Sunday, 11 September 2016

Gorkha Hat and Maroon Beret: Everyman an Emperor

Gorkha Hat And Maroon Beret is a personal memoir of four decades of life in the Indian Army, as experienced by Lieutenant General Chandra Shekhar, former Vice Chief of the Indian Army (1997-2000). It recounts the rewards and rigours of his long and distinguished military career, after he was commissioned in the 2/4 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1959. The book additionally contains larger reflections on the ethos and training of the Indian Army, and its seminal role in shaping the lives of not just military personnel, but the entire nation.
It also records valuable insights and suggestions about the way in which the institutional framework of the Indian Army can be further strengthened, especially after the experience of the Kargil War, at which time Lieutenant General Chandra Shekhar was the Vice Chief of the Indian Army.
Written in an engaging style, and from the vantage point of his varied command and staff experiences in various defence formations all over the country, the book is published at a time when 200 years of the raising of the first battalion of the famed Gorkha Rifles have just gone by. It will be of lasting interest to military and laypeople alike.

Excerpt from a review of the book by Major General R Naidu:
“Gorkha Hat and Maroon Beret” was so riveting that I finished it in one sitting on a train journey. It is the story of an eventful life in the army. A sense of excellence is evident at every step - in school and college days; first time success in the entrance exam for the NDA; superlative gradings in all the formative courses; promotion to the highest rank as a natural result of excellence at each rank. There never was an occasion for a representation as is the wont even in senior ranks of late.
To add to it, ancestry – a soldier father with soldierly virtues which were so obviously implanted for integrity and industry; physical fitness and ability in sports as a result of the background of a hardy child of the mountains; the genes of a hill boy so suited to a life in the army and that too in the infantry.
Moving on to the land mark achievement of the command of the Para Brigade with great distinction; the jumps accomplished in such short order; and the transition from an operations and training-addicted leader to looking after the welfare and comforts of the troops as the Army Commander of Central Command, speaks highly of a human and humane side of the author.
 The Kargil Operations discussed in the book, throw up many issues for critical observation and reflection. Only our troops can react the way they did once we decided to take action to evict the intruders. All in all, a great book and of great value to the service readership.

Major General R Naidu 

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

COS of HQ Western Command; GOC of Chetak Corps and Sudarshan Chakra Corps.

As my turn came for promotion to Lieutenant General, I was informed by the COAS, General Rodrigues, during a visit to HQ 15 Corps that he had earmarked me to take over command of 15 Corps in July 1993. Since I had already done over two years as COS at the same location in a difficult period, I requested him for a change. My father was, at 93 years, not only of an advanced age, but had also been ailing for some time and needed care. I, therefore, told him that I would prefer to be posted to a place which had good medical facilities. The COAS accepted my request. He posted me as the COS HQ Western Command to succeed Lt. General B.K.N. Chibber, PVSM, AVSM, who was being moved as the Security Adviser to the Government of Punjab. This was to be an interim posting till a vacancy for the corps commander occurred. Accordingly, I got a short tenure of six months as the COS with the then Western Army Commander, Lt General GK Gulati, PVSM. This enabled me to get familiar with the operational tasks of Western Command, as also with the ongoing operations of counter-insurgency in Punjab, which were in the final phase of consolidation.

The dynamic Chief Minister, Shri Beant Singh, along with the very competent DGP, Shri KPS Gill, were well in control in Punjab. There was unity of purpose and very close coordination between the civil administration, the Police and the Army in the conduct of the operations. In Punjab, by and large, the civil society was not with the insurgents, which enabled a quicker return to normalcy. The media also played a positive role by providing a very balanced coverage of the events. The actual task of eliminating militancy was undertaken by the Punjab Police, while the Army provided them with a secure environment by dominating the rural areas and the border belt during night time. At the Command level, in addition to the planning for the conduct of the counter-insurgency operations, there were operational discussions, tactical manoeuvres, and war games. As the COS, I found that there were many administrative installations, hospitals, and logistic units which needed attention. Their supervision and reporting were under the direct responsibility of the COS, and I was able to visit these various installations as also familiarise myself with the entire western border in Punjab, during my time there.

 In November 1993, I was appointed GOC of a pivot Corps, while it was undergoing the yearly operational alert. This was one of the most important pivot corps of the Indian Army providing a pad for launching operations, with considerable resources on its orbit. Its armoured content was as much as that of an armoured division. The Corps also had an independent Artillery Brigade with the 155 mm (Bofors) guns. The Corps Key Location Plan (KLP), at Bhatinda, Suratgarh, Bikaner and SriGanganagar was still under development at that time. Major General J.S. Dhillon, my COS, was of great help in finalising the KLP and other infrastructure. Maj General Vinod Sehgal was GOC of one of the divisions; Maj General N.C. Vij (later COAS) was in command of the other; and Maj General C.S. Panag was the GOC of the third Infantry Division. The Corps was also a test-bed for developing the “Battlefield Surveillance Centre” and the “Artillery Command and Control Centre”, which have now been made operational in the Indian Army. Aspects like offensives across deserts and riverine terrains and reduction of strong points were perfected.

During our stay at Bhatinda, our daughter, Anisha got married. The wedding was solemnised at DSOI, New Delhi. I deliberately held the wedding outside my corps zone, to ensure that my subordinate commanders and staff did not flock to the wedding with gifts. I also disallowed leave to the officers to participate in the event. Some of my officers may have thought me too strict. But my purpose in organising the wedding function of my daughter outside my Corps area was quite clear—private functions must remain private in the Armed Forces. And I mention it here, to highlight the tendency at times to use official facilities for private purposes in many departments. This leads to misuse of resources and promotes corruption, and senior officers must set an example to discourage such a trend; we emphatically must not follow the precedent of our political leadership and other government officials in this regard.

Most of the stations in the Corps, i.e Bhatinda, Suratgarh, Bikaner, SriGanganagar, Lal Garh Jattan, and Kota, were small or new towns. The cantonments there were not fully developed. The Army, today, by its efforts has developed good sports facilities, opened new schools, and constructed housing complexes and hospitals in most of these stations. All this systematic work has also helped in restoring the confidence of the civil populace, in ensuring better governance, and in normalising the situation on the ground from anti-national elements. It is often not fully realised that the Army, in this process, plays a significant role in the development of infrastructure of remote areas, smaller towns and the border belt. The civilian population and the retired veterans also feel involved in the task of nation building.
The army units in peace-stations basically are either involved in training for war, or are there for much needed rest and refit from the pressures of the field areas. The Infantry units have their peculiar needs for reorientation to the new environments, as unlike the specialised units, the Infantry units mostly come from a hard field-station to the peace-station on rotation. They need time to get their families and the shortages and low scaling of married accommodation (approximately 15%) permits tenures of less than a year. Formation Commanders need to cater for their special needs and must not give them additional duties, other than their operational tasks, which often appears to be the norm. The training commitments of the units located in the peace stations, particularly specialist units such as Air Defence Regiments, Assault Engineering Regiments, Armoured Units and Artillery Regiments need coordination as the firing ranges are few and far away.

I was able to conduct the planned two weeks operational familiarisation of all the formations, preceded by a Corps Level War Game at the operational locations in November 1994. This also enabled me to meet a large number of my units and their officers on the ground. Thereafter, Infantry Div (Rapid) under Maj Gen Vinod Sehgal was exercised on the offensive operations astride the canal/river obstacle along with the independent Armoured Brigade. One Infantry Brigade of the other Infantry Division provided the “enemy force”, and the third Infantry Div was tasked to provide the control and umpire organisation. The exercise was supported by the other supporting arms and services fully. Such exercises enable the units to practice battle-craft and drills. The Army Commander, Lt. General G.K. Gulati, PVSM, witnessed the exercise and gave some valuable advice. The GOC Div, Maj Gen Vinod Sehgal, was a fine soldier and an imaginative Commander, and tried out some new concepts although most commanders these days do not try out anything new, for fear of making mistakes and adopt the well-beaten and predictable paths. In fact, new concepts and ideas are often run down.

As I was just about settling down as the GOC, I was pleasantly surprised to get my transfer orders as the GOC of a strike Corps, located at Bhopal. The command of one of the strike Corps of the Indian Army is an honour, which any professional soldier would aspire to. I took over the command of this Corps from Lt General K.M. Seith, AVSM, a fellow paratrooper and a friend. The Corps had its armoured elements located in Central India, with other two formations at Ranchi and Secunderabad. The Corps was well spread with units at stations like Trivandrum in the South to Barrackpore in the East, Pune in the West and Delhi in the North.  Some of the supporting formations were still under the process of being raised. The Corps HQ was housed at Sultania Infantry lines in some makeshift accommodation, with some units in tentage and TRS (Tent Replacement Scheme) huts in the EME Centre Complex at Bairagarh.

We raised the Air Defence Brigade at Dehu Road and moved the Independent Arty Brigade to Aurangabad. Both these stations proved to be good assets to the Corps, as these also had good education facilities. I was able to visit various formations and assess their training needs. The Division, ex Ranchi, was practised in move and deployment in the Rajasthan deserts for training. The long time taken for this induction and deployment was a matter of concern and was suitably rectified later by the Army HQ, by allocating another formation from Central India. This improved the operational capabilities of the Corps further. We were able to conduct a full scale exercise in the deserts, codenamed Chakravyuh, by all the formations, including the Armoured Division, with the training tanks, the Artillery and the Engineering brigades in full. HQ Southern Command provided the ‘enemy’ troops. I was also able to get the Air Effort, including helicopter lift, for a Special Forces battalion lift for the exercise. The exercise was witnessed by the COAS and the Air Chief. Maj General Vijay Kapoor was able to exercise the Armoured Division in a realistic setting in the deserts and along with the other Divisional commanders practice various concepts of offensive missions. The logistics Services were also able to get fully exercised.

It took considerable time for the formations and units to de-induct to their respective permanent 
locations, spread in the South and Central India. This also gave us the opportunity to see the variety and diversity and uniqueness of India’s heritage during our visits to the formations. My wife accompanied me during some of my visits to these stations and acquainted herself with the education and the associated issues of the family welfare. The infantry units, I noticed, were always pressed for time doing numerous tasks, since they get to the peace station tenures for a short 2-3 years, before going back to the field. The commitment on station duties, assistance to civil authorities during natural calamities, time for operational training, therefore, needs to be balanced realistically.

Aruna with the ladies of the Station

Receiving the COAS, General Shankar Roy Chowdhary
The Corps has the Sudarshan Chakra as the emblem, depicting the ultimate weapon of the Gods, and true to its emblem, over the years the equipment profile and high professional standards have made it the real ‘cutting edge’ of the Indian Army. Having visited the Corps HQ at Bhopal for a reunion recently, and having seen its professionalism, the new accommodation and the sports facilities, made one feel proud of belonging to such an elite formation. The enhanced financial powers of the formations today, along with the new concept of HQ Sub Area being placed under the command of the Corps HQ have enabled better integration and response for logistic installations as compared to earlier times.  The quality of maintenance of the buildings, the roads and the completion of urgent works improved consequent to the new arrangement of the Sub-Area HQ being placed under the Corps HQ. The Army, today continues to retain its traditional standards of excellence, competence and high professional standards. A visit to any of the Army stations is always refreshing and rejuvenating and the senior officers’ conclaves and the periodic reunions contribute greatly to further enhance the standards.

Monday, 4 May 2015


 The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir stretches back to 1948 and the problem has been further complicated by the Pakistan sponsored insurgency after 1989 -90. The dispute is not only a territorial and a political problem, but also an emotive issue deeply affected by the internal dynamics of India, Pakistan and the people of the J&K state. Any solution to the protracted problem must satisfy the differing perceptions and aspirations of all the parties involved.

The rigid stands adopted by the three stake-holders to the conflict prevent accommodation and any settlement, unless all the competing parties are willing to be more flexible and accept some level of compromise to their stated claims. Any viable approach in tackling the issues must not only respect the sovereignty and the territorial integrity concerns of India and Pakistan, but also the popular aspirations of the people of J&K. The key to resolve the issue lies with the governments of India and Pakistan, as the people of J&K and POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) see themselves as either victims or hostage to the policies of one or both the States. The complex character of the dispute cannot be solved without the active cooperation of the two States and Pakistan has to refrain from supporting the various terror outfits operating at their behest in the J&K, and assist in enabling an environment conducive for meaningful talks.

It also needs to be understood that the aspirations of the different regions of J&K are not similar. The people of Jammu and Ladakh, and the Gujjars and the Paharis of the hills do not support the separatists, excepting the more vocal Sunni population of the Kashmir valley. The Sunni population of the valley have identified more closely to the separatist cause and their proxies in Pakistan. In fact, these five districts in the valley, out of the total 24 districts in the entire state, have a population of only 30% but have been given disproportionate amount of importance and representation - both in the state legislative assembly and at various forums. It needs to be realised that they, through the “United Jehadi Council” or the “Hurriyat” do not represent the aspirations of the entire state. We thus, need to involve adequate representation of the people from the other regions of the state in any future talks, as a composite delegation that represent all sections and elected members, rather than just the Hurriyat, who focus on the concerns of only the separatists and the alienated people of the valley. 

Unfortunately the various think tanks and the official agencies of the Central Government in the past have also neglected the demands of the other regions, so much so that the refugees of 1947 who had migrated from Pakistan to Jammu still continue to be stateless, and without any rights of citizens. On the contrary, the migrants from Tibet after the Chinese ingress of 1950, have been given the status of state subjects. The resettlement of the Kashmiri Pandits in the valley remains unresolved as they fear for safety and feel unwelcome. This is certainly not an example of fair-play that ensures equal treatment to all the regions and communities. The issue of the Northern Areas, Gilgit and Baltistan and their unauthorised annexation by Pakistan is hardly ever discussed by India or the so called Hurriyat who claim to represent and voice the concerns of the people of J&K. Thus, the Kashmir issue is driven by a complex network of multiple interlocking dimensions, which requires a skilful compromise of the conflicting demands. To resolve this complicated dispute we need to identify and address the entire range of issues that have relevance to the possible solution of the J&K issue. These are discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.

Issues Relevant to the Possible solution of the J&K issue
2. The external dimension of the Kashmir issue concerns the territorial status, the geographical borders and the applicability and the relevance of  the outdated UN Security Council Resolution of 1948, which have been overtaken by subsequent events, and the successive democratic elections in the Indian part of the J&K during the last six decades in the state. Pakistan continues to raise the outdated issues, despite the fact that she has not pulled back the troops from the POK, which was the prerequisite for the promised plebiscite. Implications of the illegal ceding of the Shagksham valley to China by Pakistan also needs to be factored in while considering the external dimension, as also the unauthorised integration of the Northern Areas and Baltistan by Pakistan. The internal dimension examining the aspirations of the people of the J&K must include all the regions including those of Jammu and Ladakh. In fact, the Muslim population of the Jammu and Ladakh also endorse the case for accession of the state with India. Even the Shia community in the valley, which is about 12% does not support the separatists cause. However, the demand for good governance, greater autonomy, economic development and greater trade, commerce and cultural exchange across the LOC/ borders is widely accepted, by all the regions, except the Hurriyat, who as the proxy of Pakistan plays the negative role of strikes, encourages non-cooperation and incites violence . The Hurriyat feels at-home talking to their Pakistani masters and avoids talks with the Indian Government. This clearly reflects their affiliations, preferences and priorities, yet they clamour to represent the voice of the J&K?

It is true that the Central and the state governments in the past have made serious mistakes by rigged elections, central meddling in the state, corruption, denial of legitimate demands, use of force and large scale arrests, which resulted in unprecedented anger and alienation in the valley. This alienation was exploited by Pakistan by infiltrating jehadi cadres, arms and ammunition in the Kashmir valley. This has been corrected to a large extent by the firm action against the insurgents by the armed forces, civic action programmes and the economic development activities by the central and state governments. The action by the armed forces has been generally fair and supportive, with the use of minimum force, barring few aberrations. The armed forces have had to operate in difficult situations, where a hostile vernacular media and foreign sponsored propoganda and the foreign funded Human Rights organizations have attempted to malign the armed forces. Although the majority of the civil population is no longer misguided and prefer to lead a peaceful life, the hardcore militants persist in their sinister designs, actively supported by Pakistan.

Such a situation would continue as long as Pakistan with her anti-India agenda and her proxies in the state will not reconcile. This is a factor which is unlikely to change while we address the internal dynamics of the J&K. The main participants in the future dialogue process thus, should be the elected representatives of the people from the three regions. The Hurriyat should be invited as one of the players representing the seperatists, but should not be given undue importance in the parleys - even if they decline to participate, which they are most likely to do unless Pakistan directs to them to do otherwise. The present thrust on the economic development in the state, greater devolution of powers and mainstreaming with the rest of the country should continue, enabling a conducive atmosphere for the redressal of grievances. Conflict resolution would take considerable time and requires persistent effort by all the agencies and the stake holders.

Alternatives and options
3. Given the above background , what are the various alternatives and options to resolve the complex internal and the external dimensions of the Kashmir issue? Some analysts have  suggested that we should adopt the model of the Northern Ireland  between the Republic of Ireland and UK , the so called “Good Friday Agreement '' for settlement in the J&K. A dispassionate examination would reveal that there are differing conditions and environment between the two. In the Northern Ireland there were similar cultural, linguistic and economic conditions as those prevailing in the Republic of Ireland, with a more homogeneous society. The ground realities of diverse religious, multi-linguistic, multi-ethnic and differing social conditions in the J&K have to be considered, besides the deployment of the two armies on the live borders. However, a few aspects from the Irish model could be adopted with suitable modifications. Recognising and respecting the two identities of the two sovereign states of India and Pakistan in the respective territories along with the Kashmiri identity will have to be accepted by all, as the starting point.

Secondly, the peace process in Northern Ireland was driven by the determination of the British and the Irish states. Such an environment in our context is presently lacking and the cooperation of Pakistan would remain suspect and a question mark. Thirdly, Britsh-Irish inter -governmental cooperation was greatly facilitated by the European Union (EU), as both the states were members of the EU and accepted by the two as the forum to discuss the issues. Such a regional grouping is not available between India and Pakistan as the SAARC has not matured to take on such disputes. In the Irish model, the USA also acted as a facilitator and mediator, but the role of the third party as a mediator is not acceptable to India. The Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration(1999) do provide a broad framework for the two countries for talks provided there is evidence of political will in Pakistan. At times, there is often a demand in India to abolish article 370, particularly by some hardliners. Article 370 provides special status to Kashmir within the Indian union to maintain its exclusive identity as part of the accession instrument. Abrogation of this article would be a retrograde step. This article provides the legal basis for accession with India and should clearly be retained, as any tampering with this article will only harden the public opinion in the valley.

There is another controversial issue raised by political parties in the J&K, of repealing AFSPA from the state. This act enables the armed forces to operate in the conduct of anti-insurgency operations legally. Repealing of this article should only be done gradually from the districts where the situation has been normalised, based on the recommendations of the state. The Army and the PMF should also be withdrawn from the towns to the selected locations outside the urban centres, leaving the state police to handle law and order functions. The long term goal should be to strengthen the capacity and the calibre of the J&K police to undertake all the security tasks in the state. The Army's presence along the LOC and its anti- infiltration grid in the depth will have to be retained and cannot be diluted in the near terms, till the final settlement of the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. Any talk of demilitarisation is also premature, till Pakistan dismantles its terror infrastructure and reduces its own forces from the LOC and POK.

4. An important lesson from the Irish model which could be adopted is the creation of an 'inter-ministerial joint council' between India and Pakistan, which would resolve all the inter-state disputes and take further steps to enhance mutual relations in trade, tourism, irrigation and power, education, sports  and cultural exchanges. This Joint council would have to operate directly under the two Prime Ministers to be meaningful. The most important step that needs to be taken is to accept the LOC as the geographic border between the two countries with suitable modifications to make it more realistic on the ground. This is the most difficult decision and the most important one failing which no normalisation would ever be possible except the status-quo situation as on today. This decision to convert the LOC as the border would lead ultimately to making it as the soft border and open up tremendous opportunities to both the sides and to the Kashmiri people; however forces in Pakistan, the Army as well as the Jehadis and their proxies in the J&K would resist and not let this happen. In such a scenario - which is most likely - resolving the Kashmir dispute and enhancing inter-state linkages, appears extremely difficult. At the same time it should be clear to all that any hopes of redrawing the borders by military actions or the aspirations of separatists for “Azadi” will not be realised or allowed to be fructified by India. The sooner this truth is realised across the borders and by their proxies in the J&K the better it would be for all, otherwise we would have to live with the existing situation.

There are some who advocate trifurcation of the state, however such a step would disturb the balance of the three regions and not resolve the issue, except, pushing the Kashmir valley further in the control of the separatist forces and eventual separation. Surely this is not a viable option for India or the Kashmiris themselves. The Centre should encourage the regional parties like the PDP and the NC to come up so that the regional aspirations of the local population are better understood, and these parties act as a 'buffer' between the Centre and the State. However, the authority of the central institutions – the Election Commission, The CAG, Central Vigilance Commission, and the Supreme Court should not be diluted.

What then is the ultimate solution?
 I am of the opinion, based on my very long tenures in all three regions, while serving in the army, both at the operating levels and in senior positions, that the J&K issue, because of the inflexible stand of Pakistan, will continue to remain unresolved and we will have to live with this reality. The Indian Army will have to remain deployed in the J&K in the national interests to guard the frontiers and provide the necessary security, stability and an environment for peace, development and integration of J&K with the rest of the country. The people of J&K would have to learn to accept the status-quo and get on with the opportunities this arrangement provides. The effects of economic development and globalisation, along with the people friendly policies of the government, easier travel facilities across the LOC, inter state trade and commerce and all round prosperity, will ultimately have a sobering effect on the public to accept the existing arrangements willingly. The relations, with Pakistan, hopefully would also improve over a period of time and become more amenable and business like, even if not entirely friendly.  Pakistan, due to its internal compulsions and the Army's own agenda, is unlikely to water down its claims over Kashmir. Some politicians in the Kashmir valley and the hard core separatists, even when marginalised, would continue to demand self-rule and greater autonomy. This, although adequately provided in the article 370, should be undertaken, within the parameters of the Constitution.

We should be prepared for Pakistan's and the Hurriyat's rigid and inflexible attitude and in fact even ignore them, and continue to pursue our national policies of  good governance, economic development, and people friendly policies and provide the necessary healing touch, while taking firm action against the insurgents in the J&K. The law and order and the policing of the urban centres should be completely handed over to the state police. The PMF and the Central police forces should be withdrawn, retaining the barest minimum for provision of security to the central institutions/ installations or for reinforcing the anti-infiltration grid. The state administration and its agencies involved in health services, public works, power and electricity should be strengthened and energised to deliver. At the diplomatic level we should expose Pakistan's double standards and involvement in the cross border terrorism in J&K. We should propose establishment of an Indo-Pak Joint Council for resolving the J&K entangle and for settlement of the related disputes between the two countries.

Monday, 28 July 2014


The Army continues to surprise you in your transfers by providing you new challenges, as I found out again in March 1991, when I was posted out to HQ 15 Corps as the Chief of Staff (COS) to succeed Major General Surendra Nath, who was promoted as the Corps Commander. The surprise was not because of the appointment, as the COS of an operational Corps is a most coveted post, but because of the timing. I had just finished 18 months of my Divisional Command, which is somewhat briefer than the normal tenure of such Command.

HQ 15 Corps was stationed in Srinagar. This was a turbulent time in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The Pakistan sponsored insurgency was at its height, with the active support of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), the militant cadres of Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM), and the Jamait-El-Islami (JEI). Initially this was an insurgent movement[1], but by 1991 it became an entirely terrorist organization, carrying out sabotage, subversion and ethnic cleansing of the ‘Pandit’ community.

The Indian Army was deployed not only to prevent infiltration through the LOC and guard the borders of India at this crucial position, but also to conduct ‘cordon and search’ activity in the urban areas of the state, to dominate its rural hinterland, secure important installations dispersed in different areas within it, conduct operational drills for securing its highways and escort convoys travelling on them. The army had to learn some of these tasks by ‘on the job’ training. Gradually, the Para-Military forces were also incorporated in the counter-insurgency grid, especially in the measures of protecting static installations and assisting in the road-opening operations. Protective measures against grenade attacks and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were evolved with time, and a few vehicles were specially modified to clear the suspected IEDs. These improvisations took time and after some trial and error, we achieved a degree of success, though not without the loss of casualties.

There were many demands on the Army beyond its traditional responsibilities. In some cases it had to take on roles that were actually supposed to be undertaken by other organisations, such as the Police and the State administration. The State Police generally proved ineffective due to poor training, lack of leadership, and subversion of some of the personnel. In fact a battalion of the J&K Armed Police Battalion had to be disarmed as there were instances of serious disobedience within it. I recall the incident when the State Home Secretary (Mr Habib Rehman) and the DGP (Mr Bedi) were held hostage in the Police Control Room, requiring the Army to intervene firmly. We had to even move the Infantry Combat Vehicles to surround the area as a show of force, and we succeeded in breaking the siege and rescuing the two senior officials—without firing a single shot.  

While we could achieve these results because of our detailed planning, firm leadership and the commitment of our soldiers, such operations naturally drew on our already stretched resources. The Corps did not have adequate troops to plug the infiltration in the Uri, Kupwara, and Guraij Sectors as there were large areas being held by the units on the Line of Control. The COAS thus released 28 Inf Div ex Ladakh for deployment in the Valley sector. This involved denuding the Ladakh sector of dedicated reserves, the need for which was to be seriously felt during the Kargil War in May 1999, when we had to rush forces from elsewhere, which took time to move, acclimatise and deploy. 

However, during the time of the active insurgency in 1990 when the danger was more immediate and wide-spread in the Valley, the deployment appeared to be a sound move. Nonetheless, the reserves for the Ladakh sector should have been restored in a phased manner. This underscores the need for active vigilance and changing tactics at all times, as well as the risks of spreading a formation too thin in the mountain terrain. The Armed Forces, who are essentially trained to defend the nation from external threats, are being increasingly called in to manage internal matters for extended periods of time; it is bound to have an effect on their core tasks. This is something that the political leadership needs to be aware of and act upon, so that the Armed Forces are allowed to concentrate on the training and execution of their basic work. 

Fortunately, despite all this, we were able to bring the situation under reasonable control and apprehend a number of foreign militants—Pakistani, Afghan and a few Arabs as well. We had excellent support from the Security Advisor, Lt. General MA Zaki, the Governor, Shri G.C. Saxena (and later General K.V. Krishna Rao), and the civil administration. Additional battalions of BSF, CRPF and TA were inducted to guard installations and dominate urban areas. However these troops were not trained, equipped or prepared to fight an insurgency. The leadership of the Para–Military Forces did not understand the intricacies of operations, which often led to excessive casualties or damage on the ground to property and habitat. This in no way was due to the lack of calibre or the commitment of these forces, but due to their different orientation and ethos.

The J&K insurgency, unlike other insurgencies, has very active support from Pakistan—diplomatic, financial, political and military. Article 370, granting special status to J&K, though well intentioned, has been misused to heighten differences, and prevent its main-streaming with the rest of the country. Civil society and local media do not appear to be helping, and are visibly pro-separatists, which makes things more difficult. The vernacular media has been infiltrated by the anti-national elements and often support the militant cause. Military operations and economic development by themselves, in the absence of political initiatives to positively engage civil society, are inadequate to resolve the Kashmir issue.

As the COS of HQ 15 Corps, besides working with the civil administration and the Central Police Units, it was also essential to have active coordination with the Intelligence Agencies—IB, RAW, State CID, and Military and BSF Intelligence. The intelligence inputs were mostly out of date and inaccurate, besides being repetitive. I set myself the challenge of changing this unsatisfactory status, by introducing in the scheduled system an initiative of regular meetings at Corps HQ, with the representatives of all the key Intelligence organisations. This helped to communicate to them the focus and priority of information required by the Armed Forces, as well as increased the accountability of various organisations and speeded up both their and our responses to emergencies, since the face-to-face discussions reduced the possibility of misinterpretations that are inevitable when there are extended channels of communication.

The Sub-Area HQ at Badami Bagh Cantonment had a very important role in the Counter Insurgency operations, not only for the security of the Transit Camp, but also for the security of the Corps HQ, and that of the Detention Camp of the captured militants before they were handed over to the Civil Police. The Sub-Area HQ was also tasked with periodic search and cordon operations in the Srinagar town. During this period, we had very competent successive Sub-Area Commanders in Brigadiers NS Katoch and SPS Kanwar, who were both very successful in handling delicate missions, besides ensuring the security of the road up to the airfield.

The Commander of the JAKLI centre located adjacent to the Airfield was earmarked as the Garrison Commander for units housed around the Airfield. The accommodation for many additional units which were inducted in the Valley and 28 Inf Div was a major task. Before they could be actually deployed forward, they needed to be housed and given orientation training. This was done by getting on ground a mix of tented and pre-fabricated huts. Some were housed in schools or available government buildings. The Corps also established battle-schools to impart the Counter Insurgency (CI) training for all the incoming units. All this was possible due to commitment, teamwork, and the personal example of the leaders. It also is proof, if such proof is required, of the administrative and management capabilities of the Armed Forces, where through innovation and intelligence, resources are made maximum use of, to almost generate facilities out of ‘thin air’.

I found that my tenure as the COS was professionally very satisfying and educative. It also enabled me to interact periodically with the Governor, the Chief Secretary, DGP and other Formation Commanders. The Corps HQ received a large number of visitors, civil dignitaries, media personalities and military officers for briefings and fact-finding. An important lesson of the anti-insurgency operation was the need for clear-cut responsibilities, and the division of specific boundaries between various agencies and formations. Equally important was the principle of accountability for all the elements operating. In extended areas of responsibility, where the formations are operating in widely dispersed terrain, the timely response of anticipatory actions and delegation of authority to the subordinate commanders is of paramount importance. This needs to be bolstered by the principle of use of minimum force, and simultaneous goodwill missions for the benefit of the local populace.

We regularly undertook to translate these principles into action, later termed as ‘Sadbhavna’ operations. In this regard, the opening of schools and hospitals by the Armed Forces is an important initiative. All the formations undertook tasks like road-repairs, making culverts, apart from organizing health camps and distributing essential supplies, as the civil administration was practically non-existent. This had to proceed along with the basic tasks of guarding the borders, preventing infiltration attempts from across the LOC and training for the combat tasks—in fact, the commanders and the troops were very heavily committed in all these tasks all the time. This was also in addition to the responsibilities of winter stocking of stores, supplies, fuel and the relief of troops after their specified tenures. Provisioning for the Siachin glacier, and the winter isolated posts was another important responsibility.

 I recall an incident in the Siachin sector of 3 Inf Div when I was officiating as the Corps Commander. The Divisional Commander, Major General JS Dhillon, reported that a Pak Helicopter had violated our air-space in the central Glacier in the ‘Bahadur Complex’ and recommended that we should engage the helicopter should it repeat the intrusion. I approved the action and asked him to redeploy the ‘Igla’ missile and informed the HQ Northern Command of our plans, as it appeared a deliberate violation. The GOC reinforced the post with an ‘Igla’ missile and undertook suitable measures. The enemy helicopter came again and flew over the post and was engaged. It was shot down, and besides the pilot, we found it also had on board the opposing Brigade Commander and an SO, all of whose bodies were recovered. There was the obvious protest from Pakistan through the DGMO, and the obvious inquiries from the MoD. Since I had already informed the higher HQ of our proposed action, we were on a sound wicket within our agreement of the AGPL.

The helicopter intrusion by Pakistan had been preceded by heavy artillery fire, followed by assaulting infantry. The alertness of the post-commander and the quick retaliation by our artillery and mortar fire not only repulsed the attack, but left many of the enemy dead on the slopes. We allowed the enemy to retrieve their dead, including their Brigade Commander, once such instructions were received from HQ Northern Command and the DGMO. The Indian Army while remaining committed to the defence of the country to the last breath and to the welfare of its fighting force, is also committed to values of honour towards the foe, and this quality is something we should recognise and be proud of.

I have always maintained that a timely and firm response at all levels is a must for a fighting Force, along with proper contingency planning. Information must always be assessed, acted upon and disseminated, to everyone in the chain of command. For this, the communication equipment must be given priority; in the conditions that the Armed Forces operate at present, it is often inadequate in quality as well as quantity, and this must be an area of concern and rectification.

The units operating in the counter-insurgency operations and those guarding the LOC/AGPL in the J&K are doing an excellent job, and need to be given due appreciation and consideration. Isolated incidents of indiscipline need to be handled with maturity. The media often forgets the trying conditions the troops face and the few incidents of inadvertent damage to the civilian populace and the property are more often than not, blown out of proportion. Conversely, there is inadequate concern or empathy for the troops. There are many instances of apathy in civil society and the political leadership towards the Armed Forces, including regulations that are surprising, if not downright unreasonable. The grudging acceptance of field allowances, which we had to fight for, is another instance of such a lack of concern for the Armed Forces. 

Officials and citizens, who have never needed to live and work for sustained periods in the hazardous and trying conditions of field-areas, must make the effort to appreciate what this involves. I recall the time when we had to evacuate injured soldiers from forward areas to the airfield or to the hospitals periodically; this had to be done in the Air Force or the Army Aviation helicopters. One day I was informed that a soldier who had died in an inaccessible area was not being air-lifted, as the rules did not allow this. Despite repeated requests the pilot refused to comply. It took us considerable days to get the MOD to rewrite the rules for this sort of an eventuality. When this is how little a nation honours the sacrifices of its soldiers, it must be prepared for a situation in the near future when it may not have such brave-hearts to cherish anymore.

[1] An insurgent movement or insurgency is defined as a rebellion or insurrection, from Latin Insurgere, ‘rise up’; it is often a political movement with a specific aim; it need not employ tactics of terror and is not synonymous with terrorism. Wikipedia notes that there is neither an academic nor an international legal consensus for the definition of terrorism, (; however, the Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary defines terrorism, as ‘an organized system of intimidation’; and a ‘terrorist’ is defined in the Oxford Dictionary, as ‘a person who uses violence and intimidation in an attempt to achieve political aims’. 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


1.         Though there is no unanimity on the countries included in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR), this term is generally held to indicate the East Asian landmass, the South East Asian countries, the Australian Continent, and the Pacific Ocean and its numerous islands. Geographically, the Indian sub-continent’s position in Asia is such that it does not have the Pacific Region in its immediate vicinity, but is located on its periphery. It thus, may not be technically considered part of the APR. [1] However, owing to its historical trade and cultural links,[2] and its continuing substantial economic and maritime connections with the other nations of this region,[3] the Indian sub-continent is strategically considered an important part of the APR.[4] India’s location astride the shipping routes passing through the Indian Ocean makes it an important player over the entire region, and it certainly shares common security concerns and challenges with the APR. During my tenure as the Vice Chief of the Indian Army, I represented India at the Pacific Armies Chiefs’ Conference,[5] and recollect sharing some of these challenges.
The APR is economically the fastest growing region in the world and counts for more than one-third of the global population and more than half of the global foreign reserve. It also contains natural resources, which are of increasing importance in a consumption-economy driven world order. The region encompasses some very rich nations like Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, along with growing economies like Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. Just north of Japan and South Korea lies oil- and gas-rich Russia, which has a dispute with Japan over the Kurile Islands.[6] The entire seaward shipping movement east to the Pacific Ocean can be controlled by the three island chains, whilst towards the Indian Ocean region (IOR), movement can be choked at the Straits of Malacca, Sundae, and Lombok. China is now an industrial power-house and the largest trading partner for most countries. Its rapid military modernization, in response to which other nations of the region are also increasing their military expenditure, is a cause of concern. The US, however, appears to be the most dominant power in the Asia-Pacific theatre in the foreseeable future.

Review of Security Challenges in the APR

2.         The Asia-Pacific Region continues to be engulfed in conventional issues of conflict and is also exposed to various non-conventional threats and challenges.[7] The region has nuclear powered states like India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea, which are not yet recognised as part of the nuclear order of the NPT. Then, there are conflicts about the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, South China Sea, East China Sea and several territorial disputes including those in the Indian Sub-continent. The non-traditional threats of piracy, terrorism, climate change, energy security and resource scarcity, further undermine regional peace and stability. Additionally, both the composition and manifestation of security challenges are determined by the international power politics being played in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Historic Causes of Conflicts

3.         Many Asian nations carry a historic burden of the past with bitter memories of disputes. In East Asia, memories of the Japanese colonisation of Korea and the Sino-Japanese conflict of the 1930's and 40's continue to crop up periodically, and cause intense unease between these nations. The tensions in the Korean peninsula and the sensitive issue of Taiwanese independence too, have roots going back to the past. These and other important hot-spots in the Asia Pacific are discussed in the succeeding paragraphs. However, issues in South Asia such as India’s unresolved borders with China and Pakistan, are not being examined here since these are geographically outside the APR.

4.         South and East China Sea:  Disputed claims over groups of islands, atolls, reefs in the South China Sea remain a dangerous source of potential conflict. Although China maintains that all these islands are part of its Hainan province, this claim is seriously disputed on the one hand by Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and on the other hand by Indonesia and Brunei. After the 1974 clash between China and Vietnam, the Paracel Islands[8] are under Chinese control. The Spratly Islands[9] have been occupied by various rival claimants, with Vietnam in occupation of the largest numbers. Additionally, in the East China Sea, there are periodic tensions between Japan and China over rival claims to drill for the hydrocarbons around the Senkaku/ Diaoyu[10] Island group. Controversies have erupted in the region of late, because of the decision of the Japanese Government to nationalize the islands. While both China and Taiwan made strong protests, China also sent ships and surveillance crafts to reassert its claims to waters surrounding the islands. The recent statement by the US Defence Secretary at the ASEAN Defense Ministers Conference, that “China should have respect for its neighbours”, [11] while discussing the status of disputed islands provoked a strong reaction from China.[12] Although currently, these disputes appear dormant, there is an ever present danger of inadvertent trespass or incident at sea flaring up into a conflict.[13] In April this year, there were reports of Japan sending soldiers and radar to its westernmost outpost, the 30 sq km (11 sq mile) Yonaguni island, just 150 kilometres from the Senkaku/ Diaoyu disputed islands, which Japanese Defence Minister, Itsunori Onodera, said is part of the effort ‘to strengthen surveillance over the southwestern region’.[14]

5.         Taiwan: The issue of Taiwanese independence, although, termed an internal problem, continues to be a potential flashpoint with international implications. China considers reunification of Taiwan with the mainland, as an unfinished civil war issue. The US is committed to a peaceful resolution of the status of Taiwan, and deploys maritime forces whenever there is a perceived threat or tension in the Taiwan straits.[15]

6.         North Korea: Technically, a state of war has continued to exist between North Korea, the USA and South Korea, since the ceasefire of 1954 came into being. Today, North Korea has developed nuclear weapons and significant missile capability under its despotic ruler, despite its poor economy. Its unpredictable family rule and political conduct, along with its high level of militarisation in the peninsula, spells danger not only to South Korea, but to Japan and to other countries in East Asia.[16]

7.         Maritime Security:[17] Freedom of navigation at sea and Security of SLOC is vital to the nations of Asia Pacific Region (APR) for trade, access to energy markets, raw materials and exports. In the case of China, 78% of oil, and in the case of Japan and South Korea, most of their energy needs are transported through SLOC passing through maritime choke-points of South China Sea (SCS), and the Straits of Malacca, Sunda and Lombok in the South East Asia. Access to the north-eastern APR can be controlled by the three Japanese controlled Straits of Osumi, Tsushima and Tsugaru. Two major  SLOCs are: SCS to the Indian Ocean and beyond to West Asia;  and East China Sea (ECS), Sea of Japan to Pacific Ocean, USA and Canada. The disputes in the SCS and ECS have the potential to escalate into conflict situations, and disrupt the sea-borne trade to a vast area beyond the region of the immediate conflict. Any unilateral action to convert the SCS into territorial waters will have serious ramifications on freedom of navigation at sea for the international community. Thus, it is in the common interest of the entire region to ensure both security and freedom of navigation in this region. In addition, the threats of sea piracy and maritime terror have to be jointly tackled.

8.     Non Traditional Security Threats: Terrorism is a threat to the security of the region. Regional countries have adopted some measures to prevent terrorism. However, anti-state elements still continue with occasional bomb attacks. Drug trafficking, proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), piracy, environmental degradation and resource scarcity including food and water, and climate change, are other challenges, which have serious consequences effecting the security environment of the region. These have to be addressed collectively by all the nations of the region. Major Powers of the region, i.e. US, China, Japan, India and ASEAN, must take the initiative to resolve these.

Towards Stability and Security - Future Trends And Implications
9.             Emerging Power-Play in the APR
         China-US Relations continue to be seen as the most important element shaping the power balance and security architecture of the APR. In the globalised world there is more inter-dependency, especially in economic terms. Clashes of interests amongst major powers, therefore affect the economies and the security interests of the wider region and the regional countries, which might be drawn in the competition. The Sino-US relations in the APR are both competitive and cooperative. The Chinese President, Xi Jinping’s description of this kind of relationship, is that with "no conflict and no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation".[18] The US, although facing difficulties in economic development and witnessing a consequent relative decline of its strength, is still the superpower of the world and the most dominant military power. It has substantial capability in force projection. On the other hand, China's economic rise and military modernization has been rapid, making her the biggest challenger in the region. Thus, while the US presence, along with its allies like Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore provide maritime security of the SLOC, the rebalancing of strategic posture undertaken by them has to be transparent and not seen by China as a containment policy of the US and its allies.

10.       China-Japan relationship: is another important factor for stability of the region and must be managed with balance rather than provocative nationalistic sentiments by the two. The emphasis should be on politico-economic engagement and strategic interests of the region.[19]

11.       Regional Cooperative Framework: It is felt that APR is too large and too diverse for an effective regional security system, and that there are distinct sub-regions within the region with their own security problems and differing standards of economic development. However, there are also cultural and civilisational similarities, common environmental problems, and inter-dependence for trade, commerce, water, and energy. There are also common issues of population migration, threat of terrorism, drug trafficking and poor water-management. These factors call for a regional framework which mandates mutual cooperation and restraints disagreements while dealing with each other.

It is possible to establish complementariness in the approach to intra-state security problems. The ASEAN, SCO, East Asia Summit (EAS), ANZUS, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia Pacific Rim Economic Cooperation (APEC) are good examples of regional grouping in this regard. Such multilateral institutions and groupings provide a mechanism in resolving contentious issue by bringing various stake-holders together. Thus, Declaration on Code of Conduct (CoC) of parties in South China Sea by ASEAN and China is expected to prevent conflicts in the SCS.

12. Bilateral Partnerships: The US strategic primacy in the region and its bilateral relations with Japan has ensured a measure of peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region. Its military presence in the region, such as in South Korea, has allowed East Asian countries, including China, to devote their energy to economic development, as no country felt threatened by Japan. It also enabled stability in the Korean peninsula, by keeping a despotic North Korea under restraint. Similarly the US bilateral ties with Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore have contributed to maritime security of the SLOC. However, due to its economic difficulties, the US now wants Japan and South Korea to share greater defence responsibility. In the broader context, the US strategic partnerships with China, India, Vietnam and Australia have helped to balance the strategic equations in the region.

13.       The Chinese are also practicing bilateralism, by development of close relations with its neighbours and the ASEAN countries individually; by capacity building in infrastructure projects; and through economic assistance and military cooperation. In the Indian subcontinent, it has developed close relations with India's neighbours and acquired maritime facilities in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, to additionally secure its SLOC through the Indian Ocean. India is also forging strategic partnerships and economic relations through its Look East Policy with Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, and Singapore. Similarly Japan, in addition to its traditional ties with the US, is also seeking new bilateral relations with countries like Vietnam and India. These new ‘bilateral partnerships’ would help improve the security architecture of the region by confidence building measures, economic and maritime cooperation and mutual assistance in times of need, along with the existing multilateral groupings. China and India, in particular need to put to constructive use their historical mutually beneficial cultural and trade relations, and remember that even till around 1750, both these countries together accounted for some 73% of the world’s total industrial production—without the attendant ills that routinely accompany today’s industrial economy.[20]


13.       To re-emphasize, the US is and will remain the predominant power in the short and medium term with its significant military presence across the region. Second, China’s rise and its implications for the Asia Pacific remain daunting, given the wide gap in perceptions about its security strategies and growth. However, despite the overwhelming disparity between the US military power compared with China and any other nation across the Asia-Pacific, it may be foreseen that the US ability to influence outcomes will continue to diminish relatively. Third, the larger trend of globalization will continue to erode the power of state and make non-state actors and agencies far more influential in local decision making. Fourth, multilateral arrangements, like the ASEAN, SCO, EAS, APF, to deal with the old and new threats will play a significant influence in resolving the old disputes and the new non-traditional threats. Fifth, a resurgent Russia, along with its powerful military will continue to attach great importance to its far Eastern policy in terms of energy exports, container trade and access to export markets for its goods. Sixth, a more assertive Japan and a growing maritime power like Australia would like to be counted in the emerging power balance in the region. Finally, India’s growing economy, its significant military and its strategic location dominating the Indian Ocean, impacts the SLOC (Sea Lanes of Communication) traversing through IOR.

14.       To sum up, the Asia Pacific Region is experiencing major security re-balancing. The unsettled disputes, potential security hot-spots and lack of trust have contributed to the rising defence expenditure in the region. However, a visionary leadership and the desire for a peaceful and stable environment for economic growth, will hopefully bring countries of the region together for continued discussion and dialogue, and preclude large-scale conflict or mutual rivalry. Since freedom of navigation through international waters is of paramount concern for all the nations, security of SLOCs is most important for sustainable trade and commerce. Thus, safety of choke-points and elimination of sea-piracy should be undertaken through joint and cooperative efforts by all the major economies of the region. Development of regional cooperative frameworks for conflict resolution, and for engaging common non-traditional threats, along with bilateral economic cooperation are steps in the right direction, and should be followed seriously by all states. Simultaneously, all the states of the APR must recognise that we live in a world of finite resources, and possession of oil and mineral-rich areas is not a long-term solution for energy or economy problems. This would require a sea-change in current mainstream policy, but it is vital to a climate of long-term peace and trust in the APR, as for all other parts of the globe. The US and China, as large and influential economies need to set an example in this context, and foster economic development that is egalitarian and equitable, and does not involve a never-ending search and mastery for resource-rich areas. Such an approach along with mutual recognition of each other’s interests and concerns, and an avoidance of overt strategic ambitions, are absolutely essential for the peace and prosperity of the APR.

Bibliography and References:

Trade, Commerce and Security Challenges in the Asia Pacific Region, Ed. Maj. Gen. Y. K .Gera, Proceedings of Seminar on National Security, USI of India, Nov 2012, New Delhi; Vij Books India Pvt. Ltd, 2013.

Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century, Dharampal, Collected Writings, Vol. I., Other India Press Goa, in association with Society for Integrated Development of Himalayas (SIDH), Mussoorie, 2000; First published by Impex India 1971

SYNERGY, Centre for Joint Warfare Studies, New Delhi, Jan 2010.                         

[1] The component countries included in this term often change as per context. Thus, Wikipedia’s list for Asia-Pacific, includes India along with other SAARC countries, while the Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies specifically includes India. However, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 2012  data, the list of countries in Asia Pacific by GDP does not do so. See:

China's Ambassador to India, Ambassador Wei Wei calls for reviving maritime and land silk roads, April 14, 2014-04-18

[3] Maj. Gen. B. K. Sharma (Retd.), ‘Asia Pacific – Future Security Challenges and Opportunities’, p. 136, in  Trade, Commerce and Security Challenges, in the Asia Pacific Region, ed. Maj Gen Y.K. Gera (Retd.) USI of India, Nov 2012, New Delhi

[5] Held at Singapore in September 1999
[6] The Kuril Islands also known as the Northern Territories dispute is a dispute between Japan and the Russian Federation and also some individuals of the Ainu people over sovereignty of the South Kuril Islands. The disputed islands, which were annexed by Soviet forces during the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation at the end of World War II, are currently under the Russian administration as South Kuril District of the Sakhalin Oblast  but are claimed by Japan, which refers to them as the Northern Territories or Southern Chishima , arguably being part of Hokkaidō Prefecture.
The San Francisco Peace Treaty with Japan from 1951 states that Japan must give up all claims to the Kuril islands, but it also does not recognize the Soviet Union's sovereignty over the Kuril Islands. Furthermore, Japan currently claims that at least some of the disputed islands are not a part of the Kuril Islands, and thus are not covered by the treaty. Russia maintains that the Soviet Union's sovereignty over the islands was recognized following agreements at the end of the Second World War. However, Japan has disputed this claim.

[7]  Swaran Singh, ‘Deconstructing Future Security Trends', in Trade, Commerce and Security Challenges, in the Asia Pacific Region, USI of India, Nov 2012, New Delhi, pp. 79-83.

[8] The Paracel Islands, known in Chinese as the Xisha Islands literally "Western Sandy Islands") and as Hoàng Sa Archipelago in Vietnamese is a group of islands in the South China Sea whose sovereignty is disputed by the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Vietnam. Divided into two main groups, the Paracel Islands comprise the Amphitrite group in the northeast and the Crescent group in the southwest located about 70 km (43 mi) from one another. Subject to a hot and humid climate with abundant rainfall and frequent typhoons, the archipelago is surrounded by productive fishing grounds along with potential oil and gas reserves.
The islands include over 30 islets, sandbanks and reefs over a maritime area of around 15,000 square kilometres (5,800 sq mi) with less than 8 square kilometres (3.1 sq mi) of land. The archipelago is approximately equidistant from the coastlines of Vietnam and China: 180 nautical miles (330 km; 210 mi) southeast of Hainan Island, and about one-third of the way between Central Vietnam to the northern Philippines. Chinese and Vietnamese forces both occupied parts of the Paracel Islands before 1974, when the Battle of the Paracel Islands occurred, after which the former took control of the entire group. All of the islands are currently part of China's Hainan Province, which in July 2012, established Sansha City to administer the three townships under its jurisdiction. There are no permanent human residents except military personnel and fishermen.

[9] The Spratly Islands (Chinese name: Nansha islands, Vietnamese Name: Qun đo Trường Sa, Filipino Name: Kapuluan ng Kalayaan) are a disputed group of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays, and islands in the South China Sea. They are one of three archipelagos of the South China Sea, which comprise more than 30,000 islands and reefs and which complicate governance and economics in that region of Southeast Asia. No native islanders inhabit the islands, which offer rich fishing grounds and may contain significant oil and natural gas reserves. Named after a British explorer, Richard Spratly (c.e.1806-1866) who sighted them in 1843, they contain less than 4 square kilometres (1.5 square miles) of land area spread over more than 425,000 square kilometres (164,000 square miles) of sea. Such small and remote islands, though with little economic value in themselves, are important in establishing international boundaries.
About 45 islands are occupied by relatively small numbers of military forces from the People's Republic of China, Republic of China (Taiwan), Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Brunei has also claimed an exclusive economic zone in the south-eastern part of the Spratlys, encompassing just one area of small islands on Louisa Reef. This has led to escalating tensions between numerous countries over the disputed status of the islands. accessed 8.04.2014

[10] The Senkaku Islands dispute concerns a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku in Japan, the Diaoyu in China, and Tiaoyutai Islands in Taiwan. Aside from a 1945-1972 period of administration by the United States, the archipelago has been controlled by Japan since 1895. The People's Republic of China (PRC) disputed the proposed US handover of authority to Japan in 1971 and has asserted its claims to the islands since then. Taiwan (Republic of China) also claims the islands. The territory is close to key shipping lanes and rich fishing grounds, and there may be oil reserves in the area.
Japan argues that it surveyed the islands in the late 19th century and found them to be land belonging to no one; subsequently, China acquiesced to Japanese sovereignty until the 1970s. The PRC and the ROC argue that documentary evidence prior to the First Sino-Japanese War indicates Chinese possession and that the territory is accordingly a Japanese seizure that should be returned, as were the rest of Imperial Japan's conquests in 1945.
Although the United States does not have an official position on these competing sovereignty claims, the islands are included within the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, meaning that a defence of the islands by Japan would require the United States to come to Japan's aid.
In September 2012, the Japanese government purchased three of the disputed islands from their "private owner', prompting large-scale protests in China. As of early February 2013, the situation has been regarded as "the most serious for Sino-Japanese relations in the post-war period in terms of the risk of militarised conflict." On November 23, 2013, the PRC set up the "East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone" which includes the Senkaku Islands, and announced that it would require all aircraft entering the zone to file a flight plan and submit radio frequency or transponder information.

[11]US faces Chinese ire over disputed isles’, Saibal Dasgupta in Times of India, New Delhi, Wednesday, April 9, 2014

[13] 'India's Role in An Emergent Asian Region', Admiral (Retd) Arun Prakash, SYNERGY, Centre For Joint Warfare Studies, New Delhi, Jan 2010, pp. 4-6.

[14] ‘Japan to arm remote island, risking more China tension’, Nobuhiro Kubo, Reuters, published in Mint Lounge, April 19, 2014, p. 12
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid.                                             
[17] 'Maritime Challenges In The Asia Pacific', Vice Admiral A.K. Singh, Trade, Commerce and Security Challenges, in the Asia Pacific Region, USI of India Seminar, Nov 2012, New Delhi, pp. 53-54.
[19] Dr Elichi Kathera, 'The New Strategic Context', Ibid. pp 132-133
[20] Claude Alvares, p. x, ‘Making History’, in Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century, Dharampal, Collected Writings, Vol. I.