Archive

Archive for December, 2012

Delhi Gang Rape: Saudi Justice Needed?

December 31, 2012 9 comments

Delhi gang-rape is national shame. Police-danda is the only thing that will control Indians. Saudi-Justice needed for rapists in India. A 2ndlook.

5 CHANGES NEEDED IN OUR LAWS 1 Increase the deterrence against crimes against women. Change law to make life term plus chemical castration the punishment for violent rapes 2 Expand the definition of rape to include not just penile penetration of the vagina but also oral sex and penetration for sexual purpose of the vagina, anus, urethra or mouth 3 Introduce rape by security forces as a special category of aggravated sexual assault on the lines of the clause dealing with custodial rape 4 Enhance the maximum prison term for molestation from 2 to 5 years & sexual harassment or what’s euphemistically called ‘eve-teasing’ from 1 to 3 years 5 Remove gender inequities in the provisions relating adultery and natural guardian and enact a special law to take pre-emptive action against caste assemblies inciting “honour killings”  |  Times Of India 2012-12-30 19-45-41

5 CHANGES NEEDED IN OUR LAWS as per Times Of India 2012-12-30 19-45-41

The Delhi gang-rape has evoked some curious reactions – that can be divided in three, broad categories

Desert Grass Is Greener

On social media, thousands wrote on Twitter and Facebook that India needs Saudi justice, using amputations and beheadings .

Of all the people in this world, Indians should know about rape in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Justice and Law

Thousands of Indian-women from Hyderabad, Kerala, on a khadama visa, have been raped, abused, enslaved and then imprisoned in Saudi homes.

5 STEPS TO ENHANCE WOMEN’S SAFETY  1 Increase police patrolling. If necessary, hike number of cops in city. All VIPs with more than two security personnel should give one cop from their security to enhance police presence for the public 2 Register FIRs in all cases of rape, sexual harassment and other crimes against women. Prosecute cops found persuading women to drop such complaints 3 Home guards on buses not enough. Institute system of random checking of buses by PCR vans at night 4 Use technology: All public transport must be on GPS, install CCTVs on buses, make drivers and helpers/conductors wear non-tamperable photo IDs, create common database accessible by police and other enforcement agencies 5 All sexual offenders must be monitored by law enforcers once they have served their sentence  |  Times Of India 2012-12-30 19-42-32

5 STEPS TO ENHANCE WOMEN’S SAFETY as per Times Of India 2012-12-30 19-42-32

Ever heard of any punishment to a Saudi national for raping a Filipino or an Indian woman? Even as foreign workers, the force behind Saudi economy, are easily beheaded.

Coming to rape in Saudi society, with women confined within four walls,  rape in Saudi Arabia happens within the house.

The other question that needs asking is how well does Saudi law protect ordinary Saudi women? Any reading of Saudi law enforcement seems to imply that it is designed to protect and extend the privileges of the established elites.

If Saudi justice and executions were so effective, why are there rape incidents in Saudi-Arabia?

So, while vocal Indians on social media was asking for empty ‘Saudi’ justice, what was mainstream media promoting?

Mass Media On Mass Suicide

Mainstream media on the other side led a campaign to increase police powers, presence and prerogatives. More laws that will imprison more people to be apprehended by more policemen.

Any data to support that more police works?

None.

But, there is data that shows countries with bigger police forces – especially in the West, have seen the opposite result.

More police will mean more police brutality  |  Cartoon by Morparia in Mumbai Mirror on December 31, 2012

More police will mean more police brutality | Cartoon by Morparia in Mumbai Mirror on December 31, 2012

In all these countries which have gone down this road of police powers, presence and prerogatives have discovered that more laws and more police create more criminals and more prisoners.

US with the world’s largest police force and the biggest prisoner population in the world also enjoys the distinction of having one of the highest rape incidents-count in the world.

Most voices followed the lines:

  1. Saudi Justice
  2. Making India into a police State
  3. All Indians must be ashamed

Did You Know

Does Indian society promote rape? Should we be ashamed?

Unlike the leering image that Bollywood portrays of Indian underworld, even Indian criminals have scant regard for rapists.

In fact, as 2ndlook posts pointed out a few years ago, rapists need to be afraid while in prison. Indian criminals and under-trials do not accept rapists worthy of any respect.

The Delhi gang-rapists have been moved to special cells as they have faced violence and threats from other prisoners. Though denied by Tihar Jail authorities, news agencies report that the gang-rape accused were made to drink their own urine and forced to eat excreta by other prisoners.

Shunned inside, rapists in Indian prisons lead a lonely and threatened life.

What Worries Me

In April 2008, the world woke up to a stunning case of incestuous rape – an Austrian, Josef Fritzl was charged with imprisoning and raping his daughter for 24 years. During this period, he fathered 7 children with his daughter.

These kind of cases, where (mostly) father’s sexual identity gets mixed up seem to occur frequently all over the world – and in India, too. These cases should be keeping our researchers busy – finding a solution to this seemingly global problem. There is little quantitative data on this – but plenty of anecdotal evidence, that incestuous rape is common.

Strangely, one area where this seems to be nearly absent is the Indo-Gangetic plain. Is this because sexual-marital are defined from a young age – by a mechanism that prohibits marriages within a sub-community and even among distant relatives is taboo. This extended prohibition, a ban on सगोत्र sagotra marriages seems like an effective solution.

Except in the modern, liberal-progress narrative, this tradition is regressive – and must be done away with. Haryana’s khap panchayats, who have been at the vanguard of keeping this tradition alive, have been persecuted, lampooned in India.

Such a price for modernity.

Voices From Cyberia

https://twitter.com/chits0alotmore/status/285006140566290432

2ndkook posts on Delhi gang-rape case

Related posts – External Sites


Most Popular Christmas Present: Children Want Brothers, Sisters & A Dad

December 26, 2012 1 comment

Across Desert Bloc societies, marriages and families are feature among the rich and powerful. The poor have to manage with one-night stands and casual encounters. The West may soon see single-mother homes in a majority.

Less things - and more 'feelings'.  |  Cartoon on Dec 23 2012 by Marian Kamensky; source & courtesy - cagle.com

Less things – and more ‘feelings’. | Cartoon on Dec 23 2012 by Marian Kamensky; source & courtesy – cagle.com

Bollywood films have raised motherhood to a rarefied level – with no other competitive construct in competition.

Father Figure

My own evolving view is that father’s are probably as important – especially for children after 10 years of age. This thought was triggered in my mind many years ago, after a survey revealed that many hard-core criminals come from fatherless families. Presumably, this value of a father or a father figure to any growing child comes in making career decisions, professional choices – instead of getting disinterested, random ideas.

A few days ago, a survey of UK consumers at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City was revealing.

even Santa may struggle to make dreams come true for Britain’s children.

That’s because the nation’s childrens’ Christmas wish-lists contain a number of items not always readily available.

Father Christmas has therefore been put in a tricky position, as according to a survey of children’s wishlists the tenth most asked for present this year was for a dad, while top of the list was for a baby brother or sister.

The survey of 2,000 parents, conducted by Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City also revealed children aged three to 12 were hoping for expensive presents including a car, at number four, and a house, at number seven.But there was a couple of other gifts in the top ten which were more easily provided, including chocolates at number six and, bizarrely, a rock at number nine.

The UK’s mums may be a little upset to hear that while ‘Dad’ came in at number 10, ‘Mum’ only made it in as the 23rd most requested present on their little one’s lists.

via A ‘dad’ is the tenth most popular Christmas present for children, survey reveals | Mail Online.

The importance of this data may get diluted by specifics of UK.

Across Desert Bloc societies, marriages and families are feature among the rich and powerful. The poor have to manage with one-night stands and casual encounters. The West may soon see single-mother homes in a majority.

But, something to think about.

Single-mothers are raising nearly a quarter of America’s children.

Every story is different, but when you examine the figures, actual single parent statistics may surprise you. According to Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007, released by the U.S. Census Bureau in November, 2009, there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.8 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S. today). (via Single Parent Statistics – Number of Kids With One Parent).

Without families, the few children that are born, will grow up in aging and shrinking societies. These societies will need to import labour – and that is what happened in Greece, Rome, and West for most of the last 500 years.

Labour was imported mostly as slaves – but lately, it is immi-grunts.


Rape Metrics: A Global Comparison

December 25, 2012 9 comments

I am all for a ban on tinted windows in all vehicles, if any one can guarantee even a minor reduction in rape cases.

P

Assuming parity in definition, India on a population that is 400% larger has a rape incident ratio which are 24% of US. | Graphic source - hindustantimes.com; Hindustan Times e-Paper dated 2012-12-23 accessed at 17-29-59.

Assuming parity in definition, India on a population that is 400% larger has a rape incident ratio which are 24% of US. | Graphic source – hindustantimes.com; Hindustan Times e-Paper dated 2012-12-23 accessed at 17-29-59.

rotesters and activistas have semi-successfully projected the Delhi gang-rape case as representative of India, Indian society and Indian governance – as detailed in the previous post.

Fog & Noise

In the din of protests and clamour, on the Delhi gang-rape case, facts and data have become less than important.

There is wide availability of data in public domain – and across countries.

Cross country comparisons will quickly dispel claims that these protesters and activistas are making.

Indian rape metrics are skewed by the definition - where consenting teenage marriage is defined as rape. Per Capita rape cases across the world  |  Graphic - timesofindia.com on Dec 21, 2012, 02.47AM IST

Indian rape metrics are skewed by the definition – where consenting teenage marriage is defined as rape. Per Capita rape cases across the world | Graphic – timesofindia.com on Dec 21, 2012, 02.47AM IST

The five major factors are: –

  1. Definition
  2. Incidence
  3. Investigation
  4. Prosecution
  5. Conviction

Definition

Under a liberal-progressive overload, Indian laws that cover rape have been overwhelmed by illogical laws.

In the 70s and the 80s, under World Bank, IMF guidance, and the pressure from AID-India consortium of Western nations to curb population ‘explosion’, child marriage were ‘discouraged’.

To further stigmatize child marriage, sex between consenting female below 18, is now classified as rape.

If a girl below 18 has sex, in marriage or otherwise, in the eyes of Indian law, is rape.

Under-age marriages and attempts to marry have inflated rape statistics in India.

Similar inflation in rape statistics has occurred in Sweden for instance – with an accompanying reduction in conviction.

Break up of rape incidents across India  |  Graphic - thehindu.com in NEW DELHI, October 28, 2011

Break up of rape incidents across India | Graphic – thehindu.com in NEW DELHI, October 28, 2011

Incidence

The National Crime Records Bureau has estimated more than 90% of ‘rape’ cases involve neighbours, relatives, and known people.

Many of these cases are prima facie, cases of opportunistic withdrawal of consent.

Long-term marital relationships in India are forged under community and parental supervision and intervention.

In cases, parental and societal pressure is enough for a female to withdraw consent – opening doors to criminal registration and prosecution.

At times, the withdrawal of consent is also a means of gaining financial benefit.

Police, Police – Everywhere

With investigation is the question of prevention.

Empty demands have been made for better police patrolling, CCTV cameras, more supervision and vigilance. As can be seen, India has low or lower rape-incidents than most of the world.

Do these activistas want to turn India into a Police State? Into a society riven by gender conflict!

Do they want replace a concerned citizenry with a domineering police force? Instead of citizen vigilance, these activistas want us to believe that the police can do a better job.

