Follow by Email

Friday, February 27, 2015

Kashmir Times

Kashmir: Fifty years since 1965 War
Saturday, February 28, 2015

Emboldened by the unrest in Kashmir in relation to the Moe-e-Muqaddas episode over the turn of the year 1963-64, Pakistan figured that the time was ripe for wresting Kashmir. Politically, it was worried by the moves afoot to normalize India's relations with Kashmir, evident in the change of nomenclature of Sadar e Riyasat and Wazir e Azam in April and third time internment of Sheikh Abdullah in May. It wanted to act militarily before India recovered from the drubbing of 1962. While the war officially dates to 6th September with India's opening up the Punjab front to release Pakistani pressure in Kashmir, the run up to the war had begun by February 1965.

Pakistan tried to divert Indian attention to the opposite end of the border at the Rann of Kutch. The action began in February fifty years ago in area Kanjarkot. An Indian military formation was tasked to evict a Pakistani intrusion in Operation Kabadi on 21st February. Pakistani counter moves led by Tikka Khan led to a bust up in the sector in April that year. A peace agreement followed on 30th June, but the encounters largely at patrol level set the stage for what was happening up north by May that year.

By May, the firing on Cease Fire Line (CFL) as the Line of Control was then known had increased threefold compared to the preceding year. Quite like in 1999, immediately on the melting of snows Pakistani posts that were much closer to the road to Leh owing to the CFL alignment prior to it being pushed back in the 1971 War, started harassing the arterial route in Kargil sector. India in response to an attack on 16th May on one of its posts, decided to push back and attacked on 17th May. Operations continued into June. At end June, coinciding with the agreement in Kutch, India withdrew from locations it had captured or occupied across the CFL at the behest of the UN. The UN in turn promised to increase its monitoring.

These strategic and operational level diversions in Kutch and Kargil respectively were only the opening gambits. The main course was yet to come. Din Mohammad, a Gujjar grazing his sheep on the Pir Panjal was the first to get wind of it on 5th August. Ten columns of infiltrators were enroute to J&K, with two - Ghaznavi and Babar forces - south of Pir Panjal. 

The expectation of Operation Gibraltar was that the population would rise up against Indian 'occupation' to coincide with a festival and the anniversary of the first incarceration of Abdullah in 1953 on 8-9th August, while the military columns would interdict Indian military reaction. To seal of any response from the rest of India, Operation Grand Slam was ready to slam into India's line of communication in the Akhnoor-Jammu sector.

In the event, India's response was swift and sure. By end August, it captured the launch pad and support bases for the infiltrating forces at Haji Pir and in Kishenganga valley. It proceeded to wrap up the columns of infiltrators within. The resulting pressure on Pakistan forced it to escalate on 1 September with its coup de main, Operation Grand Slam. The expectation behind this was that India would be cut-off and yet not respond in the IB sector further south. Yahya Khan, taking over the command of the operation midway, provided India the breather it needed to open up the Punjab front and the rest as they say is history. 

What does this history speak to today? It seemed apparent then that this was the last land grab Pakistan would attempt. However, India's spectacular victory in 1971 gave Pakistan a reason to want to get back at India. It already had a bone to pick with India over Kashmir. It wanted to ensure that next time India would not be able to hit back. It therefore embarked on the 'Bomb' as cover. By early eighties it was reckoned that plans existed for a lightening strike into Kashmir and then resorting to threat of the 'Bomb' to stall India's counter. There were even suggestions that this might also be with a nuclear strike on Banihal and then proceeding at leisure to wrap up Kashmir. These fanciful ideas gained traction with the proxy war launched in earnest against India in Punjab and Kashmir, with lessons from the Mujahedeen war in Afghanistan. India through its Exercise Brasstacks, designed for the new nuclear conditions, made clear to Pakistan that it could mount a conventional counter. 

The uprising in Kashmir provided Pakistan a fresh opportunity. However, any ideas for conventionally exploiting it were put paid by India in its acquiring a third strike corps, based on HQs of the peacekeeping force it withdrew from Sri Lanka in early 1990. Now it only remained for India to leverage its manpower advantage to tackle the insurgency in Kashmir. This it proceeded to do by establishing a vice like counter insurgency grid in Kashmir and a counter infiltration posture along the Line of Control.

