Saturday, October 25, 2014

Strategy Against IS Working, says 

US Defence Secretary
Chuck Hagel, who is the Defence Secretary of the United States of America has on Thursday said that the US-led strategy for bringing down the Islamic State (IS) is working, but has stressed that the fight against the terror group would be a ‘complicated and difficult contest’.Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon after holding a meeting with Han Min-koo, the Defence Minister of South Korea, Hagel has said that the administration has made it clear repeatedly that the fight against the extremist Islamic State would be an effort that is long and difficult.Mr. Hagel was quoted by reporters as expressing belief that the strategy against the IS is working, while acknowledging that the progress being made in Iraq is mixed.He has said that the reality was the the ISIL has control, and still controls a significant ground area in Iraq, and expressed his opinion that it was nothing short of a complicated and difficult contest.With the coalition against the IS, led by the US, is continuing its airstrikes on targets of the IS, Hagel has told reporters that there would be a mixed and various outcome every day, adding however, that he has seen no reason for changing the US policy.- See more at: http://www.theindianrepublic.com/world/strategy-working-says-us-defence-secretary-100052155.html#sthash.9yRkZnQV.dpuf

Nirbhay will be backbone of ‘cold-start,’ say experts


Nirbhay, India’s first long-range subsonic cruise missile, which was test-fired on October 17, can be a game-changer in India’s strategic calculus, defence analysts and strategic experts feel.Capable of flying at a tree-top altitude for over 1,000 km, Nirbhay can carry out surgical strikes and thus back up India’s “cold start” doctrine that envisages limited, precise strikes across the border. The introduction of nuclear weapons in the subcontinent has virtually stalled a conventional Indian response to Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism.“India is confronted with the problem of developing a strategy to counter Pakistan’s ‘first-strike’ and continuing proxy war,” says Dr. Monika Chansoria, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies. She points out that Pakistan cites “India’s conventional military threat” to maintain its own offensive strategic posture and India will have to develop a response to this.In this context, “cold start” has been put forward as an offensive doctrine by the Indian strategic establishment. Though “officially denied,” its presence is widely acknowledged in strategic circles.In the event of an Indian offensive, a volley of missiles flying low can effectively take out key comand and control centres, blunting the resistance to the advancing armoured columns.“The successful indigenous development of Nirbhay cruise missile will fill a vital gap in the war-fighting capabilities of our armed forces,” Avinash Chander, Director-General, Defence Research and Development Organisation, said after the test launch on October 17.Defence analyst Rahul Bedi observes that Nirbhay will be a force multiplier to the in-waiting “cold start” doctrine, but the doctrine itself is a non-starter as of now for lack of critical assets such as artillery, armour and helicopters. The Army has to fast-forward acquisition and induction of these platforms.In the short-term, experts believe that Nirbhay, along with its shorter-range supersonic sibling BrahMos, will form the backbone of the doctrine.http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nirbhay-will-be-backbone-of-coldstart-say-experts/article6529087.ece?ref=sliderNews

Defense minister urges action against Indian aggression in NA


ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Thursday that the “Pakistan Army has the ability to respond befittingly” in regard to the ongoing violations on the working boundary and Line of Control.
“India should not misunderstand Pakistan’s initiative towards peace as our weakness,” said Asif while addressing a session of the National Assembly.
“We are currently engaged in a historic war against militants in North Waziristan, but India should not mistake this as our weakness,” he said.
“We can respond effectively from any side.”
“Both states are nuclear, and should refrain from any kind of misadventure,” the defence minister said. “We do not want the situation to worsen.”
NA unanimously adopts resolution condemning ceasefire violations
The National Assembly on Thursday adopted a unanimous resolution condemning ‘unprovoked’ and ‘indiscriminate’ ceasefire violations by India on the Line of Control and working boundary.
The resolution was moved by Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affair Sartaj Aziz,Radio Pakistan reported.
The resolution called upon the government to raise the issue at the UN urging them to play their role in the resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiri people, while pursuing bilateral dialogue with India.
It further expressed concern over the plight of Kashmiris living under Indian occupation.
The House appreciated the resolve of the National Security Committee to thwart any threat to Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.http://tribune.com.pk/story/779915/defense-minister-urges-action-against-indian-aggression-in-na-as-border-violations-continue/

Indian Army, PLA hold first Border Personnel Meeting at Kibithu

Kibithu (Indo-China border), Oct.24 (ANI): A Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between the Indian Army and the Peoples Liberation Army of China was held here on Thursday to strengthen military and border security ties.
Chinese troops joined Indian Army troops for joint celebrations of Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Joint celebration of important events by troops of both countries forms part of Border Defence and Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) signed on this day a year ago at Beijing, Indian Army sources told ANI.
The Indian delegation, led by Brigadier Virendra Vats and the Chinese side,led by senior Colonel Hu Xiao Bai, exchanged views on issues of mutual interest followed by a cultural programme comprising folk dances by various tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and a friendly Volleyball match.
The meeting was held in an extremely friendly atmosphere and both sides reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and tranquility along the LAC.
The meeting marked formalization of Kibithu (Wacha) as an additional point for BPM and flag meetings in Arunachal Pradesh. Similar meetings are also being conducted at Nathu La in Sikkim and Bum La in Tawang, the sources added.
As the BPM mechanism provides for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies, Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand)-Qiang is also under consideration.
BPM points along the LAC facilitates greater engagement between Indian Army and PLA which helps develop mutual understanding and cooperation between border troops.
These meetings are also helpful in resolving local issues related to help maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC.
This was the outcome of the 6th India-China annual defence dialogue, co-chaired by defence secretary R K Mathur and PLA deputy chief Lt-Gen Wang Guanzhong held at New Delhi February 25 last when it was agreed to "strengthen maritime security cooperation between the navies", step up exchanges of officers and cooperate in areas like peace-keeping, counter-terrorism and humanitarian disaster relief.
With political settlement of the border dispute remaining elusive despite 18 rounds of talks between special representatives, India and China are now slowly but steadily stepping up military engagement at "multiple levels" to "manage" confrontations along the 3,488-LAC.
In fact, amidst a verbal duel between both the Asian giants on the proposed construction of a road along the McMahon line in Arunachal Pradesh, delegations of the two countries concluded a two-day talks under the framework of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), in New Delhi on October 25 last.
The talks aimed at finding ways to avoid stand-offs like the one in Chumar, Ladakh last month. The face-off had lasted for more than 15 days after the Chinese army patrol came into India when Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting India.
The Chinese incursion had overshadowed the talks between Jinping and Modi when the latter had raised "serious concerns" over the repeated incidents along the border and sought an early settlement of the boundary imbroglio. (ANI) By Pradeep Kumarhttp://www.aninews.in/newsdetail2/story188723/indian-army-pla-hold-first-border-personnel-meeting-at-kibithu.html

China could nuke India from Tibet: Russia


After India declared plans to construct a road in the disputed region of Northern Arunachal Pradesh near the Chinese border, the Voice of Russia, a Moscow-based radio broadcasting service, said that Beijing is capable of launching a full scale nuclear strike against New Delhi from Tibet.
India spent US$7 billion for the construction of a road in northern Arunachal Pradesh state. Due to its proximity to the Chinese border, check points will be established along the road using the most advanced equipment. Meanwhile, India also decided to increase the number of troops stationed in the border region next to China.
There have been several confrontations between the PLA and the Indian Army in Northern Arunachal Pradesh since April of 2013.
The Voice of Russia reported that India's new road is aimed at provoking China and Pakistan, its rivals in the border region. The announcement, it said, which took place after Xi Jinping's visit to New Delhi last month, indicated India's unwillingness to reduce hostilities with China. Despite the fact India welcomes more investment from China, the political relationship between Beijing and New Delhi remains the same.
The broadcasting service went on to say that deploying ballistic missiles to Tibet can become an option for China to confront India in the future. Chinese ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads, if launched from there, can strike targets within India. To defend its line of actual control in the border region, India has begun to deploy missile regiments to its frontlines.
Both nations are now competing against each other for the leadership of South Asia.

Pradhan sevak' Modi spends first Diwali as PM with Indian Army in freezing Siachen

Srinagar: Narendra Modi paid a surprise Diwali visit to Siachen on Thursday, repeating his Independence Day theme of being a “pradhan sevak” who had come to “see and experience” the conditions faced by soldiers.
“No one has got the opportunity of guarding their motherland in these conditions. As a pradhan sevak, I have been able to see the conditions faced by you with my own eyes, experience it. The doctors accompanying us were keeping tabs on me...checking my BP and oxygen. This shows how precarious are the conditions you live in,” the Prime Minister told soldiers at the 12,000ft base camp of the glacier, the world’s highest battlefield.
Modi, who wished President Pranab Mukherjee from the spot, emphasised that he had not intimated the soldiers about his trip as there was “no need to announce one’s arrival when coming to one’s own family”.
PM Modi at the Army camp at Siachen. Image courtesy: PIB
PM Modi at the Army camp at Siachen. Image courtesy: PIB
“I have especially come on the occasion of Diwali to be with you. I am aware how it feels like to spend Diwali with your family. The happiness is different, but you are so involved in the devotion to your motherland that (your) family is spending Diwali somewhere else and you are somewhere else, guarding the motherland. My coming to this place will not fill the void of your family, but as a representative of 125 crore people...after being with you, I feel proud and satisfied,” Modi, for whom this Diwali was the first as Prime Minister, said.
“Till the time someone does not see these icy glaciers, he will not know the way our jawans work in the remotest parts of the country. Many slept pulling over a white snow blanket. Someone’s body is recovered after 21 years. Don’t know how many such families are there, still waiting for their loved ones.”
The allusion was to Havildar Tukaram Patil, who died in 1993 after falling into a crevasse and whose his remains were found last week as rain lashed the glacier. In August, soldiers had found the body of Havildar Gaya Prasad, who had died in similar circumstances in 1996.
In the visitors’ book, Modi wrote that soldiers who guarded the nation’s frontiers in such difficult conditions were no less than “rishis (saints) and sages”.
“The feeling of pride towards you is because every time, in every condition you are ready to live and die for the country. Today, the country has sound sleep because you are awake day and night. People can lead a life of peace because you face hardships. This has been the message of your life. And for this reason, let that be army, air force and navy... the whole country is proud of the armed forces.”
Modi said that while the armed forces were busy guarding the country, it was responsibility of the nation to realise their dreams and aspirations. “Your dreams and responsibilities are the responsibility of us all. It is unacceptable to me that you have depend on others for anything after you are out of the force. It is my duty and desire that you and your family live with pride and respect after retirement.”
Modi said the issue of armed forces was an “emotional subject” for him and his government was committed to building a National War Memorial. “How many decades have passed without one-rank-one pension. It was in my destiny that one-rank-one pension has been fulfilled, and preparations were being made for a National War Memorial, that we could all be proud of. The government is committed to the cause.”
The Prime Minister also lauded the role of defence personnel in rescue and relief, making specific mention of the recent Kashmir floods, in which government agencies had been criticised for alleged tardy response.
“The way forces pose a danger to enemies, in the same way our forces give life to us. There has been no natural calamity in which our forces have not participated... worked hard day and night. When Srinagar was hit by floods, the army jawans showed an exemplary work of humanity and sacrificed their lives in the process.”http://www.firstpost.com/india/pradhan-sevak-modi-spends-first-diwali-as-pm-with-indian-army-in-freezing-siachen-1770023.html
Lt Gen Mehta becomes first three star General from Kashmir Valley
CHANDIGARH: Lt Gen PS Mehta, a second generation Army Officer, who has his parentage in Shogapora (Badgam) and Singhpora (Baramulla) of Jammu and Kashmir has become the first Sikh officer from the Kashmir valley who has been elevated to the rank of Lt General. 
Lt Gen Mehta, at presently posted as Major General, general staff (MGGS) at Western Command headquarters at Chandimandir, has been promoted to the rank of Lt Gen in situ, which means he would continue to be posted as MGGS. 
Gen Mehta had completed his studies from Presentation Convent School Srinagar and did his graduation (B Sc.) in 1977 from government degree college Udhampur. 
Commissioned into an elite Armoured Regt - SKINNERS HORSE in September 1978, Gen Mehta has an outstanding service track record, having passed out as First in the Order of Merit (Gold Medalist) from Officers Training Academy Chennai. 
He has also worked on the subject of 'Resolution of Kashmir Issue' and intends to publish the same as a book to evolve the way for the ultimate resolution of the same. 
Lt Gen Mehta's father Colonel Amarjeet Singh Mehta (Retd) an Artillery Officer was also the first commissioned Sikh Officer from Kashmir valley. His father was selected as a guide to Indian Army in 1948 during the Tribal attack on Srinagar who escorted 4-KUMAON battalion in the operations led by Param Vir Chakra awardee, Major Som Nath Sharma, who had achieved martyrdom close to Mehta's village Shogapora. 
In his service career spanning over 36 years, Gen Mehta has served in various sectors pan India. He has commanded an Armoured Regt, T-90 Armoured Brigade and an Armoured Division. He has also served in the counter insurgency operations in J&K as a Colonel General Staff. The officer has held many important and prestigious staff appointments like Aide-De-Camp to GOC Corps, Brigade Major of an Armoured Brigade, GSO 1 Strike Corps, Commander of Recruit Training Group Armoured Corps Centre & School, Colonel General Staff of RAPID Division and Colonel General Staff of Counter Insurgency Force, Deputy Director General Military Operations (AHQ), Instructor at the School of Armoured Warfare and Directing Staff at the Higher Command Wing of Army War College. 
Lt Gen P S Mehta has become the first Sikh army officer from Kashmir Valley who has become a three star general of the rank of Lt General. 
Earlier, General Bikram Singh and General N C Vij, both from Jammu region, has served as army chief but nobody from Kashmir valley had risen to such high rank.http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Lt-Gen-Mehta-becomes-first-three-star-General-from-Kashmir-Valley/articleshow/44926549.cms
Mehta first Sikh from Valley to become Lt Gen 
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 24

Lieutenant General PS Mehta, a second generation Army officer, has become the first Sikh officer from the Kashmir valley to rise to the rank of lieutenant general. At present posted as Major General General Staff (MGGS), Western Command, Chandimandir, he was promoted as a three-star general this week.
Lt Gen Mehta, who is expected to be appointed a Corps Commander shortly, has his parentage in Shogapora (Badgam) and Singhpora (Baramulla) and studied at Presentation Convent School, Srinagar. He was commissioned into the Skinner’s Horse armoured regiment in September 1978 after passing out as first in the order of merit (gold medallist) from the OTA, Chennai.
In his service spanning over 36 years, Gen Mehta has commanded a T-90 Armoured Brigade and an Armoured Division, besides serving in counter insurgency environment and in the Military Operations Directorate.
As part of the recent promotions and posting orders issued by the Army Headquarters, Lt Gen Rajeev Tiwari, an Armoured Corps officer, posted at the Army War College, Mhow, will be taking over as the General Officer Commanding, 9 Corps at Yol in Himachal Pradesh, tomorrow. He will replace Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who will be moving as the Chief of Staff, Northern Command, at Udhampur.

100 Years Ago Today: The Lahore Division takes the field at Battle of Ypres


Soldiers of the Lahore Division of Britain's colonial Indian Army went into action in Belgium for the first time on October 24th 1914. CN writer Christopher J. Harvie discusses a critical moment in the First Battle of Ypres.
Eventually contributing over one million troops, the British Indian Army would become the largest source of volunteers from the Empire. The first units to the Western Front in 1914, parts of the Indian Corps of Indian Expeditionary Force A, arrived at a most desperate moment.
 In two months of open warfare costly battles had been fought back and forth in the hinterlands of France and Belgium. Constant contact had worn the armies down, shrunk their reserves of manpower and turned the war into not much more than a grappling match. 
 “Ypres became a grinding battle of willpower more than anything else.  Through heavy rains along ground already wet and miserable and days growing colder, villages, woods and shallow trenches were taken and retaken.  For almost four weeks of assaults and counter attacks, wearied men on both sides continued to hammer away at each other in a dogged and brutal fashion.
(“First Light of Dawn”, author’s post If Ye Break Faith)
Gone by this point were the sweeping, grand manoeuvres of large armies in the field. The conflict had now devolved to isolated skirmishes, both sides attempting to probe for the weak link that would open the ground wide again.
By mid-October, the low-lying, difficult terrain of Belgian Flanders was the only place remaining where either the Germans or the Allies might break through. The remainder of the front had settled into mutual defensive works or would be deliberately flooded by order of the Belgian King. To date, the BEF had incurred 57,000 casualties and in some places around the Ypres area of operations were so depleted as to be at a 12:1 numerical disadvantage.
India Arrives
On October 20th 1914, the Indian Cavalry Corps with the 3rd (Lahore) and 7th (Meerut) Divisions began to reach the front. With an immediate need to shore up the thinly held salient, the 3rd Division, having arrived first, was broken up. Individual brigades and battalions were sent where they were most needed. The Division would be blooded almost simultaneously in three separate engagements at La Bassée, Messines and Armentières. 
Despite the home garrison being in the predominantly Punjab city of Lahore, which is now within Pakistan, the 3rd Division (referred to by its nominative “Lahore Division” on the Western Front to avoid confusion with the BEF’s 3rd Division) was composed of battalions of wide backgrounds including men of Baloch, Dogra, Ghurkha, Pathan, Punjabi and Sindhi heritage.  It came into its pre-war organisation during Kitchener’s reforms of the Indian Army in 1904, as part of Northern Command, with the Jullundur, Sirhind and Ambala brigades
“Where is my Division?”
The deconstruction of the Lahore Division wasn’t a discourtesy; at this point larger formations were of little use and these troops as with some British units became detached and used as “flying squads” to shore up the line during a very fluid situation. Lieutenant General Wilcox, GOC Indian Corps, noted in his diary in late October how the Division was taken apart:
"Where is my Lahore Division? Sirhind Brigade detained in Egypt. Ferozepore Brigade: somewhere in the north, split up into three or four bits. Jullundur Brigade: Manchesters gone south to (British) 5 Division (this disposes of only British unit) 47th Sikhs: Half fighting with some British division; half somewhere else! 59th Rifles and 15th Sikhs:In trenches 34th Pioneers (divisional troops) also in trenches 15th Lancers: In trenches. Two companies of Sappers and Miners fighting as infantry with British divisions. Divisional Headquarters: Somewhere?” 
(With the Indians in France, London: Constable, 1920)
With his brigades stretched so far apart and attached to other commands, General Wilcox was a Corps commander without a corps to command.
No Reserves
The soldiers of the Division had grown a domestic reputation as formidable warriors. Now as they entered a European battlefield for the first time, they proved themselves deserving. Desperately outnumbered and under pressure of constant German attacks, the Lahore Division in the localities it was set to defend held ground and went into counter attacks which helped solidify the British line outside of Ypres, the critical rail and road juncture of Flanders whose possession could dictate a heavy advantage.
Britain had no reserves ready to deploy. The Regulars were all but spent, most of the Territorial’s were still assembling and the large volunteer force to become known as “Kitchener’s Armies” had barely begun to train. The addition in late October 1914 of two trained and motivated divisions quite possibly staved the disaster of collapse at Ypres. By month’s end the Indian Corps had suffered 1,565 casualties.
For Valour
Not two weeks after his 26th birthday, Sepoy Khudadad Khan and his machine gun team were facing a severe German attack, October  31st 1914. He remained at his post despite wounds and the loss of the other men of his detachment,  keeping his gun firing-the only remaining machine gun in action- only leaving after the enemy had bypassed his position believing him dead. For his actions, Sepoy Khudadad was awarded the Victoria Cross, the Empire’s highest award, himself being the first South Asian recipient of the decoration.
“The Jewel of Punjab”
Today, Lahore is the capital city of Punjab Province in Pakistan, known affectionately as “The Jewel of Punjab.” It lies close to the border with India. The city was a place of contention and violence during partition in 1947  but exists now as a thriving commercial and cultural centre.© Centenary Digital Ltd & Authorhttp://www.centenarynews.com/article?id=3003

India-China: Reflections on 1962

Friday 24 October 2014, by Nikhil Chakravartty
From N.C.’s Writings
This week, thirty years ago, the Chinese Army had mounted a full-scale military attack along the entire length of our northern border. For three years previous to that there were occasional clashes, accompanied by angry polemics and tension over border claims.
What happened on October 20 was entirely different in character. It was a massive aggression into territories beyond the lines claimed as the border by the Chinese themselves. In other words, what the Chinese achieved on the ground by the sudden military offensive was to grab fresh territories beyond what they were putting up as their claim-line during the protracted negotiations.
Looking back after a lapse of thirty long years—the span of a generation—many points of reappraisal come up while the old tensions subside. It is customary in any active foreign-policy establishment to undertake a thorough review of the past so that one could be better equipped to deal with the present and to chalk out the future. It is high time that our Foreign Office and other specialised bodies undertook such a review. In the absence of any compre-hensive reappraisal, one has to fall back upon certain impressions and insights picked up as a reporter of those troubled times.
The Chinese attack not only pushed back our line of defence, but dealt a body blow on Jawaharlal Nehru’s authority at home and standing abroad. As one watched the mounting tension in the space between Dalai Lama’s arrival in India in April 1959 and the fullscale Chinese attack in October 1962, one could discern how Nehru found himself unable to get a grasp over the situation. His message over the radio at that time reflected his shock at the unprovoked military offensive by a neighbouring power whom he had trusted more than anybody else.
The political collapse of Nehru was evident when he wrote the letters to the US President asking pathetically for arms supply (November 19, 1962). Although subsequently he tried to rally by appealing for the five-nation non-aligned initiative, it was clear that he would be hardly able to recover, physically, mentally and politically. In a sense, the Chinese aggression came as a god-send for all those who had been denouncing the non-aligned stand of India. It was no accident that within a few weeks the Anglo-American initiative came for the virtual partitioning of Kashmir. It was Sardar Swaran Singh’s tireless stonewalling that warded off the Duncan Sandys mission.
Where did we go wrong, diplomatically and militarily? For one thing, while Nehru had a remarkable vision of independence from the clutches of the big power military alliances, one could not help feeling that in the euphoria over the success of the Bandung Conference where he had actually chaperoned Zhou Enlai around, he missed assessing in time the Chinese approach to world affairs which is throughout guided by the imperatives of power politics; in other words, by the principle of balance of power.
China’s concern has always been Tibet, and in the prevailing uncertainty, it wanted to show off its military prowess as a decisive element in foreign policy. That was how during the official level talks on the border claims in 1960, while the Indian side argued with legal acumen, the Chinese were working out the military strategy of piercing the frontier.
Consequently, the disarray of the Indian Army in the NEFA sector was due to the fact that our troops were totally ill-clad for the high altitude operation, while there was mismanagment in the conduct of the war.
This is now disclosed in great detail in Major General Palit’s latest volume—a work of seminal dimension—in which one gets a glimpse of the shocking mismanagement at the top, in which the serious business of conducting a war was totally missing; instead there comes total disre-gard of all norms of administrative functioning, in which personal ego played no insignificant part. The bravado of General Kaul, based on the gasbag’s megalomania, stands out as a fearsome reminder of upreparedness and the absence of any well-thought-out strategy of dealing with a full-scale military offensive. It was a dismal picture.
While Krishna Menon’s role as an outstanding diplomat will long be remembered, his stint as the Defence Minister was marred by his petty subjective interference in professional military matters. It was really a tragic case, because one has to take into account his signal contribution towards the setting up of an indigenous defence system which reinforced our independence in world affairs.
An aspect of the Chinese aggression of 1962 is generally missed, and that is its linkage with the domestic politics of China at that time. The Chinese themselves have brought out the extensive damage wrought by their own aggressive sectarianism of the sixties. Obviously, such an over-heated political line at home had had its inescapable repercussions on the foreign policy outlook. The Cultural Revolution had been preceded by successive waves of aggressive sectarianism, beginning with the back-to-the-village campaign, followed by the rectification campaign—all leading towards the disastrous Cultural Revolution. If one tries to integrate this domestic scene with China’s angry foreign policy posture, then the picture would be clearer why China took a hostile stand towards not only India but other friendly countries as well. If our understanding of the Chinese foreign policy of those years had been placed in the context of that country’s domestic policy, then perhaps the damage could have been minimised and the debacle averted in 1962.
In the three decades since those heady days, China has chastened and Indira Gandhi’s initiative in restoring ambassadorial level diplomatic relations has paid good dividends. There was a period of stalemate and the talks were reduced to rituals particularly on the thorny issue of the border dispute. There was a glimmer of a breakthrough when Rajiv Gandhi visited China and Deng Xiaoping received him in 1988. While the ghastly events at Tiananmen Square put the clock back, there has been an appreciable recovery in the last two years.
In this context, it is important to note the present Chinese approach to the border dispute. At present, the entire Chinese emphasis is on confidence-building measures (CBMs) along the present line of control. Border trade is to be reopened, the intelligence network between the opposite border security establishments would be upgraded and all this may help to reduce the forces posted now on both sides of the frontier. While the Chinese have not turned down the proposal for the resumption of talks for the examination of the boundary claims, their entire emphasis is now on the confidence-building measures along the present line of control. Obviously, the Chinese perspective is that after a few years, with the establishment of stability and tranquillity along the border, the clamour for redrawing the border line as per respective claims would be fairly weakened, if not given up altogether.
On a wider scale, at the global level the Chinese maintain a caste-system approach. As a member of the club of great powers—the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—they count themselves as one of the Big Powers of today with its own nuclear arsenal. At the same time, China is serious about maintaining close and friendly relations with India on the basis of recognising India as the leading regional power in South Asia. In other words, India in the Chinese eye does not belong to the top drawer but as the predominant regional power.
No doubt there is need for improving our relations with China. But this need can hardly be realised without taking into account the Chinese perception of themselves as being in the top category, while India will have to contend with being acknowledged as a regional power.http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article5275.html

