Read The Hindu Notes of 06th September 2018 for UPSC Civil Service Examination, State Civil Service Examination and other competitive Examination

The Hindu Notes for 06th September 2018

All for one, one for all?

Each service of the military extolling its own importance is not helping India to study the changing character of war

There has been much discussion in the media recently on the integrated military theatre commands. Most of the opposition to such a restructuring has been led by Air Force officers, including former Chief of Air Staff S. Krishnaswamy, who have voiced the view that the creation of integrated commands would seriously hamper the effective application of air power, particularly because of the limited resources available with the Air Force.

Initial steps

The views of respected Air Force officers, particularly a former chief, need to be taken seriously. There is justification in the argument that moving ahead towards integrated commands without any meaningful restructuring in the higher defence organisation is premature. The initial steps should have been an integration of the Ministry of Defence and the appointment of a Chief of the Defence Staff. This would have put in place structures and practices that would encourage a jointness among the three services and perhaps pave the way in future towards integrated organisations.

What is more debatable is their somewhat simplistic view on the character of future wars. Wars would “be swift and the objectives… met in days or weeks,” wrote Air Chief Marshal (retd.) Krishnaswamy in The Indian Express on August 16 (“Why theatre commands is an unnecessary idea”). On the same day, in The Hindu (“The roadmap to military reform”) Arjun Subramaniam, a former Air Force officer, wrote that the Air Force would be the decisive arm because: “Capturing ground beyond a few kilometres or taking physical control of vast maritime spaces for prolonged durations are no longer sustainable operations of war as they arguably result in avoidable depletion of combat potential… It is in this context that air power would offer a viable alternative by shaping ‘battle spaces’ adequately before the other services enter combat.”

The Army and the Navy challenge this assertion with their opinions on the importance of land and sea power. The real problem lies in the fact that all three services have their own vision of how future conflicts could unfold and the primacy of their own arm in winning wars. The start point is therefore a common understanding between the services on the nature and character of wars that India could fight in the future.

According to Carl von Clausewitz, the nature of war does not change, it is the character of war that undergoes transformation. The enduring elements of the nature of war are its violent character, a clash of wills between two opponents, and political primacy. There is no war without these elements. The character of war, on the other hand, is related to how a war will be fought. This depends on our military capabilities, economy, technology, political considerations, civil-military relations, and the opponent’s aim and strategy.

Political purpose will decide the start and termination of wars, and the manner in which they will be fought. The services have made their operational plans based on a proactive (cold start) strategy, with the assumption that the war will be short and swift. Maximum combat power is to be harnessed and applied across the border in a series of strikes that will rapidly degrade the military potential of the enemy. The weakness with this strategy is that it seldom takes political objectives into consideration.

Three examples

Let us take a few examples of the recent past where military force was used or contemplated to be used by the Indian state. The Kargil conflict broke out in 1999. The Pakistan Army had clearly committed an act of war by occupying territory on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC). While the complete military was poised to strike Pakistan by land, sea and air, the political leadership decided to restrict the conflict to only the Kargil sector and to our own side of the LoC. Only a small fraction of the Indian Amy was applied while the Air Force was restricted to bombing posts that had been occupied by Pakistan Army soldiers. Despite this, Kargil was a resounding political, diplomatic and military victory.

The next crisis emerged from the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001. Operation Parakram was launched and the Indian Army mobilised for an impending war against Pakistan. The Army remained deployed along the borders for almost one year. Even the Kaluchak attack in Jammu and Kashmir in May 2002, in which 34, including soldiers, women and children, were killed, did not trigger an all-out conflict. As the Army returned to its barracks in December 2002, questions were raised whether the military had mobilised without the political leadership having clearly spelled out its objectives and whether this attempted show of force had actually proved counterproductive.

The Mumbai attack in November 2008 was the biggest terror strike launched from Pakistan. There was outrage in the country and calls for retaliation against Pakistan. I was posted in the Military Operations Directorate at that time and am aware that military options were discussed. However, the use of force was ruled out. As the former National Security Adviser, Shivshankar Menon, explains in his book, Choices: Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy, “The simple answer to why India did not immediately attack Pakistan is that after examining the options at the highest levels of government, the decision-makers concluded that more was to be gained from not attacking Pakistan than from attacking it.”

Apart from emphasising the need to synergise political and military objectives, another major lesson from these examples is that the importance of a military force lies in its utility to achieve the national aims, and not in the numbers of divisions, ships and aircraft squadrons. The dominance of America’s military power has not resulted in the achievement of its political objectives in Afghanistan.

Imagining the future

We must also debate the character of future wars. A number of questions need to be answered. What will be the contours of a war between nuclear armed adversaries, and how will victory be defined if we want to remain below the nuclear threshold? As our offensive columns enter the Punjab province of Pakistan, what is the sort of conflict that they will face? Will it merely be a pitting of two armies against each other or a hybrid conflict also involving the local population, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, and criminal elements?

How will China achieve its political objectives through armed conflict? Will it be by a massive application of force across the Himalayan watershed or by exploiting its advantages in information warfare, technology and ballistic missile capability? What will be the psychological impact of long-range missiles slamming into population centres and killing people who would never have imagined themselves to be a part of the conflict? Will this be the real clash of wills rather than actions along the border?

It is necessary for the three services to sit together and find realistic answers. We must be prepared for a whole range of options from non-contact warfare to a full-scale war. Our ability to generate 11,000 sorties in an exercise or launch three strike corps into Pakistan are visible displays of our combat potential but may not translate into the best utilisation of force for all contingencies.

It is only after these discussions crystallise that we will be able to arrive at a common understanding of how future wars could possibly play out and the kind of joint structures that are required to best fight this conflict. We may not get everything right but each service extolling its own importance is not helping our ability to prepare for the future.

Lieutenant General (retired) D.S. Hooda is a former Northern Army Commander

Steps to stop the rot

The government must stop storing millions of tonnes of foodgrains in the open under tarpaulins

In India, the height of the rainy season is a time that one prays will pass — flooded roads, wet clothes, masses of insects and mould. No place is safe from the growth of fungi that spring up overnight. With the humidity in the air and the warmth of summer, all that fungi need is something to feed on. To prevent fungal attack. we store food items at home in airtight containers with well-fitting lids or in sealed plastic bags.

If I were to suggest that instead of all the airtight containers and waterproof bags, you build a cement plinth on the roof of your house or in your yard and pile up your flour, bread, biscuits, rice and other cereals and pulses there in bags and then cover all this with a tarpaulin, assuring you that it would be perfectly safe through the rainy season, you would probably lose all faith in me and my suggestions. This would be based on your practical experience.

Most grain in India, which is procured from farmers by the government, is stored using the CAP, or cover and plinth method. Very cheap and easy to make, it is described in the preceding paragraph. India stores about 30.52 million tonnes of rice, wheat, maize, gram and sorghum in such structures at Food Corporation of India godowns and hired spaces.

A comparison

In other parts of the world, grain is stored in silos. Here, stored grain is kept dry and aired so as to prevent fungal and insect attacks. When the North American mid-west came under the plough during the 19th and 20th centuries, the first thing that was done was to build large grain silos and a railway system to export the grain. Today, the U.S. has a permanent storage capacity nearly equivalent to its annual grain production. But in India, the government has considered only four silos to be sufficient for the nation’s needs — one each in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Hapur-Ghaziabad. The last one, in Uttar Pradesh, is the most modern with a storage capacity of 500 tonnes, according to a recent paper.

The remainder of government-procured grain is stored in conditions so shoddy that it is estimated that there is a 10% loss of harvested grain, of which 6% (around 1,800,000 tonnes) is lost in storage. This means that the grain is so damp and fungus-ridden that it cannot be ground and passed on to the public for consumption.

In order to export basmati rice, Punjab has, in a public-private partnership, built modern, temperature-controlled grain silos with a storage capacity of 50,000 tonnes — but this is not for the Indian market.

Invitation to illness

Eating mouldy grain causes a variety of illnesses. According to a World Health Organisation paper, titled “Mycotoxins”, mycotoxins, which are found in mouldy grain/foods, are associated with human disease and produce aflatoxins (cancer-causing), trichothecenes, ochratoxins, citrinin and other toxins. The paper says: “Aflatoxicosis causes abdominal pain, vomiting, hepatitis and (sometimes) death after acute exposure to high concentrations in food. Chronic low dose exposure to aflatoxin can result in impaired growth in children.”

This is why traditional wisdom ensured that mouldy food was discarded. Today, our grain, especially wheat and paddy, is stored outdoors under tarpaulins through the rainy season. After this, grain is converted to flour or flour-based products or de-husked, which we store in airtight containers and bins to prevent mould. However, this is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. The mycotoxins which we seek to prevent by keeping food dry are already present from the time the flour was stored in the form of grain.

The government is aware of the deadly consequences of grain with mycotoxins. Although there are regulations in place to prevent the purchase of mouldy grain from farmers, there do not seem to be any published studies on the extent of mould infection in grain stored using the CAP method. However, one does not need these studies. All one has to do is purchase flour from the market, make rotis, bread or biscuits and compare the taste with similar products from developed countries. The “nutty taste” of wheat is missing in what is available in the Indian market. If you get wheat from farmers and get it ground, you will find the “nutty taste”.

Questions for planners

One needs to ask a pertinent question. When there is an abundance of steel, cement and other building materials, money and the technological know-how, why is the government not moving on a war footing to store food grains in the proper manner?

Given the weather conditions during the monsoon months, how is it acceptable that our foodgrains, which the public pays to procure, are stored in the open under tarpaulins?

How can we gloat about a growing economy when 30 million tonnes of foodgrain is stored outside under tarpaulins? Even though foodgrain production has been encouraged and increased, why is there no effort being made to ensure that grain being procured annually is stored properly? Are our planners unaware of what is going on even in their own kitchens?

Peter Smetacek runs the Butterfly Research Centre at Bhimtal, Uttarakhand

An assault on the right to privacy

The recent arrests and searches show a gross violation of a fundamental right

Privacy was declared as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court in August 2017. Yet, a year later, on August 28, we were witness to searches and arrests that have forced the court to remind the government that “dissent is the safety valve of democracy.”

The raid

This piece focuses on the specific derogations of the right to privacy in the case of the search and seizure operation at Professor K. Satyanarayana’s campus home in the English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad. At 8.30 a.m., on August 28, around 20 police personnel from Maharashtra and Telangana knocked on Mr. Satyanarayana’s door with what they claimed was a search warrant in Marathi, a language that he neither speaks nor understands. He was not informed of the charges against him. The police forced themselves into his house and occupied it for the next eight hours, questioning him and his wife Pavana on their dress, personal beliefs and marriage.

They searched the couple’s bedroom and opened letters that Mr. Satyanarayana and Ms. Pavana had written to each other — the Telangana police read them aloud and translated them for the Maharashtra police personnel. They questioned Mr. Satyanarayana on his caste identity and Ms. Pavana on her marriage to a Dalit, insisting on examining and commenting on the couple’s marriage certificate. They commented on the absence of ‘signs’ of marriage on her (sindoor and jewellery). They insisted that Mr. Satyanarayana keep the washroom door open and change his clothes in their presence. They barred entry to all and refused to permit the couple to step out of the house. One day before this, the couple’s landline stopped working and their mobile phones had interrupted reception. The police confiscated all the Professor’s research and teaching materials and his computers, including the one his seven-year-old daughter Tara used, and family photographs. Although Mr. Satyanarayana requested the police to complete the search before his daughter returned from school, to protect her from the trauma of the search, they refused to comply. What Mr. Satyanarayana lost that day is incalculable. It was a daylight heist of his professional assets put together over two and a half decades — e-books, papers, unpublished manuscripts, course materials and teaching resources. The last straw was when the police questioned him about his reading habits, his academic practice, and why he had books on Ambedkar, Mao and Marx.

When he finally got access to a Marathi translator around 5 p.m., Mr. Satyanarayana realised that the warrant had nothing to do with him. It only stated that his father-in-law, poet Varavara Rao, who another team of police personnel had already placed under arrest at his home, was residing with him. While they forcibly entered and searched Mr. Satyanarayana’s home, the police knew they did not have the legal grounds or the authority to enter or/and monitor his movements.

This tells a story of the total and absolute infringement of Mr. Satyanarayana’s right to privacy, dignity and personal integrity. My arguments here are immediately relevant to all those who were targeted on August 28, five of whom were arrested. Among those who had to go through humiliating searches were Anand Teltumbde, Stan Swamy, and Mr. Satyanarayana, all of whom are respected public intellectuals, Dalit pedagogues who have been instrumental in crafting radically new approaches to the understanding of anti-caste philosophies and have resisted the ongoing assault on higher education in enduring ways. I hope that in the context of these arrests and searches, the court will initiate a moral and material recuperation of dignity and materials in the difficult times we live in today, and uphold justice and the Constitution in the national interest.

Guaranteeing dignity

The core value that the judgment is built around is dignity as the right to life. How can dignity be understood? The Preamble of the Constitution states: “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved... to secure to all its citizens... Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.” Justice A.M. Sapre says in the privacy judgment: “The expression ‘Dignity’ carried with it moral and spiritual imports. It also implied an obligation on the part of the Union to respect the personality of every citizen and create the conditions in which every citizen would be left free to find himself/herself and attain self-fulfilment... Dignity of the individual was, therefore, always considered the prime constituent of fraternity, which assures the dignity to every individual... Unity and integrity of the Nation cannot survive unless the dignity of every individual citizen is guaranteed.”

Justice Sapre then goes on to observe that the right to privacy is a “natural”, “inalienable” right which “inheres in every human being by birth”, without which a meaningful life with dignity is not possible. The duty of care to be exercised by the state in its treatment of citizens is hinged on the right of citizens to be free of state intrusion and surveillance through domiciliary visits, and to be treated with care.

Justice J. Chelameswar affirmed that the “right to privacy consists of three facets i.e. repose, sanctuary and intimate decision” and includes “the freedom of certain groups to determine their appearance and apparel.” Justice R.F. Nariman observed that of the three aspects that are at the core of the fundamental right to privacy, “the privacy of choice, which protects an individual’s autonomy over fundamental personal choices”, is one. Because free speech is facing the biggest threat in India today, Justice S.A. Bobde’s words are apt: “Privacy must also mean the effective guarantee of a zone of internal freedom in which to think... the vigour and vitality of the various expressive freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution depends on the existence of a corresponding guarantee of cognitive freedom.”

Earlier cases reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in 2017 have held that the right to privacy includes the right to safeguard personal intimacies of the home, the family, marriage, child rearing and education. In the case of Mr. Satyanarayana then, there has been a gross violation of the sanctity of the home, marriage, expressive and cognitive freedoms, and bodily integrity through the assaultive gaze of the police even at private moments in daily routines. This violation was through surveillance, through deliberate public humiliation on the campus of an intellectual, a Dalit intellectual. What can be worse than this, and what reparations can the court order?

Kalpana Kannabiran is Professor and Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad