Wednesday, March 8, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Race on for new Army Chief

THIS is with reference to the report published in The Tribune of February 15, under the caption "Race on for new Army Chief". It highlights the disturbing factor of some politicians actively siding with certain candidates promoting provincialism. And the new trend which we never heard of in the past is that of officers getting in the race for the top position. This game of a race — promoting one's position and status — is supposed to be of politicians. We in the Army are concerned with our duty, and the rest is left to the government system to secure our future.

It is essential to see that our cadre of Generals are not tempted to seek the association of politicians to enhance their future while in service and thereafter. Similarly, national leaders in the government do not develop familiarity with service officers.

  There are two officers, as mentioned in the paper, who are the candidates for the post of Chief of Army Staff. They are fully qualified. One is Lt-Gen G. Padmanabhan. He is being supported by one of the parties in the National Democratic Alliance belonging to a party from the South. The other is Lt-Gen Chandra Sekhar. He is being supported by the Minister for Human Resource Development, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi. This General is from UP. There may be some other politicians, obsessed with communalism and provincialism, on the back of these and other Generals.

If this trend is not arrested, it is bound to destroy the most sensitive and valuable infrastructure of the country, which has ensured the working of the Constitution, even though our government machinery has been under the influence of those who believe in communalism, provincialism and corruption. So far the Army has kept itself clean from such obnoxious thinking and influences.

We as soldiers have always desired that the Chief of Army Staff should be a person with outstanding personality who enjoys full confidence of the soldiers and would keep the morale of the force high, get the dues for the service from the government, and will not dither for any other interest. We the soldiers have never got worried about which province or community one comes from. We are proud of that reality.

New Delhi

Food production

Thanks to the adoption of the green revolution technology by the enterprising farming community, Punjab economy has scaled new highs. The state has the highest per capita income in the country. The central food pool gets overwhelming contribution from Punjab, which is over 60 per cent of total national foodstocks procured every year. These marvellous achievements on the food front in Punjab sometimes erroneously lead people to give credence to half-truths and bloomers.

In this context, I cite a case in point from The Tribune (Feb. 12) relating to the feature on, “States of India — Punjab —facts and figures”. It has been stated that with less than 2 per cent of India’s total area. Punjab produces more than 10 per cent of India’s foodgrain and more wheat than all other states combined. It is true that Punjab contributes more than 10 per cent of national food production but the statement relating to the position of Punjab in respect of wheat production is far from truth. The number one wheat-producing state in India is Uttar Pradesh. During 1997-98, UP produced 23 million tonnes of wheat followed by Punjab 12.7 million tonnes, Haryana 7.6 million tonnes and M.P. 7.3 million tonnes. Punjab produces only about 20 per cent of total wheat production in India. However it tops in yield per hectare. Ludhiana district has the distinction of holding world record in wheat productivity. The district has recorded over 40 q/ha as against the national yield of 22.5 q/ha.



Pension for war widows

May I draw the attention of the authorities responsible for the inordinate delay in notifying the modus operandi for the revision in the special family pension meant for war widows other than those of Kargil.

It is so shocking to observe that a revision in all cases, including service pensioners and government employees, has been notified a long-time back, while ignoring or considerably delaying the revision in the special family pension meant for those who have lost their bread-winners during the wars — 1962, 1965, 1971 and so on.

It may be recalled that I had anticipated callousness on the part of the government to deal with post-war casualties. It was well covered in the print media in July and August, 1999.

The government has always talked quite a lot during the wars but thereafter there is no priority towards the welfare of such affected families.

I am a victim of the 1965 war. My mother faced a worse situation at the hands of the so-called welfare organisations in the government set-up. She has been deprived of any proper rehabilitatory assistance during the past 35 years without any success, as no proper housing facility was provided. What was given immediately after the war was taken away with threats. This is not the only case, there are so many other affected families in the rural areas who have not been looked after at all by the authorities concerned engaged in the welfare of such families.

May the government take up at least the cause of revision in the special family pension of war widows and the housing facility in true spirit to avoid any further financial agony to them.

New Delhi

UAE and Hurriyat

As mentioned in the news-item "Pak, Saudi Arabia and UAE aiding militancy in Kashmir" (February 22, 2000) the Union Minister of State for Commerce, Mr Omar Farooq Abdulah, while addressing a press conference in Srinagar, blamed the UAE for financing the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, which is sponsoring militancy in the Kashmir valley.

We would like to make our stand clear on this issue. Our bilateral relations with India are developing and improving in different fields, and our political stand is the same regarding so many international issues beside that we have a common interest in the region.

The foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates is based on the principles incorporated in the United Nations Convention and other international norms. And from these principles, which the UAE adopted, is the principle of solving differences and disputes in international relations through peaceful means and avoiding intervention in other's internal affairs. Also we are opposed to the use of force to solve these disputes.

The UAE is helping and supporting different countries on the humanitarian ground without having any other interest. This is also to support the principles of human rights approved by the United Nations.

The best example for that is what the UAE has been doing in Kosovo. This does not mean that the UAE is supporting and helping guerrilla groups, which are having different political views with their government.

Embassy of the UAE
New Delhi


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