5 August 2013

Moving towards demilitarising Siachen

P.R. Chari

The Siachen imbroglio continues to fester. India needs a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether Pakistan would move into occupied positions should India, in the event of demilitarisation of the area, vacate positions of advantage that it now holds

SPEAKING on the last Foundation Day function of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, the Defence Minister, A.K. Antony, ruled out any possibility of de-militarising the Siachen Glacier, and re-stated India's inflexible position that it will only consider pulling back its troops after a joint India-Pakistan authentication is undertaken of the 109-km Actual Ground Position Line. Pakistan has opposed any such "authentication" as a pre-requisite to demilitarization.

The factual position is that India has gained physical possession of the Siachen Glacier. But the Line of Control, earlier called Ceasefire Line, ends at grid reference NJ9842 and beyond that point there is no legal boundary to demarcate the territory between India and Pakistan. Somewhat earlier, General Bikram Singh, India’s Chief of the Army Staff, had voiced his opposition to Indian troops being withdrawn from this “strategically important” region. He had said that India “possesses positions of strategic importance and we have expressed our concern to the government. It's now for the government to decide.” That was the surest way of ensuring that the jittery government would get paralyzed into inaction.

Indian Army personnel train at the Siachen Battle School prior to their induction into the world’s highest theater of conflict. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

The history of the three-decade long India-Pakistan confrontation in this “highest theatre of conflict in the world” is only too well known. Briefly, the Ceasefire Line that was demarcated after the Karachi Agreement in 1948 and the Line of Control that resulted after the Simla Agreement in 1972 terminates in its northern extremity at map coordinate NJ9842. Neither of these agreements mention who has possession or title to the land north of NJ9842, apart from vaguely noting that the boundary would proceed "north to the glaciers". Probably, the assumption was that no dispute could possibly arise over such a barren and inhospitable region, and that it would remain a neutral undisputed No-Man's Land.


Historical perspective

Over to Saadat Hasan Manto. The tributes to Manto have flooded the liberal press in India and Pakistan as they celebrate his birth centenary. In truth, Manto belonged to neither India, where he was born on May 11, 1912, nor to Pakistan, where he died on August 18, 1954. He belonged to both countries. His conviction in the essential unity of the subcontinent is an essential aspect of his oeuvre that comes through in his haunting short stories that are truly vignettes of the violent times in which he lived his tragically brief life.

Manto excelled in a natural talent for structure and economy of words, racing ahead in his short stories to reach their final conclusion - denouement or surprise ending. A wry sense of humor led him to conclude his own epitaph with the words, “Under tons of earth he lies, still wondering who among the two is the greater short-story writer. God or he, Saadat Hasan Manto.”

Helicopter Fleet for the IAF

Date : 04 Aug , 2013


Boeing AH-64D Apache

Although the US lost out in the MMRCA race, the consideration of life-cycle costs has tilted the balance in favour of US products when it comes to the C-17 Globemaster III, the C-130J Super Hercules and the AH-64D Apache Longbow. Similarly, French technology has scored over Russian expertise in the regime of aerial tankers. On the other hand, the progressions in the Mi-17 family and the advantage of maintaining continuity of fleet type, as also the fact that there are no comparable Western helicopters, have kept the IAF’s interest in that lineage intact. Thus, we have an interesting mix of Russian and Western technology in the IAF’s helicopter stream. Those in the IAF who are privy to life-cycle costs and reliability factors privately acknowledge that Western technologies are more appealing in the long run.

Substantial demands are continually being made by civil authorities for IAF helicopters to combat militancy on the ground…

Any self-respecting Indian would be reasonably discomfited by the recently circulated statistic, duly authenticated by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), that India is now the world’s largest arms importer. At 12 per cent of the world’s arms imports figure for the years 2008-2012, India is far ahead of China whose imports stand at six per cent. The imports include aerial platforms for the Indian Air Force (IAF), proudly proclaimed to be the fourth largest in the world. Perhaps therein reposes the conundrum. Why should a nation boasting of enviable levels of sophistication in the convergence of information and communication technologies, possessing a modest nuclear arsenal, enjoying an acknowledged membership of the elite space club, owning a fairly well established, indigenous missile programme and riding astride a growing economy, be importing almost all its military aircraft?

The answer lies in the fact that government policies have kept civil manufacturers more or less detached from military aircraft industry, while the public sector tasked to produce military aircraft has nothing to show. Partly due to this reason, and partly due to the low priority and standing that rotary wing operations subliminally occupy in a force besotted by the fighter stream, the helicopter component of the IAF has remained somewhat stunted. Notwithstanding the fact that the IAF has had a helicopter pilot as its Chief in the past, the understandable preoccupation with offensive (read ‘fighter’ roles), predicated to two hostile neighbours, has meant that the strength of the helicopter fleet has remained uninspiring, barely touching the 400 mark. It is worth a tweet that the IAF helicopter strength is less than that of Air Methods, an operator providing Helicopter Emergency Medical Services in the US. Let us look at the tenor and texture of the IAF’s helicopter segment.

'It's not about controlling social media, it's about agreeing that there are certain rules of the game'

Aug 05 2013

A GROUP of panellists debated "who's afraid of social media" during the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards function on July 23. Head of New Media in The Indian Express Anant Goenka, MoS (independent charge) for I&B Manish Tewari, Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha) Arun Jaitley, Law and Communications & IT Minister Kapil Sibal, India Today Editor-in-Chief Arun Poorie, and Centre for the Study of Developing Societies Senior Fellow and Manushi Editor Madhu Kishwar were the panellists in the debate, moderated by CNN-IBN Deputy Editor Sagarika Ghose and The Indian Express Consulting Editor Seema Chishti. Excerpts:

Sagarika Ghose: Ladies and gentlemen, a warm welcome to the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards debate. The topic this evening is "Who's afraid of social media?" My first question to Kapil Sibal. You've had some run-ins with social media. Last year there was a time when you actually confronted service providers like Facebook, like Google, about certain content that was being uploaded. Do you feel that as member of the government, as a politician, you still haven't made your peace with social media?

