L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Fix those behind the Games mess

The editorial “Despair is counter-productive” (Aug 5) has rightly stressed that we should prepare for the Commonwealth Games on a war footing, but failed to identify who are ‘we’? Who should pull up their socks to end the inadequacies? How on earth can we believe that all those responsible for criminal delays in completing the projects and massive escalation in the budget for the Games, including the government, will now work on a war footing unless there is punishable accountability and radical reshuffle in the sports administration.

Blatant corruption in fudging contracts, forging documents and manipulating prices is truly shocking even for the Indian public, now used to scams. Definitely, the country’s dignity and pride is at stake, but such a loot exposes how the powerful sports establishment ends up making millions, openly and shamelessly, compromising pride and dignity of the country for material gains.

Unless a miracle happens, the infrastructure planned for the Games will not be completed on schedule and India can save a bit of pride and dignity by at least fixing the accountability for all the mess and punishing the guilty to show the world that all those who play with pride and dignity of the country will not be spared.

Otherwise, it will add to the already increasing loss of public trust in the state institutions and public officials. Besides, I am sure under all adverse circumstances we have dedicated people and administrators who can still ensure the success of the Games.


Governors’ role

The institution of the President and that of governors in the states is almost parallel (article, “Not the Centre’s agent” by Lt-Gen S K Sinha (retd), July 30). The issue of having the President over and above the Prime Minister was discussed in the debates of the Constituent Assembly. T T Krishnamachari had settled the issue by advocating that the President being a man of high calibre and international fame would enhance the prestige of the country.

This spirit was imbibed till Dr Zakir Hussain was the President. Thereafter, all the Presidents have been ordinary political personalities, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and K.R. Narayanan being the only exceptions. Similar has been the story in the appointment of governors in the states with some notable exceptions like that of Dr Gopal Gandhi, former Governor of West Bengal.

Presently the position of the President is worse than that of a figurehead because he is bound by the advice of his Cabinet. Same is the fate of the governors in the states. Consequently the criticism of Karnataka’s Governor H R Bhardwaj is misplaced because the Chief Minister is bent upon retaining two ministers of reprehensible conduct. Should the Governor now resign to his fate and keep mum over this outrageous situation?


Army in Pakistan

The editorial, “It’s Kayani’s Pakistan” (July 24) reminds me of a popular joke that the people of Pakistan shared with each other during the late General Zia’s rule. “While other countries have armies, in Pakistan army has a country.” The Pakistan Army has ruled the country most of the time. By giving extension to the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaque Parvez Kayani, for three yeas, the longest so far by a democratic government in Pakistan, the bitter truth is that the political leadership (read Yousaf Raza Gilani) has accorded extension to his government up to 2013 when the country would be ready for the next elections.

However, it goes to the credit of General Kayani that he has often reiterated that the army would not interfere in political matters and he has kept his words, proving that he stands for democracy. He did not support even the former dictator, General Pervez Musharraf when his position came under threat due to countrywide protests. It is indeed an internal matter of any country, more so of Pakistan, as how long a general, admiral or an air marshal is retained.

No doubt, General Kayani’s impeccable integrity and international image as a soldier have kept the corrupt politicians of Pakistan under torment as the General would spare none of this class. I wish if such fear is also inculcated among our corrupt politicians who humble our soldiers ever ready to sacrifice their lives for the unity and integrity of India.


Permanent commission

The long awaited decision to grant permanent commission to women officers is likely to augment the shortage of officers (editorial, “Women in uniform”, Aug 4). The Border Security Force and the ITBP have taken a bold step and inducted women even to perform the field duties. Let us see how these steps take a final shape.

Col R S GURUNG (retd), via e-mail

‘Limited war’ option

The article “Fighting a ‘limited’ war” (Aug 3) starts by expressing ambiguity about the evolution of limited war. “Limited Liability” was first propounded by Capt B H Liddell Hart in the 1930’s. It was christened “Limited war” in 1957 by Henry Kissinger and Robert Osgood. Limited war postulates the possession of weapons of mass destruction by both adversaries as a pre-condition to keeping the war limited. It was propounded as a political, not a military option, and remains so till date.

In the Indo-Pak context, limited war emerged as a strategy for India in the late 1990’s, necessitated primarily by the continuance of militancy in J&K despite India’s efforts to combat it. The inadvertent trigger for its emergence was the Kargil war itself, which was seen retrospectively as a limited war under the nuclear umbrella. Our Cold Start doctrine emerged as its recognisable face, and has had Pakistan substantially worried. 

History has proved that in Vietnam, the 1973 Yom-Kippur war, the Kargil war or the one in Afghanistan today, the basic concept of limited war is not flawed, though its execution often is, especially when the political leadership fails to understand its dynamics. Holding the apex military leadership accountable, as the writer seems to suggest (for Kargil), is, therefore, debatable.

Maj-Gen RAJ MEHTA, (retd), SAS Nagar



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |