sort of premonition, and I recorded it in my diary, that a severe test was in the offing for me to assess my faith in the Divine. I certainly had no idea that I would be taken a prisoner of war.

On September 8, 1962, the Dhola post manned by the Assam Rifles on the McMahon Line was encircled by the Chinese. After this incident, a new corps HQ was created to take charge of operations in NEFA. Lt Gen BM Kaul was appointed corps commander. He arrived from Army HQ in a special aircraft at Tezpur in the late afternoon of October 4. He went straight into a conference and at about 10pm, announced in his typical flamboyant style that he had taken over command of all troops in NEFA. It was all so dramatic!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pakistan: Grab the reins of power

by Shahid Saeed | DAWN.COM

Journalists and local residents surround the compound where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad May 3, 2011. - Reuters Photo
All praise is for the Almighty who bestowed
“All praise is for the Almighty who bestowed sovereignty upon the army, then made the people subservient to the army and the army subservient to its own interests” — Justice M R Kayani
Here we are today, at the lowest point in our recent history. Found not in a cave of Tora Bora or in the ragged mountains of Waziristan but in the serenity of Abbottabad, living within a mile of the famous parade ground of PMA Kakul, next door neighbour to an Army Major and in the city that hosts three regimental centres, Osama Bin Laden, in our very own country. Many had feared that this day would come, but never imagined he would be living in such a suspiciously well protected manner.

By this time, I can assume with a high confidence that opinions and columns in the hundreds, if not thousands, have been written on what was Pakistan’s role in the raid, how Pakistan could have missed the most wanted man on Earth, what it means for Pakistan and how to move on. But, in the midst of all, we are losing a battle that we, the ‘bloody civilians’, have been eager to fight for too long.

Imagine this. The hurriedly called morning meeting at the roundtable in GHQ on May 2. Major and Lieutenant Generals tense and nervous, not knowing what to say. The General, K, possibly broke the ice by asking everyone about their last evening’s score on the 9-holes at the state subsidised Rawalpindi Golf Club. It was a birdie on the difficult 6th, he said. Oh, and he allegedly met the Chief Minister of Punjab too for some unknown reason.

What goes on in the corridors of military power is a mystery to us. What guides their actions remains a complex web of calculations, strategic they say, often immoral, disgusting, irrational and suicidal in our eyes. They value their assets, they hedge their bets and they play both sides of the game and try to bluff the single most powerful country in the world, to which they have played as a near mercenary force for a fair time (“Our Army can be Your Army” said Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the darling of the khaki apologists).

What we know today is that this is possibly the biggest embarrassment the military has faced in a long, long time. Forget 1971, it was far more morally disastrous but it had its jingoistic and racist supporters, but even in the eyes of the khaki-apologist, today the military is naked and deserving of criticism. The khaki apologist who becomes a constitutionalist when it comes to the failings of the army (the politicians are the constitutional power holders, they guided the actions, they “sold the country”, not the Army – is the usual defence) and are cognizant of the military’s powers only when it is on the good side of things, is angry today too. There are too many questions.

Did we protect him? Did we give him refuge? Why would we do that? If not, did we ignore his presence? Are we this incompetent? Did the Field Intelligence Unit (FIU) never ask a question about a mysterious seven kanal house with a three-story building, built by settlers known from being Waziristan? Is the holy mother of all agencies so inept and useless that in the sweeps done around areas visited regularly by the Army Chief and the upper hierarchy, they never got suspicious of the house and its residents? How did bin Laden come to Abbottabad in the first place? Did he take a Rs. 70, 13-seater Hiace ride from Mansehra and stop off at the Baloch Regimental Center?

If not, then why did they allow a foreign power to come in and hunt him down? Did our forces coordinate and collaborate with the US on the raid? Why are they not speaking? It is not as if they would not want to take credit for it. The logic of avoiding the local terrorists’ wrath is just too pathetic, they already target us. Mullah Omar’s, Hekmatyar’s and Haqqani’s anger be damned, this is their protector we are talking about. It is stupid, nay unimaginable, that our forces collaborated extensively and do not want to take credit for it. They would not risk inviting the wrath of the international media that they have called upon themselves today.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

National Security: Defence Lands

Ministry of Defence 14-July, 2011 14:8 IST
Antony Asks DGDE to Conduct Reality Check of Defnce Land on Ground DGDE Completes Digitisation of all Land Records

The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has directed the Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE) to immediately conduct a reality check on ground to determine the status of defence land all over the country. Announcing this at a function here last evening, where he released a compact disc containing data base on defence land records, Shri Antony said the proposed land audit will go a long way in tightening our land management control system. The Institution of a Land Audit was one of the suggestions made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence.

The land audit will cover a wide spectrum of issues including updation of land records; survey, demarcation and protection of defence lands by way of erection of boundary pillars and telling the records with actual ground situation; efficient usage of defence lands; encroachment on defence lands, the extent and reasons thereof, effectiveness of encroachment and removal actions. The audit will also verify the usage of defence lands on a lease to institutions. In the first phase, DGDE will carry out land audit in the Southern Command from the current financial year.

Shri Antony asked Defence Estate officials to be vigilant against encroachments on defence lands and foil any attempts by unscrupulous elements to fraudulently claim some pieces of defence land as theirs. “While ensuring that defence lands are protected from unauthorized occupation or illegal claims, it is also your responsibility to ensure that no public land is occupied in an unauthorized manner without following due procedures”, he told the officers.

Shri Antony asked the officials to pursue vigorously title disputes in courts with all sincerity. “As land is a precious and rare commodity, title disputes in courts must be vigorously pursued to the correct and logical conclusion”.

Shri Antony also informed the gathering that MoD had taken a decision to guard strategically located installations such as defence lands, camping grounds and old airfields by nearby military units. In cases where this may not be possible, sufficient resources would be placed with the Defence Estates Department to look after them.

The Defence Minister announced that MoD has approved two projects. The first project seeks to introduce modern surveying technology in defence estates and to complete the work of survey in all defence lands in a phased manner. The second project is for computerization to scan, index and microfilming all defence land title related records. This project would make all documents pertaining to land title easily retrievable and facilitate their preservation.

He said the ministry has approved the establishment of an archival unit and resource centre at Raksha Sampda Bhawan. He assured that funds will not be allowed to become a constraint but the accountability of proper utilization of these funds will be the onerous collective responsibility of all officers concerned.

The function was attended among others by the Minster of State for Defence Dr MM Pallam Raju, Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Shekhar Aggarwal, DG NIC Shri BK Gairola and the Director General Defence Estates Shri Ashok Kumar Harnal.

It may be recalled that the first Raksha Bhoomi Software version 1.0 was jointly developed by the DGDE & NIC and launched by Shri MM Pallam Raju in November 2006. This software has undergone constant upgradations since its initial launch and with its latest version 3.3, the entire 17 lac acres of defence land records have been successfully digitized. The standalone Raksha Bhoomi software provides complete statutory details on each separate piece of defence land inside and outside the Cantonments. This will enable the three Services and other Organs of the Ministry of Defence to access land related data on real time basis which will result in effective land management and perspective planning.

Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE), in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre (NIC), have completed the digitization of records of all lands recorded in the General Lands Registers (for lands located within the notified Cantonments) and Military Lands Registers (for lands located outside the notified Cantonments). In the process, all defence owned lands, spread across the length and breadth of the country, have been computerized. Sitanshu Kar/NN (Release ID :73237)
Security of defence Lands

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Babus Transforming India

Big Dreamer: Babus Transforming India- Dream Governance

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How US Manages Scarce Frequency Spectrum: Can India learn a few lessons?

