Tag Archives | supremacy

India should rise to Kilinochchi’s fall

LTTE may be nearing its military end but is India prepared to handle the fallouts.

Kilinochchi, the virtual capital of the LTTE, has fallen to the government forces. It is estimated that LTTE is fighting a losing military battle and will struggle to maintain its supremacy over certain geographical enclaves.

As usual, the LTTE is trying its best to persuade the Tamil diaspora to urge the Sri Lankan Government to begin negotiations. The Dravidians politicians, in support of the LTTE, will try to arouse emotional upheaval and create political turmoil in Tamil Nadu. Fearing the end of the LTTE, these political parties may up the ante and use their political clout to influence the Delhi to press Colombo for a ceasefire, under the guise of preventing a human catastrophe. It is unlikely that the Indian government will do anything more than pay lip service to these anti-Sri Lanka protests in Tamil Nadu. Delhi seems to have recognised that the decimation and wipe out of a dreaded terrorist organisation like the LTTE is in India’s interest.

As the military pressure on LTTE further shrinks the geographical and political space available to their cadre, many of the LTTE cadre could move to Tamil Nadu in India. They may not carry out hard core terrorist activities but they would certainly impair the law and order situation in the state.

The deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Tamil regions of Sri Lanka provides a genuine grouse for a large share of population in Tamil Nadu. The actions of the LTTE cadre and Tamil sympathisers moving out from Sri Lanka would vitiate the already charged political atmosphere in the state.

The Indian government needs to act fast to contain the fallouts of Colombo’s military victory over the LTTE. Maintenance of humanitarian, political and internal security situation may be largely a state responsibility but the current state government is likely to be swayed by political compulsions in an electorally fragmented state.

Post 26-11, Indian and the international media may be focusing solely on India’s diplomatic initiatives against its western neighbour. However, the developing situation in other neighbouring countries — Bangladesh, Nepal and now Sri Lanka — needs an equally nuanced and well-crafted approach from the foreign policy mandarins at Delhi. Elections or no elections later this year, the UPA government should shun its path of inaction and rhetoric and replace it with a bipartisan foreign policy, agreed upon by all political formations, for its neighbours in South Asia.

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The anomaly of civil-military relations

…can still be set right.

C Uday Bhaskar, writing in The Friday Times (Thanks: Nitin Pai), contends that the civil-military relations are unbalanced in all countries of South Asia. While this relationship has been appropriated by the military in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma, the military has been totally subordinated to the civilian entities in India. As he rightly says, “Neither exigency is desirable for the equipoise that is being sought.”

He traces the genesis of the unbalanced relationship in the initial years after Indian independence to various reasons — the concept of civilian supremacy to thwart a possible coup was taken to extreme ends and the civilian elite kept the Indian ‘fauj’ at a disdainful distance. The military leadership contributed to this distancing from the government in no small measure by not following the Ismay Plan to the tee.

The original Ismay Plan had envisioned the creation of a top military structure that would advise the political leadership directly while allowing for commanders-in-chief to look after operational duties. In an ill-advised move, the service chiefs of the time opted to wear both hats – that of individual C-in-Cs of their respective services and simultaneously Chiefs of Staff. This led to the gradual distancing of the military as an institution from the Government of India.

Even now, it is not too late to set this anomaly right and get the Indian military leadership its rightful place in the government setup.

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