Using another India sent opportunity, Pakistan followed close on India's heels in going nuclear in 1998. This set the stage for another round of escalation in the Valley with the Kargil War. It opened up India's guard enough for Pakistan to thrust in another generation of proxy war fighters. This led to fierce contest in the Valley and strategic pressure on the Indian government. The Agra summit followed. Its failure in turn led to the parliament attack and Operation Parakram, the standoff of ten months under a nuclear overhang. Both sides stepped back because Vajpayee had the strategic vision to do so and an interlocutor in Musharraf who appeared then to be in control in Pakistan

India exploited the calm returned to the LoC by extending the fence it had along the IB to the LoC. It progressively wrapped up the remaining jihadis, who Pakistan could only replenish with fresh blood by innovative means and routes across the fence. India deepened democracy with successive elections attracting increasingly larger voter turnout. It embarked on back channel talks and five rounds of the composite dialogue. Any potential results from the former were truncated by Musharraf going under in internal instability in Pakistan. Mumbai 26/11 ended the latter. Spirited action on the streets in Kashmir by stone throwing youth over three successive years could not get India to budge. 

India could comfortably sit on its oars in the UPA II period, waiting to see how the region shapes up with the Obama promised draw down and exit from the region, as Pakistan got increasingly bogged down in tackling its Frankenstein, the jihadis on its western border. If Musharraf is to be believed, the mild Manmohan Singh presided over Indian intelligence agencies conditioning the ISI by reminding it of its underbelly through a proxy war in Afghanistan. This was the favourable strategic circumstance that the new government took office in. In its opening moves of inviting Nawaz Sharif to Delhi and cutting off talks soon thereafter, it sent two signals across: India will prove responsive in case Pakistan behaves. If not it can wait out Pakistan indefinitely. 

India has since proceeded to outpace Pakistan on all fronts. Diplomatically, it has the US in its bag and Modi is off to China this May for the rest. Politically, the ruling party has created an unprecedented space for itself in the politics of J&K by ending the perception of the center of gravity of politics in J&K lying in Srinagar. Strategically, it has reportedly upped the intelligence game in Afghanistan and militarily it has upped the ante in terms of spending a manner that simply cannot escape Pakistan this time.

Clearly, for Pakistan the writing is on the wall. Fifty years since its last try for Kashmir, it has perhaps finally run out of steam. This is not exactly 'bad news' for Kashmiri militants. They have had to rely on Pakistan since any insurgency requires a sanctuary and moral, material and political support. However, it would be delusive to believe that Pakistan would have wagered Pakistan for Kashmiri independence. It has merely added fuel to the fire in order to keep India tied down for its own strategic purposes and for revenge. That normal Kashmiris got in way of Indian reaction was merely collateral damage.

It is this that Kashmiris need recognizing. Recently released army data indicates that at least 70 young Kashmiris joined the insurgency last year, of which two had doctorates and eight were post graduates. 14 of them have already been killed. The corps commander in Srinagar is reported as ruing the trend thus: "Youth joining the militancy is disturbing. If educated youth are joining, it is more disturbing."

General Saha is not only a kind man. He is also right that this is a "cause of concern". Pakistan does not have the intrinsic resources to support any new round of militancy. What it can however do is to divert the religious extremism consuming it into new channels. There are also ill winds from West Asia blowing outwards, including towards the subcontinent. There is no reason why Kashmiris should want any of this. 

They are at a critical juncture in which they can afford to drive a bargain. There is a government in Delhi that does not need to look over its shoulder. It is set for the next few years at least and can deliver on any promises, particularly of development, it may make. However, the more significant one is that of political autonomy. This government can consider the more innovative formulas for this in exchange peace, since it needs stability to deliver on its promises in the rest of India and get itself the developmental decade Mr. Modi asked for in his Independence Day address. Kashmir must cash in now. Its martyrs will only then rest in peace. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Deconstructing Mr. Modi’s speech


http://www.milligazette.com/news/11792-deconstructing-narendra-modis-speech-india

In his early-bird take on Mr. Modi’s speech at the National Celebration of the Elevation to sainthood of Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Euphrasia in New Delhi, the editor-in-chief of the news and opinions portal First Post got it right. He writes that 'while Modi actually meant, ‘Tolerance has to cut both ways’, 'it is not quite the way his speech will be interpreted in newspapers tomorrow.'
Indeed, the media has taken a positive view of Mr. Modi’s speech and the chief ministerial candidate in J&K, hoping to justify his faustian pact with the BJP there has gone on to advertise his appreciation. That the speech that is otherwise loaded with double meaning can get such a reception indicates less clairvoyance on the editor-in-chief’s part and credulity on part of others, but a Stockholm syndrome in which captives learn to love their captors, in this case a nation held hostage to Hindutvavadi antics over the past year ends up seeing light seemingly at the end of the tunnel while it has only just entered it.

