Monday, July 14, 2008

Pushed into a corner, Army defends its peacekeepers

Ok, normally I wouldn't put a full Army statement up here, but this is one of those times when the Army has been really pushed into a corner and embarrassed by reports about its UN peacekeepers, one of the things it prides itself steeply on, so here's their statement in full. Could use some debate, if you ask me: In light of periodic reports in sections of the media which have sought to undermine professional and ethical behavior of the Indian Peacekeepers in Congo, it is considered essential to place the facts in correct perspective lest mischievous designs of some parties with vested interest should go unchallenged and to ensure that the truth prevails.

The media reports have emanated from Congo based upon various allegations leveled by either un-named sources or by individuals of doubtful credibility, against the Indian peacekeepers of indulging in "gold smuggling", "trading arms with the rebels", "refusing to conduct operations against armed rebels" and even of "sexual exploitation" of locals. It needs to be noted that besides all allegations being investigated by the OIOS of the UN, the Indian Army has zero tolerance for any acts of omission or commission by its peacekeepers which violate its code of professional ethics, and accordingly, irrespective of the seriousness or frivolousness of allegations, the Indian Army subjects each allegation to a detailed and institutionalized process of investigations which, without fail, are pursued till their logical conclusion.

The fact that all allegations were found to be false and baseless, by the OIOS of the UN, should be indicative of the ulterior motives of those elements who have worked hard to invent them and surreptitiously planted them through sections of the media.

An incident of aberrant behavior by a few of the Indian Peacekeepers, which was not part of any allegations made but, did come to light during the process of investigations, pertained to a soldier of the Indian Peacekeeping contingent being lured into purchasing a small quantity of counterfeit gold dust and thus being cheated by an anti-social person. Investigations have revealed that the concerned soldier with his immediate superior officer, on becoming aware of having been cheated, detained the cheat to recover the soldier's money. Irrespective of the gravity of the incident, it may be noted that the Indian Army recalled the concerned individuals and ordered detailed investigations headed by a General Officer of three-star rank. Subsequent to the investigations, the disciplinary actions against the three Indian Peacekeepers have been initiated under the provisions of the Army Act.

There have been a few false reports in a newspaper that the Indian Army has "let off the concerned peacekeepers lightly by only 'warning' them". Nothing can be farther from truth. We request the media to show patience until the disciplinary proceedings are completed after following the due process of military law and to abstain from speculative and untruthful reporting lest they unwittingly land up promoting the ill-intended and malicious designs of interested parties.

The Indian Army reiterates its unfailing commitment to highest standards of professional conduct and ethical behaviour. The Indian Peacekeepers' contribution to restoring peace and stability in all UN Missions, including in Congo, has always been laudable, and by far, the most substantial. This understandably, has not always been to the linking of fringe elements who may have stakes in continued state of hostility and instability.


Anonymous said...

You see we have this one neighbor that is rather jealous of the great strides our nation is making. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they perpetrated this FUD to dishonor our great jawans in the UN. The situation will be resolved and the indians exonerated, but the damage has been done...

Anonymous said...

It is not our neighbours but our last masters, that is the british who are raising the issue as they cant stand the rise of India. The reports have mostly been based from BBC, which strangely has been very interested in the issue.
Also watch out for news about slum dwellers, low-caste people from India, which appear at a more frequency in BBC than the Indian media. Heck there was one communal riot in an island in Bengal which wasnt there in any mainstream Indian news (both tv and newspapers) but was a breaking news in BBC.
BBC has an agenda in this issue, but I dont know what. UN has been categorical in its defence of the peacekeepers. It has said that the Indian peacekeepers in MONUC have been found to be innocent. Infact they found that the locals were trying to frame the peacekeepers. But the BBC keeps talking about the role of peacekeepers in the gold business etc etc. One wonders what role BBC & MI6 has taken in this international "sting" operations.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha ....carrying a rejoinder meant for Express...Shiv your loyalty towards your ex-organisation is commendable, though they may also not carry it out of embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

Guys BBC is an islamofascist mouthpiece. The arab sheikhs with their oil wealth secretly fund it and have let the rabid dog lose on the rest world.

BBC attacks israel because israel takes measures to protect it's citizens from the daily rocket attacks.

Similarly since India tries to protect itself from jehadi attacks funded by the oil sheikhs, the most recent being the blasts in jaipur, the BBC barks against India.

The full form of BBC is British Bull$hit Corporation.

Dont take this as an insult towards the british. I know my britishers who are also sick of the pro-jehadi propaganda that BBC broadcasts everyday.