Federal Communication Commission
Congress requires the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) to produce an annual report on the state of competition in the mobile services marketplace under section 332(c)(1)(C) of the Communications Act. In May 2010, the Commission released the Fourteenth Report, which provided an analysis of mobile wireless market conditions during 2008 and 2009.
  • This year’s fifteenth Mobile Wireless Competition Report (Fifteenth Report or Report) updates the data and analysis presented in the Fourteenth Report, and analyzes mobile wireless service market conditions during 2009 and 2010,
  • including “competitive market conditions with respect to commercial mobile services” as required by the Act.
  • Like the Fourteenth Report, the Fifteenth Report presents a multitude of industry data on various aspects of mobile wireless competition
    Federal Communications Commission FCC 11-103- click here for the complete Report
    Comment: We can avoid scams like the 2G if we have a Policy that envisages and encourages level playing field for the Communicators and not for Scamsters, Money spinners/ Launders and Terrorists.
  • The Central Police Forces and State Armed Police

    Dear Chander,
    I had written an article titled "Restructuring the Central Police Forces and the State Armed Police to Combat Internal Insurgencies". It was published in the South Asia Defence and Strategic Year Book 2011, which was published early this year. I am enclosing a copy as an attachment. As you will see, it is a long article of 4781 words, which all may not be interested to read. However, I would recommend that the portion highlighted in yellow be read by all. Following the publishing of the article, I was informed that the then Home Secretary (retired recently) issued immediate instructions to the police forces not to call themselves para military forces. As suggested by me, the Home Ministry issued a policy letter dated 18/22 March 2011 wherein all the armed police forces were instructed to adopt a uniform nomenclature as suggested by me. I am enclosing a scanned copy of the same as the second attachment. I do not know whether the police forces and others will follow the instructions but it is important that they do. The media continues to use the term para military forces incorrectly and so do even defence officers. Army Headquarters needs to contact all editors of newspapers and magazines, as well as others, including their subordinate formations and request them to instruct their scribes/ others to use the correct nomenclature. I thought the readers of your blog would be interested to know; they could then correct people who continue to use the wrong nomenclature. Warm regards.·
    Vijay Oberoi
    Former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS)
    Former Director Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)
    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM

    “Restructuring the Central Police Forces and the State Armed Police to Combat Internal Insurgencies” By Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM

    India has a plethora of police forces, with different organizations, both at the central as well as the state levels. Additional units of such forces are also being raised. Till a few years back, these forces were used more on the basis of availability than their primary tasks. As an example, the Border Security Force (BSF), which is meant for deployment on the international borders, was for long used for conducting counter-insurgency operations. Although the tasks were rationalised once again in 2001 when a major exercise was carried out by a Group of Ministers (GoM), the tendency to use these police forces in an ad hoc manner continues.
    India has a large number of internal security challenges, where groups of militants have taken up arms to force the nation to meet their demands. These include the insurgencies in all the states of the north east, the major Pakistan-supported insurgency in J & K and the growing Maoist insurgency in six states of the country. The situation is compounded by internal insurgencies of different types in practically all countries of South Asia, as there are linkages between various groups of insurgents in India and its neighbouring countries.
    Till now, the Indian leadership has relied on the Indian military, especially the army in meeting such internal challenges because the armed police forces were not capable of doing so. This has undoubtedly resulted in adversely affecting the army’s ability to meet its primary task, viz. the external challenges of the nation. However, as the armed police forces of the country are still not capable of meeting these threats, the army continues to be employed on internal security tasks. This state of affairs must change, but it can happen only when the armed police forces of the nation are made capable of confronting such internal challenges. There are many reasons for this state of affairs, ranging from inadequacies in structural organisations, obsolescent equipment, a flawed leadership pattern, weaknesses of training, improper use of such police forces, a culture more attuned to routine policing, lack of infrastructure and administrative backing and the tendency of deploying these forces in penny packets. Unless these flaws are rectified, these armed police organisations are unlikely to become capable of meeting major internal security challenges.
    On account of the manner in which armed police forces have operated in the past, the public has lost faith in their ability to operate impartially. They are also prone to use excessive force, which is a sure way of alienating the public. The reason is that they become panicky very quickly in the face of agitating crowds and resort to firing prematurely, when less lethal methods could restore order. It is a truism that the public has, over the last six decades faith only in the army, without realizing that this actually works for weakening the army to be ready for its main and primary task, viz deterring and if needed defeating the external enemies of the nation.
    Despite many efforts in the past, the armed police forces have been incapable of improving to a degree where they can take on major internal security tasks like counter insurgency and counter terrorism. I also discern reluctance on their part to make themselves capable, as can be seen by their non-acceptance of many measures suggested by the army, especially in the matter of manning and leadership of such police forces. Although the country needs to make these armed police forces capable of carrying out their internal security tasks in an efficient manner, opinion is increasingly of the view that perhaps the country needs a separate force for dealing with high grade insurgency, so that the army can be relieved of such duties and this new force can assume the mantle of conducting high grade internal security operations, including counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations. The above aspects are proposed to be discussed in the following parts in this paper:·
    Part I – Clarifications on nomenclatures.
    Part II - Current organisational structures and weaknesses of the armed police forces.
    Part III – Major internal security challenges in India.
    Part IV – Suggested actions to strengthen the armed police forces.
    Part V - A separate internal security force to meet the internal challenges of the future.

