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    MAJ GEN SPS GREWAL TAKES OVER AS MD :: PESCO

    20170510_130717 (1)

    Maj Gen Grewal is from the Corps of Signals. In his last appointment as Chief Signals Officer, Central  Command, Lucknow, he oversaw the Army’s mobile and static communication network in the region. He is also the vice-chairman of the Guardians of Governance scheme, Capt Amarinder’s initiative to involve ex-servicemen in keeping a watch on the implementation of government schemes. The post had been lying vacant since February when the term of the then chairman, Lt Gen Kulip Singh (retd), had finished. PESCO’s mandate is to make efforts for the welfare and economic uplift of the ex-servicemen. TNS

    Punjab Ex-Servicemen Corporation Logo

    Background/Foreword

    Every year over 60,000 servicemen are retired from the three Services at a comparative young age (35 to 45 years), primarily to keep a youthful profile in the Defence Forces. They are a highly trained, skilled, disciplined, active, dedicated and committed work force, that has adequate active life. Core values of courage, loyalty, integrity, motivation and reliability are imbibed in these individuals as inherent traits during service.
    Welfare of this huge Human Resource is the sacred responsibility of both the Centre and State Governments as these Ex-servicemen have given the best part of their lives safeguarding our frontiers and protecting the sovereignty of our nation.

    Introduction

    The Government of Punjab has always been a pioneer in looking after the welfare and interests of its Ex-servicemen, widows and their dependents. The Punjab Government by an Act passed by the State Legislative Assembly enacted the Punjab Ex-servicemen Corporation (PESCO) Act on 10 Aug 1978 for the welfare and uplift of ex-servicemen, war widows and their dependents in the State. PESCO is the first Ex-servicemen Corporation formed in India.

    The Corporation has over the years undertaken a multitude of activities and launched projects which have benefited the ex-servicemen across the State. Over 21000 ex-servicemen have since been provided employment and over Rs Three crore disbursed as financial assitance / loans to assist ex-servicemen in self-financing their own schemes. Presently, there are around 11500 ex-servicemen on PESCO rolls, employed on various duties, bulk of them being security duties.

    Contact Information

    Postal address

    Punjab Ex-Servicemen Corporation (PESCO)
    SCO 89-90, Sector 34 A, Chandigarh 160022

    Telephone
    91-172-2664086, 2609564

    FAX
    91-172-2660629, 2624535

    Electronic mail
    General Information: pesco34chd@yahoo.com

    Objective

    OBJECTIVES

    The aim of the Corporation is to provide for the welfare and economic uplift of the ex-servicemen of the State.

    FUNCTIONS

    The functions of the Corporation as given under Section 15(2) of the Act are:

    To plan, promote and undertake, on its own or in collaboration with or through such ex-servicemen Organisations or other agencies as may be approved by the Corporation, programme of agriculture development, marketing, processing, supply and storage of agriculture produce, small-scale industry, building construction, transport and such other business, trade or activity as may be approved in this behalf by the Government.

    To provide financial assistance to ex-servicemen or their organisations by advancing to them in cash or in kind loans including loans under hire-purchase system for any of the purpose specified in clause (i) either directly through such agency, organisation or institution as may be approved by it ;

    To give on hire agricultural or industrial machinery or equipment to ex-servicemen or their organisations;

    To give grants and subsidies to, and to guarantee loans taken by, the ex-servicemen or their organisations;

    To discharge such other functions as may be prescribed or as are supplemental, incidental or consequential to any of the functions conferred on it under this Act.

    Activities

    LIST OF PROJECTS
    1.     SECURITY SERVICES
    2.     EMPLOYMENT OF DRIVERS
    3.     PESCO SAINIK SECURITY TRAINING INSTITUTE
    4.     PESCO VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE, MOHALI
    5.     PESCO VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE, BATHINDA

    SECURITY SERVICES

    PESCO started first security projects in the year 1991 so as to :-

    (a) To provide employment avenues for ex-servicemen.

    (b) PESCO Security unit has been making rapid strides in providing employment opportunities to Ex-servicemen. Presently, security staff of 11500 personnel has been employed in over 490 PSUs/ Private organisation viz BSNL, PSEB, Thermal Plants, Banks, BBMB, BPCL etc.

    EMPLOYMENT OF DRIVERS

    The Corporation has provided 139 trained drivers to PEPSU Road Transportation Corporation, Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant, Lehra Mohabat, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, Bhakra Beas Management Board  & Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. on contract basis for driving their light / heavy and utility vehicles & Dozers.

    PESCO SAINIK SECURITY TRAINING INSTITUTE, MOHALI

    Under the provision of Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act 2005, and Punjab Government Private Security Agency Rule Act 2007, every Security Guard / Supervisor is required to have proper training in security duties. The Corporation has established PESCO Sainik Security Training Institute at C-115, Industrial Area Phase-VII, Mohali. The Institute is recognised by the Punjab Government as a Nodal Agency for imparting Security trainning to Ex-Servicemen, their dependents & weaker section of the society. The Corporation also runs courses approved by the Director General of Resettlement and security courses of the Directorate of Employment Generation, Punjab. For more details contact at site or Telephone No.0172-5013646.

