Kashmir – Interlocutors a Serious Sincere Team


People in Jammu and Kashmir will make a serious mistake if they underestimate the team of interlocutors who were visiting the State to interact with people and suggest measures that can be taken to bring peace to the State.The new J and K interlocutors group, consisting of noted editor Dileep Padgaonkar, Information Commissioner M. M. Ansari and academician Radha Kumar is perhaps the most sincere team of persons who have been given the task of functioning as 'interlocutors' ever since G. Parthasarathy interacted with Mirza Afzal Beg, the confidant of Sheikh Abdullah in the early seventies.Since the outbreak of militancy in the late eighties, we have had 'interlocutors' in former Home and Defence Minister K. C. Pant, and the former Defence and Home Secretary, N. N. Vohra. K. C. Pant made his best efforts to meet the 'separatists' and the only person he could interact with was Shabbir Shah.N. N. Vohra tried his best to interact with the different shades of opinion, but was always looked at by the Kashmiris as the 'former Home Secretary', a person who was 'important' when he was in the North Block atop the Raisina Hill in New Delhi.Dileep Padgaonkar and other members of the team have followed events in the State in their individual capacities for decades.

That they have taken their task seriously is evident from the amount of consultations they have had in New Delhi before their departure for Jammu and Kashmir.They have taken up their task from the point reached by the All Party delegation that visited the State for two days. The team of interlocutors has been briefed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and some of the political leaders who visited the State earlier.The team is going to visit the State every month till a solution emerges. They will be visiting Srinagar, Jammu and Ladakh and interact with all groups including those who are in jails. They will interact with political groups, separatists, students and even stone palters.The team has a wide mandate, with no red lines drawn. It would be a mistake to compare the team to G. Parthasarathy who reported to Indira Gandhi. The situation in the nineteen -seventies was different, both in the State and in New Delhi. Sheikh Abdullah was the dominant voice of Jammu and Kashmir, and in Delhi Indira Gandhi had the authority to take decisions.Much of the trouble these days is due to the fact that there are many claimants who would be projected as the 'voices of Jammu and Kashmir'.

The All Party Hurriyat Conference has little influence in Jammu, Ladakh, Kargil or even in all parts of the Valley. The Hurriyat itself is divided between the hard line and moderate factions.Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is the official voice of the State. He assumed the office following a free and fair election process, but the separatists have not accepted his leadership. Even the Peoples' Democratic Party, instead of discharging its role as a constitutional opposition, is always engaged in sniping at the State Government headed by Omar Abdullah. The National Conference shares power in the State with the Congress, but the Congress is divided between factions owing allegiance to Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saifuddin Soz.Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been mentioning ever since he assumed office that a 'political solution' is required in Jammu and Kashmir. He has also been stating that unless relations between India and Pakistan become normal, normalcy will evade the State.In the charged atmosphere, it is difficult to avoid controversy. Provoked by opposition groups who have alleged that decisions concerning law and order in the State are taken in Delhi, Omar Abdullah reacted strongly, stoking a controversy.To emphasize the point that he was his own master, Omar Abdullah remarked that Jammu and Kashmir had 'acceded 'to India and not 'merged' with India. The remarks engulfed the Chief Minister in a controversy. Days later, Home Minister Chidambaram had to clear the air by saying that Omar Abdullah did not say anything wrong.There is a lingering impression that 'back channel' or 'Track-2' talks between India and Pakistan during the days of President Musharraf had brought the two countries nearer to a 'solution'. We are living in a make believe world.To recall, India Pakistan had 'solved' the Kashmir issue in Tashkent in 1966, in Shimla in 1972 and the impression is that it was almost 'solved' when Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee visited Lahore in 1998 and later in Agra. Lastly, Dr Manmohan Singh would have announced a 'solution', but the change of government in Pakistan prevented it.Successive Governments in Pakistan could revoke any 'agreement' reached by General Musharraf. One has to read the statements made by David Headley to understand Pakistan. Any illusion about General Musharraf should be discarded after reading the recent statements made by him about training militants and sending them across to Jammu and Kashmir.On the eve of the visit to India by U.S. President Obama, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, gave vent to his feelings in Delhi. He received backing from Arundhanti Roy, the patron God of all Small Things, and Naxal sympathizer Varavara Rao. Ali Shah Geelani was shown the shoe, by a member of the audience, but was spared shoe-pelting.One expects a great deal from the interlocutors visiting the State. They may have to visit the different regions many times, and interact with all sections of the population till a lasting solution evolves.

