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Military leadership should be consulted

I must compliment Gen Malik for writing a thoughtful article “Developing ties with Myanmar” (June 21). This is the first article I have read when a former Chief of Army Staff has given relevant details about his involvement in discussions with the military leaders of Myanmar, who were running the government. He gives credit to Prime Ministers Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee for building good relations with Myanmar’s military junta by making use of Indian military leadership.

This is the first incident in the Indian history since independence where the services of Indian military officers were utilised for improving relations with a foreign country like Myanmar. Gen Malik, along with a small tri-service delegation, met the senior generals of the Myanmar Army to open the window for further talks. Later, Myanmar officers in charge, and various ministers visited Shillong for a meeting with Gen Malik as well as Indian ministers regarding Indo-Myanmar relations and development of various projects by India in Myanmar.

However, our relations with Myanmar have become lukewarm again because of pressures from countries like the United States of America, as Myanmar does not have a democratic government. In the process China has gained a lot. How I wish the Indian Government had consulted senior military officers, besides political leaders, before signing important international agreements, such as the Tashkent Agreement after the 1965 war. It is difficult to understand why political leaders of the country find it difficult to consult senior military officers in matters pertaining to the security interests of the country.

Maj-Gen Rajendra Nath, PVSM (retd),Chandigarh

Taming inflation

The editorial, Inflation defies gravity (June 18), highlighted the issue of rising prices and the steps taken by the RBI and other central banks across the globe to check inflation. Controlling inflation through monetary measures by raising interest rates does not always hold good. It requires a blend of quantitative as well as qualitative monetary measures.

The government expects interest rate hike to act as a magic wand to solve all economic problems. As the author has rightly described that interest rate hike is a double-edged sword. Though it dampens the buying spirits and puts a check on demands for goods and services, it hits the supply scenario by having a negative impact on industry and production levels. Low production levels and low growth rates put the entire economy on a downward trend. Lower demand and lower supply scene takes the economy to a lower position of equilibrium without any noticeable impact on rising prices.

The RBI, therefore, should also mull over measures such as change in marginal requirements of loans, rationing of credit as per changing needs and preferences of the economy. Instead of having uniform interest rates, the RBI should encourage cheaper loans for selected industrial sectors. Agricultural reforms and cheaper loans for encouraging application of scientific agricultural processes and means should be on the agenda of policy makers.

Every economic measure has both positive and negative impact. One has to weigh its merits and demerits intelligently, keeping in view the gravity of the situation. The blind and mindless use of these monetary measures would never bring the desired results. The quality of money, not just the flow, governs the economic health of a nation.

Sanjeev Trikha, Fatehabad

Doctor’s predicament

This refers to the middle, A prayer to the doctor (June 20) by Ravia Gupta. I partially agree with the lamentations of the author. Medicine is treated as a noble profession and we expect doctors to adhere to the Hippocratic Oath and ethics. We want instant relief from our sufferings and switch doctors at will. At the same time, we wish to be treated by the best in the field. Nobody likes to visit a plain MBBS these days.

A doctor is judged by the list of degrees displayed on his signboard. Still we blame doctors saying that they prescribe unnecessary tests just for money. In such a tense atmosphere if a patient loses his life, the doctor is held responsible. If we look into the hard work and perseverance that goes into the making of a doctor, we will definitely treat them with compassion. We should remember that diagnostic tests prescribed by doctors, though expensive, are handy in early detection of a disease.

We are also well aware of the plight of the government-run hospitals and the kind of treatment meted out to patients there. In such a scenario, the private nursing homes are doing a great service to the society. No doubt, there are always some black sheep in the profession. But we must remember that the society cannot continue to be critical of doctors, and at the same time expect them to adhere to the Hippocratic Oath. What we get from the system is the result of what we give to it. 

 Bhushan Chander Jindal, Jalandhar

Fight common enemies

The article Why India needs to keep talking to Pakistan (June 23) by Raj Chengappa is thought-provoking as well as a timely recipe for restoration of normalcy in our troubled subcontinent. His recent interactions, particularly with the youth and the academia in Pakistan, lends added credence to the popularly held belief in both countries that if we want to grow stronger economically, it is time for us to break free from the vicious circle of hatred and violence.

It is in our interest that we engage in sustained dialogue and make efforts to fight our real and common enemies — terror, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, disease and backwardness. This will need the softening of rigid mindset, especially among hardliners in both countries. It is high time we engaged in a friendly dialogue and took confidence-building measures to promote greater people-to-people contact.

Govind Singh Khimta, Shimla



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