Sanjha Morcha

“Pak Should Solve Own Issues Before Pointing At Kashmir”: Advocacy Group

Voice of Karachi asserted that Pakistan is answerable for several things including the freedom given to the leaders of terrorist group like Lashkar-e-Taiba.

'Pak Should Solve Own Issues Before Pointing At Kashmir': Advocacy Group

Voice of Karachi chairman Nadeem Nusrat called Imran Khan a weak leader.

NEW YORK: The Voice of Karachi hit out at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan while terming Islamabad government as “military stooge”.

Nadeem Nusrat, chairman of the US-based advocacy group, also called Khan a weak leader and said that he can only design policies but execution and decisions are in the hands of the military.

“Pakistan has been a military state since its inception. Imran Khan can design foreign policies but the question is will he be given enough room to work and execute these policies,” Mr Nusrat was quoted by news agency ANI.

On Pakistan Foreign Minister Mehmood Shah Qureshi’s statement on India’s call for the conducive environment, Mr Nusrat asserted that Pakistan is answerable for several things including the freedom given to the leaders of terrorist group like Lashkar-e-Taiba.

He also stated that it will be difficult for Pakistan to blame other countries until it resolves its own issues. “It is sad that Pakistan finds it problematic that India helps Afghanistan and accuses Islamabad of spying. Pakistan considers Afghanistan as its backyard and forgets that it is a sovereign state. Pakistan should be held accountable for the killing of 25,000 people in Karachi, abduction of Balochs and Sindhis. Rather than talking about the so-called human rights violation in Kashmir, Pakistan should first resolve these issues,” he said.

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He further advised Pakistan to work on confidence-building measures “if it wants to improve relations with the neighbouring countries”.


The Indian Army surgical strike people do not know about

Arun Shourie discussed with ThePrint an operation conducted under PM Vajpayee that he described as much bigger than the one in 2016.

New Delhi: The Indian Army’s surgical strikes of 28-29 September, 2016, were not the country’s first, but they remain the only such operation openly acknowledged by the government, and that too in the immediate aftermath.

This fact has opened the Narendra Modi administration up to allegations of using a crucial security operation to bolster its image, with critics pointing out how preceding governments kept far bigger cross-border strikes under wraps in the larger public interest.

Former union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Arun Shourie told ThePrint that one such strike took place under the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, which was led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.


Also read: Modi’s Rafale deal is largest defence scam, says Arun Shourie


Speaking to ThePrint Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta at Off the Cuff in July last year, Shourie had said the strike involved soldiers trooping over 14 kilometres inside the Pakistan border to target a post, compared to the two-three kilometres Army men covered in 2016 to destroy multiple terror launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Bringing back a trophy

“I will tell you something from absolutely personal knowledge,” he said.

“This time it is said we went in two kilometres. In that particular incident – it happened during Atalji’s time – they had done something evil on the Indian side. To teach them a lesson a raid was planned which was about 14 km inside Pakistan,” Shourie added.

He said the Indian team even brought back bodies and documents from the raid. “They killed everybody there, probably about 10-15 people, and they lugged seven bodies back across the border into India,” Shourie said.

A guest book brought back from the post, he claimed, revealed that former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf had visited it just a few days before the raid.

“As a trophy, they also brought the guest book of that particular post. It is lying in one of the regimental headquarters today,” Shourie said. “And it so happened that 10 days before, Musharraf had come to the post and said what a good job you are doing, keep it up.”

The former minister cited the incident as he made a point against what he called “rising rhetoric”, saying that the operation conducted during NDA-I was never spoken about.


Also read: Anthem to events at India Gate: How Modi govt plans to celebrate ‘covert’ surgical strikes


Saturday marks the second anniversary of the surgical strikes that were carried out 11 days after terrorists attacked an Indian Army camp in Uri, Jammu & Kashmir, and killed 19 soldiers.

Even as Pakistan denied them, several world powers had rallied in support of India at the time. Earlier this year, a leaked video of the operation had triggered a fresh round of political mudslinging on the surgical strikes.