Graphic courtesy - intoday.in

Graphic courtesy – intoday.in

There are increasing demands for CCTV installations. The West and China are now practically surveillance societies – where, with facial recognition software, police officials will be able keep most of the people under surveillance.

Is that what these protesters and activistas want? Have all these CCTV cameras in the West stopped rape in those countries? Are rape incidents lesser in those surveillance societies?

As the data in the graphic shows, this is neither true – nor logical. If a few rapes are committed in moving vehicles, will we stop vehicles from moving? Or men from moving? Or women from moving around!

Demands for ban on tinted glass windows in Delhi is another demand. Delhi which faces searing heat for 5 months in a summer – needs tinted glasses. Do we want millions of Delhi commuters to steam in higher temperatures to gain psychological comfort?

Forget about elimination of rape – or even a major reduction.

I am all for a ban on tinted windows in all vehicles, if any one can guarantee even a minor reduction in rape cases.

Conviction levels in rape cases varies between 20% to 50% globally. Few exceptions apart. Rape convictions in India are at a higher ratio than general criminal convictions which are at  17%(TBC).. Defines as the number of convictions as a percentage of the total number of completed prosecutions that year.  |  Graphic & caption source - thehindu.com

Conviction levels in rape cases varies between 20% to 50% globally. Few exceptions apart. Rape convictions in India are at a higher ratio than general criminal convictions which are at 17%(TBC).. Defines as the number of convictions as a percentage of the total number of completed prosecutions that year. | Graphic & caption source – thehindu.com

Exaggerate! Overheat

This exaggeration in reaction can be seen in the recent media coverage of rape in Haryana.

Attempting to tar traditional khap panchayats, the media ran a villification campaign on rape in Haryana – whereas there were other states in India with higher occurrence – and lower conviction ratios.

Many of these protests have been organized by NGOs – many funded by sources that are suspect.

Why did the US pay attention to one rape in New Delhi.

2ndkook posts on Delhi gang-rape case


Savita Halappanavar: A Death That Woke Up A Nation

December 18, 2012 5 comments

While there is still a long-way for Irish abortion-law to travel, but the Irish Government has chosen an honorable course.

Ireland has a long history of being anti-colonial – having been a British colony and paid a price for the privilege of being a British colony. Like India, famine, death, oppression – the standard ingredients of colonialism were visited on Ireland, also.

India-Ireland nations go back some time. For instance, India legitimized the Irish Constitution when the Indian Constitution adopted the idea of Directive Principles of State Policy from the Irish Constitution.

While many in Indian media had doubts about Irish intentions, 2ndlook decided to reserve opinion. Unlike other cases of expat-Indian /NRI persecution, in the Savita Halappanavar case, there were no tweets, or posts by 2ndlook.

While there is still a long-way to travel, but the Irish Government has chosen an honorable course.

Ireland’s cabinet took the decision on Tuesday following a huge public outcry over the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant woman in October who died after her repeated requests for an abortion were refused while she was suffering a miscarriage.

The Irish government has decided to repeal legislation that makes abortion a criminal act and to introduce regulations setting out when doctors can perform an abortion when a woman’s life is regarded as being at risk, including by suicide.

Dr James Reilly, the Irish health minister, said that the government was aware of the controversy surrounding abortion.

Ireland’s abortion laws are the strictest in Europe and any proposed legislation to decriminalise abortion will stoke furious debate in Ireland, which remains a staunchly Roman Catholic country.

Enda Kenny, the Irish prime minister, said that draft legislation would be published in the New Year with a timetable of having the legislation ready by Easter.

To ensure the controversial law is passed the government whip would be applied to MPs in the ruling Fine Gael party which is deeply divided over the proposals. “There will be no free vote on this,” said Mr Kenny.

Under current Irish law abortion is criminal unless it occurs as the result of a medical intervention performed to save the life of the mother.

The new legislation will drafted to comply with a landmark ruling in the European Court of Human Rights two years ago and a 1992 Irish Supreme Court decision in the “X case”.

The Irish ruling 20 years ago overturned an injunction preventing a 14-year girl, who had been raped and was suicidal because she could not get a legal abortion, from travelling to Britain to have her pregnancy terminated.

She later had a miscarriage but her case did not lead to legal reform adding to confusion over when abortion was allowed in Ireland.

The reforms are expected to allow the fear of suicide as a ground for abortion but may not provide for rape or sexual abuse, neither of which formed part of the 1992 ruling.

The Indian government intervened in October after the death of Mrs Halappanavar, 31, originally from India, who was 17 weeks pregnant when she developed back pain and tests revealed that she would lose her baby.

via Ireland to legalise abortion – Telegraph.

I have deliberately chosen to use a British publication as my source – as this will reveal Western faultlines. Here is the case of

Savita Halappanavar, 31, originally from India, was 17 weeks pregnant when she developed back pain and tests revealed that she would lose her baby.

But despite her repeated pleas over three days, it emerged earlier this week that doctors refused to perform a termination as they could still hear the foetus’s heartbeat, reportedly telling her: “This is a Catholic country.”

Mrs Halappanavar’s condition rapidly deteriorated and she died after developing septicaemia four days after the death of her baby.

The case has prompted renewed calls for the Irish government to legislate for abortion, with pro-choice campaigners branding her death “an outrage”.

The Indian ambassador to Ireland, Debashish Chakravarti, has taken the concerns of his country about the death to the Irish government and said that he hopes measures will be put in place to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

He told the RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster, that her death, which happened last month, was of “deep regret to the Indian people” and that he hoped the inquiry into the circumstances of the tragedy, would be conducted carefully but quickly.

He added that that the death was being taken with “great seriousness” in India and there was a lot of pain felt by the Irish Indian community.

