Friday, November 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Playing with national security

MR Hari Jaisingh in his article “Playing with national security — distorted thinking, half-backed responses" (Nov 3) has perspectively put his finger on the problem of security.

What is disquieting is the increasing insensitivity of the ruling elite to national security.

Anticipatory planning and subjecting our national security to critical analysis are needed to address our security concerns.

Security concerns are settled not by speeches and resolutions but by diligent and determined action.

The question is: How can a coherent national security approach be evolved in the present circumstances? Our security policies are wasted in intrigues and politicking. Unless the powers that be change their mindset, approach and performance and learn from failures, national security can hardly improve.

umed singh gulia

Past experience: There was much expectation that something will come out of the Subrahmaniam Committee report on the lapses that led to the Pakistani intrusion in Kargil. But the fact is, this is unlikely.

A report becomes important only when there is follow-up action on its recommendations, when we recognise our mistakes and try to rectify them; when the political and bureaucratic machinery acts on the lessons of the past as explained in such reports. What is expected is action: at least reorganisation of the decision making process, holding people accountable for their mistakes, and ensuring such mistakes do not recur. But our past experiences indicate that nothing of the sort will happen.

Pakistan’s agenda for 52 years is to wrest Kashmir and divide our country. Knowing this, all aspects of diplomacy, politics, the economy, the military and our nuclear capability must be fully coordinated to meet our threats. There is no point in talking to Pakistan at present.

k.m. vashisht


Unconcerned public: Mr Jaisingh has correctly observed that Kargil was actually the result of a series of blunders of policy-makers and operational personnel for the past 54 years.

The pity is that the general public is unconcerned about the security of the nation, unless there is actual war.

anand prakash

Great pity: It is a matter of great pity that even after Kargil conflict, we have learnt nothing because the persons at the helm from ministers to bureaucrats and from advisers to non-adviser are working in different directions.

subhash c. taneja



Crime and politics

THE Delhi High Court's directive to the Election Commission to make voters aware of the criminal background of the candidates to the country's legislatures is worth serious consideration and implementation. But due to lack of resolute political will to deny tickets to the tainted persons/criminals, the much sought for objective had not been achieved in the past.

The government in consultation with all democratic parties should introduce legislation debarring candidates having criminal background including conviction in the past from contesting the election. Pending the legislation, the Election Commission must initiate steps to publish the biodata of the candidates. The amended law should clearly say that no candidate should be allowed to contest elections unless he gets cleared of the charges against him.

Firstly, it would help break the nexus between criminals and politicians; secondly only persons with clean record would come forward to contest elections.

h.l. kapoor
New Delhi


Shadow Cabinet

THIS with reference to your editorial “Crime and Politics” (Nov 4). It would be better if the political parties are asked to declare their 'shadow Cabinet' before hand so that the people who are the actual masters of this country have the right to choice.

The parties should declare the bio-data of each candidate they nominate with details of education, training, expertise, age, character and health.

People who have been prosecuted and punished should not be allowed to contest elections. If we adopt this process, there would be less chances of scams and scandals.

dalip singh wasan



Gigantic task

THE editorial "Crime and politics" (Nov 4) rightly digs out the futility in the Delhi High Court's directive to the Election Commission (EC) to inform voters about the criminal background of candidates seeking election to the country's legislatures.

It is difficult to see how the EC can implement the judicial order. It will have to depend on the government machinery.

Considering that thousands of candidates will be involved, it will be a gigantic task to sort out all the material.

s.s. jain



Alcohol abuse

THOSE who consume alcohol know what a hangover is. It is the effect of excessive use of alcohol on a person in the morning after.

This voluntarily acquired ill health which may last a few hours or a whole day or longer period is characterised by body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, loose motions or body tremors.

A recent study published in "Globe" magazine, on alcohol and drug problems has revealed that the developed countries are suffering tremendous financial losses on account of lower productivity as a result of absenteeism due to hangover. Also the quality of production suffers under the effect of hangovers. The United States of America alone loses 148 billion dollars annually.

To the United Kingdom, hangover costs about 2 billion pounds per year. Canada loses 7.5 billion dollars, Australia around 3.8 billion dollars and New Zeland 331 million pounds.

We in India, specially those living in Punjab, are not far behind in consumption of alcohol.

Punjabi youth is no longer hard working. He is addicted not only to alcohol but also to drugs such as opium, morphine, etc. Our agricultural operations depend on migratory labour. Punjabi youth shuns manual labour. The whole of Punjab is under a heavy debt of Rs 24000 crore. Every Punjabi is under a debt of Rs 12000.

We have to wake up to our problems now, otherwise it will be too late, to save the situation. Let us get some help from the World Health Organisation on this topic while time is still available. The developed countries are already working on an action plan on alcohol given by WHO in 1995 and it has been successful in decreasing use of alcohol.

Dr asa singh


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