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Saturday, 30 August 2008

From Today's Papers - 30 Aug

Govt notifies pay panel report

New Delhi, August 29
Over 50 lakh government employees, including armed forces personnel, will receive an enhanced pay packet beginning September 1, with the government today notifying the revised recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC).

The much-awaited CPC had received a seal of approval from the union cabinet a fortnight ago after it amended certain recommendations of the Justice Sri Krishna-led Pay Commission that submitted its report to the government on March 24 this year.

The CPC recommendations and the subsequent government decision with regard to revised scales of pay and dearness allowance for civilian employees of the Central government would be made retrospectively effective from January 1, 2006, the notification said.

However, the revised allowances, other than dearness allowance, would be effective only from September 1 this year.

On payment of arrears, the government has modified to the extent that the arrears would be paid in cash in two instalments - first instalment of 40 per cent this financial year (2008-09) and the remaining 60 per cent in the next financial year (2009-10).

The government has approved the setting up of a committee to examine individual, post-specific and cadre-specific anomalies.

The committee should try to complete the work in one year, the notification
said. — PTI

Slackness of BSF and police cost Jammu eight lives

The terror attack in Chinore area of Jammu defies the tall claims of alertness of security agencies in general and BSF in particular. Local residents demanded deployment of the army along the IB in Jammu to prevent a repeat of such incidents..

JUST THREE months after the Samba incident, the Border Security Force (BSF) and police failed to provide security as the security apparatus of the BSF has once again been breached on the international border while militants mocked the presence of police letting the Chinore hostage crisis happen.

If one of two had been alert precious lives may not have been lost and the four little children might not be fighting fear psychosis and mental trauma faced for in 19 hours of captivity. Do the two security organisations have any reply to the questions in the blank eyes of Vipin (three years) child who was one of the hostages and will his family ever forget his trauma asked Shashi Koul, a visitor to Billa Ram Bhagat house.

The Chinore terrorist attack that has claimed eight lives and injured to six others, virtually defied the tall claims of alertness of the security agencies, which was blowing its own trumpet till now maintaining that it had sounded a high alert.

The manner in which the militants not only succeeded in infiltrating in Indian side cutting the fence, but also moved freely in the areas adjacent to Jammu city s surprising. The ultras hoodwinked the security forces launched and stayed on the border for 30 hours even after an aerial survey.

There is strong resentment among the people of Jammu against the BSF whom they accuse of total failure in preventing infiltration by militants from across the border.

A similar incident occurred in the Samba sector in second week of May 10, this year when three militants succeeded in entering Samba town where they killed four civilians including a photo journalist and two army jawans before being killed," people recalled.

It may be mentioned here that fencing along International Border (IB) was found breached in almost similar manner in Samba sector in the first week of May. Later, three militants had appeared in Samba town in an attempt to target the Brigade headquarters and all of them were gunned down, but not before they had killed five civilians and two army jawans in encounters lasting three days.

The former Union minister of State for Defence, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta has demanded a high level probe into infiltration like the Samba and Kanachak infiltration and their tragic outcome, which speak about security drawbacks despite confirmed reports of amassing of highly trained ultras on the other side of the LoC.

This is not possible without weaknesses in the security arrangements, Prof Gupta said in a statement yesterday.

Member of Parliament Lal Singh also held the BSF responsible and said that it was due to the lack of seriousness of the BSF that Pakistani militants have been infiltrating.

How did the militants managed to cover a distance of more than 15 kms opening firing and killing and injuring army personnel and civilians in spite of a high alert, asked a local.

The police could not intercept the auto even at a single naka falling between Kanachak to Chinore," said Mohan Lal, another resident of Chinore.

A senior police officer has claimed that the militants sitting on front seat of the auto were mistaken for police personnel as they were wearing khaki uniforms.

The people regretted that both BSF and police have not been keeping vigil properly. "Had both agencies acted swiftly, the casualties could have been easily averted," they said.

On Tuesday (August 26), Additional DIG (G) BSF J B Sangwan reportedly said that militants managed to cut the fence and infiltrate by taking advantage of the heavy firing, darkness and thick undergrowth. However, he was optimistic about the search operations launched by the various agencies.

Pakistan’s Calculated Provocations:
India Must Keep its Powder Dry

by Rajinder Puri

While Musharraf as President faced threat of impeachment this scribe conjectured that he could bless an adventure in Kashmir to regain political relevance. On August 6th this scribe wrote: “Is there a design behind these (ceasefire) violations... To isolate the US in Pakistan and consolidate support from Beijing nothing could be more effective than even a small adventure against India… Musharraf’s previous record… reveals a gambler capable of taking any risk to preserve his power and position.”

With Musharraf’s exit it seemed that the threat was over. Appearances were deceptive. Cross-border firing by the Pakistan army increased. The crisis in Jammu and Kashmir escalated. The shortsighted stupidity of politicians in Jammu and in the Valley apart, there is little doubt that the death of a senior Hurriyat leader in police firing became a critical event to inflame public opinion in the Valley. It transpires that he was not shot by a police or army bullet. Would it be too far fetched to speculate that the ISI had a hand in his death?

Meanwhile bomb blasts inside Pakistan increased in intensity and frequency. And the ruling coalition instead of a united and focused fight against terror fell apart. One day after Nawaz Sharif walked out of the ruling coalition Pakistani infiltrators attacked Jammu. But this time there was a significant difference. They crossed not the Line of Control but international border. The army battled the terrorists in Jammu. Was the international border violation a carefully calibrated move by the forces scuttling Pakistan’s democracy to provoke a cross border response by the Indian army? It might be recalled that in 1965 when President Ayub Khan crossed the international border to cut off Akhnoor Prime Minister Shastri launched an attack against Lahore.
This time around an even mild response by the Indian army could serve the purpose of Pakistani forces out to destroy the country’s democracy. The army would regain full power with or without Musharraf. The Indian government needs to be doubly cautious.

The Pakistan government has failed to address the genuine demands for autonomy in NWFP and Baluchistan with a worthwhile peace package. It has failed to neutralize mounting terrorism. It has failed to separate the local Taliban from foreign Al Qaeda mercenaries. And it has failed to provide a united cohesive civilian government. Pakistan is in a mess.

If India responds angrily to calculated provocations by certain dark Pakistani elements, it will help strengthen them. If India watches, waits and keeps its powder dry, it might well see Pakistan fall apart under the weight of its own contradictions. That would be a tragic, complicating event. But with the failure of Pakistan’s politicians to rise to the occasion, this dire prospect is possible.

India's Astra Missile Flight Test in September

India will conduct the guided flight test of air-to-air missile Astra next month at Chandipur-on-sea in Orissa, a top defence official said Friday.

"We have kept the launch window open for the flight test with the guidance systems of Astra from Sep 10-15. We will conduct the test on any one of the days when the weather is favourable," defence scientist V.K. Saraswat told IANS here.

State-run Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has already completed the control flights of Astra, designed for an 80-km range in head-on mode and 20 km-range in tail-chase mode.

The beyond visual range missile has been integrated with the carrier aircraft Sukhoi-30 MKI. Integration with other fighter jets (Mirage 2000 and MiG 29) will be taken up after the guided test to verify its accuracy in destroying manoeuvring targets.

"The results of various tests conducted in the development stages have been positive. The feedback has enabled us to prepare for the guided test and subsequent induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF)," Saraswat said at a defence conference on "Networking and network-centric operations", organised by the Computer Society of India.

The Hyderabad-based Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) took nearly five years to develop the 150-kg tactical missile at an estimated cost of Rs.10 billion under the integrated guided missile development programme of the DRDO. Possessing such a futuristic weapon will propel India into an elite club of countries such as the US, Russia, France and Israel.

In the run-up to the control and guided tests, two experimental flight tests were conducted in March 2007 to study the ballistic performance and control of the missile at low altitudes and shorter ranges.

"The missile can be launched after receiving a signal from the far away target and it will seek and home in using a complex range of onboard manoeuvres based on radio frequency (RF)," Saraswat said.

India 'Regrets' UN Body's
'Irresponsible' Kashmir Remarks

New Delhi
India has expressed regret over the “irresponsible” remarks by a UN body about alleged human rights abuse in Jammu and Kashmir and underlined that New Delhi "did not need any advice to protect the rights of its citizens".

