Article orignally published in News Laundry at http://www.newslaundry.com/2016/03/07/the-art-of-misusing-the-indian-army/ Apparently, our soldiers have become cheap labour that can be hired out to set up private parties.
There’s been a lot of talk about the army recently, particularly about how our soldiers must be respected because they’re guarding our borders and keeping us safe. I am in full agreement with this sentiment. Our ministers especially have stood up for the rights and honour of our soldiers. As they should.
Someone else who seems to have our ministers’ support is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, whose Art of Living Foundation is all set to throw a gala celebration event to mark its 35th anniversary. An event that will be attended by 3.5 million people over three days, we are told, including the honourable prime minister of India.
Keep in mind that this is a private event. Not a state or national celebration.
The event, called The World Culture Festival, has already been panned for the large-scale ecological destruction being undertaken in the process of preparing the venue. It is going to be held over 405 hectares of the riverbank, much of which has already been cleared of vegetation and been levelled. The event is going against the National Green Tribunal order of January 2015 putting a stop to all construction activity on the Yamuna’s banks and saying that any such activity would be deemed criminal. But in the world of Sri Sri, these are small matters and obviously no one says no to him.
Also, 650 portable toilets will be set up. No one knows how this waste will be disposed. There will be diesel generators, cars and sound pollution. Manoj Mishra of the Live Yamuna campaign has been quoted as saying that more than 1,000 acres of land have been cleared for the ‘party’ – there really is no other word for it.
Till now, my only and major bone of contention with this event was the imminent environmental damage that will take place and whose effects are likely to last for years. But it seems that the foundation’s Art Of Misusing is not just limited to the environment.
It has now been reported that instead of protecting our borders and people, 120 soldiers have been made to spend over a week building two temporary bridges that will float on the Yamuna river.
I can only conclude that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Ministry Of Defence (which must be in the know of what its soldiers are up to) saw these ads about joining the army.
Released by the Indian Army, starring actual army men, they’re ads that make army life sound wonderful, and the profession sound noble. As of course it is. The problem is that it seems that the government and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar took the ads at face value – especially the first one, which says, “it is India’s best construction company and biggest logistic operator”. Even if the Indian Army has soldiers trained to make bridges, they are not supposed to be daily labourers or labourers of any sort on hire. And they are definitely not supposed to be called in to do odd jobs for private events. Next thing we know, soldiers will be asked to be valets at the World Culture Festival. Because you know, the ad said they know how to drive cars.
Why is the army involved in labour activities such as building a bridge for this event? What justifies them being called in to do so?
The event, which will allow “spiritual and religious leaders, politicians, peacemakers and artists to spread the message of global peace and harmony in diversity”, seems to also spread the message of how to misuse the Indian army. According to an NDTV report, “army sources who asked not to be named confirmed to NDTV that 120 personnel were assigned to build the bridges, and that after expressing reservations about the task, senior officers made it clear that the organizers must accept liability for any accident that injures attendees”.
In fact, these soldiers (and by extension, the army) are being made complicit in the ecological nightmare that is this private event. The committee which has been set up to investigate the potential ecological damage that may be caused as a result, has said that the building of the two pontoons is in direct violation of their order. In fact, the “committee has noted that there is no way to find out whether the debris generated during the construction of the bridges has been dumped into the river”.
Is this what our soldiers are expected to do? One would think that the dismal conditions in which they have to protect our borders are bad enough. Now they have to lug construction material around to build bridges for a spiritual guru’s private celebrations? Forget any politician speaking up about the misuse of the army, the event is going to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. One would think he would step in and put a stop to this utter misuse of our soldiers.
In India, for all our beating-our-chest adulation for our soldiers, we don’t think twice about asking them to carry out jobs that are not their responsibility. Whether it be pulling a child out of a borewell or being called in to maintain peace and order during riots, it’s all kosher.
Imagine you manage to qualify to enter a military academy, then you spend years training, finally you join the army. Then you’re told that your first call of duty is to build a bridge – not for an army sortie or in a disaster-struck part of the country, but for a yoga and meditation event. To be attended by the very Prime Minister who should be ensuring your job is respected. What could be more demoralising? We should just be pleased that they weren’t called in to make the stage for Baba Ramdev and Shilpa Shetty’s yoga celebration, or for Gautam Adani’s son’s wedding. Keeping with the spirit of the Art Of Living, don’t hold your breath though. It seems anything is possible.