Kapil Sibal: Personally, I don't think social media should bother anybody. It's a phenomenon that is here and it is an entirely new phenomenon. I don't think we've fully understood the enormity of the power of the media. On the one hand, it's a platform which is enormously empowering because it's a source of information. On the other hand, the very same medium is bigoted. It's a medium which can destroy, it's a medium that can spread anarchy. So it's constructive and destructive at the same time, evocative and depressing at the same time. I don't think that we should be against or for it... We have understood the importance of this medium on totalitarian regimes. But can it change democracy? That's the question we need to ask ourselves.

Seema Chishti: I'd like to draw in Mr Arun Jaitley to this. Do you think social media can or should be regulated? Shouldn't it be celebrated that it can be anarchic, that it can cock a snook at the establishment, that it can give somebody who is an absolutely nobody a voice? Should it be controlled?

Arun Jaitley: I think it's extremely difficult to regulate it because you can't discipline technology in that sense. Social media, as Kapil probably rightly put it, is a reality. Now it can be a great instrument of information, a great instrument of expression. And you'll also have an irresponsible character in this. I think it is eventually for the users of social media, and the minds that it reaches, to understand what to exclude and what to include within their system. It's not a question of being scared of it, being hostile to it, or being a great favourite in using it.

Sagarika Ghose: Let me bring in Manish Tewari precisely on that point. It's a reality that we have to live with. So how then can politicians rationally engage the social media? There are a lot of politicians who are using Twitter to put forward their point of view, and a lot of politicians who also believe that Twitter and Facebook are destroying democratic debate.

Anant Goenka: Can I just have one point here? That Mr Tewari's Twitter account is locked, so you have to be approved before you can see what he is tweeting.

India loses leading voice in military analysis

New Delhi, Mon Aug 05 2013

Leading military analyst Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, who mentored several generations of writers and military commentators and penned scores of books considered essential reading by think tanks, passed away Sunday morning after a fight against pneumonia.

The 79-year-old officer and Padma Bhushan awardee founded the Air Force think tank Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS) in 2001 and was the longest continuously serving director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). He had been unwell for the past fortnight after catching a bad bout of cold, and was hospitalised a week ago.

A regular contributor to The Indian Express, Singh earlier served as editorial advisor (defence and strategic affairs) for the newspaper.

A former IAF fighter pilot, Singh was in service during both the 1962 and 1971 wars. While air power was not used in the war with China, the IAF was extensively deployed during the liberation of Bangladesh. Singh was awarded the Vir Chakra for carrying out bombing raids against heavily defended enemy targets in the 1971 war. He later served as director of operations for the IAF.

It was after he retired as air commodore in 1987 that Singh established himself as India's best-known military analyst with his insightful writings and his deep knowledge of national strategy. The same year, he succeeded K Subrahmanyam, perhaps India's most prominent analyst, as director of IDSA. He would continue in the post for 14 years, inspiring several generations of thinkers and analysts who are currently driving national policy.

He authored and edited scores of books on national security and military affairs in South Asia, including the highly regarded India's Defence Spending: Assessing Future Needs, Nuclear India, and Air Power in Modern Warfare.

Singh, who was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2006, was also a visiting lecturer in war colleges across the world and a known figure in seminars and conferences on security in the international community.

Till he fell ill last month, Singh was actively looking after the affairs of CAPS, considered an authority in aviation strategy. Those close to him said that till the end he stayed devoted to the cause of promoting the culture of strategic thinking in India and was working on a project to promote and run courses on national security and strategic studies in universities, along with the Human Resources Development Ministry and University Grants Commission.

He had also come out with a low-cost paperback on security with the National Book Trust.

Friends and family attended the cremation, held in Delhi Sunday afternoon. Kapil Kak, Air Vice Marshal (retd), who is also associated with CAPS, said, "In the realm of security, he trod many paths. He guided not just students of security but also academics in university."

Having known him for over 10 years, Binalakshmi Nepram, founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, talked about his efforts to involve women in studies on India's security. "He encouraged a whole lot of women researchers, going to colleges as far as Kolkata to motivate them."

Nepram also lauded Singh's role in the setting up of a Department of National Security Studies in Manipur.

POWER FROM THE PARTY

The UPA’s division of tasks has economic consequences
COMMENTARAO: S.L. Rao

When the separation took place in 2004, it looked plausible: an econocrat as prime minister and the Congress president nominating him for the job. Today it is acknowledged that Sonia Gandhi is the most powerful person in India. What effect has it had on economic policies?

In my column on August 2, 2004, I had written: “The president of the Congress has cabinet minister status and spends government funds but is responsible to neither prime minister nor Parliament. Instead he seems to be subject to her authority... There is clearly an absence of political leadership in the Congress, even a failure… It is not surprising therefore that there is a sense of political drift. The political and administrative responsibilities of the prime minister are separated. People sense this dichotomy. The problem is soluble. This separation of political and administrative powers with the prime minister must stop. Ministers must have one boss, the prime minister. Chief ministers especially of Congress ruled states must know that the prime minister is the one they must look up to, not anyone outside government. Bureaucrats must not be scurrying to other persons to feed information about what government is doing. They must remain in awe of the prime minister and his office.”

Looking back, the separation of the Congress presidency from the prime minister during Jawaharlal Nehru’s time worked with some friction. But it was clear that the superior was the prime minister. This was also the case during the National Democratic Alliance government when the Bharatiya Janata Party president was not above the BJP prime minister. Today’s Congress must accept the same relationship.

