After a recent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops which ended with a friendly exchange of Budweiser beer and Rosogullas, unlike many others in the recent past which saw elevated aggression on both the sides, the Indian army has taken a cue to come out with more comprehensive and robust measures.
The Ministry of Defense has received a proposal from Indian Army to open special military canteens in disputed areas all along the border which would offer free food and dinner services to the army men of our neighbors. The proposed canteens will be built even further than the “last manned posts” on Indian side of the border to facilitate easy and swift service.
All the Indian food items will be available to serve so that no personnel from other side of the border could ever go hungry while being inside the disputed territory. There are further plans to distribute the food on military vehicles within 30 minutes of placing the order on hotline.
One of the topmost military official involved in making the proposal who didn’t want to be named said, “We have always been honoring the guests in our country. The recent face off which ended on a very friendly note, acts as a beacon of hope and offers a cue on how to keep friendly relations with the army men from other side of the border. That’s why we hope that providing such food and drinks service will help strengthen ties with our neighboring militaries”.
He further believed that the proposals like delivery in 30 minutes, if consented by the MoD, will help enhance Indian Army’s image as a professional and punctual among neighboring armed forces. Sources say that these canteens will also sale banners like “You are in a disputed territory” at a discounted price.
Pegged at ₹ 300 Crores and spanned over 12th Five Year plan period (2012-17), the proposal will also bring employment to local youth and families as the food and other materials will be purchased/ made with the help of local people. A top bureaucrat from MoD who declined us a comment, nonetheless agreed that if realized, this proposal will see massive leapfrogging in hotline services and army-to-army contacts with all the bordering neighbors.
The copy of a proposal that we got hold of, claims that there would be 60 such canteens along India-Pakistan Border, 80 along Indian- China one and 40 along India-Bangladesh line. Nepal and Bhutan borders would see the least figure in the pie with 20 each. The scheme of canteens will be named after Rahul Gandhi and will be called “Rahul Gandhi Sarahad Khan-pan Yojana” (RGKY). A retired IFS officer Mr. K. S. Krushnamurthy mentioned to us on a phone from USA, “We need to think out of the box to improve ties with our neighbors.
Similar measures, if planned and executed well, would see the end of military face-offs along the disputed territories. Once armies are at peace with each other, diplomats could sit across the table and solve the disputes with less hassles.” When we sought a comment from Ministry of Defense, the spokesperson couldn’t furnish more details but said, “Somebody in the army uniform handed us over the scheme to us that you are mentioning, and we are studying it. All the decisions will be made after thorough evaluation of national interests and listening to all the stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, sources from Indian Navy informed us that the navy too is mulling a parallel proposal in the southern command which would see floating hotels and bars to be deployed near Sri Lanka disputed waters to prevent our fishermen getting captured by Sri Lankan navy and matters escalating.
South Indian food like rice, Idli-Sambar, Masala-dosa, Hydrabadi pulav, Dum Biryani will be the special cuisines on the menu cards. Although navy does not have any plans for 30-minutes delivery scheme. Jayalalitha welcomed the reports and her party spokesperson, Mr. M. Chittakuttiyan, said that any move that safeguards Tamil people’s rights are most welcome. He further wished that Indian Navy would set up similar camps in the north Sri Lankan territories where Tamil populations are dominant.