What is worse is that other than for NDTV, nobody else seems to be bothered about this incident. No media has written about it since the news broke. Not one politician or minister tweeted about it or made a statement. These are the very same politicians and ministers who are leaving aside no opportunity to tell us how much we Indians should be indebted to the Indian Army. Could the silence be because if anyone has friends in high places, it is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar? Now that is the true Art of Living.
The author can be reached on Twitter @rajyasree
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बीबीसी उर्दू संवाददाता, इस्लामाबाद
पाकिस्तान की राजधानी इस्लामाबाद में मादर भाषाओं के दिन के हिसाब से दो दिवसीय मेले के पहले दिन क्षेत्रीय भाषाओं के संबंध में विचार विमर्श और समारोहों का आयोजन किया गया।
शनिवार को लोक विरासत और राष्ट्रीय विरासत संग्रहालय में आयोजित इस मेले में एक ऐसी किताब परिचयात्मक समारोह भी आयोजित हुई जो कला का एक अनूठा नमूना थी।
इस पुस्तक में सैयद मोहम्मद अनवर द्वारा बनाए गए 60 से अधिक कलाकृतियों की तस्वीरें शामिल हैं लेकिन महत्वपूर्ण बात यह है सुलेख के इस नमूने हिंदी देवनागरी और उर्दू के नसपलीक लिपि को मिलाकर कलाकार किए हैं।
‘सामरोप रचना। केली ग्राफिक अभिव्यक्ति बंद अपनी बोली ‘शीर्षक पुस्तक के लेखक डॉ। सैयद मोहम्मद अनवर पेशे से वकील हैं।
सैयद मोहम्मद अनवर हिंदी उर्दू को ‘अपनी बोली’ कहते हैं और उनके अनुसार एक ही भाषा के दो अलग लिपि उपमहाद्वीप पाक व भारत के आम सांस्कृतिक और भाषाई विरासत हैं।
पुस्तक के लेखक अपनी रचना को पाकिस्तान में हिंदी के बारे में पूर्वाग्रह उन्मूलन और पाकिस्तान भारत दोमेान दूरियां कम करने का प्रयास बताते हैं।
सैयद मोहम्मद अनवर ने बीबीसी से बात करते हुए किताब के शीर्षक के हवाले से बताया कि सामरोप ‘संस्कृत भाषा का शब्द है जिसका मतलब है संगतता जबकि डिजाइन को हिंदी में रचना कहा जाता है।
उनका कहना था कि ऐसे डिजाइन जो आपस में अनुसार रखते हों उन्हें सामरोप रचना का नाम दिया जा सकता है। उनका कहना था कि हिंदी और उर्दू दोनों भाषाओं में संगतता और समानता पाई जाती और इन दोनों भाषाओं की एक साथ सुलेख लिए दोनों भाषाओं में संगतता और समानता दिखाने का एक प्रयास है।
पाकिस्तान में रहते हुए हिंदी सीखने की अवस्था के बारे में उनका कहना था कि ‘मेरी मां शोधक यूनुस प्रारंभिक जीवन विभाजन से पहले भारत के शहर फरीदाबाद में कालातीत थी जहां उन्होंने स्कूल में हिंदी लिखना सीखा था और मुझे अपनी मां से हिन्दी सीखने का मौका मिला। ‘
वे बताते हैं कि सत्तर के दशक में जब वह स्कूल में पढ़ते थे तोगरमयों की छुट्टियों के दौरान मुझे घर से बाहर खेलने कूदने से मना किया था। ‘ऐसे ही एक दिन मेरी माँ ने मुझे अपनी अपने पास बैठाकर देवनागरी लिपि में मेरा नाम लिखा और कहा, मैं भी ऐसे ही लिखूं।’
सैयद मोहम्मद अनवर बताते हैं कि उस दिन मुझे आश्चर्य हुआ कि एक ही भाषा दो लिपि में लिखी जा सकती है और इसी तरह हिंदी लिखने का अभ्यास जारी रही।
सैयद मोहम्मद अनवर के अनुसार किसी भी भाषा को धर्म के साथ जोड़ना इस भाषा के साथ, उसके बोलने वालों के साथ और इस क्षेत्र के साथ अन्याय है।