“We regret that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has issued a statement on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said in a statement late Thursday night.

“This is uncalled for and irresponsible; India does not need any advice in respect of the protection and promotion of the human rights of its citizens,” he said.

He was referring to a statement by the Geneva-based OHCHR expressing concerns over “recent violent protests in Indian-administered Kashmir that have reportedly led to civilian casualties as well as restrictions to the right to freedom of assembly and expression.”

The OHCHR also called on the Indian authorities, in particular security forces, to respect the right to freedom of assembly and expression, and comply with international human rights principles in controlling the demonstrators.

Reacting sharply, New Delhi pointed out that Jammu and Kashmir has been “a victim of terrorist violence for almost two decades” and the authorities have acted “within the law and with restraint” throughout this period.

“Terrorist groups have targeted innocent civilians. They have not refrained from taking women and children as hostages as in the recent incident in Jammu,” he said.

“In all their actions against terrorists, personnel of the security forces have sought to ensure that no innocent lives are lost, and for this objective have on many occasions laid down their lives,” he added.

“The Acting High Commissioner calls for thorough and independent investigations into all killings that have occurred so far,” Michele Montas, spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said in New York Wednesday.

"That the Secretary-General himself does not issue a statement should not be read as a sign that he is not aware of, or concerned about, the situation," Montas added when asked why the UN Secretary-General himself has not issued a statement on the situation in Kashmir.

Over 40 people have died in clashes between security forces and protesters since a row erupted in Kashmir two months ago over 40 hectares of land allotted to a Hindu shrine for constructing temporary shelters for pilgrims along the route to a much revered shrine.

The UN body's statement is seen here as a diplomatic setback for India as recent protests have drawn international attention to what some see as human rights violations in Indian Kashmir and India's dispute with Pakistan over this issue.

In a bid to internationalize the Kashmir issue, Pakistan has accused India of using disproportionate use of force and of human rights violations. India has repudiated Pakistan's contention saying Islamabad has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of India. Experts have warned the Indian government that if the crisis in Kashmir is not defused, the issue could be internationalized.

Govt. to set up ex-servicemen commission soon

Rewari (Haryana)

Fri, 29 Aug 2008:

Rewari (Haryana), August 29 (ANI): Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Friday said that the government would soon set up an Ex-Servicemen Commission to address the grievances of armed forces veterans and plan welfare schemes for them.

"After opening a new department in the Defence Ministry for ex-servemen, the government is going to set up an Ex-Servicemen Commission soon to recommend various welfare schemes for them and their families," Antony said, during the inauguration function of a Sainik School at Thappa Gothra Khori village near Rewari in Haryana.

He also said that the government had earmarked around Rs 6,000 crore additionally for serving defence personnel and ex-servicemen after removing the anomalies in the recommendations of the sixth pay commission, which was being implemented from 1st September.

Antony urged other States of the country to learn from Haryana, he further added that he is very impressed with Haryana government efforts in taking care of its ex-servicemen and providing them welfare schemes.

"The Sainik Schools are today one of the major vehicles to carry forward the movement of mass discipline in our society," he said. (ANI)

Army launches massive search operation in Jammu


Fri, 29 Aug 2008:

Jammu, Aug 29 (ANI): Army today launched a massive combing operation on the outskirts of Jammu following reports of the presence of two militants in the area.

A woman informed police about the presence of two suspected militants in police uniforms in Ratnuchak forest area on the outskirts of the Jammu cy in the afternoon, police said.

Soon after getting the information, troops of 26 Infantry Div, along with police, cordoned off the entire area and Special Operation Group launched a massive search operation, they said.

Army has taken positions atop houses and started combing operation in the forest belt, they said.

The high alert continued for the second consecutive day on Friday in the city. All entry and exit points have been sealed and all vehicles going in and coming out of the region are being screened.

Police suspects that some more militants may have sneaked into Jammu from Pakistan after crossing the international border in Kanachak during the major infiltration bid on August 26.

Three infiltrators were killed on August 27 during a 19-hour-long hostage drama in the city. (ANI)

ISI backing ‘super terror’ against India

New Delhi, August 29
In a startling revelation, a Union Home Ministry report has warned the usage of chemicals, biological, nuclear or radiological weapons against India, initiating a form of "super terrorism", by terror groups backed by Pakistan's ISI.

With ISI spreading its tentacles across the country - from Jammu and Kashmir to down South - the report spoke of active terror-modules mushrooming in Bihar, Assam and West Bengal, where sleeper cells have been assigned specific targets.

The report also said the Indo-Nepal border in Bihar is being used for smuggling arms, explosives, fake currency into the country, while the agency was focusing on Uttar Pradesh to fund Madrasas and recruit youngsters for subversive activities.

South India too is figuring in the ISI’s overall game plan, wherein unemployed youths are being targeted.

The report also mentions that ISI is trying to revive Punjab militancy and forming new anti-India groups in the state.

Underworld gangs, which have strong links with ISI, also find a special mention in the report for being approached by the Pakistan agency to expand the terror network in Gujrat after their successful run in Maharashtra.

These gangs are already using the coastal line for transporting arms and running drug operations. — PTI

Bush fully briefed on India, Pakistan situation since Musharraf exit

August 29th, 2008 - 11:11 am ICT by IANS -

Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) President George W. Bush has been kept fully briefed about the situation in Pakistan and rise in violence across the border with India since the exit former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf.”Yes, the president is kept fully briefed on it,” White House spokesperson Dana Perino told reporters Thursday when asked if Bush was watching or been briefed about the situation in Pakistan since the exit of it key ally in Islamabad.

“And I would refer you to Department of Defence, who would have more on their recent conversations with their military,” she said.

Perino’s comments came as the Pentagon confirmed that top US military officials had met the Pakistani army’s chief of staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Aug 26 on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Indian Ocean to continue “their ongoing dialogue about the war on terrorism.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, described his meeting with Kayani as “constructive and focused on the challenges posed by extremists in the federally administered tribal area and the North West Frontier in Pakistan.”

Kayani understands the threat extremists pose to his country, Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday. The US and Pakistani top brass went over the specifics of the threat facing Pakistan and Afghanistan and what can be done about it.

“The Pakistani military faces a conventional military challenge from India and the extremist challenge,” he said. “Kayani understands the situation and is moving toward combating the extremist problem on the border with Afghanistan.”

“I’m pleased that he’s moving in that direction and that he is, actually, operating,” Mullen said. “And again, we’re trying to figure out … how that fits into bringing pressure onto that border to work to minimise the cross-border operations from Pakistan into Afghanistan on the case of the insurgents. It’s just going to take some time.”

“There is … a growing complexity and coordination among extremist groups there - an almost syndicate-like behaviour - that has resulted in new and ever more sophisticated attacks on coalition forces,” Mullen said referring to the tribal area that the Taliban and Al Qaida are using to plan and train for attacks in Afghanistan.

Pointing to attacks against French forces near Kabul last week and against US forces in the Wanat Valley near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan last month, he said: “The safe havens in the border regions provide launching pads for these sorts of attacks, and they need to be shut down.”

Accompanying Mullen at the conference with the Pakistanis was Army Gen.

David D. McKiernan, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan; Army Lt. Gen.

Martin E. Dempsey, acting US Central Command chief; Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the soon-to-be commander of US Central Command who now commands Multinational Force Iraq; and Navy Adm. Eric T. Olson, commander of US Special Operations Command.

Mullen said he came away from the long-planned meeting “very encouraged that the focus is where it needs to be and that the … military-to-military relationship we’re building with Pakistan is getting stronger every day.”

“For me, more than anything, this was a chance to better understand a very complex challenge in a critical part of the world and to try to do that through the eyes of the leadership who live and work and fight there every single day,” said Mullen who has met Kayani five times since February.

The meeting was important in “terms of learning as well as continuing to look at where … we can support and how we can understand each other better, with a…very clear need from the United States’ standpoint and from the Pakistani standpoint, that we have got to figure out a way to get at this problem,” he said.

Different areas of Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan pose different challenges, Mullen said, and long-term solutions must be in place to address the root causes of extremism.

“It continues to be an extraordinarily complex problem [in Pakistan],” he said. “We need to continue to press on it. There are areas that we can do better. There are areas that the Pakistan military can do better. We understand that. It’s an area, I think, we can all improve on. But it is not going to be something that gets solved overnight.”

The United States will continue to work with Kayani and will continue to reach out to improve the military-to-military relationship, he said.

“As I have come to know him … his goal … is to do the right thing by Pakistan,” Mullen said. “He’s an extraordinary individual, and his ultimate … principles and goals are to do what’s best for Pakistan. And everything he’s done in our engagement indicates that’s absolutely the case.”

War, Peace & Relations Across Palk Straits

By Col. R. Hariharan (retd)

South Asia Analysis Group

The Eelam War is entering the messy phase. During the last two weeks, in Mannar sector the security forces have progressed up to Mulankavil (southeast of Nachikuda on the Mannar coast) on A32 road to Pooneryn. They are leaning on lineTunukkai-Mallavi, West of Mankulam on A9 highway increasing the threat to Pooneryn and Kilinochchi defences of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This should put the LTTE in a dilemma as the security forces have two options to strike – along A32 to Pooneryn with holding operations along Tunukkai-Uyilankulam/ Mallavi, or progress in the other way round to threaten Kilinochchi. Both are viable as they have another task force guarding their eastern flank of 57 Division operating closer to A9.

On the Welioya sector, though 59 Division has managed to capture Andankulam base its progress into the Tiger heartland north and west of Mullaitivu could get sticky due to the terrain that eats up troops.

These operations have amply demonstrated how the security forces are overcoming their weaknesses on three difficult aspects – higher coordination of war involving multiple formations, effective use of commandos in tandem with conventional operations, and retaining military initiative at all times.

On the negative side, as the security forces progress further into the LTTE areas, the lines of communication become stretched, they would become vulnerable to determined LTTE interdiction or even blocks. Much would depend upon Prabhakaran’s ability to motivate the cadres and the ability of the security forces not be destabilised by such operations. One can expect the security forces to have contingency plan for such a development.

Whether one believes in the huge number of casualties of the put out daily by the Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence or not, the writing on the wall would be clear to the insurgent group. Time is running out for it to hold on to its conventional capability. In war, time is the only resource available equally to both the victor and the vanquished. If at all the LTTE has to do anything to stem the tide of the security force eating into its vitals, it has to do it now. Overall, on both sectors the progress is going to be messy and slower, with the monsoon also making life more difficult for both the forces.

The non-military issue that could upset the security forces advance is the flow of refugees going out of control when they move in to the more inhabited areas closer to Kilinochchi, Mankulam and Pooneryn. The security forces had managed to avoid this so far in the Mannar sector by patiently investing or by passing small towns (as seen in Adampan operations). That might not be possible unless they streamline a policy on handling the large outflow of population expected to spill over on axes of advance when the operations are joined in. There will also be the huge burden of logistics to control and care for the civilians. These are the known fall outs of war that cannot be wished away. (That is what makes war a non-option.)

Relations across the Palk Strait

A few days back when India’s National Security Advisor MK Narayanan told The Straits Times interviewer that the Sri Lankan government should get the Tamil population on their side to succeed there was a mild flutter in Colombo. In the midst of a winning war, brand marketed as the Liberation of the People, Narayanan’s remark "The (Sri Lanka Army) has made a lot of progress in the last few weeks. But even if they win the battle I am not sure they will win the war. I think they haven’t got the Tamil population on their side," probably grated the official stand of Colombo on the war.

He did not underestimate Colombo’s reaction to his statement. "I know the Sri Lankan government will be unhappy (at this advice) but we are not interested in preaching to them and that is the best advice they could get. India can give this advice better than the Norwegians or any other country. These are people that we know, we understand. Do they want a situation like many countries have faced?" he added.

On the other hand, Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had his own view on the subject. Speaking to The Times, London three days later, he said peace in Sri Lanka would return only if Tamil rebels were destroyed completely. "You can’t just push them into the jungles and wait. You have to search for them and completely eradicate them. Only then can peace come," he explained further.

The two statements indicate the differing perceptions of India and Sri Lanka on the war going on against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka.

