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پیر، 30 جولائی، 2012

India military designs

 The question however is: What do the Indians actually have in mind? It is obvious that besides China containment the huge military preparation are meant to intimidate Pakistan and extend India sphere of influence to the Middle East Central Asia and beyond.

 India has decided to go for fast track to reach to the level of regional superpower. When Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is now President of India, met Indian Chief of Army Staff General V K Singh in February 2012 but refused to disclose the details of his discussions many analysts got the hint what is cooking up with regard to Indo-US-Israeli partnership.

The new Indian Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh who assumed charge on 31st May 2012 is said to have links with Pakistan. Indian media reports claimed that General Bikram Singh's eldest daughter-in-law is a Pakistani citizen. However, Indian Military Intelligence officials have disclosed Singh's daughter-in-law, who has converted to Sikhism after marriage, is a US citizen, having an Afghan father and a Central Asian mother. There are reports that family of daughter-in-law of General Bikram Singh and her relatives had been living in Pakistan and applied for US citizenship after spending a good period of time in Pakistan. The very aspect will always keep the new Army chief under the scanner of Intelligence agencies. General Bikram Singh family originally belongs to Kler village, near Rayya in Amritsar but is permanently living in Indian Jammu and Kashmir state for last two decades.

In the latest development, a high level meeting was held at New Delhi, which was attended by Indian Defence Minister, A K Antony, National Security Advisor, Shivshanhar Memon, Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma and the three Service chiefs. Operational situation along the Line of Control (LoC) and Line of Actual Control (LAC) were discussed in detail, in which dissatisfaction over state of alertness was expressed and new strategy regarding winter vacated posts was discussed. General Bikram Singh recommended a complete overall of mutation of wars due to its aging. It was pointed out that Indian Army's entire armour fleet is lacking necessary ammunition to check the enemy while whole of the Air Defence is obsolete and requires major changes. Indian Air Force has already concentrated on its bases at Jodhpur and Halwara, etc. by deploying additional squadrons of Sukhois but during the conference concern was expressed over balance of air power with regard to Pakistan Air Force deployment of F-16s and Chinese JF-17 'Thunder' jets to counter Indian threats. It is pertinent to mention here that on ground, Indian Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) has miserably failed and Indian Mountain Strike Corps to counter Pakistan and China proved to be white elephant for time being. Air Marshal Arup Raha, Air Chief Western Air Command and Lieutenant General Sanjeev Chachra, Commander Western Army Command, expressed limitation on sharing real-time information due to obsolete communication equipment. The message was quite clear that all is not OK.

There is no doubt on the wisdom of new Army Chief General Bikram Singh who proposed "Time Gain Strategy" to build power at par with China and Pakistan. But one wonders, if he would be trusted in New Delhi and Washington after his Kashmiri, Pakistani and Afghan links. 

On assuming the charge, General Bikram Singh has expressed plans to ease tension with Pakistan and China. Under the prevailing situation, since bulk of Pakistani forces are engaged in Western theater to counter potential threat to western countries, New Delhi feels much relaxed. General Bikram Singh is quite comfortable with Washington and Tel Aviv and attempt may be made to use him as pawn in the "Great Game". During his tenure in Congo, he served the western interests to an extent where he openly violated United Nations directives. During his course at US Army War College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania he developed good friendship with American top services officers and was considered as pro-America officer. Washington is provoking New Delhi to launch a small operation inside northern parts of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir in the name of cross-border terrorism but such misadventure under the command General Bikram Singh seems remote. In such a case Washington may take other steps such as attack by third party that may lead further deterioration of Pakistan-India relations.

There are reports that General Bikram Singh has opposed the revocation of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act from some parts of the state in such a situation. However, same could not be confirmed as he was quoted by a Kashmiri journalist that he promised revocation. If we recall, India's new President Pranab Mukherjee, in his first presidential speech while highlighting terrorism said, "I am proud of the valour and conviction and steely determination of the armed forces as they have fought this menace on our borders; of our brave police forces as they have met the enemy within; and of our people, who have defeated the terrorist trap by remaining calm in the face of extraordinary provocation". While describing the war against terrorism as the fourth world war, he said, "We are in the midst of a fourth world war; the third was the Cold War, but it was very warm in Asia, Africa and Latin America till it ended in the early 1990s. The war against terrorism is the fourth; and it is a world war because it can raise its evil head anywhere in the world." Pointing indirectly finger on Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Mukherjee suspected cross-border terrorism from its neighbourhood. However, at the same time, Mukherjee was honest enough to accept home grown terrorism when he linked terrorism to enemy within and indirectly expressed his concern over Maoists, Bodos, Tamils, Bangalis, Sikhs, Kashmiris, Indian Muslims and others. 

 India has plans to spend over US $100 billion in acquiring weapon systems and platforms over the next decade to counter external enemies. India has already purchased defence items worth over $8 billion over the last few years while New Delhi acquired the position of second largest FMS (Foreign Military Sales) customer of US in 2011 with imports worth $4.5 billion. In a nut shell New Delhi has joined the western conspiracy against the East, especially Muslims. As regard to internal threats, despite the fact that General Bikram Singh is regarded as pro-west general in Indian Army, there are high hopes that he would verify the self-engineered Intelligence Inputs and fake encounters against the marginalized people in Indian states before dubbing them as terrorists.
New Delhi still has time to open her eyes and stabilize its economy and pave way for a new era of mutual trust and confidence between the neighbouring countries, in order to workout a joint defence of Indian Ocean.

 By Afshain Afzal


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