वे कहते हैं कि आमतौर प्रत्येक हिन्दी को हिन्दुओं या भारत के नाम जोड़कर नफरत की निगाह से देखा जाता है, जबकि भाषा का धर्म से संबंध नहीं है।
‘अगर भारत और पाकिस्तान के संदर्भ में देखा जाए तो हिंदी और दोनों दोनों इस क्षेत्र की भाषाएँ हैं और यदि दोनों सीखने से दोनों देशों के बीच दूरियों में भी कमी लाई जा सकती है और हमें देवनागरी भाषा में लिखे बे बहा साहित्य तक भी पहुँच प्राप्त हो सकती जिसे उर्दू लिपि में ढाला जा सकता है। ‘
‘अगर अंग्रेजी लिखते और बोलते हुए किसी को कोई समस्या नहीं है तो देवनागरी लिपि को भी भेदभाव की दृष्टि से नहीं देखना चाहिए।’
सैयद मोहम्मद अनवर बताते हैं कि उन्होंने अपनी कला सुलेख में भी इन्हीं विषयों को कवर किया है, जो इस क्षेत्र के संयुक्त। उनका कहना था कि उन्होंने हिंदी और उर्दू में जो शब्द एक साथ लिखे उनकी तस्वीरें भी सुलेख के मामले में कलाकार हैं।
एक सवाल के जवाब में उनका कहना था कि ‘हमें पाकिस्तान में हिंदी के अतीत, वर्तमान या भविष्य की चिंता नहीं करनी चाहिए बल्कि यह देखना चाहिए कि एक भाषा लिपि आधारित हिंदू मुस्लिम में विभाजित इसलिए महत्वपूर्ण है कि भाषा के लिपि को धर्म या किसी देश के साथ संबद्ध नहीं किया। हिन्दी या उर्दू के प्रति पूर्वाग्रह का सफाया किया जाना चाहिए।
बीबीसी उर्दू संवाददाता, कराची
इस्लामाबाद जो निचले अदालत पिछले ढाई साल से लाल मस्जिद के व्यवस्थापक गाजी अब्दुल के मकदमहٔ हत्या की सुनवाई कर रही है इस मामले में आवश्यक एकमात्र आरोपी जनरल (रिटायर्ड) परवेज़ मुशर्रफ को आज तक अपने सम्मुख नहीं देख स्की.षालानकह यह अदालत इस अवधि में तीन बार जनरल साहब के अविश्वसनीय गारंटी गिरफ्तारी वारंट निकाल चुकी है।
ताजा वारंट पिछले दिन जारी करते हुए जिला एवं सत्र न्यायाधीश परवेज समर्थ मेमन ने कहा कि आरोपी जानबूझकर अदालत में पेश नहीं हो रहा और अपने ड्राइंग रूम में बैठ कर न्याय का तलबगार है।
यह मुकदमा भी शायद दर्ज न होता अगर आईएचसी सितंबर तेरह में पर्चा काटने का आदेश न देती। पुलिस ने इस आदेश बादल नसुाज्यह अनुपालन तो कर दी लेकिन अदालत के समक्ष जो चालान पेश किया उसमें एकमात्र आरोपी परवेज मुशर्रफ का नाम चालान कॉलम नंबर दो में डाला गया। इस का मतलब है कि जांच अधिकारी तो आरोपी को निर्दोष मानता है आगे अदालत चाहते हैं। इतने रियायती चालान के बावजूद आरोपी ने अदालत में पेश होना तज़ीह बार समझा।
जनरल परवेज मुशर्रफ के खिलाफ संविधान के अनुच्छेद छह तोड़ने के आरोप में जो मुकदमा लंबित है। वह बहुत पहले ही ट्रक बत्ती के पीछे लगाया गया और वादी (सरकार) भी अब इस बारे में चर्चा करते लजाता है।
अकबर बुगटी हत्याकांड में जनरल साहब एक पेशी भुगतने बिना बरी हो गए। मृतक गाजी अब्दुल भाई अब्दुल जनरल मुशर्रफ को माफ कर चुके हैं मगर गाजी पुत्र हारून रशीद मुकदमा चलवा पर कमर कस है।
पाकिस्तान न तो चली है जहां जनरल पनोशे को व्हीलचेयर पर बैठाकर अदालत में पेश किया जाए, न तुर्की जहां पूर्व सैन्य जनरलों को उखाड़ फेंकने की साजिश के आरोप में सलाखों के पीछे कर के मामले भुगतने के लिए मजबूर किया और न ही कोई टूटता हुआ सोवियत संघ जहां जनरल तीन दिन सरकार के बाद हाँफ़ जाएं और खुद को अस्थायी अपदस्थ राष्ट्रपति गोरबचौफ सौंप दें।
इस लिहाज से पाकिस्तान की अपनी पहचान है। यह मिस्र, थाईलैंड, इंडोनेशिया, पूर्व गोरे लोग दक्षिण अफ्रीका और नाइजीरिया के बीच कोई मलगोबाई प्रशासनिक रूप है। यह चयन जवाबदेही राज्य है जहां तय है कि कौन किसके जवाबदेही का जन्म अधिकृत है। जवाबदेही छूत स्तन इस प्रणाली इतनी पारदर्शी है कि कोई नेत्रहीन भी देख सकता है कि ब्राह्मण कौन है और खशतरी, विष और शूद्र कौन।
