Enough of gesturing, get tough with Pak
The latest atrocity committed by Pakistan in the Poonch area is not only a gross violation of the Line of Control (LoC) but a brutal and barbaric act. As usual, various agencies in Pakistan have been quick to obfuscate the incident, once again dragging in the permanent bogey of Jammu & Kashmir being a ‘disputed territory’, and claiming that the Pakistani army has had nothing to do with the matter. Such arguments are specious and patently hollow. It is impossible to accept that such a dastardly incident could have occurred without the tacit support of the regular Pakistani army, which is always deployed across the LoC. For the record, the Indian army has reported over 120 violations of the ceasefire in the past year alone, indicating a sharp escalation of hostilities in the region. Pakistan’s cavalier attitude smacks of utter disdain for Indian overtures for normalising relations. It is high time that this country puts an end to meaningless gestures like ‘cricket diplomacy’ and sends out the strongest message to Islamabad to immediately desist from such dangerous and condemnable activities, or face the wrath of India.
—JT Nayaham, wing commander, Indian Air Force, Bangalore
Soft on national security
It is unacceptable that an attack by the Indian commando platoon in the Uri sector could have provoked the retaliation by the Pakistan army which killed and mutilated two Indian soldiers! The suggestion that the government is considering instituting an inquiry into the decision by the area commander is a sign of a weak government and will demotivate the armed forces. One should not forget that there have been continuous violations by the Pakistan army and Pak-trained terrorists, venturing into Indian territory and killing innocent Indians. The government is senselessly tailing the US on the nuclear bogey, as no country is likely to take this option in a hurry. If the politicians, bureaucrats are unable to take firm decisions on the matter of our national security, the decision-making should be left to the armed forces.
—AS Raj, by email
Hands tied behind their backs
The incident on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch area, wherein rogue elements from the Pakistan army infiltrated into Indian territory and butchered two Indian army men, speaks much about our inability to counter such enemy incursions. Are our army personnel posted at the LoC required to take permission from their higher-ups in Delhi before thwarting such intrusions?
Aren’t they free to take immediate action as they deem fit, especially when a border violation takes place? Time is essential and if they have to contact Delhi every time before acting against the enemy, God help this country! Don’t expect the soldier to fight the enemy with his hands tied behind his back and become cannon fodder. The fact is that the Pakistani army is a rogue army, which is not under the control of the political establishment. Under the circumstances, it is meaningless to have any sort of dialogue with the powerless Pakistan civilian government.
Pakistan is a failed state. The typical reaction of an Indian foreign minister to such an incident would be ‘we will look into the matter’. That sums up our ineffective diplomacy.
—S Suri, by email
Paying for mismanagement
Since the day PK Bansal took charge of the railway ministry, he has been advocating an increase in train fares. In fact, silently, he increased the cost of beverages on trains by more than 100 per cent, that too without any improvement in quality or quantity. As regards the fare hike, though we were expecting a nominal (say 5-10 per cent) hike during the railway budget, the minister has announced a more than 20 per cent hike to be implemented from January 21. Why the hurry? It is somewhat surprising that the railways has calculated a loss of Rs20,000 crore, while Lalu Prasad Yadav, when he was the railway minister, boasted a huge profit. There must be something very wrong in the administration of the railways for such a swing within a few years and now the aam aadmi has to pay for this.
—N Mahadevan, Mumbai
New year surprise
The common man has received a surprise new year gift of a steep increase in fares by the railway minister. One can understand the pressure on the railways to increase fares, given that there has not been any revision for ten years. This is a clever move by the government, to announce the hike outside the railway budget and implement it well ahead of the 2014 elections. But if the fare increase is inevitable, can passengers expect better infrastructure, facilities and safety?
Karnataka is one of the states that is lagging behind in the area of electrification, doubling of tracks and better connectivity with premier trains like Duronto and Superfast Express. One hopes the government will make optimum use of resources to close this gap.
—Varun Dambal, Bangalore
Apropos of “Charkha in hand, Anna will set out to awaken India”, the prominent Gandhian and social worker and his team are set to begin their second innings with a mission to educate people about Gandhi’s values. The passion displayed by Anna in his long fight against the corruption and inefficiency in government deserves our support. Time and again, he has proved that the age factor is not a bar to carry on such work, for while one might start out alone, it will inspire people to join in large numbers. Now Anna is taking his mission to the villages, which is where the real India lives. The plan to carry along memorabilia of the Mahatma endorses the belief that Gandhi’s ideals are timeless. Hopefully, the campaign will revive the interest of people in the values of the Mahatma that are sorely missing these days.
—Kishorekumar J Ved, by email