UPA government rattled by troop movement

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by sasi, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    So rattled was the UPA government with the movement of troops on the night of January 16 that hours after the defence secretary had ordered Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen A K Choudhary to send them back, a helicopter took off from Palam’s technical area to check whether the troops had moved back.
    Sources have confirmed to The Indian Express that on the morning of January 17, on board the chopper was an official of the Intelligence Bureau, one from the Research and Analysis Wing and a third intelligence official.Their mission: to ascertain the status of the armoured fighting vehicles which had moved from Hisar and were being carried on tank transporters.This airborne mission lasted about 45 minutes after which the intelligence chiefs were informed that the mechanised unit was indeed rolling back to its base.
    This may have come as some comfort to the “highest seat of power” in government that — as the DGMO confirmed to The Indian Express — had met the previous morning, on January 16, to discuss an altogether different matter: the filing of the petition on the same day by the then Army Chief General V K Singh in the Supreme Court against the government on his date of birth controversy.
    Sources said that the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterji convened a 9.30 am meeting in the PMO with Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth.They were joined by Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati.Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, who was in Malaysia, was contacted the previous night, and told to arrange for “certain files” to reach the PMO.Sharma is said to have informed the PMO that since the operative part of his defence dialogue in Malaysia was over, he would cut short his visit and return to the capital.
    Sources said that this morning meeting weighed the options of action against Singh — from dismissal to asking him to go on leave. In this context, files related to the 1998 sacking of Navy Chief Vishnu Bhagwat were referred to.
    But there was no unanimity on what action to take. The Attorney General is said to have advised against taking any drastic step. After leaving the PMO, he proceeded to his residence to prepare a note on the legal points arising out of Singh’s petition.
    By the time officials in the Defence Ministry received a copy of V K Singh’s petition, news had trickled in, first, via intelligence inputs, of unusual movement of a mechanised infantry unit from Hisar.
    Subsequently, reports came in that a Para Brigade had left the cantonment in Agra. The Defence Secretary, who had, by then, landed in New Delhi, was asked to rush to 7, Race Course Road to attend another urgent meeting.The Prime Minister, according to accounts, sat grimly throughout this meeting, which began at around 7.30 pm. Among those attending this security conclave were National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon; Home Minister P Chidambaram and Intelligence Bureau Chief Nehchal Sandhu, who was constantly receiving inputs from his formations and had images of the deployment on his Ipad.
    Around 9 pm, Sharma gave instructions for his South Block office to be opened and left the RCR meeting. At around 11 pm, he summoned DGMO Lt-Gen Choudhary and told him to order the troops to go back.The DGMO was told that since mobilization for the January 26 parade was already in progress, the movement of additional units should not have been permitted. He was asked to provide an update on the turnaround of the two units irrespective of how late it was. Close to midnight, the Defence Secretary returned home.

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  3. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  4. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    @Ray

    Sir:

    Was the movement of troops and AFVs related to the January 26 parade, or wasn't it?

    Were the politicians and intel people being paranoid in this incident?
     
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  5. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Political masters here live in the fear that one day we may have a coup like it regularly happens in Pakistan.
     
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  6. ghost

    ghost Regular Member

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    Sir as per army the troop movement was not related to republic day parade but normal troop movement to check the time taken by forces to move under foggy conditions.However no one beside military was informed of it as it was usual practice and nothing major to inform the bureaucrats.The training movement of the troops is a prerogative of the commanders only. They need not and they do not keep the MO (Military Operations directorate) in the loop. It’s not required. They do it when there is an operation close to the border, where we have to inform the other nation. There we get an approval for them. Officially, for any other kind of movement , there is no intimation required to be given to the DGMO.

    Politicians were being paranoid and reason for it was that at that same moment government was at serious loggerhead with the general over age row so government was suspicious of the general and army as a whole.

    go through this

    Lt-Gen A K Choudhary: ‘Troop movement should’ve been avoided if they knew (V K Singh’s) court date’ | The Indian Express
     
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  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No, it could not be for the Republic Day Parade since the troops who were to participate were already in Delhi and were rehearsing.

    Those were the days when the Govt and the Chief were at loggerheads and the air thick with suspicion.

    Indian Politicians have always been wary of the military since they have not been able to make the military malleable to the extent they have been able to do with the bureaucracy and the police.

    Therefore, given the air of suspicion, they were seeing Banquo's ghost in every nook and cranny.
     
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  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    @W.G.Ewald

    Overcome the fear of coups, don’t let it subvert defence reforms

    Pravin Sawhney


    Commenting on the controversy over an alleged coup attempt by the Indian Army in January 2012, defence minister A K Antony recently said that he had full faith in the military forces. "There isn't the remotest chance of a military coup in the country," he said confidently.

    This is different from saying that even if a chief of army staff (COAS) in India desires to orchestrate a coup, it will not be possible. Unfortunately, Antony is not the only one oblivious of this reality. Even defence experts, while discussing the alleged coup, seemed ignorant about this single most important fact. Had they known, they would have shredded the coup fantasy to smithereens when the "news" first broke in April 2012; and it would not have resurfaced now.

    The coup controversy returned to the front pages recently once the then Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen A K Chowdhary retired from service. In a newspaper interview, he confirmed that he was summoned by the then defence secretary, Shashi Kant Sharma, to enquire about the movement of two infantry units (monitored by intelligence agencies) towards Delhi on January 16-17 night as these had worried the political leadership. Coincidentally, the then COAS Gen V K Singh in an unprecedented move had approached the Supreme Court on January 16, 2012, against the government on his age row.

    If the government had known that a military coup is impossible in India then much needed reforms in higher defence organisation — which are at the heart of providing deterrence against Pakistan and China through desired civil-military relations — would not have been avoided by two successive governments of A B Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. Because of an unfounded fear of a coup, the political establishment has deliberately kept the military leadership at bay.

    India is the only major power in the world where the civilian defence secretary and not the military leadership is legally and constitutionally responsible for the country's defence. So, civil-military relations instead of being between the political and military entities have been relegated to being between the powerful civilian bureaucracy (with little accountability) and the military.

    To place the myth of a coup in perspective, let's look at the factors that assist the Pakistan army -as professional as its Indian counterpart - to overthrow its civilian political leadership. The homogeneity of hailing from the important Punjab province helps a bulk of Pakistan army troops to rally under their chief who too is usually from the same region. But this is not so in the case of the more heterogeneous Indian army.

    Unlike the Indian army, the Pakistan army has deliberately not created the designation of army commanders responsible for a war theatre. During peacetime, the nine corps commanders of Pakistan army report directly to the COAS. This is operationally undesirable, but necessary for the army chief to maintain a firm grip. An army commander with three or four corps commanders under him would become too powerful for the COAS's comfort.

    The way found by the Pakistan army is to have temporary commanders in war. The seniormost corps commander holds the additional charge of Army Reserve North and Army Reserve South, each equivalent to a theatre. The Indian army has commanders with enormous command authority. They are free to meet the defence minister bypassing the COAS, if the situation so desires.

    The Pakistani COAS is not one amongst equals but has unprecedented clout as compared to his air force and navy counterparts. He is not dependent on them; they look up to him for directions. He is in an enviable position where he controls the entire spectrum of war. The nuclear weapons are under him and ballistic missiles, also under his command, are the preferred delivery vectors. The Pakistan army has a variety and range of ballistic missiles so that the COAS is not dependent on the Pakistani air chief beyond conventional war. The COAS also controls irregular war elements through the director general, Inter-Services Intelligence.

    The Indian COAS, on the other hand, is one of three service chiefs with little possibility of the other two supporting him if he oversteps his authority. He is neither in the security policymaking loop nor does he control nuclear weapons. This is not all. Having always been on the fringes of the defence ministry, the Indian COAS has all the responsibility without authority, the latter resting with the powerful bureaucracy.

    Why would bureaucrats agree to serve the COAS when they are already the bosses and run the show by keeping the three services divided? And last, but not the least, when 18 army regiments were already in Delhi on January 16-17 night in the run-up to Republic Day, what was the need for the army to raise hackles by requisitioning two more regiments?

    The fallout of this spooky story has been that let alone a chief of defence staff or a permanent chiefs of staff committee chairman, the long outstanding need to staff the defence ministry with service personnel will remain in cold storage. The bureaucrat will continue to rule the roost by serving himself and his political masters. And India's defence will continue to suffer.

    The writer is editor, FORCE newsmagazine.
    Overcome the fear of coups, don’t let it subvert defence reforms - The Times of India
     
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