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Dealing with protests in Kashmir: The army chief has spoken. Why is the prime minister silent?

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Hellfire, May 30, 2017.

  1. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate THINKER

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    The democratically-elected civilian leadership needs to clarify whether Indian citizens should be afraid of their army.
    by Saikat Datta

    [​IMG]

    In a recent interview that General Bipin Rawat gave to the news agency PTI, in which he defended Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi – the officer accused of using a Kashmiri man as a “human shield” last month – the chief of Army staff made a series of startling statements that perhaps no Army chief in India has ever made before.

    Rawat said that he wished those pelting stones at security forces in the Valley “were firing weapons at us” as that would give him, and the Army, reason to deliver a proportionate response. Rawat said:

    “In fact, I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then I would have been happy. Then I could do what I [want to do].”

    Then Rawat issued an ominous warning to citizens:

    “Adversaries must be afraid of you and at the same time your people must be afraid of you. We are a friendly Army, but when we are called to restore law and order, people have to be afraid of us.”

    In essence, Rawat argued that citizens must fear the Army otherwise it would become ineffective as a force.

    This was probably the first time a serving Army chief in independent India was asking its citizens to fear the force.

    Rawat’s comments are in line with a shrill public discourse that has become increasingly common today, especially in television studios where retired generals, egged on by anchors desperate for people to watch their channels, scream for war, secure in the knowledge that they will never have to fight one.

    Fanatical nationalism helps sell these channels. Thus, they slickly package the deaths of India’s young soldiers in conflict zones in Kashmir and the North East to market themselves and the retired war-mongering generals they host. The dead soldiers eventually fade away, forgotten within days by all except their grieving families and colleagues. Meanwhile, cheering crowds, intoxicated by nationalism, continue to demand more sacrifices at its altar. And the cycle continues.

    But insurgencies have a strange way of consuming nations, as well as the generals sent to fight it. These tales are usually forgotten or deliberately buried because they do not suit the narrative. The stories of defeat are not glamorous, nor do they lend themselves to high television ratings – the oxygen that feeds news channels. But some tales are worth recounting, and they offer a critical reality check.


    A failed strategy


    In the summer of 2009, the US sent across one of its most distinguished generals to take charge of American forces in Afghanistan. General Stanley McChrystal was the hero of the Iraq war, having successfully run the Joint Special Operations Command, which was credited with breaking the back of the Iraqi insurgency.

    Brought in to take charge of the US’ failing war effort in Afghanistan, McChrystal immediately embarrassed the Barack Obama administration by publicly seeking 40,000 more troops to launch a major offensive in the Hemland province.

    Earlier, during his stint in Iraq, he took the battle to the enemy and was responsible for US forces successfully pushing back insurgents, leading to the capture of Saddam Hussain and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of the Al Qaeda in Iraq. The media loved him and lionised him by focusing on his past as a member of the elite Special Forces and building up an image of him as a cerebral general with frugal habits.

    McChrystal went to Afghanistan with every intention to solve the Afghan problem. But it all ended when a reporter from the Rolling Stones magazine, who spent a few days with him and his team, put together a devastating profile of him. In the piece, titled The Runaway General,McChrystal and his team were found ridiculing the democratically-elected US government, and taking decisions that were contrary to the Afghanistan policies of the Obama administration. When the story broke, McChrystal found that he had lost the confidence of President Obama, and resigned. He was soon replaced by his main rival, General David Petraeus.

    Michael Hastings, the Rolling Stones reporter, followed his article up with a book called, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan. The book criticised how the US military was fighting the war in Afghanistan, and pointed out that while McChrystal was a good man and a great military mind, he had come to believe in the infallibility of his mission. He believed that he and his team could do no wrong. This essentially led to a point where he could not recognise a fact staring him in the face: that the Afghans did not want an occupation force in their land.


    Hastings wrote:

    “The simple and terrifying reality, forbidden from discussion in America, was that despite spending $600 billion a year on the military, despite having the best fighting force the world had ever known, they were getting their asses kicked by illiterate peasants who made bombs out of manure and wood.”