    Pakistan’s confessions

    Pakistan’s confessions
    India shouldn’t go slow on defence modernisation
    by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)

    The Pakistan Defence Minister in a recent statement has acknowledged that his country just cannot match India in defence capabilities. This, it is argued, is due to the vast difference in the GDP and foreign trade of the two countries, etc. But these essential constraints have never held back Pakistan from not only attempting to achieve parity with India in defence capabilities but also to constantly needle this country.

    Pakistan, following the policy of beg, borrow and steal, has all along tried to maintain parity in defence capabilities vis-a-vis India. In the 1965 war it fielded larger and the then latest fleet of tanks as compared to India. In infantry and artillery, India’s edge was only marginal and that too because India was able to withdraw troops from the Tibet border due to winter conditions there. India brought about destruction of Pakistan armour and came out on top through some luck and, to an extent, due to superior generalship. In 1971, too, India was able to shift the troops deployed against Tibet to the plains due to the harsh weather conditions, but this is less likely to happen again.

    Notwithstanding this statement from the Pakistan minister, recent reports indicate that it is striving hard to acquire parity with India in nuclear weapons capability and missile technology as also in many other defence-related areas. Its attempts to develop tactical nuclear weapons is an area of much concern for India. As long as the Pakistani security establishment retains control over the social and economic fabric of that nation, peace between the two neighbours will be tenuous, and there will be sustained attempts to achieve balance in military capabilities. Therefore, this assertion by a Pakistani political leader, perhaps to lull India to sleep, needs to be taken with more than a pinch of salt, and calls for a closer look and reality check.

    This balance which Pakistan continues to strive to achieve is against only those elements of Indian defence forces that get deployed on its Western front. The understanding and some sort of secret defence pact between China and Pakistan gives the latter assurance that India will not be able to shift troops deployed against Tibet to its Western front, even if there are no hostilities across the Himalayas. With Indian defence budget pegged at below 2 per cent of the GDP and Pakistan to contend with only one part of the Indian forces (those deployed on the Western front), there is not much difficulty for Pakistan to achieve near parity with India, especially when China is there to extend all the help. Increasingly Pakistan is becoming a vassal of China. Of the 20 billion dollar aid that Pakistan received from the US during the last 10 years, much of it has been used for acquiring military hardware.

    Pakistan continues to acquire sophisticated weaponry from France — notably, eight upgraded Mirage III and Mirage V combat aircraft. France is also supplying Pakistan with new diesel submarines. The first was commissioned in late 1999, with two more being built under licence in Karachi. Over all, Pakistan is making efforts to build a strong navy to interdict the supply of fuel to India from West Asia if such a need arises. Building of a naval base at the mouth of the Straight of Hurmoz (Gwadar naval base) has to be seen towards creating such a capability.

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Vimanas- Flying Saucers of Ancient India

    Ancient Indian flying machines, UFOs, or Sanskrit Sci fi? Vimanas

    This is amazing indeed and worth watching
    Can DRDO rig up one as shown in the diagrams- We can beat China in drone technology!

    Is our Society Self Disciplined to Stem Corruption?

    In Fight for Better India, Best to Look Within By ANAND GIRIDHARADAS
    Published: July 1, 2011 in New York Times Asia Pacific

    NEW DELHI — I have entered India from the sky five times over the past year. Those flights started in airports where norms, rules and authority carry weight — Hong Kong; Doha, Qatar; Newark, New Jersey; Frankfurt. But in waiting to board, I have come to a troubling realization: Airport workers around the world have learned the hard way that my people — Indians, resident and diasporic — cannot be boarded the way other humans are.
    No: We will not make a line, no matter how the overwhelmed airline staff plead. No: We will not board according to service class or row number; we will push in as early as we can. No: We will not obey the instruction to bring just one piece of carry-on luggage; we will often pretend not to hear, then perform a Tony-worthy pantomime of surprise if confronted.
    In Frankfurt recently, I was amazed that even the Teutonic staff of Lufthansa was unable to thwart this behavior. They allowed a kind of mob to form, then dejectedly welcomed its members aboard. I asked about it. A steward shrugged and said that, on flights to India, they give in.
    If you make it on board, and soar above the Hindu Kush, and fall at last into India, you will learn that the nation is in the midst of a fit of rage over corruption these days. Hunger strikes are being called; the heads of some scapegoats in power are rolling; protests are swelling here and there.
    The overwhelming tone of this rage is “us versus them.” The “us” is the ordinary people of India, the “man on the street,” as they too-literally call him here — hard-working, diligent, scrupulous; the “them” are the bums in politics and the bureaucracy — lazy, deceitful, imperious scoundrels.
    But what the airport observation suggests, alongside volumes of other evidence, is that the blame cannot so tidily be placed on the “them.” This may well be an “us” problem as much as a “them” one, in which case the revolution being called for will have to be a revolution within.
    To be fair, India is a place of deep, improbable kindness. A society where villagers will do anything for the chance to serve a guest tea, where flight attendants are truly hurt when you forgo food, where the caring that flows through the many wings and generations of a family can make other societies seem cold by comparison. The average Indian tends to be flexible, understanding and tolerant by the standards of a difficult world.
    But India is also a place where that abundant kindness fails, far too often, to extend into the anonymous civic sphere, to those beyond one’s little community and beyond one’s sight. In India, to be someone’s house guest or son-in-law or teacher can be delightful. To be a stranger beside the same person at the cinema or bank or airport is another experience altogether.
    If a sociology of that Lufthansa gate were to be made, it might pick up certain ideas in the crowd’s behavior.
    There is an idea that low-ranking gate staff don’t need to be listened to. There is an idea that you, the individual, are the best judge of how the system should run, not the people whose system it is. There is an idea that rules are mere hints, to be applied when useful. There is an idea of ruthless maximization of one’s interests, the world (and that old lady in front of you) be damned.
    And, like it or not, these are ideas that govern how so many Indian lives are lived today: how people drive on the streets of this sprawling capital city; how people seldom hold open a door for a stranger at the mall, or thank you when you do; how people pay off the traffic police instead of waiting five minutes for a ticket to be written; how so many rich men make their billions; how individuals choose to report their income; how adults bribe and influence-peddle their children into top schools; how cellphones are bought tax-free on something casually called the “gray market.”
    A heart-rending example involves ambulances. Several times in the past few years, I have been in traffic in a major Indian city and suddenly heard an ambulance behind. To watch it forge fitfully ahead is to observe thousands of drivers make the choice to ignore it. Some people genuinely cannot pull over. But many can. Mostly, they don’t. Not a small number of Indians must die each year thanks to that collective refusal to be bothered.
    And this is the issue with the anger now raining on official Delhi. In its focus on those in high places, it ignores a much wider culture of corruption: a culture of rule-breaking, callousness and Hobbesian self-preservation that flourishes with special flagrance in the corridors of power, to be sure, but is hardly confined to it.
    If the “them” at the very top are unacceptably corrupt, it may be because the “us” taught them everything they know.
    So what to do about it?
    Misdiagnosis is dangerous. If the problem remains in the public mind a problem of bad people in power, it may well remain unsolved. If it can be acknowledged as a deeper pattern of Indian life, perhaps something can be done.
    That something will have to be more than removing 10, 100 or 1,000 scoundrels from office.
    It will have to turn practices now thought acceptable into practices that disgust. It will have to use shame and achieve what other movements of moral suasion — the anti-slavery movement in the 19th century, the anti-smoking cause in modern times — achieved: persuading millions of people, one by one, that the old ways will no longer do and that life will be better for everyone — for them and for their rivals at the airport gate — on the other side.
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    India’s blunt instruments of governance is ideal for flourishing and nourishing fakes

