Going overboard; overdoing it

Published: October 10, 2013
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The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto
kamran.shafi@tribune.com.pk

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto kamran.shafi@tribune.com.pk

Which is another South Asian, let’s call it proclivity: we don’t stop when we get going. Whether it is ‘testing’ our various death-dealing missiles, which can deliver so many tonnes of nuclear weapons so many kilometres away (our respective drum-beating media vociferously touting the loud claims); or it is strutting on stages far too large, in shoes way too big for us; or, and indeed, it is people sticking their noses in business, which was never theirs.

Here, I refer to a recent piece in The News (“Indian general plays with fire” — October 9, ’13) by Praful Bidwai, a man I have known and admired since long, a man who has always stood up for what is right and fair. Indeed, he even attended meetings organised by the now-disgraced Ghulam Nabi Fai on Indian excesses in Kashmir and was duly pilloried in the Indian press for having done so.

Praful has written for dozens of publications over the years, including The Guardian and in his own career as a journalist, ended up as senior editor of the Times of India. He currently writes for Frontline, the magazine of the hugely respected daily The Hindu, based in Chennai; Reddif.com; The News, The Hindustan Times, and many foreign publications.

While saying that Indian generals had in the main stayed out of active politics (whilst, of course, influencing decision-making from behind the scenes), this is what he had to say about the infamous Indian unguided missile, the now-retired General VK Singh, whose unseemly tamashas we all witnessed during the closing months of his service as re: his age; allegations of some Lt Gen trying to bribe him into buying faulty trucks, etcetera:

“But recently-retired army Chief VK Singh’s shenanigans and other developments put a question mark over this assumption. Gen Singh, a newspaper has revealed, set up a secret intelligence unit called the Technical Services Division (TSD) to conduct a series of ‘unauthorised’ operations. These included funding politicians to destabilise the Omar Abdullah government in Jammu and Kashmir, paying an NGO to help change the line of succession in the army, espionage against Pakistan, and buying sophisticated telephone-call interception equipment to eavesdrop on fellow-officers.

“These allegations — based on defence ministry documents — are, to put it mildly, grave. They warrant serious disciplinary action. Singh hasn’t denied them. On the contrary, he says the army has always paid off politicians from all parties, and ‘all the ministers’ in Jammu & Kashmir to ‘stabilise’ the situation there and win the people’s ‘hearts and minds’.”

Now, while other retired chiefs of the Indian Army have denied that they too indulged in such activities, it is clear that the brash VK Singh has no qualms about what he did. Indeed, according to Bidwai, he has now teamed up with the BJP, for a possible boost in his own future political career. He also says that Indian army generals successfully scuttled at least three attempts by Indian (and Pakistani) diplomats to come to an agreement on Siachen in 1992; 2005; and 2011, leaving both armies to fight in the overwhelming odds that nature itself presents in that inhospitable area.

Bidwai goes on: “By failing to act against the delinquent officers, the government has allowed army personnel to usurp an illegitimate role for themselves — and get away. Some consequences of such irresponsible indulgence have become evident. The most recent is Narendra Modi’s September 15 Rewari (Haryana) rally, organised to mobilise ex-servicemen, and attended by 20 senior-rank former officers, including VK Singh, wearing ceremonial medals and ribbons.”

This is, by far, the most dangerous, summed up in these few words of Bidwai’s: “The danger of the Indian armed forces’ politicisation has reappeared, in a communal avatar. It must be resolutely put down.” Yes, the communal leaning of the Indian Army’s high command must be stopped in its tracks for it can be a danger to its neighbours and to the (‘secular’) country itself.

After reading this article, I tweeted to my ‘high-talking Indian friends’ that they should consider themselves lucky India was a huge country, otherwise they may well have gone the same way as we did with Ayub Khan first usurping power.

Back came a reply: “Bidwai can find no place in the Indian media.”

No wonder, I said, but it was India’s loss and no one else’s if sane voices like Praful Bidwai’s cannot be heard within India.

Which reminds me: I am heartened by Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s statement that India must be ‘patient’ and continue dialogue with Pakistan despite “certain elements in Pakistan wanting to stall the peace process”. Well, likewise, Minister, likewise: Pakistan must also show patience despite certain elements in India wanting to stall the peace process.

