Poshan
Letters | Sep 20, 1999
  • Kargil: A Few More Thrusts and Feints
    Sep 20, 1999

    Your commendable cover story The War That Should Never Have Been (September 6) should put “The Leader you can trust. In war. In peace” to shame. Treating national security lightly by spending more time appeasing Jayalalitha and Mamata is something the prime minister should account for to the country.

    Joshua, Shillong

    No one except the Sonia brigade and its lackeys would give a damn about what the omniscient Brig Singh felt and wrote, because when the intrusion actually took place, he did not defend the LoC. For all the effort you’ve wasted in projecting him as Kargil’s real hero, you only mention “threat perceptions”, “projections”, “possible infiltrations” and other meaningless verbiage that cannot answer ‘when exactly the enemy crossed the LoC’. Your “investigative” report is nothing but pure unpatriotic gibberish; it also unwittingly gives the lie to the Congress drivel that infiltration took place sometime in late ’98 and that the enemy was sitting pretty in Kargil when Vajpayee was supping with Sharif in Lahore.

    B.V. Shenoy, Bangalore

    I hope you realise your cover story could well be the turning point in these elections. With the latest IB assessment having already narrowed down the gap between the seats expected by the NDA and the Congress, this exposé could indeed change people’s perceptions and tilt the balance.

    Krishna Kalra, New Delhi

    It’s nauseating to find Outlook indicting our topmost commanders on the strength of a brigadier’s outspoken criticism and being unable to take a ‘transcending’ view of Kargil. For, is it not possible to envisage a scenario wherein the government, taking the COAS fully into confidence, had deliberately allowed the infiltration only to expose Pakistan’s designs before the world?

    Dr C. Pratap, Hyderabad

    Outlook has done a yeoman’ service in revealing lapses that officialdom would like to suppress for obvious reasons. And Brig Singh has exhibited the courage of conviction to differ professionally with his seniors, presumably for the security of the nation, rather than for securing his own career.

    Air Cdr (rtd) R. Singh, Pune

    So why are you playing with your readers’ minds by giving them contrary perceptions? First you portray Vajpayee as a general, as in your August 16 cover, then you publish the correspondence of a sector commander which clearly indicates that Vajpayee persuaded army generals to look the other way while he basked in the sunshine of the Lahore Declaration. Let readers decide for themselves who they’re going to vote for rather than you spoon-feeding them.

    Som Nath Sapru, New Delhi

    It’s unfortunate that asking uncomfortable but real questions is seen as “interfering with the army” and “spoiling its good name”. Preserving its sanctity doesn’t mean that the army should become blind to the fault of its superiors.

    Dr R.K. Lalwani, New Delhi

    I was shocked to see Outlook trying to sensationalise something that would bring it disrepute. Was it because of the elections or the thought of a fatter circulation? Despite the screaming headlines on the cover, the story inside was just an extension of all that’s been published before. Nor did Brig Singh’s letters to the army top brass mention a single incident or skirmish with the ‘enemy’ to establish the soundness of his ‘perceptions’, alertness or fervour!

    M.S. Nandakumar, Hyderabad

    You deserve kudos for your veracious search on Kargil papers. It wasn’t difficult to deduce that to start with, there was a clash of personalities between Brig Singh and GOC 3 Inf. Div., Maj Gen Budhwar, and that the COAS customarily sided with the latter in ignoring the threat perception and the command’s requirements of extra logistical support. There was no systematic failure on the part of the formation commander, ILU, IFSU, RAW or the IB but unfortunately our political heavyweights were so busy proving their majority in the Lok Sabha that they failed to safeguard the nation’s territorial integrity for four months.

    Col (rtd) K.T. Bhutia, Darjeeling

    Your cover story clearly shows how the freedom of the press in India is being misutilised by the likes of you, at the cost of national interest. It also reveals your frustration at not being able to increase the circulation of your magazine. I’m ashamed to be a subscriber of your magazine and wish to withdraw it. Maybe you’ll find more subscribers for Outlook in Pakistan.

    Devendra K. Sardana, on e-mail

    Brig Singh seems to be different from the breed of “yes-sir” officers whose sole aim is to win the rat race for promotion. The nation does not want politicians to run our defence forces like trade unions. To have an army “second to none”, the defence minister should have sound knowledge of the forces and their problems—if not actually having served in it.

    Lt Col (rtd) Harish Bahl, New Delhi

    The Congress is setting a potentially dangerous precedent by encouraging serving officers to air their grievances under the cover of political patronage. The party does not realise the Frankenstein it’s creating to embarrass the present government can boomerang on its own credibility, should it come to power.

    Lt Col (rtd) V. Sharma, Mumbai

    Does anyone really care about the country? Politicians might win elections on the strength of the victory in Kargil, but when will the public wake up? We were too busy watching cricket, MTV or keeping track of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. The media too was busier reporting the deeds and utterances of the Rabris, Mayawatis, Laloos and Mulayams of the country while others were preoccupied with changing names from Bombay to Mumbai and Madras to Chennai. These inanities took so much of our time that we didn’t have time to notice the happenings in Kargil till things came to a boil.

    A. Mishra, Delhi



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