हालांकि राज्य सिंहासन के चारों खोनों पर सोने के पानी से ‘संघ’ उत्कीर्ण है। सरीर प्रतिक्रिया सिंहासन के माथे पर संवैधानिक प्रभुत्व का झूमर भी है और कानून की नज़र में सब बराबर का मोरछल भी लगातार झल्ला जा रहा है। मगर इस शेर का दरबार है। जहां हर शिकार के तीन हिस्से बराबर बराबर कर रहे हैं। एक हिस्सा शेर का दूसरा शेर के वास्तविक और अपनाया बच्चों का और तीसरा सामने धरा है। जिसमें अदालत, संसद या आम आदमी में हिम्मत हो उठा ले जाए।
कौन सा अनुच्छेद छह, कैसा एनएबी, किसके गिरफ्तारी वारंट, किधर की पेशी। सोचिए अगर भुट्टो साहब जनरल (सेवानिवृत्त) जुल्फिकार अली भुट्टो होते तो उनके साथ अधिक से अधिक क्या होता?
Munich, Feb 13 (AFP) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev today said that strains between Russia and the West have plunged the world into a “new Cold War”.
With tensions high over the lingering Ukraine conflict and Russia’s backing of the Syrian regime, Medvedev said: “All that’s left is an unfriendly policy of NATO against Russia”.
“We can say it even more clearly: We have slid into a new period of Cold War,” he said, speaking at the Munich Security Conference.
“Almost every day we are accused of making new horrible threats either against NATO as a whole, against Europe or against the US or other countries.”
Medvedev criticised the expansion of NATO and EU influence deep into formerly Soviet-ruled eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War.
“European politicians thought that creating a so-called belt of friends at Europe’s side, on the outskirts of the EU, could be a guarantee of security, and what’s the result?” he said. “Not a belt of friends but a belt of exclusion.”
He added that “creating trust is hard … but we have to start. Our positions differ, but they do not differ as much as 40 years ago when a wall was standing in Europe.”
He urged better East-West dialogue, citing the “shining example” of the historic meeting of Pope Francis and Russian Patriarch Kirill in Cuba.
Medvedev added that “in the 1960s we were on the brink of nuclear apocalypse, but the two enemy sides understood that no conflict of political systems was worth the lives of people.”
NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg had earlier addressed the forum on the subject of tensions with Russia, vowing a firm stance while also offering dialogue.
“We have seen a more assertive Russia, a Russia which is destabilising the European security order,” he said.
“NATO does not seek confrontation and we don’t want a new Cold War. At the same time our response has to be firm.”
NATO was now “undertaking the biggest reinforcement to our collective defence in decades, to send a powerful signal to deter any aggression or intimidation. Not to wage war, but to prevent war.”