Jagannathan’s article with unconcealed glee brings out two hidden points Mr. Modi makes. One that Modi finds conversion “without coercion or inducement” acceptableThis may have had greater relevance for his audience comprising Christians, worried over the spate of attacks on churches in Delhi in the run up to the election there. Whereas they are worried of their right to practice and propagate their religion under the circumstance, Mr. Modi is highlighting alongside “inducement” that is alleged to accompany such propagation.
However, for the audience of this publication, the second one is consequential, which in Jagannathan’s words is that, “Tolerance has to cut both ways.” The message, therefore, for the Muslim audience from Mr. Modi is in his parting words: “We cannot accept violence against any religion on any pretext and I strongly condemn such violence. My government will act strongly in this regard.” This, as Jagannathan wholly in agreement, points out, can only be intended for Muslims. 
This is easy to surmise, given that Mr. Modi takes pains to bring out that tolerance is intrinsic to India since ancient times, when presumably there were no Muslims in either India or the world. Tolerant India accepted all religions that have come from without. Further, it is this tolerance in India’s “ancient cultural traditions” (read Hindutva, since it is a “way of life”, cultural tradition, according to the Supreme Court) that has been embedded in the Indian Constitution. Therefore, India is tolerant because the majority, owing to its religion and culture, is tolerant.
In other words, intolerance can only be of religions that have come from without.This he takes pains to highlight, referring to the turmoil in the Middle East using the phraseology: “The world is at cross-roads which, if not crossed properly, can throw us back to the dark days of bigotry, fanaticism and bloodshed.”Since tolerance “must be” in Indians’ DNA, it is so presumably also in the case of Muslim Indians because they are taken as converts for most part and therefore having tolerant Hindu forebears. Nevertheless, they need reminding that his government “will act strongly”.
It cannot be that Mr. Modi has suddenly realised the need for strong action against religion-inspired violence. He spent three terms in Gujarat without appropriate action (to put it generously) against those who spilt blood (to put it mildly) on his watch in the Gujarat carnage. Therefore, his message - “My government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly. Mine will be a government that gives equal respect to all religions.” - is surely not directed at his support base in Hindutvawadis.
Also, note he and his political party have spent a quarter century highlighting that the Congress treated the Muslim minority differently (“appeasement” is the term used). So when he and his party mention “equality” it implies taking Muslims down a peg or two for “equality”. Lastly, he “will not” allow incitement of hatred. He does well to use the future tense since that absolves him of inaction in the case of his worthy minister’s colourful description for the minority.
Sure, he has called the Delhi DGP and emphasized that Christians need due protection. This concern may well be Obama induced in that the US President has on two occasions – in his town hall speech when in Delhi and at his prayer breakfast meeting when back in Washington – voiced concern on rising Hindutvawadi impertinence. Being responsive to “Barack” can be expected, especially in light of the defence and nuclear-related goodies India expects in return.
While the tolerance-related part of Mr. Modi’s speech has drawn attention – much of it misguided – what has been missing in the ensuing commentary is his concluding portion: “I havea vision of a Modern India. I have embarked on a huge mission to convert that vision into reality. My mantra is Development for all – sabka saath, sabka vikaas…. I sincerely request all Indians, and all of you present here to support me in this huge task.” Italics capture the megalomania dripping in the extract.
Clearly, with the budget up soon, the decks are being cleared. Social unrest can put paid to development. Development is needed to justify the Modi era, set to last a decade as per the moratorium on casteist and social unrest Modi had sought in his speech on 15 August last year. Therefore, Mr. Modi’s “Behave or else” speech, is also a “Behave and will be the saviour”  speech. 
Finally, is Mr. Modi’s “appeal to all religious groups to act with restraint, mutual respect, and tolerance in the true spirit of this ancient nation which is manifest in our Constitution and is in line with the Hague Declaration.” The reference to the Hague Declaration is to guide the Christians in his audience. The reference to the Constitution presumably is to inspire Muslims, for whom their religion’s intrinsic resources are presumably not enough. The “true spirit of ancient nation” as guide is perhaps intended for the majority. Whereas Hinduism is notably tolerant, its political avatar, Hindutva, as with political usage of any religion, is certainly not so.
It would not do to attribute this speech to Mr. Modi’s speech-writer alone. It cannot readily be said that while Mr. Modi has turned a new leaf, his speech-writer is still stuck in the Vivekananda International Foundation groove. These are very well Mr. Modi’s own sentiments. He cannot be blamed for inconsistency. Since future events may make of this a landmark speech, it is as important that it is neither misconstrued nor misunderstood.
That said, there is no reason for Muslim Indians to give scope to the government to come down “strongly” on them. Nor need they practice tolerance because Mr. Modi is a late convert to it, but must continue to do so because it is both strategic and a religious duty. Clearly, there is no place for violence. Such recourse will leave Mr. Modi only one option: to put his money where his mouth is and instead come down “strongly” on his support base. Mr. Modi may like to tune into his one-man-army cheerleader, Mr. Bhagat’s latest piece of advice: “Shut up regressive Hindutva fanatics.”

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Milligazette: Indian Muslim strategy

http://www.milligazette.com/print/issue/16-28-february-2015


Strategy for the Modi era

The BJP government is set to release the census figures of 2011. The earlier government’s hand had been stayed when these became available in the run up to national elections. Their fear back then was perhaps that the BJP would take advantage of the figures on increase in Muslim numbers to project Congress appeasement as its electoral plank. In the event, depriving the BJP of a vote catching issue did not help the Congress any. The BJP is currently set to take the advantage of these numbers timely: in the run up now to elections in Delhi and in the buildup already underway in Bihar. The Muzaffarnagar route to national elections of last year is being reenacted: in Trilokpuri earlier and now in Muzaffarpur respectively. The census figures release, initially as ‘leaks’, are to drive up communal frenzy: ‘Muslims are coming; BJP to the rescue!’
Mr. Modi is in a win-win position. In case he keeps his distance from communal mobilisation, a trick mastered by his ace strategist, Amit Shah, he can profit politically from the gains Hindutva makes electorally. Alongside, he gains in stature as the only one who can rein in the communal forces, since, by maintaining a distance, he appears as a neutral umpire. This will increase his appeal for the middle class, not so much impressed by the Hindutva plank as much as by his developmental plank. Even the minorities – Muslims and Christians – imposed on will look to him to restrain those who act in his name. Therefore, if he chooses not to act to rein in the Hindutva brigade, as he has currently done, he gains electorally, and if he does choose to act to rein them in at an opportune, he gains some brownie points with the middle class and breaks the ice with distrustful minorities.
As long as the goose delivers the golden egg – electoral dividend - Mr. Modi can afford inaction. His overt project currently is in the budget keeping his corporate backers and middle class supporters placated. Alongside, the covert agenda of saffronising India is unfolding without any hitch since the sections that could critique this are in any case waiting with bated breath for the budget. Mr. Modi intends to usher in the long awaited second phase of economic reforms, something Manmohan was restrained from by a Congress high command mindful of social costs. Mr. Modi can afford to neglect this since he has the Hindutva potion to administer the masses.
In any case any backlash to these ‘reforms’ will only mount when the have not’s recognize themselves at the receiving end and get their act together, perhaps a decade on. Minorities, hoping to be in on the economic action, will also wait to see if they are included. He in any case has the suppressive machinery of the Indian state to employ to stamp on any reactions from perceptions of deprivation. Therefore, Mr. Modi has the initiative and a window of opportunity of almost a decade.
Therefore, Mr. Modi does not need to act to rein in the right wing. He can continue as their champion and they his symbiotic support base. The political animal in Mr. Modi knows, ‘You don’t cut the branch you sit on’. He would not risk alienating them even if he builds on the middle class constituency by coming up with smart cities, bullet trains and $500 billion bonhomie package with the US. The middle class needs him more than he does them. Modi’s economic moves are set to take India, buoyed by international economic upturn brought about by the Obama led US turn round and the down slide in oil prices, past China’s growth figures by next year. Therefore, Mr. Modi does not need to fear the middle class or its being embarrassed by his Hindutva inspired reset of India. Mr. Modi can rely on the Hindutva brigade to deliver up Bihar this year and the twin cards, Hindutva and the economy, to wrest UP by 2017. Mr. Modi will then be set to capture Rajya Sabha and, thereby, take out a long term lease on the political high ground.
Where does this leave India’s largest minority that census numbers record as being 14.2 per cent or 172 million strong? This analysis of Mr. Modi’s longevity shows that the minority requires settling in for the long haul under Mr. Modi. Mr. Modi can be expected to keep the lid on things, even if he does not rein in Hindutva zealots, since he needs stability for the economy to deliver. In any case, it is impossible to envisage an energetic counter by the minority to spread of Hindutva, since the minority lacks the unity that can lend it a strategic base. It myriad, multiple and vulnerable communities, spread across India, should not be allowed to be exposed to unwanted security attention. On the positive side, it can instead try and gain the economic traction it was unable to access under the Congress system of sops for votes. By no means is this to fall for the slogan ‘Sabke Saath, Sabka Vikas’, but to be forewarned that strategizing for the long durĂ©e requires a cool head.
