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From,

Admiral  L  Ramdas  (retd)
PVSM  AVSM  VrC  VSM
Former  Chief  of  the  Naval  Staff
Maharashtra  Gaurav  Puruskar
Magsaysay  Awardee  for  Peace

To,

The  Honorable  President
Rashtrapati  Bhavan
New  Delhi-­‐110011

Dear  Shri  Kovind  ji,

This  is  Admiral  Ramdas  -­‐  former  Chief  of  the  Naval  Staff,  writing  to  you  yet  again  –  this  time   on  the  tragic  deaths  of  Central  Reserve  Police  Force  (CRPF)  Jawans  in  the  IED  attack  on  their   convoy  in  Pulwama  on  Feb  14th  2019  and  subsequent  events.

Over  forty  precious  lives,  belonging  to  the  CRPF  were  lost  in  the  service  of  the  Nation  on  Feb   14,  2019.  This  was  indeed  a  despicable  act,  and  a  tragic  event,  and  those  guilty  must  be   punished.

While  the  event  has  understandably  evoked  strong  and  angry  reactions  from  every  corner  of   the  country  and  all  sections  of  the  people,  it  is  also  clear  that  such  an  event  should  never   have  happened  on  such  an  important  strategic  highway,  especially  in  view  of  some  reports   that  speak  of  there  having  been  some  intelligence  reports  to  this  effect  in  possession  of  the   police  and  Intelligence  agencies.

It  is  reported  that  this  attack  was  planned  and  executed  by  the  Jaish  e  Mohammed  [JEM].   There  are  questions  as  to  how  and  why  a  lone  vehicle  packed  with  RDX  was  able  to   penetrate  a  convoy  and  wreak  such  havoc,  these  and  many  more  questions  will  no  doubt  be   the  subject  of  internal  inquiries  both  by  the  CRPF  and  other  agencies  of  the  State.

As  a  former  head  of  the  Navy  and  Chairman  of  the  Chiefs  of  Staff  Committee,  and  also   someone  who,  after  retirement  in  1993  has  devoted  most  of  his  time  in  the  pursuit  of  peace   with  Pakistan  by  pushing  for  a  people  to  people  dialogue,  my  concerns,  are  listed  below.

  1.   We  must  resolve  the  Kashmir  problem  through  dialogue  which  must  involve  all  three   partners  to  the  dispute  –  namely,  the  people  of  J&K,  India  and  Pakistan.  This  is  a  position  I   have  advocated  for  several  decades  now  –  after  having  studied  the  intractable  nature  of   what  is  popularly  called  the  K  word,  but  which  has  continued  to  extract  a  heavy  toll  on  both   countries  and  above  all  on  the  suffering  of  the  unfortunate  people  of  Jammu  and  Kashmir.   We  continue  to  proclaim  that  they  are  an  integral  part  of  India.  If  indeed  that  is  so,  then  they   must  be  treated  as  such,  as  equal  citizens  -­‐  be  they  in  Jammu,  the  Valley  or  in  Ladakh  .  Had   we  done  that  we  would  have  been  less  likely  to  see  the  levels  of  alienation,  especially  of   young  people.

  2.   If  both  countries  are  willing  to  engage  each  other  on  the  Kartarpora  corridor  –  then  why  not   on  the  LOC,  and  other  core  concerns  around  Jammu  and  Kashmir  (J&K).  The  sooner  we  make   it  known  that  we  are  open  to  dialogue  with  all  stakeholders  and  begin  this  process  in  all   seriousness  and  sincerity,  the  more  likely  we  are  to  make  some  headway  with  the  people  in   J&K.

  3.   If  a  young  Adil  can  blow  himself  up  in  the  cause  of  freedom,  Aazadi  or  the  long  promised   autonomy  for  Kashmir,  it  is  the  strongest  indicator  yet  of  the  levels  of  anger  and  alienation   that  the  youth  of  the  state  are  experiencing  today.  No  amount  of  force    as  part  of  the   avowedly  “muscular”  Kashmir  policy  can  quell  this.  We  must  act  now    and  sit  across  the   table  and  have  an  honest  dialogue  with  all  parties  concerned.  It  might  already  be  too  late.

  4.   The  most  serious  fallout  of  this  attack  on  our  jawans  in  Awantipora  has  been  the   unprecedented  outbreak  of  harassment,  mob  violence,  attacks,  insults  and  abuse  levelled  at   many  Kashmiris    across  the  country.  Soon  this  might  spill  over  to  Muslims  across  India.  We   CANNOT  allow  this  to  continue  and  spread  with  dire  consequences  which  are  hard  to  assess.

  5.   The  only  solution  is  political  and  not  military.  And  a  political  solution  must  involve  a  genuine   and  continuous  dialogue  with  the  people  of  Kashmir  –  including  dissidents  and  separatists  ;   the  Govt  of  Pakistan  and  the  Govt  of  India.