There is no way but peace for both the neighbours and we should consider ourselves lucky that in Nawaz Sharif, we have a strong leader who is resolute in the pursuance of this objective. Kudos to him for going ahead with the meeting with Indian PM Manmohan Singh despite the ‘hot’ LoC, where young hot-heads from either side, even on their own, can start a firefight or two. And despite the severe criticism aimed at him from his own country!

I have suggested before in these columns and will do so again: why don’t the Indian and Pakistani army chiefs have a hot-line between each other, too? If The Russian and US presidents could have one dating back to the 1960s, why can’t our two countries’ top generals have one? Incidentally, I was astonished to learn that the chiefs of the two nuclear-armed armies have NEVER met, EVER. Strange, no? Again overdoing it, sub-continental like.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, TTP supremo Hakeemulah Mehsud is quoted in this newspaper of record saying “As for explosions which cause damage to the life and property of Muslims, we have denied any link in the past, we deny any link today”. Two short reminders: March 8, 2010: 13 dead in Lahore: October 10, 2013: 17 Pakistani soldiers beheaded.

As to specifying damage to “the life and property of Muslims” has Mehsud already rewritten Articles 9; 23; and 24 of our Constitution? Even before the ‘jirga’? Going overboard again, no?

Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • modiFied
    Oct 10, 2013 - 10:55PM

    @Author: “I have suggested before in these columns and will do so again: why don’t the Indian and Pakistani army chiefs have a hot-line between each other, too?”

    You are 100% right sir on this. Few days back where there were rumors of Mt Kayani being tipped of as Ambassador to US, I suggested that he should be sent to New Delhi as High Commissioner. Indo-Pak relations will improve 1000 fold if there are army to army contacts.

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  • Vikas
    Oct 10, 2013 - 11:05PM

    Bidwai, the name says it all. Soft corner for Pakistan. Resident Non Indians.

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  • South Indian
    Oct 10, 2013 - 11:27PM

    @Author: You got several things wrong. For starters, what has saved India from going the way of Ayub (as you put it) are the Indians themselves and not the size of our population. Indians do not take kindly to institutions being sullied by personalities.

    Secondly, I am not sure you are aware that VK Singh for all his faults was an upright Army Chief. It was during his time that many senior officers from the Army were court-martialled for numerous scams, for instance the land scams in Sukhna and Adarsh Housing Society. However at the same time he brought too much attention to himself with his age misrepresentation spat with the Defence Ministry. In India, the Army Chief is usually expected to comment only at the time of war or in a war-like situation such as the recent infiltration.

    Also from what I have been told by those in the Indian Army, the TSD was the unit most responsible for gathering early intel to check infiltration attempts by Pakistan. VK Singh’s successor scrapped TSD earlier this year and this has immediately led to the highest infiltration across the LOC in the last decade.

    Apart from this, I hope you understand that the “certain elements in India” who are not looking forward to any rapprochement with Nawaz Sharif are the ones who are disappointed that Pakistan has done nothing to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. Until anything substantial happens on that front, it will be extremely difficult for any government in India to survive if they attempt to soften the tone with Pakistan against the will of the people.

    Over and above all of this, India has a reason to be wary of Nawaz Sharif as it was during his previous administration that Kargil occurred. Also don’t forget that Ishaq Dar just yesterday mentioned at the Atlantic Council that Pakistan would give India MFN status after next year’s elections in India. 17 years after India gave MFN to Pakistan, it appears that Pakistan still seems to be looking at MFN as a carrot for negotiation.

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  • pulseller
    Oct 10, 2013 - 11:27PM

    ‘Mr. Kamran Shafi, Please don’t approve this comment, but I do know that you read them and I would like to show you how I see the situation.

    The fundamental flaw in your worldview is that you assume that the silent majority in Pakistan is like you; in that they think first as to “how can we take Pakistan forward?” as opposed to “how can we drag India down?”.

    You can rest assured that this is not a fringe or unpopular opinion, there are many you only have to look who feel that this is the reason Pakistan is in the state it is in today. This is why there is an astronomical difference between our two countries now. We are all after all from the same stock, yet our attitudes are centuries apart.

    In its foolhardy attempt at keeping pace with its eternal enemy India, successive men have overspent on defense and other unnecessary endeavors meant to prove that they have the bigger you know what. That the Indian people would never think of wanting to take over Pakistan is obvious, I can see it for myself, but in its attempt at warding off this evil but ultimately non-existent monster of India, Pakistanis have sold their children and grandchildren down the river in an attempt draw circles around themselves. A human tragedy if there ever was one.

    Now, believe me, it’s hard to find people from across the border that have the courage to examine their own beliefs and I only hope you have the conviction to go all the way through. Best of Luck.

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  • G. Din
    Oct 10, 2013 - 11:35PM

    @modiFied:
    “Indo-Pak relations will improve 1000 fold if there are army to army contacts.”
    On what rational grounds do you base this irrational statement? We know Pakistani Army dictates Its country’s foreign policy. Does Indian Army do the same? Such a statement is a wee bit better than saying ManMoron Singh and Nawaaz sharief can improve Indo-Pak relationship, because neither of them can deliver on anything. Kayani is marginally better than his Prime Minister but is he willing? Even if he were, his counterpoint is not authorized to even talk to Kayani without seeking permission from his civilian bosses.

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  • C. Nandkishore
    Oct 10, 2013 - 11:36PM

    No. The nature of ties between India and Pakistan should be in the hands of politicians. certainly not in the hands of soldiers. The army heads of both the nations should not meet nor have a hot line. Under no circumstance should the army should venture into the fields of diplomacy and policy.

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  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Oct 10, 2013 - 11:42PM

    Agree and diagree with you. Gen Singh’s ‘shenanigans’ are now being highlighted only because post retirement, he decided to join hands with the BJP – something the Congress (and incumbent party in power) and the current COAS don’t like!!
    The most recent is Narendra Modi’s September 15 Rewari (Haryana) rally, organised to mobilise ex-servicemen, and attended by 20 senior-rank former officers, including VK Singh, wearing ceremonial medals and ribbons.”” The key word here is EX- . as Indian citizens, EX-servicemen have the right to support a political party of their choice. They did not do this as serving member of the forces, quite different from many serving officers in your country.

    Fully agree with you re Gen (retd) VK Singh’s dramas re the age issue and the land scams in Mumbai – shameful, he should have quit then and there.

    Now re “Indian army generals successfully scuttled at least three attempts by Indian (and Pakistani) diplomats to come to an agreement on Siachen”; fully support the scuttling of any such agreements. The IA knows and has paid in blood the cost to recover high peaks in said area, and are not about to fritter away their gains. Just as the politicians keep the army in check, so should the army stop the ‘politicians and govt babus’ comfortably ensconsced in Delhi from stupidly giving away strategic territory.

    he says the army has always paid off politicians from all parties” My father was a transport pilot in IAF and has personally flown cash on IAF planes sent by then Congress central Govt to pay off the rebels in the North East in states where the Congress was not in power (in the 1960s) to try and foment unrest to topple the local govts and get the Congress in power. While this is not the correct thing to do, it is mighty rich of the Congress govt to accuse the Gen of doing this – where does the Army get the cash from? And as regards other covert operations – they are covert for a reason, and for the Congress govt to talk about them openly just to discredit the Gen is a shameful breach of national security

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  • JustAnotherJoe
    Oct 10, 2013 - 11:44PM

    My only problem with Praful Bidwai is that he maintains a studied silence on events that are inconvenient to his world view, giving his output a tinge of deliberate slant. However I am a huge fan of Kamran Shafi who is delightfully undiplomatic and spares no one – so Sir I take you roasting of the Indian military establishment as sincerely as you give it, for I find you to be a genuine advocate of subcontinental peace and harmony

    Just Another Joe

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  • Last Word
    Oct 10, 2013 - 11:45PM

    What a dramatic turn around by KS who was always been gunning down the shenanigans of the deep state has recently changed gears to Indian army. He is totally silent on 15 days operation against the deep state shenanigans backed militants by Indian army in Keran sector just a few days before the schedule talks of the two PM’s. Is KS gagged by the deep state or ET ?

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  • observer
    Oct 10, 2013 - 11:54PM

    Well. we in India know the Congress as the destroyer of institutions- Democracy via Emergency, Judiciary via Committed Judiciary, Free and Fair Elections via Malpractices for which Mrs Gandhi’s election was set aside, Secularism via Shah Bano Amendment and Rule of Law via 1984 Pogrom etc etc.