According to the Irish Times, Mr Chakravarti refused to be comment on what the tragic incident said about Ireland as a state.

An inquiry into the death is being led by Ireland’s Health Service Executive’s (HSE) directof of quality and patient safety, Philip Crowley.

James Reilly, Ireland’s health minister, has also sought a report on the circumstances surrounding the tragedy and Galway University Hospital prepared to launch its own investigation.

via India confronts Irish government over woman denied abortion – Telegraph.

There will be strong opposition to this – apart from the Church. Other Western nations will try their best ensure that the Indian Government does not get any credit – for something the European Court of Justice  and the Irish Supreme Court could not do.

The Irish government has announced that it’s going to repeal existing legislation that makes an abortion a criminal offense and introduce regulations that say a doctor can perform an abortion if a woman’s life is regarded as being “at risk” – including if she’s “suicidal”. The semantics of “suicidal” are suspicious. This could turn in to the old “risk to the woman’s health” formula that many countries use and is vague enough to allow abortion on demand. Whatever the result, this is a watershed moment for Ireland. Its political establishment has distanced itself from the country’s Catholic heritage and from the pro-life tradition. Taoiseach Enda Kenny fancies himself as a new Luther.

A few immediate observations. First, the catalyst for this reform was the story of Savita Halappanavar, a woman who went to hospital suffering from a miscarriage, was denied a termination, and later died. Pro-abortion campaigners have used her case to claim that Ireland’s laws kill – that the refusal of an abortion on the grounds of Catholic chauvinism led directly to her passing. But the facts of the case are not that certain. Ireland does theoretically allow abortion under certain cases when the mother’s life is at risk, and it’s not even clear that a termination would have saved Savita’s life. Worryingly, pro-abortion activists had access to the details of her case before they were released by the press. It smacks of politicising a tragedy for the sake of change – and it seems to have worked.

Second, Ireland is changing – or, at least, its establishment is. In previous years, Enda Kenny would have been taking a big risk doing this. During the 2011 election, his party said that it opposed the legalisation of abortion, in deference to Ireland’s Catholic culture. Not only has he U-turned on that, but he’s also said that he won’t allow his party a free vote on the subject. Nor presumably will there be a referendum – a great Irish tradition whereby the political class tries to liberalise the country by decree and then the people vote it down. Kenny – conservative in the same way that David Cameron and Ted Kennedy are conservatives – has tried to define himself as a modernising Prime Minister who will drag his country into the bright future of sexual liberation and a Church decoupled from government. In the past that would have left him politically vulnerable to Ireland’s fair-weather populism. We might have expected Fianna Fail (which is rebounding in the polls) to exploit the switch and challenge him on it. But, this time around, FF is broadly in favour of reform, too. All the mainstream parties are gambling that Ireland has become far more liberal and a lot less Catholic

Any credible opposition will come not from within the Dail but from outside, from the Catholic Church and the large (and rather youthful) pro-life lobby. And so, for the first time in a very long time, we’re set for a serious war between Ireland’s political establishment and its dwindling Catholic faithful.

via Ireland is gearing up for a war between Church and state over abortion – Telegraph Blogs.

Another voice of darkness chimes in with her political baggage.

It took the death of a young mother-to-be to rip up the Irish abortion law.

Savita Halappanavar was pregnant and suffering a miscarriage.

I’m a Catholic but I believe abortion has to be legal. Yes, it is a sin; and yes, there are women who use it as contraception. But the risk of having a long roll call of tragic deaths like Savita’s is too cruel to contemplate. Like divorce, abortion should be available, but reserved as a last-resort nuclear option – and when the mother’s life is in danger is precisely such a scenario.

The Irish U-turn over Savita’s death worries me, though. Is this the right result based on the wrong premise?

I can’t help wondering whether Savita’s tragedy has been used to manipulate public opinion. This does not make her fate any less tragic; it does however raise questions about campaigners blinded by pro-abortion fervour.

via Is Ireland’s abortion U-turn based on a mistake? – Telegraph Blogs.

Between now and Easter is a long time.

The Irish Government will face tremendous pressure in the West. Not based on merits – but on politics. Remember this law is not being changed due to the death of an American woman; or a British citizen. Change in Irish law due to death of a Franco-German tourist could have been acceptable.

How can a Western country, part of EU change laws at the behest of the Indian Government? Due to the death of an Indian women?

But this case may turn out to be like South Africa’s apartheid, where the Indian Government forced a reluctant West to accept sanctions against S.Africa. The global boycott, led by India, made the end of apartheid possible.

After thirty years, India has made it possible to end oppressive Church laws. Full marks to the Irish and Indian governments.

And Godspeed!


Kargil War: The Forgotten Victory

December 17, 2012 2 comments

Kargil War Forgotten: Fought over 3 months; longer than the three previous India-Pakistan wars (1948, 1965, 1971). Combined.

A battery of Bofors guns in operation during the Kargil War.  |  These 155-mm guns proved to be highly useful.   Image source & courtesy - outlookindia.com

A battery of Bofors guns in operation during the Kargil War. | These 155-mm guns proved to be highly useful. Image source & courtesy – outlookindia.com

I

n the Kargil War (May 3-July 26, 1999), Pakistan made an extremely limited military probe, with around 1000 soldiers, to take Kargil heights. The Kargil War dragged on for nearly 3 months – longer than the three previous wars (1948, 1965, 1971) with Pakistan, combined.

It is a war that India has forgotten – but has many important lessons.

The scene of operations in the Drass-Kargil-Batalik sector

The scene of operations in the Drass-Kargil-Batalik sector

Vital Questions

These 1000-odd Pakistani soldiers were sent on a mission without infantry support, or air cover.