Transferring CGMA From St. Luke’s to VMMC


Around 4:10 p.m., December 9, 2011, Friday, Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was transferred from St. Luke's Hospital Taguig to VMMC or Veterans Memorial Medical Center, a government-owned hospital, to spend her hospital arrest.From St. Luke's Hospital Taguig to VMMCAccording to current events in Philippines, Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was seen smiling, though silent, when she arrived in VMMC after her transfer from St. Luke's Hospital in Taguig.Arroyo alighted from the white coaster that took her from her luxury suite in St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City, walked to a waiting wheelchair, and passed through a metal detector on her way to her quarters."She was smiling but she did not say a word when she entered the room and looked around," Dr. Nona Legaspi, the VMMC director, told the Inquirer by telephone. Legaspi said Arroyo, who is under arrest for alleged electoral sabotage, was accompanied by her husband and sons to the suite.Though many expected that doctors would hand-over Arroyo's medical records to VMMC, it was the doctors from the Philippine National Police that turned over Arroyo's medical records to VMMC records. According to Dr. Nona Legaspi, apart from the hospital management and PNP officials, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista was there to meet the former President and now Pampanga representative.

Outside the hospital, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo, the former President's younger son, said his mother would now be able to rest. He said his mother had been ready as early as 6 a.m. to leave St. Luke's but that some confusion arose on the method of transfer.Disagreements about the Mode of TransportationA disagreement over whether Arroyo would be flown or driven to VMMC took about nine hours to resolve, with Arroyo's lawyers and representatives playing hardball with authorities."Besides, who would want to fly in this weather?" said Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of Arroyo's husband, as rain poured outside the state-of-the-art St. Luke's.In addition to that, according to Philippines Current Events, there were also disagreements about which land transportation would take the former president from St. Luke's Hospital in Taguig to VMMC on Quezon City. The police suggested in using a medical ambulance, but Arroyo's camp had suggested to using an armored vehicle to transport her. For more information visit to our site at

Deal Seems Close to End Fast of Anna Hazare


The campaign by 74-year-old Anna Hazare has sparked the biggest protests in decades, uniting millions of Indians, including its growing middle class, against a Congress Party-led government beset by corruption scandals in its second term.The self-styled Gandhian activist said he would break his hunger strike if parliament began discussing his tough anti-corruption proposals, including incorporating low level civil servants into graft probes."If there is unanimity among all parties on these conditions then I will think about ending my fast, but not my protest," Hazare told thousands of his supporters. A top government source with direct knowledge of the matter said Singh's governmenthad agreed to discuss the proposals. "Both the houses of parliament will discuss all versions of the Lokpal bill, including Team Anna's," the source, who declined to be named, told Reuters.With key state elections due next year in the run-up to a general election in 2014, Singh is under pressure to end a crisis that has paralysed policy making and parliament and added to his unpopularity amid high inflation and a run of corruption scandals.

Political parties have united to ask Hazare to end the 10-day public fast that has drawn tens of thousands of supporters to a muddy expanse of open ground in the capital, New Delhi, with increasing concerns about his health."He has become the embodiment of our people's disgust and concern about tackling corruption," Singh told parliament. "I applaud him, I salute him. His life is much too precious and therefore, I would like to urge Anna Hazare to end this fast."Hazare had so far appeared steadfast in his hunger strike, despite growing criticism that he is holding an elected parliament hostage to his demands. There was some confusion to whether Hazare would end the fast at the start of the debate or by the passing of an anti-corruption bill.Police blocked streets around the prime minister's residence and closed metro stations nearby, detaining protesters and sending them home in buses, amid fears protests could escalate as talks appeared to be on the wire.Singh proposed Thursday that parliament debate Hazare's bill as well as the government bill and a third piece of legislation on corruption to help forge a cross-party consensus.Hazare was well enough to address crowds Thursday.

He has lost nearly 7 kg (15 lbs) since the start of his fast. "I am sure I will not die until we get the Jan Lokpal (anti-corruption) bill … I will keep fighting," he said.Hazare's deteriorating health could force the government to decide to force-feed him, a move that would risk sparking further protests against a fumbling government of elderly ministers widely seen as out of touch. Many of India's fast-growing urbanmiddle class have joined forces with Hazare to protest against a system that requires bribes for everything from driver's licences to birth certificates and has allowed politicians and businessmen to cream offmillions of dollars through shady deals. Several scandals linked to the government, including a telecoms bribery scam that may have cost the state up to $39 billion in lost revenues, led to Hazare's latest protest.