Anonymous said...

This is a payback from BBC for what happened in Sierra Leone.

The Indian contigent was manning the area. The Britsh SAS team were trying to do an underhand deal with the rebels without informing their Indian counterpart and were caught by the rebels..

Anonymous said...

Interesting info above anon. But is that all to the issue, i think there is more to it.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I apologize for insinuating that the the IA was guilty of improprieties while serving in Africa. Sorry! I just picked up from the press.

Anonymous said...

to previous anon, better late than never. Also one more lesson in it is that dont trust the media to make up all your opinions, make your own judgement.

Anonymous said...

While all kinds of self confessed experts have been crowing about the impact of terror and the lives of those affected by it , no one is paying attention to the humble soldier who stands firm in the face of insurmountable odds. We go on singing paeans about how the intelligence network failed and they didn’t have any prior info of the attacks. It was eventually the Army, NSG (which again is manned and officered in large part by the Army) and the Navy that bailed out a city under siege. And now the politicians will come in and hog the limelight for the customary sound bite while playing petty politics for the vote bank they have to bolster for the next election.

While all this happens no one I paying attention to the quiet and unassuming man in Green (or white or blue for that matter………, we’re referring to Army, NSG and the Navy) who after having finished the job efficiently without fanfare has left the centre stage to be occupied by the politicians and bureaucrats who having watched this drama from the safe and secure environs of his drawing room have come for their share of the publicity pie, talking endlessly and throwing weighty words (of which they know nothing about) like “collateral damage” “flush out ops” “search and destroy operations” and “hot pursuit”.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Commando Gajraj Singh who valiantly laid down their lives life fighting the terrorists weren’t Marathi Manoos. They were Indian soldiers and that alone was more than enough to be their identity. In fact I’m certain that the majority of the troops that fought in the claustrophobic smoke filled corridors, braving a hail of bullets and grenade shrapnel were not from Mumbai or for that matter from Maharashtra. What does a certain Raj Thackeray have to say about this? Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Hindus, North Indians, South Indians, Gurkhas, Biharis, Assamese, Rajasthanis, Nagas……….. they all fought side by side braving bullets and shrapnel to free the city that Mr Thackeray claims to be the sole domain for the Marathi Manoos.

And Mr Bachhan feels threatened enough to sleep with a revolver tucked under his pillow? Who do you fear Mr Bachhan? Have you inserted the revolver under your pillow (and consequently the line in your blog) so that your blog could get more hits?

In a few days the news channels will forget about the incident altogether. All the jingoism will have died down and the humble soldier will go back to the barracks (or tents) doing what he does best – being at the receiving end of an ungrateful nation who in the form of its politicians and bureaucrats goes on to the question why should the humble jawan get the proposed Military Service Pay of Rs 3000/- (and consequently and promptly degrade it to Rs 2000/-). He will not complain mind you, because he has discipline enough not to do that. Though he will tell his officers, over a shared mug of hot tea in a cold, windswept bunker on the icy heights of Siachen that the pittance they are being paid (and being grudged by the bureaucrats) is not enough to put his child in a good school or build him a humble two room house in his native village. The officer understanding fully well his plight (he too is in the same boat) will inform his superiors and up the channel the report would go. And when an Army or a Navy Chief, out of loyalty for his soldiers will put up the matter in front of the bureaucrats and the Defence minister, he will be labelled as being undisciplined, by chief editors like Shekhar Gupta, who on cues from “highly placed sources in the Defence Ministry” (i.e. bureaucrats who don’t want the forces to get their due) will have written an acerbic edit in the Indian Express and reminded the forces of their place in the pecking order. For whom is the jawan braving these bullets? Who is he laying down his life for …………for the ungrateful citizen who doesn’t feel enraged enough at the injustice being meted out to the jawan. Why do we tend to forget that the forces are our last line of defence, as they have proved today and time and again in the past? What we say played out in the space of 60 hours starting from the night of 26 November 2008 is something that is played out everyday in the jungles of Kashmir and the North East. The humble jawan risks his life there too, but nobody gives a damn. Web sleep in peace because the soldier, the sailor and the airman is awake and doing his job, in extremely trying circumstances. Why do we tend to forget that? Just because the forces don’t form a formidable vote bank means that we should forget them? About time we woke up and gave the soldier his due. Remember , it was once famously said and it still rings true, that a country that cannot respect and provide for his soldier does not have the moral right to expect the soldier to give up his life for the nation. Chilling but true…………………