Thursday, October 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



India's security concerns 

THIS has reference to Mr Hari Jaisingh's write-up of September 29 ("India's security concerns: US response vital for a new order"). In spite of the fact that Pakistan has recently lost importance in American eyes, General Musharraf continues to focus on his country's critical geographical position to emphasise that it cannot be ignored. The Pakistani dictator is not perhaps aware that the locational advantage has since been turned on its head by the growing presence of Islamic fundamentalists in the Pakistan-Afghanistan regime, who now pose a threat not only to India but to all neighbouring countries, including Russia. As long as Pakistan harbours these so-called jehadis, there is every possibility of its being treated increasingly like a pariah, especially as long as democracy remains suppressed in that country.

If Washington is now tilting away from Pakistan, Beijing is seemingly edging a little closer to it, judging from the call for virtual international intervention in Kashmir by the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister the other day. Considering India's insistence on bilaterism, the observation was not only biased, it also denoted a change from the earlier position when China wanted the Kashmir problem to be shelved for two decades so that it could be tackled in a more conducive atmosphere.

It is possible that this relatively new development is related to the perceptions of warmth in Indo-US relations which have been noted with distress by both Pakistan and China. While expressing India's security concerns, the author seems to have this vital development in mind.


In focusing on America, the proponents of the bomb seem to have forgotten about social, economic and political conditions in their own country. In India "experts" appear to live in separate watertight compartments, blissfully ignorant of other fields — the defence analyst does not understand politics, the politician is oblivious of economies, the economist looks down on the social historian, and so on. As a result, so far as the "bomb" lobby was concerned, any government with security concerns was good enough to opt for the nuclear tests. For it, the government majority, stability, past record, present experience, calibre of personnel, ideological stance, were of no consequence.

It has to be noted that India at present is in a state of transition. The present is a time when the parties which earlier had sway have degenerated and new ones have not yet taken their place. The old order is breaking down and the new one has not yet emerged which the analysts have to take into account. Needless to emphasise, the views of service chiefs, academicians, think tanks and strategic security analysts need to be assessed. The government must adequately address the three cardinal tiers of policy, direction and management of defence and national security. In this regard, Washington's cooperation, if and when needed, may be secured.


Historic judgement

THE most important issue arising out of the historic judgement on the JMM bribery case is that whether the judgement is to be delivered against the government headed by Congress Party leader Mr Narasimha Rao or in his personal capacity. In all fairness, the judgement is to be passed after looking into whether Mr Rao bribed JMM MPs on the advice of the Congress Party or engineered it himself to keep himself in power.

If the act is according to party interest, the Congress Party needs to be derecognised and should be barred from contesting the elections in future.



Conviction of Jaya and Rao

THE conviction of Ms Jayalalitha by the Special Court in Chennai in the Tansi land deal is a matter of shame and concern for the country. Former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and former Union Minister Buta Singh were also found guilty and convicted in the JMM bribery case.

These convictions in totality have proved that the politicians at large are interested in using public money for their personal gains and benefits.

Though several corruption cases were filed against Jayalalitha, she was discharged by the court in the coal import case giving benefit of the doubt in the absence of proper evidence.

It will be very difficult to prove the conspiracy and involvement of such leaders in various cases as their verbal orders are executed by the authorities concerned and nothing in writing is left with them.

It is a matter of shame that such leaders after having been elected by people completely forget them and use their offices for personal gains. For them politics is no more public service but an easy way to accumulate crores of rupees.

The Election Commission should debar them from contesting any election throughout their lives. Not only this, these people should not be allowed to hold office of any registered political party. As soon as they are convicted, their membership from the party should automatically cease.



Paddy burning

THE editorial “Paddy is not for burning” (October 7) touched the very nerve centre of the current paddy problem in Punjab. It is indeed true that the major deterrent before the Food Corporation of India in procuring paddy is non-availability of space in the FCI godowns.

The FCI wants to procure as less paddy as is possible on the plea that 80% of Punjab paddy is below specification. This has caused misery to Punjab farmers.

Your assessment that the major responsibility for the paddy imbroglio lies on the shoulders of the Central Government is correct. For the past two years the FCI godowns have been choking with grains. If steps were taken to bring the grain to the market (at least in deficit areas) this tragic situation would not have arisen. Indeed, while the government has allowed 27 million tonnes of foodgrains to rot in its godowns, people have gone to bed without a morsel in drought-hit areas.

Even today the Central Government can move grains to Orissa where the state is still reeling under the impact of the cyclone and the drought-hit Gujarat.



Digging the dead

OF late there have been too many comments and contradictions on the 1965 war by high ranking military officers, latest being by Lt General Harwant Singh (retd), “Row over the 1965 war” (Oct 5).

Such comments and contradictions would do more harm to the morale of the militarymen than good. It would also show the military managements of the armed forces in a poor light.

Let us not dig the graves of these warriors in the war-related matters. I am reminded of the saying, “there is no use fencing the cemetery as those outside would not like to go in and those inside cannot come out”.

Jalari-Hamirpur (HP)

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