Friday, May 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Of nuclear threat and terrorism: Bush needs to see beyond Sept 11

This refers to “Of nuclear threat and terrorism” by Hari Jaisingh (May 24). He has rightly emphasised that “a country like India can be governed only with a measure of firmness, based on national interest and irrevocable principles”. Of late, this theme has become a wishful thinking. The words “patriotism” and “nationalism” are termed as “jingoistic” by a section of the left liberal intellectuals and vested political interests. Take, for example, the issue of unauthorised madarasas mushrooming all along the borders with Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The security threat posed by these is not lost upon the intelligence agencies but, can the political leadership muster courage to close them? No, vote-bank considerations weigh heavier than the security of the nation! The West Bengal Chief Minister, who is on record to say that about 4,000 unregistered madarasas thrive in the state, had to eat his words under pressure from his own CPM party. Similarly, complacency and ad-hocism have set roots in the functioning of the government, including strategic planning.

A series of articles and panel discussions in media by defence experts and former army chiefs, ironically, tell a different story than what an ordinary citizen expects in the form of a decisive response to the proxy war. It seems we are not yet prepared or equipped for a quick, surgical and specialised action. The intelligence inputs about ever-changing terrorist training camps, missile silos and nuclear arsenal seem inadequate. We have yet to formulate a cohesive policy or strategy to inflict telling retaliation on the enemy without even declaring a war. The strategy has to be to make Pakistan pay heavily for every terrorist act perpetrated in India on a tit-for-tat basis. Whether or not our elite think-tank has planned putting in place such a network of specially trained operatives within Pakistan, is anybody’s guess. But this is certainly desirable.


In today’s world, it is neither easy nor advisable to start a full-scale conventional war so long as we have other cost-effective alternatives. Even the present scenario does not appear conducive to start a war. American presence in the Arabian sea and half a dozen air bases in Pakistan is one factor. Lack of real political consensus within the fractured political fraternity back home is another dampener. The nuclear threat by an imprudent and cornered military ruler across the border, also, cannot be simply wished away. But we have to be fully prepared for any eventuality.


Meekness: Our sheer meekness had emboldened Pak-sponsored terrorists to strike at our Parliament — a sanctum sanctorum of democratic India. If Mr Vajpayee is unable to bring about the desired results through diplomatic channels, who else would do so? The Prime Minister of India is feeling peevish and clueless against Gen Musharraf.

Aptly said by you that the policy of appeasement in J&K has proved counter-productive. Lackadaisical policies adopted by our leadership have done irreparable damage to India.

KARNAIL SINGH, Ranjit Sagar Dam

Learn a lesson: Pakistan repeatedly threatens to use nuclear options against India, despite the fact that a nuclear war means its total annihilation. Pakistan should learn a lesson from what happened in Afghanistan, which was once governed by the ISI and its military masters. Similarly, the USA should come forward in tackling “jehadi” elements and their evil designs by keeping in mind that these terrorist groups inevitably have inter-linkages and multiple targets around the world.

RAJESH SHARMA, Jalandhar Cantt

Assurances only: After every major terrorist attack, we have threatened a “decisive battle against terrorism”, a “Pratikaar”, “a hot chase” or “active pursuit”. In reality we have never gone beyond press-statements and assurances at public rallies.


Glaring gaps

I have gone through Hari Jaisingh’s “PPSC scam probe: glaring gaps” (May 23). The Tribune Editor’s warning is correct and timely. The investigation must not get “diluted, and even derailed”. The Vigilance Bureau must not go about this probe half-heartedly. All the PPSC officers who had got jobs through hush money ought to be exposed irrespective of their social background and affiliations.


Watchdog: What is needed now is the constant endeavour on the part of the Press on behalf of the people, to act as a watchdog to keep the investigation on the rails. The persons at the helm of affairs in investigating such scams should be of undoubtful integrity, as it would be very shameful for the state and its citizens if the investigations also start running the war the PPSC was being run in the previous years.


Cover-up bid: In many of the recent editorials, Hari Jaisingh has exhorted the public to rise against the corrupt system. In the recent PPSC scam the names of certain high court judges have also figured. If Hari Jaisingh had not taken a bold stand supported by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar, there was explicit evidence to cover up, dilute and bury certain cases mentioned by a tout in his first statement. Had the Chief Justice of the high court taken away work from the “tainted” judges and recommended their transfer, his action would have been highly praised by one and all.

Major NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Mohali

Bus tickets

I travel frequently between Ludhiana and Jagraon. A private bus operator (bus No. PB-10 AH 9841) operating between Ludhiana and Jagraon issues tickets to passengers of printed value of Rs 5 converted into Rs 15 with a pen against full fare. On enquiry by me and other passengers it was found that all tickets were issued to the conductor by the bus owner.



The other day while sitting in a bank I overheard the following conversation between a client and a bank employee:

Client: Are you aware what H.U.D.A. stands for? Bank employee: Haryana Urban Development Authority. Client: No, it is Harassment Until Death of Allottee.



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