The Indian Air Force and its British counterpart, Royal Air Force recently had the fourth edition of Indo-UK Bilateral exercises. The 10-day long Operation Indradhanush saw the Indian Air Force bring four of its fleet of Russian-designed SU-30MKI Flanker fighter aircraft to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to face off against the RAF’s Typhoon FGR4 fighter.
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At about 6 pm on Sunday evening, a young suicide bomber (said to be 18 years old) blew himself up in a crowd returning from the testosterone-heavy flag lowering ceremony held every evening at the India-Pakistan border at Wagah, near Lahore.
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As recently as March 2014, Arun Jaitley said this about the Henderson-Brooks report when a large part of it was made public by Neville Maxwell:
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Pratap Bhanu Mehta remains one of those rare public intellectuals in India who, while remaining measured and balanced, still manages to generate light instead of mere heat when it comes to speaking truth to power. Here he is, in today's Indian Express: Hidden in plain sight:
The real battle is among an old elite now in the last throes of self-destruction, where even minimal self-awareness is too much to expect. Much of this fight is a frenzy of rhetorical excess. But alas, most of it will have deadly consequences on the ground.
The latest controversy regarding former army chief General V.K. Singh is an expression of this crisis. Fairness requires that there be no rush to prejudgement. Everyone will take an injured recourse to the truth. But you know an elite has completely lost it when it does not understand one plain fact about truth and power. Truth is not about the facts. It depends on the credibility of the regimes that produce it. None of our truth producing regimes has any credibility left...
...In one stroke, the disclosures and V.K. Singh's response have destroyed the credibility of the democratic process in Kashmir. You do not have to be very smart to recognise that in an atmosphere as conspiratorially thick as Kashmir's, these disclosures are a bombshell, one that may cost both lives and the Indian Union. But there is also another institutional issue at stake. What recourse do people have to defend themselves when the internal due processes of the state are so flawed that there are no proper hearings; where there is no clarity on which matter is actually closed and which is in abeyance? The next time an Indian opens her mouth about the rule of law and due process, just remind her that China just handled even so politicised a trial as that of Bo Xilai with more tact and maturity. Much of what V.K. Singh said about the army's relationship with NGOs and governments in J&K, in an interview to Times Now, betrayed, at the very least, a serious lack of judgement and a general lack of competence. But who is going to decide whether this is injured innocence driven to the wall, or maliciousness now wearing the mantle of upholding national policy?...
...It is often feared that India, impatient with the governance deficit, will veer towards authoritarianism. But perhaps we are misreading this yearning. Our longing for a strong leader may not be so much an anti-democratic longing, the need for dictatorship to keep the masses at bay. The masses will do just fine. Rather, it is a distorted form of self-recognition of an elite that it is no longer capable of self-mastery and restraint. It is the ruling classes yearning for a stout stick. It is the rulers hoping that someone from the inside disciplines them, before the bonfire of credibility turns into a real fire of demagoguery.
Read the full piece at the Indian Express: Hidden in plain sight
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As the Chief of Army Staff General V.K. Singh gets ready to hand over charge to Lt. General Bikram Singh, Outlook's cover story of last year is back to haunt the defence establishment.
In August 2011, Outlook reported on an army court of inquiry (CoI) involving 12 officers and 39 soldiers to verify whether they were guilty of sexual misconduct during their year-long stint, beginning January 2008, in Congo.
Our story then had gone on to point out:
The CoI could prove a tricky issue for the army, as the UN mission in Congo was also commanded by Lt Gen Bikram Singh, the seniormost general in the line of succession to current chief Gen V.K. Singh. If instances of sexual misconduct are found to have occurred during his tenure there, it could become a major blot on his record.
The government had on March 3 announced the appointment of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army chief.
The Supreme Court later, in April, dismissed a petition questioning the elevation of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the successor to chief of army staff General VK Singh.
Writing then on the petition, Outlook had pointed out:
The petitioners have also questioned Bikram Singh’s suitability to lead the army in the light of his alleged involvement in a fake encounter circa 2001 to “gain personal advantage”. Seventy-year-old Abdullah Bhat, a civilian from Anantnag, was killed in that encounter and later branded as a foreign militant. His relatives, who have filed a petition in the high court, have alleged that the fake encounter was conducted by then brigadier Bikram Singh and that it was hushed up at his instance by the Army HQ. The case is currently before the J&K High Court. The MoD’s stand was that an internal enquiry had cleared his name. But strangely the details of this enquiry report have not been provided in response to Rathi’s RTI application.
The petitioners yesterday sought review of the Supreme Court’s order, contending that the centre had obtained the court order by "misrepresenting" facts.
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