Friday, April 20, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Of arms, system and procedures

This has reference to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article, “Of Arms, System and Procedures” (April 6).

A sustained diplomatic effort should be made along with other like-minded countries to get the arms suppliers to agree to measures that would enhance transparency in the sale of arms. This is not going to be easy but an effort should, nevertheless, be made.

The present system is clearly inadequate. It has brought the maggots out in open. It is a stench we have to live with, a pollution that cannot be eliminated.

The Government has directed the Indian missions abroad to project the Tehelka bombshell as part of a conspiracy. This is a highly unusual move, suggesting that the Foreign Office is being mobilised to do battle on behalf of the ruling coalition over a domestic issue.


Lack of transparency: Our system of defence has become vulnerable because of the inherent lack of transparency and accountability in it. Venality and corruption4 have embedded themselves in our system. The traffic in shady defence deals has plagued our democratic paradigm. Such cupidity, if not checked immediately, may land us in a deep disaster.

True there might not be universal theories in this complicated world; yet the requirement of transparency and accountability is of utmost importance in our system of defence.



Punish the guilty: Corrupt politicians and tainted military officers who make easy money in arms deals, should be awarded the severest punishment.

Our jawans have done well in all wars. Many of them have made the supreme sacrifice defending the motherland. Their souls will curse the countrymen, if tainted and corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and military officers are allowed to go scot-free.


Threat to security: It seems independent India was born along with corruption. One heard of several scandals. Now former CBEC chief Verma’s customs scam is doing the rounds in Delhi.

But these involve loss of money and loss of face while scandals in defence deals pose a threat to the nation’s security.

After the death of 15 jawans in a mine blast when they were travelling in a mine protected vehicle and reports in the press, the government put the purchase of these vehicles on the backburner. But when the South African firm’s delegation contacted the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the deal was cleared with a paltry discount of 5 per cent.

Defence deals are not meant to feed the overseas bank accounts of Indian wolves in human clothes. The entire deal from day one needs a full probe.


Gangrenous system: The morale and pride of our armed forces has been hurt because of a few black sheep in their ranks, yet at this moment the question is not just of cleansing this or that department. The whole system of governance is becoming gangrenous.

Ironically, in the present-day political lexicon, ‘opportunism’ has become ‘mutual consensus’. Corruption is sanctified and respectability is commanded by dubious operators. It is political suitability and not the efficiency and honesty of a bureaucrat that determines his posting, promotion or transfer.

With such fall in the politico-administrative set-up, any demand for upholding moral standards and transparency and accountability can only be a cry in the wilderness. The political leadership does not look beyond its vested parochial interests, while the opposition is interested more in destabilising the ruling alliance than in cleansing the system or creating a healthy atmosphere for national socio-economic growth. Ad-hocist approach of our rulers has only helped the corrupt and the dubious to grow in size and sweep.

Unless the Prime Minister puts his foot down and takes strong measures with a ‘no-nonsense’ approach and unless the bureaucracy stops pampering small-time political manipulators, the nation may not come out of the quagmire of corruption and maladministration.


Issue overlooked: Although we have seen in the Kargil conflict that the jawans were not adequately equipped, yet instead of putting the blame on the defaulters, the administrators tried to overlook the matter in the name of patriotism. The BJP Government, with the help of the media cashed in on the war though the armed forces suffered heavy losses.

Mr Hari Jaisingh has aptly pointed out that it is unfair to blame the armed forces on the basis of a few cases of corruption but unfortunately these few corrupt officers have brought a bad name to the armed forces.


Nothing wrong with system: I do not think that much is wrong with the system of procurement of weapons. The fault lies with the persons who handle such deals. Our defence forces are traditionally honest and patriotic. It is our bad luck that the era of scams and scandals has come to stay and it has not spared even defence deals. The Tehelka expose must be probed thoroughly to unearth the reality and the guilty should be given stringent punishment. But I doubt if this will happen.

The proposals of the government to appoint a Chief of Defence Staff and to make changes in the system of procurement of weapons, are hardly called for. The nation should not be burdened with more superfluous posts and infrastructure. The need of the hour is to bring transparency and accountability in all government departments.

D.P. JINDAL, Mandi Gobindgarh

Black Sheep: The developments shown by the prove that a few black sheep are damaging the reputation, honour and morale of our armed forces. This must be checked and the guilty men must be punished without any delay.

The writer has rightly pointed out that time has come for the country to think about the jawan and his equipment if he is expected to protect the sovereignty and integrity of the country.


Treating wild animals

Reports of deaths of wild animals in captivity keep appearing every now and then and the failure of the veterinarians to treat these animals is a mater of concern. The way these sick animals are treated by the hit and trial method is disgusting in this scientific age.

The death of an elephant in the Ferozepur veterinary hospital without proper diagnosis cannot be justified by any standards. The treatment should have been given by a team of veterinarians at the veterinary polyclinic.

A team was constituted to conduct a postmortem examination of the dead animal, but no team was formed for its treatment.

It is strange that the so-called experts in the treatment of wild animals are veterinarians who have never been taught the Physio-pathology of wildlife during their basic veterinary education. The expertise in wildlife is acquired only through experience. Moreover, books and references on the management and treatment of wild animals are not easily available to the veterinarians.



Iran-India gas pipeline

The proposed Iran-India gas pipeline can follow two alternative routes; first, via the sea, avoiding Pakistan territory and the second through Pakistan. The first will be longer and also costlier. Although Pakistan is ready to allow the pipeline to be built through its territory, India feels that considering the hostility of Pakistan towards India, the sea route will be more feasible.

India has forgotten, and perhaps so has Pakistan, that geographically, India is in a position to paralyse the working of some of the Pakistani canals if it decides to divert the Chenab waters into the Ravi by building a tunnel somewhere in Himachal Pradesh. This tunnel will not be longer than the one already constructed to connect the Beas and the Sutlej. Its mere construction and keeping it ready for use in times of need will not mean a breach of any international law, or the Indus Waters Treaty. Yet it can send shock waves to Pakistan. This option has never been considered by our policy makers. Such an option can always be a counter to any Pakistani threat to the pipeline if it is built across Pakistan. The potential of such a tunnel deserves to be studied.

S.P. MALHOTRA, Panchkula


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |