If wishes were horses! Lt General Ghulam Mustafa (Retd) tweeted this in reply to my article, “The State of Pakistan”. It surprised me and left me wondering. Was I shooting in the air to think of Pakistan as a failed and jailed state? Was it a dare? I was curious. Did some digging. Found out that he is credited with raising the Army Strategic Forces Command of the Pakistan Army. Seems I had touched a raw nerve. Hmm. Need to put things in perspective.
Many Pakistanis liked the General’s reply and are still supporting him. That is fine. After all, he must be a popular man and many Pakistanis support their Generals. However, one handle caught my eye due to the sheer profanity of the Pakistani mindset. The General has very intellectual followers indeed! At another level it reveals a very deep schism. Hatred and intolerance of other religions is now fundamentally ingrained in Pakistan. Looters in control with committed perverts as flag bearers. A dangerous place indeed.
I grew up in a syncretic society, where a hardcore atheist ruling party did not stop anyone from learning about Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and other religions. I come from a land where St Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Christ, rests. We had a Muslim President revered by all Indians. This Tamilian loved ‘Thyagaraja Kirtanas’. He learnt Telugu in his late fifties to understand them. Southern sufism. My first introduction to Sikhism was through my school which was located in Gillnagar, Chennai! I remain rooted in the Hindu way of life. I have learnt in the six plus decades of my existence that religions are great but some humans are not. When masses opiated with religion, get blindsided and lose the differentiation between the state and faith; nations grow weak.
In Pakistan, successive governments have deliberately fused obscurantist faith with state militarism. It has resulted in the country weakening by the day. Further, five successive Military Reichs have converted Pakistan into a beggarised, nuclear, frontline, failing, rogue state. Present-day Pakistan is floundering under the ‘Looters of the Fifth Reich’. Surprisingly, Pakistanis welcomed this Reich as they did with others. In all previous cases, the Reichmaster took it to great heights, grew bigger than himself and was then booted out in disgrace. The Looters of the Fifth Reich are smart. They have jockeyed into a position in which they own the nation of impoverished masses through governing puppets. The current Reichmaster is ensuring that Pakistan plumbs new depths each day. Lt General Ghulam Mustafa (Retd) is a part of all these Reichs.
This is not from my imagination. Except for identifying the Reichs, I have heavily plagiarised from Pakistani writings. Two articles from Dawn put things in great perspective—“All Fall Down” and “Year End Yearnings”. Everything becomes clear. The story of each Reich becomes clearer when you see the caricatures/cartoons. They depict an undeniable reality.
THE FIRST REICH: THE BENEVOLENT DICTATORSHIP OF AYUB KHAN
Ayub Khan carried out the first popular military coup In 1958. He facilitated an unprecedented industrial growth in the country. He aligned Pakistan with the US to enable perpetual military and financial aid. By 1961, he had largely restored Pakistan’s economy. He instituted a complex electoral system that he called ‘Basic Democracy’. He discarded the 1956 Constitution and instituted a new one in 1962. It enshrined Ayub’s idea of ‘Jinnah’s Pakistan’.
The ‘benevolent dictator’, tried to crown his economic and political achievements with a military triumph against India. The ensuing 1965 war, turned into a stalemate. It drained the country’s resources. He was accused by Bhutto (who had instigated him into war!) of ‘losing the war on the negotiation table’. East Pakistan, accused him of leaving it open to an Indian attack. Ayub faced a spontaneous students’ movement in October 1968. In 1969, Bhutto’s PPP, National Awami Party (NAP) , the National Students Federation (NSF), radical trade and labour unions and rural area peasant organisations joined the movement. Awami League and other Bengali nationalist groups demanded provincial autonomy for East Pakistan. He was supposedly shocked when he heard that some of his ‘children’ (the term he used to describe his subjects), had called him ‘Ayub Khan Kutta’. Ayub threw-in the towel and resigned, handing over power to General Yahya Khan who immediately imposed the country’s second martial law. Ayub, died in seclusion in 1974.
THE SECOND REICH: YAHYA KHAN’S GENOCIDE AND PAKISTAN BREAKUP
The Second Reich was so gory that all Pakistanis develop instant amnesia when you mention it. Guilt , shame or denial? Who knows? Yahya Khan held the country’s first general election on taking over. In the 1970 elections, the Awami League won 98% of the assembly seats in East Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was to be the PM. Unacceptable. Mujibur was arrested in March 1971. Yahya Khan went into Genocide mode and began Operation Searchlight. For the next nine months Bengali civilians were massacred by Pakistani soldiers. Estimates for the total number of deaths range from 500,000 to over 3 million. Rapes exceeded 500,000. 10 million refugees streamed into India. The third round of Indo Pak war of 1971 resulted in utter defeat and break up of Pakistan. A group of military officers, forced Yahya to resign and invited Bhutto to form the government. A sordid case is of Tikka Khan, who headed the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan. He was called the ‘Butcher of Bangladesh’ by Time Magazine. He was promoted in 1972 to become the Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan. What a nation!
THE THIRD REICH: RADICAL ISLAMISER ZIA-UL-HAQ
Gen Zia-ul-Haq imposed the country’s third Martial Law in July 1977 with the tacit support of political opposition to Bhutto. He adopted an ‘Islamic’ agenda, and ruled Pakistan for 11 years. In 1979, he arrested, tried and hanged Bhutto. Zia instituted harsh measures such as public floggings, executions, sentencing by military courts and torture. Opposition was simply mowed down. He was the lead in the anti-Soviet ‘Afghan Jihad’ in 1979. He became a frontline ally of the United States, Europe and Saudi Arabia in backing the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. He overtly started Punjabisation of Pakistan through businessmen. He aligned businesses with radical religious outfits he fostered. There was a burst of religiosity within Pakistan. He crushed three attempts for restoring democracy. He died in a mysterious plane crash in August 1988. He left a legacy of radicalisation of Pakistan. Pakistan is paying for it till now.
THE FOURTH REICH: THE WILY CONMAN PERVEZ MUSHARRAF
General Parvez Musharraf’s coup was welcomed despite the Kargil defeat due to economic downturns, corruption and chaos of the 1990s. The US shunned him till 9/11 when he agreed to become a frontline ally of the US in its ‘war against terror’. It also meant Pakistan making some U-turns on handling religious militant groups. He started Pakistan’s policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound.
In 2002, Musharraf began to crack down on some extremist organisations while maintaining and promoting links with Kashmir and anti-India terror outfits. Despite posing as a religiously moderate and a socially liberal modern day Ataturk, his actions started a trend of suicide bombings within Pakistan. The militants started hating him. He even put AQ Khan, the father of the Islamic Bomb under house arrest.
In 2006, Musharraf dismissed a Supreme Court judge, Iftikhar Chaudhry , who led a lawyers strike to end ‘the illegitimate orders of a dictator’. His action against radical clerics and their supporters of Islamabad’s Red Mosque led extremist militants to target public places. Musharraf had weakened politically. He allowed the return of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. On return, Benazir was assassinated in a bomb attack in December 2007. Her husband Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz led their parties to victory in the 2008 elections and both squeezed Musharraf to resign as President and Army chief. He is to be tried for treason and is in exile.
The wily conman, conned Nawaz Sharif into a military defeat, conned himself, conned Pakistan into becoming a terrorist state, conned Americans that he was working for them and conned militants that he was their supporter.
THE FIFTH REICH: THE LOOTER OF THE FIFTH REICH QAMAR BAJWA
General Qamar Bajwa is something. He has upstaged all his predecessors. He is a dictator without being one. He is a looter second to none. He bootlicks the Chinese while getting politicians to shine his boots. He has ensured his tenure is extended legally. He has jockeyed into a position that all political parties look up to him for survival. He is expanding the army business empire rapidly. He has become an extra constitutional authority. The Pakistani Army now controls most major projects including CPEC.
He is making grounds to ensure that permanent Chinese presence in Pakistan is a reality. In short, he is not only looting Pakistan but also selling it off to China, as an impoverished nation sinks deeper into debt. With US drawdown from Afghanistan being imminent, he is busy trying to create strategic space once again. Balochistan is not only being sold off but there is a huge hidden and sordid tale of extra judicial disappearances and assassinations. He has continued the Pakistani tradition of using terrorists as an instrument of state policy. There is no let-up in this.
Ashraf Jahangir Qazi was Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, India and China. These are his words: Few people in the world have been so consistently betrayed by their leaders, governments, political parties and security institutions as the people of Pakistan. They have been lied to; denied basic human rights, dignity and entitlements; robbed of essential human development resources to finance elite priorities and lifestyles; induced to look to the hereafter for justice, etc. Shows a sense of utter dismay and despondence. There is no doubt that the true state of a pauperised Pakistan is as depicted below.