Voices from the Great War


Deepa Alexander reports on two BBC World Service Radio broadcasts that celebrate the Indian soldier in WW I

“He was lost, but now he is found.”
Sgt. Gangaram Gurung’s voice is sad and hoarse but his accented telling of The Prodigal Son is still lucid nearly a century later. It brings with it the pungent odour of mustard gas, the feel of cold hard earth in the trenches, the sound of artillery shelling, the sight of blood and gore and the poignant tales of men, far away from home, dying for King and country. The Great War (1914-1918) ended the reign of Kaisers and kings, destroyed empires, redrew the maps of East Europe and West Asia and scattered headstones covered in poppies across the continent. A hundred years on, as memory turns into history, the echoes of the First World War can still be heard in centennial projects that hope to keep alive the soldier only “known unto God”. For long, multiple versions focussed only on the white man’s war. But the truth is that men from almost every race fought alongside their colonial masters. India sent nearly a million troops, with 74,000 dying in places as far flung as Mesopotamia, East Africa, Gallipoli, France, Flanders, Persia and Palestine. While the stories of the British soldier were documented in diaries and memoirs preserved by the Imperial War Museums, the stories of the Indian troops died with their deaths. The boom of battle was drowned in the nationalist feelings that supplanted memories of an imperial war. But the bravery of these men still pierces the silence.To put the spotlight back on them, BBC World Service Radio broadcasts two documentaries —India’s Forgotten War (presented by Anita Rani, produced by Jo Wheeler) and Ghostly Voices of World War I (presented by Priyath Liyanage, produced by Mark Savage).Anita begins her journey under the sandstone arch of India Gate, erected in memory of soldiers of the Indian Army who died in WWI and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. As she asks day-trippers its significance, it is evident that WWI has slipped from public memory. Military historian Rana Chhina, Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research, Delhi, says in the documentary, “As a nation, we have no memories of any conflict before 1947. Anything prior to Independence was seen as colonial history…” He concedes though that this view is changing now.Anita then meets the relatives of men from the villages of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan who took the King’s shilling and went on to win weepy plaudits from the soldiers they served with. At the United Services Institution, Delhi, she meets the grandson of Subedar Negi Ram who died in November 1914. He still preserves the letter of condolence that his illiterate grandmother received from the King-Emperor, George V. Brigadier (retd.) Sukhjit Singh of the royal family of Kapurthala says “Men joined up for the honour of the clan and the honour of their faith.” As a result, India sent more men to war than any other British colony. There were also those from the Imperial Service Troops, drawn from the princely states. Along with men and money, the maharajas also sent “horses, aeroplanes and mufflers”.  M.S. Jodha, grandson of Lt. Col. Thakur Aman Singh Jodha of the Jodhpur Lancers, has preserved the silver coins paid as war salary and a sepia photograph of the proud Rajput taken in a Paris studio. And then there is Capt. Manindranath Das whose courage won him a Military Cross. In Punjab’s villages, an entire generation of women wove new words like Basra and Germany into their songs of separation. Many men joined the labour corps as cobblers, bakers and toilet cleaners. Some, however, had to be coerced, others deserted.Far away from home, the men were often homesick and ill-prepared for the vagaries of European winters. Censored letters spoke of racism, rivers of blood, and longing for home.This longing is the subject of the second documentary. From the backrooms of the Humboldt University and the Ethnological Museum in Berlin come the sounds of over 2,000 recordings, a unique archive of the voices of ordinary soldiers. Says German academic Britta Lange: “Recordings such as that of Gurung’s were made by the Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission. Germany dreamt of being a colonial power. When Indian troops were captured along the Western Front, German academics realised this was fertile ground for research into languages.”The recordings at the Halfmoon Camp were obviously rehearsed before being recorded as the material was expensive and the procedure complex. The voices speak about their women, their villages and the loneliness of war. Some soldiers died and were interred in Berlin, others returned home and seldom spoke about the War.It was in search of these forgotten heroes that Priyath travels to India. Of the English-speaking Gurung there is some memory in a village near Dharamshala, but of the mouth-organ playing Lachhman Thapa, hardly any. More stories are resurrected in Punjab. Dalit soldier Santa Singh died a lonely man, shuffling around the village in his uniform.Others like the folktale-telling Chandan Singh emigrated to the U.S., while Sunder Singh who sings religious songs in the recordings is the only one who left behind a tangible memory — a wooden trunk filled with his things.All these men have now joined their comrades whose names line tombstones in foreign lands under arches that proclaim “their name liveth for evermore”.And some like Gurung who were lost have now been found.   India’s Forgotten War will be broadcast on October 29 (8 p.m.) and Ghostly Voices of World War I on November 8 (8 p.m.)http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/voices-from-the-great-war/article6530339.ece
India won’t be ‘overawed’ by march for Kashmir
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 24
India today scoffed at the proposed Million March being undertaken for Kashmir in London this Sunday asserting that a country of a billion plus cannot be “overawed” by numbers even as Home Minister Rajnath Singh emphasised Pakistan should stop firing on the border.
"We are a country of (1.2) billion (people) and it (Million March) does not overawe us", External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here responding to question as to how New Delhi views the proposed march being taken out on October 26 in London by Pakistan group of people.
Last week India raised the issue with the United Kingdom when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. MEA spokesperson said the UK was clear that Kashmir issue was a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan. As for the march, he said, while pluralistic democracies have platforms where people express their opinion, sometimes these are misused and could be utilised by those inimical to India and the United Kingdom.
On the passage of a resolution by Pakistan National Assembly on Thursday seeking UN intervention for alleged ceasefire violations by India, the MEA said New Delhi had no problem for any internalisation process and it is meant for domestic audience. However, if any attempt is made to internationalise, then “there is no room for any third party being involved”. India has repeatedly rejected moves by Pakistan seeking UN intervention and reiterated that while New Delhi is for talks with Islamabad within the framework of the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration.
"But for it the situation has to be conducive...the ball is in Pakistan's court" Akbaruddin emphasised. Last week National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said here that the Modi government would like to resolve issued through dialogue.

Today Home Minister Rajnath Singh endorsed the approach. In an interaction on the sidelines of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police raising day function at Greater Noida, the minister disapproved of the move by Pakistan to raise the Kashmir issue at international forum. He said all issues could be resolved through bilateral talks.

Chinese, Indian troops celebrate Diwali at Ladakh

JAMMU: Troops of India and China posted in Chushul sector of Ladakh held a meeting and celebrated Diwali in a bid to deepen ties at the ground level between the guardians of the border. 
The meeting and subsequent celebrations took place yesterday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at Siachen to mark the festival of lights. As part of confidence building measures, Indian and Chinese border personnel meeting was held in Ladakh frontier region yesterday, a senior officer said today. 
The meeting was held between local army commanders from India led by a Brigadier-level officer and Chinese troops led by a senior colonel, at Chushul in Ladakh sector. 
The meet was held to celebrate Diwali. The celebrations at Hut in Chushul area included cultural shows which lasted for about two hours, the officer said. 
The border personnel meetings have played a significant role in resolving the differences at local levels and have been instrumental in promoting and strengthening friendship, mutual trust and confidence between the two armies, the spokesman said. Participation of Chinese delegation in celebration is a gesture which will further foster friendly relations between India and China and build mutual trust and confidence, he said. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/chinese-indian-troops-celebrate-diwali-at-ladakh/articleshow/44927877.cms

India may accept South China Sea offer

New Delhi: Ahead of the visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India next week, India on Friday indicated that it is open to accepting Vietnam’s offer, if found commercially viable, of participation in additional oil blocks in the South China Sea, despite Chinese concerns.
Asked if China’s concern on India’s presence in the South China Sea will be an impediment in the country accepting Vietnam’s offer of additional oil blocks to it, ministry of external affairs  spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “Vietnam has offered some oil blocks in the South China Sea.
We are examining it and if they are commercially viable for us we will take that into account and proceed further. India and Vietnam relationship is not contingent on other countries. Our relationship is a bilateral one and we focus on those bilateral issues.”
China and Vietnam have a tense relationship due to their stand-off over the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. China has been objecting to India’s oil exploration projects in the South China Sea.
Increased economic engagement will be the focus during the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s visit next week.
On India’s extension of a $100 million line of credit for purchase of defence equipment by Vietnam, the ministry officials said it was under discussion for implementation and the government will see the progress as negotiations continue between Vietnam and Indian defence suppliers.
The Vietnamese Prime Minister will be accompanied by a delegation of 50 businessmen and will hold talks with the top Indian leadership on strategically-important bil-ateral issues of security and energy as well as regional matters on October 27 and 28. Before reaching New Delhi on October 27 evening, he will visit Bodh Gaya.

No role for third party in South China Sea dispute: China tells India, US


Beijing: China on Wednesday sharply reacted to India and the US expressing concern over the South China Sea dispute during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington, asserting that the maritime row should be resolved directly by parties concerned and no third party should meddle in it.
"Our position is that the dispute in the South China Sea should be resolved by countries directly concerned through negotiations and consultations. Any third party should not be involved in this," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei told a media briefing.
He was reacting to the Indo-US joint statement issued at the end of Modi's meeting with President Barack Obama on September 30 which for the first time made a direct reference to the South China Sea dispute.
The reaction came late as Chinese Foreign Ministry formally reopened today after a week-long National Day holiday starting from October 1.
In his cautious comment on the issue, Hong merely reiterated China's long standing position on the outside intervention on the maritime dispute involving Beijing and several other countries in the region including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei besides Taiwan.
Though the joint statement did not make direct reference to China, it came as a surprise here as South China Sea dispute directly figured for the first time in India-US discourse in the backdrop of New Delhi and Washington expanding their sphere of influence in the Southeast Asia region.
The Indo-US joint statement had said, "The leaders expressed concern about rising tensions over maritime territorial disputes, and affirmed the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea."
Earlier, China also struck a firm stand on India-Vietnam agreement to enable ONGC Videsh to explore two more oil wells in South China Sea signed during the recent visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to Hanoi, saying it will not back such a deal if it falls in the area administered by it.
China on mind, MoD to speed up subs plan Defence Acquisition Council meets today, may decide to build all six subs under the ‘75-I plan’ in IndiaTribune News Service
New Delhi, October 24
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) will meet in New Delhi tomorrow and decide on speeding up the submarine building plan for the Indian Navy, besides taking a call on which next generation of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM's) will be used by the Indian Army.
The DAC, chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, is the apex decision-making body of the Ministry of Defence. It may decide to build all six submarines under the project ‘75-I plan’ in India. One of the MoD-owned shipyards or a private Indian shipyard could be selected to work in tandem with a foreign collaborator. Indian private companies have done a tremendous job in the nuclear powered submarine, Arihant. The hull of that vessel was built at L&T’s Hazira facility in India.
Originally, the project ‘75-I plan’ entailed that the first two submarines would be imported and the remaining being built in India. Six diesel-electric subs are to be built as a follow up to the existing ongoing construction plan for six subs, which are being made by French company DCNS in collaboration with Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL). The first one will sail out in 2016.
The new project could go to a European or Russian builder. India is looking to arm the vessels with land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance. The Navy has only 13 operational vessels of which several of them are slated for re-fit to extend their life span and no more than half the fleet is available for deployment.
China, with its fleet of some 60 submarines is routinely making forays into the Indian Ocean, virtually challenging Indian supremacy in the island territories of the Indian Ocean. US Naval Institute (USNI), a 135 year-old US think-tank in a report on its website on October 21 had said: “India's sub-surface (undersea) challenge is likely to increase in the future”.
The People’s Liberation Army's Navy (PLAN) of China is well endowed. In July this year, the US Department of Defence released a report 'Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2014’ that listed the submarine prowess in the hands of Beijing.
“The PLA Navy continues to expand its operational and deployment areas further into the Pacific and Indian Oceans,” it said.
The DAC will also decide whether anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) for the Indian Army would be of Israeli or US parentage. It entails direct acquisition of around 900 launchers and 3,200 missiles of third-generation ATGMs, followed by transfer of technology to defence PSU Bharat Dynamics. In all, some 1,900 launchers and 37,800 missiles will be required to equip the Army's 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised infantry units.
Israeli "Spike" ATGM and the American "Javelin" ATGM are the two main contenders. US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel in August offered to "co-produce" the ATGMs and also "co-develop" its fourth-generation version with India.
Decision on anti-tank missiles The DAC will also decide whether anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) for the Indian Army would be of Israeli or US parentage. Israeli ‘Spike’ ATGM and the American ‘Javelin’ ATGM are the two main contenders
 It entails direct acquisition of around 900 launchers and 3,200 missiles of third-generation ATGMs, followed by transfer of technology to defence PSU Bharat Dynamics
 In all, some 1,900 launchers and 37,800 missiles will be required to equip the Army's 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised infantry units

IAF asks personnel not to use Chinese phone
New Delhi: IAF personnel and their families have been asked to desist from using Chinese 'Xiaomi Redmi 1s' phones as these are believed to be transferring data to their servers in China and could be a security risk. "F-secure, a leading security solution company, recently carried out a test of Xiaomi Redmi 1s, the company's budget smartphone, and found that the phone was forwarding carrier name, phone number, IMEI (the device identifier) plus numbers from address book and text messages back to Beijing," says an IAF advisory to its personnel. PTI

Indian Air Force asks personnel not to use Chinese phones


New Delhi: Some popular Chinese mobile phones and mobile applications seem to be under the scanner of the Armed Forces. The IAF has now asked its personnel to desist from using Chinese “Xiaomi Redmi 1s” phones as these could be transferring data to their servers in China and therefore could be a security risk.
A leading security solution company, recently carried out a test of Xiaomi Redmi 1s, the company’s budget smartphone, and found that the phone was forwarding carrier name, phone number, IMEI (the device identifier) plus numbers from address book and text messages back to Beijing,” an IAF advisory said.
The IAF note has been prepared by the intelligence unit based on the inputs from the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), according to reports.
In a general statement two days ago, the Chinese company had said that it was fully committed to storing its users’ data securely at all times and that it is migrating some data on non-Chinese customers away from its servers in Beijing due to performance and privacy considerations.
The Indian Army had also issued an alert to its personnel to beware of using Chinese mobile application WeChat.http://www.deccanchronicle.com/141025/nation-current-affairs/article/indian-air-force-asks-personnel-not-use-chinese-phones
The maharajah and the munshi

In Victoria: A Life, acclaimed author reveals a passionate woman beneath the queen's stiff exterior and chronicles her deep fondness for Maharajah Duleep Singh and her controversial devotion to her se
If anyone was entitled to complain that the British had stolen from India, it was (Duleep Singh) for his precious and sacred diamond, the Koh-i-Noor, had been delivered as a gift from the East India Company in 1849 and was now locked up in the Tower of London. Lord Dalhousie had so rightly and memorably said, 'I regarded the as something by itself, and with my having caused the Maharajah of Lahore, in token of submission, to surrender it to the Queen of England. The Koh-i-Noor has become in the lapse of ages a sort of historical emblem of conquest in India.' The owner of the diamond had been depicted as a beautiful boy by Winterhalter, and his portrait hung on the walls of the Queen's palaces. He had been so entirely assimilated as to have undergone baptism, to have been established as a landowner with a great shooting estate at Elvedon in Suffolk, and to send his sons to Eton. But the svelte youth whose fleeting beauty was captured by Winterhalter had lost his hair and developed a paunch, and as well as becoming an old roue who haunted theatres and bars in London. He was also confronted by death. And he wanted to revert to the religion of his youth. He converted back to Sikhism, and dreamed of reclaiming his old territories in the Punjab. It was a threat which the British authorities took extremely seriously - so much so that when he set off for India by ship, he and his family were waylaid at Aden and sent home again. His long-suffering wife and children went to spend their few remaining thousands of pounds living at Claridge's. The maharajah went AWOL in France, and then,with a false passport, and a chambermaid from a London hotel who was carrying his baby, he set off for Russia to throw himself on the mercy of the Russian Emperor.

In the event, Duleep Singh's rebellion was a damp squib, but it provided an embarrassing sideshow to the Jubilee. The Amritsar police superintendent wired back to the India Office in London that, since the issuing of the maharajah's 'proclamations', 'the behaviour of the Sikhs has quite changed in the villages. They are defiant and insolent now.

Queen Victoria, who had always nursed a soft spot in her bosom for the maharajah, urged her ministers and their underlings in the army and the Secret Service to proceed with gentleness. 'Some kind person should meet him at Paris and set him straight,' she said, 'pacify him and prevent his ruining his children.' She sagely cautioned that it would have 'a very bad effect in India if he is ill used'. Why not give him a peerage, she suggested, 'and then they could live as any other nobleman's family?' The idea fell on Lord Salisbury's deafest of ears. Nevertheless, whenever she could get a letter through to (Duleep Singh), the Queen persisted in calling herself 'your friend and perhaps the truest you have'.

She had always felt awkward about taking the Koh-i-Noor; her fondness for Duleep Singh was personal and strong; and she had, in general, an affection for Indians. The English habits of circumlocution and understatement and suppressing feeling had never been hers. Victoria was revivified by contemplating her Indian subjects, much more so than when listening to the dry-stick pronouncements of Oxford-educated bishops and politicians. Moreover, did not the sacred city of Agra contain the most famous shrine of marital bereavement, the Taj Mahal? It was to Agra that application was made for two Indian servants to join Her Majesty's household.

One of the men selected was Mohammed Buksch, a sort of butler to General Thomas Dennehy, the political agent in Rajputna. The other was Abdul Karim, a clerk to the supervisor of Agra jail.Hearing that he had been chosen to serve as an orderly to Her Majesty, Karim supposed that he would be riding as her escort; this was what 'orderlies' did in the Indian Army. Kitted out in the most splendid uniforms which the best tailor in Agra could run up in a short time - deep red and blue tunics, with matching pugrees or waistbands, white trousers or salwars, and bejewelled turbans - Buksch and Karim were actually being hired to wait at table. They were to be little more than junior footmen, designed to add a little colour to the Queen's entourage as she received the homage of the many Indian dignitaries visiting London and Windsor for the Jubilee.

Only four years after the demise of John Brown (in March 1883), the courtiers had new cause to squirm while, shamelessly eccentric as ever in her choice of favourites, the Queen wallowed in the company of Abdul Karim. Down the corridors of Osborne wafted the delicious aromas of spices which Abdul had brought with him from Agra: cloves, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg and cardamom drowned out the pong of overboiled cabbage and mutton. To the amazement of the cooks, Abdul Karim had entered the kitchen and prepared the Queen a fine chicken curry, daal and fragrant pilau. She considered it 'excellent' and decreed that curries should be prepared regularly. Coming out of the dining room one day, she had said to Karim, 'Speak to me in Hindustani, speak slowly that I may understand it, as I wish to learn.' She had soon acquired a special scarlet morocco notebook from the royal stationers in which she noted down Hindustani phrases, and she and Abdul began to sit down, while he taught her the language. She arranged for him to have an hour's English lesson each day, so that he could converse with her. He explained to her the differences between Hindus and Muslims - he and Buksch were Muslim. He told her about the conflicts between Hindus and Muslims at Agra. By the time the autumn leaves were falling, the Empress of India found that, in the space of a few weeks, she had learned more of India, its languages, religions and customs, than she had known in seventy years of life.

The courtiers (watched) at first hand the Queen's growing devotion to Abdul Karim, or, as he was now to be called, Munshi Hafiz Abdul Karim, the Queen's official Indian clerk and Muslim teacher. ('Munshi' is Hindustani for language teacher and/or secretary.) Other Indian menials were now engaged to wait at table. The Munshi's salary was increased to £144 per annum, and would rise to £250. Her Hindustani was improving. She could now say, 'You may go home if you like', and 'You will miss the Munshi very much' and 'Hold me tight'. Visitors and correspondents were treated to encomiums: 'I take a little lesson every evening in Hindustani and sometimes I miss writing by post in consequence,' she admitted to Vicky. 'It is a great interest and amusement to me. Young Abdul (who is in fact no servant) teaches me and is a vy. strict Master and a perfect Gentleman. He has learnt English wonderfully - and can now copy beautifully and with hardly any faults. He will I hope remain and be vy. useful in writing and looking after my books and things.' The Munshi was 'very intelligent & useful', 'He is so good & gentle & understanding all I want & is a real comfort to me', 'such a good influence with the others…he and all the others set such a good example and so respectable'. She either did not notice, or for the time being chose to ignore the snobbish and racist feelings of the English servants and the courtiers, none of whom liked Karim, and some of whom already felt was John Brown in a turban.

One journal entry made by the Queen during one of her visits to the South of France, in March 1891 (was):'Received bad news from India, of a revolt at Manipur. The Commissioner from Assam, on his way there, was attacked & forced to retreat.' But then, on the very same day, she received a visit from the man who had called upon all 250 million of his fellow Indians to rise up against their Empress:

"I saw, in the small drawing-room below, the poor misguided Maharajah Duleep Singh, who had asked to see me, having some months ago humbly begged forgiveness for his faults & rebellion. He is nearly paralysed down his left side. He was in European clothes, with nothing on his head, & when I gave him my hand, he kissed it, & said, 'Pray excuse my kneeling'. His second son Frederick, who has a very amiable countenance, came over from Nice with him. I made the poor broken down Maharajah take a seat & almost immediately afterwards he broke into a most violent fit of weeping. I took & stroked his hand & he became calm & said, 'Pray excuse me & forgive my grievous faults,' to which I replied, 'That is all forgiven & past.' He complained of his health, & said he was a poor broken down man. After a few minutes' talk about his sons & daughters, I wished him goodbye & went upstairs again, very thankful that this painful interview was well over."

No pain could be felt, by the Queen at least, in the presence of the Munshi, and nor could he be described as broken: indeed, with each promotion and increase in salary, he became plumper and more self-satisfied. In the spring, he developed a carbuncle on his neck, and the Queen kept up a steady flow of letters to Dr Reid: 'The Queen is much troubled about her excellent Abdul, who is so invaluable to her, and who has hitherto been so strong and well. She trusts Dr Reid is not anxious about him? He has always been so strong and well that she feels troubled at the swelling.' Not content to leave the Munshi in the doctor's capable hands, the Queen visited him in his bedroom, which raised a few eyebrows. 'Queen visiting Abdul twice daily,' noted her doctor testily, 'in his room taking Hindustani lessons, signing her boxes, examining his neck, smoothing his pillows, etc.' No one suspected the Munshi, as they had evidently suspected John Brown, of impropriety with the Queen, but they were made anxious by so glaring a departure from the conventional. Queen Victoria was oblivious to conventions when it suited her, and she was besotted with her favourite. To Vicky, she gushed about the portrait of the Munshi which she had commissioned by the Austrian artist Heinrich von Angeli: the artist 'was so struck with his handsome face and colouring that he is going to paint him on a gold ground'.

Fully aware that her children and courtiers would not treat Abdul kindly when she herself left the scene, Victoria determined to provide for him, and wrote to the Viceroy of India commanding him to give 'a grant of land to her really exemplary and excellent young Munshi, Hafiz Abdul Karim, who is quite a confidential servant - (and she does not mean in the literal sense, for he is not a servant) - and most useful to her with papers, letters, books, etc.' Lord Lansdowne was uneasy about the request, since there was no precedent for such a grant being given to an Indian attendant. Land grants were normally only given in recognition of long military service. Then, some old soldier might be given land yielding a rent of, say, 300 rupees a year. Since he was often on tour, covering vast distances, the viceroy did not put the grant of land to the Munshi high on his list of tasks, but his sovereign did not allow him to forget it, and throughout that summer she sent a regular stream of letters and telegrams, insisting that the Munshi be given land yielding at least 600 rupees. Land was eventually found in the suburbs of Agra, and she also made it plain to Lord Cross, the Indian Secretary in the Cabinet, that the Munshi must be recognized officially as the Queen's Indian Secretary. It was a remarkable rise for a man still in his twenties, and who had only been hired so short a while previously as a waiter. http://www.business-standard.com/article/beyond-business/the-maharajah-and-the-munshi-114102400779_1.html