    PESCO VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE, MOHALI (PVTI)

    PVTI, Mohali has been established at C-115, Industrial Area, Phase VII, Mohali. Security and Vocational Training Courses to include Basic Computer Skill, Fire and Industrial Safety, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning, Electrical and Electronic Technician, JCB are being conducted besides Directorate General of Resettlement (MOD) courses for serving Army, Navy and Air-Force personnel.

    PESCO VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE, BATHINDA (PVTI)

    PVTI, Bathinda has been established at B-14, Industrial Growth Centre, Mansa Road, Bathinda. Security and Vocational Training Courses to include Basic Computer Skill, Fire and Industrial Safety, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning, Electrical and Electronic Technician, JCB are being conducted besides Directorate General of Resettlement (MOD) courses for serving Army, Navy and Air-Force personnel.

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    ਪਿਛੋਕੜ

    ਭਾਰਤੀ ਫੌਜ ਦੀ ਨੌਜਵਾਨ ਦਿੱਖ ਦੇ ਉਦੇਸ਼ ਨੂੰ ਮੁੱਖ ਰੱਖਦੇ ਹੋਏ ਹਰ ਸਾਲ ਤਕਰੀਬਨ 60000 ਸੈਨਿਕ ਸੈਨਾ ਦੇ ਤਿੰਨਾਂ ਵਿੰਗਾ ਵਿਚੋਂ 35 ਤੋਂਂ 45 ਸਾਲ ਦੀ ਉਮਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਰਿਟਾਇਰ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹਨ। ਉਹ ਉਤਮ ਦਰਜੇ ਦੇ ਟਰੇਂਡ, ਅਨੁਸਾਸ਼ਨ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਰਪੱਕ, ਤੇਜ, ਸਪੂੰਰਨ ਰੂਪ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਮਰਪਿੱਤ ਫੋਰਸ ਦੇ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹਨ ਜੋ ਕਿ ਪੂਰੀ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਐਕਟਿਵ ਜਿੰਦਗੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹਨ। ਸਰਵਿਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਰਹਿੰਦੇ ਹੋਇਆਂ ਇਹਨਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਉਤਸਾਹ, ਇਖਲਾਕੀ ਪਰਪਕਤਾ ਅਤੇ ਭਰੋਸਗੀ ਕੁੱਟ ਕੁੱਟ ਕੇ ਭਰੀ ਗਈ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ। ਇਤਨੇ ਵੱਡੇ ਮੁਨੱਖੀ ਸਰੋਤ ਦਾ ਵੈਲਫੇਅਰ ਕਰਨਾ ਕੇਂਦਰ ਤੇ ਰਾਜ ਸਰਕਾਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਜਿੰਮੇਵਾਰੀ ਬਣਦੀ ਹੈ ਕਿਉਂਕਿ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਫੌਜੀਆਂ ਨੇ ਆਪਣੇ ਜੀਵਨ ਦਾ ਸੁਨਹਿਰੀ ਸਮਾਂ ਦੇਸ਼ ਦੀਆਂ ਸਰਹਦਾਂ ਦੀ ਰਾਖੀ ਤੇ ਪ੍ਰਭੂਸੱਤਾ ਦੀ ਹਿਫਾਜਤ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਗੁਜਾਰਿਆ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ।

    ਜਾਣ-ਪਹਿਚਾਣ

    ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਫੌਜੀਆਂ, ਉਹਨਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਵਿਧਵਾਵਾਂ ਤੇ ਉਹਨਾਂ ਦੇ ਆਸਰਿਤਾਂ ਦੀ ਭਲਾਈ ਤੇ ਹਿੱਤਾਂ ਦੀ ਦੇਖ ਭਾਲ ਵਿੱਚ ਹਮੇਸ਼ਾ ਹੀ ਅੱਗੇ ਰਹੀ ਹੈ। ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਦੁਆਰਾ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਫੌਜੀਆਂ, ਜੰਗੀ ਵਿਧਵਾਵਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਉਹਨਾਂ ਦੇ ਆਸਰਿਤਾਂ ਦੇ ਵੈਲਫੇਅਰ ਤੇ ਉਹਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਉੱਚਾ ਚੁੱਕਣ ਲਈ ਵਿਧਾਨ ਸਭਾ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਾਸ ਹੋਣ ਉਪਰੰਤ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਫੌਜੀ ਨਿਗਮ (ਪੈਸਕੋ) ਐਕਟ 10 ਅਗਸਤ 1978 ਨੂੰ ਬਣਾਇਆ ਗਿਆ। ਪੈਸਕੋ ਪੂਰੇ ਦੇਸ਼ ਵਿੱਚ ਹੋਂਦ ਵਿੱਚ ਆਉਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਫੌਜੀ ਨਿਗਮ ਹੈ।

    ਕਾਰਪੋਰੇਸaਨ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਿਛਲੇ ਅਰਸੇ ਦੌਰਾਨ ਬਹੁ-ਪੱਖੀ ਗਤੀਵਿਧੀਆਂ ਚਾਲੂ ਕੀਤੀਆਂ ਗਈਆਂ ਜਿਸ ਨਾਲ ਪੂਰੇ ਰਾਜ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਫੌਜੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਲਾਭ ਪਹੁੰਚਿਆ ਹੈ। ਲਗਭਗ 21000 ਸਾਬਕਾ ਫੌਜੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਨੌਕਰੀਆਂ ਦਿਵਾਈਆਂ ਗਈਆਂ ਹਨ ਤੇ ਤਿੰਨ ਕਰੋੜ ਰੁਪਏ ਤੋਂ ਜਿaਆਦਾ ਰਕਮ ਫੌਜੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਸਵੈ-ਰੋਜਗਾਰ ਸਕੀਮਾਂ ਅਧੀਨ ਵਿੱਤੀ ਸਹਾਇਤਾ/ਕਰਜਾ ਮੁਹੱਈਆ ਕਰਵਾਇਆ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ। ਇਸ ਵੇਲੇ ਲਗਭਗ 11500 ਸਾਬਕਾ ਫੌਜੀ ਨਿਗਮ ਦੀ ਪੇ-ਰੋਲ ਤੇ ਹਨ ਜੋ ਕਿ  ਵੱਖ-ਵੱਖ ਡਿਊਟੀ, ਜਿਹਨਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਜਿਆਦਾਤਰ ਸੁਰੱਖਿਆ ਡਿਊਟੀ, ਤੇ ਲਾਏ ਹੋਏ ਹਨ।

    ਸੰਪਰਕ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਪਤਾ

    ਪੰਜਾਬ ਸਾਬਕਾ ਫੌਜੀ ਨਿਗਮ (ਪੈਸਕੋ)
    ਐਸ.ਸੀ.ਓ. ਨੰ : 89-90, ਸੈਕਟਰ 34ਏ, ਚੰਡੀਗੜ੍ਹ-160022
    ਟੈਲੀਫੋਨ ਨੰ :0172-2664086, 2609564
    ਫੈਕਸ ਨੰ :0172-2660629, 2624535
    ਈ-ਮੇਲ : pesco34chd@yahoo.com

     

     

     

     


    The Jadhav case in ICJ changes the goalposts

    This is a change from India’s reluctance to approach multilateral legal forums on bilateral disputes so far

    THE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS OR UNDERTRIALS OF THE OTHER COUNTRY HAS LONG BEEN UNSATISFACTORY IN THE INDIA PAKISTAN CONTEXT. BILATERAL ATTEMPTS TO IMPROVE THIS HAVE NOT BEEN EFFECTIVE

    The approach to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Kulbhushan Jadhav goes against conventional thinking in India to date of keeping disputes with Pakistan out of international fora. This was the lesson learnt from the fate of the application to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in January 1948 on the Pakistani invasion of J&K. Since then, the government of India’s approach has been to try and limit exposure of bilateral issues to outside influences, legal or otherwise. The Simla Agreement further reinforced this point of view. In the three decades since Simla for instance, India preferred to deal with contestations over the Salal hydroelectric project and the Tulbul navigation project bilaterally with Pakistan. This was often to its cost but was still the preferred option rather than go in for the dispute resolution mechanisms provided for in the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) itself. India’s only reference to the ICJ was a defensive one and to prevent Pakistan from raising the overflights issue in 1971 in another multilateral body- the International Civil Aviation Organization.

    From 2005 the approach to the IWT changed with India agreeing for the first time to approach, jointly with Pakistan, the World Bank to appoint a ‘neutral expert’. Thereafter the use of the dispute resolution mechanisms of the IWT has become more frequent. The current move however represents a more significant change since it is not an engineering dispute of the kind covered under the IWT. It is seeking the ICJ’s intervention in a consular matter and human rights matter, more specifically the death sentence awarded following a court martial, and for violation of procedures and provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR).

    Clearly if Jadhav’s life had to be saved, something needed to be done. The fact that both India and Pakistan are signatories to the VCCR and non-compliance with its provisions can be appealed to the ICJ provided the opening. There is also the fact that India’s acceptance in 1974 of the ICJ’s jurisdiction was made subject to a number of exceptions. These have precluded Pakistan from bringing in issues pertaining to J&K or others before the ICJ. The expectation now therefore is that the focus will remain on the consular case alone and no precedent will be set outside the consular domain

    For Pakistan, this move represents a challenge. First, this is a change from India’s reluctance in approaching multilateral legal fora on bilateral disputes. Second, it will be on the defensive since a retrograde military court martial has been used to summarily award a death penalty to a foreign national. Most of all it will be in a quandary on whether to contest the Indian move on grounds of jurisdiction or similar procedural basis. To do so will mean diluting its longstanding position that third party or international mediation can help in settling disputes with India. Then, Pakistan will consider whether it should present the evidence it claims it has for scrutiny before a more impartial process. This too is risky given the lengths it has gone to convince its public that an Indian hand explains all its travails in Baluchistan.

    The treatment of nationals of the other country who are prisoners or undertrials has long been unsatisfactory in the India Pakistan context. Various bilateral means attempted to improve this situation have not been very effective. Involving the ICJ to uphold provisions of the VCCR is therefore a novel step and may lead to establishing and raising standards in this difficult area and ensuring consular access, legal representation etc. Nevertheless, the present case has wider implications. The mainstreaming of military courts in Pakistan is a symptom of the civil military imbalance which periodically erupts in Pakistan. That the ICJ hearings will coincide with this ongoing tussle in Islamabad adds more dramatic force to the proceedings. Secondly, Pakistan’s efforts to bolster its international image as a crucible for terrorism have involved blaming India for the backlash it has inevitably suffered. This too will now come under scrutiny. Most significantly, however, the case represents an India Pakistan contestation on an international platform where India has taken the initiative to go to save the life of one of its citizens. In itself the step opens up many possibilities from different points of view in the otherwise repetitive terrain of India Pakistan relations.


    Delhi must seize watershed moment

    CENTRE AND STATE GOVT MUST DISTINGUISH BETWEEN TERRORISTS — WHO PULLED FAYAZ OUT OF A FUNCTION — AND ALIENATED YOUTH WHO TAKE TO THE STREETS

    NEW DELHI : The brutal killing of a young Kashmiri Lieutenant, who had returned home unarmed for a family wedding, has been termed a ‘watershed moment’ that will help turn the tide against terrorism, by the Indian Army. It would not be wrong to say that the kidnapping and deliberate killing of Lt Ummer Fayaz is also a political watershed moment that New Delhi must seize.

    On a trip to the Valley last week, it was evident, that the average local Kashmiri is against such acts of terror. A police officer posted in South Kashmir, where five Jammu and Kashmir policemen and two bank staffers were pulled out of a car and shot dead on May 1, said he “saw the anger and the silent protest in the eyes of the villagers in Kulgam” when he visited the spot.

    The governments, both at the Centre and the state, must distinguish between the terrorists — who pulled Fayaz out of a wedding function — and the alienated youth who take to the streets. An outreach to the Kashmiris at this very juncture will go a long way in helping Srinagar and New Delhi draw that crucial line.

    An outreach is important because the contours of the 27-year-old insurgency changed for the worse last year after the encounter that killed Burhan Wani, the poster-boy militant who emerged as a role model after he posted videos on social media platforms.

    Till Wani was killed in July 2016, the insurgency was largely an urban phenomenon. It has now penetrated deep into the rural swathes of South Kashmir and as one official told us, “There are several villages which are like liberated zones.”

    In such ‘liberated’ villages, almost the entire population is willing to side with the militants – who are now home grown. The local militants outnumber those who manage to sneak in from Pakistan and alienated locals are not only happy to give them shelter; they also gather in large numbers each time the security forces lay a cordon for a counter-insurgency operation.

    Only last week, men drawn from the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the army were ambushed when they were returning after a huge anti-terror operation spread across 20 villages across Shopian in South Kashmir. Fayaz’s bullet-ridden body was found in the same district.

    The targeted killing of Kashmiris is worrying the locals and last week, many were asking themselves if they were now staring at a return of the ’90s — a decade marked by everyday violence, custodial killings and random shootings of ‘police informers.’

    Then, the locals found themselves trapped between two sets of guns: the terrorists’ and the security forces’.

    At present, no one is voicing the condemnation that the killings of Fayaz, the policemen and the bank officials deserve.

    The separatists, always quick to call a hartal after a civilian is killed, have not had the courage to speak up against such killings, despite knowing that the constituency they claim to represent is getting increasingly uneasy.

    New Delhi must seize the political opportunity and help a sullen population ‘turn the tide against terrorism’.


    India on the back foot KC Singh

    Isolation in view of Saudi Arabia, China summits a major concern

    India on the back foot
    Right moves: China has had its way, be it the CPEC or OBOR.

