71st Army Day Parade 2019

Every year Indian Army celebrates 15th January as ‘Army Day’ to commemorate the day when General (later Field Marshal) K M Carriappa took over the command of Army from General Sir FRR Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief in 1949 and became the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army post Independence.

  • The leading contingent of the parade was formed of the recipients of the Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra awardees.
This was followed by army contingents which included ( Prelims Bits can be expected)
  • T-90 tank BHISHMA,
  • infantry combat vehicle BMP II,
  • M 777 ultra light howitzer,
  • K-9 Vajra guns,
  • Akash missile system,
  • Mobile transportable satellite terminal service vehicle,
  • surface minimum clearing system,
  • international sports awardees and
  • seven marching contingents including mounted horse cavalry.

Value addition ( Interview)

Field Marshal,Marshal of the Indian Air Force,Admiral of the Fleet

  • The highest rank attainable in the Indian Army is Field Marshal. Ranked as a Five Star General Officer, a Field Marshal is ranked above a General.
  • This rank has been conferred on only two individuals.
    • Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, MC (3 April 1914 – 27 June 2008), popularly known as Sam Bahadur (“Sam the Brave”)
    • Field Marshal Kodandera “Kipper” Madappa Cariappa, OBE (28 January 1899 – 15 May 1993) (Order of the British Empire)
  • The highest rank attainable in the Air force is the Marshal of the Indian Air Force. It is mostly awarded in a ceremonial capacity. MIAFs are ranked immediately above the Chief of Air Staff.
    • Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC (15 April 1919 – 16 September 2017) (Distinguished Flying Cross)
  • Admiral of the Fleet is the highest attainable rank in the Naval force. This Five Star rank is primarily conferred in wartime and honourary capacity.
    • This rank has never been conferred on any individual in the country.

Military Awards

Wartime gallantry awards
  •  Param Vir Chakra — Highest military award
  •  Maha Vir Chakra – The Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) is the second highest military decoration in India and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air.
  •  Vir Chakra – Third in precedence in the awards for wartime gallantry
Peacetime gallantry awards
  1.  Ashok Chakra Award – An Indian military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra.
  2.  Kirti Chakra – Second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.
  3.  Shaurya Chakra – Third in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.

Happy Birthday Tricolour!

PM’s 10-Point Plan to Tackle Terrorism

At a working dinner of the grouping of 20 top economies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said terrorism is the new threat to pluralist and open societies and called for stronger role for the UN in dealing with “one of greatest human challenges”.

Terrorism is a principle global challenge. From regions in conflict to the streets of distant cities, terrorism extracts a deadly price. Old structures of terrorism remain. There are countries that still use it as an instrument of state policy.

But, we also see the changing character of terrorism: global links, franchise relations, home-grown terrorism and use of cyber space for recruitment and propaganda. There is a new level of threat to pluralist and open societies. The territory of recruitment and the target of attacks is the same – society.

Our global framework for security is defined for another era and for other security challenges. We don’t have a comprehensive global strategy to combat terrorism. And, we tend to be selective in using the instruments that we have.

  1. The world must speak in one voice and act in unison against terrorism, without any political considerations.
  2. There should be no distinction between terrorist groups or discrimination between states.
  3. We must isolate those who support and sponsor terrorism; and, stand with those who share our values of humanism.
  4. We need to restructure the international legal framework to deal with the unique challenges of terrorism.
  5. We should also adopt a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism without any delay.
  6. International cooperation in intelligence and counter-terrorism should increase.
  7. We should strengthen efforts to prevent supply of arms to terrorists, disrupt terrorist movements, and curb and criminalise terror financing.
  8. We have to help each other secure our cyber space, and minimize use of internet and social media for terrorist activities.
  9. We need to involve religious leaders, thinkers and opinion makers for a social movement against extremism, particularly addressed to the youth. This is needed most in countries where it is most prevalent.
  10. We need to delink terror and religion and work together to counter radicalization.It is equally important to promote broader peace and stability in West Asia and Africa.

This is an abridged version of PIB article.

The Western Roots of Anti-Western Terror

The Islamic State’s horrific attacks in Paris provide a stark reminder that Western powers cannot contain – let alone insulate themselves from – the unintended consequences of their interventions in the Middle East. The unraveling of Syria, Iraq, and Libya, together with the civil war that is tearing Yemen apart, have created vast killing fields, generated waves of refugees, and spawned Islamist militants who will remain a threat to international security for years to come. And the West has had more than a little to do with it.

Obviously, Western intervention in the Middle East is not a new phenomenon. With the exceptions of Iran, Egypt, and Turkey, every major power in the Middle East is a modern construct created largely by the British and the French. The United States-led interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 represent only the most recent effort by Western powers to shape the region’s geopolitics.

But these powers have always preferred intervention by proxy, and it is this strategy – training, funding, and arming jihadists who are deemed “moderate” to fight against the “radicals” – that is backfiring today. Despite repeated proof to the contrary, Western powers have remained wedded to an approach that endangers their own internal security.

It should be obvious that those waging violent jihad can never be moderate. Yet, even after acknowledging that a majority of the Free Syrian Army’s CIA-trained members have defected to the Islamic State, the US recently pledged nearly $100 million in fresh aid for Syrian rebels.

France, too, has distributed aid to Syrian rebels, and it recently began launching airstrikes against the Islamic State. And that is precisely why France was targeted. According to witnesses, the attackers at Paris’s Bataclan concert hall – where most of the night’s victims were killed – declared that their actions were President François Hollande’s fault. “He didn’t have to intervene in Syria,” they shouted.

To be sure, France has a tradition of independent-minded and pragmatic foreign policy, reflected in its opposition to the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. But after Nicolas Sarkozy became President in 2007, France aligned its policies more firmly with the US and NATO, and participated actively in toppling Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011. And after Hollande succeeded Sarkozy in 2012, France emerged as one of the world’s most interventionist countries, undertaking military operations in the Central African Republic, the Ivory Coast, Mali, the Sahel, and Somalia before launching its airstrikes in Syria.

Such interventions neglect the lessons of history. Simply put, nearly every Western intervention this century has had unforeseen consequences, which have spilled over borders and ultimately prompted another intervention.

It was no different in the late twentieth century. In the 1980s, under President Ronald Reagan, the US (with funding from Saudi Arabia) trained thousands of Islamic extremists to fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The result was Al Qaeda, whose actions ultimately prompted President George W. Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan and provided a pretext for invading Iraq. As then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted in 2010, “We trained them, we equipped them, we funded them, including somebody named Osama bin Laden….And it didn’t work out so well for us.”

And yet, disregarding this lesson, Western powers intervened in Libya to topple Qaddafi, effectively creating a jihadist citadel at Europe’s southern doorstep, while opening the way for arms and militants to flow to other countries. It was this fallout that spurred the French counter-terrorist interventions in Mali and the Sahel.

Having barely stopped to catch their breath, the US, France, and Britain – with the support of Wahhabi states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar – then moved to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fueling a civil war that enabled the Islamic State to seize territory and flourish. With the group rapidly gaining control over vast areas extending into Iraq, the US – along with Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – began launching airstrikes inside Syria last year. France joined the effort more recently, as has Russia.

Though Russia is pursuing its military campaign independently of the Western powers (reflecting its support for Assad), it, too, has apparently become a target, with US and European officials increasingly convinced that the Islamic State was behind October’s crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Peninsula. That incident, together with the Paris attacks, may spur even greater outside military involvement in Syria and Iraq, thereby accelerating the destructive cycle of intervention. Already, the danger that emotion, not reason, will guide policy is apparent in France, the US, and elsewhere.

What is needed most is a more measured approach that reflects the lessons of recent mistakes. For starters, Western leaders should avoid playing into the terrorists’ hand, as Hollande is doing by calling the Paris attacks “an act of war” and responding with unprecedented measures at home. Instead, they should heed Margaret Thatcher’s advice and starve terrorists of “the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.”

More important, they should recognize that the war on terror cannot credibly be fought with unsavory allies, such as Islamist fighters or fundamentalist-financing sheikhdoms. The risk of adverse unintended consequences – whether terrorist blowback, as in Paris, or military spillovers, as in Syria – is unjustifiably high.

It is not too late for Western powers to consider the lessons of past mistakes and recalibrate their counterterrorism policies accordingly. Unfortunately, this appears to be the least likely response to the Islamic State’s recent attacks.

By Brahma Chellaney A column internationally syndicated by Project Syndicate.

Discuss India’s Defense Offset policy, rationale and its advantages.