    This feeling of infallibility also led to the US military leadership’s failure to recognise that its grand counter-insurgency strategy of Clear, Hold, Build – included in a Field Manual of the United States Army on counter-insurgency – had failed miserably in Afghanistan. The strategy, as the name suggests, involves clearing the territory of insurgents, holding on to it and finally helping with rebuilding efforts to earn the support of the local populace for the local government or counter-insurgents.

    The failure of this strategy is now well documented. But the memoirs or interviews of US Army generals who have served in Afghanistan tend to gloss over it, or avoid mentioning it altogether. And this is not the first time generals have chosen to bury their failures.

    The infallibility belief

    In September 1944, during World War II, allied forces launched their biggest airborne assault against Germany. Operation Market Garden was the brainchild of the US Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery who thought it would swiftly bring about an end to the war.

    The idea was to parachute thousands of troops into the Netherlands, capture some crucial bridges and then cut into the industrial heart of Germany, thus depriving the Germans of their rifles and tanks. The operation was a massive failure. Thousands of allied troops parachuted into the Netherlands, only to be caught and sent to Prisoner of War camps.

    Montgomery never owned up to this military disaster, reducing it to a few paragraphs in his memoirs. Later, his colleague and subordinate, General Sam Browne, ruefully confessed that allied troops had “perhaps gone a bridge too far”. It took nearly 20 years for the truth to come out, when war correspondent Cornelius Ryan meticulously built up the sequence of events and published them in his seminal book, A Bridge Too Far.

    Civilian leadership’s control

    The history of warfare, especially counter-insurgency efforts, is replete with such examples. The feeling of infallibility amongst the military and its leaders is inevitable. Soldiers are frequently called upon to do extremely challenging tasks at great risk to life and limb. They are given great power for this. At the same time, they are also placed under great restraint by the democratically-elected civilian leadership.

    The US civil leadership exercised its control over the military not only in the McChrystal case, but also by recalling General Douglas MacArthur after he bungled the Korean War by ignoring the direct orders of his civilian superiors. In the case of Rawat, however, instead of being silent, as it has been so far, the Indian civilian leadership would have done well to slap down the Army chief’s unprecedented statements. However, it has not done so, possibly because his statements suit their political narrative.

    To cut Rawat some slack, the military, trained to fight wars and suppress insurgencies, is focussed on its job. This narrow focus comes at the expense of political and humane considerations that play a major role in resolving or exacerbating any conflict. What India’s civilian leadership must remember is that finally, conflicts end not because of the military, but because of the larger political process. Losing sight of this essential point is not only ignoring the inevitability of history, but also the fact that violence will never end with more violence.

    Weapons over stones?

    Rawat’s statements to PTI are, in many ways, a call for a “free hand” for the military to brutally suppress any unrest. It is possible that he did not mean it as such either and only spoke out as a leader who has to lead his men into battle.

    However, by wishing that stone pelters take up weapons, he has just made a case for more armed militancy in the Kashmir Valley. This is counter to every tenet of successful counter-insurgency campaigns, which, throughout history, have sought to reduce violence, not increase it. Fewer weapons and more stone pelters are a good thing since stone pelters can be persuaded to return to their daily lives. However, militants with weapons will only end up killing more people until the military gets them.

    [​IMG]

    Also, if the thousands of stone pelters do take up arms, the Army will be facing a war, which will have terrible consequences. Additionally, will the Army chief make the same argument every time the Army is called to quell disturbances in other parts of India, be it the Jat agitation in Haryana or stone-pelters in Gujarat?

    But there is an ever deeper problem in the Army chief’s words. He said that he wanted citizens to “be afraid” of the Army. While he said this in the context of Kashmir, the fact is that once the civilian population starts fearing the Army, they cease to be part of a democratic union. Never in the history of State-sponsored oppression – be it the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, the repression in the Soviet Union by Josef Stalin, or the cultural revolution by Chairman Mao in China – has the military ever stood up to despots as an institution. On the contrary, it has willingly become the instrument of oppression for the despots in power.

