Thursday, April 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



N-policy: no-first-use clause is OK

Apropos Wg Cdr Gurmail Singh’s letter “Flawed nuclear doctrine” (March 28), in my opinion there is nothing wrong with the “no-first-use” clause in our nuclear doctrine which is only Pakistan centric. We cannot even think of using nuclear weapons against China in the foreseeable future.

In August 1945, the USA, the only country with nuclear power, bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan with the twin objectives of hastening the end of World War II and also to demonstrate to the world its new acquisition. The Japanese commandant of the prisoners of war camp at Hiroshima had said, “America would not drop the big bomb on Hiroshima if Japan also had the big bomb because Japan would then bomb San Francisco”.

The Japanese officer proved right. During 1962, there was a nuclear stand-off between the USA and the USSR over the latter’s nuclear missiles installed in Cuba. The fear of massive retaliation by the USSR prevented the USA from using its nuclear power. The USSR dismantled its nuclear missiles in Cuba only after the USA agreed to simultaneously remove theirs from Turkey. It is only the balance of terror which has spared the world from the agonies of a third world war.

Since both India and Pakistan are now nuclear powers, there is very little space for a major “decisive” conventional war between them. Even if it happens, nuclear weapons would be used first by the losing side to prevent its being completely overrun. We do not expect to face such a situation in any war with Pakistan nor can we create a situation for Pakistan, to compel it to use nuclear weapons against India. Nuclear weapons are not toys nor are Mr Vajpayee and Gen Musharraf children to use them as and when they please. The fear of mutual destruction would act as a strong deterrent.


However, to ensure that our retaliatory strikes can achieve the desired result, we have not only to acquire much superior nuclear capability, but our response time gap has to be minimum. Keeping this in view, our policy of giving “second strike” button in the hand of the Prime Minister is definitely flawed. The Prime Minister would expect to be advised by the nuclear command authority and the crisis management committee before pressing the nuclear button. The button should, therefore, be placed in the hands of a senior army officer who could be given detailed guidelines on when and how to respond in the given situation. But he should alone be the deciding authority. Only the “first use” of nuclear weapons needs a political green signal, but to leave the “second strike” decision also to a politician would be suicidal.

Dalip Singh Ghuman, Chandigarh

Manekshaw at 90

What else can be more satisfying for a teacher than seeing his three students serving the nation as the Army, Naval and Air Force chiefs at the same time. The credit goes to the former Indian Army chief, Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw, who turns 90 on April 3. It is worth noting that the present Army chief, Gen N.C.Vij, the Naval chief and the Air Force chief were once students at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington where Manekshaw was their teacher. Congratulations to Field Marshal Manekshaw on reaching the age of 90.

Akshit Tilak Raj Gupta, Radaur (Yamunanagar)

Linguistic terrorism

The chain hunger strike by the so-called Punjabi writers, which ended on March 27, was nothing but “linguistic terrorism”. Using cheap tactics and that too by the people who are supposed to be educated, is condemnable. Any language, like faith and religion, is a sacred entity and as such it should not be imposed upon the people. Even otherwise, in a democratic set-up, as we claim to have in our country, it is highly improper to impose languages on the people. Rather, it should be the fundamental right of each individual to express himself or herself in whichever language he or she likes.

The much-touted mother-tongue syndrome is also a total fallacy created by people with vested interests. There is no biological or scientific entity such as the “mother tongue”. If a new-born of the Punjabi-speaking parents is separated from them just after birth and taken to Tamil Nadu and brought up there, then he or she is bound to learn and speak Tamil with typical Tamilian accent and that is true for any new-born and any language.

So the mother-tongue syndrome, often misused by linguistic terrorists to strengthen their weak viewpoint, has no logical basis. It not only damages the national fabric, but also harms national unity. As a matter of fact, the people should be encouraged to learn more and more national as well as international languages. But imposing any language on the people is a heinous crime against humanity and the language itself.

A.K. Sharma, Chandigarh

Mere words won’t do

This refers to the editorial “Mere words won’t do” (March 27). Instead of using boisterous words of condemnation, our leaders must take action to mobilise force to uproot the very cause of terror.