Stoltenberg charged that “Russia’s rhetoric, posture and exercises of its nuclear forces are aimed at intimidating its neighbours, undermining trust and stability in Europe.”
He stressed that “for NATO, the circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated are extremely remote” and cautioned that “no-one should think that nuclear weapons can be used as part of conventional conflict”.
The NATO chief said that “some are concerned that we are sleepwalking toward escalation with Russia… I understand those concerns but I do not share them.”
He urged a “more constructive and more cooperative relationship with Russia… I strongly believe that the answer lies with both more defence and more dialogue.
Indira Gandhi knew her life was at risk when she decided to go for militarily storm the Golden Temple, President Pranab Mukherjee reveals in the second part of his memoirs released on Thursday. “The Turbulent Years, 1980-1996” (Rupa) says that “criminals, smugglers and anti-social elements” had joined the Khalistan movement and recalls that the Golden Temple had become a safe haven for them. –
The president writes that talks with the Akali Dal failed due to its rigid stance, and last ditch efforts were made shortly before “Operation Blue Star” – as the military operation was codenamed – was launched. “Even a few days before Operation Blue Star, an attempt was made to find a solution by holding a meeting with the Akali Dal leaders who were brought from jail to the lounge of the Chandigarh airport at midnight. “P.V. Narasimha Rao, Cabinet Secretary Krishnaswamy Rao Sahib and I represented the government in that meeting. Unfortunately, the talks remained unsuccessful,” he says in the book released at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by Vice President M. Hamid Ansari.
“By May 1984, it became increasingly clear that there was no alternative but military action to flush out the terrorists within the Golden Temple, particularly as the negotiations and discussions had not yielded the desired results.” The decision to storm the Golden Temple was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) but no official was present at the meet, Mukherjee writes. Operation Blue Star was launched at the Golden Temple on June 3, 1984, with the army entering the premises. Mukherjee then writes how Gandhi told him she was aware of the threat to her life. “I still vividly recall Mrs Gandhi telling me, ‘Pranab, I know of the consequences.’ She understood the situation well and was clear that there was no other option. “Aware that her own life was at risk, she took a conscious decision to go ahead in the best interest of the nation.” Mukherjee defends the operation, calling the situation in Punjab at that time “abnormal”.
“It is easy to say that the military action could have been avoided. However, nobody really knows if any other option would have worked. Such decisions are always taken based on the conditions prevailing at that time.
The situation in Punjab was abnormal.” He adds that the “biggest tragedy” of the whole event was the “loss of Mrs Gandhi”. “Her last speech in Orissa, two days before her assassination, was prophetic. She said, ‘I am alive today, I may not be there tomorrow… I shall continue to serve until my last breath and when I die, I can say that every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it’.”
Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, 1984, at her Safdarjung Road residence in New Delhi by two of her bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star.
New Delhi: An hour-long special programme to celebrate the Army Day on 15 January and to honour the heroism of the Indian soldiers posted at the Siachen glacier will be premiered on television on 26 January.
Indian Army in action. AFPIndian Army in action. AFP
The show titled “Revealed: Siachen” will be aired on Discovery Channel.
“‘Revealed: Siachen’ is dedicated to every Indian soldier for their valour and sacrifice for the motherland. The programme will offer viewers first-hand testimonies from the soldiers who have been at the battlefront,” Rahul Johri, executive vice president and general manager – South Asia, Discovery Networks Asia Pacific, said in a statement.
The show will take viewers through the extreme frontline and the highest battleground in the world and what it takes to keep the Siachen glacier secure and peaceful.
The show will present chronicles of the soldiers and their challenges to manage the battlefield where temperatures often reach 60 degrees Celsius below the freezing point.
“Siachen glacier will always be one of the most compelling experiences for me and to my mind for all the Indian soldiers who have served tours of duty there,” said Col. Narendra Kumar, first surveyor of Siachen for the Indian Army.
Nobody is a fan of loose talk and I am no exception. What boils up every drop of blood in me are misinformed conversations that give birth to misinformed opinions.