    Suffice it to say that Mr Bidwai feels that Congress is a great preserver of institutions. Therefore, his beef with Gen Singh, who is likely to join the BJP is quite understandable.

    Now, coming to Gen V.K.Singh and the issues Congress has with the General, let us just remember that for all other Indians the Matriculation certificate constitutes proof of age, but the Congress feels that this does not apply to Gen Singh.

    Coming to ‘Funding an NGO to derail succession’- Mr Bidwai, as usual is either confused or is deliberately misleading. The petition in fact was backed by 1000 eminent Indians including ex-Army and Navy Chiefs.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2121809/General-Singhs-backers-throw-warning-President.html

    After derailing many institutions in the past, the Congress now seems poised to strike at the Army also. Incidentally, under the blue eyed Chief foisted by the Congress, the Indian Army recently ‘fought’ a long battle against ‘dozens of infiltrators’ and yet, has hardly any thing to show for its efforts. So much for the ‘successor’.

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  • Oct 11, 2013 - 12:14AM

    The Indian Pakistan issues are intractable because Pakistan (and here I mean all – deep and non deep states) believes that attacks against our army and creating unrest in Kashmir is kosher. and I am afraid the infiltration will be tackled only when pakistan is completely falling apart – so really we have no solution. depressing.

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  • Parvez
    Oct 11, 2013 - 12:20AM

    Nicely spelt out but sound advice is rarely taken in the light it is presented.
    On this issue of the military and politics its worth quoting General Dwight D. Eisenhower – President of USA from ’53 to ’61 :
    In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power, exists and will persist.

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  • South Indian
    Oct 11, 2013 - 12:36AM

    @modiFied: What makes you think that a phone line between the two Army Chief’s will work when the Americans had better communication facilities and multiple Army-to-Army contacts including up to Gen. Kayani and still got nowhere?

    @3rdRockFromTheSun: VK Singh uncovered the Adarsh Housing Society scam leading to the arrests of a Brigadier, 2 Major Generals, 2 IAS Officers and others. The scam goes back to 2002 much before VK Singh became Army Chief and he had nothing to do with it except to bring it out into the open.

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  • Arindom
    Oct 11, 2013 - 1:12AM

    why don’t the Indian and Pakistani
    army chiefs have a hot-line between
    each other, too?

    I strongly disagree – They are not counterparts in the real sense. Pakistani Chief is a powere centre unto himself on par with the PM and President. He influences and in many cases run policies ( eg – foreign, defence, nuclear, for starters).

    The Indian Chief is another Government servant really, even junior than the India Defence Secretary. He has absolutely no say in policy-making. He simply follows orders. He shouldnot meet Pakistani Chiefs and get wrong ideas!!

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  • Kufristani
    Oct 11, 2013 - 2:00AM

    Author, you have raised some legitimate concerns about Indian army personnel involving in politics. Being a huge country is an important factor, but our foundations were democratic pre-1947 and yours were anything but democratic. However, you are reducing your own credibility with your feverish excitement about what Mr.Badwai wrote. Mr Badwai is a passionate India hater. Quoting Badwai will take you nowhere, probably Indians will have more respect for you than him.

    On a related topic (I don’t know if my comment will be posted if I raise this), when are you passionately going to write about the need for dismantling Lashkar-E-Toiba, and stopping Pakistani institutional support to LeT chief Hafeez Sayeed?

    It looks like the enlightened world view of Pakistani commentators and strategic experts becomes quite dim on this topic. Did Narendra Modi or VHP come to Karachi or Lahore train station with AK 47 rifles?

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  • Observer
    Oct 11, 2013 - 2:09AM

    @Last Word:

    What a dramatic turn around by KS who was always been gunning down the shenanigans of the deep state has recently changed gears to Indian army. ….. Is KS gagged by the deep state or ET ?

    A long-time admirer of Kamran Shafi and his journalistic honesty, I too have noticed that in the past few months, Kamran’s articles have been increasingly focusing on finding faults with India and less on his usual critical views of the Paksitani deep state.

    Having followed Kamran’s articles over a long period and having great respect for his intellectual honesty, I have to conclude that he is indeed being “throttled” by the agents of the deep state. I don’t blame him. For, the deep state agents have in the past assaulted him and fired shots into his house.

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  • Kufristani
    Oct 11, 2013 - 2:25AM

    Ok let me try again.

    Author, you have more credibility among Indians than Mr. Badwai. You could have written a column on the same topic.

    When are you going to write this much passionately about Lashkar-e-Toiba and the instituitional support received by LeT and Hafeez Sayeed?

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  • North west pakistani
    Oct 11, 2013 - 3:11AM

    I allways thought that mr shafi is wrong but i was wrong this time he is right 100%%%%%%%

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  • Ali Tanoli.
    Oct 11, 2013 - 3:15AM

    So peace loving Hindu army do made things worst and the game is not one sided….

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  • Californian Desi
    Oct 11, 2013 - 6:56AM

    Fan of your writing Kamran sahib.

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  • C. Nandkishore
    Oct 11, 2013 - 7:45AM

    @observer:
    You do seem to have an anti congress DNA. First the facts: The law is if you want to change the date of birth you have to change it in the first two years of joining. Not one year before retirement. The law does not care if he was born in 1951 or 1981 or 2001, he should get it changed in the first two years of joining the army. If this army chief did not follow this law he should have been removed the day he raised this issue. If Observer deliberately omits his point thats his DNA.
    Secondly the god forsaken site which Observer quoted itself says that no army general supported the petition and only two ex navy chiefs. Indian army is one million+. 1,100 signatures can be got in one or two hours. The question is he got only 1,100 signatures.
    And, so Mr. / Ms. Observer, you think that it is govt. of India raised the terrorists in Pakistan, made them cross the LOC just to reward the present chief.
    Nice. Keep it up.

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  • GIndian
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:11AM

    If the allegations are true then Indians should be wary of the consequence. This article should be an eye opener. There is no need to justify the actions of service men whether they are in the uniform or they are outside. They are just paid government servants of government of India and they should remain like that.

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  • Usman
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:23AM

    Be prepared for “I always thought you were an objective person/impartial etc.etc. but you’ve lost my support” from your legions of Indian fans. Are for your Pakistani fans, ., you don’t have any.

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  • Komal S
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:25AM

    Lots of us in India believe the Government is guilty of bringing politics into the army with the way it dealt with the age affairs of the General so it can get one of it’s pet army man into the army general post sooner. Also it unfortunately pitted one army officer against another and hence it left Army VK Singh with no other choice but to fight this from a political stage. The people of Pakistan should be thankful of this tamasha as it let out a can of worms on Kashmir etc…. In summary should thank VK Singh/Congress for this. As far as army scuttling Siachen plan when the Government was ready for it, Pakistanis need to understand any decision on Siachen will need a complete buy in from the Indian Army, it is a political decision but will not be done at the cost of the India’s security and integrity. To conclude this as heavy handedness of the Indian Army is being a little bit naive.

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  • mani
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:37AM

    He is going to be high commissioner in UK. So, he took U-turn and start writing against Indian Army. I never been fan of him but still have little admiration but now I came to know one posting change you altogether. This is dilemma of Pak. liberals

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  • Billy
    Oct 11, 2013 - 9:42AM

    Everyone seems to be focused on area of their interest and no one, I believe, tried to get to the essence of the article; under the weather approach I would say. The author, through his articles, has always given importance to democracy. Be it here, in Pakistan, or across the border, he has always discouraged the establishment to take the lead in making vital and strategic decisions. Although, there have been hardly any occasions when Indian army tried to mess with their democratically elected government. We, Indians and Pakistanis, never miss on a chance to belittle each other. Lets be patient a little and give peace a chance at least on this forum!!!

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  • Jonaid Iqbal
    Oct 11, 2013 - 10:23AM

    Congrats to KS on his appointment [to come] as our High Commissioner in U.K. Now that he will be on job, may be he could influence policies at Islamabad

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  • vasan
    Oct 11, 2013 - 11:20AM

    Regarding VK Singh’s involvement in bribing J&K officials, it must be investigated. But no problem for exservicemens’ involvement in politics. I am sure they would be able to put the army’s point of view in political debates.
    Congratulations on ur posting to UK as High Commissioner,. I hope u dont end up defending spot/match fixers in UK.

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  • np
    Oct 11, 2013 - 11:37AM

    It is indeed factually correct that the proposal for Siachen that Indian foreign minister was agreeable to, could not be approved by the Indian cabinet because the defense minister suitably briefed by the army felt it would not be in India’s national interest. What was being proposed – India should withdraw its army unilaterally. Since Pakistan did not have and does not have a single soldier over any Siachen peak and is confined to the Gyari sector,there was no reciprocity promised by Pakistan.

    What was Indian army asking that both countries should sign on the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL). Thus if Pakistan tried to snatch Siachen as it had in 1982 then India would have some legitimate claim. Well were the Indian army’s concerns unjustified? Did Musharraf not try Kargill?

    Finally foreign minister and defense minister are both senior cabinet level posts. Thus a proposal that is aceptable to foreitn minister but not defense minister will be debated in the cabinet. The cabinet had never agreed to Pakistani proposal – so your claim that Indian army scuttled and agreement shows a lack of understanding of the parliamentary system of democracy. It is understandable because even now your cabinet does not control defense of foreign policy. Both are cntrolled by your army.

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  • Khan
    Oct 11, 2013 - 11:46AM

    Can’t believe this fickle has been is being nominated as Pakistan’s Ambassador to UK.

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  • cruiser
    Oct 11, 2013 - 11:52AM

    Mr. K.S.the day you know the real extent of indian security establishment’s involvement in thwarting peace between Pakistan and India, and its efforts of destabilising peace and security of its neighbours,particularly Pakistan, you might offer two rakat Nafl for having your so called Deep state. Anyways, Der aye Durst Aye, i hope so.

    P.S. K.S.: show indians the mirror and lets see how much respectful they shall be to you and your views. Tear apart your own institutions(regretfully)and you might even get a slot in indian version of Big Brother

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Oct 11, 2013 - 1:14PM

    @cruiser: ” … day you know the real extent of indian security establishment’s involvement in thwarting peace between Pakistan and India, and its efforts of destabilising peace and security of its neighbours, … “

    Define peace.

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  • Rex Minor
    Oct 11, 2013 - 2:31PM

    @modiFied:
    Why not opt for Delhi born Musharaf? India could even keep him in his ancestors house and protect him.

    Rex Minor

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  • Oct 11, 2013 - 3:18PM

    I don’t think the hugeness of India stopped it from sliding into the morass Pakistan did thanks to Ayub Khan – such a simplistic, playing-to-the-galleries analysis does not befit this otherwise highly regarded writer.

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  • Pure
    Oct 11, 2013 - 3:47PM

    In India there are wide spectrum of views. Mr. Praful Bidwai is represents one of them – he is a leftist. You don’t need to find support in him to amplify your anti India animus. Gen. Singh’s views – given his colorful and maniacal tendencies, must be confirmed by more than one source and proven.
    In the same vain, Kashmir valley is the issue – not Kashmir, and certainly not Jammu. There cannot be a resolution until the export of “strategic” assets – soaked in religio nationalism, as state policy stops.

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  • Anand
    Oct 11, 2013 - 4:30PM

    @3rdRockFromTheSun

    “And as regards other covert operations – they are covert for a reason, and for the Congress govt to talk about them openly just to discredit the Gen is a shameful breach of national security.” and
    “……..…. it is mighty rich of the Congress govt to accuse the Gen of doing this….”

    Agree on both counts. It is just as rich of you to accuse the Congress of the shameful breach of national security, which your father, being an officer of the Army did when he shared his official brief with his son.

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  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Oct 11, 2013 - 5:53PM

    @ Anand – a rebuttal, please publish ET
    Firstly this happened in the 60s – so well past the expiry date; and secondly it had nothing to do with national security – in fact quite the opposite, it was the Congress party’s selfish and shameless desire to create instability in states where other parties were in power, and try to use that instability to get themselves back in power! Can you imagine a party in power supporting anti-national activities in states within their own country just so that their party can assume power in those states!!
    The instability they created in the 60s in the North Eastern states festered later on into the many insurgencies in those states during the 70s, 80s and 90s.
    Using the Army / defence forces to pay off politicians is never a good idea; and NOT national security.
    The national security part of what Congress has disclosed now to defame VKS is the covert-intelligence gathering and counter-insurgency ops which were named and shut down – as one of the commenters has already mentioned; there has been an increase in infiltration and insurgency activities since then!

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  • Khan
    Oct 11, 2013 - 5:59PM

    I believe the writer was a junior officer in Pakistan Army once. Here he has tried to grow out of his boots.I have never read a more incoherent piece till I read this one. His looks also betray his person .I would not like to read this again.

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  • Gauss
    Oct 11, 2013 - 6:35PM

    a very well written article sir, military has no right to interfere in politics and no-sense nazriya e zarorat should be buried forever

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  • K B Kale
    Oct 11, 2013 - 6:56PM

    You, too, Shafisahab?
    Whatever happened to one of the rare sane voices from Pakistan that made me believe that in near future our countries will bury the old hatchet & get closer & friendlier.
    Shafisahab, you disappointed me big!

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  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:24PM

    @3rdRockFromTheSun..a rebuttal please publish ET.
    3rdRock, this is just bile ur spilling in public. Congress govt did not disclose national secrets, it was your beloved gen. who did. For which his superiors denied.
    3rdRock, your father also is on same lines, not taking action at that time, coming home and cribling with his son. That is not what service men are meant to do, is it?
    your father should hv taken up at that time itself, after all as per your father congress was supporting the ENEMIES of the STATE and he was knowing a TOOL in supporting the ENEMIES.
    ABETTORS OF TERROR ARE ALSO TERRORIST REMEMBER.

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  • gp65
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:35PM

    ETBLOGS1987

    ET Mods (2nd attempt) – Everything in my post is factual. Your person desire to discredi the Indian army should not prevent you from posting something which is factually accurate AND meets every single comment guideline you have established.

    The author is trying to establish false equivalence between Indian army and Pakistan army. Some points to consider:

    1) Has Indian army ever asssumed power and deposed elected PM? No. We know the Pakistani army’s record in this matter. Gen. V.K. Singh’s joining politics after retirements is no different from Retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s political career. In no way does it undermine democracy.

    2) Could an Indian army chief ever dream of sending Indian RAW chief to a foreign country to investigate an unsigned and undated document on the basis of a foreign newspaper OpEd with a view to dislodging not just the country’s Ambassador to US but also the country’s President? No. There could be no equivalent of army and ISI’s role in memogate in India.

    3) In Pakistan the defense minister testified in front of Abbotabad commission that he was kept completely out of the loop by the army in events surrounding the Navy Seals operation and its aftermath and he got information by listening to CNN. In India when this same V K Singh attempted to meet the PM, the PM directed him to convey his concerns via his boss i.e. the defense minister.

    4) No Indian army chief would dare to start a war unknown to the PM. We know what Musharraf did at Kargill. The supposed scuttling of peace initiative by Indian army with reference to Siachen has been addressed by @np, so I do not need to elaborate.

    As such Indian army chief is a government servant and his influence on national policy is directly through the defense minister who is his boss and a cabinet minister. This is no different from RBI governor giving inputs to the finance minister, foreign secretary giving inputs to the foreign minister and so on. Such influence strengthens institutions and does not undermine them – nor is it consider behind the scenes.

    @Ali Tanoli – India does not consider its army as ‘Hindu army’. The current COAS is a Sikh. Our current Air Marshal is Christian. We have also had a Parsi COAS and a Muslim Head of Navy. And yes, it does work for peace by deterring aggression. It has never started a war.Recommend

  • Brown Eagle
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:52PM

    Sir
    DGMO’s hotline was working well during Kargil conflict. But that was not the problem.

    Moderators: You will continue to receive me comments under my current handle. BTW, moderating guidelines are posted below

    Your comment violated our policy (see box on right to see what we scan for). We encourage our readers to speak their minds freely, provided comments fall within our comment policy. We must respect both our writers and our commenters by protecting them from slanderous or abusive comments. They too are entitled to free speech – the right to share their opinions without being subject to scathing and mean-spirited remarks.

    COMMENTS WE DELETE
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  • anonidus
    Oct 11, 2013 - 9:29PM

    The General retired and then shared dais with a political leader. What is wrong with that. Equating that to the shameless behavior of Pakistani Generals grabbing power is ridiculous. Again there is a tendency in the Pakistani media to take the writing of one individual and treat it as gospel truth, especially if it ridicules India and especially the Hindu right.
    Please note Most of these these individuals critical of the Hindu right are all frustrated marxists, who cannot come to grip with realities. You are welcome to subscribe to these views but they do not reflect ground realities. So instead of jumping up in glee on the writings of any individuals, please look at facts objectively.

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  • x
    Oct 11, 2013 - 10:47PM

    @Last Word:
    Check out KS’s new prestigious post. It will make everything clear :)

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  • observer
    Oct 11, 2013 - 11:09PM

    @C. Nandkishore:

    A. The law does not care if he was born in 1951 or 1981 or 2001, he should get it changed in the first two years of joining the army. If this army chief did not follow this law he should have been removed the day he raised this issue.

    Are you sure Gen V.K. Singh, violated this ‘Law’ of yours? Now, read this.

    Gen VK Singh’s date trouble:
    1965: Date of Birth (DoB) filled as May 10, 1950, in UPSC application form (Gen Singh says it was done by a school teacher)
    1967/68: Gen Singh submits school certificate showing 1951 as year of birth

    Please note that the application form was filled up by someone else and the Matriculation certificate was submitted as soon as it was available.

    B. If Observer deliberately omits his point thats his DNA.

    Err.. Ahem..
    I am not a DNA expert, but is there a tail wagging DNA somewhere?

    C. And, so Mr. / Ms. Observer, you think that it is govt. of India raised the terrorists in Pakistan, made them cross the LOC just to reward the present chief.

    OK. So where are these ‘terrorists’ after three weeks of gun battle? Ever heard of fake encounters. Do find out about the same in J&K.

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/concerned-over-army-setbacks-govt-wants-lapses-investigated/1180692/0

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  • observer
    Oct 12, 2013 - 2:33PM

    Bidwai goes on: “By failing to act against the delinquent officers, the government has allowed army personnel to usurp an illegitimate role for themselves — and get away. Some consequences of such irresponsible indulgence have become evident. The most recent is Narendra Modi’s September 15 Rewari (Haryana) rally, organised to mobilise ex-servicemen, and attended by 20 senior-rank former officers, including VK Singh, wearing ceremonial medals and ribbons.”

    Mr Bidwai’s ignorance or agenda is understandable, but Mr Shafi how did you fall for this? As an ex-Army Officer I am sure you know that,

    A. The Soldier earns his ‘Medals and Ribbons’ the hard way and his right to wear the same does not depend on Mr Bidwai’s approval or lack thereof.

    B. Once the officer has ‘retired’ he has as much the right as any other citizen to any political party. For example Gen Shankar Roy Choudhury went on to become a Member of the Rajya Sabha as a Left Front Nominee. Did Mr Bidwai object to this too?

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  • Nero
    Oct 13, 2013 - 12:19AM

    Very surprising Kamran Sahib! I had come to expect a better understanding of military-political matters from you. Mr. Bidwai has a position on all matters, which is a matter of opinion. Someone as passionate about democracy as you are should appreciate: (1) Every citizen of India (including former government officials, which means retired army officers) have right to political activity. (2) All retired soldiers have a right wear medals and ribbons in civil functions. (3). All army chiefs have discretionary intelligence funds. Now to read such actions of Gen.(Retd.) Singh’s as “shenanigans” is either naïve at best or slandering at worst. It is very obvious to any observer that VK Singh is being punished by Congress government and civil/military bureaucracy for (1) bringing out Sukhna land issue; (2) going after those involved in Adarsh building issue (including congress politicians); (3) sharing stage with BJP leaders. Overall it is just cheap tactics by Congress party. The fact that Mr. Bidwai selectively ignores these aspects and stands with slandering tactics makes me wary of his “analysis” and position.

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  • Abid P. Khan
    Oct 13, 2013 - 1:26AM

    @Ali Tanoli.:
    @Khan:
    “Can’t believe this fickle has been is being nominated as Pakistan’s Ambassador to UK.”
    .
    .
    A good friend of this fickle who writes a weekly column, previously under the non de plume, Mazdak was made envoy to the UN, has for years tried to land on an Ambassadorial post. Perhaps his star to would shine.
    .
    As naive readers we gobble up all that dumped on our plates, thinking it is nourishing.

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  • Zeeshan Ahmed
    Oct 21, 2013 - 10:20PM

    @Vikas: I think you are wrong. This is probably one of the few (possibly only) times I have seen Kamran Shafi take a critical shot at India for a change. Please read his prior articles, a very objective fair to the point that is often accused of being skewed against Pakistan.

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