    THREE events, one a week ago and the others in the coming week, will shape geo-politics. First, the victory of Emmanuel Macron in the French presidential election with 65 per cent vote has redefined politics of the left and right as traditionally understood. Then the One-Belt One-Road summit in China on May 14-15 is to re-configure trade routes and production lines linking China and Asia to Europe, Africa and Latin America. China is imposing a new geography on the old trading order dominated by the US and Europe. Finally, Donald Trump’s opening foray abroad to attend three summits in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia i.e. bilateral summit with hosts, with leaders of six GCC (Gulf Coordination Council) nations and of a Sunni/Islamic alliance to counter the IS and Iran. Each one requires closer examination.The terms left and right in politics emanate from the French Revolution in 1789. In the French national assembly, pro-revolution elements sat on the left while those for the old monarchical and feudal order sat on the right. The rise and success of Emmanuel Macron, after abandoning the socialists in whose government he was a minister, on a new centrist pro-Europe and calibrated reform agenda, has redefined the traditional left-right binaries of French politics. In the process, he demolished traditional ruling parties of either block, the final contest being between him and the extreme right wing leader, Marine Le Pen of the National Front. Paradoxically, while he is a former investment banker and advocates economic reform and moderate and inclusive policies, Le Pen shed tears for ‘the real people… the ordinary decent people’. The right was sounding almost Marxist, wrapping blatant racism and xenophobia in populist clothing. In the US too, President Trump rejigged the traditional Republican Party agenda to espouse a populist, anti-globalisation and xenophobic platform, claiming to speak for the ‘small’ people. Macron’s centrism in the face of rampant counter-liberalism in Europe became a test case for the soul of the EU. Although the next month’s election in the UK will revive debate about the future of the European Union, for the moment, the French electorate has shown more maturity than those in the US and the UK, even though the issues were identical. In the past too, political parties on the left learnt to adapt to confront conservative forces. Labour in the UK under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown rebranded itself as ‘New Labour’ by abandoning in 1986 traditional commitment to strikes, collective bargaining and nationalisation. They espoused issues, normally reserved for conservatives, like law and order, welfare reform, small businesses and taxation burden. Thus they put Labour on the side of Britain’s aspirational majority. Similarly, Bill Clinton was able to nudge Democrats to more centrist positions in 1994. His wife Hillary in 2016, desiring to retain the rainbow coalition of her predecessor Barack Obama, contrariwise ended up driving the white majority into the Trump tent playing the siren song to their fears and prejudices. India too has seen a similar shift of electoral plates from caste, populist or simply region-driven platforms of the Congress and the opposition parties to the rise of Narendra Modi. The BJP under Modi is combining the cultural and religious agenda of the extreme right wing Hindutva proponents with nationalism, often relapsing into jingoism, and an economic platform with traces of Indira Gandhi’s ‘Garibi hatao’ and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s partiality to oligarchs livened with selective economic reform. Demonetisation was and tax terror continues to be aimed at both garnering revenue and providing the poor and marginalised cathartic pleasure. The Chinese summit is the culmination of President Xi Jinping’s idea, first mooted in 2013, for seamless connectivity across Eurasia and the oceans. China expects 110 countries and 28 heads of state and government to attend, including those of Russia, Turkey, Argentina and Italy. The sheer scale is mind-boggling. About 50 Chinese state-owned corporations have participated in 1,700 projects to develop ports, roads, rail-lines and industrial parks. China thus will utilise its surplus productive capacity in steel, etc. abroad. It also plans to pass on low-income jobs to partner nations while moving its economy to a higher-income employment mode. India’s immediate neighbours like Bangladesh and Nepal are on board the Chinese bandwagon. Pakistan’s participation has put India in a quandary as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through portions of erstwhile kingdom of Kashmir which India claims. Indian attendance would grant de facto legitimacy to the CPEC part of the OBOR. Indian absence in the face of regional tilt towards participation risks isolation. On balance, the Modi government is right in not conceding strategic space to China. But a solution will have to be found by India conditionally accepting CPEC, provided a broader Sino-Pak entente with India is worked out.The Riyadh summit upends Obama’s West Asia policy which leveraged the P5-Iran nuclear deal to rebalance traditional US dependence on Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Israel to backstop its interests in the region. Trump is reversing course to resurrect a Sunni alliance. Simultaneously, Trump is attempting to wean away Russia from supporting Iran and Assad regime in Syria. Putin’s price to oblige may be major concessions by the West on NATO, Ukraine, etc. The sudden sacking of the FBI director, overseeing the enquiry into Trump campaign links to Russia, will cause political turbulence in Washington and may further damage Trump presidency. Of note to India is the announced presence of Nawaz Sharif at Riyadh. He will, no doubt, meet Trump and other Sunni alliance grandees. The geo-politics is rearranging to Pakistan’s liking. The isolation of India, in view of the two summits in Saudi Arabia and China, should concern the Modi government. Jingoism, cultural and religious evangelism and misplaced sense of global predominance are producing hubris. Allowing two neighbours, Pakistan and China, always in cahoots, to openly align is poor conduct of foreign policy. Basing it on continued US backing and GCC neutrality, while ignoring gaurakshaks baiting Muslims, is irrational. All three events lead to the same question: can India throw up a Macron? Normally it is easier for that in a presidential system than the Westminster one. The Opposition does not merely need unity; it needs a new liberal-centrist face.


    Time to take a break, armchair warriors BY Lt Gen K.J. Singh (retd)

    Time to take a break, armchair warriors
    Kashmiri youth look at their “disabled”mobile phones in Srinagar. AFP

    THE nation is caught in a no-holds-barred war on television and social media across an undefined LoC. It is here that the Twitter Warriors get their daily high of Vitamin-N or Nationalism. With no real expertise and commitment, we have an entire generation wasting their creativity on issues best left to experts. In the process, many reputations are being tarnished and we seem to be losing our capacity of accepting dissent and light-hearted repartee.While it will be difficult to legislate a template for a medium that abhors discipline yet it may be worthwhile to initiate a debate for voluntary self regulation. The basic questions that beg answers are; when to comment, where or which medium and what to comment on. Since it is laissez faire on social media, who and why are obviously irrelevant questions. The intention is channelisation of debate and certainly not stifling it. It is important that social media warriors resist the urge for “fastest finger first” and exercise some restraint specially with regard to operational situations. A twitter or TV war on an ongoing action, besides compromising security puts pressure on Commanders in the field. This is made worse with visuals, graphics and even satellite imagery in some cases duly annotated by so-called armchair experts.We have had instances where media questioned operational commanders on the duration of the operation, thereby jeopardising risk mitigation to minimise casualties.  There is an urgent need on the part of the Army to refine our systems for dissemination of information by setting up efficient and interactive Incident Command Posts with media interfaces to share information at periodicity,  conforming to media deadlines. It will be a good idea if the real experts with mini battalion of followers on Twitter defer their opinion as they can virtually unleash an uncontrolled chain reaction. This apart, direct message/ communication facility needs to be utilised by all parties on sensitive issues with a view to get the complete story before shooting the tweet. The official Twitter handlers of security agencies should set up links with known opinion makers and media to dynamically share their version and answer queries.  The growing tendency to analyse tactical issues needs to be curbed as it is difficult even for Veterans to keep pace with the dynamics of terrain, force levels and, above all, constraints of myriad challenges of local commanders. Hybrid war is a dirty one and  the adversary uses dangerous, deceptive and disruptive tactics. This can often be countered with some innovative jugaad only, which may appear crude. Pre-mature comments are likely to    breed  risk-averse junior leadership driven by zero-error syndrome. A fix-the-commander attitude, even without an inquiry, displays total lack of faith in the Army’s time- tested self-correction techniques and rather high levels of accountability. It is not as if all culprits get punished in the armed forces but the chances of their escaping are remote and often the punishment is strict, which in most cases is either set aside or toned down by courts. A culture of brutal accountability in the armed forces is in stark contrast to its almost total absence amongst politicians and bureaucrats causing frustration in the forces. The new iconoclastic tendency where respect for elders is diminishing, coupled with a competitive urge to project an ultra- nationalist image is deplorable and needs to be curbed. In recent instances, an ex Chief was insulted and many a General have received less-than-fair treatment in the studios. It is difficult not to  love institution like Army yet it can’t be beyond scrutiny. While healthy and informed criticism is welcome, wisdom demands discretion and tolerance. The bottom line is have faith in the Army and allow it to do its job. On social media and in TV studios, it is high time for introspection and cooling off, for nations build their future based on real toil and certainly not through endles arguments, even if we are known as Argumentative Indians.

    Net loss

    Authorities in the Kashmir Valley ordered internet service providers to block 15 social media services for at least one month, saying they were being misused by “anti-national and anti-social elements”. The move followed an upsurge in violence in the region. The writer is currently Maharaja Ranjit Singh Chair at Panjab University, Chandigarh.


    Army changes tactics in J&K Cordon and search operations back in Valley after 15 years

    Ajay Banerjee

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, May 4

    Switching back to the practice it discontinued in the early 2000s, the Army in a joint operation with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the J&K Police today carried out a “cordon and search operation” in villages and towns in south Kashmir, signalling a change in military tactics aimed at gaining an upper hand over militancy in the state.This morning, the Army backed by the CRPF and the J&K Police rolled out at least four battalions — comprising 4,000 troops backed by helicopters and UAVs — bringing back the operational strategy used in the 1990s, said a senior functionary.The cordon and search operation, referred to as “CASO” in military parlance, was around specific villages and hamlets suspected to be safe havens for militants in Shopian district, 60 km south of Srinagar. “We have beefed up our counter-infiltration posture in J&K,” Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said in Delhi today.The Army is conducting a combing operation in the state to bring the situation under control, said General Rawat, adding a rise in casualties and bank robberies was a major reason for ordering the operation. Sources said the operation was spread across 80-100 sq kms.The CASO had been discontinued as it caused undue hardship to local population, alienating them from the forces, a senior official in the security establishment said.Instead, the forces had moved to intelligence-backed operations. Top brass of the Army has been told that operations will have to continue and the Army will have to get “physical control of the area”, the sources said.The Army has also told the government that Pakistan-based terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahedeen are operating together and sharing resources — a phenomenon common in the early 2000s.


