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Archive for January, 2002

India’s Overkill

The thousands of years old “Kautiliya Arthasastra” is a complete code of Hindu statecraft, duplicity being a main plank of its regime for state conduct. Other than poison, use of women, false propaganda, etc, in Chapter 2 of Book 12 it says “secret agents should spread rumours among the citizens and country people and when spread far and wide, assassins should rob citizens at night and slay chiefs, saying” thus are dealt with those who do not obey the Regent”. They should leave blood-stained weapons, articles and binding ropes in the quarter of the Regent and secret agents should proclaim, “the Regent is slaying and robbing the subjects” – they should set fire to royal palaces and city gates, to stores of articles and grains and kill the officers there, saying piteously that it has been done by the Regent. Anything sound familiar here?

While blaming of the Dec 13 attack on the Indian Parliament on Pakistan was dubious at best, accusing Pakistan for the attack on the American Center in Kolkata was outrageous. By now we are familiar with the pattern, and it is not surprising that most of the accusations emanate from L K Advani, India’s Home Minister. His life’s ambition seems to be to have Pakistan declared “a terrorist state”. There are those among the Indian hierarchy who know that the accusations have no basis, it is also not surprising that they are almost apologetic in supporting their Home Minister. They should be paying attention to the allegations under oath made against him by his own daughter-in-law, a person who was his “Special Assistant” for years before getting married to his son. Among other disclosures, she has also accused him of meticulously planning the destruction of the Babri Masjid. With respect to the recent incident, how come some “Farhan” from Dubai rang him up directly claiming responsibility, and can’t this be traced back? Moreover how is it that the attack seems to coincide with whenever any high official from the US or Europe is visiting India. Since the US President’s Special Envoy on Counter-terrorism and the FBI Director General were in India at that time, it was most convenient to have the terrorist attack during this period. It served to underscore India as “a full partner of the US as a major target of terrorism”. Or is it so? Are the US officials naive or gullible to fall for these recurring coincidences? US officials close to “ground zero” in Kolkata (and away in the US), quietly disassociated themselves from the thrust of Indian accusations, saying the attack did not seem to be directed against the US and that there was no real evidence of any involvement of Pakistani-sponsored terrorist groups.


Lessons from History

The lessons of realpolitik emerging from Afghanistan are extremely scary for countries hard put to defend themselves, both physically against aggression as well as targeted media campaigns that may be less than liberal with the truth. Before the two World Wars, the major powers would decide the fate of nations at their will, which country could or could not exist, and if they should exist, in what form? A de facto government-in-place in Kabul allowed the Punjsheeris to virtually compose the Interim Government heavily weighted in their favour, ostensibly at the expense of the Pakhtuns, in fact at everyone’s expense, fellow Tajiks included, among them their nominal leader former President Burhanuddin Rabbani as well as warlords Dostum and Ismail Khan. That the US, whom some of us look upto as the symbol of fairplay and justice, compromised their high moral standards at the altar of convenience, was disappointing. A hint of silver lining is that Hamid Karzai got his way in moving Punjsheeri troops out of Kabul, Fahim and Qanooni reluctantly signing off on that arrangement with the International Peacekeeping Force.


India’s War Plans

India has an advantage in numbers but if war was simply a numbers game, then 75-80% of the wars through history, particularly in the early years of man when numbers mattered, would not have been won by the smaller, better trained, more disciplined and highly motivated fighting forces. At Yarmuk, Khalid Bin Walid led the muslims, outnumbered 7 to 1 by the Romans, to victory in one of the most decisive battles in the world.

Headquartered in New Delhi, the Indian Army has Artillery man Gen S Padmanabhan, a South Indian, as COAS. On Dec 30, 2001 he took over in rotation as the Chairman Joint Chiefs. The Indian Army has five Commands, Northern Command with HQ at Udhampur near Jammu (looking after Kashmir), Western Command at Chandimandir (looking after Punjab and Rajasthan with borderline at Bikaner), Southern Command at Poona (looking after Gujrat and Maharashtra), Central Command at Lucknow with one Strike Corps for the western border and Eastern Command at Calcutta (looking after Counter-Insurgency in Assam and the NEFA border with China). In affect Pakistan is faced with the Northern, Western and Southern Commands even though troops are earmarked as Army Reserve in both Central and Eastern Commands.