Benjamin Abalos Sr. on Electoral Sabotage


After the recent news that former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was put in hospital arrest, Benjamin Abalso Sr. was arrested for the same reason why former Presiden Arroyo was arrested for, political sabotage.HospitalizedAccording to Current Events in Philippines, Benjamin Abalos Sr., the former Commission on Elections chairman, was taken ill and rushed to a hospital upon learning that he would be charged in the same electoral sabotage case brought against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.But Mandaluyong City Mayor Ben-hur Abalos, said his old man was "now resting at home."Jimmy Isidro, the chief public information officer of the Mandaluyong government, said an illness that Abalos Sr. had suffered a few years ago "came back" when he found out last Friday that he was going to be indicted with a no-bail offense."He had experienced [organ] bleeding [before]," Isidro explained.The CaseIn 2004, Abalos Sr., who was then chairman of the poll body, was rushed to a hospital after he passed out at his Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila.

The elder Abalos, 77, explained that he had fainted from stress-related hypertension. At the time, the Comelec was making preparations for the 2004 national elections.According to Philippines Current Events news, Isidro said he was not aware whether Abalos Sr. was still in hospital, the name of which his informant had not provided."All I can say is that he is resting, he's trying to recover his strength," he said.Mayor Abalos said Abalos Sr. had gone straight to the hospital following a visit to the Supreme Court on Friday. He said his father had undergone some tests and "did not stay long.""He has been through a lot [but] he will face the issues squarely," the mayor said.Abalos Sr. personally appeared before the high court on Friday to seek relief against the impending suit from the Comelec which said it was preparing to file 11 counts of electoral sabotage against the former Comelec chief.

He filed with the high court a very urgent motion for the issuance of a temporary restraining order, saying he was "in grave and imminent jeopardy of being indicted and incarcerated without due process and equal protection of the law even before his petition could be heard" by the high tribunal.He made the appeal upon seeing the resolution from the special joint Department of Justice-Comelec panel that conducted the preliminary investigation of the case and recommended the filing of charges against Arroyo, Abalos Sr., former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former Election Supervisor Lintang Bedol.On Friday, the Comelec filed the election sabotage case against Arroyo with the Pasay City Regional Trial Court which promptly ordered the arrest of the former President and Pampanga congresswoman. For more information visit to our site at

The Objectives of an Attacking Force


There are many reasons that an army or a nation will decide to attack another nation. The bottom line is for gain but there are various methods of attack which may be used depending on the objectives of the attacking force. The attacking force will normally want to take and control the sovereign territory of the other country and its indigenous people however the attack may also have another purpose. A good example of this is the expulsion of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. The purpose of that attack was two fold: First to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait and to destroy as much of their equipment as possible so that he would not be able to mount another attack against Kuwait or any other country in the Blitzkreig is an attack which is designed to take ground and get into the enemies rear area as quickly as possible so the objective is not necessarily to destroy people or equipment. As a matter of fact a blitzing unit will often avoid contact with enemy troops because engaging them will destroy its momentum and slow it down.

The objective of this type of attack is to cut off front line forces from rear elements which will in effect starve them to death. This is essentially the type of action which the US and NATO employed during this action.Speed and violence are the keys to this type of action and are also key in many other types of military action. Surprise is also essential for success. The attacking commander wants to achieve surprise as much as possible but this isn't always practical. Sometimes a major buildup is necessary as was the case in the Persian Gulf War. In this situation the entire world knew that an attack was coming but no one knew the exact date and time. The way that our leaders compensated for this was to attack from an unexpected direction. This in essence functioned as a surprise attack because it caught the enemy totally off guard in the areas where they were good attacker will also attempt to overwhelm the enemies capability to respond by attacking in simultaneous areas at the same time. Another good example of this was the Persian Gulf War.The Iraqi command and control system was hit in every conceivable area possible all at the same time. Telephone communications were attacked as much as possible at the same time radio communication was jammed.

The goal was to cut off the communication of the commanders with their troops so that troops could not be given any kind of orders or directives to respond to the attack. This helped to maintain a level of confusion among the Iraqi troops. Do you remember seeing videos of the initial attack when the Iraqi air defense systems fired their ammunition wildly into the air because they did not have radar fixes on our aircraft. The reason for this was that we had successfully jammed their radar communication systems.A successful attack will use overwhelming force to attack the weakest point possible. The defender who has the mindset that an attacker's goal is to seek him out and destroy him may mistakenly position too many of his forces too close. The smart attacker will bypass a large target such as this and deal with it only after he has used other methods to soften it up before he expends the manpower and equipment against it to destroy it. Tactical and political considerations serve to determine the methods that an attacking commander will use. Each one is effective in its own way and there are many variations which may be used. The commander who fixes his mind on one course of action can very easily make a tactical blunder and lose the battle. Military Ring Express