The global arms trade is increasingly becoming a two-way process. Instead of the traditional off-the-shelf procurement involving goods/ services being exchanged for money, more and more arms buyers are now demanding that some form of work should also directly flow from the contracts they sign with foreign entities. The flow back arrangement in the contract, widely known as offsets, is usually demanded as a certain percentage of the contract value. Offsets are also demanded in various other forms ranging from traditional counter trade practices (barter, buying goods from the purchasing country of defence equipment ) to practices such as co-production, investment, and technology transfer. The purpose for demanding offsets also varies from country to country, depending upon their priorities. While some countries seek offsets in the form of foreign investment and the like for general economic development, others demand technology transfer and a definite work share in the items being procured.

India, predominantly an arms importer country, has evolved its offset policy over the years. Defence Offset Policy will enable creation of local employment, upgradation of technology levels while ensuring substantial increase in both domestic production and export capability. Offset also provides leverage to the domestic industry specifically the SMEs [Small and Medium Enterprises] to enter the sophisticated markets of defence products.

Offset obligations were introduced in 2005 to develop the defence industrial base in the country. It stipulates that for deals worth over Rs. 300 crore, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) has to reinvest 30 per cent of the contract value in the country.

Global Peace Index 2015

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is an attempt to measure the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness. Global Peace Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a Sydney-based global non-profit.

India ranks 143 among 162 countries and fifth out of seven in south Asia for the second year in a row. The cost of containing violence in the country rose by over 90%, from $177 billion in 2013 to $341.7 billion in 2014, or 4.7% of the country’s GDP.

India’s position in the index has worsened since 2008 when it was ranked 138 ,Iceland has been ranked the world’s most peaceful country, while Syria fell to the bottom of the pile.

“Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP has risen in India over the past one year. There has also been an increase in the number of security officers and police per hundred thousand people as well as a slight increase in the number of people in jail,” .

Incidentally, India ranks fourth among the 10 countries with the highest cost of violence containment and figures on the list of nine most militarized states. “India suffers from two issues. For starters, it is a very big nation, and it is difficult to hold so many ethnic groups together. India also has Maoist and border insurrections. It shares a border with Pakistan, which itself has a lot of issues to deal with regarding its internal security,”.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) replaced South Asia at the bottom of the regional ranking. South Asia’s ranking improved solely because conditions deteriorated at a faster rate in the MENA region. Meanwhile, Europe remained the world’s most peaceful region, with some European countries achieving historic levels of peace.

According to the report, the impact of violence on the global economy reached $14.3 trillion, or 13.4% of global GDP, in the past year, “equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the UK”. The report says the number of people killed in conflicts globally rose from 49,000 in 2010 to 180,000 in 2014.

“If global violence were to decrease by 10% uniformly, an additional $1.43 trillion would effectively be added to the world economy. To put this in perspective, this is more than six times the total value of Greece’s bailout and loans from the IMF, ECB and other Eurozone countries combined,” said Killelea.

In attempting to estimate peacefulness, the GPI investigates the extent to which countries are involved in ongoing domestic and international conflicts. It also seeks to evaluate the level of harmony or discord within a nation; ten indicators broadly assess what might be described as a safety and security in society. The assertion is that low crime rates, minimal incidences of terrorist acts and violent demonstrations, harmonious relations with neighboring countries, a stable political scene and a small proportion of the population being internally displaced or refugees can be equated with peacefulness.

The paper also notes increased regional tensions in the Asia-Pacific region during 2014:The South China Sea remains a potential area for conflict, with countries involved in the dispute (China, Vietnam and the Philippines) all showing a worsening of their scores in the 2015 index. Although the likelihood of further military skirmishes in the disputed waters is high, a large-scale military engagement remains unlikely.

Differences between pre-emptive strike, preventive strike, covert and clandestine operations, under cover operations and hot pursuit.

A preemptive war is a war that is commenced in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived imminent offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending (allegedly unavoidable) war shortly before that attack materializes. The term: ‘preemptive war’ is sometimes confused with the term: ‘preventive war’. The difference is that a preventive war is launched to destroy the potential threat of the targeted party, when an attack by that party is not imminent or known to be planned, while a preemptive war is launched in anticipation of immediate aggression by another party.

A covert operation is “an operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit denial by the sponsor.” Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation.

To go “undercover” is to avoid detection by the entity one is observing, and especially to disguise one’s own identity or use an assumed identity for the purposes of gaining the trust of an individual or organization to learn or confirm confidential information or to gain the trust of targeted individuals in order to gather information or evidence. Traditionally, it is a technique employed by law enforcement agencies or private investigators, and a person who works in such a role is commonly referred to as an undercover agent. It is a part of covert/clandestine operations.

Covert operations and clandestine operations are distinct. A covert operation differs from a clandestine operation in that emphasis is placed on concealment of identity of sponsor rather than on concealment of the operation itself.”

An overt operation is one conducted openly, without concealment.

In a covert operation, the identity of the sponsor is concealed, while in a clandestine operation the operation itself is concealed. Put differently, clandestine means “hidden,” while covert means “deniable.”

What then is stealth? The term stealth refers to tactics aimed at providing and preserving the element of surprise and reducing enemy resistance; and to a set of technologies (stealth technology) to aid in those tactics. Secrecy and stealthiness are often desired in clandestine and covert operations.

Covert operations are employed in situations where openly operating against a target would be disadvantageous. Covert operations may include sabotage, assassinations, support for coups d’état, or support for subversion. Tactics include the use of a false flag or front group.

Hot pursuit implies pursuit without unreasonable delay and generally is immediate pursuit. It can also refer to chasing a suspect into a neighboring jurisdiction in an emergency, without time to alert law enforcement people in that area.

Now, how do we characterise the Indian army’s killing of the insurgents in Myanmar? It was clandestine and covert till it lasted. It has become overt when declared. Undercover agents must have been active. Stealth, there was. Hot pursuit , it was not as we did not chase them after they ambushed. We took time to plan and execute. Pre-emptive, it was for future militant actions. The question of it being ” preventive” does not arise.

What is ” big data” ? How is it useful in commerce and governance?

The basic idea behind the phrase ‘Big Data’ is that everything we do is increasingly leaving a digital trace (or data), which we (and others) can use and analyse. Big Data therefore refers to that data being collected and our ability to make use of it.Data collection itself isn’t new. We as humans have been collecting and storing data since as far back as 18,000 BCE. What’s new are the recent technological advances in chip and sensor technology, the Internet, cloud computing, and our ability to store and analyze data that have changed the quantity of data we can collect.Things that have been a part of everyday life for decades — shopping, listening to music, taking pictures, talking on the phone — now happen more and more wholly or in part in the digital realm, and therefore leave a trail of data.

The other big change is in the kind of data we can analyze.Now data analysts can also look at “unstructured” data like photos, tweets, emails, voice recordings and sensor data to find patterns.

As with any leap forward in innovation, the tool can be used for good or nefarious purposes. Some people are concerned about privacy, as more and more details of our lives are being recorded and analyzed by businesses, agencies, and governments every day.

Companies are using big data to better understand and target customers. Using big data, retailers can predict what products will sell, telecom companies can predict if and when a customer might switch carriers etc.

It’s also used to optimize business processes. Retailers are able to optimize their stock levels based on what’s trending on social media, what people are searching for on the web, or even weather forecasts. Supply chains can be optimized so that delivery drivers use less gas and reach customers faster.

Big data analytics enable us to find new cures and better understand and predict the spread of diseases. Police forces use big data tools to catch criminals and even predict criminal activity and credit card companies use big data analytics to detect fraudulent transactions.

As the tools to collect and analyze the data become less and less expensive and more and more accessible, we will develop more and more uses for it — everything from smart yoga mats to better healthcare tools and a more effective police force.

Maoist Movement in India 8 Essays from EPW

Maoist Movement in India these are 8 essays from EPW, analysing the Maoist movement in India in detail touching all aspects of the movement and the events, all essays are out side pay wall. All links are PDF.

Beyond Naxalbari

by Sumanta Banerjee

The route of the Naxalite movement that was mapped in 1967 at the time of the Naxalbari uprising and adopted by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in 1970, that of organising peasant guerrilla movements as a means of capturing power, has been reiterated in the programme adopted by its successor, the CPI (Maoist) in 2004. But there is a need to combine guerrilla warfare with the building up of united fronts with other democratic forces in the political arena and civil society in order to supplement the protracted armed struggle.

Challenges of Revolutionary Violence

by Manoranjan Mohanty

Since the Naxalbari uprising nearly four decades ago, the Naxalite movement now comprises various groups that appear bound together by a commonality in ideology, though their aims to achieve revolution differ. The different groups within the movement may appear fragmented but as long as sharp iniquities prevail in the current social and economic polity, their vision will continue to appeal to the dispossessed and the marginalised. The Indian state by its unitary response of violence and repression is not only guilty of a blinkered understanding of the situation but is in danger of perpetuating the culture of violence in large parts of the country.

Learning from Experience and Analysis

by Sitaram Yechury

In their decade long struggle, the Maoists of Nepal have shown a creative approach in their politics. The latest is their decision to enter the democratic mainstream and participate in competitive politics. The Nepal experience demands a rethink by the Indian Maoists of their own politics and understanding of concrete conditions.

Maoism in India

by Tilak D Gupta

In spite of its expansion to new areas and a remarkable increase in its military capabilities and striking power, the Maoist movement led by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) faces a political-organisational crisis of sorts. The Maoists’ goals – the building of a “mighty mass movement against imperialism”, isolating and defeating the Hindutva-fascist forces, and building a “powerful urban movement, particularly of the working class” as complementary to armed agrarian struggle remain as elusive as ever. At a more theoretical level, the programme and strategic-tactical line of the CPI (Maoist) seem inadequate in coping with the complex Indian reality in a changed international situation, and in the context of the worldwide severe setback that socialism has suffere

The Spring and Its Thunder

By Sagar

The presence and growth of the Maoist movement today is essentially due to the dire socio-economic situation of people living in the “affected” parts of the country. Like at the time of the Naxalbari upsurge 39 years ago, even today it is a combination of stark poverty, an indifferent or even exploitative state machinery and oppressive feudal/business elites in different parts of the country that has been at the heart of the Maoist insurgency.

On Armed Resistance

By Bela Bhatia

The Naxalite rebellion has been a significant political movement of our times. However, the growing displacement of open mass activity by militaristic action in recent years has been a loss for the movement. This article draws attention to some troubling aspects of revolutionary violence ? practical organisational problems, serious ethical issues, a tendency to accord precedence to the interests of the party over those of the people, and the inherent failure of putting the movement?s social vision into practice in the immediate.

Maoist Movement in Andhra Pradesh

by Bala gopal

In a situation marked by severe state repression of the Maoist movement in Andhra Pradesh, violent retaliation by the Maoists, and the state’s brutal counter-attack (led by the greyhounds) to gain the upper hand, the Maoists are finding it difficult to retain the support of the next generation of the most oppressed. State-encouraged gangs, calling themselves tigers and cobras have unleashed private vengeance, which has played a major role in immobilising the substantial over-ground support of the movement. But above all is the tragic loss of the lives of organic leaders from among the most oppressed.

Bastar, Maoism and Salwa Judum

by Nandini Sunder

Official versions of the Salwa Judum portray it as a peoples struggle against the excesses of Naxalism. It is in a covert sense an admission by the state of its failure on several fronts, especially those relating to development and the need to assure equity to its citizens. Yet in a region that has a long history of backwardness and neglect, the conflict is also over natural resources, political power and even history. The use of violence as a counterfoil to violence implies that the two sides are caught in the repetitive cycle of attack and reprisal; it also, in a more decisive sense, portends a shift in the paradigms followed thus far, of development and governance in a backward region.

What is Inner Line Permit?

Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected/restricted area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain permit for entering into the protected state.

The document is an effort by the government to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India. This is an off-shoot of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, which protected Crown’s interest in the tea, oil and elephant trade by prohibiting “British subjects” from entering into these “Protected Areas” (to prevent them from establishing any commercial venture that could rival the Crown’s agents) . The word “British subjects” was replaced by Citizen of India in 1950.

Despite the fact that the ILP was originally created by the British to safeguard their commercial interests, it continues to be used in India, officially to protect tribal cultures in northeastern India. There are different kinds of ILP’s, one for tourists and others for people who intend to stay for long-term periods, often for employment purposes.ILP’s valid for tourism purposes are granted as a matter of routine.

The states which require the permit are:Arunachal Pradesh,Mizoram and Nagaland . An ILP was previously required for certain parts of the Leh district in Jammu and Kashmir. This requirement was abolished in 2014, although foreign nationals are required to get Protected Area Permit for this region.

ILP required by outsiders to enter Nagaland and some other northeastern states has not been successful in tackling the influx of migrants or illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, according to some.

Credit:SriRam IAS

Take cyber attacks seriously

Cyber space is increasingly being misused. The sheer scale of cyber attacks is breathtaking. Sensitive commercial information including intellectual property rights related information has been stolen, privacy of millions of individuals has been compromised, credit card frauds have been perpetrated, and sensitive nuclear and military installations have been targeted successfully.

Read moreTake cyber attacks seriously