Thursday, July 29, 2010


Pakistan has mastered the dubious art of running with the hare and hunting with the hound simultaneously. This is precisely what Pakistan has been doing all along in Afghanistan. Pakistan begged for US aid, received it for promised services to fight against radical Islamist groups in Afghanistan but encouraged Al Qaida supported Taliban to mount attacks on the US soldiers and kill them. Pakistan professed friendship with India and showed keenness for composite dialogue with India but its ISI officers paid hard currency cash to LeT to kill Indian officers, contractors and other road building personnel in Afghanistan. This was outright an act of cheating the Americans and damaging the Indian interests in Kabul to enable its forces to rule the roost there.
WIKILEAK is a volunteer website serving the cause of democratic world and exposing swindlers. They caught hold of classified documents numbering thousands from the US government, military, diplomatic, intelligence etc and brought to the notice of American tax payers and all concerned how their money was going down the drain. The Pakistan military was all along assuring the Pentagon and the White House that it was with the United States in its war on terror but in actual fact it was helping the Taliban and its own brand of terror, LeT to attack and kill the American and European troops in Afghanistan. The common man in America is aghast. In India patriotic citizens had always been raising an accusing finger at Pakistan for playing the dirty game of siding with Americans ostensibly but supporting Islamist terrorists intimately.
The Obama administration is under tremendous public, political and diplomatic pressure to revise its AFPAK strategy. Pakistan can no longer be trusted by America. As Hillary Clinton went on record to say that there are important elements in Pakistan government who know where Osama bin-Laden is hiding in Pakistan but Pakistan won’t catch him, what to say of handing him over to America to face justice.
President Obama had committed a major faux pas by announcing well in advance when the Americans would start pulling out of Afghanistan because it emboldened the Islamist terrorists as they took it as their final victory and ultimate defeat of the NATO. Now the Obama Administration may reverse that defeatist policy and declare that they would not leave the war-torn Afghanistan until Taliban is decimated. The Surge ordered earlier may be carried out with full gusto and General Matis, the commander designate for the NATO forces in Afghanistan be given a free hand to deal with the new emerging situation.
It is time America sidelined Pakistan as an untrustworthy ally. The aid to the cheats be stopped forthwith. The vacuum thus created may be filled by fresh forces from countries that have not been involved in battles heretofore. The new armed forces from freshly chosen countries will bring a whiff of fresh air and begin the battle with the Taliban with a high morale.
India has much at stake in Afghanistan. India has been aiding the Karzai government in Kabul by giving economic aid, building bridges and roads, teaching English and Maths to Afghan National Army officers and so on. However, the time is ripe for India to help Washington DC by providing active military support. It may be in the form of infantry, artillery, engineers, signals and, of course, the Army medical Corps. The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force providing active battle support to the NATO will be a shot in the arm for the US Administration. This is the time to fight against the Islamist terrorists on a foreign soil and help the world beat the rogue elements.
If India misses this opportunity of bearding the lion in its own den, the lion will cross the borders and roar in Jammu and Kashmir. Helping , aiding and abetting the Islamist terrorists to grab Kashmir is the strategy of the Pakistan Army. Let us recall what Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had said to general Musharraf – Taliban are the strategic ally of Pakistan Army. When we(Pakistan) go to war with India, the Taliban terrorists would protect our flanks. The voice intercept by the CIA was made available to India too. The intention of the Pakistan Army of which Kayani is the Chief now, is quite clear. Notwithstanding this clinching evidence and attack by Pakistan on Indian personnel in Kabul and on other Indian interests there, if someone in power in India feels that friendship with Pakistan is possible, he is living in a fool’s paradise.
It is time India severed all connections with the neighbouring country harbouring devilish intentions against it. Not doing so will be suicidal. Anyone promoting peace with Pakistan may be having an eye on Nobel Peace prize but is likely to end up with a bitter taste in the mouth. Pakistan talks of Halal but acts only what is Haram. It is the considered opinion of patriotic Indians that Pakistan is itching for a fight with India. Their dream is to avenge their defeat at the hands of India in 1971 but that dream will never come true.
The best course of action for patriotic Indians in power is to buy new and latest guns for the Indian Artillery that has been starved of it for almost three decades now. Modernisation of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force is the crying need of the hour. Our military commitment to defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan may open an opportunity for us to modernise the Indian Armed Forces. Let us remember that opportunity knocks at the door only once in a lifetime. If we keep the door shut, there will be no knock at it again.
The Americans are keen on receiving reliable help in matters military. Shouldn’t we seize this opportunity from the front and make the best of it. WIKILEAK may prove to be a boon to India.
It is hoped that the Indian leadership will develop the Will to make a decision that will be in the interest of India.
By Brig Chtranjan Sawant

