[Before delving into the issue, right on the table, proper, it'd perhaps be
quite in the fitness of things to refresh our memomry a bit.
Recount, in rather brief, two of the earlier pronouncements of our "Rambo",
who had been pitchforked to the status of the CoAS by the incumbent regime
overriding two of his seniors (ref.: 'Superseding 2 Seniors, Lt Gen Bipin
Rawat Named Next Army Chief' at <
in clear contravention of the usual norms, in pretty recent past.
In order to have a sense of perspective.

It was on June 8 last year that Rawat had, without any apparent provocation
whatever, had airilly pronounced: “Indian Army is fully ready for a two and
a half front war”. (Ref.: 'Indian Army prepared for a two and a half front
war: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat' at <
That, virtually, inaugurated the Doklam confrontation with neighbouring
China, June 16 - August 28 2017, ending, eventually, in Indian Army's
withdrawal from the forward position and China reinforcing its presence.
(Ref.: <
and 'China’s troop buildup in Doklam means India can’t protect Bhutan' by
Ravi Rikhye, dtd. Jan. 18 2018, at <
During that entire period, the "big mouth" had to keep his trap tightly
(Relevant in this context: <<He (the then Indian Foreign Secretary),
however, said supranationalist narrative has contributed to escalation of
tension between the two neighbours, deterioration of bilateral ties and
hindered efforts to resolve the dispute through diplomacy and
negotiations.>> at <

About only ten days back, while defending a widely condemned act on the
Part of the Indian Army of tying up a Kashmiri civilian in front of one its
vehicles, as a ‘human shield’, and awarding a special honour to the
concerned officer, while facing Court of Inquiry on account of the said
act: <<“In fact, ***I wish these people, instead of throwing stones at us,
were firing weapons at us. Then I would have been happy. Then I could do
what I (want to do)*** [emphasis added],” he said. Gen Rawat, who had
served in Jammu and Kashmir extensively, said if people in any country lose
fear of the Army, then the country is doomed.
“Adversaries must be afraid of you and ***at the same time your (own)
people must be afraid of you*** [emphasis added]. We are a friendly Army,
but when we are called to restore law and order, people have to be afraid
of us,” he said.>>
(Ref.: <

That's how, one'd like to argue, "Rambo" becomes his middle name.

Now, coming to the issue proper, allegation of a clandestine tie between
Pakistan and Bangladesh, given their respective histories and current state
of relations, is just a piece of malign fantasy. (Ref., e.g.: <
But, the charge that <<“planned” influx of people from Bangladesh into
India’s north-eastern region is underway as part of a proxy war being waged
by Pakistan, with support from China, to keep the area disturbed>>  (ref.: <
is even more sinister than that.
It's just reinforcing the Sangh Brigade's poisonous campaign to paint all
Bengali-speaking Muslims - and, in fact, by extension, all Muslims, in
Assam as illegal migrants from Bangladesh, regardless of their specific
histories, and all "immigrants" - by and large, economic refugees, as
"intruders" - out to sabotage India.
Which, in turn, is a constituent element of the grand project to polarise
Indian population into two warring camps across the religious divides.
It takes more than politicall illiteracy to ignore that dangerous

Gen. Rawat is thereby, virtually, conducting himself as a functionary of
the Sangh Brigade.
In flagrant disregard of the code of service conduct.

It goes to the credit of the two edits that both have taken exceptions with
his latest pronouncement, though not exactly on the above ground.
But, in the current ambience of obsequiousness, on the part of the
mainstream media in general, even these rather small, but clear, departures
need be welcomed.

The caustic response from Dhaka, at sl. no. III. below, even if
non-official, shows up how such malicious and irresponsible pronouncement,
on the part of a high functionary of the Indian state, can affect India's
relations with India's one of few friendly neighbours.]


Line of control
General Rawat’s remarks on Northeast and immigration from Bangladesh
threaten to disturb a delicate civil-military poise

By: Editorial | Updated: February 23, 2018 8:19 am

General Rawat’s remarks on Northeast and immigration from Bangladesh
threaten to disturb a delicate civil-military poise

Speaking at a seminar on ‘North East Region of India — Bridging Gaps and
Securing Borders’ in Delhi on Wednesday, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat
ventured into sensitive political territory by comparing the rate of growth
of Maulana Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in
Assam with the rise of the BJP since the Bharatiya Jana Sangh days.
Commenting on the political implications of what he termed as “population
inversion”, he referred to the rise in the Muslim population in states of
the Northeast, particularly Assam. “Finally, what will be the state of
Assam, we will have to take a call,” the general said. His remarks are
significant, and disturbing. In independent India, a line has been drawn,
and respected, between the domestic political arena and serving military
officers. This tradition of separation has served this country well, and it
has not struck roots in many other developing countries to their detriment.
Coming in the midst of the ongoing process of the compiling of the National
Register of Citizens in Assam, these public pronouncements by the Army
Chief can potentially sharpen anxieties and insecurities. Although General
Rawat spoke about amalgamating “all the kind of people that are living
there”, his statements, taken together, have the effect of narrowing the
options available to the government in an already fraught scenario.

At the seminar, the Army Chief did not just tread perilous ground on
domestic issues. Immigration from Bangladesh, the general claimed, was due
to proxy warfare undertaken by Pakistan and supported by China. India’s
relations with all three countries are precariously balanced and utmost
discretion needs to be exercised by the government in addressing diplomatic
issues pertaining to them — now the Army Chief’s statements threaten to
hurt the balance, undo the gains. Specifically, General Rawat’s use of the
German word “lebensraum” in the context of Bangladeshi immigration is
problematic given its close association with Nazi policies in Eastern
Europe in the 20th century.

The latest comments by General Rawat seem to hold up an unfortunate pattern
— they follow his earlier publicly aired controversial views on Kashmir
politics and its education system, and opinion on India’s diplomatic stance
towards China in the Indian Ocean region. The Army has an important role to
play in the external defence of the country, besides supporting the
security forces in stabilising the internal security situation when called
upon to do so. As the head of an important institution, the Army Chief is
bound to have views on matters that directly affect the employment and
well-being of his men. But those views must be shared with government
officials or the political leadership behind closed doors, not announced
publicly. The apolitical nature of the army and its chief is essential to
the character of Indian democracy, and any shift in the balance of
civil-military relations would be disorienting. While General Rawat must
reflect upon his tendency to make sensitive public pronouncements, it is
equally imperative for the political leadership to counsel restraint.


Loose talk: Army chief Bipin Rawat should refrain from making political

February 23, 2018, 2:00 AM IST TOI
Edit in TOI Editorials | Edit Page, India | TOI

Army chief General Bipin Rawat found himself at the centre of a political
controversy due to remarks made at a public platform. Speaking at a seminar
on the northeast organised at DRDO Bhawan, Rawat alleged a planned influx
of people from Bangladesh into the northeastern states as part of a proxy
war being waged by Pakistan with support from China. Elaborating on his
point, the army chief pointed to the fast growth of Badruddin Ajmal’s All
India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) party in Assam as compared to BJP in
the 1980s.

Needless to say this was totally unnecessary. As a serving army chief,
Rawat ought to refrain from making public political comments. In that
sense, Ajmal is right in questioning why the army chief should be concerned
about a legitimate political party rising faster than BJP. Rawat’s choice
of words, irrespective of actual intentions, creates the impression that he
views AIUDF as Chinese-Pakistani proxies. Moreover, migration takes place
primarily for economic reasons, and it is a stretch to say that China or
Pakistan is somehow behind migration from Bangladesh.

