Archive for February, 2018

Crime Fiction Live in UP …

Posted on February 26, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought |

https://thewire.in/226426/chronicle-crime-fiction-adityanaths-encounter-raj/

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Indo Pak War 1947/48 – Prelude …

Posted on February 26, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career, Pakistan |

Hamid Hussain 

In August 1947, the British departed from India after partitioning the country into two independent states. Two pillars of stability; Indian Civil Service (ICS) and Indian army were divided between the two countries. Pakistan inherited the north-western frontier of India and its associated tribal question.

A tribal territory under British protection separated Indian administrative border from Afghanistan that in turn served as a buffer state between British India and Tsarist Russia; later Communist Soviet Union.  East India Company encountered these tribes after the demise of Sikh Durbar in 1849 when Punjab was annexed. In the next four decades, this relationship evolved over various stages.  By 1890s, Afghanistan’s borders were stabilized with demarcation of boundaries with Persia, Russia and British India.

There was a layered administrative structure of North West Frontier Province (NWFP).  Five settled districts (Hazara, Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu & Dera Ismail Khan) were administered like rest of India under Indian penal code.

In between settled districts and tribal territories were areas called Frontier Regions (FR) administered by deputy commissioner of the adjoining settled district.  In the early phase, deputy commissioners also dealt with the neighboring tribes.  Later, when tribal agencies were created Political Agents dealt with tribes under a separate code called Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).

In 1947, there were five tribal agencies; Khyber, Kurrram, Malakand, North and South Waziristan.  In general, scouts operated in tribal agencies, border military police (later Frontier Constabulary) in Frontier Regions and police in settled districts.

Troops of Indian army were deployed in various garrisons as a back-up for internal security duties and for external defense against possible Russian threat.

After Second World War, events moved at rapid pace and all three main players; Congress, Muslim League and British government were not prepared for these cataclysmic changes. By 1946, it was clear that British were finally leaving India and frontier question was seen in this context.

After Second World War, it was decided to gradually cut back regular troops on the frontier.  In 1944, a committee was formed under Lieutenant General Francis Tuker to recommend new frontier policy. This Frontier Committee recommended that regular troops should be withdrawn and Razmak, Wana and Khyber Pass garrisons should be replaced with scouts and khassadars (tribal levies).

Imperial giants of frontier Sir George Cunningham and Sir Olaf Caroe recommended implementation of committee’s recommendations.  Withdrawal of troops was to be complemented with a massive economic and infrastructure investment in tribal areas.

In 1944, Khojak Brigade on Baluchistan frontier was disbanded.  In March 1945 Tal Brigade was disbanded and some of its units were assigned to Kohat Brigade.

In April 1946, Indian army Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Claude Auckinleck presided a high-level conference at Peshawar.  It was attended by Governor NWFP, Agent to the Governor General Baluchistan, British counsel at Kabul and senior military and civil officers.

A unanimous decision was reached to replace regular troops in tribal areas with scouts and khassadars.  It was to be gradual withdrawal in five phases and to be completed in two years.

On 23 July 1947, GOC of Northern Command Lieutenant General Frank Messervy issued orders for reconstitution of his command.

According to this plan, fourteen battalions deployed on frontier defense were reduced.  Four battalions of Zhob brigade were withdrawn and levies took their place.  Three battalions from Tal were removed and replaced by frontier scouts and khassadars.  Gardai brigade (four battalions) was to be withdrawn in two phases; 15 August and 01 October 1947.  One battalion stationed at Malakand was removed.  Wana and Kohat brigades were reduced by one battalion each.

The decision of gradual withdrawal of regular troops from frontier was made by British high command long before partition of India and process had already started at the time of independence.

Indian army was divided between two countries and regiments were in the process of reorganization.  Muslim elements heading to Pakistan and non-Muslims heading to India.

In 1947, about half of 5000 British officers decided to stay and serve with Indian and Pakistani armies on secondment.  Those with long service opted for retirement while others asked for transfer to British army. Several factors including a recent World War with industrial scale carnage, desire of emergency commissioned officers to go back to their civilian jobs, shock of fratricidal communal civil war between Hindus and Muslims meant that not many British officers were willing to continue soldiering.

Immediately after independence in October 1947, India and Pakistan got involved in armed conflict over the disputed territory of Kashmir. This resulted in speedy exit of remaining British officers. Within few months of independence, majority of British officers had left the combat units.  However, many senior British officers remained at important positions especially technical, staff and instructional appointments.

In early 1948, the list includes C-in-C General Douglas Gracey, Chief of Staff (COS) Lieutenant General Ross McCay, Deputy COS Major General W. Cawthorne, Chief of General Staff (CGS) Major General R. A. Hutton, most senior officers of engineer, signals and ordnance branches, commandant of Staff College (Brigadier I.C.A. Lauder) and commandant of military academy (Brigadier F. H. B. Ingall).

On the frontier, officers of Indian Political Service (IPS) and scouts were responsible for maintaining peace.  In 1946, interim government under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was very critical of frontier officers that severely affected the morale of IPS.  Deputy Commissioner of Mardan Gerald Curtis confronted Nehru and later resigned.  When Mountbatten asked NWFP Governor Sir Olaf Caroe to leave on the advice of Nehru, British officers lost all confidence.  Many officers called it a day and handed the reins to Pakistani officers.

However, in 1947, still several British army and political officers were performing duties on the frontier.  Evelyn Cobb was Political Agent (PA) of Malakand Agency and he raised Pakistani flag on August 14, 1947.  Lieutenant Colonel Vernon Cox was resident of Waziristan, Captain Robin Hodson was PA of North Waziristan and P. T. Duncan was PA South Waziristan.  Several officers were ably administering frontier settled districts including Arthur Dredge at Bannu, Andre Wooler at Kohat and St. John Major at Hazara.

Withdrawal of regular troops from tribal areas was envisioned under British high command after Second World War.  Even if India was still under British rule, it was most likely that by the fall of 1948, all regular troops would have been withdrawn.  Partition of India and division of armed forces in early 1947 speeded up this decision.  In October 1947, Pakistani C-in-C General Frank Messervy in a meeting with country’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah where Cunningham was also present warned that Pakistan army was in a bad shape and suggested that regular troops should be withdrawn from Waziristan within three months. All three present at the meeting agreed and Pakistan government made the final decision in October 1947.  On 06 November, Resident of Waziristan announced this decision to tribal jirga. The troops withdrawal code named Operation Curzon was completed by December 1947.

Army withdrawal from tribal areas was done under the watchful eyes and close cooperation of scouts and khassadars.

The key factor which most historians have ignored is link between frontier question and incursion of tribesmen in Kashmir in 1947.  By early September 1947, almost every tribe on the frontier was asking British governor Sir George Cunningham to let them go to kill Sikhs.  With some satisfaction, Cunningham wrote that ‘I would only have to hold up my little finger to get a lashkar of 40’000 or 50’000’.  In fact, later Cunningham was instrumental in convincing Jinnah to support tribesmen.  On October 29, Cunningham met Jinnah and advised him to increase tribal incursion supporting them with supplies and exert more control.  On the same day, a meeting attended by Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan agreed to support tribesmen establishing a seven-member committee based at Abbottabad. However, Cunningham had his misgivings and was not sure how this will end.  He wrote that ‘the harm has been done, and we have to make the best of the situation’.