Yes! “mere words won’t do”. Had such a tragic act taken place in America, mere sympathetic words and condemnation of the act would not have settled the issue. The massacre is not the last until and unless our government follows the policy of eliminating the wicked forces behind such acts. Can’t the government of a country of such vast capacity, technology and resources handle a handful of fanatics?

Simmaranjot Kaur, Patiala

Doctors shifted

We, the residents of Phaphre-Bhai-Ke (Mansa), have raised a modern 25-bed Bhai Behlo Hospital at a cost of Rs 2 crore. It has all facilities such as an x-ray plant, an operation theatre, a laboratory, an unmanned dental chair, an ECG machine donated by a village resident and good drinkable water supply arranged by the residents at a heavy cost. This hospital is housed in lush green surroundings with flower-beds and shady ornamental trees through kar seva by villagers.

This institution had been functioning very well for two years. But for the last three months as the two doctors have invariably been asked to do duty in nearby city hospitals without the consideration of the village community which has built the hospital. In the absence of the doctors, it has become non-functional, its administration has jeopardised and the community has suffered.

We request the authorities concerned to allow the doctors to perform their duty at their permanent place of posting.

Major Pardaman Singh (retd), President, Bhai Behlo Rural Hospital Welfare Society, Phaphre-Bhai-Ke (Mansa)

Honour or dishonour?

I, as a freedom fighter, was issued an identity card in May, 1992, by the Ludhiana DC, authorising me free travel in government buses. On 21.2.03 while travelling by a PRTC bus of the Barnala depot, I had a shocking experience. The conductor dubbed the card fake and cast aspersions on my integrity, despite an explanation. Having been in use for 10 years, it had lost its impressions despite it being laminated.

A new card (No. 757, dated 26.2.03) was got issued to meet the situation in future. But I was in for a greater shock. On 26.3.03, the conductor issuing tickets at the Moga bus terminal (bus No C9202 — Jgn-Sirsa) of the Jagraon depot challenged the genuineness of the new card on the plea that it was dated 26.2.03. Will the authorities concerned guide me as to how I should convince the conductors about the genuineness of the card?

Gurnam Singh, Moga

The Laat Sahib then

Apropos the letter “Too many ministers” (March 27), the English Governor of undivided Punjab had only one A.D.C. and limited staff, consisting of one private secretary, two clerks and a few Class IV officials. There was no battalion of security staff and he used to go to public functions in a car with a motor-cyclist in front of him. No escort cars followed him.

Narinder Singh, Chandigarh

Power tariff hike

The PSEB has recommended a sharp hike in the power tariff to the regulatory authority. The state government is of the view that the increase is necessary as the PSEB runs into huge losses. But for the losses the huge pilferage of store items and power with the active connivance of department officials is responsible. When free power to the farm sector was withdrawn, it was assumed that the consumers would get some relief, but instead they are being further burdened.

Major Narinder Singh Jallo (retd), Mohali


Why soft anti-US approach?

The Iraq-US conflict has evoked anti-US feelings in most countries. The general feeling is that the USA has crossed its brief by ignoring the advice of the UN and other nations, but at the same time their expression of resentment or opposition to the US move is too soft. As one can understand, the economic considerations do not allow them to oppose the USA strongly. Most of the countries continue to believe that their survival will be in danger if they openly act against the USA. If some other country was involved in this type of act, the reaction of all countries, including India, would have been quite different.

The situation demands that all countries shun this soft approach and join hands to oppose the USA. Even if each country sends 5,000 war troops, which is not difficult, Mr Bush will learn the lesson of his life and the USA would stop meddling in the affairs of other countries which, of late, seems to have become a pastime with Mr Bush. Similarly, all countries should come forward to extend financial aid to the poor and starving people of Iraq by sending grains and medicines. Lip sympathy and soft opposition are meaningless. It is the action which would send signals to Mr Bush. All countries need to come out of their self-created hype that for economic growth one has to swim or sink with the USA. It is the time India takes the lead. After all, do we not feel let down by the USA on the Kashmir issue?

Bhartendu Sood, Chandigarh


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