Rawat had been criticised earlier for talking about the prospect of a
two-front war. That criticism was unjust and he was perfectly within his
remit there, as the head of the army has the responsibility to anticipate
all permutations of military threats facing the nation. But it is not part
of his job to meddle in politics; that must be avoided at all costs.
Hitherto the Indian army has been known and respected for its
professionalism. Commenting on a political party muddies waters and creates
opportunities to cast aspersions on the institution of the army. Rawat must
strictly maintain the army’s political neutrality – else we would become a
bit like Pakistan.


‘Gen Rawat’s comments spurred by failure to compete with China’
Fazlur Rahman RajuPublished at 01:16 AM February 23, 2018Last updated at
02:29 AM February 23, 2018

‘Gen Rawat’s comments spurred by failure to compete with China’
Indian army chief Bipin Rawat AFP

Relations between Bangladesh and India may deteriorate if the Indian
government attempts to expel a section of Bangali people from Assam after
labeling them as Bangladeshi citizens

Experts have claimed that Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s comment
that a “planned” influx of Bangladeshis to Northeast India is being
orchestrated by Pakistan was motivated by India’s failure to compete with
China in recent times, as well as by comments by certain Awami League
leaders that Pakistani agents had influence in Bangladesh.

Furthermore, they said relations between Bangladesh and India may
deteriorate if the Indian government attempts to expel a section of Bangali
people from Assam after labeling them as Bangladeshi citizens.

Political commentator Afsan Chowdhury said the Indian Army chief’s claims
come at a time when India is failing to compete with China.

“As they fail to contend with China, India is trying to tarnish
Bangladesh’s image after labeling Bangladesh as an associate of China and
Pakistan in a proxy war,” he said.

“The Indian Army chief’s statements show that India does not believe that
Bangladesh can ensure its own sovereignty and internal security,” the
senior journalist added.

Afsan Chowdhury further said that India’s attempt to portray Bangladesh as
a weak state which cannot maintain an independent stance against China or
Pakistan was provoked by certain Awami League leaders’ comments that
political parties in Bangladesh other than the ruling Awami League were
“friends of Pakistan.”

However, Dhaka University (DU) international relations department’s Prof
Imtiaz Ahmed said one should not pay too much attention to General Bipin
Rawat’s comment as it was politically motivated.

“The Indian Army chief’s statement is totally political and relations
between Bangladesh and India will not be hampered due to his comments,” he

Meanwhile, regarding the potential exodus of Bangali people from Assam,
Prof Imtiaz said he hoped it would not take place as West Bengal Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee had asked the Assam government not to drive away
Bangalis from the region.

On the other hand, Prof Shahiduzzaman, also from the DU international
relations department, claimed attempts to exile Bangalis from Assam may
lead to an increase in extremism in Northeast India and Northwest

“India will suffer a lot if the government tries to expel Bangali people
from Assam. Members of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) may come
and take shelter in Bangladesh, increasing incidents of militancy,” he said.

Prof Shahiduzzaman added that India should try not to “dissatisfy”
Bangladesh over the Assam issue, as the national security of Northeast
India depends heavily on Bangladesh, and any dissatisfaction may spur
Bangladesh into building up relations with China instead of India.

Moreover, at a views exchange meeting with Indian journalists titled the
“Bangladesh-India Media Dialogue,” senior leaders of the ruling Awami
League party including General Secretary Obaidul Quader, Advisor member
and former ambassador Muhammad Zamir, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s
Media Affairs Adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury warned that relations between
India and Bangladesh would be hampered if the Indian government exiles
Bangalis from Assam.

Ex-ambassador Zamir said: “We have clearly told journalists that if India
tries to expel Bangali people from Assam labeling them as Bangladeshi, then
it will be disaster and radicalism may increase.”

AL Joint General Secretary Mahabubul Alam Hanif refused to comment.

BNP leader Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said: “The Awami League government
is illegal and everyone knows that. Awami League has no power to say
anything against bigger countries.”

Peace Is Doable

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