Tribal lashkar had entered Kashmir valley by the third week of October 1947.  This means that they must have left their homes at least one to two weeks before in early October. Thousands of able bodied armed tribesmen were already out of their lair heading to greener pastures in Kashmir.  The religious factor was at play but main incentive for the tribesmen was the lure of loot.

I have not been able to find any documentary evidence of what was promised to the tribesmen but from some later oral traditions, it has emerged that they were told that they would keep captured arms and ammunition as well as any loot. On their way to Kashmir, tribesmen lived off the land in Pakistani territory.  Even in cities like Abbottabad, they would walk into any shop and take what they liked.

In Kashmir, they usually refused food offered by local Muslims for the fear of poisoning and usually grabbed sheep or goats and slaughtered and cooked for their consumption. In Kashmir, they looted from Muslim and non-Muslim alike.  They returned with captured arms, ammunition, gold etc. and brought even captured Kashmiri women. However, it was only a handful of women that ended up in tribal areas.  Majority of women were abducted by fighters from Pakistani controlled Kashmir, Hazara and Punjab.

The role of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah is interesting.  He had single mindedly fought for a separate homeland for Muslims and for seven years was fighting on different fronts.  Now suffering from advanced tuberculosis of lungs, his frail body was not able to support his agile mind to tackle the crisis in Kashmir.

Local leadership in Punjab and NWFP was fumbling through Kashmir problem.  In September 1947, Jinnah told The New York Times that ‘he was doing his utmost to hold back Moslem tribesmen, who were demanding a holy war against Hindus and Sikhs.  He admitted that he was not sure he could restrain them overlong’. Defence Secretary Iskandar Mirza told Cunningham that when the subject of tribal incursion was broached, Jinnah told him ‘do not tell me.  I want to keep my conscience clear’.

When Maharajah of Kashmir signed accession agreement with India and Indian troops were flown to Srinagar, on the night of October 27-28, Jinnah ordered Lieutenant General Douglas Gracey who was officiating C-in-C to send troops into Kashmir. Gracey told Jinnah that this order would result in implementation of ‘Stand Down’ order for British officers serving with Pakistan army.  Gracey also telephoned Supreme Commander Field Marshal Claude Auckinleck at Delhi.

On the morning of October 28, Auckinleck flew to Lahore, met Jinnah and convinced him to withdraw his order.  Jinnah obliged but was very angry.  On the advice of Auckinleck, Jinnah also agreed to meet Mountbatten, Nehru and Maharaja of Kashmir for a roundtable discussion.  On the same day, Mountbatten persuaded Indian Defence Committee to accept Jinnah’s invitation. In the afternoon, during meeting of Indian cabinet, all opposed the idea and in the end only Mountbatten went to Lahore to meet Jinnah.

On November 01, Jinnah met Mountbatten to discuss Kashmir situation.  Jinnah suggested that both sides should withdraw.  When Mountbatten asked him how the tribesmen can be called off.  Jinnah confidently replied that ‘all he had to do was to give them an order to come out and to warn them that if they did not comply, he would send large forces along their lines of communications’.  This may be an argument by a smart barrister but not in line with ground realities. 

Internal tribal dynamics and local political maneuvering determined who went to Kashmir.  NWFP Chief Minister Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan and Muslim League supporter Pir of Manki Sharif lobbied Pushtuns of settled as well as tribal areas for Kashmir.  Majority were Pushtuns from Mardan and Swat and Pushtu and Hindko speaking Hazarawals as well as Mahsud, Afridi, Mohmand and Bajawar tribesmen.

Recently ousted Congress Ministry of NWFP and followers of Abdul Ghaffar Khan stayed away.  Wazir representation was very small as Faqir of Ipi in Waziristan had prohibited his followers to join Kashmir adventure.  A rival Pir of Wana and some others who competed with Faqir of Ipi for local influence sent a small group of Wazirs.  Faqir of Ipi who had been a thorn in British side was not willing to accept the rule of Anglicized Indians even if fellow Muslims.

Later, everyone blamed tribesmen for all failures in Kashmir. Two veteran pro-Pakistan Kashmiri leaders of Pakistani controlled Kashmir who fought in 1947-48 struggle later saw induction of tribesmen as damaging to Kashmiri cause.

Referring to tribesmen Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan stated that ‘the movement suffered a great set back because they were uncontrollable’.  He added that ‘they did lot of damage’ and ‘the looting created a very bad impression’ as they looted Muslim and non-Muslims alike.  Referring to Pakistan, he said, ‘they made an absolute blunder allowing a thing like this’.

Sardar Ibrahim Khan while appreciating fighting qualities of tribesmen was of the view that ‘we made a terrific mistake’ referring to no command and control of tribesmen.  Another pro-Pakistani Kashmiri Muhammad Yusuf Saraf; a resident of Baramula and later Chief Justice of Pakistani administered Kashmir also echoed same sentiments stating that ‘there was generally no distinction between Hindus and Muslims in so far as loot and arson was concerned.  The local ‘cinema hall was converted into a sort of a restricted brothel’.

Tribal factor needs to be seen in the general context.  Tribesmen angered by latest news of atrocities against Muslims during partition carnage now wanted to embark on a religious obligation.  In fulfilling this duty, they also looked for a chance of loot and plunder with clear conscience.  They were small bands led by their own clan leaders and all depended on how good or bad were these leaders.  There was no central command and no arrangement for supplies.

Except for rebellion of locals in Poonch, local population of Kashmir was too frightened or passive for an armed rebellion.  Tribesmen played a major part in wresting the territory that is now Pakistan controlled Kashmir.  Years later, tribesmen would pester political agents for favors pointing to the fact that they had gone to Kashmir to pull Pakistani chestnuts from the fire.

If tribesmen had not been directed to Kashmir in October 1947, it is very likely that some of them would have forayed into Muslim majority settled districts of Pakistan near their border. This conclusion is based on the simple fact that general break down of law and order or signs of weakness by government is an opportunity by highlanders to deprive inhabitants of the plains of their wealth.

Some incidents when it became clear that British were leaving point to this fact.  In April 1947, Bhittanis; generally, a weak tribe and some Mahsuds looted the border town of Tank.  They not only looted the town but burned property and cut off its water supply.  A robust seven platoon scout detachment under a British officer secured the town.

Another detachment under Major James Majury (5/13 Punjab Regiment) was sent for patrol and they found that three Mahsud lashkars were on their way to take their share in the loot.  A stern warning by Majury telling them that area was well defended resulted in melting away of the Mahsuds.

When Wazirs heard about free for all affair in Tank, hundreds of Wazirs with ladders and ropes and string of camels headed towards Bannu.  Tochi Scouts intercepted them arresting many and dispersing them.

Pakistan was faced with enormous challenges with no infrastructure of new government, flood of refugees, precarious law and order and serious economic concerns.  There was neither time not will to review frontier policy therefore Pakistan continued to administer tribal areas as under British rule.

