Wednesday, March 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Kargil: intelligence failure pure and simple

APROPOS of the article, “Looking Beyond Kargil Report-II surprising, flawed conclusions,” by Mr KF Rustamji (March 13), the first act of the author has been to shoot the messenger. While he may have scored a hit on his self-designated mark, as far as the main issues the committee was required to look into are concerned, he is well off the mark. It is possible to fault the terms of reference for the committee, but it is too late to do so now. Perhaps the author has overlooked the inescapable need for the availability of good and timely intelligence for success of any operation, even for defence. Coming as it does from one of the most respected and competent police officers, his observations leave one aghast. In J and K nearly a quarter of a million men are chasing an estimated two thousand insurgents without the desired results because intelligence is nearly missing.

Much before this committee was constituted, both the Defence Minister and the PM had stated that there had been no intelligence failure at Kargil. Who had fed them this canard? Were the intelligence agencies using their direct access to the PM and in an attempt to maintain the veil of secrecy, indulged in selfcertification and misled these two high dignitaries? Far too long have the intelligence agencies been accountable to no one and failed repeatedly. These agencies have been overdue for exposure and complete overhaul. For these bold recommendations the committee needs to be complimented.

  While it is good to look beyond Kargil, it is equally essential to look back at Kargil, if not in anger, at least with equanimity. Kargil would not have happened if our strategic vision had not blurred. If we had not relegated national security to an academic debate, where military power had come to be considered as one, albeit, small component of the national security paradigm. If we had not starved the national defence to a grudging 2.3 per cent of the GDP for a full decade, crippling in the process, the conventional force capability and consequently, its deterrence value. If we had not been drumming for a decade for reduction in manpower in the army, when all this while its requirement for manpower kept increasing due to the worsening internal security scene, the borders would have been better protected.

Pakistan would not have ventured on this aggression if it were sure that India was in a position and had the will to inflict severe punishment for such an act.

In the name of development we have been neglecting national security. We have had very little progress, thanks to the all-pervasive corruption and incompetency, while the security scene has turned scary.


Domestic helps

Unfortunate but true; it has become more of a trend or a status-symbol than a necessity to keep domestic helps—mostly young boys or girls—in the house on a permanent basis.

Sometimes, this is done by working couples to look after the very young or the very old; who usually need an active member by their side all the time.

However, such dependence or extra confidence on the intelligent and innocent faces; can do us more harm than good; as is evident from the alarmingly increasing number of servant planned or backed murders in the city and its vicinity....

Strangulation, poisoning or other cruel but easy and quick methods may be used to get rid of the unsuspecting employer. Keep a help (temporary or permanent) if you must; but not before gathering the important information; particularly in the form of photograph and documents regarding his experience and previous whereabouts and of course; after getting his name registered in the nearest police station.



The Pakistani military junta and its military dictator, Gen Pervez Musharraf, have banned public meetings in Pakistan, thereby curtailing the right to protest, and President Clinton is visiting Pakistan!

Just last week the lawyer representing the deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif was shot dead by armed personnel in his office.

President Clinton by going to Pakistan would be endorsing the military rule, and the ruling General. I feel it is high time that President Clinton realised the serious threat that this military rule holds for human rights, and democracy.

What can one say but, “Good morning Mr President”, as the military has now effectively banned public meetings terming them a luxury that Pakistan can no longer afford.


Any Indians?

Any Indians? Only a few. The others are Punjabis and Gujaratis and Bengalis and Tamils .Very few Indians, indeed. And it is not in the language they speak or the dress they wear or the food they eat that they differ in their parochial outlook. It is their very heart, the very marrow of their bones, which makes them — and declares them—as compartmentalised entities. An official hailing from Kashmir, even after a quarter century in Delhi, is still known as a ‘Kashmiri’. A Tamilian, having served the Central Government for 30 years in the Central Secretariat, is still referred to as a ‘ Madrasi’. A Bengali, likewise,is still a Bengali. They do so because it seems so natural to them. They do so because the person so referred to would like to be so referred to.They do so because it has been an ingrained racial trait , a subconscious habit , to think of a sub-nationality or a language-group or a religion as a label (or even as a stigma) for a man in India. Where are the Indians? I repeat my question and woefully conclude that there aren’t any.The breed seems to have vanished.

Much is lost, but all is not lost. Even today, a mard-e-kamil (a total man), risen like Phoenix from the ashes of a divided India, can save us.

As Jawahar Lal Nehru has aptly observed : No part of India is the private preserve of anyone.There is only one India, of which all of us are inheritors.The whole of India from the North to South is the common heritage of every Indian.



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