Actually, the Indian Air Force has never been without a Dassault aircraft

IAF has been using fighter jets made by Dassault, a French company since 1953. It deployed Mirage 2000 to drop laser-guided bombs during Kargil war.

New Delhi: As the Rafale deal comes under intense political scrutiny, history tells us that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has never been without a Dassault aircraft since 1953.

A look at some of the IAF’s flagship fighter planes over the years suggests that Dassault Aviation has been a mainstay manufacturer since early 1950s.

A ‘toofani’ start

India started purchasing Dassault’s aircraft in 1953 when the IAF decided to induct MD Ouragan 450 in its fleet. After Independence, India had bought the British fighter Vampire from the leftover sterling credit. However, the need for a more advanced jet fighter was acutely felt, which led to the decision to purchase Ouragan. India initially placed an order for 71 Ouragans but later raised it to 113.


Also read:Dassault didn’t pick Anil Ambani’s Reliance as Rafale partner: French ex-president


For the next decade or so, this aircraft, also known as Typhoon or Toofani, became the quintessential IAF fighter jet in every Indian’s imagination. In the famous 1964 movie Sangam, Raj Kapoor was shown flying an Ouragan which etched that image in public memory.

The plane acquired prominence in Pakistan’s history as well when an Indian Ouragan conducting a reconnaissance mission was captured by Pakistani forces during a border skirmish at Kutch in 1965.

Devaiah’s ‘Mystere’ mystery

By this time, however, Ouragan had become outdated and was beginning to be replaced by more advanced aircraft.

One of them was the multi-role fighter Mystere IVa, which was also manufactured by Dassault. A total of 104 Mystere IVa’s were purchased in 1957 and were extensively used during 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan. The plane remained in active duty until 1973.

During the 1965 war, Squadron Leader A.B. Devaiah was sent on a mission to attack Sargodha airbase in Pakistan. However, his plane was intercepted and damaged by an F-104 fighter being operated by Pakistani Flight Lieutenant Amjad Hussain. Despite taking a hit, Devaiah managed to counter-attack and shot down the F-104 whose pilot managed to eject in time.

It was initially believed that Hussain’s plane crashed after getting entangled in the debris of Devaiah’s plane and it took some time before the latter’s heroics were recognised. IAF learnt about it in 1971 when Hussain was taken as a POW by the Indian forces. Later, the account was recounted in a book, Battle for Pakistan by John Fricker. Devaiah was posthumously awarded a Maha Vir Chakra in 1988.

Kargil’s French connection

The relationship between IAF and Dassault continued when India decided to purchase Mirage 2000 in 1982. During the 1999 Kargil war, IAF used this aircraft to drop laser-guided bombs on enemy positions.


Also readThe big questions about the Rafale deal you didn’t know whom to ask


Dassault isn’t the only French company from whom India has purchased fighter jets. The Morarji Desai government had acquired Jaguar, made by French-British company SEPECAT, in 1979.


China’s new combat aircraft makes debut flight

The new FTC-2000G is a fixed-wing, multi-role combat plane tasked mainly with airstrikes against ground targets. It can also be used as a fighter jet or trainer aircraft, Aviation Industry Corp of China said in a statement

china combat aircraft, China's new multilrole combat aircraft, Aviation Industry Corp of China, new AVIC fighter jet, China's FTC 2000G aircraft, China, World News, Indian Express

China’s indigenously-built new multi-role combat aircraft for exports has made its debut flight, the state-run media reported Saturday.

The FTC-2000G, a new multirole combat aircraft developed for export by the State-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China, (AVIC) made its debut flight on Friday in the southwest Guizhou province, state-run China Daily reported.

First F-35 fighter jets land on UK’s new aircraft carrier

F-35 Lightning jets have landed on a UK aircraft carrier for the first time, and it comes eight years since a fighter jet last touch-downed on a British carrier.

The FTC-2000G aircraft flew for about 16 minutes. More than 1,000 people, including AVIC executives and provincial leaders as well as ambassadors and military attaches from several nations, took part in the ceremony marking the debut flight, it said.