    India’s blunt instruments of governance can not deliver the change we want.
    The India Shining story is finally over. Or so it seems, if you follow the mainstream media — international or national — and social media outlets. Although the India Shining slogan had run its course in 2004 parliamentary elections, the message lasted far longer, for almost another six years.

    In the India Shining period, there was a surfeit of good news from and about India. And it made the average, english-speaking Indian feel good. She didn’t belong to the land of elephants, snake-charmers and Maharajas any more. The West was afraid of India’s growth — the westerners feared for their jobs being gobbled by the Indians. It felt great to hear that India would overtake the United States as the world’s second largest economy by 2040 (or was it 2025?).

    It was India Unstoppable. Of course, India didn’t miraculously become perfect in 2004 (or in 1998). There was enough of the downside — poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, underemployment and unemployment, low agricultural growth, urban squalor, infrastructure deficit, terror strikes and yes, even corruption. But they did not dominate the narrative in the minds of the average middle-class Indian. The perception was that India would somehow overcome all these pinpricks and march ahead fearlessly.

    Then something happened in 2010. The story of corruption in the Commonwealth Games was perhaps the turning point. A scintillating Opening Ceremony did spawn some patriotic fervour but that elation was short-lived as stories of one scam after another continued to be highlighted in the media. By the middle of 2011, situation has come to such a pass that people are struggling to find positive news, leading some of them to create hashtags on twitter marking good news. Despondency, cynicism and outrage are the predominant emotions in op-eds, TV discussions and on social media platforms today.

    It is India Horrible. Of course, everything hasn’t fallen apart in this country in the last nine months. Kashmir has been peaceful, purposeful negotiations with insurgent groups in the North East have delivered results, terror strikes on the Indian mainland have been conspicuous by their absence, FDI inflows have picked up, Aadhar unique identity numbers have been issued to many Indians, peaceful elections have been held in many states and India has even won the cricket world cup. But the narrative is distinctly negative — it is not only feared but many Indians believe that the India story is unravelling now.

    Interestingly, those charged with corruption in the recent months — and this includes some very powerful people — are behind bars. New laws are being promised to tackle corruption in high places. But the mood doesn’t seem to change.

    What has brought us here?
    India’s archaic governance system — policing, judicial, political and administrative — just couldn’t keep pace with the rapid rate of social and economic change in the country. A proverbial fuel-guzzling, high maintenance, constantly under repair, outdated vehicle of governance could be run inefficiently by pouring in more resources provided by India’s high growth rate. Even then, like a spluttering vehicle, it barely managed to pull through up to a point and seems to have finally broken down now.