Saturday, 23 July 2011

Anatomy of a Slur: Reputation of Indian Army Gang Raped in Kashmir by Gullible Indian Media

Clearly the media here has learnt no lessons with the Fai episode. It remains gullible at best and an unwary and willing ally to anti-India forces at its worst.

The preliminary medical report issued by assistant surgeon, District Hospital, Kulgam, who examined the victim, Rukaya Banoo wife of Mohammad Latief Bhat resident of Manzgam Gujardhar in Kulgam district stated that, the woman had no marks of violence or resistance on any part of the body, including her private parts.

The Kulwama "rape' story developed fast, it was pushed along by herd mentality, running stories without confirming facts is doing a lot of damage to India's stabilization of Kashmir. 

Allegations of rape in the past have proven false, baseless and often motivated by separatist elements in the valley run from across the border in Pakistan by its intelligence agency, the illustrious ISI, on behalf of the Pakistani Army.
The Chief Minister of the State known to often get into trouble by shooting his mouth off decided to add fat to the fire with his ill-considered statement, "...the guilty won't be spared either Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) or no AFSPA". 
Will Omar Abdullah apologize to the Indian Army when this is proven bullshit as many other such motivated allegations before it have too? The Indian Army is in Kashmir at the invitation of the government and ironically guarantees this ungrateful man's personal freedom and well being, besides being a bulwark of stability, and order. What would provoke a man to abuse this freedom in such a callous manner? 
While one can understand that the local Kashmir media is biased, do editors sitting in Delhi have no independent thought or balance? MHA, MoD should have been first responders to the media, yet they sat on their hands till the story went viral, being repeated often enough, started sounding like the truth. 
 A quick investigation how the story developed will lay bare the threads of how many people were on the gravy train, including stringers and point persons of various print and broadcast media shops who are both lazy and incompetent. 
Statements of the Army by General Officer Commanding of the Army's 15 Corps, Lt General Syed Atta Hasnain, were not carried or carried as an afterthought: 
“I want to make it very clear that this is an allegation and if there is any truth in this, then it’s a criminal act against which strict action must be taken,”
“I want to clarify the combat uniforms are worn by (militants), they also carry radio sets and pouches. There are already different versions of the same story. The lady (the victim) first said she was abducted by civilian individual and even mentioned his name. No reference was made to army or security forces and this obviously proves that there are inimical forces that want to create a situation for the state government and the army which is going to be negative,” he said, adding, “This is why I want to appeal Awam (people) and media to trust us. We will do a dispassionate investigation into it and if there is any truth at all (into the allegations), we will take stern action against the culprit.” 
“Incidentally, I have a copy of FIR with me and there is no mention of army in it,” he said, adding, “We are aware that not only the army, but (militants) also wear combat uniforms. We conducted an operation against militants a fortnight ago in the same area and the militants are under pressure. Therefore, this was something not unexpected at all. I was expecting it which is why I appeared before you (media) with total transparency.”
“We have a very strong presence of people around that area not in the area. First of all I want to tell you that people from the unit are at the moment with police. We are accompanying them to ensure that any query pertaining to army is answered on the spot. Secondly, army is disciplined force and it is almost impossible that two individuals remain away with weapons from a camp for 48-hours.” 

The use of media by the ISI in fomenting disinformation, inciting unrest and supporting separatist campaigns in the scamp districts of the Kashmir valley needs to be probed, measured and reckoned with. 

This should be followed through with strategic measures by revamping the media facing communication apparatus and structure of the State Government, the MHA and the MoD, if the use of this faculty has to be denied as an instrument of PsyOps in the valley. 

Unrest provides a fertile environment for festering of Islamic Insurgency and justification for violence and atrocity in the name of religion. This faculty has to be denied if the insurgency is going to die.

Another aspect that needs to be examined is the apologist and appeasement narrative of the Congress led UPA Government that seeks to subliminally restrain Intelligence agencies, Police and other similarly charged administrative authorities to successfully execute their mandate. 

This sadly also translates to an eager to please media that sometimes reads these signals erroneously, with tragic effects for India and its hapless victims of terror. 

This narrative has manifested itself in the poor reporting of the Fai story on the one hand and the over reporting of the 'Rape' allegation against the Indian Army, the CRPF, The Police, etc, on the other hand. 

The MoD usually quite active when publishing a Supreme Court case dismissal of a petition against it filed by a war Widow, or its shenanigans against the Chief of Army Staff, General VK Singh, somehow becomes rather passive in engaging with such malicious use of the media. 

Similarly the MHA and its various private armies spend a lot of their energies creating media coverage on the bogey of Hindu Terror, or other minority appeasement news, but all these leaks never seem to work for the security fights that India fights in insurgencies from the Maoist hinterland to the North East to Kashmir.

There needs to be introspection on our ethos as a nation, for the current narrative in fashion with the UPA is enabling terror, insurgency and foreign intelligence terror plots to succeed. 

Have certain people in Government become the enemy because of their vote bank compulsion? 

Where will this take us as a people? 

How many will die before we learn to call a spade, a spade?

These questions beg urgent answers, if India has to have any reasonable non-balkanized future as modern nation state.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Quick Analysis of Key Issues Affecting General V.K. Singh, COAS Relations with Indian Ministry of Defense, MoD:

Analysis of key issues affecting General V.K. Singh, COAS, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC, relations with MoD:

1.   Date of Birth Controversy: Essentially stoked by the MoD, this discrepancy in his age was leaked to the media, to try and limit the General’s tenure, generally seen as tough and non-pliable.  Discussion of next in line for command-Gen Bikram Singh and General Parnaik is an old ploy employed by MoD bureaucracy to ‘tune’ officers.
2.   Several postings and promotions recommended by the COAS have been kept in abeyance on the issue of frequent changes to promotion policy by the MoD. This is nothing but blackmail and violation of protocol and undue interference by the MoD, to promote favoritism and usual nepotism associated with political appointments. It has also been seen as quid pro quo against the tough line adopted by Gen. VKS as COAS. The resulting stalemate saw dozens of officers retiring in the ensuing period, depriving the Army of critical trained manpower.
3.   Refusal to involve Indian Army in Maoist fight: With the Armed Forces already stretched in new force projection on the Chinese borders, as well as the CI Grid in Kashmir, the correct refusal of COAS to embroil the Army in CI operations in the heartland, especially since it faces AFSPA problems in Kashmir and the North East, not supported by the MHA or the MoD Bureaucracy, and politicians despite being in these CI theatres at the request of the Union Government of India or the State Governments, as an aid to Civil Authority, has not gone down well with the MoD.
4.   General Singh has proposed changes to the existing MoD systems that put a choke hold on procurement and evaluation, often resulting in the returning of budgets, as well tampering with considered professional military advice, on flimsy and non-professional grounds by MoD bureaucracy or Financial Adviser(s). He has further proposed:
5.    Defense Planning commission, He has also been pushing for a LTIPP – this has been hanging fire for the past 3 years, and procurement has been adhoc, and mired between a difference of perception between the Service HQs and the Financial Adviser.
6.   He has further advocated better Services & DRDO coordination striking at the heart of the politico-bureaucratic complex that is the key to the MoD gravy train.
7.   General VK Singh’s statement of being able to strike within Pakistan did not go down well with the MoD. He has again repeated the same statement at the conclusion of Op. Pine Prahar of the Vajra Strike Corps.
8.   General Singh has further broached the topic of the strategic Kinnaur and Ladakh road as well as the proposed road to build redundancy from the Kargil highway that passes through Jammu & Kashmir. This posturing although correct given the Chinese build-up, and India’s subsequent alarmed efforts in this direction on raising Mountain Divisions and Strike Corps, as well as rapid development of logistics and infrastructure to counter the Chinese threat through the trans Tiber Railway etc. It goes contrary to statements of MEA, NSA’ Menon as well as MoD.
9.   Despite all these provocations and an inimical MoD, he has stuck to his guns. India is lucky to have a 3rd generation officer as CoAS. On his watch and on the strength of his ideas, despite the shenanigans of Saint Anthony as well as the bureaucracy, and the overall Congress led UPA compulsion ad proclivity, I see the lot of the Armed Forces getting better. This will however come at personal cost to him. Let us hope that we don’t see an Admiral Bhagwat sort of situation. This feckless Government is certainly capable of it. 

Update, On 16 January 2012: General VK Singh in an unprecedented move that set the Indian media on fire, took the Congress led UPA Government to court over the date of birth controversy stoked by the MoD: " It is all about honour and integrity, not tenure", said General Singh.

Quick Analysis of Issues Facing the Indian Armed Forces with respect to the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD):

1.    Shortage of officers - With the most recent manpower demand, by the Indian Army in keeping with cold start and quick mobilization, both on Pakistani as well as Chinese theaters.

2.    Equipment Deficiency: From basic infantry rifle to ammunition, to ordnance, to battlefield vehicles, armored vehicles, light tanks, artillery, mountain howitzers, to helicopters & troop-equipment and heavy lift aircraft currently available not with the Army but with only the Air Force. The purchase of 155MM Gun has been pending for more than a decade!

3.    DRDO & The Dept. of Defense Production & Supplies have largely failed in providing equipment, arms, ammunition, clothing and general stores, along with the Swadeshi brigade. While on the one hand they have as a rule failed to deliver any innovation, on the other hand delaying acquisition, by a faulty make or buy process, directly affecting preparedness.

4.    Service Rivalry is actively encourage by the MoD - this has at its basis the insecurity of the politico-bureaucracy, this lack of jointness, means redundancy in resources, private armies and Special Forces of each service. It also delays decisive, quick and resolute action backed by all possible resource needs in a conflict situation-examples from 1965, to Kargil to 26/11-where NSG commando, did not have aircraft or their own helicopters or even transport, delaying and damaging prospects for quick surgical strike. The sacking of Admiral Bhagwat in MoD intrigue, as well as the scuttle of CDS-agreed to by the Army (Gen Malik) but objected to by IAF (Air Marshal Tipnis) are among many such nasty incidents.

5.    The amalgamation of the MoD with the Service Headquarters has not been implemented, despite the Arjun Singh report post Kargil fiasco. This in effect means a disconnect between the civilian bureaucracy and the Service HQ staff. This results in apathy by civilian MoD officials and disharmony with Uniformed Service HQ staff like Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) and Chief of Staff Secretariat (COSC). The non- inclusion of professional service officers in uniform means redundancy in process, duplication of files, delays, as well as a lack of direct access for the Service HQs to the Political leadership and decision-making.

6.    The Financial Adviser in integrated into the MoD, acts arbitrarily despite clear recommendations from Service Headquarters on matters relating to expenditure on acquisition, welfare, salaries, pensions as well as promotions. This affects both Capital Outlay as well as revenue expenditure.

7.    In 2004, the Dept. of Ex-Servicemen Welfare was created to deal with all resettlement, welfare and pension matters of ex-servicemen, Widows and next of kin. This has been a huge failure with embarrassing protests on One Rank & One Pension and several veterans returning medals etc.

8.    The Order of Precedence - this has been often violated by the MoD bureaucracy while dealing with Service HQ staff in uniform - starting as early as the 1962 Chinese invasion order by an Joint Secretary in MoD, to routine such provocations, including the unceremonious sacking of Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, in an order from a Additional secretary of the MoD, as opposed to Cabinet Secretariat or other Political Authority. The same is a problem at airports, at public events where the Service Chiefs and other senior officers in uniformed are made to feel inferior in comparison to MoD and other Government functionaries in Defense Production, DRDO. Defense Accounts etc. “The issue is not about is about status and equivalence that existed [before the pay commission], and the command and

control relationship [between the armed forces officers and their civilian counterparts]. Admiral Sureesh Mehta

9.    Resistance to reform, delay, non-accountability, financial irresponsibility, and rampant nepotism in Ordnance factories-The Defense Procurement Procedure – 2011 (DPP-2011) while its covers all Capital Acquisitions, (except medical equipment) undertaken by the Ministry of Defence, Defence Services and Indian Coast Guard both from indigenous sources and ex-import, curiously the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) will, however, continue to follow their own procedures for procurement. This shows a lack of political willpower as well as protection of the MoD bureaucracy from similar scrutiny as the uniformed Service HQ staff.

10.    Financial degradation, and degradation of Financial Compensation of Armed Forces: The non-inclusion of a Defense adviser created a huge controversy over the recommendations made by the sixth pay commission in 2008-09. Which caused widespread dissatisfaction within the armed forces and triggered, arguably, one of the biggest crises in civil-military relations after the 1962 India-China war.

Please see:

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