Sunday, July 11, 2010

uncongenial climate suits unsocials

By Chitranjan Sawant
I heard of the uncongenial climate in the officers’ mess over a drink. It was named Open Officers Mess because wives, girl friends, an acquaintance for just one-night stand, or even one on Hi and Bye terms were permitted to come with an officer escort and enjoy privileges provided by the facility on payment. Quite a congenial climate that suited one and all. The facility was on the premises of a US Army establishment where officers and their spouses from many countries assembled to undergo some training or the other made available by the Department of Defence of the United States of America. The broad nomenclature was the Military Aid Programme under which America extended its influence globally. It worked well. Never mind if some aid receivers were the worst critics of policies of Uncle Sam.
The phrase uncongenial climate came up in the conversation every now and then when the Vietnam War was discussed. The war was in full swing. Notwithstanding its unpopularity with average Americans, the United States got sucked in more and more as the days passed. The arm-chair politicians clamoured and said “Bring the Boys Home” but the policy makers from the White House to the Pentagon to the Department of States did not know how to handle it. Airports handling MATS (Military Air Transport Service) flights bustled with activities as plane loads of officers and GIs flew out to land at the Saigon airport (now Ho Chi Minh City) in Vietnam. Wives and girl friends who came to see off the departing personnel painted their lips and cheeks red with lipstick wearing lips. After all, they were leaving from places of congenial climate to jungles and hills of uncongenial climate.
The service personnel drew uncongenial climate allowance that was increased from time to time. It was not the wild life, nor the snakes, nor the leeches nor the scorpions that bothered the servicemen so much as the Vietcong or the rebel guerrillas who popped up from nowhere and wreaked havoc on the US Army convoy. The US convoys also passed through hostile civil population areas who pelted stones on personnel and disappeared in lanes nearby. The unsocial elements who sided with the enemy made the climate most uncongenial.
Fragging was a by-product of a war that was as good as lost. Once the top generals and policy planners lose a war in their minds, the soldiers lose it on the ground in no time. All ranks become irritable by nature and sometimes simple arguments turn into violent fist-fights. The more of such incidents occur, the more chances of total defeat are there. These incidents reflect low morale leading to an abject surrender to an enemy that is ill armed but has high morale. No amount of uncongenial allowance will turn tables on the winning enemy. Fragging, that is soldiers killing fellow soldiers, especially own officers were in evidence in Vietnam. It was a result of crisis in command. There were too many top brass giving orders and too few junior ranks to implement orders in areas of uncongenial climate. It is surmised that the US Army lost the Vietnam War because it was killed by the weight of its own brass, read incompetent senior officers who knew not how to handle battle weary GIs. Thus fratricide became the order of the day. Americans lost the Vietnam War and the global climate continued to be uncongenial – that is now military history to be read by up and coming tacticians and strategists all over the world.
On fulfilment of my mission I returned home in India from the Continental United States. Home sweet Home is not just a cliché. It is indeed soul -touching. I experienced it. What, however, bothered me was the uncongenial climate in different parts of our lovely Bharat. Many a pessimist made matters worse by speculating that the Republic of India was perhaps breaking up because of lack of decisive leadership. Our so-called leaders at the centre were too weak-kneed to withstand the international pressure in the form of Taliban terrorism, Maoist-Naxals, and restive Kashmiri Muslims prodded by Pakistan. The spate of fake currency pumped in by Pakistan to destabilise India made the climate more uncongenial.
Home-coming that was initially sweet was gradually turning into bitter-bite. Let us take stock of situation in our Kashmir first. Once what Firdaus, the renowned Persian poet had written about the Iranian city, Isfahan and the Moghul Emperors had it engraved in their famous garden in Srinagar, Kashmir. It says “O Firdaus, if there is a Heaven on Earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.”Unfortunately, the golden climate of Kashmir has turned into uncongenial climate of Kashmir. The street urchins turned into stone-pelting mobs have made the city unliveable. The unsocial elements have put a fear psychosis into minds of tourists who now shun Kashmir. The political leaders at the State level and also at the Central government level bungled time and again. Trillions of US dollars equivalent Indian rupees poured into the Kashmir valley went into the pockets of a few families. The common man was led astray by Maulvis and Mullahs in the pay of Pakistan and, therefore, preached sedition. Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir sat with the anti-India crowd who burnt the national flag and separatist Huriyat leaders connived with the Islamist forces in driving out the Hindus from Kashmir valley to Jammu, Delhi and other places forcing them to live a life of refugees in their own country.
The telephone intercepts of separatist Kashmiri leaders on the pay-roll of Pakistan, were made available to the Media. It clearly shows that they not only organise stone-pelting youth but also pay them as per their performance. There are stone-pelting specialists who charge more money from the Pakistani agents for fomenting trouble in the valley. It is horrendous but true that these separatist leaders also stage-manage killing of commoners by the security forces to foment trouble. Even when village women die of natural causes, the Huriyat leaders make the death as resultant from rape and torture by the security forces. Riots were stage-managed by the pro-Pakistan elements and the cause was shown as rape of Kashmiri women by the security forces. When the doctors said that there was no evidence of rape, the rabble rousers changed it to attempted rape. Even the moderate leaders among separatists knew that the charges were trumped up. However, in the interest of Pakistan Kashmiri separatists let the attempted rape charge continue to agitate minds of masses. Thus it is crystal clear that Pakistan promotes dirty tricks and violence in Kashmir to destabilise India.
Any political outfit claiming to be India-based would not target passenger trains to kill innocent passengers for no fault of theirs. The police constables being killed in ambush laid by Naxals are poor people. And Naxals profess to protect poor people.
The Naxalite movement has bases in forests, villages and among poor and exploited tribal people. It is partly negligence of governments at various levels to ignore such a massive problem for such a long time. Moreover, there is no coordination between the Central government and the State governments. Thus there is no strategy to tackle the Naxalite problem and the situation is going from bad to worse. The Prime Minister acknowledges Naxalite violence as the biggest threat to the Internal Security but just stops there. No tangible major step has been taken to punish the law breakers and simultaneously wean away the exploited men and women from the violent core group.
All political parties and all governments must put the Nation Above All. If the Government of India fails to hang a criminal sentenced to death by the Supreme Court because the political party in power erroneously jettisons national interest for petty politics of vote bank, take it from me the country is doomed. With a view to saving the sinking ship of the State, all concerned must have only one aim to achieve – Making our country strong and people prosperous. So say NATION ABOVE ALL.
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