China in the recent past has developed a range of fighter jets including a stealth aircraft. It also jointly produces JF-Thunder aircraft with Pakistan.

However, China is yet to develop an engine of its own for the jets and mostly imports it from Russia.

According to AVIC, the aircraft is tasked mainly with air strikes against ground targets.

The FTC-2000G is a fixed-wing, multi-role combat plane tasked mainly with airstrikes against ground targets. It can also be used as a fighter jet or trainer aircraft, AVIC said in a statement.

Equipped with modern radar and fire-control systems, it is capable of staying airborne for three hours in a single operation and can carry as much as 3 tonnes of missiles, rockets or bombs, AVIC said, adding that it is equipped with air-to-surface weapons.

Hu Jianxing, chief designer of the FTC-2000G at Guizhou Aviation Industry, said the aircraft features high operational economy and can carry out tasks in all weather conditions and at night.

With the proper equipment, the aircraft will also be able to perform reconnaissance or electronic-warfare operations.

“The aircraft can fulfil a wide range of tasks, ranging from flight training and close-in air support to long-distance penetration airstrikes and air escorts,” he told the daily.

It took less than two years to develop the jet, the AVIC said, adding that the twin-seat plane is a modified version of a new type of advanced training jet that has been deployed by the Chinese Air Force and Navy.

The aircraft has a maximum speed of 1.2 Mach, or 1,470 kilometers per hour, a maximum take-off weight of 11 metric tons, a maximum flight range of 2,400 km and an operational flight ceiling of 15 km.

Though the FTC-2000G will face competition from South Korea’s FA-50 and Italy’s M346, it will enjoy a pricing advantage, another daily, Global Times, quoted experts as saying.

As a light-duty attack aircraft or fighter jet, it is a replacement for old models such as China’s J-7 and the former Soviet Union’s MiG-21.

China delivered six FTC-2000s, FTC-2000G’s predecessor, to Sudan in May, according to UK-based Jane’s Defence Weekly.


How Army Chief And Government Are Misusing Surgical Strikes’ Talk

As our government demands we celebrate “Surgical Strikes Day”, we should instead reflect. And feel disturbed – because not for decades has a government so blatantly politicised Indian defence and India’s military. The Bharatiya Janata Party has shown that it is willing to compromise on India’s security just to try to win a few elections.

Let’s recall for a moment exactly what we’re commemorating. Two years ago, the Indian military crossed over the Line of Control in the Kupwara and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir to attack forward camps where it believed militants planning to sneak into India were briefed. The commandos, believably, say perhaps 40 militants and a couple of regular Pakistani soldiers were killed. In other words, the strikes were a tactical success.

But the action was a strategic failure: because it has signally failed to deter Pakistan. Far from changing our neighbour’s behaviour, in the two years since the strikes across the border – ceasefire violations have gone up four-fold. Security personnel are being killed on a regular basis; infiltrations do not just continue but in fact have intensified beginning in 2016. The Indian army carries out the orders of its political masters; tactics are the domain of the commanders on the ground. But it is clear that strategic thinking is absent in New Delhi. So should we not also on this day commemorate the strategic errors of the government? Should we call it “Strategic Failures Divas” instead?

This is just one more way in which the government has chosen to stoke the fires of Kashmir, irresponsibly and short-sightedly, in order to pump up its “nationalist” credentials in the Hindi belt. Back in 2014, discontent in the Valley was under control. There were barely 200 militants, probably less, left. Local recruitment was negligible. In the years since then, fuelled by the BJP’s irresponsible politics locally and by its divisive rhetoric nationally, the number of young Kashmiris turning to militancy has sky-rocketed. This should give any nationalist Indian pause. But apparently it means nothing to India’s “nationalist” party. It would seem that only election victories matter and since the surgical strikes helped them win the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, their memory must be kept alive.

In the meantime, the Indian government’s approach to Pakistan where it matters has been embarrassingly schizophrenic. Most ridiculously, it cancelled a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart in New York barely 24 hours after it had been announced. This followed a negative reaction from some of its more jingoistic supporters online. Nobody can fault the government’s reaction time. But security policy and diplomacy cannot respond to Twitter trending topics. The silliness didn’t stop there: an absurdly worded statement from the foreign ministry – “the true face of Imran Khan has been revealed to the world” – needlessly personalised the issue and deliberately alienated the man who is now, for better or for worse, Pakistan’s prime minister for the next five years. All this did was put Khan’s back up, and cause him to tweet something equally silly about his Indian counterpart – “small men who occupy big offices”. India’s job should be to detach Khan from the military, and to widen civilian-military gaps in the new administration. That is where our security lies – and, of course, it would be good for Pakistan as well. But the Indian government is so scared of its own social media trolls that it would rather behave like them than in India’s interest.

If the government truly wished us to celebrate our military – the supposed reason for Surgical Strikes Day, and the subject of a circular sent out to schools and universities by the busybodies in New Delhi – then it could have picked any number of important dates in our history.

We already have Kargil Victory Day on July 26 – that could have been one occasion. Or November 1, the day in 1948 that General Thimayya and the tanks of the Seventh Light Cavalry took Zojila Pass and the crucial road to Ladakh. The truth is that there’s no shortage of such days. Picking the day of one particular set of cross-border strikes slights the Indian army’s history. It isn’t surprising that, according to most reports, veterans are noticeably unenthusiastic about the government’s plans for celebration.

Worst of all are the open claims that more such strikes are in the offing. One must assume that India’s Army chief acts on his own, and does not follow political orders. Yet General Rawat’s recent bellicose statements on television – “I believe there is a need for another surgical strike” – suggest at least that the civilians in government have not chosen to do their job and restrain him from making unfortunate statements to the media.

The whole point of undercover operations is that they are, well, undercover. It was bad enough when the government decided to publicise the 2016 strikes after they had happened; now we are publicising them before they take place?

What next – will we send BJP social media managers along so they can live-tweet where the army is going to strike?

Cross-border strikes are risky, and so should not be telegraphed in advance. What does risk mean in this context? What does danger mean? It means that soldiers might die. It means that such strikes carry a significant risk of failure. Not only should no Indian soldier’s life be sacrificed on the altar of political propaganda, but as Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia has pointed out, the very fact that the government chooses to make cross-border strikes the subject of propaganda makes them a less effective weapon. It means it cannot afford to risk them going wrong. The propaganda, far from making India stronger, has deprived it of an instrument it has used often, but quietly.

(Mihir Swarup Sharma is a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation.)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.


Pak Army violates ceasefire on second anniversary of surgical strikes

Indian Army

On the second anniversary of Surgical Strikes, Pakistan army violated ceasefire and tried to push in a group of terrorists under the cover of heavy firing along the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar sector of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

“Infiltration attempt by terrorists and Ceasefire Violation by Pakistan Army in Tangdhar Sector in evening hours today,” confirmed Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.

Indian Army immediately swung into action and retaliated in equal measure to silence Pakistan guns.

“Own forces retaliated strongly and foiled infiltration bid being attempted under covering fire by Pakistan Army.  No damage, injury or casualty on own side,” Colonel Kalia said.

The cross birder firing comes on the day when the nation is celebrating the second anniversary of surgical strikes by Indian Army on terror launch pads across the LoC in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

The ceasefire violation comes a day after External Affairs Minister Shushma Swaraj snubbed Pakistan after she left midway during SAARC conference.

Figures released by Ministry of Home Affairs reveal that 2,855 incidents of Cross Border Firing occurred during two-and-half years.

In a reply to the RTI application filed by Jammu based activist Raman Sharma, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said over 2855 incidents of unprovoked cross border firing from Pakistan has occurred on Line of Control (LOC) and International Border (IB) since 2016 to July 2018.

More than 109 people including 35 army soldiers and 21 BSF personnel were killed while 565 people were injured including 302 civilians and 263 security force personnel in the cross border firing since January 2016 to July 2018


Nirmala Sitharaman on Rafale deal row: ‘Were Hollande remarks to evade questions?’

During a press meet on Saturday, Sitharaman was asked about Hollande’s remark that Reliance Defence was chosen as offset partner by Dassault Aviation because the Indian government had “proposed” its name.

Nirmala Sitharaman on Rafale deal row: ‘Were Hollande remarks to evade questions?’

During a press meet on Saturday, Sitharaman was asked about Hollande’s remark that Reliance Defence was chosen as offset partner by Dassault Aviation because the Indian government had “proposed” its name. (Expres photo by Renuka Puri)

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday suggested that former French President Francois Hollande may have made the recent remarks on the Rafale deal to evade questions on allegations raised about his associates receiving funds from a company.

During a press meet on Saturday, Sitharaman was asked about Hollande’s remark that Reliance Defence was chosen as offset partner by Dassault Aviation because the Indian government had “proposed” its name. The minister replied that she would not know if there was any kind of offset-related agreement or understanding between companies.

She said she would know that only when those companies make that claim with bills and other details. “It appears from the media that it is not just one, but there are some 70-80 companies whom Dassault (Aviation) is going with,” she said, asking whether Hollande meant that Dassault had to go with all these 70-80 companies because they were asked to do so.

“I know this matter is now international. It will have an impact on international relations. But here, the former President of France, who himself is — I don’t know whether it is true or not — facing an allegation, it may or may not be true, that his associates have received funds for some purpose…. In such a situation, the (former) President is saying this. Does it mean he just wanted this journalist off his back and therefore he wanted to say something, and he said something different elsewhere later?” Sitharaman said. She added that she will not be in a position to elaborate on that allegation.

Read | Defence Ministry official put on record objections to 36-Rafale deal

The Indian Express had earlier reported that Reliance Entertainment had signed a pact to finance a film by French actor-producer Julie Gayet, partner of Hollande, while India was negotiating the Rafale deal with France, which led to Reliance getting the offset contract from Dassault.

Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Sitharaman said, “Certainly I find it amusing that everything this former President is doing is being predicted by the president of the Congress party here, yes, well in advance. It’s very interesting.”
Asked about the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) losing the deal, Sitharaman said that the Congress-led UPA failed HAL compared to what the NDA government has done since 2014. She said, “We have ensured them (HAL) Rs 20,000 crore worth orders every year from our side. We are giving them orders. The same HAL was given an order for 40 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) model by UPA. Only eight have been supplied so far.

“We are making efforts to improve their production capacity. After this 40 aircraft, we have given order for 83 LCAs. After they finish it, we have promised that we will order for a much more advanced aircraft. We have also increased their annual production capacity.”


WHY WERE THE INDO­PAK TALKS CALLED OFF?

There’s no doubt India-Pakistan relations are accident-prone and when they go into a tailspin, they usually raise disturbing questions rather than provide meaningful answers. Yet, even by these standards, what happened last week defies belief. The government has a lot of explaining to do. But will it? Or will we be left befuddled?

To begin with, why at this time did the government agree to a meeting in New York between the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers? The announcement came two days after the brutal killing of a BSF jawan, who was found with his throat slit. It also followed the announcement that September 29 would be observed as Surgical Strike Day. And let’s not forget the steadily worsening cycle of violence in Kashmir, for which Pakistan-supported terrorist groups are responsible. So was this the right moment to schedule a meeting of foreign ministers?

Second, the claim that this was just a meeting but not a dialogue is hairsplitting. Undoubtedly, the two ministers would have discussed terror, and that includes the situation in Kashmir. The MEA also confirmed that access to the Kartarpur Gurudwara would be raised. Would this not have been substantive talks? And doesn’t that amount to a dialogue?

Yet, 24 hours after agreeing to a meeting, the Indian government called off the talks. The two reasons it gave are far from convincing. They only raise further questions.

First, it cited the killing of three special police officers at Shopian. However, as this newspaper has reported, already this year 37 Kashmiri policemen have fallen to militant bullets while 13 BSF jawans have been killed along the Line of Control or international border. If the earlier 50 deaths did not preclude a meeting it’s strange that three more should have scuppered it.

The government’s second reason for calling off the talks is even more bizarre. It’s the stamps issued by the Pakistani postal service which glorify Kashmiri terrorists, in particular, Burhan Wani. Whilst, no doubt, the stamps are offensive and provocative, they were issued in July and before the elections that brought the Imran Khan government to power. It hardly makes sense to cite them two months later. That suggests the government was earlier unaware of them which, if true, would be perplexing.

Finally, the statement calling off the talks seems to deliberately break with the careful tone and moderate language India has used in the past. Instead, it spoke of Pakistan’s “evil agenda” and the “true face of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan”. No doubt Mr Khan was equally intemperate and personal in his response, but India’s former high commissioners to Pakistan have not withheld their criticism of the Indian statement.

So what exactly happened? Indeed, will we ever be told? This time, at least, our newspapers and television channels have raised the right questions but the government has retreated behind a wall of silence. Beyond the external affairs ministry spokesperson, no one has thought it fit to explain anything.

To say the least, this is strange behaviour in a democracy. Meanwhile, Pakistan has been left to look like the aggrieved party or, at least, the one interested in taking the first step to improve relations. What a strange, if not inexplicable, turn of events.

 


Militarism as an electoral ploy::only military achievement of the Modi government howsoever small

This is the only military achievement of the Modi government howsoever small. It does not have the benefit of a Kargil war which bequeathed the then BJP led by Atal Behari Vajpayee a great electoral victory in the 1999 elections. The Vajpayee dispensation made unabashed political capital out of the Kargil victory

Chander Suta Dogra

Chander Suta DograSenior journalist

Forget for a moment the absurdity of the University Grants Commission (UGC) calling for observance of ‘Surgical Strikes Day’ on September 29, in all its affiliated universities and colleges. It was actually a cabinet decision taken earlier this month, which is currently being coordinated by different arms of the government including the Ministry of Defence and HRD ministry. There will be marches by NCC cadets, talks by veteran officers of the armed forces, patriotic songs, pledges of admiration for the Armed Forces by students and the works. The UGC which is mandated to regulate higher education in the country decided to take a break from governing the 860 universities and more than 30,000 affiliated colleges, and inject a dose of patriotic fervour in the campuses under it.

It doesn’t matter who thought up the idea or where it originated because it was always there in the air. Even after the ruling BJP had finished tom tomming  the ‘achievement’ on prime time television channels and on elections rally stages in Uttar Pradesh  in November 2016. The term slipped effortlessly into the political vocabulary and men in uniform smiled bemusedly whenever someone referred to ‘surgical strikes’.

In June this year, suddenly a handful of television channels were provided ‘exclusive’ videos of the strikes by Special Forces troops against terrorist launching pads in enemy territory. The term was once again alive in the national consciousness. Or, it could be said that there is a concerted effort on to ensure that it remains alive until its political utility is exhausted.

Let there be no doubt that the observance of the day on September 29 this year is political . No one in the government or the UGC remembered to commemorate the day last year. Timing is everything. It doesn’t need much insight to see that dusting  and serving up the military operation to unsuspecting students and the nation at large on its second anniversary surely has something to do with impending Lok Sabha elections.

Two quick points here.

1. Firstly the ‘strikes’ have done little to deter terrorists and their backers in the Pakistan military to desist from conducting more attacks on Indian soil. The steady rate of soldiers dying in insurgency related operations  in Kashmir, and little respite from ceasefire violations on the Line of Control even after the September 2016 strikes are indicative.  Within the army it is common knowledge that after 1990 such cross border raids and limited skirmishes became routine on “small isolated enemy posts that are within the operational reach of infantry battalions.” But the ‘surgical strikes’ which captured the nation’s imagination were a slightly bigger operation conducted on September 28 and 29 to destroy terrorist launching pads in PoK and deliver a message of deterrence. The immediate provocation was the attack on the Uri brigade on September 18 in which 11 Indian soldiers were killed. There was anger and talk of taking revenge. The government claimed that the strikes led to the death of more than 50 terrorists and possibly some army regulars too. That Indian troops have been active and inflicting a toll on Pakistani troops located close to the LOC even after the strikes was revealed recently at GHQ Rawalpindi where the Pakistani Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa gave away gallantry awards to Pakistani soldiers killed near the LOC from 2016 onwards.  They would most certainly have been casualities of  Indian army operations. So why is there such a hullabaloo over something which happens quite often as part of retaliatory tactics involving operations by Border Action Teams (BAT) and small and heavy fire?

This brings us to the second point.

2. That this is the only military achievement of the Modi government howsoever small. It does not have the benefit of a Kargil war which bequeathed the then BJP led by Atal Behari Vajpayee a great electoral victory in the 1999 elections. The Vajpayee dispensation made unabashed political capital out of the Kargil victory, even putting up posters of serving Chiefs at election rallies. But Modi’s chest is bereft of a great military medal like Kargil  or the Indo-Pak war of 1971  which dismembered Pakistan. Given the present geo-political compulsions , the nuclear reality and uneasy relations with neighbouring countries its hard to see the present BJP government exercising a limited military option in the near future, though military veterans do not rule out an air attack or two “to teach Pakistan a lesson”, closer to elections.  The Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat has ominously said  that  India needs to change its strategy vis a vis Pakistan so that “they feel the same pain as India.”

The thinking in the BJP quite clearly is that it should have a military achievement in its arsenal as it goes into elections and the 2016 surgical strikes are its very own. Senior veteran officers are being asked by the defence PROs to write helpful articles in mainstream media outlets on surgical strikes.  Not only does the BJP see a repeat dose of jingoism endearing it to the young in college campuses as they clamber over vintage captured tanks of 1971 war at ‘ Surgical Strikes Day’ rallies, but it is targeted also at its growing ‘fauji’ constituency in the countryside. Even though it is not homogenous, the ‘fauji’ vote bank is now a reality and the BJP can claim some credit for the political awakening of soldiers

No political party except for the BJP has ever paid attention to this group which was assiduously nurtured in the 2014 elections. It has seen some erosion since then but many of those who returned home after serving in hotspots of Kashmir will be happy to see their small military operation get such huge recognition.. It is hard to see the UGC issuing a directive to observe Kargil Vijay Divas in the same manner.


‘Prakrm Parva’ marks second day of surgical strikes

‘Prakrm Parva’ marks second day of surgical strikes

A girl tries her hands on a weapon during the second anniversary of surgical strikes organised by the Vajra Corps in Jalandhar. Photo: Sarabjit Singh

Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 29

On the second day of the surgical strikes anniversary celebration, the “Prakrm Parva” function was held here at Curo Mall to commemorate the valour and sacrifice of the armed forces.

At the Viva Collage Mall, the “Jawans” of the Army and the Vajra Corps performed a rock band. Sikh Light Infantry, Fatehpur Paltan, were present at Viva Collage and at MBD Neopolis Mall and carried out day-long activities in order to apprise the youth of an insight into joining the Army.

The organisers at the MBD Mall said a huge response was witnessed at Info Desk of the Army. During the two-day event a large number of citizens, especially women and youth, visited different venues to have the glimpse of the Army equipment and know about the surgical strikes.”

An interaction of young officers of Fatehpur Paltan and Col MPS Bhadoria with the youth of Punjab was also held at Viva Mall.

People took selfies with officers and jawans of the various ranks. “This was an all new and an unforgettable experience”, said Kavita Joshi, a student of Class XII.

Videos were also shown showcasing that how the Indian Army faces challenges and displayed valour at the borders of the nation. The performance of the Army Pipe band and Jazz Band enthralled the audience.

Small weapons were installed at a special selfie corner. Some people donned the Army uniform.

Equiment used by the Army, during the surgical strikes, were displayed on the occasion.

The Army personnel distributed sweets among visitors.

Lt General Dushyant Singh, GOC, Vajra Corps, presented a token of remembrance to Prabhjot Sond, vice-president, Viva College Mall Operations and Business Development, for his cooperation in making it the event successful.