    The day Indian citizens start fearing the military, as the Army chief has prescribed, is the day India will truly become a police state. It is now up to our political masters to decide whether they want such a future.

    https://scroll.in/article/839060/de...f-has-spoken-why-is-the-prime-minister-silent
     
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  2. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate THINKER

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    Why? Why does the Government have to clarify on every thing? What was so unclear?



    Why? What was so startling? Realising that you have a fighting machine in the Armed Forces and not exactly the local lathi bearing policeman? Shocked are you?

    Yeah. A soldier is supposed to fight. That was the Good General lamenting the fact that civil mess is being handled by the Indian Armed Forces.

    NO DUMBASS!

    He meant exactly what he said : Imagine when law and order fails by civil police and CAPFs (as always has happened), and Army is called and it fails to put curb? Recall the Haryana Problem? Recall Godhra? Recall Mumbai? Recall Saharanpur? Even then Army units from Meerut moved out as CAPFs were struggling. ITBP brought the situation under control :)

    Where do we get such jokers from?


    :D :D
     
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  3. SrNair

    SrNair Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Police State?
    So be it .
    The so called extends of freedom is damaging the basics of the nation.
    Illiterates dont deserve this much freedom.
     
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  4. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    What is there to CLARIFY?

    It is all clear Indian Army is for country's protection from enemies (these can be across borders and in some cases like Kashmir within borders). So the only people who aren't safe when IA is around are enemies of India.

    Ordinary India citizens do not have to fear anything about Indian Army. Ask any citizen across India, even people who are living in Cantonment areas like Pune, Mahu, Ambala have nothing to fear about IA. In fact people feel more safe when Indian Army is around In India.

    Yes, People living across the Enemy borders, eg. POK and people involved in anti India/nation activities have everything to fear about Indian Army, this is also clear.

    Maybe the author has lost control of his mind/gone mad or has taken some kind of weed/intoxicated to write up such bull shit of an article.:crazy::crazy::crazy:
     
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  5. surya kiran

    surya kiran 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    The basic problem is we can solve the Kashmir problem only through 2 measures. Both polar opposites.

    First option, bring about a change in Pakistani policy to ensure they go back to 2002 time of Musharraf. This will require a dramatic change in the polity in Pakistan and can be achieved only via a military rule in Pakistan. The reason being, a civilian cannot take the kind of decisions required for the same. The civilian's 'patriotism' will come into question. The military dictator will be seen as patriotic and taking decisions on basis of Pakistani needs. Is this possible? Under current scenario, practically impossible.

    Second option, is what I call the Punjab option. But, this requires very difficult choices to be made by the Indian policy system. Both at the state and central level. This will need to be enforced and harsh decisions will need to be taken. Create enclaves which makes security possible for Kashmiri Pandits to return to the valley and make sure they get back what was taken from them. Simultaneously, we will need to make a cost to the Pakistani state untenable by increasing complete moral support to Baloch and Sindhis. We should stay away from the nutjobs who are religiously driven. Bring the nationalist aspirations of Balochistan and Sindh to fruition. If not to completion, to ripeness.

    There is no other way to deal with the problem. We cannot try middle path stuff. Time for that is long gone. Option 1 requires the Pakistani state to play ball, option 2 requires the Indian state to take tough decisions.
     
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  6. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    Jesus christ, what framing!

    In that case; YES, yes they do need to be afraid, in the same way that a criminal needs to be afraid of the police. The "Indian citizens" in question here are not innocent hardworking Indians but stone pelters and terrorist sympathisers and that too in a very limited context, the Indian army isn't about to break down the doors of those sitting in Pune or Delhi.

    You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself turned into the villan
    , if not for the IA Kashmir would have become an Islamic state a long time ago and those barbarians would be roaming freely in the rest of India, it is only because of the security that THEY have been able to deliver that these a$$holes in the liberal media can sit comfortably in their homes and think up new ways to insult and criticise them.

    This is treachery of the most despicable kind, I honestly wonder what reality these marxists inhabit.


