Tuesday, April 30, 2013

China in Ladakh - A frozen state takes time to react to an aggression by tarun vijay in TOI
A polity too frozen in scandals, agitations, elections, promises and having factories to churn out new slogans and charming lines to woo voters suddenly can’t be woken up to a People's Liberation Army platoon, pitching tents on a land that poses direct threat to our position. What should we do? Before the politicians could make use of their wisdom; our jawans, under the guidance of officers at ground zero, in consultation with the MEA, pitched their tents too and asserted that they were watching and resisting. It is eye ball to eye ball at 17,000 feet high altitude.
But why was the government sleeping all these years when everyone was trying to wake it up? Last year, a serious breach of security occurred. The district administration wrote to the government about the Chinese direct intervention. Nothing happened. See my note, released last year.
“3rd September, 2012, New Delhi - The Chinese intrusion in Ladakh region has increased manifold just before the India visit of Chinese defence minister.
India's defence ministry must take up this issue strongly with the visiting Chinese minister and ensure that such intrusions are stopped immediately. So much has been the pressure of Chinese armed forces on Indian border villages that for the first time the tricolor was not allowed to be unfurled at Demchhok, near Line of Actual Control (LAC).
I have just returned from Jammu & Kashmir and where I met a delegation of Ladakhi people who complained that for the first time Indian tricolor was not allowed to be hoisted at Demchhok, near line of actual control, where every year Independence Day is celebrated. Instead villagers were asked to unfurl tricolor in a hall near ITBP post, at a distance from LAC.
Chinese Army Personnel have also forced development work stopped in border village Koyul in Leh. The silence of home and defence ministry in this regard is mysterious. In a communication to divisional commissioner, Srinagar (Kashmir), the deputy commissioner of Leh wrote on 22nd August, 2012, '….work is being executed on the bonafide Indian side and the Chinese have no locus standi on the land which belongs to the people of Koyul. Besides, large chunk of an un-irrigated land to the tune of 400 hectares could be converted into pasture area as most of the nomads are dependent on their live-stocks and their main earning is by sale of raw Pashmina wools'. The letter to DC Srinagar by DC Leh clearly mentions, 'The contractors and the labourers have been reportedly threatened by the Chinese security personnel numbering 15-16 on 12th July, 2012. These Chinese personnel were reportedly carrying weapons with them and asked them to abandon the civil works in progress, although it was an ongoing scheme under BADP.'
The DC had further requested Government, 'in order to resolve this contagious issue the matter needs to be taken up with the external affairs ministry and also with Ministry of Home as the people are strongly showing their resentment for unnecessary harassment and stoppage of the developmental work……The work is being executed on the bonafide Indian side and the Chinese have no locus standi on the land which belongs to the people of Koyul.
In another letter by the deputy commissioner of Leh on 22nd August, 2012 sent to the DIG, ITBP (Force), it is stated that, 'it has been reported by the executive engineer that the I&FC Division Leh that the Chinese have threatened to stop the work forthwith otherwise face the consequences….."Since the ITBP is supposed to give protection to the border villages from any such interference from across the border, you are requested to give all necessary assistance in ensuring full protection to the executing agencies in implementing an important project under BADP scheme and to ensure speedy completion of the ongoing working so as to build confidence among the border villages"
The Chinese didn’t allow our engineers to work, they didn’t allow our villagers to unfurl a tricolour, yet nothing happened.
The deputy commissioner of the Ladakh region alarmed the govt, the govt silenced him. The Member of Parliament, me in this case, raised the issue in the House, the govt again avoided the direct answer. The people of Arunachal and Ladakh send SOS to Delhi, but the Prime Minister says, we have nothing to fear from the dam building exercise of the Chinese on Brahmaputra and the Ladakh sector is fine, not a single bullet has been fired there, and we hope Chinese will go back.
No they will not. Their statement, from Beijing, is a clear indication that they believe their soldiers are on their territory and its India that is unnecessarily poking its nose into a purely Chinese internal matter.
But what we had been doing all these thirty years post 1962 in this sector? Simply watching and maintaining a status quo, that defies any logic. Are we really governed by Indians who care for the Indian nation and her people and can go to any extent to protect the territorial integrity, keeping the lives of our border people safe and boosting the morals of jawans?
Did the rulers and the non-ruler politicians care for the jawans and spare some time to listen to their woes, complaints, demands and their voices of anguish and hopelessness? How many discussions and seminars saw our worthy politicians sitting in the in the audience and listening to the mistakes and major follies that shook the nation in 1962? It was necessary. It was needed because then alone one could have understood the real face of the 1962 action, so different from what we think we know just seeing the Haqeeqat movie.
There is no other country on this earth that sings so many popular songs eulogizing the soldier on national days, yet treats them like dirt when it comes to provide much needed facilities and honour in the society. One rank, one pension demand was met not even the half way, it was in reality an insult to them as many of the stalwarts described it, yet the govt didn’t accept my notice for a short term discussion on this subject in the parliament. Not a single district headquarters can claim that the families of the soldiers and their wards are treated with respect and honour. The way old archaic traditions are still in vogue, refusing to change with the times and the average officer and the jawan is burdened with unbearable stress and harsh, meaningless duties being performed under the barrage of abuses and insults from political rulers like in J&K, is a reflection of the callous, ruthless and insensitive attitude of our politicians. A CM forgets (?), no, ignores to receive the dead body of a slain jawan in Mathura and makes an amendment only when criticized in the media. We live for the media and not for the nation indeed.
Another minister had no hesitation to host a discredited Prime Minister of a country that had sent headless bodies of our sons, who had prided to become jawans in the India army. None had the guts to utter the word-revenge and get the heads of the Pakistani savages. If the govt, the rich, arrogant, castiest, parochial, political leaders, for whom Indian has shrunk to their vote constituencies, think the jawans are only paid employees , like any other govt servant, and hence they get paid to get killed, the matter should end there, with some awards on the 26th January parade, they are grossly mistaken.
The soldier is a tradition, a civilisationally cherished, celebrated and worshipped dharma of the warrior. Much higher and much revered role than those who are members of parliament or state assemblies or become some ‘stiff upper lip’ babus of the stinking class. It’s a khandani parampara, the tradition of many generations in our families to become a soldier. The govt is now also doing away with the time-tested tradition of giving weightage to such family of soldiers in recruiting new boys.
The same un-uniformed babus are put over the uniformed soldiers to decide what should be given to them and how much. It happens nowhere else. The uniformed officer is the one who decides the facilities and perks and the equipments for the uniformed tribe. But the old, fossilized system, of the colonial British is still ruling South Block.

Just one example of the Pengong Tse lake, near Chushul, not very far from the DBO post where the Chinese have pitched their tents. For years, the Indian army is provided only three patrol boats, old and junk like. The Chinese have 22 state of the art patrol boats in the same lake region. Why the new, better, and I would say, better than we purchase the Chinese boats can’t? Dearth of money? You must be joking. It was the sheer babudom of the defence ministry, tenders, foreign visits to inspect the boats, again tenders, again visits, again files and notings on them. endless journey that made life impossible for the jawans asked to patrol the lake. But this delay will never happen if the babu has to buy a new Ambassador car for his use.
The jawan resisting the Chinese in Ladakh needs nation’s full support. Forget the electioneering; focus on saving the Indian territory.
Also read: Endangered Ladakh

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