    Getting ‘physical control of area’The Army has brought back cordon and search operation (CASO), used in the 1990s, to bring the situation under control in the ValleyThe Army had switched to intelligence-backed operations in early 2000s as the CASO caused undue hardship to local populationThe top brass has been told that operations will have to continue and the Army will have to get ‘physical control of area’

    Will ‘retaliate’ against beheading

    • New Delhi: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Thursday reacted to the beheading of two soldiers in the Krishna Ghati sector in J&K by the Pakistan army, saying the security forces will retaliate to these actions.
    • Replying to a volley of questions on whether the Army will respond to the barbaric act, General Rawat, without giving a direct reply, said the armed forces would effectively respond to such actions by the neighbouring country.
    • “We do not talk about plans beforehand. We share details after execution of the plan,” General Rawat said. Pressed further, he said, “When this kind of action takes place, we also carry out retaliatory action.” He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event. — TNS

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    Kin cremates jawan’s body after Yogi Adityanath talks to them

    Army personnel who had brought the body in a sealed coffin tried to persuade them not to open the coffin.

    Uttar Pradesh Minister Surya Pratap Shahi at the cremation of slain BSF head constable Prem Sagar in Deoria. (Photo: PTI)

     Uttar Pradesh Minister Surya Pratap Shahi at the cremation of slain BSF head constable Prem Sagar in Deoria. (Photo: PTI)

    Lucknow: UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath called up the family of constable Prem Sagar, one of the two Border Security Force jawans killed by Pakistani forces on the LoC and persuaded them to cremate the body.

    Mr Adityanath spoke with the family after midnight, and the soldier’s body was cremated in the wee hours of Wednesday at his village in Deoria district.

    The family, on Tuesday night, had refused to cremate the body until it was shown to them. Army personnel who had brought the body in a sealed coffin tried to persuade them not to open the coffin.

    For 11 hours, the family members remained firm on their stand until Mr Adityanath spoke with them. “He said he would visit us before the 13-day shraadh ceremony. He also promised a school and a memorial in my father’s name,” said Ishwar Chand, the eldest son of the Army jawan.

    Saroj, the eldest daughter, had earlier said she wanted “50 heads from Pakistan” in return for her “father’s head”.

    Constable Prem Sagar and Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh were part of a three-member patrol team that was near the LoC to check a snapped communication line when they were ambushed by a Pakistani Border Action Team that included soldiers and terrorists. Their mutilated bodies were found on Monday morning.

    People familiar with the matter said the insurgent group Lashkar-e-Taiba could have been involved in the attack, with the backing of the Pakistani Army.


    Despite social media ban, militants share videos, pics

    Despite social media ban, militants share videos, pics

    Azhar Qadri

    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, April 30

    The latest images of militants on social media sites show a group of nine masked men armed with assault rifles, wearing fatigues and posing in front of an Islamist black flag.The images have surfaced on the social media and instant messaging mobile applications despite the state government banning the use of online communication tools.The ban has been implemented by the telecom companies but circumvented by local users by using proxy and virtual private network applications. The use of virtual private networks or VPNs has reduced the practicability of the government’s ban to zero.With the use of VPNs, the users are able to access all 22 social media sites and instant messaging applications which the state government had banned earlier this week.The latest set of pictures released by militants on social media sites include 12 images shot at an unidentified mountainous location.It is rare for militants to pose before a black flag, which has become synonymous with global militant movements like the Al-Qaida and Islamic State, but it fits into the pattern of recent statements in which several militants have vowed to fight for an Islamist cause and have rejected nationalism.Militants have also been able to release a video in which one of them is seen lecturing and training a batch of new recruits about the use of assault rifle. The video, which was shared on Facebook last night, has generated nearly 50,000 views and has been shared by almost 1,500 users.The ban on social media sites and instant messaging applications includes the three most popular platforms: Facebook — where the militant video and picture have been shared —Twitter and Whatsapp.It is for the first time that the state government has banned social media in the Kashmir valley even as the shutdown of internet has been a frequent feature in the region.

    Virtual private networks at work

    • The ban on social media sites and instant messaging applications has been implemented by the telecom companies but circumvented by local users, who use proxy and virtual private network applications
    • The use of virtual private networks or VPNs has reduced the practicability of the ban to zero. With the use of VPNs

    PoJK refugees seek internally displaced persons’ status

    Jammu, April 30

    Refugees of the Pakistan-occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK) have sought internally displaced persons (IDP) status for them.An organisation — Roots in PoJK — said those who survived the massacre at Muzaffarbad, Mirpur, Kotli and Bimber areas of the occupied Kashmir had faced untold miseries and should be provided facilities as given to IDPs across the world by the United Nations.“The entire world witnessed the forced displacement of the minority community due to the aggression of Pakistan since 1947. Lakhs of people left their movable and immovable properties in the areas of Mirpur, Muzaffrabad, Kotli, Bhimber, Sudhnati and Rawlakote which is still under the illegal occupation of Pakistan,” said Ronik Sharma, head, Roots in PoJK.He said a majority of people who had faced displacement were Hindus and Sikhs and many of them had lost their family members. — TNS