Jinnah brought back veteran British political officer Sir George Cunningham from retirement as governor of NWFP.  Sir Ambrose Dundas was appointed Chief Commissioner of Baluchistan and later he succeeded Cunningham as NWFP governor. IPS was absorbed into Ministry of States and Frontier Affairs.  Only a handful of Indians were serving with IPS therefore officers of Provincial Civil Service (PCS) serving in subordinate positions were promoted and posted to tribal agencies.

Jinnah’s address to tribal jirga at Government House in Peshawar on 17 April 1948 gives hints of the complexity he was facing.  Tribesmen were concerned about two issues; to maintain their independence and continuation of allowances as under British rule. They were essentially asking for continuation of status quo and Jinnah obliged.

On the issue of freedom, he said, ‘Pakistan has no desire to unduly interfere with your internal freedom’.  This was exactly what Frontier Crimes Regulation was about where tribal customs were codified.  Jinnah first criticized allowances stating that ‘you are dependent on annual doles’ and ‘at the end of the year you were no better off than beggars asking for allowances, if possible a little more’.

After criticizing it, he said that as you wish to continue these allowances and khassadaris therefore ‘neither my government nor I have any desire to modify existing system’ but added the caveat of ‘so long as you remain loyal and faithful to Pakistan’.  Some restrictions on tribesmen were abolished and gradually tribal society was integrated with the country.

Sources: 1. Charles Chenevix Trench.  The Frontier Scouts (New Delhi: Rupa & Company: 2002 Indian Edition of original 1985 publication)  2. Daniel Marston.  The Indian Army and the End of the Raj (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014) 3. Andrew Whitehead.  A Mission to Kashmir (New Delhi: Penguin Global), 2008 Indian Edition 4. Pradeep P Barua.  Gentlemen of the Raj : The Indian Army Officer Corps 1917-1949 (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2008)  5. William A. Brown. Gilgit Rebellion – The major who mutinied over the partition of India (South Yorkshire: Pen and Sword), 2014  6. Major General Shahid Hamid.  Disastrous Twilight (London: Leo Cooper, 1986)  7. Major General Shaukat Raza.  The Pakistan Army 1947-1949 (Lahore: Wajidalis, 1989)  8. Brandon D. Marsh. Ramparts of Empire: India’s North-West Frontier and British Imperialism 19919-1947.  PhD Thesis. The University of Texas at Austin, May 2009. 9. Major General ® Akbar Khan.  Raiders in Kashmir (Lahore: Jang Publishers, 1992) 10. Hamid Hussain.  Waziristan – The Past.  Defence Journal, November 2004. 11. John Connell.  Auckinleck: A Biography of Field Marshal Sir Claude Auckinleck (London: Cassell, 1959)  12. Norval Mitchell.  The Quiet People of India (Weardale: The Memoir Club, 2006). 13. Head Quarters Northern Command Order.  Reconstitution of the Indian Army – Reliefs, dated 23 July 1947.  Copy of this order was provided to author courtesy of Major General Syed Ali Hamid from his father Major General Shahid Hamid’s personal papers.

 

 

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Poverty – Prosperity of Indian States …

Posted on February 24, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought, Searching for Success |

NATIONAL COVER STORY – A long read but comprehensive and informative – The Black Hole In The Heart by ZIA HAQ  

(West Bengal is the new Orissa, while UP, Bihar and MP remain poor and distort the India Growth Story) 

It’s been 32 years since the late demographer Ashish Bose coined that famously disparaging phrase ‘Bimaru States’, in a one-page report to the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The acronym for Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, which referenced the Hindi word for ‘sick’, would now be seen as a form of naming and shaming, done perhaps with the intention of prodding the guilty into trying to change.

But this burden of guilt—if we assign it to human failure, which is what a failure of vision and commitment in governance would be—is not an easy one to redress.

The term continues to cause offence, and there are periodic claims of this State or that having escaped the infamy, but the harsh reality is that, at the root, the sickness seems endemic—and it endures.

What Bose was referring to in 1985—to bundle all development indices into a simple demographic—was the huge ratio of the poor in these States, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of India’s population at the time.

These intervening decades have seen India go through some epochal changes, and it’s now routinely referred to as an engine of global growth. These States too have not been immune to the tidal churn unleashed, yet they lie at the heart of a big set of disturbing economic challenges the Country faces.

Per Capita Income as net State Domestic Product in Rs                           SOURCE    RBI, IDFC, Mospi                                                                         INCOME LADDER in 1960 and  2014

  1. MAHARASHTRA  —  409    and 2.   1,13000
  2. W BENGAL          —   390   and 10.  38000
  3. PUNJAB              —-  380        and  6.    96000
  4. GUJARAT            —–  362      and  3.    10,9000
  5. TAMIL NAIDU   —–   334    and   5.   10,6000
  6. KARNATAKA    ——  292     and  4.    10,8000
  7. KERALA           ——- 270   and   1.    1,15000
  8. RAJASTHAN    ——- 263  and     7.      64000
  9. MP                 ——–  252    and    9.      44000
  10.   UP                 ——–  252  and    11.     35000
  11.   ORISSA        —-  220       and     8.     54000
  12.  BIHAR        —— 215       and      12.     25000

In 1960, the top three states were 1.7 times richer than the bottom three. By 2014, this gap had almost doubled.

Bose’s ailing States, especially UP and Bihar, remain laggards in terms of prosperity and income, judged by the par­ameter of Net State Domestic Product, read along with a few other factors.

Despite robust growth rates, and despite Mandal politics creating new forms of social mobility, they haven’t been able to reduce the gap with the club of rich states.

It’s a troubling gap, and speaks of a huge, unfair skew in India’s economic map.

The picture of regional imbalance is so acute that it forms, as Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian puts it, India’s biggest “political-economy puzzle”.

Take UP, India’s most populous State and a political bellwether.In every general election, it decisively tilts India’s political scales. But on income, it still hugs the bottom of the graph.

A couple of quick juxtapositions. If UP were a Country, the size of its economy would be like that of Qatar. That would have been impressive, except for one minor detail: Qatar has only 2.5 million inhabitants, whereas UP has 215 million.

This massive population, about the same as Brazil’s, means its ave­rage per capita income is no more than that of Burkina Faso, a landlocked sub-Saharan country.

That implies, by common allusive practice, the gold standard in poverty.

In 1960, the richest State Maharashtra was twice as rich as Bihar. In 2014, Kerala was 4 times richer than Bihar, the poorest.

What’s cause for worry is how India has been unable, for decades now, to put into motion any kind of targeted policy thrust to address the regional imbalance.

For, the handful of States that climbed the income ladder real quick since the 1960s have ensured that they stay up there—Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

And Kerala, despite its lower level of industry presence and dependence on remittances, has a model that spreads its prosperity fairly evenly (though it too is not without a gap between the creamy layer and the outliers).

All this is in sharp contrast with the States that exhibit a strong developmental inertia. One piece of evidence is the share of ‘Bimaru’ States in the total income of all States.

In 2013-14, UP had a mere 1.2 per cent share! Again, throw in a few juxtapositions and the picture becomes starker.

The share of Chhattisgarh, a new entrant in the race, was way higher at 14.5 per cent. Tripura, admittedly a poor State, improved its per capita income nearly six times between 1984 and 2014. (In 1984, the average Tripura resident earned Rs 11,537, according to India’s Economic Survey, which increased to Rs 64,712 in 2014).

Himachal Pradesh, which in the ’80s ranked in the middle, upped its per capita income four-fold.

Orissa, once synonymous with the starvation deaths of Kalahandi, has cut rural poverty twice as fast as Bihar, and has consequently jumped three spots.

Its neighbour West Bengal, though, offers reasons for despair. A rich, industrialized State in the 1960s, it has slid down the ranks, letting States like Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra take its place.

One reason: de-industrialization. Between 1998-1999 and 2004-2005, Bengal recorded a fall of 4 per cent in the number of people employed in the industrial sector. With a renewed emphasis on attracting investment, this figure improved to 3.5 per cent between 2005-06 and 2012-13.

But barring this exception, the composition of the rich/poor clubs has remained largely unc­h­anged over the past four decades, according to Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay of the London School of Economics.

Bihar is at the heart of the puzzle. It’s now one of India’s fastest growing States, mainly because of the low-base effect, a statistical phenomenon.

If growth rates had been very low, even a small increase would arithmetically show up as a high figure. The State posted the highest average growth rate during the whole of the 11th Plan period (ending 2011-12).

Consider these peaks: 15.69 per cent in 2006-07 and 14.48 per cent in 2012-13. Bihar even topped all States in terms of growth of per capita incomes. Yet, the catch-up distance is the largest for Bihar. Adjusted for inflation, its net per capita income was the lowest (Rs 26,801 in 2015-16).

UP came in just one spot above (at Rs 38,234). By comparison, Kerala was 365 per cent richer than Bihar. What would be the impact of such uneven progress on people’s lives?

If you are a young job-seeker in, say, Bihar or UP, you would be better off moving to Kerala, Gujarat, Karnataka or Maharashtra because you will likely end up being four times richer.

Ordinary Indians know this. Railway passenger traffic data, collected by the Finance Ministry, shows annual internal work migration doubled to about 9 million between 2011 and 2016. Loads of people are shifting out from these disadvantaged states.

This picture of inertia inverts global trends. Everywhere, poorer regions are climbing up. No Chinese province has been stuck at the poverty levels of three decades ago.

This is precisely how it should be, according to what economists call “convergence”: a region with poor income and consumption data sees fast growth on those counts if its markets are linked to those of richer regions.

India’s economy has those linkages, yet paradoxically its States show a polarising picture of “divergence”—judging by Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) in per capita terms, the most common measure that indicates the average income of a State’s resident.

The NSDP is a variant of State GDP, with subsidies, interests and taxes subtracted.Distributed per capita, it becomes a handy proxy for average income—a statistically kosher method. It’s not without flaws, of course.

The total economic activity in a State, which is what State GDP or NSDP show, would obviously include high-value activity—mining, for example—concentrated in a tiny segment and may not accurately reflect the lack of prosperity outside it.

Bengal’s slide after the flight of industry shows that—once you take away those pockets, the data starts reflecting the actual immiseration outside.

Maharashtra, minus Mumbai and Pune, would surely fare differently—its ranking does not reflect the distress in the farm sector.                          Kerala’s ranking, similarly, hides the destitution in its adivasi pockets.

Still, assuming any wealth will inevitably percolate to some deg­ree, NSDP is one way to generalise.

India often likes to compete with China. Poverty reduction would be a good arena to do so. China’s current catch-up rate of about 3 per cent means Gansu province—whose spectacular mountain and desert-scapes host the highest poverty levels in the country—will reach midway to the level of the richest provinces, the coastal Guangdong and Shanghai, in 23 years.

What about us? Subramanian, who analyzed the problem in the annual Economic Survey, provides a grim answer. “The evidence so far suggests that, in India, catch-up remains elusive.”

Trouble is, this stayed static through the liberalization period. Economists Vivek Dehejia and Praveen Chakravarty of the Mumbai-based IDFC Institute, in a landmark recent study, show how “pre-1990 and post-1990 look like almost two different eras”.

They blended traditional methods with a new, cutting-edge tool used for the first time in India: “night-time lights or NTL luminosity”, which uses satellite imagery of glowing specks of night-time light as a marker of prosperity. The results were, well, illuminating.

Four times are the earnings of an average person in the richest State compared to his counterpart in the poorest State. Altogether, 12 large States were analysed, including Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and UP, using US satellite data for 1960.

They noticed that the richest State in 1960, Maharashtra, was twice as rich as the then poorest State, Bihar. By 2014, the richest State was Kerala, but its income was four times that of the “still poorest state of Bihar”.

Their conclusion: “the initially richer States grew more rapidly in the liberalization period” and stayed the course. Kerala and Tamil Nadu have often been cited by Economist Amartya Sen as models. These two have famously focused big on social spending, enhancing the State-led expansion of Education, Food Security and Health.

These became critical inputs for a productive workforce and, in the case of Kerala, job emigrations.

If Kerala were a Country, it would rank alongside developed European economies. Life expectancy in Kerala is 82 years, the same as Sweden. Its infant mortal­ity rate of 12 per 1,000 live births is low, same as China’s.

There are signs of life in the Bimaru States too: consistently high growth in recent years shows Bihar is structurally changing. “But per capita income continues to be low, just as it was decades ago.

I would blame our poverty load and last-mile hiccups,” says Vishnu Dayal Pandit, Deputy Director of Bihar’s Directorate of Economics and statistics.

Pandit has a point. A World Bank Study in 2014 found Bihar limping with a huge “unmet demand” for rural jobs under NREGA. The Scheme’s impact on rural poverty in Bihar was just 1 percentage point against a potential of 14 percentage points, the Study found.

Bihar’s population below the poverty line of about 54.4 per cent in 2004-05 came down only marginally to 53.5 per cent in 2009-10, according to erstwhile Planning Commission data.

WHO IS CUTTING POVERTY FASTER?  2004/5 AND 2011/12.                    DECLINE SHOWN AS PERCENTAGE POINTS                                         PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION BELOW POVERTY LINE

  1. ORISSA         DOWN FROM 57.2 TO 36.2
  2. BIHAR           DOWN FROM  54.4 TO 33.7
  3. W BENGAL  DOWN FROM 34.2 TO 20
  4. UP               DOWN FROM  40.9 TO 29.

xxxxxxx

Orissa, by contrast, shows a faster dec­line in poverty rates. Udit Sharma of the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development cites National Sample Survey data that shows the wages of casual workers there rising 17 per cent annually between 2009-10 and 2011-12—one of the highest.

Does economics alone explain the resistance of Bihar and UP to mobility? There is a social corollary to all this, difficult though it is to disentangle cause and effect here.

Soc­iologists point to caste—the persistence of discriminatory feudalist structures that don’t allow the markets to function independently, causing growth to disproportionately benefit the dominant castes.

In India, a “tension” exists between democracy and development, says Jeffrey Witsoe, Author of Democracy Against Development, a landmark work that looked at the economic impacts of feudalism in Bihar. Caste empowerment politics, he says, increased “democratic participation”, but “radically threatened the patronage State by systematically weakening its institutions and disrupting its development projects”.

Richer States grew more in the liberalization period, so the gap between richer and poorer States has been widening.
“Caste, landlessness and bonded labour are big culprits,” says Allahabad University Sociologist Kunal Keshri, who specialises on migration and social mobility. “Studies show lack of inter-caste marriages hampers social mobility.

Even in my city, Allahabad, or Varanasi, only recently have inter-community marriages become noticeable.” Internal migration from poor States has been of two types, Keshri says. The skilled, educated classes mostly move out permanently.

The second type—seasonal casual workers—is driven by both better income prospects and the chance to escape village-level shackles of caste. UP continues to have the highest share of India’s total population below the poverty line—at 22.17 per cent. The State anyway has the highest share of marginalized groups, such as Dalits (20.5 per cent) and Muslims (22.34 per cent, of whom only a small fraction are elite).

UP’s poverty profile is spread across about 50 districts. According to its annual plan document, 15 districts remain abysmally poor: Jaunpur, Ballia, Lalitpur, Mau, Ghazipur, Bahraich, Maharajganj, Hardoi, Deoria, Azamgarh, Balrampur, Shrawasti, Kushi Nagar, SK Nagar and Mirzapur.

Land ownership patterns hold another clue. “In most assessments of Bihar, hurdles in land reforms are often overlooked,” says Ashok Kumar Sinha of Bihar Agricultural University, Bhagalpur. On paper, Bihar was one of the first to prioritise implementation of the Abolition of Zamindari Act in 1949 to redistribute land, he says. Yet, powerful elite-caste zamindars secured many waivers after a series of court battles, including continued rights.

“Remember, zamindars were successful in exploiting the loopholes because successive governments were in reality their representatives. It was precisely to circumvent the Zamindari Abolition Act that the Bihar Land Reforms Act, 1950, was passed,” he says. Even the Ceiling on Landholding (Amendment) Act was sponsored by zamindars to prevent transfer of excess lands. “The only way to change is to create non-farm-based employment and that’s happening now,” he says.

In its pursuit of growth, India tends to ignore two facts, clinging to the well-worn shibboleths of the reform years. One, farm growth can actually cut poverty twice as fast as industrial growth. Two, they are NOT mutually exclusive areas of priority in a zero sum game: a 1 per cent rise in agricultural output in fact raises industrial production by 0.5 per cent and natio­nal income by 0.7 per cent, according to one calculation.

The rate of investment in agriculture in the 1980s and ’90s was an abysmal 8-12 per cent, so farm growth hobbled at 2.4 per cent or so. Other sectors not only saw reforms but got public investments over 35 per cent. This was reversed only with the 10th and 11th five year plans (2002-07 and 2007-12). Even today, only 40 per cent of India’s net sown area is irrigated, leaving farmers vulnerable to droughts.

And according to the government’s own findings, only 14 per cent of farmers are able to get minimum support prices. Chakravarty and Dehejia say one simple way to “understand this complex issue of economic divergence” is to take the recent example of Apple wanting to set up a manufacturing base in India.

Land and labour costs for Apple would be much cheaper in Bihar than in the “much richer states of Karnataka or Tamil Nadu”, they say. Yet, it has chosen to go South.

The “real political economy question”, they contend, is whether Bihar will continue to “tolerate” the development gap. “The best response is to allow maximum policy freedom to the States to innovate. The States, in turn, should allow greater freedom to the regions within, such as by empowering municipal cor­porations,” Dehejia says.

The whole paradigm of ‘growth’, of course, is not without its sceptics. Sociologist Ashis Nandy thinks there’s something fundamentally wrong about modern economic development. In a scholarly work, The Beautiful Expanding Future of Poverty, Nandy says the effects of development have been such that poverty, which always existed with India, has given way to utter destitution. He says he stands by it.

“One can stick out one’s neck and claim the dominant model of development, whatever else it can do, cannot abolish poverty…. Otherwise, there would be no poor people in America,”

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Pride in being Indian …

Posted on February 23, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts, Indian Thought, Personalities |

 Adam Osborne on Elite Indians & Lack of National Pride – by S.Gurumurthy in The Organizer

Adam Osborne invented the portable computer. Turned a billionaire. Ended as bankrupt. His father Arthur Osborne spent the best part of his life with Ramana Maharishi.

Brought up and educated in Tiruvannamalai, Adam Osborne went back to the US and then came back to India. Settled in Kodaikanal, he was to the ordinary Indian the ‘White Tamilian’. He loved roses and died recently in Mother India’s lap.

What this man – who sought solace in India – thought about India and Indians is far more important to English-educated elite Indians.

Writing in Data Quest magazine in the US well before he came back to settle in India, Osborne recalled his life at the Ramanashram in Turuvanammalai thus: “I was surrounded by Indians who were proud of their Nationality and Heritage”.  Not just that. He says they “believed they had a lot to teach us Europeans”.  Here the reference is to the ordinary Indian, the Indian proud of his Nation.

He also finds another category of Indians – the elite and highly successful Indians and as a sample, Indian Americans. This is what he says about them. “Today I find myself dealing with Indians, many of who do not feel proud of their Indianness. Indian Americans represent the most affluent minority in America, ahead of Jewish Americans and Japanese Americans. This is a statistic and not an opinion. Indians swarm all over the Silicon Valley. Indians are recognized throughout America as technically superior. “And yet as a Group, they lack National Pride”.

Indians are not proud of their Nationality as Indians. Something I realized many years ago. Something that  puzzled me, I have frequently talked to Indians of their lack of National Pride, with telling results. Invariably, after making this assertion from the lecture podium, I find myself surrounded by Indians: Engineers, scientists, doctors, even lawyers, all asserting the correctness of my observations, ‘You are correct,’ they aver: ‘I am not proud that I am an Indian.”

Asks Adam Osborne, “Is India’s colonial heritage the sole reason? Who knows? But whatever the reasons, it is a pity.” What has it cost us? Osborne thinks this has made India a third world NationHe says: Since the day Indians learn pride, India will rapidly move out of its third world status to become one of the World’s Industrial Powers.

Moved for India he swore: ‘I will return to India, to preach Indian Pride. I will preach that Indians must learn to be proud of being Indians – irrespective of their Race or Religion.'”Suppose they regain their pride, says Adam Osborne: “Then there will be no more shoddy Indian products”. 

Why? Because every worker will generate output with the stamp of a proud man on it. With self-evident quality that screams out: “That is the work of an Indian!”

Osborne thinks this will even bring down corruption. “And corruption will decline. Even though these root causes of corruption transcend the bases of lack of Indian Pride of which I speak, nevertheless a Proud Man will pause, more than a man without pride, before extending his hand to receive a bribe.”

He concludes: “A Proud Indian will try harder to be responsible for products and services that others will praise. And it is in that praise that India’s future Industrial greatness lies.”

National Pride is thus equally the winning formula in trade wars as in actual wars. No amount of foreign investment is substitute for that. Will our elites who undermine the pride of Indians day after day realize Adam Osborne’s prescription for them?

For two reasons, I have quoted Adam Osborne.                                                 One, as he is a White man – his words are important to the Indian elite who want validation from the West.                                                                               Second, as he sought solace in India, his words are important to me.

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Rich/Powerful n Banking …

Posted on February 22, 2018. Filed under: Personalities |

https://thewire.in/225884/india-incs-recent-scams-turn-laws-outlaws/

https://thewire.in/226548/public-sector-banks-dont-monopoly-fraud/

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A PM’s Wife Enthuses Women …

Posted on February 22, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personalities |

From NDTV –

Hailing women as the “womb of humanity”, Canada’s first lady Sophie Gregoire Trudeau today asked young women to be fearless and face the world with their heads held high.

Addressing a group of Indian women students in New Delhi at the Asia launch of the global campaign — ‘She Will Grow Into It’ — she also asked them to speak up for those who cannot, and “have fun”.

The wife of visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said many cultural beliefs have asked women to have “small space in society or disappear sometimes” from it, but that will not happen.

“Girls and women are the womb of humanity and they will be fully participative citizens… And men are our allies in the quest for equality,” she said.

Twelve students from Gujarat’s Patan district today interacted with Ms Trudeau as part of the campaign and shared their stories.

After listening to the story of a Class 11 student, who aspires to become a poet, Ms Trudeau appeared emotional and teary. “There is a lot that you will face growing up as a girl. And you may also feel fearful. While it is normal to feel fear, I want to tell you that you should be courageous and fearless in facing the world. Face the world with your head held high. Speak up, and be the voices of those who cannot. And, while doing all that have fun,”

Wearing a yellow dress with floral prints, she hugged all the 12 students when she walked into the hall and later also posed for pictures and selfies.

The Trudeaus and their three children are on a week-long visit to India.
Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also interacted with the young women and described them as “powerful agents of change”.

“Every child has a gift and endeavour to accomplish your inner potential and realise what you dream to become,” he said.

 

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Corruption Levels 2017 …

Posted on February 22, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought |

From India Today –

India has been ranked 81st in the global corruption perception index for 2017, released by Transparency International, which named the country among the “worst offenders” in terms of graft and press freedom in the Asia Pacific region.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, placed India at the 81st place. In  2016 India was in placed in the 79th position among 176 countries.

The index uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.  India’s score in the latest ranking, however, remained unchanged at 40. In 2015, the score was 38. The neighbouring Pakistan was placed at 117th position with their score at 32.

Transparency International further said, “in some countries across the region (Asia Pacific), journalists, activists, opposition leaders and even staff of law enforcement or watchdog agencies are threatened, and in the worst cases, even murdered”.

“Philippines, India and the Maldives are among the worst regional offenders in this respect. These countries score high for corruption and have fewer press freedoms and higher numbers of journalist deaths,” it added.

In the last six years, 15 journalists working on corruption stories in these countries were murdered, as reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In the latest ranking New Zealand and Denmark were placed the highest, with scores of 89 and 88, respectively. On the other hand Syria, South Sudan and Somalia were ranked lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9, respectively.

Meanwhile, China with a score of 41 was ranked 77th on the list, while Brazil was placed at 96th with a score of 37 and Russia was at the 135th place with a score of 29.

Further analysis of the results indicates that countries with the least protection for press and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also tend to have the worst rates of corruption.

The analysis, which incorporates data from CPJ, showed that in the last six years, 9 out of 10 journalists were killed in countries that score 45 or less on the index.

“No activist or reporter should have to fear for their lives when speaking out against corruption. Given current crackdowns on both civil society and the media worldwide, we need to do more to protect those who speak up,” Transparency International Managing Director Patricia Moreira said.

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Rajputs – Why they Lost …

Posted on February 21, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career, Regimental, Uncategorized |

From Scroll.in ……  They were defeated by Ghazni, Ghuri, Khilji, Babur, Akbar, the Marathas and the British.

A thousand years ago, Rajput kings ruled much of North India. Then they lost to Ghazni, lost to Ghuri, lost to Khilji, lost to Babur, lost to Akbar, lost to the Marathas, and keeled over before the British. The Marathas and Brits hardly count since the Rajputs were a spent force by the time Akbar was done with them. Having been confined to an arid part of the subcontinent by the early Sultans, they were reduced to vassals by the Mughals.

The three most famous Rajput heroes not only took a beating in crucial engagements, but also retreated from the field of battle. Prithviraj Chauhan was captured while bolting and executed after the second battle of Tarain in 1192 CE, while Rana Sanga got away after losing to Babur at Khanua in 1527, as did Rana Pratap after the battle of Haldighati in 1576. To compensate for, or explain away, these debacles, the bards of Rajputana replaced history with legend.

It is worth asking, surely, what made Rajputs such specialists in failure. Yet, the question hardly ever comes up. When it does, the usual explanation is that the Rajputs faced Muslim invaders whose fanaticism was their strength. Nothing could be further than the truth. Muslim rulers did use the language of faith to energise their troops, but commitment is only the first step to victory. The Rajputs themselves never lacked commitment, and their courage invariably drew the praise of their enemies.

Even a historian as fundamentalist as Badayuni rhapsodised about Rajput valour. Babur wrote that his troops were unnerved, ahead of the Khanua engagement, by the reputed fierceness of Rana Sanga’s forces, their willingness to fight to the death.

Let’s cancel out courage and fanaticism as explanations, then, for each side displayed these in equal measure. What remains is discipline, technical and technological prowess, and tactical acumen. In each of these departments, the Rajputs were found wanting. Their opponents, usually Turkic, used a complex battle plan involving up to five different divisions. Fleet, mounted archers would harry opponents at the start, and often make a strategic retreat, inducing their enemy to charge into an ambush.

Behind these stood the central division and two flanks. While the centre absorbed the brunt of the enemy’s thrust, the flanks would wheel around to surround and hem in opponents. Finally, there was a reserve that could be pressed into action wherever necessary. Communication channels between divisions were quick and answered to a clear hierarchy that was based largely on merit.

Contrast this with the Rajput system, which was simple, predictable, and profoundly foolish, consisting of a headlong attack with no Plan B. In campaigns against forces that had come through the Khyber Pass, Rajputs usually had a massive numerical advantage. Prithviraj’s troops outnumbered Ghuri’s at the second battle of Tarain by perhaps three to one. At Khanua, Rana Sanga commanded at least four soldiers for every one available to Babur. Unlike Sanga’s forces, though, Babur’s were hardy veterans.

After defeating Ibrahim Lodi at Panipat, the founder of the Mughal dynasty had the option of using the generals he inherited from the Delhi Sultan, but preferred to stick with soldiers he trusted. He knew numbers are meaningless except when acting on a coherent strategy under a unified command. Rajput troops rarely answered to one leader, because each member of the confederacy would have his own prestige and ego to uphold. Caste considerations made meritocracy impossible. The enemy general might be a freed Abyssinian slave, but Rajput leadership was decided by clan membership.

Absent meritocratic promotion, an established chain of command, a good communication system, and a contingency plan, Rajput forces were regularly taken apart by the opposition’s mobile cavalry. Occasionally, as with the composite bows and light armour of Ghuri’s horsemen, or the matchlocks employed by Babur, technological advances played a role in the outcome.

Ossified tactics

What’s astonishing is that centuries of being out-thought and out-manoeuvred had no impact on the Rajput approach to war. Rana Pratap used precisely the same full frontal attack at Haldighati in 1576 that had failed so often before. Haldighati was a minor clash by the standards of Tarain and Khanua. Pratap was at the head of perhaps 3,000 men and faced about 5,000 Mughal troops. The encounter was far from the Hindu Rajput versus Muslim confrontation it is often made out to be.

Rana Pratap had on his side a force of Bhil archers, as well as the assistance of Hakim Shah of the Sur clan, which had ruled North India before Akbar’s rise to power. Man Singh, a Rajput who had accepted Akbar’s suzerainty and adopted the Turko-Mongol battle plan led the Mughal troops. Though Pratap’s continued rebellion following his defeat at Haldighati was admirable in many ways, he was never anything more than an annoyance to the Mughal army. That he is now placed, in the minds of many Indians, on par with Akbar or on a higher plane says much about the twisted communal politics of the subcontinent.

There’s one other factor that contributed substantially to Rajput defeats: the opium habit. Taking opium was established practice among Rajputs in any case, but they considerably upped the quantity they consumed when going into battle. They ended up stoned out of their minds and in no fit state to process any instruction beyond, “kill or be killed”.

Opium contributed considerably to the fearlessness of Rajputs in the arena, but also rendered them incapable of coordinating complex manoeuvres. There’s an apt warning for school kids: don’t do drugs, or you’ll squander an empire.

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Pakistan and the Bomb …

Posted on February 21, 2018. Filed under: Pakistan |

The Ally From HellThis article, the product of dozens of interviews over the course of six months, is a joint project of The Atlantic and National Journal. A version of this story focusing on nuclear security appears in the November 5, 2011, issue of National Journal.

Pakistan lies. It hosted Osama bin Laden (knowingly or not). Its government is barely functional. It hates the democracy next door. It is home to both radical jihadists and a large and growing nuclear arsenal (which it fears the U.S. will seize). Its intelligence service sponsors terrorists who attack American troops. With a friend like this, who needs enemies?

Shortly after american Navy SEALs raided the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in May and killed Osama bin Laden, General Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistani chief of army staff, spoke with Khalid Kidwai, the retired lieutenant general in charge of securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Kidwai, who commands a security apparatus called the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), had been expecting Kayani’s call.

General Kayani, the most powerful man in a country that has only a simulacrum of civilian leadership, had been busy in the tense days that followed the bin Laden raid: he had to assure his American funders (U.S. taxpayers provide more than $2 billion in annual subsidies to the Pakistani military) that the army had no prior knowledge of bin Laden’s hideout, located less than a mile from Pakistan’s preeminent military academy; and at the same time he had to subdue the uproar within his ranks over what was seen as a flagrant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty by an arrogant Barack Obama.

But he was also anxious about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and he found time to express this worry to General Kidwai.

Much of the world, of course, is anxious about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and for good reason: Pakistan is an unstable and violent country located at the epicenter of global jihadism, and it has been the foremost supplier of nuclear technology to such rogue states as Iran and North Korea. It is perfectly sensible to believe that Pakistan might not be the safest place on Earth to warehouse 100 or more nuclear weapons.

These weapons are stored on bases and in facilities spread across the country (possibly including one within several miles of Abbottabad, a city that, in addition to having hosted Osama bin Laden, is home to many partisans of the jihadist group Harakat-ul-Mujahideen). Western leaders have stated that a paramount goal of their counterterrorism efforts is to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of jihadists.

“The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term, and long-term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon,” President Obama said last year at an international nuclear-security meeting in Washington. Al-Qaeda, Obama said, is “trying to secure a nuclear weapon—a weapon of mass destruction that they have no compunction at using.”

Pakistan would be an obvious place for a jihadist organization to seek a nuclear weapon or fissile material: it is the only Muslim-majority state, out of the 50 or so in the world, to have successfully developed nuclear weapons; its central government is of limited competence and has serious trouble projecting its authority into many corners of its territory (on occasion it has difficulty maintaining order even in the country’s largest city, Karachi); Pakistan’s military and security services are infiltrated by an unknown number of jihadist sympathizers; and many jihadist organizations are headquartered there already.

“There are three threats,” says Graham Allison, an expert on nuclear weapons who directs the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The first is “a terrorist theft of a nuclear weapon, which they take to Mumbai or New York for a nuclear 9/11. The second is a transfer of a nuclear weapon to a state like Iran. The third is a takeover of nuclear weapons by a militant group during a period of instability or splintering of the state.” Pakistani leaders have argued forcefully that the country’s nuclear weapons are secure.

In times of relative quiet between Pakistan and India (the country that would be the target of a Pakistani nuclear attack), Pakistani officials claim that their weapons are “de-mated”—meaning that the warheads are kept separate from their fissile cores and their delivery systems. This makes stealing, or launching, a complete nuclear weapon far more difficult. Over the past several years, as Pakistan has suffered an eruption of jihadist terrorism, its officials have spent a great deal of time defending the safety of their nuclear program.

Some have implied that questions about the safety of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal are motivated by anti-Muslim prejudice. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former army chief and president, who created the SPD, told The Atlantic in a recent interview: “I think it’s overstated that the weapons can get into bad hands.” Referring to Pakistan’s main adversary, India, he said, “No one ever speaks of the dangers of a Hindu bomb.”

Jeffrey Goldberg explains what makes Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal so dangerous.

Current officials of the Pakistani government are even more adamant on the issue. In an interview this summer in Islamabad, a senior official of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), the Pakistani military’s spy agency, told The Atlantic that American fears about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were entirely unfounded. “Of all the things in the world to worry about, the issue you should worry about the least is the safety of our nuclear program,” the official said. “It is completely secure.” He went on to say, “It is in our interest to keep our bases safe as well. You must trust us that we have maximum and impenetrable security. No one with ill intent can get near our strategic assets.”

Like many statements made by Pakistan’s current leaders, this one contained large elements of deceit. At least six facilities widely believed to be associated with Pakistan’s nuclear program have already been targeted by militants. In November 2007, a suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying workers to the Sargodha air base, which is believed to house nuclear weapons; the following month, a school bus was attacked outside Kamra air base, which may also serve as a nuclear storage site; in August 2008, Pakistani Taliban suicide bombers attacked what experts believe to be the country’s main nuclear-weapons-assembly depot in Wah cantonment.

If jihadists are looking to raid a nuclear facility, they have a wide selection of targets: Pakistan is very secretive about the locations of its nuclear facilities, but satellite imagery and other sources suggest that there are at least 15 sites across Pakistan at which jihadists could find warheads or other nuclear materials. (See map on opposite page.)

It is true that the SPD is considered to be a highly professional organization, at least by Pakistani-government standards of professionalism. General Kidwai, its leader, is well regarded by Western nuclear-security experts, and the soldiers and civilians he leads are said by Pakistani spokesmen to be screened rigorously for their probity and competence, and for signs of political or religious immoderation.

The SPD, Pakistani officials say, keeps careful watch over behavioral changes in its personnel; employees are investigated thoroughly for ties to extremists, and to radical mosques, and for changes in their lifestyle and income. The SPD also is believed to maintain “dummy” storage sites that serve to divert attention from active ones.

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1971 War – IAF vs PAF …

Posted on February 20, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career |

From The Print – India’s bureaucracy is responsible for the vacuum in military history. But there’s a new crop of young scholar-warriors eager to fill this gap – by Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd) former Chief of the Naval Staff.