I recently overheard two so-called ‘educated, suited-booted gentlemen’ discuss the Pathankot terrorist attacks that killed seven of our brave soldiers. In a matter-of-fact manner, they discussed how the slain soldiers’ families will get ‘mota paisa‘ (a big amount) as compensation.
“Hume bhi fauj mein hona chahiye tha, bhai (We should have also been in the army)” – the conversation ended with a smirk and a smouldering cigarette butt on the floor.
I should have reacted, given it back to those guys, but I stood there – completely numb. How and what could I possibly tell those men for whom the Army seemed to be just a four-letter word.
The year began on a tragic note for the nation. Waking up to the news of terrorists attacking the Pathankot Air Force station shattered me. What followed were innumerable attack theories, high-level government meetings, blame-game and questions being raised on the country’s security mesh – things that typically happen after an attack in our country.
My father served in the Indian Army for 32 glorious years. Growing up, I always had my set of complaints. He never made it to even one of my parent-teacher meets, never saw me participate in any sports event, never took me school book-shopping. I do not have a count of how many of my birthday parties he missed. Why did it have to be my mother holding my finger and seeing me off at the school gate? Back then, I detested his attitude towards me.
I could never understand why dad spent hours gazing at an already shining uniform laced with glistening medals. I could never understand him staring at every fold of the uniform, trying to look for imperfections and then scolding batman ‘bhaiya‘ (designated Army help for an officer) for not doing his job well.
I could never understand his anger over a microscopic layer of dust on his uniform.
I tried hard to understand what was so different between my school uniform and his Army uniform, but could never really find an answer. For me it was a dark green dress that dad wore to office.
My father had a major share of his postings in field areas. This would mean that we would live in separated families’ quarters and not see him for months.
I still remember that winter afternoon, that red sweater, and my father at the door. He was on a month-long break. I was on cloud nine, 30 days of dad not going to work, 30 days of family time, 30 days of not suddenly going to mock drills at odd hours.
Bearing my non-stop rant, dad paused and suddenly asked me what class I was studying in. With a gulp down my throat and a shock in my tone I said, ‘papa, class 6.’
There was an uneasy calm between the two of us. I was in disbelief to see my inexpressive, yet affectionate father hug me for a long time. That evening we went to eat ‘golgappas‘ and chicken soup on our tiny-puny scooty. Life felt real that evening.
I was in class 7 when the 1999 Kargil operation took place. Though posted in the North-East during Operation Vijay, he was intensively involved in the intelligence corps.
My mother and I were once again in separated quarters in Ambala cantonment (Haryana). For an entire year, visuals of bodies wrapped in the tricolour being carried in official vehicles, almost on an everyday basis, haunted me.
Screams of Army wives who lost their husbands still reverberate in my ears. Gun-salutes, a blanket of grief and an unspoken shared pain were a major part of our lives.
A year later, when dad came home, he had stories to tell me, stories of his ‘fauji experiences’. Something he had never done before. Maybe I was grown up to understand him, to make sense of his absence.
Episodes of young militants carrying AK-47s in milk containers, him getting frostbites in Kupwara district, being shot in the arm several times during combing operations – intrigued me. I could see the light in his eyes, the soaring passion which made me realise he wouldn’t trade any of this for all the glitter in the world.
He retired in September 2007. Sitting on the couch he said, “That uniform there, it is my pride and honour, a well-deserved fruit of 2 years of rigorous military training, a commitment to my nation. Something only I can understand. It was more than a job for me.”
I see that passion in every man in uniform. For me disrespect to that uniform is personal. Yes, I see my father in Late Lt. Col. Niranjan Kumar, in Garud Commando Gursevak Singh, in Subedar Fateh Singh, in every NSG commando, in every soldier.
Yes, it hurts when people casually comment on the free ration, the pension and the so-called perks that Army personnel get. Remember, most of them don’t live through their entire life to avail them.
One cannot expect every Indian to forcefully respect the forces, but remember– an officer dying in the line of duty cannot be fodder for a casual conversation – remember he had a family like you, aspirations like you, unluckily life didn’t give him another chance.
Larsen & Toubro, India’s largest infrastructure company, may bag an order worth $750 million (Rs 4,900 crore) to manufacture artillery guns for the Indian Army may cheer investors who hold the company’s stocks.
L&T shares have shed nearly onefourth of their value — roughly Rs 25,000 crore — in the past three months due to a weak order book as the company lost out to competitors in sectors such as road, power T&D, railways, renewable energy and water.
Beijing, Jan 11 (PTI) In a major military reform, Chinese President Xi Jinping today reorganised four army headquarters by replacing them with 15 new agencies under the Central Military Commission (CMC) headed by him, tightening his control over the world’s largest force.
The new structure includes new commissions — discipline inspection, politics and law and science and technology — as well as the general office, state-run Xinhua news agency said.
The reform includes formation of five more divisions, administration, auditing, international cooperation, reform, organisational structure and strategic planning.
There are six new departments, joint staff, political work, logistical support, equipment development, training, and national defence. Currently China has four army headquarters — staff, politics, logistics and armaments.
Xi, who is also the chief of the ruling Communist Party of China and chairman of the CMC, met the new chiefs of each agency today when he described the reshuffle as “a breakthrough” and called the new leadership system “a crucial step” toward a stronger military, the report said.
This is part of major reforms initiated by Xi to revamp the 2.3 million-strong and the world largest military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
64-year-old Xi is widely regarded as the most powerful Chinese leaders in recent decades after Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping as he consolidated his power base heading the troika of President, CPC General Secretary and Chief of Military.
His reforms include retrenchment of three lakh troops to make the force lean and mean. The reforms included renaming of the strategic missile force as PLA Rocket Force and Strategic Support Force to provide proper electronic and cyber intelligence backup for precision missiles strikes during war and elevated their status as independent force along with army, navy and airforce.
As part of the reforms, the Chinese military has also for the first time integrated area commands looking after India and Pakistan. China has seven military area commands in Jinan, Beijing, Nanjing, Chengdu, Shenyang, Lanzhou and Guangzhou.
Chengdu looked after security of India’s Eastern sector in the Tibet region including Arunachal Pradesh while Lanzhou looked after the partly the western sector, including Kashmir region and Pakistan.
As per the new strategic zone plan, both Chengdu and Lanzhou gets integrated into strategic command region, making it perhaps the biggest areas for Chinese military. Lanzhou which looks after the border Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Afghanistan has been active in recent years battling the two way crossings of Uyghur Islamic militants from Xinjiang.
The unified joint command system which Xi initiated will end the army dominated set up with more role for airforce and navy which are on a massive modernisation under the USD 145 annual defence budget.
The overhaul is aimed at moving away from an army-centric system towards a Western-style joint command in which the army, navy and air force are equally represented.
New Delhi, Jan 11 (PTI) The Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary- level talks appear to be unlikely this week with India taking the stand that Pakistan has to act on the leads given to it about the terror attack on the Pathankot air base.
Sartaj Aziz, Foreign Policy Adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister, has said that the foreign secretary talks would be held on January 15 but National Security Adviser Ajit Doval was quoted as having said said that talks can be held only after action, a stand from which he has distanced himself later.
Reports from Pakistan today claimed that law enforcement agencies have picked up “some suspects” connected to Pathankot airbase attack from Bahwalapur district, the hometown of Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of banned terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Pakistani news channel ARY News reported today that “some arrests” have been made in this regard but police did not confirm any arrest related to the Pathankot attack. However, there is nothing officially has been said about it.
It is unlikely that Foreign Secretary Jaishankar would travel to Islamabd as planned this Thursday for talks with his Pakistan counterpart for the comprehensive bilateral dialogue agreed to between the two countries when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Pakistan last month.
Swaraj today went to Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence and is understood to have discussed the issue during a meeting that lasted about 20 minutes. But there was no official word on the meeting.
Meanwhile, Congress attacked the government over the uncertainty” on the FS-level talks, saying foreign policy is not conducted in such a way.
Party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said no less a person than Doval has “further compounded and confounded the confusion” that seems to have become this government’s “hall mark” as far as dealing with extremely serious and sensitive issues of national security are concerned.
He said the NSA was reported to have told a newspaper in an interview that there would be “no peace talks now till Pakistan takes action against Pathankot terrorists and India is satisfied with Pakistan s efforts” and then denied the entire interview.