Sonia Gandhi came first into political prominence, as a director in one of Sanjay Gandhi’s many failed ventures, then featuring as the (unproven) star beneficiary in the Bofors scandal over illegal commissions paid for the purchase of Bofors guns. An Italian, Ottavio Quattrocchi, an intimate friend of the prime minister’s family, was the proven recipient. The casualty was Rajiv Gandhi, who as prime minister lost stature and influence. He was assassinated during the ensuing elections. Sonia Gandhi was a shattered and grieving widow with no interest in entering politics. However, she responded to the insistence of many Congressmen. They saw her as the glue that could hold the Congress together, and attract votes. In the event, the government and the prime minister get the blame for misconceived policies pushed by the Congress president.

Indian politicians (except a few like the minuscule Swatantra Party) always looked Leftwards for their economic policies. Nehru admired the early Soviet economic progress under centralized planning. He was supported by the Bombay Plan prepared by eminent industrialists. This asked for a key government role in developing basic and key industries and infrastructure. Indira Gandhi increased the role of the State by nationalizing banks and insurance, taking control of declining textile mills, and even trying to take over the wholesale trade in grains. She also had appealing slogans of social welfare measures. Rajiv Gandhi liberalized the economy modestly, did little in social programmes, then was mired in scandal, and did little.

Waiting for the stars

K. P. Mohan

PTI India's Vikas Gowda wth the gold medal in the Asian Athletics Championships in Pune.

TOPICS

Indian athletics lacks iconic figures like Milkha Singh, P.T. Usha and Anju Bobby George, and is marred by doping scandals today. It will take a miracle to improve national performance at the Moscow World Championships.

“We have only one world-class athlete in Vikas Gowda right now”, says Gurbachan Singh Randhawa. The 1964 Tokyo Olympics finalist in the high hurdles who is also the Selection Committee Chairman of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), hardly minces words when he talks about Indian athletics.

Gowda, the US-based discus thrower, was the lone individual gold medallist for the country in the recent Asian Championships in Pune. The other gold medal, expectedly, came through the women’s 4x400m relay team.

Compare this with what the country achieved when it hosted the Asian meet last time, in Delhi in 1989. There were 22 medals in all, eight of them gold. P. T. Usha accounted for three of them (200m, 400m, 400m hurdles) and had a part in a fourth, the 4x400m relay.

The tragedy with Indian athletics today is, it does not have a Milkha Singh or a P. T. Usha or an Anju Bobby George to cash in on. It is difficult to sell athletics, or for that matter any sport, without an icon or two catching the attention of the public and the sponsors.

“People want to see athletes running but we have chosen to concentrate on unattractive events”, says former National Coach J. S. Saini about the focus on throws for more than a decade.

Dwindling sponsorship money, lack of stars, perennial doping problems, limited reserves of junior talent, substandard coaches, an unimaginative, almost illogical domestic calendar and the ever-shrinking national circuit have left Indian athletics in poor shape.

Indian athletics standards have plummeted during the past decade, especially the past two years despite its rare feat of having two athletes in the Olympics finals last year. There is no one in sight to inspire confidence, as we approach the World Athletics Championships in Moscow (Aug 10 to 18), that a medal could be possible.

Long jumper Anju George’s 2003 feat of a bronze in the World Championships in Paris remains India’s solitary athletics medal at the senior level in global-level championships.

In as many as 18 of the 47 events to be contested at the Moscow Worlds, the qualification standards are better than our National records. Invariably Indian athletes just aim for World Championships or Olympics qualification and feel content with that achievement, exceptions notwithstanding.

“What kind of improvement have we had in recent years? If you take my gold-winning timing in the 1989 Asian Championships at home in the 400 metres (51.90s) and compare it with the recent Asian meet, you will find the Chinese winner timed 52.49 and (Indian runner) Poovamma was poorer ( 53.37) for the second place”, points out track legend P. T. Usha.

“They generally run 3:45 nowadays for the 1500. Eddie Sequeira ran 3:43.6 in 1966”, laments Saini who feels India should once again start focusing on middle and long distance events to make domestic athletics more attractive and to have any chance of success at the international level.

Misleading image

The Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010 provided a misleading, inflated image of Indian athletics — a dozen medals including two gold medals that sent the nation into rapture. A month later, another impressive collection of 11 medals and a second place in the athletics medals standings behind China in the Guangzhou Asian Games all but confirmed India’s ‘rising stature’.

It did not require much time to find out the true strength of Indian athletics. Just one gold medal in the Asian meet in Kobe, Japan, in 2011 exposed its limitations. The doping scandal in which the country’s top six woman quarter-milers figured was a huge setback to India’s Olympic preparations.

“The Commonwealth Games did give us 12 medals. But look at the standards. They (Indian medal winners in Delhi) did not figure much in the Asian Games that followed”, says Saini.

It is true that the 2010 Commonwealth Games were by far the poorest in terms of athletics participation and standards, with performances in several events dipping to the level of the 1970s. Yet, the success gave such a euphoric feeling to the Indian authorities that the talk of a medal in the women’s 4x400m relay in the London Olympic Games was no longer considered a pipedream.

Let us face it. India’s national record (3:26.89) in the 4x400, set in the Athens Olympics in 2004, is not remotely close to medal standards in either the Olympics or World Championships. The bronze in the London Olympics went for 3:20.95 while that in the Beijing Games for 3:20.40.

India’s best since Athens had been the 3:27.77 clocked by the quartet of Manjeet Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini A. C. and Mandeep Kaur in the last Commonwealth Games. Only Manjeet escaped doping suspension from that batch in 2011, though she also had to face the disciplinary panel once for an alleged ‘evasion’ of testers.

Doping is rampant in Indian athletics. Testing out of competition is the key to anti-doping measures. And here the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) lacks in having the expertise to carry out ‘target’ testing.

Foreign coaches and experts, hired at considerable expense, are mostly second-grade and thus resort to doping practices to produce ‘results’. Even then targets have remained unfulfilled through the past decade and more.