WHAT  CAN  BE  DONE  –  IMMEDIATELY

In  your  capacity  as  the  Head  of  State  and  our  Supreme  Commander,  and  the  oath you  have  taken  to  uphold  the  Constitution,  I  urge  you  to  take  steps  as  outlined   below,  which  is  entirely  within  your  command,  and  a  part  of  your  duty  and   responsibility:-­‐

a.   It  is  imperative  that  the  situation  should  not  be  allowed  to  escalate  into  greater  hostilities   which  it  might  not  always  be  possible  to  contain.  As  the  Supreme  Commander,  you  must   caution  our  own  leaders  about  the  very  real  dangers  of  the  present  standoff  escalating  into  a   war  situation  –  and  quickly  going  beyond  a  conventional  engagement  –  given  that  both  India   and  Pakistan  are  two  nuclear  armed  countries.

b.   The  decisions  on  next  steps  must  be  taken  with  due  diligence,  and  weighing  all  the  options   and  their  implications  .  We  cannot  allow  the  hysterical  media  anchors  and  social  media  anger   to  influence  or  pressurise  decisions  at  the  highest  level.  The  atmosphere  at  present  is  by  no   means  conducive  to  decisions  being  taken  in  a  calm  and  considered  manner  –  with  emotions   and  reactions  being  inflamed  and  incited  in  an  often  deliberate  and  irresponsible  manner.

c.   Let  India  take  the  high  moral  ground  by  declaring  an  unconditional  Hold  Fire  –  pending   detailed  enquiries  into  the  attack  on  the  convoy  in  Pulwama  .  This  way  we  will  ensure  that   the  facts  are  investigated,  and    the  truth  behind  the  attack  be  established  without  delay.  I  am   sure  that  this  will  have  a  salutary  effect  and  ensure  seamless  actions  further  ahead.

d.   We  must  immediately  put  a  halt  to  the  terrible  media  war  being  waged  on  innocent   Kashmiris  who  are  going  about  their  business  quietly  in  towns  and  cities  across  the  country  .   This  message  must  come  from  the  highest  level  –  and  the  Honorable  Prime  Minister  must  be   advised  that  he  can  halt  this  current  backlash  in  minutes  if  he  so  chooses,  by  issuing  stern   and  clear  warnings  against  any  violence  and  threats  and  harassment  against  citizens  –  be   they  Kashmiri  or  indeed  Muslim  citizens.  ,  through  every  channel,  cadre  and  social  media.  To   avoid  aggravating  the  present  situation  of  fear  and  insecurity  and  preventing     further  bloodshed,  action  on  this  must  be  taken  with  utmost  speed.

e.   Enable    an  impartial  and  independent  Judicial  Enquiry  .  This  group  should  comprise  serving   judges  of  the  Supreme  court.

The  Nation  as  a  whole  seems  to  be  going  through  a  lot  of  uncertainties  especially  about  the   threats  of  retaliation.    Such  posturing,  especially  between  two  nuclear  armed  states,    is   highly  risky.  This  time  around  we  may  not  be  able  to  contain  this  to  the  conventional  type  of   warfare.  The  situation  is  even  more  delicate  given    the  impending  elections,  communal   disturbances  and  fears  of  breakdown  of  law  and  order.       We  must  not  allow  any  of  the  above  to  happen.  We  have  a  lot  of  strategic  and  human   interests  in  (J&K)  and  the  country  as  a  whole  and  we  must  protect  both  these.    This  can  only   happen  by  winning  the  hearts  and  minds  of  the  people  ,  especially  of  Jammu  &  Kashmir.       Let  us  remember  that  Military  Force  can  never  erase  an  “IDEA”.  We  need  to  do  some  serious   reflection  of  our  own  policies  and  conduct  these  past  70  years.

With  regards     Yours  sincerely
L.Ramdas

9 Comments

  1. I agree with the views of respected Admiral.only n only way out steps suggested must be taken immediately , President should apply his mind honestly n act.

    • Jitendra Marwah says:

      We have the best PM , from all angles and selfless Modi doesn’t hesitate to walk barefoot to take good advice from Ramdoss or any Tom dick and harry AS LONG AS IS BENEFICIAL FOR INDIA

  2. I do agree with admiral… President of India must think off & advise Government of India to appropriate and action in terms enquiry and culprit must get punished…no matter who ever is…

  3. Partha Chowdhury says:

    I am at one with the points raised by respected former admiral. Our honourable President should go through the suggestions as uttered by him and think over the matter deeply to take some immediate viable actions to solve the issue. It’s already late and we all know that war is not a weapon of solution.

  4. The advise of admiral do make sense.It is eye opener for those who acted in a manner not like humans and provokesd masses for violence against innocent kashmiris…..students….women and old citizens.Honbl’ president of India has the authority to act and enforce corrective steps in line with suggestions made by wise and highly experienced Admiral.

  5. A V Gopalakrishnan says:

    Good sensible suggestions from a matured citizen. It is easy to cry for War, harass citizens coming from that region, have tit for tat responses..but all these will not end violence and desth of many innocent citizens and our own soldiers.

  6. The question is whether we take the advise of a retired Admiral who may not be privy to the actual ground realities or depend on serving officers of defence and civil who have their ear to the ground. Such retired admirals are doing a great disservice to the country.
    Hasn’t what he has suggested been tried for a very very long time.
    Retirees should do what they should. Take their pension and keep quiet unless their advise is sought. If they do want to advise then it should be in private and not the way he is going about. This is only giving ammunition to the enemy. Irresponsible to say the least.

  7. Rajendra kumar says:

    But the real question is that are you ready to accept the outcomimgs of inquiry? We are indeed with your sentiments about kashmiri people but first first assure us that your intententios are good. In the past also you have asked for inquiry into justice loyas death.. first you must prove that you are not among “andh-virdhiies”, then only we take you seriously..!!!

  8. How long before the respected Admiral is branded an anti-nationalist by the hyper-ventilating journos?