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The announcement by the Prime Minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15 that the government had decided to appoint a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to consolidate the defence might of the country, is in tune with the Modi regime’s consistent effort to build India as a world power that would play a meaningful role in both economic development and security at the global level.
It addresses the logical requirement of bringing defence forces and the nuclear, cyber and space domains under one umbrella of strategic planning, takes forward the concept of integrated combat on land, air and sea in today’s world — which, for India, is extremely important considering the hostile Sino-Pak military alliance against us — and makes way for a new level of coordination that would achieve speedy, cost effective and futuristic defence acquisitions, manpower development and strategic deployment.
A helpful factor in the implementation of the CDS idea is the successful working of the Chiefs of Staff Committee over years with a rotational chairmanship that produced a tradition of consensual thinking on defence and security — I saw this during my association with COSC as JIC Chairman. The decisions on issues of war and peace deserved to be taken through an arrangement that brought the voice of the defence chiefs directly to the political executive governing the sovereign nation. The Prime Minister has in his rule constantly worked for elimination of red tape, speedy decision-making and coordinated execution of projects and schemes that had been announced.
Taking into account the security challenges for India, it is easy to envisage the role of the Army as the pivot of our defence responses with the air force rendering it tactical support and the navy ensuring a strategic backing in the event of a war-like conflict developing outside of our shores. CDS will steer the Strategic Command while using the combined wisdom of our defence chiefs in handling the various theatres of war. The new step will prove extremely rewarding in terms of the rapid consolidation of our defence potential that it will ensure the old world prejudices earlier voiced by bureaucracy do not hold any more.
Post Cold War, the world has transited to an era of proxy wars, cross-border conflicts and insurgencies instigated by assertion of sub national identity. Terrorism is the new instrument of proxy war as the covert offensives are replacing open warfare. National governments are having to fight the adversaries on their own soil — this is bringing in the Army to take on cross-border terrorists operating at the behest of the external enemy. India is the prime example of a country facing a proxy war unleashed by the hostile neighbour — Pakistan — through the heavily armed Mujahideen infiltrated from across the border specially in Kashmir.
For combating this Kashmir Jehad, India has had to induct the Army which, in turn, had to specially train the troops to take on the terrorists on our home ground. The army is attuned to facing a visible enemy and using the maximum force. The rise of terrorism was a challenge for it for the reason that the terrorists could spring from their hideouts existing in the midst of the civilian population and yet the army had to put them down with restraint as the counter-terror operation had to ensure minimal collateral damage.
CDS will have on his hands the work of preparing India for dealing with an external enemy, strategising for proxy wars and raising special forces to take on terrorists on our own soil. An attack like 26/11 — there are Intelligence reports about a further terror offensive from the sea — would need involvement of Navy and Coast Guard just as further surgical strikes across our borders to destroy the base camps of terrorists needed joint planning of army and air force for readying paratroopers.
Mountain warfare, of which Kargil proved to be the first testing ground, is now a part of India’s strategic planning resting on the use of both the army and air force. Defence of Indian Ocean and security of the Indo-Pacific maritime region are new elements in the charter of India’s CDS. Coordination between civilian Intelligence agencies and the chief of Defence Intelligence would achieve greater perfection under the CDS. The structural and operational consolidation for maximising India’s defence and security potential is therefore not coming a day too soon.
Multiple writings on the proposed CDS from defence experts have focused on three imperatives of the new experiment in the Indian context — first, whether CDS will be the boss of the defence forces with five stars, secondly, will the new chief be totally impartial in dealing with the army, air force and navy and, lastly, if on issues of war the CDS will have his way with the political leadership? The answer is that even with four stars, CDS will be the principal interlocutor with the national government on all issues of defence development and organisation, that the chiefs of staff experiment had worked for long years creating a grid of understanding amongst the three services and that CDS would be like an elevated Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Both Defence Planning Committee and the National Security Council provide the CDS with an interface with the Prime Minister. And finally, in regard to decision-making in a war-like situation, the vital thing is that the input from CDS is fully weighed in even though the decision would lay with the political executive exercising the sovereign power of the democratic nation. On the whole, there is a case for early implementation of the CDS idea to strengthen our defence. (IANS)
Prior to the brutal second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cautioned civil services probationers against developing the despised "babu mindset". He gave the invaluable piece of advice while addressing civil services probies at the well-known Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie via video-conferencing. He also outlined the keystone mantra of "minimum government and maximum governance".
With the recent collapse of the under-construction flyover in Bandra Kurla Complex which injured 14 labourers, it seems like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got the PM's keystone mantra all wrong. The recent flyover collapse isn't an isolated incident, in fact, a month ago a similarly bemusing incident took place in the eastern part of the suburbs.
On 1st August 2021, the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated a flyover in the eastern part of the suburbs. In his inaugural speech, he quipped the BMC to smoothen the rough road surface. The BMC swing into action and the surface of the flyover was swiftly re-worked upon. But, instead of smoothening the pre-existing rough surface, the shoddy repair work added to the problem. To top it all off, the BMC added a barrage of speed breakers and rumbler strips on the bridge.
The shoddy repair work combined with a plethora of speed breakers caused long congestions on the Mankhurd-Ghatkopher stretch, ultimately killing the purpose of building the bridge. Moreover, after numerous accidents of motorbikes skidding on the bridge during the rain and the subsequent death of a rider the bridge was closed for traffic.
The construction of the flyover commenced in February 2016 at an approved cost of ₹500 crores. The project was slated to be delivered in January 2019 but was delayed multiple times. The BMC had also made a design change in the flyover by adding a connector to the Deonar dumping ground due to which the construction cost of the flyover was increased to over ₹700 crore. The flyover was expected to bring relief to the traffic on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road but instead, it added to the existing traffic woes. On a concluding note, the maximum city of Mumbai runs on barely minimum governance, literally.
Keywords: Mumbai, Narendra Modi, Civil Services, Governance.
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.