That India currently tops the list of number of suspended athletes for doping offences with 42 should be a matter of shame. But the ‘big fish’ has eluded the net so far even though NADA has ‘caught’ more than 100 athletes during the past four years.

Indian Strategy towards the Strait of Malacca


For decades, India has remained one of the most influential political and military powers on the Asian continent. Given the Indian population of nearly 1.2 billion, a strong and continually growing economy (GDP in terms of purchasing power parity in 2011 was four and a half trillion dollars) and the size and power of the armed forces (one million three hundred thousand soldiers and an annual military expenditure of more than thirty-six billion U.S. dollars), it is clear that New Delhi has an enormous influence on events taking place in the region.

Over the years, India has concentrated its political and military efforts towards maintaining its power projection on land. Since its independence in 1947, India has emphasized protection of its borders from both real and perceived threats from the North (China) and from the West (Pakistan). The validity of such an approach lies in the tense political and military relations with Beijing and Islamabad. Historically, unresolved issues concerning the delimitation of borderlines resulted in a series of military conflicts, as well as regular wars between India and it neighbors.

As an example, one might mention the humiliating defeat in the border conflict with China of 1962, and three full-scale wars with Pakistan in 1947, 1965 and 1971 (not to mention a smaller scale clash known as the Kargil War). The lesson from these past conflicts seemed to be that an effective protection of national interests rested in ensuring the security of the borderline through the maintenance of strong and numerous armed forces.

This view has evolved during last two decades. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union has altered the fundamental dynamics of global security, and India is emerging as a nation willing to vigorously assert its military might beyond its borders. The specific Indian “Monroe Doctrine”, understood as marginalizing naval aspects of country’s security policy, has been abandoned in favor of a robust policy of maritime power projection.

Chinese dragon on the sea

A specific change in the balance of power on the waters of the Indian Ocean had been in effect for several years before India’s arrival as a supranational military power. China, by building alliances and establishing a number of military outposts on the IO, has already achieved a real (though tenuous) foothold in the region. India sees Chinese incursion onto the IO as a challenge to her own strategic interests, and New Delhi has begun to take what it considers adequate countermeasures towards the growing Chinese presence.

The chief aspect of Chinese activity on the IO is a more vast and visible projection of its naval power, especially on the eastern outskirts of the Ocean. To counteract such a policy, New Delhi has increased the operational capacity of its Far East Command placed on the islands of the Andaman and Nicobar Archipelago (widely known as the Andaman and Nicobar Command, or ANC). This step has been taken in order to maintain the ability to control navigation through the strategically important Strait of Malacca which connects the IO with the waters of western Pacific. No nation can control the traffic through the Strait relying on military strength alone. Developing and maintaining a dominant position in the region also requires strong and positive relations with regional states.

In order to achieve this, India would have to use a variety of tactics, most notably the quantitative and qualitative expansion of the already mentioned ANC. This would contribute towards projecting more military strength in the region, through the so-called “presentation of the flag”, in essence an assertion of suzerainty through an outsized military presence. By conducting a series of operations focused on increasing the safety of navigation throughout the Strait’s waterway, and eliminating threats such as piracy and terrorism, India might be able to establish good will as a kind of regional steward. In the wider perspective, it may also be crucial towards expanding India’s economic activity in the region, offering a clear perspective of future economic profits for local states willing to cooperate with Indian control of the Straits.

Observations from India’s Crisis


The Disaster of Water Sanitation

In 2012, for the first time in the history of India, the country has seen nationwide public protests against improper waste management – from the northernmost state Jammu and Kashmir to the southernmost Tamil Nadu. A fight for the right to a clean environment and for environmental justice led the people to large scale demonstrations, including an indefinite hunger strike and blockade of roads leading to local waste handling facilities. Improper waste management has also caused a Dengue Fever outbreak and threatens other epidemics. In recent years, waste management has been the only other unifying factor leading to public demonstrations all across India, after corruption and fuel prices. Public agitation has resulted in some judicial action and remedial response by the government, however, the waste management problems are still unsolved and might lead to a crisis if the status quo persists without any long term planning and policy reforms.

Hunger Strike in Kerala

The President of Vilappilsala Village Panchayat went on a hunger strike recently, against her counterpart, the Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram. Thiruvananthapuram is the state capital of Kerala, and Vilappilsala is a village 22 km away. Since July 2000, Thiruvananthapuram has been transporting about 80% of the 310 tonnes per day of waste it generates to a composting plant and an adjacent dumpsite in Vilappilsala village. Since the same month, respiratory illnesses reported in Vilappil Primary Health Center increased tenfold, from an average of 450 to 5,000 cases per month. People who used to regularly swim in the village’s aquifer have begun contracting infections; swarms of flies have ever since been pervasive; and a stigma of filth affected households throughout the community. This was a source of frustration as locals who, as Indians, prize the opportunity to feed and host guests, found them unwilling to even drink a glass of water in their homes. Currently, there is not a single household which has not experienced respiratory illnesses due to the waste processing plant and the adjoining dumpsite. (1)

On the other hand, Thiruvananthapuram’s residents had to sneak out at night with plastic bags full of trash to dispose them behind bushes, on streets or in water bodies, and had to openly burn heaps of trash every morning for months. This was because the waste generated was not being collected by the city as it could not force open the composting plant and dumpsite against large scale protests by Vilappilsala’s residents. In August 2012, about 2,500 police personnel had to accompany trucks to the waste treatment plant as they were being blocked by local residents lying down on the road, and by some, like village’s President, by going on an indefinite hunger strike.

Municipal Commissioner Replaced in Karnataka

In response to a similar situation in Bengaluru, the state capital of Karnataka, where the streets were rotting with piles of garbage for months, the municipal commissioner was replaced as a result of the waste management crisis in the city. Against the will of local residents, a landfill which had been closed following the orders issued by the state’s pollution control board in response to public agitation, had to be reopened soon after its closure as the city could not find a new landfill site. [RA1]

Dengue Outbreak in West Bengal

Even if partially because of improper waste management, Kolkata, the state capital of West Bengal and the third biggest city in India, experienced a Dengue Fever outbreak with 550 confirmed cases and 60 deaths. This outbreak coincides with a 600% increase in dengue cases in India and 71% increasein malaria cases in Mumbai in the last five years. Rain water accumulated in non biodegradable waste littered around a city acts as a major breeding environment for mosquitoes, thus increasing the density of mosquito population and making the transmission of mosquito related diseases like dengue, yellow fever and malaria easier. (2) (3)

Rabies in Jammu & Kashmir

Rabies due to stray dog bites is responsible for more than 20,000 deaths in India every year (4). Improper waste management has caused a 1:13 stray dog to human ratio in Srinagar (compared to 1 per 31 people in Mumbai and 1 per 100 in Chennai), where 54,000 people were bitten by stray dogs in a span of 3.5 years. Municipal waste on streets and at the dumpsite is an important source of food for stray dogs. The ultimate solution to controlling stray dogs is proper waste management (5). The public has been protesting about this stray dog menace for months now with no waste management solutions in sight, but only partial short term measures like dog sterilization.
Waste Management Crisis

In light of the large scale public protests in Kerala, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, and Tamil Nadu and the change of Bengaluru’s municipal commissioner, the issue of improper waste management has already become political. However, local governments which are responsible for waste management will not be able to provide or implement immediate solutions. While policy gridlock ensues, public health of Indians will continue to be affected, quality of life will continue to degrade, and environmental resources will continue to be polluted.

The inability to provide immediate solutions to waste management in these cities is not the crisis; the true crisis is yet to come. Not just ten or fifteen, but there are 71 cities which generate more waste than Thiruvananthapuram (310 tonnes per day), and like Thiruvananthapuram, they have limited resources to handle it (6). During the course of the next decade, public unrest is expected to spread as these cities try to grapple with increasing quantities of waste. This will lead to a waste management crisis if government authorities do not leverage the current situation which has resulted in increased awareness to bring about long term reforms.

Twelve years since the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) (Handling and Management) Rules 2000 were issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the progress achieved is meager. As was mentioned at WTERT-India’s “1st International Brainstorming Workshop on Waste to Energy in India” (Workshop), no city complies with the MSW Rules 2000. Open dumping, open burning and landfill (dumpsite) fires, and open human and animal exposure to waste is common.

Soldier, scholar, institution builder

C. Uday Bhaskar : Mon Aug 05 2013

Air Commodore (retired) Jasjit Singh, who passed away on Sunday, August 4, in Gurgaon will be long-remembered as a pioneer of Indian defence and security studies. A decorated fighter pilot awarded the Vir Chakra in the 1971 Bangladesh war, Singh commanded Number 17 Squadron (MiG-21) and later served as Director Operations in Air Headquarters. A keen researcher, noted for his scholarly aptitude and many service papers, he joined the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in the early 1980s. At the time, the late K. Subrahmanyam was IDSA director and Singh was soon elevated to deputy director.

In 1987, Singh was appointed IDSA director, despite the military being an institutional subaltern in the Indian matrix, and this was enabled by the faith Subrahmanyam reposed in his deputy. From 1987 to 2001, Jasjit Singh led the IDSA and nurtured a large number of researchers and analysts who now constitute the Indian strategic and security studies community. During his IDSA tenure, Singh made a major contribution to Indian thinking apropos the nuclear issue, modernisation of the military, reviewing the defence budget, air-power and naval issues, internal security challenges, the end of the Cold War, and more. A prolific writer, his articles and books, singly authored and edited, are numerous. His most recent edited volume, China's India War 1962: Looking Back to See the Future, was released a few weeks ago.

The IDSA, under Subrahmanyam and Jasjit, made a significant contribution to the shaping of India's nuclear discourse at a time when the country was ostracised and under severe international sanctions. The Sapru House, where the IDSA was then located, was the venue of intense deliberations and analysts, academics and media personnel were regular visitors.

Having joined the IDSA as a researcher in the late 1980s when Air Commodore Singh had taken over, I have personal recall of this period. Our interlocutors included the late Madhavrao Scindia and Rajesh Pilot and some current luminaries in the political spectrum.

The US-led war for Kuwait in early 1991 saw Jasjit meticulously following the military operations and providing some of the most rigorous battlefield analyses derived from visual imagery — a first for Indian print-media. India's nuclear tests of May 1998 and the Kargil War of 1999 again saw Singh publishing two definitive edited volumes in a relatively short period — and they still remain the more authoritative books on

the subjects.

Post the IDSA tenure, Jasjit was editorial advisor for defence and strategic affairs for The Indian Express, and then moved on to found the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), which he headed till his untimely demise. The first of the three service think-tanks — the other two being the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) and the National Maritime Foundation (NMF) — under Jasjit's rigorous stewardship, CAPS has notched up an enviable track-record and has published almost 70 volumes/ monographs in the last decade, of which a third have been either authored or edited by Air Commodore Singh. One of the books he laboured over was the biography of the Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh, now into its second edition.

Jasjit's most significant contribution was in the abiding chink of India's national security — the management of higher defence. In early 1998, when the NDA government assumed charge, a task force led by the late K.C. Pant was set up to review policy challenges and recommend long overdue structural changes. As the member-secretary, Jasjit Singh laboured for months and produced a comprehensive document that sensitised the political establishment as to what had to be done to remedy the situation.

The Kargil War followed, and subsequently the NDA government initiated some more committees and task forces — but regrettably, there has been no tangible change to the existing national security lattice right down to UPA 2. In my last few interactions with Jasjit, he spoke passionately about the many areas that still needed to be addressed by him as an analyst — and fretted that he did not have enough time. This, despite working diligently for as much as 16 hours, every day.

A committed air warrior to the end, Jasjit had his own reservations about some issues like the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). But, to his credit, he was one of the early votaries of enhancing India's maritime and naval capabilities.

Awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2006, Air Commodore Jasjit Singh served the country as soldier, scholar and institution-builder, and surmounted many challenges — both personal and professional — with commendable commitment and stoicism.



The writer, a retired commodore, served as deputy director of IDSA from 1996 to 2004

Soldier, scholar, institution builder

C. Uday Bhaskar : Mon Aug 05 2013

Air Commodore (retired) Jasjit Singh, who passed away on Sunday, August 4, in Gurgaon will be long-remembered as a pioneer of Indian defence and security studies. A decorated fighter pilot awarded the Vir Chakra in the 1971 Bangladesh war, Singh commanded Number 17 Squadron (MiG-21) and later served as Director Operations in Air Headquarters. A keen researcher, noted for his scholarly aptitude and many service papers, he joined the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in the early 1980s. At the time, the late K. Subrahmanyam was IDSA director and Singh was soon elevated to deputy director.

In 1987, Singh was appointed IDSA director, despite the military being an institutional subaltern in the Indian matrix, and this was enabled by the faith Subrahmanyam reposed in his deputy. From 1987 to 2001, Jasjit Singh led the IDSA and nurtured a large number of researchers and analysts who now constitute the Indian strategic and security studies community. During his IDSA tenure, Singh made a major contribution to Indian thinking apropos the nuclear issue, modernisation of the military, reviewing the defence budget, air-power and naval issues, internal security challenges, the end of the Cold War, and more. A prolific writer, his articles and books, singly authored and edited, are numerous. His most recent edited volume, China's India War 1962: Looking Back to See the Future, was released a few weeks ago.

The IDSA, under Subrahmanyam and Jasjit, made a significant contribution to the shaping of India's nuclear discourse at a time when the country was ostracised and under severe international sanctions. The Sapru House, where the IDSA was then located, was the venue of intense deliberations and analysts, academics and media personnel were regular visitors.

Having joined the IDSA as a researcher in the late 1980s when Air Commodore Singh had taken over, I have personal recall of this period. Our interlocutors included the late Madhavrao Scindia and Rajesh Pilot and some current luminaries in the political spectrum.

The US-led war for Kuwait in early 1991 saw Jasjit meticulously following the military operations and providing some of the most rigorous battlefield analyses derived from visual imagery — a first for Indian print-media. India's nuclear tests of May 1998 and the Kargil War of 1999 again saw Singh publishing two definitive edited volumes in a relatively short period — and they still remain the more authoritative books on the subjects.

Post the IDSA tenure, Jasjit was editorial advisor for defence and strategic affairs for The Indian Express, and then moved on to found the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), which he headed till his untimely demise. The first of the three service think-tanks — the other two being the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) and the National Maritime Foundation (NMF) — under Jasjit's rigorous stewardship, CAPS has notched up an enviable track-record and has published almost 70 volumes/ monographs in the last decade, of which a third have been either authored or edited by Air Commodore Singh. One of the books he laboured over was the biography of the Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh, now into its second edition.

Jasjit's most significant contribution was in the abiding chink of India's national security — the management of higher defence. In early 1998, when the NDA government assumed charge, a task force led by the late K.C. Pant was set up to review policy challenges and recommend long overdue structural changes. As the member-secretary, Jasjit Singh laboured for months and produced a comprehensive document that sensitised the political establishment as to what had to be done to remedy the situation.

The Kargil War followed, and subsequently the NDA government initiated some more committees and task forces — but regrettably, there has been no tangible change to the existing national security lattice right down to UPA 2. In my last few interactions with Jasjit, he spoke passionately about the many areas that still needed to be addressed by him as an analyst — and fretted that he did not have enough time. This, despite working diligently for as much as 16 hours, every day.

First person

Gurbachan Singh Randhawa (5, 110 hurdles at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics)

Our performance has gone down compared to 2010. The Asian athletics championship was a reflection of our standard. We won only two gold medals. A country like China does not send its full team for the Asian championship. We field our best team yet achieve this kind of result.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) should be strict towards those athletes who are not participating in the coaching camps. All athletes should attend the camps as collective training enhances fighting and competitive spirit. For example, if Tintu Luka, who is doing individual training, gets into group training then her performance will definitely improve in three months.

Those who are not participating in the coaching camp in Patiala should not be sent to the World championship (in Moscow). If all members of the relay team do not train together then they cannot form a team.

We need more expert coaches. We do not have the support of scientific training. Even today, coaches are judging the athletes with naked eye and not with the help of any device. This way it is going to be very difficult in future. Our coaches only do a course at NIS (National Institute of Sports) Patiala and do not have any knowledge about rehab, recovery and diet. I do not think an NIS course is important. Some coaches, who have interest in coaching, are doing a good job without doing a course. Our coaches need to brush up their knowledge. 

Athletes need to participate in maximum international events. Our athletes are shy of participating in international events as they just aim to qualify for the Asian Games, Olympics or World championships. 

People like me, Milkha Singh, Sriram Singh, P.T. Usha or Anju Bobby George have given their best in the Olympics. Now, our athletes give a better performance in the selection trials because their priority is to only get selected for big events.

Competitions are organized at the grassroots level but there are no facilities. Except for one or two no state provides proper coaching, training, kit etc. We only want to run paper horses. We do not have playfields. Our grassroots realities are so different. Sports Authority of India is making some efforts. I hope it produces results.

Sriram Singh (7, 800 m at the 1976 Montreal Olympics)

In our times, we used to work hard as it is the key to success. It seems today’s generation is reluctant to work hard. Once upon a time there were several big names in long and middle distance running and steeplechase. We used to win medals consistently. We should focus on these competitions because we have a better chance of winning medals.

Nowadays we have many more coaches. But the results cannot come as long as the athlete does not show interest. A coach can only help you improve.

A coach, a dietician and a psychologist have to work together to help an athlete, who needs proper guidance as far as training, diet and motivation are concerned. Sports medicine should be developed and the National team should be monitored (to avoid dope menace). We have to accept that knowledge of sports medicine is very crucial in modern athletics.

Good coaches should be deployed for junior athletes as well. The juniors should be provided with good facilities. If the grooming process is faulty we will end up with athletes who will perform below their potential.

Since we do not have a good feeder line, we do not have many star athletes today. Earlier, Services and Police used to prepare their own athletes. An athlete, working with the Army or Police, used to train in a disciplined environment and excel. Sadly, this is one of the major reasons for India not pushing ahead in international athletics.


India’s Mountain Strike Farce

by Brahma C 1/8/13

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has announced the formation of a “mountain strike corps” to defend India’s Himalayan border with China. With its 50,000 troops and action-movie name, the new outfit might seem like the muscular response New Delhi needs to counter this summer’s spate of Chinese border incursions. But the announcement represents another example of Indian strategic timidity in the face of Chinese aggression.

The Chinese army’s Himalayan campaign is a stealthier counterpart to Beijing’s naval aggression in the South and East China seas. Beijing is pursuing a strategy of “salami slicing”—a steady progression of small actions, none of which serves as a casus belli by itself, that over time leads to a strategic transformation in China’s favor.

Nuclear-armed India, despite its size and capability, has been paralyzed in responding to this strategy. Time and again Mr. Singh’s beleaguered government has chosen concession over confrontation, as if India’s only options are appeasement or all-out war.

This weakness was on full display in April and May when the Chinese army seized land inside India’s Ladakh region. China withdrew its encamped troops only after three weeks of negotiation ended in virtual Indian capitulation. In exchange for China’s withdrawal from territory it had no right to occupy, India demolished a line of defensive fortifications in Ladakh’s Chumar area and ended forward patrols in the area. It also agreed to consider a Chinese-drafted “Border Defense Cooperation Agreement.”

That agreement would replace more equitable 1993, 1996 and 2005 border accords with one that ratifies China’s preferred approach to territorial disputes: What is ours is ours and what is yours is negotiable.

Encouraged by this bloodless victory, China has since upped the ante. Its military provocations include multiple raids and other forays across the Himalayan frontier, the world’s longest disputed border. On June 17, a People’s Liberation Army platoon raided Chumar, smashing up Indian surveillance and other equipment and taking away security cameras.

The Indian government kept China’s raid under wraps for three weeks for fear that it would provoke public pressure to cancel its defense minister’s early July visit to Beijing. Despite that visit going ahead, four separate PLA incursions into Chumar have been reported this month alone.

To cover up its timidity, Mr. Singh’s government flaunts its decision to establish the mountain strike corps—which should have come several years ago and without media hype. As China develops and deploys capabilities quietly, New Delhi advertises any deterrence move, however nascent.

India will need several years to assemble the new strike corps. Mr. Singh has already betrayed his trademark meekness by deciding to deploy the corps not in a region vulnerable to a surprise Chinese military blitzkrieg—such as the state of Arunachal Pradesh, claimed by Beijing since 2006—but in provinces such as West Bengal, Jharkhand and Assam that do not border China. Thus New Delhi allows Beijing to dictate the terms of the bilateral relationship.

India should fix its Himalayan policy by first (and quietly) redirecting its strike forces toward more vulnerable areas. These include Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, two highly strategic Buddhist regions located on opposite ends of the Himalayas. These areas are not unfamiliar territory for India’s military. In fact it was only after Mr. Singh replaced Ladakh’s army troops with border police in 2010 that China gained an opening to step up incursions.

Second, New Delhi should reject the recent border cooperation agreement as a basis for future negotiations. At the moment India is doing just the opposite, offering comments and suggestions on China’s imposed draft accord. In Beijing, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Anthony even consented to a joint statement in which New Delhi “agreed to the early conclusion of negotiations” over the Chinese draft.

Intrusion at midnight, rude troops: China's tactic worries Army

August 04, 2013

"Our worry is that a small mistake, an accidental exchange of fire at night, might lead to an unintended escalation," a senior officer confessed

In mid-July, for instance, two of the three intrusions in a week happened around midnight. Chinese troops on horseback came across the perceived Line of Actual Control in the dark. Strict instructions and rigorous training of the troops deployed on the LAC has prevented any untoward incident so far, Northern Command sources said. "Our worry is that a small mistake, an accidental exchange of fire at night, might lead to an unintended escalation," a senior officer confessed.Even as India and China work towards finalising a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement to prevent faceoffs with a potential to escalate into serious skirmish, the Army's Northern Command is worried over a change in pattern in the border intrusions in Ladakh and a discernible aggressive attitude of the intruders of late.

The aggressive and sometimes rude behaviour of the Chinese troops is also a matter of concern, these sources added. The Indian security establishment has tried to analyse the pattern of intrusion in Chumar which lies close to the Ladakh-Himachal Pradesh border and concluded that the Chinese have chosen to concentrate on this area mainly because they are at a disadvantage in terms of infrastructure and roads. While India has a good road connectivity to Chumar, the Chinese are still dependent on horses and mules for transportation in this sector. India's infrastructure for housing troops and logistics support too has improved in recent times.

The other reason for increasing Chinese intrusions in Ladakh is to put India under pressure before the conclusion of the BDCA and slow down India's programme to ramp up infrastructure and capability development in the region. Even before the Mountain Strike Corps becomes a reality, the Northern Command has rationalised its deployment in Ladakh. While the Siachen Brigade was converted to an Independent Brigade Group directly reporting to 14 Corps a couple of years ago, the 3 Infantry Division now has its full complement of three brigades with the return of 70 brigade to its original location at Kairi and 81 Mountain brigade inducted into Ladakh in recent times. The Tangse brigade, responsible for Chusul area, of course remains under 3 Division.