Adequately protected by snow-covered Himalayan heights, Pakistan’s probing attack on Kargil tested the importance of nuclear deterrence and the resolve of the BJP Government.

The Kargil War raised some important questions.

  1. Would India start a conventional war against a nuclear Pakistan?
  2. Is it that Pakistan could not get more than 1,000 soldiers to fight against India?
  3. Why did Pakistan not support its soldiers with air-cover?

Probably, Pakistan’s Kargil misadventure points towards Pakistan’s inability to fight any kind of war against India.

Sino-Pak JF-17 fighter  |  Image source & courtesy - military-today.com

Sino-Pak JF-17 fighter | Image source & courtesy – military-today.com

PAF’s Slow Degrade

Over the years, especially in the last 25 years, the ability of Pakistan’s Airforce (PAF) to mount any challenge to Indian Airforce (IAF) has been severely degraded.

A combination of global sanctions and Pakistan’s financial situation has stopped Pakistan from buying spares, or replacing obsolete aircraft.

Of the 400-odd aircraft that Pakistan has, more than a 100 are old Mirage aircraft. Many of these were discarded aircraft, bought from Australia and Libya – also from France and Lebanon.

Bofors in action during the Kargil war. Lakhs of artillery rounds were used and guns worked well.  |  AFP PHOTO/TAUSEEF MUSTAFA

Bofors in action during the Kargil war. Lakhs of artillery rounds were used and guns worked well. | AFP PHOTO/TAUSEEF MUSTAFA

PAF Grounded

America will not supply Pakistan with fighters or adequate spares for the F-16 aircraft already in PAF service.

Instead, Pakistan is buying China’s JF-17/FC-1 Thunder fighter-aircraft that needs Russian RD-93 engines to fly (variant of MiG-29’s RD-33 engine). China needs Russian permission to sell Russian engines in the JF-17/FC-1 Thunder. It is unlikely that Russia will pass up a peacetime business opportunity of selling jet-engines to Pakistan.

But in a war situation, Russia is unlikely to supply spares and engines to Pakistan.

When PAF Was In Better Shape

In the 1965 War situation, Pakistan was part of the CENTO and SEATO alliance, armed by the US with the US F-104 Starfighters, F-86 Sabres that were significantly superior to Indian Airforce (IAF).

Comprising of Vampires of WWII vintage, the French Mirage Mysteres, the Anglo-Hawker Hunters and Canberras or the Anglo-Gnats, the IAF went into the 1965 War at a disadvantage. By the 1971 War, the IAF had re-configured tactics, using numbers, altitude to overwhelm the Sabres with inferior Gnats – starting with the airfight at Boyra.

Compared to the nearly 10,000 Sabres that were manufactured world-wide, less than 450 Gnats were built; mostly bought by Indians. The Yugoslavs bought second-hand F-86s in preference to the Gnats. The RAF itself did not buy Gnat for any conflict role – but only for aerobatic, trainer usage.

Indian soldiers in Kashmir; operating the Bofors guns.

Indian soldiers in Kashmir; operating the Bofors guns.

Pulling Away

In the last 25 years, India has steadily drawn ahead of Pakistan, to point of no-comparison.

When US sanctions were imposed in 1990, both the PAF and the Indian Air Force were second-generation air forces. No real-time surveillance capability, no air-to-air refuelling capability, no airborne early warning capability, no beyond-visual-range-capability, no stand-off weapon capability. However, after 13 years of sanctions, India had all the above and Pakistan had none until about three or four years ago. This is the gap (2006 – Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat – in an interview to Jane’s Defence Weekly).

The first proof of Pakistan’s crippled armed forces was on display in the Kargil War. Designed to provoke, the benefit to Pakistan from Kargil was to gauge Indian resolve. The Indian response during the Kargil War, in turn was also limited to evicting this military probe from the heights that overlooked the Srinagar highway.

BM-21 multi-barrel rocket launcher mortar firing at Tiger Hill in the Kargil War

BM-21 multi-barrel rocket launcher mortar firing at Tiger Hill in the Kargil War

War in Himalayas

The Kargil War between India and Pakistan, waged in the disputed and mountainous Kashmir region in mid-1999, rates as the highest-elevation conflict in air war history. The clash lasted 74 days and cost more than 1,000 killed and wounded on each side. Though a blank to most Westerners, the Indian Air Force (IAF) experience was a milestone, providing insights into uses of airpower in extremely demanding combat settings.

The Western profile of this war is low, receding to the vanishing point.

The seeds of war were planted in March 1999, when units of the Pakistani Army’s Northern Light Infantry (NLI) crossed the so-called line of control (LOC) into India’s portion of contested Kashmir in the Himalayas. From this new vantage point, Pakistani troops overlooked the Indian town of Kargil.

The LOC that separates the Indian- and Pakistani-held portions of Kashmir bisects some of the world’s highest and most forbidding terrain. Because of dangerous weather, the Indian Army, in harsh winter months, routinely vacated inhospitable forward outposts that it normally manned.

Too Much Jawboning

When the Indians withdrew in the late winter months of 1999, however, Pakistan mounted an infiltration that sought to make the most of this opportunity.

As many as 1,000 troops of the NLI, moving by foot and helicopter, crossed the line. It was a stealthy success; the NLI troops managed to unobtrusively establish a new forward line six miles deep into Indian-controlled territory. On May 3, they were finally spotted by local shepherds.

Then, in the first week of May 1999, the Indian Army units that had formerly manned the outposts began returning to their stations. It was at that point that they came face-to-face with the fact that NLI troops had moved in and were prepared to fight.

At first, embarrassed Indian Army leaders were bound and determined to turn back the Pakistan incursion all by themselves. Thus commenced several exchanges of fire. However, there was no change in the situation on the ground.

Checked for days by Pakistani forces, Indian Army leaders on May 11 finally approached the IAF for help. The Indian Army wanted the IAF to provide close air support with its armed helicopters. The IAF responded that the high terrain over which the requested support was to be provided lay well above the effective operating envelope of its attack helicopters and that the use of fixed wing fighters would be required if the Army really needed assistance.

The Army for days persisted in demanding use of attack helicopters alone. The IAF no less adamantly declined to accede to that demand.

Because of this back and forth jawboning, some later complained the IAF had refused to cooperate and, in the end, was forced into the campaign against its will.

In fact, the IAF at the early date of May 10 had begun conducting reconnaissance missions over the Kargil heights. It also at that time forward deployed IAF combat aircraft in numbers sufficient to support any likely tasking, established a rudimentary air defense control arrangement, and began practicing air-to-ground weapon deliveries at Himalayan elevations.

On May 12, as interservice deliberations to establish an agreed campaign plan continued, an IAF helicopter was fired upon near the most forward based of the NLI positions. That hostile act was enough to prompt the IAF to place Western Air Command on alert and establish quick-reaction aircraft launch facilities at the IAF’s most northern operating locations.

The next day, IAF Jaguar fighter aircraft launched on a tactical reconnaissance mission to gather target information. At the same time, the IAF established a direction center for the tactical control of combat aircraft; it was located at Leh, the IAF’s highest-elevation airfield.

Concurrently, Canberra PR57 and MiG-25R reconnaissance aircraft were pressed into service, and electronic intelligence missions started in the vicinity of the NLI intrusion.

The IAF sent a Canberra to conduct reconnaissance of the area overlooking Kargil. It descended to 22,000 feet and entered a racetrack pattern that put the aircraft as low as 4,000 feet above the ridgelines. The Canberra was hit in its right engine by a Chinese-made Anza infrared surface-to-air missile. The Indian pilot brought the airplane in for a safe emergency landing.

On May 14, the IAF activated its air operations center for Kashmir and mobilized its fighter units in that sector for an all-out air counteroffensive. Such activities attested to the IAF’s clear expectation that it would engage the intruders to the fullest once its final role was settled upon.

After much back and forth between the IAF and Indian Army over the character and extent of air support IAF would provide, the Army finally acceded to the IAF’s insistence on using fixed wing fighters. This cleared the way for the air force to enter the fight.

In a key May 25 meeting chaired by Indian Prime Minister Atal B. Vajpayee, the Indian Army Chief outlined the seriousness of the situation and the need for the IAF to step in without further delay. At that, the Prime Minister said: “OK, get started tomorrow at dawn.”

The Air Chief agreed that the IAF would attack only those Pakistani targets that were dug in on India’s side of the line of control. However, he requested permission for his aircraft, in the course of its operations, to fly across the LOC. Vajpayee said no; there would be no crossing of the LOC.

With that rule of engagement firmly stipulated by the civilian leadership, the die was finally cast for full-scale IAF involvement. The stage was set for Operation Vijay (Hindi for “victory”), as the joint campaign was code-named.

Kinetic air operations began at 6:30 a.m. on May 26, three weeks after the infiltration into Indian-controlled territory was detected. The opening salvo comprised six attacks by MiG-21s, MiG-23s, and MiG-27s against NLI targets. It was the first time IAF pilots had dropped bombs in anger since its Vampire fighters destroyed Pakistani bunkers in the same Kargil area 28 years earlier, in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War.

Pakistan chose to keep its F-16s out of the fight.

Deadly Lessons Learned Quickly

Nearly all targets attacked were on or near Himalayan ridgelines at elevations ranging from 16,000 to 18,000 feet. The stark backdrop of rocks and snow complicated target acquisition, already made difficult by the small size of the NLI positions in a vast and undifferentiated snow background. That unique terrain feature, as seen from a cockpit, inspired the code name given to the IAF’s campaign—Operation Safed Sagar, or “White Sea.”

In the second day of air operations, the IAF lost two fighters. One, a MiG-27, suffered engine failure while coming off a target. After two unsuccessful attempts at an airstart, the pilot ejected, only to be captured. He was repatriated on June 3.

The second, a MiG-21, sustained an infrared SAM hit while its pilot was flying over the terrain at low level, assisting in the search for the downed MiG-27 pilot. Its pilot also ejected, but he was not as lucky as the first pilot. He was captured, then reportedly brutalized and executed.

On the third day of operations, an armed Mi-17 helicopter, introduced to the fight reluctantly by the IAF to placate India’s Army leaders, was downed by a shoulder-fired SAM while providing low-level fire support. The crash killed all four crew members.

In conducting these early attacks, IAF officers quickly relearned what the Israelis had learned at great cost during the October 1973 War, when Egyptian and Syrian SAMs and anti-aircraft artillery had downed nearly a third of the Israeli Air Force’s fighter inventory (102 aircraft in all) before Israel managed to pull out a victory in the war’s latter stages.

Badly bloodied, the Indian Air Force called a halt to further use of armed helicopters and directed that future fighter attacks would be conducted from above the lethal envelopes of enemy man-portable SAMs. Afterward, not a single Indian fixed wing aircraft was lost to enemy fire.

Whenever ground attack operations were under way, Western Air Command put MiG-29s on combat air patrol stations to keep the Pakistani Air Force (PAF) out of the fray. Pakistan’s F-16As typically maintained their CAP stations at a safe distance, 10 to 20 miles away from the line of control.

By the time air operations reached full swing, the IAF had forward deployed some 60 of its best fighters to support the campaign. As they awaited tasking, committed squadrons initiated special training aimed at better acclimating their pilots to night attacks under moonlit conditions. Such combat operations over high mountainous terrain at night had never before been attempted by the IAF.

Because of the rudimentary bomb sights on their MiG-21, MiG-23, and MiG-27 aircraft, IAF pilots typically achieved only limited effectiveness when attempting to provide close air support.