Disregarding the counsel of wise men, from Herodotus to George Santayana, Indians have consistently ignored the importance of reading, writing and learning from history.

So, when retired US Air Force Brigadier ‘Chuck’ Yeager, head of the US Military Assistance Advisory Group in Islamabad during the 1971 war, says in his autobiography that “the Pakistanis whipped the Indians’ asses in the sky… the Pakistanis scored a three-to-one kill ratio, knocking out 102 Russian-made Indian jets and losing 34 airplanes of their own…”, we are left fumbling for a response.

Other Western ‘experts’ have alleged that, in 1971, the Indian Air Force was supported by Tupolev-126 early-warning aircraft flown by Soviet crews, who supposedly jammed Pakistani radars and homed-in Indian aircraft.

Where does one seek authentic information about India’s contemporary military history?

The Ministry of Defence website mentions a History Division, but the output of this division is not displayed, and it seems to have gone into hibernation after a brief spell of activity. A Google search reveals copies of two typed documents, circa 1984, on the internet, titled ‘History of the 1965 War’ and ‘History of the 1971 War’ (HoW), neither of which is designated as ‘official history’.

A chapter of the latter document, deals with the air war in the Western theatre, and opens with a comparison of the opposing air forces. The 1971 inventory of the IAF is assessed as 625 combat aircraft, while the PAF strength is estimated at about 275. After providing day-by-day accounts of air defence, counter-air close support and maritime air operations, the HoW compares aircraft losses on both sides, and attempts a cursory analysis of the air war.

The IAF is declared as having utilised its forces “four times as well as the PAF” and being “definitely on the way to victory” at the time of cease fire. Commending the PAF for having managed to survive in a war against an “enemy double its strength”, it uses a boxing metaphor, to add a (left-handed) complement: “By its refusal to close with its stronger enemy, it at least remained on its feet, and in the ring, when the bell sounded.”

This is this phrase that Pakistani Air Commodore M. Kaiser Tufail (Retd) has picked up for the title of his very recent book: “In the Ring and on its Feet” [Ferozsons (Pvt) Ltd, Lahore, 2017] about the PAF’s role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Commissioned in 1975, this former Pakistani fighter pilot is a historian and bold commentator on strategic affairs. Currently unavailable in India, the book may, prima facie, be accepted as authentic, because the author asserts that in two of his appointments, he was the “custodian of PAF’s war records”, which he was, officially, permitted to access in writing the book.

Tufail starts with an attempt to dispel the “ludicrous Indian fabrication about Pakistan having initiated the war”, and offers the thesis that since war was already in progress, the ineffective 3 December PAF pre-emptive attacks were merely “first strikes” meant to overburden the IAF’s retaliatory capability. Apart from this half-hearted attempt at obfuscation, the rest of Tufail’s narrative is refreshingly candid, free of hyperbole and – one hopes – reliable. Having served in an IAF fighter squadron during the 1971 war, I was fascinated by Tufail’s account, and share a few of his frank insights into wartime events in this article.

Tufail suggests that the wartime PAF Chief, Air Marshal Rahim Khan, was an inarticulate, short-tempered and lacklustre personality, who, at this crucial juncture, chose his two most important advisors – the ACAS (Operations) and the Deputy Chief – from the ranks of transport pilots! His problems were compounded by low service morale, due to the massacre of 30 airmen in East Pakistan and defections by Bengali PAF personnel.

As far as the two orders-of-battle are concerned, it is interesting to note that the HoW figures of 625 combat aircraft for the IAF and 273 for the PAF are pretty close to Tufail’s estimates of 640 and 290 respectively. A fact not commonly known, in 1971, was, that while the IAF’s work-horses, Sukhoi-7s, Hunters, Gnats, HF-24s, Mysteres and Vampires, were armed only with 30/20 mm guns, the opposition had the advantage of air-to-air missiles. While all PAF Western-origin fighters carried Sidewinders or R-530s, Yeager tells us: “One of my first jobs (in Pakistan) was to help them put US Sidewinders on their Chinese MiGs… I also worked with their squadrons and helped them develop combat tactics.”

Tufail provides a tabular account of both IAF and PAF aircraft losses, with pilots’ names, squadron numbers and (for PAF aircraft) tail numbers. To my mind, one particular statistic alone confirms Tufail’s objectivity. As the squadron diarist of IAF’s No.20 Squadron, I recall recording the result of a Hunter raid on PAF base Murid, on 8 December 1971, as “one transport, two fighters (probable) and vehicles destroyed on ground”. In his book, Tufail confirms that 20 Squadron actually destroyed five F-86 fighters in this mission – making it the most spectacular IAF raid of the war!

Particularly gratifying to read are Tufail’s reconstructions of many combat missions, which have remained shrouded in doubt and ambiguity for 47 years. Personally, I experienced a sense of closure after reading his accounts of the final heroic moments of 20 Squadron comrades Jal Mistry and K.P. Muralidharan, as well as fellow naval aviators Roy, Sirohi and Vijayan, shot down at sea. Tufail also nails the canard about Soviet Tupolev-126 support to IAF, and describes how it was the clever employment of IAF MiG-21s to act as ‘radio-relay posts’ that fooled the PAF.

Coming to the ‘final reckoning’, there is only a small difference between the figures given in the HoW and those provided by Tufail for IAF losses; both of which make nonsense of Yeager’s pompous declarations. According to the tabulated Pakistani account (giving names of Indian aircrew), the IAF lost 60 aircraft. The HoW records the IAF’s losses in action as 56 aircraft (43 in the west and 13 in the east).

However, a dichotomy surfaces when it comes to PAF losses. While Tufail lists the tail numbers of only 27 aircraft destroyed, the HoW mentions IAF claims of 75 PAF aircraft destroyed, but credits only 46 (27 in the west and 19 in the east).

Using ‘utilisation rate’ per aircraft and ‘attrition rate’ as a percentage of (only) the offensive missions flown by both air forces, the HoW declares that the IAF’s utilisation rate being almost double, and its attrition rate being half that of the PAF, “… had the war continued, the IAF would certainly have inflicted a decisive defeat on the PAF”.

Adopting a different approach, Tufail concludes that the overall ‘attrition rate’ (loss per 100 sorties) for each air force as well as aircraft losses, as percentage of both IAF and PAF inventories, are numerically equal. Thus, according to him, “…both air forces were on par… though the IAF flew many more ground-attack sorties in a vulnerable air and ground environment”.

He ends his narrative on a sanguine note, remarking that, “The PAF denied a much stronger IAF …the possibility of delivering a knock-out punch to it”.

Air Commodore Tufail’s book clearly demonstrates that there are at least two good reasons for writing war histories; lessons are learnt about the political sagacity underpinning employment of state military power, and militaries can test the validity of the Principles of War.

Sensible nations, therefore, ensure that history is not replaced by mythology. Like Kaiser Tufail, there is a whole new crop of young scholar-warriors emerging in India too, eager to record its rich military history.

But as long as our obdurate bureaucracy maintains the inexplicable ‘omerta’ vis-a-vis official records, this deplorable historical vacuum will persist.

 

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