In an earlier post Symon Hill’s words brought to mind the contribution of a valued colleague, Eustace D’Souza. Symon said that the government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) has missed the opportunity to address long-term security problems; ““We urgently need – for our own safety as much as for any other reason – a sustainable approach to security, which addresses the root causes of armed conflict around the world, including poverty, human rights abuses, climate change and competition over resources.”
Despite having two nuclear powered neighbours, Pakistan and China, which have instigated wars in Kashmir (1948, 1965, 1971), NEFA (China), Kargil, India has never undertaken a war against its neighbours.
The Chinese connection is of particular interest to him and he has spoken out during these occasions – and in other public fora – about their invasion and occupation of Tibet.
He became Secretary General of the World Wildlife Fund for India on his retirement and subsequently served two terms as Consultant for South Asia to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The creation of a structure for environmental protection within the Indian armed services (in the navy, army and air force) was promoted by him and today every unit has a specific environmental role to play.
In 2003 he gave the Michael Harbottle Memorial Lecture [One World Trust] in Parliament, with MP Malcolm Savidge in the chair. He described how the Indian military has a unique non-violent and productive role to play in protecting the environment, without deviating from their dedicated roles that now include International Peace Keeping/Building and Disaster Relief.
The concept of ‘proper soldiering’ pioneered by Brigadier-General Michael Harbottle, was inspired by his meeting with Eustace D’Souza.
Though much of their work relates to the proper role of the soldier in true defence and keeping/ building peace, there was also a proposal to use military skills, discipline and equipment in such crises and in environmental protection and regeneration.
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