    @PARIKRAMA @Hellfire @Levina @nair @SpArK @Ankit Kumar 001 @Agent_47 @Gessler @Darth Marr


    +
    LOL, either this smug writer is not quite the intellectual he would like to think he is or he is intentionally misleading his audience. The COAS made it quite clear that what he was saying was it would be easier for the Army to fight armed terrorists than those who are throwing stones given the nature of their rules of engagment; 1000 armed terrorists can be eliminated (and the IA has proven this), 10,000 stone pelters can brazenly stand before the security forces and expect no reply.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
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  7. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    Sorry bro but this option is not tenable unless the first option is first enacted, the root of the Kashmir problem does not lay in Srinagar or anywhere in JK but across the border, unless it is addressed at the root there can never be peace in the state. Look at how many billions India has spent on border fencing and anti-insurgency operations and even with the flow of terrorists coming down from a torrent to a trickle the unrest Pakistan is fermenting in JK continues and from there the problems compound.

    Bringing Pandits back to the state will be a blood bath (for them).
     
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  8. Zen0

    Zen0 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Harsh laws are a must , same way china does it . These hooligans have no morals .

    They attacked tourist bus yesterday and beat up everyone in it , men , women , children.


     
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  9. surya kiran

    surya kiran 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Unfortunately, the only way to influence Pakistanis is to put a cost to their adventurism. And that cost has to be in Balochistan and Sindh. This will force them to the negotiation table. I understand your point of doing point 1. The only difference, in point 1 its talks. Point 2 is to force them for talks, not through passive influence but by active intervention.
     
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  10. Notsuperstitious

    Notsuperstitious 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    I want to hit this saikat datta with a stone and see his reaction. Will he get up and commend me for exercising my right to protest???
     
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  11. sangos

    sangos Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    This scroll is a troll site. They have gone full retard as their BS proves. Typical headline Ex. "How Modi is being controlled by RSS".....LMAO. Waste of time.
     
  12. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Another Leftist Marxist Lunatic as usual spewing bile against Indian Army and present political leadership of PM MODI,nobody cares, its good to be a police state for a while,India has given too much freedom ,which is being misused by NGO's breaking India forces,Foreign nations to infiltrate and try to create problems for the nation, a Police or more authoritarian state would disinfect the country from bacteria mentioned above and bring stability,peace,prosperity on long run.
    Two days ago,these communist lot were trending, #DravidaNadu on twitter and openly asking for help from China,Pakistan to make South Indian states a separate country.
    I am also from South there are no takers for their antics,but these lunatics in JNU,TN,periyar Ambedkar jackasses and Kerala communists were given a long leash its time they paid for their crime of Sedition and finish these Marxist scum once and for all.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2017
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  13. randomradio

    randomradio Colonel Technical Analyst

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    The article was written by a naive child.

    Anyway, the govt did respond to it, at least understood by those who are capable of understanding it. There will be no talks with separatists.

    UPA. :lol:
     
  14. Levina

    Levina Colonel on stilettos SENIOR MEMBER

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    The article is written by a guy called Saikat Datta, so far his articles have been written with a perceptive which is nothing but skewed vis-a-vis Indian army's approach in Kashmir. I'm glad that the guy didn't come out with anything against our COAS; prolly Gen Bipin Rawat's image didn't give him the liberty. Lol
    I wonder why he insists on PM's statements or doubts the ruling party's agenda here?
    Isn't it clear that since Gen Dalbir Singh,there has been a marked change in how our COAS(es) approach the media? Till not so long ago chief of army staff was supposed to avoid the media and only the army's spokesperson was allowed to interact with the media. So isn't it a surprise that the present army chief is so voiceferous about the situation in valley?
    Going by how media and army now has been given the power to expose truth and deal with the separatists (and terrorists) without the fear of a political backlash (respectively), it's not hard to understand why the hurriyat-Pak nexus was exposed or why the Indian army released videos of its operations?
    They have the back of the ruling party.

    Btw comparing the situation in Kashmir with that of Afghanistan and Iraq was stretching it tooooooo far. The author was off by a mile. Lol
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2017
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  15. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate THINKER

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    He will run to the nearest Police Station seeking 'protection' from 'right wing ultras'.
     
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