By Yousaf Alamgirian

Amid the WikiLeaks disclosed the fact Indian army was engaged in extra judicial killing in Indian held Kashmir the Pak-India talks on Siachen couldn’t achieve success due to Indian army’s resistance.  Ironically when Pakistan was interested to reach to some point of conciliation the Indian army came into the way of little chance to have peace in the region. It is an unfortunate that India’s so called democratic government is hostage in the hands of its army which is said to be an apolitical. That is how Indian army has shown its apolitical role during the recent talks on Siachen to not to sign any of the pact to demilitarize the world’s most frozen and the costly front which has taken many lives of the both sides soldiers. Ironically when the talks were undergoing Pakistan’s electronic channels were flashing tickers if Indian air chief that before proceeding further there is a need to have proper line of control there in Siachen. This was however a prerogative of Indian democratic government officials to say anything pertaining to the talks.  

So Indian army’s fresh stance taken on the Siachen issue has supported the WikiLeaks cable of 2006  stated that every time India and Pakistan came “very close” to an agreement on the Siachen issue, the prime minister of the day would be forced to back out by the Indian defence establishment, the Congress Party hard-line and opposition leaders. In another cable, Ambassador David Mulford citing various obstacles to an agreement on Siachen wrote about the first obstacle “Army Chief JJ Singh appears on the front page of the “Indian Express” seemingly fortnightly to tell readers the Army cannot support a withdrawal from Siachen.  Given India’s high degree of civilian control over the armed forces, it is improbable that Gen. Singh could repeatedly make such statements without MoD civilians giving at least tacit approval.  Whether or not this is the case, a Siachen deal is improbable while his — and the Army’s — opposition continues to circulate publicly”.

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WikiLeaks cables depicts that it was nor Pakistan neither its army but it was Indian army not interested to have any of the peace deal. Indian government which claims of being the biggest democracy of the world doesn’t enjoy the freedom to have it decisions with the consensus of its parliament and the political faction but time and again it has to look towards its forces to take permission to go ahead on any of the deal. It reminds of Indian government resolve to cut short the number of the troops in held Kashmir but army’s  local area commander and obviously the military high command bluntly refused to do the same so Indian government had to retreat from its resolve to decrease the number of troops.

It is heartening to note that due to hardened stance of Indian Army during recently held Defence Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan on the Siachen dispute the issue could not be resolved. During talks which were held in New Delhi on 3rd – 31st May Pakistan delegation suggested immediate disengagement as a forward for resolving the dispute. The Indian side however, hardened their stance and did not agree reportedly due to pressure and intransigence of their Army, which was not willing to resolve the Siachen dispute to vacate the conflict zone and go back to previously held position.

It depicts vested interest of the Indian army to remain engaged in the Kashmir and in Siachen as well. In fact Siachen is bread and butter of Indian army as it includes huge funds and fringe befits. Many of the fraudulent initiatives have been reported in the past that how Indian army justified its bravery and its stay in the Siachen heights by showering the encounters and its resolve to get the medals. Not only the army deputed in Siachen but in other parts of the country there have been reports of bogus efficiency to claim awards out of the ‘brave’ acts. An Indian Army Colonel H.S. Kohli, has been dismissed and a major suspended for faking killings by splashing tomato ketchup on civilians and passing them off as dead separatists – in the hope of being awarded. Colonel H.S. Kohli, commanding an artillery regiment in Assam, had faked the killing of some separatists last year by making some civilians pose in photographs as enemy casualties after splashing their bodies with tomato sauce. The “daring” colonel in fact tried to use the photographs to back his claim for a gallantry award and was subsequently tried and found guilty in a court martial.

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The colonel apparently took photographs of some civilians in an isolated place in southern Assam’s Cachar district after pouring tomato sauce on their bodies and making the pictures look like an encounter, with blood splattered over the bodies. The fraud came to light when the colonel’s claims for a gallantry award were processed. It was indeed bizarre to find him claiming a bravery award for the kills, which in fact did not, took place at all.

The saucy scandal was not unique of its kind to rock the Indian Army as they had already proved their skills in Siachen scandal in which a Major was accused of inventing enemy killings for the sake of gallantry awards. According to new norms, Indian Army officials are being graded and awarded promotions and bravery awards on the basis of the number of terrorists they capture and kill. So this is how they try to capture the awards and the respect. Don’t know why Indian army denies the fact that awards, medals and dignity can only be earned with fervor and never be achieved with malicious efforts.