    Dangerous trend in Kashmir

    Dangerous trend in Kashmir

    Dangerous trend in Kashmir
    Soldiers near the attack site in Kupwara. tribune photo: Amin War
    Arun Joshi
    tribune news service
    Thursday morning’s fidayeen attack at an Army camp in Panzgam, Kupwara, in many ways was more terrifying than most terror attacks since July 1999 —- the first suicide attack on Army camp in Kashmir.
    Never before had the locals gheraoed an Army camp to seek the bodies of the fidayeen. It seems an increase in the combatant role of the civilians, taking it to the next level from that of protests at encounter sites.
    Earlier, the crowds would raise slogans and hurl stones to enable the militants to escape alive from the encounter sites. That has happened so many times that now it is beyond the memorised statistics. This new phenomenon indicates new challenges thrown at the security forces, which are now being forced to shun restraint.
    Any civilian casualty in this kind of a situation spells double trouble for the Army. One, it suffers casualties, which in itself is a horrifying scenario. Two, dealing with the stone-hurling menacing crowds deters it from search operations besides bringing a bad name to it for targeting protesting civilians.
    Crowds on Thursday were seeking militants’ bodies to stall the investigations. Normally, the DNA tests are conducted to nail Pakistan’s involvement. The fidayeen in almost 100 per cent of the cases are foreigners, and mostly Pakistanis. Islamabad and its agents were behind this situation.
    What should be remembered is that the civilian killings put the Army on the back foot. Separatists and politicians like Farooq Abdullah then get a chance to abuse the Army and India.
    There is another spectrum. That is, the timing of the attack at a time when videos showing the new power of militants are in circulation, hailing their own will to fight unto the last in a bid to inspire others.
    Another aspect that comes to the fore is that despite being the victim of so many fidayeen attacks, the security forces have not adopted the safety requirements against such attacks. They should have been more alert this time when they knew that new batches of infiltrators were trying to sneak into the country from across the Line of Control. Kupwara is a border district. This adds to their vulnerabilities.
    Fresh security assessment needs to be made in the light of the new trend that has the potential to spread across the Valley — beyond the confines of the Army camps and surroundings.
    Never before had the locals gheraoed an Army camp to seek the bodies of the fidayeen. It seems an increase in the combatant role of the civilians, taking it to the next level from that of protests at encounter sites.


    After Sukma attack, CRPF set to overhaul anti-Naxal ops in Bastar

    After Sukma attack, CRPF set to overhaul anti-Naxal ops in Bastar
    File photo of CRPF personnel.

    New Delhi, April 27  

    The CRPF is set to overhaul its anti-Naxal operations in the south Bastar region of Chhattisgarh in the aftermath of one of the biggest attacks on the force in the state on Monday and a fresh offensive is expected to be launched soon.Twenty-five jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed near Burkapal village of Sukma district in the ambush by Naxals on April 24 while 12 men of the paramilitary force were killed in an earlier attack near Bheji village in the same district on March 11.Two days after the Monday attack, the Centre is reported to have asked security forces on the ground to go on an “all-out offensive” against the Maoists and “show results in the next few weeks.”Acting Director General (DG) of the CRPF, Sudeep Lakhtakia said today that the latest attack has “naturally called for the revision of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)” in the naxal-hit areas.He said the force has decided to undertake new measures as it will continue to secure the road construction work that helps to bring development to the remote areas of central India.“We have decided to change the strategy. We have learnt some lessons. While I cannot go into the details, I can tell you that we will undertake re-deployment of our forces and will also enhance the quantity and quality of special counter-insurgency operations,” Lakhtakia told PTI, a day after he visited the ambush site in Burkapal village.The force will have to ensure that the enemy does not attempt any surprises on it. “We track and engage them well before,” he said.So, while half of the personnel will do road construction security and other similar tasks, the other half will do special counter-insurgency operations, the acting DG said.He said the new action plan of the force will be to effectively dominate the area.Lakhtakia, however, said in such operations where the troops have to be out in the open for long and the terrain is treacherous, the SOPs and strategies have to be “revised as and when required” and that is what they were doing.CRPF has deployed a total of 28 battalions in Chhattisgarh with ten of those in the Bastar region alone. A regular CRPF battalion comprises about 1,000 personnel.Lakhtakia said a preliminary analysis of the April 24 ambush spot indicated that the four sections of the CRPF men were separated by a distance of about 600-750 metres with bullets flying around.“The Naxals were tracking the troops… They attacked the men after deciding the time and place of the attack. They used human shields of local villagers,” he said, adding apparently the personnel were having their lunch when the first assault took place.“The sequence of the events will take some time to construct… An inquiry is already in progress and that will tell us more,” he said.Establishing if any violation of SOPs took place or any other lapses occurred will only come up after the inquiry is completed, he said.Lakhtakia said the reports that bodies of some jawans were mutilated were yet to be ascertained. — PTI