Aware of these developments, China had wanted India to sign a BDCA that proposed freezing of troop levels and infrastructure development at the current level, a proposal that India has rejected. The revised draft of the BDCA now apparently talks about more predictability in settling "disputes" at the local levels, more frequent border personnel meetings (BPM) and more BPM points. So far, the BPMs take place at Bum La in Arunachal Pradesh, Nathula in Sikkim and Chushul in Ladakh. Two more locations have been suggested -- one at Kibithu in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh and the other at Mana pass in Uttarakhand -- but they are yet to be finalised.

A hotline between Indian Director General of Military Operations and his equivalent in the PLA is also one of the suggestions but sources say it is unlikely to be accepted by India immediately although Army HQ is open to a telephonic link between the Eastern Army Commander and the head of the Chengdu Military Region.


Why India must say no to 'jugaad'

August 02, 2013


Bhupesh Bhandari has concluded that what was being hailed as innovation in Indian industry not so long ago was nothing but cutting corners and skipping processes.

On July 18, the Indian arm of General Motors informed the government that an internal probe had shown that its employees had sent for inspection new Tavera models that were fitted with engines that had already been approved in order to meet the emission standards, and that they had falsified data about the weight of the multi-utility vehicle to get away with lighter emission controls.

The company suspended production and distribution of two models of the Tavera and recalled more than 100,000 units it had sold since 2005.

General Motors has taken action against the employees responsible for this misdemeanour. Several senior people have been asked to leave. More heads are expected to roll.

Was this an isolated lapse? Hardly. Mint reported last month, quoting information provided by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, that Indian car makers had recalled 11 per cent of the cars they had sold in the 12 months to June 2013.

Those who recalled their products during the period include Toyota, Honda, Ford, Renault, Nissan and Mahindra & Mahindra. The General Motors recall will only increase that number.


Is it something restricted to the automobile space?

Again, hardly. Look at the problems Indian pharmaceutical companies have had with the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. Ranbaxy admitted in May that it had falsified data while seeking approval to sell its drugs in the US and paid a penalty of $500 million (Rs 2,743 crore) to close the case.

The stories that tumbled out after the fiasco were startling, to say the least.

Executives, it was alleged, would bring medicine from abroad in suitcases, which would be ground and repackaged as Ranbaxy medicine and then sent for approval to the FDA.

The incidents relate to the time Ranbaxy was owned by the Singh brothers, Malvinder and Shivinder. They have denied any wrongdoing. But nobody contested that serious manufacturing lapses had taken place.


In June, the FDA issued a warning letter to RPG Life Sciences for violation of current good manufacturing practice norms at its two plants in Ankleshwar and Mumbai.

And in mid-July, in a letter addressed to Habil Khorakiwala, the FDA said it might freeze approvals for any new launch Wockhardt was planning in the US until the company addressed its concerns about its factory at Waluj.

India’s search for energy security

Ligia Noronha


A large part of India’s population has a low energy access. Some 400 million Indians live without electricity, and 700 million still use traditional biomass for cooking. This has environmental and health implications.

The problem with wind power is that it is seasonal and intermittent

A view of a solar panel installed in Chandigarh. Renewable energy’s contribution to the electricity mix in India in 2009 was 34% of which 78% was hydro and the rest included wind (90%) and solar and other renewable energy (10%).


THE key energy security issues of India are linked to the need for energy resources for addressing growth imperatives and energy poverty. India’s energy securing strategies have had elements of both regional and nationalist approaches such as seeking pan-Asian cooperation, investments in transnational gas pipelines, energy consumer-producer dialogues, and more nationalist strategies, involving bilateral deals, trade arrangements, and overseas investments in energy resources by state and private energy companies. Whether this mix continues, or there is a tilt to one or the other will depend very much on how India perceives the global environment that it faces, and the space that it has to make choices to secure and deliver energy.

Some key aspects of the Indian economy of relevance to its search of energy and resource security are:

nLarge energy and resource needs to deliver growth: To eradicate poverty and meet its human development needs, the Planning Commission estimates that India needs to grow at the rate of 8–10 % annually to 2031/32 from 2003/04 as base. India’s ability to achieve this growth rate requires commercial energy to grow at the rate 5.2–6.1 % annually. According to the projections of the Planning Commission, total commercial energy supply will have to increase 5 times in 2031/32 over the 2003/4 level. Coal will continue to be the most important source of energy followed by oil. Minerals and metals such as limestone and copper and iron ore are required to meet its urbanization needs.

nA growing and demanding middle class. India’s middle class is key to its emerging economy status. It is estimated that this group, 126 million in 2007–08, comprise 11.4 % of the total Indian households, but makes up 25% of total income and saves more than 55% of its income. As India urbanizes, the demands for energy and raw materials will grow to meet its needs of mobility, connectivity and comfort.

The energy mix is primarily fossil fuel based, and largely dominated by coal, followed by oil and natural gas. Currently imports are 70% of oil requirements, 17% of natural gas and 12% of coal; this is projected to rise to rise in 2031 to 90% to 93%, 0% to 49% and 11% to 45% respectively. In case of non-fuel minerals, expectations are that demand for these will increase 5 fold between 2009 and 2030 for minerals and metals such as aluminum, copper and zinc. Its needs for copper concentrates are expected to further stress a tight global market. In case of other critical metals – molybdenum, rare earths, tungsten, and cobalt have strategic importance to Indian economy, as they are used as inputs into high technology or strategic sectors, with no or inadequate substitution opportunities available for these materials

Fossil fuel dependence

Coal accounts for 53% of the total commercial energy supply in the country. Although it in principle has large coal reserves, the bulk of these are not extractable at current technology. It is estimated that only about 20% of coal reserves can actually be extracted, suggesting the need for large coal import dependence in the future. India is the third largest consumer of coal after China and USA.