India had been consistent on three issues in its cyclical interest, involvement, and intervention in Sri Lanka Tamil issue. They are – no support to independent Tamil Eelam, support for Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, and the devolution of powers to Sri Lanka Tamils as the key to solve the Tamil issue. MK Narayanan’s statement basically conforms to this pattern, though with a little generosity his wording might be called plain speaking. Even the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "stuck to the traditional Indian stand that Sri Lanka should work out a formula which allows for maximum devolution of power to the ethnic Tamils in the north of the island country," during his recent visit to Colombo to attend the SAARC s summit, as a news report from Colombo stated.

Most of the Sri Lanka watchers (including this author) would agree with the National Security Advisor’s assessment of the Sri Lanka situation: "What the Sri Lankans are not factoring in is the great deal of sullenness in the Tamil man. There are accusations of profiling even in Colombo. Our argument is: unless you give Tamils a feeling they have the right to their own destiny in many matters you will not succeed. LTTE’s capacity to carry out terrorist attacks is not diminished. What we are telling them is, get the Tamils on your side by greater devolution of power. For them to be part of Sri Lankan state, they need the huge Tamil minority on their side."

In essence, Narayanan’s statement does not question the legitimacy of Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE, but the overall objective of the war. President Rajapaksa’s government has repeatedly given an impression that once the LTTE is vanquished it would be all smooth sailing with the Tamil population automatically joining the democratic mainstream. The Sri Lanka Defence Secretary’s statement quoted earlier reinforces this impression yet again. It appears to identify the LTTE as the problem, rather than as the manifestation of the problem. And that is the difference between the perceptions of India and Sri Lanka.

A second aspect is the popular aspiration for peace. Surveys indicate increasing public support for war in Sri Lanka. But this increased support has two elements: battles are being won, and people are nursing increased expectations of permanent peace at the end of the war. End objective of war makes a lot of difference to people’s expectations. Peoples’ expectations of permanent peace are unlikely to be met unless there is a matching process of devolution of powers to the Tamils. This simple truth appears to have been wished away in Sri Lanka at present. The holding of elections for the eastern provincial council offered a very good opportunity to the government to demonstrate its faith in devolving limited powers envisaged in the 13th amendment. Unfortunately, even that has not been done so far, and the process still remains a promise in print only.

Presence of a small number of highly motivated terrorists can cause havoc to the normal life of the people as amply demonstrated by the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists in India for sometime now. A small number of them managed to carry serial blasts in a number of cities across the country despite the police and security apparatus of over 12 states coming into play. This should hold an abject lesson for Sri Lanka. If the LTTE is routed and driven out of areas under its control (as total ’ of any insurgent force might take years), a large segment of it will take to terrorist attacks across the country.

This is a clear if we look at the long history of the Tamil struggle in Sri Lanka. To convert the entire history of Tamil struggle into a simple equation of war against the LTTE might win some votes in Southern Sri Lanka, but it would not eliminate the Tamil political and militancy problems, though they may not continue in the same form or content as at present.

Notwithstanding these differences in perceptions on the Tamil issue, India and Sri Lanka appear to have a clear understanding of the political compulsions behind their conduct. This has helped them to focus on the positives and not to overplay the differences. This is evident from Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s comments given in another interview to an Indian news agency on Narayanan’s statement.

Rather than criticising Narayanan, he lamented about Sri Lanka’s limitations in convincing others about its intentions. "The only area where we have failed is to show our genuineness, to convince the outsiders, about our sincerity in resolving the problem. In action we have proved it. Unfortunately, we are not good at propaganda. If Tamils indeed are not with us, then it is our weakness." This statement appears to have chosen to ignore the whole point mad by MK Narayanan. It was much more than propaganda, it was about belief. The defence secretary’s statement may be called over simplification of not only a complex issue.

The Sri Lanka government is fully aware that it needs Indian government’s support even to complete its current military mission. India is extending vital support for the war effort by continuing with tough security measures in Tamil Nadu where a number of LTTE supply modules continue to be busted. This should indicate to Colombo that regardless of nuances of rhetoric, India’s policy has been consistent. The defence secretary also acknowledged this with the words that Narayanan "only put in different words what our President has been saying, that we need to defeat terrorism but the (ethnic) problem needs to be resolved (politically)." The Defence Secretary took consolation in two positive aspects he saw in Narayanan’s statement: he had said the military was winning, and he did not say that Sri Lanka should talk to the LTTE.

This convergence and confusion in view points of India and Sri Lanka will continue till the President is dependent upon right wing Sinhala support. This section of Sinhala polity has survived by building up the so called "Dravidastan" bogey of Tamil Nadu together with the LTTE gobbling up parts of Sri Lanka. The thought of Dravidastan has been shunted to historical irrelevance in Tamil Nadu, which has become a vital development engine in the national mainstream. And the faster the President gets rid of this right wing dependency the better it would be for his government, the people of Sri Lanka, and for India-Sri Lanka relations.

(Col. R Hariharan, a retired Military Intelligence specialist on South Asia, served as the head of intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka 1987-90.He is associated with the South Asia Analysis Group and the Chennai Centre for China Studies.

India-China defence ties to get boost


30 August 2008

NEW DELHI - The navies and the air forces of India and China are seeking to engage with each other for the first time this year to build up on the goodwill generated by the first joint exercise between the two armies last year.

In this endeavour, the chief of the Navy of the People’s Republic of China, Wu Shengli, will visit India towards the yearend following the visit of the chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major, to China.

“The chief of the navy of the People’s Republic of China will be visiting India in November- end this year to discuss the holding of joint exercises,” a senior Navy official told IANS. Indian and Chinese warships have already been making port calls in each other’s countries as part of growing confidence- building measures between the two sides.

The Indian Navy has long expressed apprehensions about the Chinese Navy’s incursions into the Indian Ocean region and hopes to “blunt” its thrust into this area through engagement.

“There has been talk of enhanced defence cooperation between the two countries and right now the balance of visits to the other country is tilted on the Indian side.

“The visit of the Chinese Navy chief will give a fresh impetus to military cooperation between two countries,” added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

India and China fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962. More recently, they have taken a series of steps to thaw their relations, including strengthening of military ties.

The IAF chief’s visit to China will precede the visit of the Chinese naval chief. “The IAF chief will visit China in October-end or in the first week of November this year.

His visit is likely to coincide with the visit of IAF’s aerobatics flying display team Surya Kiran’s visit to China,” an IAF official said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Surya Kiran team will perform in China, probably some time in October or November. “This will be a goodwill trip. Any IAF exercise with China is likely to take place only after that,” the IAF official added. The Surya Kiran team of 11 aircraft and their pilots is the daredevil aerobatics team of the IAF that has performed in several countries around the world and amazed audiences with its skill.

Discussions between India and China are also expected here soon to finalise the modalities and venue for joint army exercises to be held in India later this year.

During his visit to the border post of Longewala in February this year, Defence Minister A.K. Antony had stated that the next India-China joint army exercises would be held in India.

This would be the second such joint army exercise between the two countries. The first India- China joint army exercise was held in China in December last year near the city of Kunming.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between India and China in May 2006 during a visit by the then defence minister (and current external affairs minister) Pranab Mukherjee that stipulated that the two countries would hold joint military exercises, join forces in counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts and also cooperate in search and rescue operations.

Indian Navy Proposes Naval Patrols Along the Waters of Somalia

Dated 28/8/2008

In the wake of recent hijacks of ships on the Somalia coast and the threat to shipping line, Indian Navy has sent a proposal to the Indian government of having regular patrols in the Somalia waters, on the line of US naval patrols, which is now stationed there.

The letter was written after pirates took over a cargo ship, 'Iran Deynat' in Somalia on August 21. There were total 24 people in the ship including three Indians. The ship 'Iran Deynat' was sailing towards Somalia carrying cargo from Poland.
The proposal deal with the implications of having regular patrols in the area, and this could lead to quicker response by the Indian Navy in case of similar responses in the future. This could lead to unilateral action or even joint action against pirates.

The transitional federal government of Somalia has authorized the United Nations Security Council to permit other countries to enter Somalia waters to fight pirates. Somali coastal waters are among the most hazardous in the world, despite the presence of US navy patrols there.
The US and NATO warships have been patrolling off the Horn of Africa for years in an effort to crack down on piracy off Somalia, where a UN-backed transitional government is struggling to restore order after 15 years of near-anarchy.

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