Friday, November 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Afghan confrontation: how India can manage regional dynamics

I agree with Mr Hari Jaisingh's appreciation of the situation arising out of Pakistan-Afghanistan developments. I wish some suitable measures could also be suggested for India to face the fallout.

As a nation we have bled far too long and far more serious than the USA or any other nation except Afghanistan, of course, but none of our friends or neighbours have shared our grief. This is a worst situation where none of your friends or neighbours turn up to mourn your dead. India, which once led a 100-nation NAM, is now without friends and supporters. All neighbours are either enemies, unfriendly or un-interested in us. The Kashmir muddle is getting still thicker. The tightening intelligence encirclement by China-Pakistan-Bangladesh may soon be suffocating, if allowed to develop. Our being inactive in the Afghan corridor would further increase our aloofness.

It is the right time to expand now with Pakistan engaged in Afghanistan. We must try to rejuvenate the relationship we had with NAM nations. Relationships with all neighbours too must be strengthened through a give-and-take policy. India may have to give more but it does not matter as a good relationship pays more than any monetary or minor territorial losses. Our President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, diplomatic wizards and cultural delegations must now be out, improving relationships. All Asian countries must be visited. Thereafter, friendly European countries like France, Germany and Britain which force/mould the world opinion must be visited. We must establish a long lasting relationship with them. Gradually, we must have such a large number of friends with whose help we can have our say.


We should also take active part in world politics. For example, we have a chance of playing a part in Afghanistan by deepening our concern. We must establish an alternative influence group with Iran, China and Russia to counter the excessive US influence in the region. We must be active and seen to be so and the USA and other major countries must realise that we are a nation which cannot be taken for granted as the case of US-Pakistan relationship. However, we must not hamper any progress in American operations. Rather we must take active part as keeping Pakistan, the Taliban, bin Laden and the USA involved is in our interest. Assisting the Northern Alliance militarily and financially may prove fruitful in this direction. Our relationship with Afghanistan will be more paying as friendship with an enemy's enemy does. We can develop this even taking all the nations, including the USA into confidence.

Another important part we have to play is to rejuvenate our intelligence system. We have to earmark our intelligence system extra funding and allow them to expand their scope in neigbouring countries.

We now have a chance to denude Kashmir of the extremist elements. All our might must be put in Kashmir to flush out terrorists our of Kashmir. The step in banning the terrorist organisations is correct, though late. We have delayed enough, we must not waste our valuable time any more. Our information campaign and diplomatic efforts too need to be stepped up. We must stop giving premature and half-cooked interviews and speeches to please internal audiences. Persons in authority must be watchful about their words.

The last, but not the least, the ruling alliance must set its house in order, stop ad hocism and be truly democratic by taking the opposition along. Faith in isms must not be at the cost of the nation.

Dr D. S. GREWAL, Ludhiana

War against whom?: War has never been a permanent solution to any issue. The ultimate loser has always been humanity. Whether it is the barbaric attack on the WTC towers or the retaliatary action inflicted by the USA and its allies on Afghanistan, the casualties and the sufferers have inevitably been the innocent, harmless civilians. Those in high places sign documents for others’ massacre as if they are just playing a virtual game. Bring forth one man who says that for killing or capturing Osama, the sacrifice of so many innocent Afghanis is justified.

The reasonable thing to do would be a political dialogue with the ruling Taliban. As the Taliban themselves have said that once the USA furnishes the evidence of Osama's hand in the attacks, they would make sure that he is handed over to the right hands for justice. The USA, in the interest of humanity, should leave its ego and go in for a peaceful method to bring the guilty to justice.


The death dance: The present scenario is going to turn into a third world war unless the mode to counter it is sensibly reversed from indiscriminate destruction and killing of innocent people to a course of corrective action as adopted by Mahatma Gandhi to drive out the Britishers, first out of South Africa and then from India without any bloodshed.

The cruel killing of innocent civilians, including women and children, and displacement of lakhs of people cannot compensate the terrible loss of life and property in the USA on September 11, 2001.

The dangerous threat of chemical warfare is also emerging e.g. despatch of anthrax. The need of the hour is to sit together to think and plan a practical strategy as almost all countries are in a coalition to end terrorism. The fight against terrorism does not permit the killings of innocent civilians.

B. L. BANSAL, Chandigarh

A bigger stake : Now is the time for our leadership to rise to the occasion and not falter diplomatically as we did during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan whom we annoyed that time. We have a bigger stake in whatever happens in Afghanistan because it is bordering a hostile Pakistan. Our leadership must also see that we play very positive role in setting up a post-Taliban dispensation as a non-aligned, moderate, secular, broad-based government there is in our interest and this is what we should try for. Pakistan should not be allowed to dominate in this process.

K. L. BARTA, Yamunanagar

Foreign policy: India's foreign policy responses have to be much more than the usual knee-jerk reactions. Our foreign policy so far has only been "reactive" and not "active".

The changing scenario demands that the objectives need to be worked out afresh to deal with our neighbours, the region and the world at large.

Sqn Ldr KRISHAN SHARMA (retd), Chandigarh

Science teaching

The Education Department of Punjab has abolished science and commerce teaching in most of the rural schools in the name of rationalisation. Rural students have been doubly hit by this illogical and unrealistic decision. There were already depleted facilities for teaching science and commerce subjects in the rural areas. With this new order, whatever infrastructure there is available, will be done away with.

JAGIR SINGH, Nadala (Kapurthala)

Officers for 5 yrs

In the write-up "Officers for 5 yrs, unemployed for life" (Oct 21), you have stirred old wounds. It is a bitter truth that instead of building the careers of youth, the government is playing with the lives of young SSRC officers with short-sighted policies.

Throwing them out the Army after five years not only creates a shortage of officers but also unsettles them physically, mentally and financially. Neither the country nor the SSRC officers gain anything from this bizarre and ill- conceived policy of five years commission.

Capt R. S. MANN, Bathinda

Kulu Dasehra

The Tribune report "Kulu Dasehra concludes" (Oct 27) is misleading. In fact, the week-long Kulu Dasehra commenced, not concluded, on the day (Oct 26).

The same issue carried on page 3 another howler — a news report regarding some transfer, emanating from Shimla, which was published once and over again as if to reinforce its authenticity.

Slipshod reporting, composing and editing, if allowed to go un-noticed, is bound to tarnish the image of The Tribune.


Aurobindo Society

In the report "UT to have 5 more night schools" in Chandigarh Tribune it has been mentioned that "the Aurobindo Society is, however, yet to be allotted a colony". In fact, Sri Aurobindo Society is already running a night school in colony No. 4, Industrieal Area, Phase I, since June last.

B. K. MEHAN, Chandigarh

Jammu-Hardwar train

There is no fast train from Jammu to Hardwar, which can cover J&K, Himachal, Punjab and Haryana. We will feel obliged if measures are taken to fulfil the demand.

Dr J. S. BHOGAL, Dasuya (Hoshiarpur)

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