The fundamental problem with modern Pakistanis is that the opiated people are yet to decide whether they are Turks, Arabs, Chinese or Afghans since deep down they know that culturally and historically Pakistanis do not exist! They have a great identity problem. Also, I would like Lt General Ghulam Mustafa (Retd) to note that Pakistan is a nation under perpetual defeat. It has chosen to go to war with India four times at a place and time of its choosing and has been defeated always. It is often spoken that the Pakistani Army is the best army never to have won a war. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on www.gunnersshot.com.
In Pakistan, successive governments have deliberately fused obscurantist faith with state militarism. It has resulted in the country weakening by the day. Further, five successive Military Reichs have converted Pakistan into a nuclear, frontline, failing, rogue state. The Looters of the Fifth Reich are smart. They have jockeyed into a position in which they own the nation of impoverished masses through governing puppets. The current Reichmaster is ensuring that Pakistan plumbs new depths each day.
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ASSAM RIFLES FELICITATES COVID-19 WARRIORS
The Covid warriors worked hand in hand in spreading the awareness and fighting the deadly pandemic. These warriors have worked selflessly to save the humanity. With nationwide rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination drive, these warriors are reaching out to all sections of the society to spread the message about vaccination and its effects.
In its efforts to reach out to the society along with these warriors, 44 Assam Rifles under the aegis of 22 Sect Assam Rifles (AR)/ Inspector General Assam Rifles (IGAR)-EAST in a unique way felicitated these Covid warriors at Tamenglong. Since 16 January Covid-19 vaccination drive has been launched in the state of Manipur. Its prerequisite for the doctors, nursing and other medical staff to be thoroughly aware of the procedures and peculiarities of this vaccination drive. On the sidelines of this function the District Health Society, Tamenglong organised a training session for the medical staff of 44 Assam Rifles in Tamenglong.
The soldiers, being front line workers, are required to be vaccinated timely so that they can discharge their duty well without any risk to their health as well as the without endangering the lives of local populace, especially children and the elders of the society. The interactive and practice session conducted by Dr Sunil Kamei, DIO Tamenglong and his team of four doctors enabled the para medical staff of the unit to conduct vaccination at the unit hospital as well as at the remote outposts.
The CMO and medical team of 44 Assam Rifles felt much more confident in handling and carrying out of vaccination drive for the unit in times to come. Speaking on this occasion the Commandant 44 Assam Rifles thanked Dr Chambo Gonmei, CMO Tamenglong and his medical team for the enriching session and assured them to work hand in hand with them to battle the deadly pandemic till the time it is not fully eradicated from society. He also highlighted various awareness campaigns being undertaken by unit troops in various parts of the district. The troops through posters, banners, plays, interactive sessions, consultive meetings and medical camps are engaged in awareness against Covid-19.
Navy appoints new FOMA & FOCWF
Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar took over as the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet (FOCWF) from Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, at a formal ceremony held onboard the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on Wednesday.
Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, a specialist in Gunnery and Missile Warfare, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 1 July 1988. In a career spanning 32 years, he has commanded five warships on both the Western and Eastern seaboard including the aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya.
On promotion to the Flag Rank, he assumed charge as Assistant Controller of Carrier Projects & Assistant Controller of Warships Production & Acquisition overseeing all aspects related to construction and acquisition of warships for the Indian Navy both from Indian as well as foreign shipyards including the indigenous aircraft carrier.
Rear Admiral Atul Anand has assumed the office of Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra Naval Area earlier this week. The formal handing/ taking over ceremony was held at INS Kunjali, where Rear Admiral Atul Anand was presented a guard of honour at a ceremonial parade. The Flag Officer Maharashtra Area, or FOMA, is responsible for administration, coastal security and other maritime operations of the Maharashtra Naval Area. On behalf of the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy, the FOMA liaises with the State Administration as well as the Army and the Air Force in the state of Maharashtra on a regular basis across a wide spectrum of issues.
Rear Admiral Atul Anand was commissioned on 01 Jan 1988, in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, the Defence Services Command and Staff College, Mirpur, Bangladesh and the National Defence College, New Delhi. He has also attended the prestigious Advance Security Cooperation Course at the Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies, Hawaii, USA. His educational qualifications include an M Phil, M Sc (Defence and Strategic Studies), Masters in Defence Studies and a B.Sc degree. A recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal, the Admiral has held several key command appointments in his naval career including the command of Torpedo Recovery Vessel IN TRV A72, Missile Boat INS Chatak, Corvette INS Khukri and the Destroyer INS Mumbai.
He has also served as the Navigating Officer of IN Ships Sharda, Ranvijay and Jyoti. In addition, he was the Direction Officer of the Sea Harrier Squadron INAS 300 and Executive Officer of the destroyer INS Delhi. His important Staff appointments include Joint Director Staff Requirements, Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Director Naval Operations and Director Naval Intelligence (Ops). He has also served as the Principal Director Naval Operations and the Principal Director Strategy, Concepts and Transformation at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy). As a Flag Officer, he has served as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Foreign Cooperation and Intelligence) at IHQ MoD (N) and Deputy Commandant & Chief Instructor at the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla.
Skynet 6A successfully passes Preliminary Design Review
Airbus has successfully completed the first key phase of the Skynet 6A project with the achievement of the Preliminary Design Review (PDR). The project now has permission to move into the next phase leading to the Critical Design Review (CDR).
Airbus was awarded the Skynet 6A contract in July 2020 and teams across its sites in Stevenage, Portsmouth and Hawthorn have been working on the programme to achieve this key milestone. Meetings with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) were held virtually enabling the review board to take place in October and the PDR being achieved in November.
Richard Franklin, Managing Director of Airbus Defence and Space UK said “This is excellent news and demonstrates our joint commitment to work in partnership to achieve the programme schedule. The progress we are making in building the UK MOD’s next generation military satellite and getting to this stage, despite current restrictions, really highlights the flexible and strong working relationship we have built with the Defence Digital team. Skynet 6A, to be built entirely in the UK, will significantly enhance the UK’s milsatcoms capability, building on the heritage of the four Skynet 5 satellites which were also built by Airbus, and which are all still operating perfectly in orbit.”
Teams from across the space and ground segments in Airbus worked closely with their MOD counterparts to keep the programme on track.
Skynet 6A will extend and enhance the Skynet fleet. The contract signed with the UK MoD in July 2020 involves the development, manufacture, cyber protection, assembly, integration, test and launch, of a military communications satellite, Skynet 6A, planned for launch in 2025.
The contract also covers technology development programmes, new secure telemetry, tracking and command systems, launch, in-orbit testing and ground segment updates to the current Skynet 5 system. The value of the contract is more than £500 million. The Skynet 5 programme, provided by Airbus as a full service outsource contract, has provided the UK MoD with a suite of highly robust, reliable and secure military communications services, supporting global operations since 2003.
Airbus has been involved in all Skynet phases since 1974 and this phase builds on a strong UK commitment to space manufacturing in the UK. The programme commenced by using the legacy Skynet 4 satellites and then augmenting them with a fully refurbished ground network before launching the Skynet 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D satellites between 2007 and 2012. The Skynet 5 programme has reduced or removed many of the technical and service risks for the MOD, whilst ensuring unrivalled secure satcoms and innovation to UK forces. Through the many years of delivering an exceptionally reliable Skynet service the Airbus teams have managed to significantly extend the lifespan of the Skynet satellites many years beyond their design life, offering significant additional value for money and capability to the UK.
The Skynet 6A satellite is based on Airbus’ Eurostar Neo telecommunications satellite platform. It will utilise more of the radio frequency spectrum available for satellite communications and the latest digital processing to provide both more capacity and greater versatility than Skynet 5 satellites. The satellite will feature electric orbit raising propulsion as well as electric station keeping systems for maximum cost effectiveness. Complete satellite integration will take place at Airbus facilities in the UK followed by testing using RAL Space testing facilities at Harwell in Oxfordshire supporting the UK Space Agency initiative for sovereign UK end-to-end satellite production and support.
INS PRALAYA REACHES ABU DHABI TO PARTICIPATE IN NAVDEX 21 AND IDEX 21
Participation of an Indian Navy ship in NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21 also highlights close relations between India and UAE.
Indian Naval Ship Pralaya arrived at Abu Dhabi, UAE, on 19 February to participate in the NAVDEX 21 (Naval Defence Exhibition) and IDEX 21 (International Defence Exhibition), scheduled from 20 to 25 February 2021. Participation of an Indian Navy ship in NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21 also highlights close relations between India and UAE.
Vice Admiral D.K. Tripathi, the Director General Naval Operations (DGNO), Indian Navy, speaking on the subject of ‘A holistic view on Cyber Security Resiliency during the era of Digital Transformation’ at a conference held on the sidelines of IDEX & NAVDEX 2021, emphasised the need for Cyber Resilience aimed at building layers of risk management, disaster recovery, business continuity & cyber insurance. “We need to address mind-sets that formulate policies and strategies, as also look at technologies which provide us with tools for cyber resilience,” said Vice Admiral D.K. Tripathi.
Some of the measures he spoke of included:
– Identification of critical assets, systems and data.
– Protecting critical infrastructure services
– Detection of malicious events & suspected data breaches or data leaks in time.
– Having a proactive response capability, as against a reactive ability.
– Readiness to recover and restore the affected infrastructure, capabilities or services.
Further elaborating on the subject, Vice Admiral DK Tripathi highlighted, “The Cyber Landscape’ is both dynamic and borderless. This forces us to address this challenge in terms of technology, international cooperation and educating the general population”.
Deployment of Indian Navy ships to Abu Dhabi, UAE underscores deep rooted friendly ties and multi-faceted cooperation between India and UAE, and will further strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries. Defence relations between India and UAE have been steadily growing since the upgradation of bilateral relations to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ during the visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in January 2017 as Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations. Towards enhancing interactions between the two navies, inaugural edition of Indian Navy-UAE Navy bilateral exercise GULF STAR-1 was conducted in March 2018. The next edition of the exercise is likely to be conducted in 2021. In addition, Indian Navy ships have been making regular port calls at the UAE for promoting maritime cooperation. INS Mysore, an indigenously built guided missile destroyer, mission deployed in the region, is also making a port call at Abu Dhabi, UAE from 19-22 February 2021.
Participation of INS Pralaya in NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21, one of the leading international naval and defence exhibitions of the region, is aimed at showcasing the strengths of India’s indigenous ship building, in line with Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. INS Pralaya, the second ship of the indigenously built Prabal Class Missile Vessels, was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 18 December 2002. The 56 m long ship, displacing about 560 T is capable of speeds in excess of 35 knots and is fitted with an impressive array of weapons and sensors. These include a 76.2 mm medium range gun, 30 mm close range guns, chaff launchers and long-range surface to surface missiles. The ship, built indigenously at Goa Shipyard Limited, bears testimony to capabilities of the Indian ship building industry and is a versatile platform capable of performing a wide variety of surface warfare missions.
Defence Acquisition Council approves proposals worth Rs 13,700 crore
Delhi: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has approved capital acquisition proposals of various weapons/ platforms/ equipment/ systems required by the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, in New Delhi on 23 February. Three Acceptance of Necessities (AoNs) for an overall cost of Rs 13,700 crore were accorded. All these AoNs are in the highest priority category of Defence Acquisition viz ‘Buy [Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)].
All these acquisition proposals will be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured. These will include inter-alia platforms and systems designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). To meet the Aatmanirbhar Bharat goals of the Government on time-bound defence procurement process and faster decision making and to systematically work towards reducing the time taken for capital acquisition, the DAC also approved that all capital acquisition contracts (delegated and non-delegated) other than D&D cases shall be concluded in two years. The ministry, in consultation with the Services and all stakeholders, will come up with detailed plan of action for achieving the same.
TARUN SOBTI TAKES OVER THE COMMAND OF EASTERN FLEET
Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti took over the Command of the Eastern Fleet, the Sword Arm of the Eastern Naval Command, from Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan on Tuesday. The change of guard took place at an impressive ceremony held on 23 February in Naval Base, Visakhapatnam.
Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 01 July 1988 and is a specialist in Navigation and Direction. The Flag Officer is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Collège Interarmées de Défense, Paris, France and College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai.
During his illustrious career spanning 32 years, he served as Navigating Officer of INS Kirpan, commissioning Navigating Officer of INS Mysore, Direction Officer on INS Viraat and Executive Officer of missile destroyer INS Delhi. His sea commands include those of missile vessel INS Nishank, missile corvette INS Kora and missile destroyer INS Kolkata of which he was the commissioning Commanding Officer. His prestigious staff and operational appointments include those as Joint Director of Staff Requirements and Joint Director of Personnel at Naval Headquarters and Captain Work-Up at Local Work-Up Team (East).
He also served as the Naval Attaché at Embassy of India, Moscow. Prior assuming command of the Eastern Fleet, the Flag Officer was Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor of Indian Navy’s premier officer training establishment Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala.
Over the past 12 months, the Eastern Fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan has maintained high level of combat readiness and undertaken various operational missions including Operation Samudra Setu towards repatriation of Indian citizens, Mission SAGAR providing Humanitarian Assistance to friendly foreign countries and Malabar 20. His tenure also saw the commissioning of INS Kavaratti, the indigenously built P28 class ASW corvette. He would be taking over as the Deputy Commandant of the prestigious tri-services institution National Defence Academy at Khadakvasla, Pune, shortly.
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