What are the contours of a strategy for the Modi era?
A viable strategy must begin with the parameters. Terms of reference set out in the analysis here is that the minority pockets being vulnerable should not be exposed unnecessarily to security pressure and that the minority must not lose out another chance at economic rise. It bears recall that the elite can vote for India with their feet if the going gets tough, as indeed a past generation did by migrating. The masses cannot be let down twice over in one century.
Easily is ruled out an adversarial approach. There is no national leadership, leave alone a centralized one, for the Muslim community. Its various communities must per force rely on respective regional and neighbouring communities, including and principally the majority community. This is important to highlight since even if there is no leadership there is never a shortage of pretenders. There is a bid for national standing emerging from Hyderabad for instance. This is all for the good in case it pulls it off, but the fact remains that the strategy of the MIM, of confrontation and lowering down to the level of Hindutva invective and provocation, is counter-productive.
A three-step strategic possibility consequently emerges in case the parameters are to be met. The first is at the local level. Muslims need expanding and intermeshing with their local neighbours across the country, especially those deprived as themselves. A common front for the have not’s will ensure that any economic trickle down does not bypass them. The government’s health budget cut suggests that communities would require fending for themselves and not relying on the government. Regional Muslim leaders can only gain superficially in case they rely on the communal card for support. Grand standing will get them short term benefit of representing a ‘threatened minority’, but over time the confrontation can only redound to the disadvantage of the community they represent. For instance in the illustration from Hyderabad above, with Andhra money being invested in its new capital, Hyderabad would be at a loss if alongside the Owaisi brothers take the Hindutva bait of identity politics. Muslims should be wooed with a taste of the development plank instead and presenting themselves as the dynamo for Telangana can help situate them well in the politics of the two new states.
Second is at the national level. The political opposition is in hibernation. It is awaiting policy missteps by the government to bounce back. Given India’s economic prospects, this is unlikely in the middle term. Therefore, Muslims can at best be reactive to developments. Once the Modi mantra wears off over the majority, Muslims can lend an electoral shoulder to displace him. The national level showing of Muslim leaders must in the interim be to forge bonds between themselves so as to ensure that the relative physical isolation of Muslim communities is mitigated.  Else India can end up with ghettos such as Jehanabad India wide. Another significant line of action is to ensure moderation so that the government cannot cite adverse security conditions in Muslim inhabited areas to justify exclusionary politics. Muslims are a handy other for vertical integration for Hindus. There is no call to assist Modi in this by making it easier for him. Muslims must permit Modi the luxury of behaving the statesman in order that he is not permitted the opportunity of being himself at their cost.  
Third is the international level. There are portents of a draw down in the Muslim world brought on by raging conflicts at its’ hitherto center, exacerbated by the likely leadership uncertainty on the demise of the Saudi king. This will have obvious economic fallout from remittance and employment point of view for Muslim Indians. Second, the thrust for foreign policy activism on India’s part to gain strategically, particularly from any discomfiture of its neighbor, Pakistan, would need watching. The latter has had an artificial link drawn with India’s Muslims, one drawn by strategists who are also closet rightists.
Third, and more significantly, South Asian Muslims now number half a billion, clearly more than Indonesia and in the Arab world. The dividend from this in the form of a shift in the center of gravity of the Muslim world away from the unstable Middle East to South Asia is not in evidence as yet. Towards this end Muslim Indians may need first to reforge South Asian bonds by thinking of South Asia as a single civilizational entity that it has been through millennia. This will be to India’s and regional advantage, besides keeping ill winds from Middle Eastern wars out of India. It will counter India’s strategic tutoring by the US and Israel through strategic partnerships with both states, overt and covert respectively.

  

Monday, February 09, 2015

the brass in a political minefield

Challenges of the brass in a political minefield


http://indiatogether.org/army-brass-caught-in-political-minefield-under-bjp-government-op-ed


The army chief at his ‘At Home’ on the occasion of Army Day on 15 January announced the donation of a day’s pay by all ranks of the army to the prime minister’s relief fund for the floods in J&K. On the face of it this is a noble gesture and has precedent in the army having similarly risen to the occasion in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster. Given that a major proportion of the army is perpetually deployed in J&K and played its usual sterling role even during the recent floods, this generous act aiming to build bridges with the Kashmiris is yet another feather in the army’s cap.
However, soon thereafter, the media reported on the intention of at least three colonel-rank officers to take the army to court over the deduction of a day’s pay without due consultation. The army for its part clarified that the idea had been mooted in last year’s army commanders’ conference and had been suitably acted on procedurally. But the sting in the media report was the contention of the unidentified colonels, one of whom reportedly stated: ‘The donations in Jammu and Kashmir have political ramifications and the Army should refrain from sending any such signals.’ 
The politics surrounding the donation escalated with a former colonel, Karan Kharb, writing in the RSS mouthpiece, the Organiser. Kharb writes that these ‘few superseded disgruntled officers and subordinates with perceived grievances’ foretell the ‘creepy rise of Fifth Columnist elements within the Armed Forces’. The author justifies the army’s decision, citing the relevant orders permitting its leadership to take such decisions on behalf of the rank and file.
While the aggrieved colonels had apparently given vent to their feelings incognito on social media, that the right wing flagship publication, Organiser, has been chosen as the forum to launch the counter attack is interesting in itself.
FOR FULL ARTICLE SEE - http://indiatogether.org/army-brass-caught-in-political-minefield-under-bjp-government-op-ed
The article in Organiser can be credited with clarifying the issue somewhat. With the publication jumping in to justify the contribution, the latter interpretation of the serving colonels’ grievance gains credence, thus implying that the ruling dispensation possibly had a hand in it. The initial discussion on the contribution took place in October when the BJP was attempting to do the impossible, its ‘Mission 44+’ plus in Kashmir. Now, it is yet again poised to do the unprecedented, govern from Srinagar.
Author Karan Kharb’s VIF-mediated links to the NSA indicate that the idea may have sprung from outside the army. Else, there is little reason for the Organiser to involve itself in the defence of the act, even though on Twitter, the author  takes pains to distance his article from the RSS, which is strange given that it appears in an RSS publication.
If this reading is true, then it implies that the apprehensions on which the aggrieved colonels acted were well-founded, even if their action itself is lacking in legitimacy. The retired colonel, likening their action to ‘insidiously planned subversion’, has given enough grounds to suspect as much.
for full article see http://indiatogether.org/army-brass-caught-in-political-minefield-under-bjp-government-op-ed
Let’s take another example from Kashmir. The army commander there had courageously taken the blame for the killings of two youth at Chattergam. He came under fire in social media apparently from serving officers and from telegenic veterans for his unprecedented apology. Consequently, he had to explain himself in a follow up demi-official letter to his commanders in wake of the terrorist attack in early December in Uri.
Explaining his act as prompted by the nuances of the changed situation in Kashmir, he reminded all not to fall ‘prey’ to the media. The army commander was evidently not acting at political behest but under the conviction, in his words, that, ‘Our Army's ethic and values, backed up by a strong military justice system, are the best in the world. These will serve to guide us and also protect us.
Nevertheless, his action was used to wrest political advantage, as the then defence minister Arun Jaitley, on a trip to Srinagar, cited a call from the prime minister as the trigger for him to get the army to act. The prime minister on the campaign trail appropriated the credit too, stating it was ‘proof of his good intentions’.
Under the circumstances, there is ample reason to fear for institutional good health. The former foreign secretary on being shown the door has alerted all to the fact saying, ‘‘It’s not about individuals … it’s about my Ministry as an institution.’ The country’s defence research head has been put to pasture. Earlier, a string of governors owing allegiance to the previous regime were eased out. The latest is the home secretary being axed.
Arbitrary behaviour has not spared even the BJP itself, with its Delhi unit having a chief ministerial candidate parachute down on it. Clearly, if other institutions are in the firing line, being forced to fall in line, then the army cannot be too far behind in the queue.
for full article see http://indiatogether.org/army-brass-caught-in-political-minefield-under-bjp-government-op-ed
Whereas political heads can be expected to take advantage of the government’s showing on defence, the brass needs to remain ever alert to the political impeccability of their actions. That political missteps are being pointed out from within the ranks is a new phenomenon brought to fore by the ready availability of social media. It is no wonder that the brass is rightly frowning down upon its use. In the absence of such checks, the onus is on the brass to keep up the institution’s hard-earned and arguably well-deserved reputation for political impeccability.