Accordingly, India’s Air Chief decided on May 30, just four days into the campaign, to enlist Mirage 2000H fighters capable of delivering laser guided bombs. By June 12, the Mirages were ready to commence precision strike operations.

On June 17, the clash reached a turning point. A strike package of Mirage 2000Hs destroyed the NLI’s main logistics camp with unguided 1,000-pound bombs delivered in high-angle dive attacks using the aircrafts’ computer-assisted weapon aiming capability.

The war reached a second milestone on June 24, when an element of Mirage 2000Hs, in the IAF’s first-ever combat use of LGBs, destroyed the NLI’s command bunkers on Tiger Hill with two 1,000-pound Paveway II LGBs. In these attacks, the target was acquired through the Litening pod’s electro-optical imaging sensor at about nine miles out, with weapons release occurring at a slant range of about five miles and the aircraft then turning away while continuing to mark the target with a laser spot.

On June 29, the Indian Army captured two vital posts on the high ridgelines. On July 2, it launched a massive attack. It finally recaptured the important NLI outpost on Tiger Hill on July 4, after an exhausting 11-hour battle in which the attackers climbed fixed ropes at night and in freezing rain to scale vertical mountain faces 1,000 feet high.

By July 26, Indian forces had reclaimed a majority of their seized outposts and driven NLI occupiers back to their own side of the LOC.

The IAF’s contribution to Operation Vijay lasted two months. IAF fighters had flown more than 1,700 sorties, including about 40 at night during the campaign’s last weeks. In the final tally, the Indian Army suffered 527 troops killed in action and 1,363 soldiers wounded. The NLI losses were not announced, but they were at least equal to India’s.

The Indian Army and IAF were both key players in a joint campaign; it would be hard to select one as the pivotal force. From a simple weight-of-effort perspective, artillery was the main source of fire support. The Army fired more than 250,000 rounds. One assessment said that this sustained laydown of fire was the most intense seen anywhere since World War II.

In contrast to this “profligacy in the use of artillery in a carpet-bombing mode,” as the campaign’s air component commander later called it, the IAF dropped only around 500 bombs. Most were effective against their assigned targets.

Close air support was a source of frustration for the IAF. The small and well-concealed NLI positions in the Himalayas were nothing like conventional targets that fighters typically engage in supporting friendly ground operations.

The IAF’s CAS efforts were hampered by numerous constraints on their freedom of action. New Delhi’s refusal to countenance crossings of the LOC was a limiting factor. Fighters were forced to use tactics featuring ingress and egress headings that were not optimal or, in many cases, even safe.

Man-portable SAMs used by Pakistan had a slant range sufficient to require the IAF’s pilots to remain 6,000 to 8,000 feet above the ridgelines to remain safely outside their threat envelopes. This degraded weapon delivery accuracies.

At such extreme elevations, the IAF’s munitions did not perform as they did at lower release altitudes. The reduced air temperature and density altered drag indices and other performance parameters that had never before been calculated for such conditions. Weapons did not guide as predicted. IAF pilots had to adapt through real-time improvisation.

The stark terrain folds tended to obscure the enemy from aerial observation and to mask the effects of bomb detonations, rendering even near misses all but ineffective. They further served to canalize aerial approaches to targets, dictating ingress and egress headings and, in the process, rendering IAF fighters more predictable and susceptible to ground fire.

NLI positions in deep ravines were often immune to effective attacks by pilots attempting dive deliveries when their LOC-driven roll-in points were not tactically ideal.

The IAF rode a steep learning curve as pilots adapted to unfamiliar conditions. MiG-21 pilots lacking sophisticated onboard avionics suites resorted to the use of stopwatches and Global Positioning System receivers to conduct night interdiction bombing.

Another example: The IAF took to choosing weapon impact points that would create avalanches over NLI supply lines.

The IAF pioneered what has since come to be called nontraditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. It was the first to use electro-optical and infrared imaging targeting pods for high-resolution aerial reconnaissance.

The Kargil Experience

The IAF expended only two LGBs because it had so few in stock and because few targets merited use of such an important and costly munition. Still, even this limited use dramatically altered the campaign’s dynamics.

After the successful LGB attacks, targeting pod imagery showed enemy troops abandoning their positions at the very sound of approaching fighters. Troop diaries later recovered by Indian Army units attested to the demoralization caused by the IAF’s attacks, especially when precision munitions were introduced.

Much of the IAF’s improved combat effectiveness over time resulted from replacing classic manual dive bombing by MiG-23s and MiG-27s with more accurate GPS-aided level bombing from safer altitudes. Once the Mirage 2000H was introduced, the accuracy of unguided bomb deliveries increased even further, thanks to the aircraft’s much-improved onboard avionics suite.

A major joint-arena shortcoming highlighted by the Kargil experience was the total absence of candid communication between the Indian Army and IAF immediately following the initial detection of the NLI incursion. That failure was a remarkable foreshadowing of US Central Command’s similarly flawed Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan three years later, in which the land component likewise sought to go it alone at first, with the air component having been brought in just in time to help ensure a satisfactory outcome in the end.

Once the Indian Army and IAF resolved their disagreements, harmony prevailed.

In the going-in front-line fighter balance, India enjoyed a marked 750-to-350 advantage over Pakistan. Pakistan’s fleet of some 30 F-16s was greatly outclassed by the IAF’s 145 high-performance aircraft (MiG-29s, Mirage 2000Hs, and Su-30s). That asymmetry may well have been decisive in keeping the PAF out of the fight.

However, Pakistan maintained the initiative for most of the Kargil War. Both the nature of the challenge the IAF faced in the Himalayan heights and the targeting requirements that ensued from it dictated a suboptimal use of India’s air weapon.

The IAF’s combat experience showed that innovation and adaptability under the stress of confining rules of engagement is a hallmark of modern airmanship. It attested to the fact that professionalism in campaign planning, presentation of forces, and accommodating to new and unique tactical challenges is scarcely a monopoly of more familiar Western air arms.

The experience demonstrated yet again that effective use of air-delivered firepower can generate success in a conflict that might otherwise have persisted indefinitely with less conclusive results.

Ben Lambeth is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He is the author of The Transformation of American Air Power (2000), which won the Air Force Association’s Gil Robb Wilson Award for Arts and Letters in 2001. His most recent article for Air Force Magazine was “Behind Israel’s 2006 War with Hezbollah,” in September 2011.

Air War at the Top of the World.


Indian Elites: Stuck With Nostalgia; In Love With The Raj

December 15, 2012 2 comments

While learning English is important, must we develop bhakti and loyalty to English?

T

he Anglo-Saxon Bloc (Britain, America, Australia, Canada) have been the dominant power for the last 200 years. Behind the rise of the Anglo-Saxon Bloc was India’s traditional gunpowder production system – the world’s largest gunpowder manufactory system. The Anglo-Saxon position has been challenged by France, Germany, Soviet Union – and now China proposes to do the same.

In such a situation, learning English is important. This is something that India has done – but in some parts of the Indian Mind, there is bhakti, even loyalty to the English – and their empty ‘heritage’.

Wonder why Indi'a English-using elites so love the Raj?  |  Old cartoon by Mario Miranda on the Bombay to Mumbai makeover in Mumbai Mirror published on December 15, 2012 again.

Wonder why Indi’a English-using elites so love the Raj? | Old cartoon by Mario Miranda on the Bombay to Mumbai makeover in Mumbai Mirror published on December 15, 2012 again.

Back from Mumbai’s (which I always prefer to call Bombay) literary carnival, I have trouble with my hearing. There’s Axl Rose’s growling vocals in my left ear, Anita Desai’s gentle, precise whispers in my right.

In my admittedly warped book lover’s memory, Bombay had always been as much a city of books as of film. Friends who were writers themselves – Jerry Pinto, Naresh Fernandes – took me around the city’s bookstores on my first few visits to Bombay.

Bombay used to have a formidable set of bookstores — Strand, ruled by the intelligent taste of the late T N Shanbhag; Lotus Book House (above that petrol pump in Bandra), which had an unmatched selection of arthouse and aantel books; and Smoker’s Corner, a cross between bookstore and lending library.

The last few years were dark ones for Bombay’s bookstores. The 525 bookstores listed by TISS sounds like a healthy number, but it’s misleading — many of those “bookstores” are stationery shops, or textbook specialists who carry either no fiction or limited quantities of fiction. The chain bookstores are depressing places — you expect them to be commercial, but they are dully, boringly commercial, stocking only the most conservative of bestsellers. Lotus closed down in the mid-2000s; Strand and Smoker’s Corner remain, but Strand doesn’t have the range it once did.

The author Ann Patchett started her own large independent bookstore, Parnassus Books, in Nashville some years ago. She built it to recreate the stores that she missed, where “the people who worked there remembered who you were and what you read, even if you were 10”. In an essay for The Atlantic, she defined the kind of bookstore she wanted: “…One that valued books and readers above muffins and adorable plastic watering cans, a store that recognised it could not possibly stock every single book that every single person might be looking for, and so stocked the books the staff had read and liked and could recommend.”

Bombay has a bookstore like that — Kitabkhana in Fort runs according to the Patchett Principle. Like her store, it also functions as a community centre, a place where people will bring their children for book readings, and where authors can do their readings in the pleasant, cosy company of books. If you could combine the two and bring Kitabkhana to Mehboob Studios, where the literary carnival is held, you’d have the best of both worlds.

via Nilanjana S Roy: Cappuccino festivals.

Mumbai should do something about its filth: London mayor, Boris Johnson

December 13, 2012 3 comments

Should we keep increasing the garbage, waste and filth we generate – and pay more to pollute more.

Is this what we want Mumbai to become? A garbage producing leader!  |  Garbage city cartoon by Norbert Niessen on May 08, 2011 ; source & courtesy - toonpool.com

Is this what we want Mumbai to become? A garbage producing leader! | Garbage city cartoon by Norbert Niessen on May 08, 2011 ; source & courtesy – toonpool.com

Mumbai should do something about its garbage and filth.

“While it may look inappropriate for me to be saying this, Mumbai should do something about the filth and squalour around,” said mayor of London Boris Johnson. He was speaking to DNA on the sidelines of an interaction organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

via Mumbai should do something about its filth: London mayor – India – DNA.

I actually agree with Boris Johnson. Mumbai should do something about its garbage and filth.

Reduce it.

We cannot keep increasing the garbage, waste and filth we generate – and pay more to pollute more. Should Mumbai and other Indian cities work to create the another island of plastic waste that now floats in the Pacific and the Atlantic. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a few times the size of India, and some studies claim 20 metres deep.

Sometime back, carcass parts were found in Cairo garbage bins - a public-safety hazard  |  Cartoon source & courtesy - ahram.org

Sometime back, carcass parts were found in Cairo garbage bins – a public-safety hazard | Cartoon source & courtesy – ahram.org

Or a situation like Cairo, when animal carcass parts were found in garbage bins – a public-safety issue.

The Indian State increasingly a captive of Big Business, cannot think small. It is very possible to have methane-from-organic-waste; waste water recycling in Mumbai, with its super-dense population. Unlike Delhi, which is widely spread.

We cannot have the ‘modern’ model of urban cleanliness. And till we find a better model, we better tolerate and live with the garbage and filth we generate.


%d bloggers like this: