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Tuesday, 14 October 2008

From Today's Papers - 14 Oct

Letter to the Editor - Mint


This is with reference to the article The Service Chiefs Protest by Sushant K. Singh and Nitin Pai (Mint, Oct 13). Unfortunately the article does not present the complete picture of the current imbroglio, and appears to be biased. The following need pointing out:-

It is agreed that comprehensive military reforms are required. That, however, is a separate issue have no bearing on the anomalies of the pay commission per se.

While the pay commission and the government have gone by existent parities, the services refer to the extant Warrant of Precedence. This statement is untrue and misleading. All that the services are asking is maintenance of existent parities. Prior to the pay commission, Lt Cols pay was equivalent to Directors of IAS and Rs 800 more than Directors of all other services. This parity was retained by the Pay Commission by placing all these in Pay Band 3. However, the Committee of Secretaries disturbed the parity by promoting all of these less the Lt Cols to Pay Band 4. The resultant difference in salaries between personnel drawing equal pay earlier is Rs 14,000. Case of Lt Gens and DGPs is similar.

Yes, it is true that Lt Cols used to command battalions 30 years back and command companies today. But, it is also true that while each state police used to be headed by an Inspector General (equivalent to a Brigadier), today each state is authorised four DGPs (equivalent to Army Commanders or Secretaries). In fact, several states have gone beyond this number and appointed many more Andhra Pradesh for example.

Going strictly by the Union home ministry's rules, a state should not have more than four officers with the rank of DGP, two from the cadre and two ex-cadre. State governments can take the liberty of promoting more officers to the DGP's rank. The AP government decided its lucky number is seven.

Normally, senior officers who are bypassed to the DG&IGP's post, are appeased with elevation to the DGP rank. This happened when H J Dora was made the chief of the police force superseding other senior IPS officers like V S Ravi, V P B Nair and T S Appa Rao, all of whom got the DGP rank subsequently.

While the number of DGPs is seven, there are as many as 20 additional DGPs. Hyderabad police commissioner A K Mohanty and intelligence chief K Aravinda Rao are also additional DGPs.The others include B Prasada Rao, I J Nagia, K R Nandan, M Alagar, S K Jayachandra, T P Das, Aruna Bahuguna, D T Naik, M V Krishna Rao, R R Girish Kumar, A Shiv Shankar, V Dinesh Reddy, M Ratan, P Gowtham Kumar, M Babu Rao, S A Huda, M Bhaskar, and Alok Srivastava.


Unlike the civil services, where each officer reaches the rank of Joint Secretary at least, 80% of the army officers retire as Lt Cols. The up gradation of posts has been carried out to improve the career prospects in order to make the services more attractive. Relegating Lt Cols to several notches below their erstwhile contemporaries defeats the purpose of this exercise.

We have come to this pass due to a lack of appetiteboth among civilians and among the Armed Forcesfor fundamental military reforms that would make the profile of the Armed Forces consistent with the rest of the economy. This statement just does not make sense. The profile and structuring of the Armed Forces needs to be consistent with the operational requirements and the threat perceptions.

Raising the bogey of threat to prudent constitutional balance is vintage bureaucratic mumbo jumbo. It was used to cut the military down to size in the 1950s and the result was evident in 1962. Civilian control over the Armed Forces implies political control, not bureaucratic. India has remained free from spells of military rule not because of vision of its founding fathers, who devised an effective model for civilian control of the military, but because of the strong values and professionalism of the military leadership itself, which has ensured insularity of the forces from politics. Had they been left to the mercy of political and bureaucratic machinations, the armed forces would have suffered the fate of most other institutions. It would no longer have remained the last bastion, the ultimate repository of the nations trust.

The article does not mention one of the core issues the pension of the Jawans has been reduced by 20%, without ensuring their lateral transfer to Para Military Forces, as envisaged by the pay commission.

The fact is that the service chiefs are responsible to the cabinet for ensuring the fighting fitness of their command. Morale is a crucial component of this state. The chiefs were sanguine of the crippling effect of the anomalies on the morale. They were also aware that once implemented, it would be fait accompli. The anomalies of the Fourth and Fifth Pay Commissions have not been resolved to date. It was also apparent that the true import of the issue has not been conveyed to the political leadership by the bureaucrats.

The service chiefs have therefore acted in the best interest of their command, and therein also lies national interest. They have done so at the risk of their respective careers, which is more than what any bureaucrat has done since times immemorial.

Viewed in the light of these facts, the chiefs need to be lauded for their loyalty and professionalism, rather than being falsely castigated for implied insubordination.

I do hope that you live up to the best journalistic traditions and bring the complete facts before your readers, enabling them to decide for themselves.

Yours Sincerely,

Lt Gen RP Agarwal, PVSM, VSM (Retd)

Pride and precedence

Manvendra Singh | October 13, 2008 | 13:06 IST

The Congress party's DNA does not allow it to handle three subjects with insight, intellect or innovation. On most other issues the party comes up with interesting ideas, even if the process adopted is bizarre. But DNA is, in this case, essentially about memory and that is precisely the undoing of the Congress party when it comes to dealing with Pakistan, China, and the Indian armed forces. Not necessarily in the same breadth, but even as individual subjects.

While the principal culprit would of course be the invertebrate nature of the average Congressperson, the onus for this intellectual disaster falls squarely on the shoulders of late Prime Minister Nehru. The sheer scale of his capabilities and intellect when compared to what his contemporaries possessed created an aura of impenetrable proportions. It was, in a sense, India's first example of outsourcing wherein the party simply left thought to its leader. Whatever policy Nehru formulated was enshrined in party shastras. No reason to think again.

The ideas that the great leader bequeathed his small party did not require intelligence in implementing, as if they were cast in stone. But for the economic policy that was tossed out by an equally interesting leader, the late PV Narasimha Rao, the inability to think out of the box over Pakistan, China and the Armed Forces remains an enduring legacy. A brief attempt over these three issues during the term of the late Rajiv Gandhi came to naught as the enormous inertia of the Congress party checked him.

The same inertia has come to mark the incredibly inept handling of the armed forces Pay Commission crisis. The Government of India has compounded errors with its unbelievable ignorance about the grievance of the armed forces. The three chiefs have displayed their own ineptitude in how they've carried the message for their services, but more on that later.

The root of the crisis lies in the strange Indian practice of constituting a pay commission that would look at the army in Siachen and the additional secretary in South Block. How the two job requirements, and service ethos, can ever be written about on the same page defies explanation. Despite that the government did not appoint an armed forces member on the commission even when it had the opportunity to do so.

The end result of which is that the service headquarters are banging their heads on the wall to plead that the report as it stands is not implement able. Unlike what anybody has alluded to or accused the chiefs of not doing, the issue is not over pay, but over precedence. And as the doorman of any government official knows, it is precedence that carries the order of the day. But in this case the order of the day is going to have two very serious crises.

In the short term the government's ignorance, and insistence, is certain to wreck carefully crafted unified command structures in insurgency areas. Just as politicians stand accused of turning the socio-political clock back in the Kashmir valley, politicians can now also be accused of aiming to turn the operational clock back. The reason being that the Pay Commission has come up with its own formulations over pay and precedence.

While it had the authority to look into matters of pay, it did not have the licence to tamper with precedence. And by doing what it has done, it has ensured that the carefully worked out counter-insurgency mechanism stands on the verge of collapsing. The primacy accorded to the army vis--vis police, state and central, is being systematically being whittled away.

As a former journalist who covered the last Pay Commission, and its very sorry air force fiasco, suffice to say that what confronts the country today is far more serious. And insidious. The key officers accountable for India's tactics on the Line of Control or in anti-insurgency operations within are to lose the very precedence that has given them the authority to bring the situation to where it is.

While the responsibility devolved upon the state and central police forces, the control continued to spiral out of hand. It was only when the Army was deployed, and set into motion its own counter-insurgency grid, that a semblance of control could be seen. Now this same Army is being made accountable to the police forces in terms of precedence. When this has not happened in any other country in the world, how India could hope to re-invent this relationship is perplexing to say the least.

The second serious crisis is one the country will have to face when it goes into a conventional war. As per the war manual the Army takes command of the BSF and the Navy of the Coast Guard. When this tinkering of precedence has happened, who will now relinquish to whom? It is a very serious crisis of command and one which is testing the resilience of the three services.

There weren't any blogs during the last Pay Commission, and nor was there much of an email presence. Yet mobilisation happened on levels that could be termed scary. Both these new technologies have given much air to voices of those that have always remained mute.

In order to have the honour of wearing the President's commission an officer forfeits certain fundamental rights. This holds true for all ranks. The historical and global logic being that the sheer scale of that honour is enough to compensate for those losses. Those who have experienced the pleasure and honour of the uniform will vouch for the judiciousness of this exchange. So it is galling when the three chiefs seek to right a wrong and they're accused of sedition. Being soldiers they're of course meant, and seen, to be mum on all matters. But when honour is at stake it is the duty of all to stand up and be counted. For this is at the core of India's civilisation as enshrined in the Bhagvad Gita.

In their inexperience with politicians, and their ineptitude at being messengers, the chiefs were delivering the wrong message all this while. It had nothing to do with pay but with precedence. It is in the nature of all bureaucracies to encroach. The military bureaucracy also does it when given a chance. But this creeping encroachment encouraged by political blindness could cost the country very dearly. For at stake is the honour of India's armed forces, the institution that the country holds dearest. And giving it to those that the country loathes, in khaki, safari and white.

Manvendra Singh, MP, represents Barmer in the Lok Sabha

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Pay issue of Armed forces to be resolved soon: Pranab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 13
The Pranab Mukherjee-led three-member ministerial committee, set up to look into the armed forces' grievance about pay anomalies, is likely to resolve the matter soon.

External affairs minister Mukherjee told mediapersons here today that he had discussed the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and defence minister A.K. Antony.

"Shortly, I am going to discuss with finance minister P. Chidambaram,'' he said.

Without giving details of his discussions with the Prime Minister, Mukherjee said: "I do hope we will be able to sort out the issue shortly."

The committee, which also includes Antony and Chidambaram, was set up by the Prime Minister on September 25 in the wake of resentment in the armed forces, which had complained that there were anomalies in the 6th pay commission recommendations that had lowered the status of their officers.

After the government notification was issued on August 29, the issue of anomalies in the pay for officers was first raised by Air Chief Fali Homi Major in his letter in his capacity as acting chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). The Chiefs of Navy and Army too have been voicing their resentment.

Stop violations, India tells Pak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 13
India and Pakistan today set in motion the process of an intense dialogue between the National Security Advisers (NSA) of the two countries on various outstanding issues at which New Delhi is understood to have inquired from Islamabad whether it had made any progress in the investigations into the July 7 suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul.

New Delhi also conveyed to the Pakistani side its serious concern over the increase in border ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in recent months.

With an upsurge in terrorist violence in recent months, the two countries are learnt to have discussed ways in which they could activate the joint anti-terror mechanism, formed about two years ago but has made little headway.

NSA MK Narayanan for the first time held official-level talks with his Pakistani counterpart Mahmud Ali Durrani on a wide range of bilateral issues. Sources said the talks were inconclusive and the two NSAs would meet again tomorrow. Durrani, a trusted lieutenant of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, is scheduled to meet PM Manmohan Singh, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and BJP president Rajnath Singh tomorrow before returning home on Wednesday.

The Indian side is understood to have asked Islamabad if it had conducted an independent probe into the embassy bombing as promised by Pakistan PM Yousaf Raza Gilani during the SAARC summit in Colombo in August.

The meetings between the NSAs came within a fortnight of the talks the Indian Prime Minister had with the Pakistani President in New York at which Islamabad reassured New Delhi that it was committed to its January 2004 promise that it would not allow misuse of the Pakistani territory for anti-India activities.

Soon, Eurocopter training institute in India

New Delhi, October 13
Sensing an opportunity in the shortage of qualified pilots to fly helicopters, European helicopter maker Eurocopter plans to set up a pilot training facility in India.
"We are already in talks with some Indian entities for setting up a training institute where we can provide pilots for the helicopters," senior vice-president (Asia-Pacific) of Eurocopter Norbert Ducrot said here today.

Refusing to divulge the name of the Indian companies, he said the move was being taken in the wake of less number of pilots being trained to fly the helicopters in the country.

Ducrot said the institute will have all the facilities, including training the pilots on simulators. The Eurocopter team, which is here to attend the Air Show at Hyderabad, said their company was looking at three segments of civilian market in India - emergency medical services, off-shore and corporate world.

There were as many as one dozen firm orders from corporates in the country. "The Eurocopter has an advantage of providing maintenance, services and customer care in India," Ducort said. — PTI

Letters to the Editor : Tribune

United effort must to help the Services

I read Premvir Das' article, "Military-civil ties" (Oct 8). He appears to be projecting the views of the babus. He feels that the civilian bureaucrats, by virtue of not wearing the uniform, are more akin to the elected representatives and because of their permanence are more competent than military men to advice and support elected leadership.

The writer has given no logical reasons to arrive at this conclusion other than that babus have a structure and a hierarchy to manage and run the administration. By this, he has implied that military men, nurtured and trained in the Army, do not have the competence to advise the leadership about running the administration which includes the management of defence organisations.

The actual position is that the military leadership is technically, operationally and administratively more competent than civil servants to advise the political masters on matters connected with management and administration of defence organisations.

It is time all sections including civil and defence bureaucracy shed their prejudices and come together to resolve issues confronting the defence forces. The political leadership should carry out a proper evaluation of the genuine grievances of the military men without the biased advice of civilian bureaucrats and take action to remedy the present situation.

Maj-Gen J. S. KAPOOR (retd), Panchkula


I am amazed to read Premvir Das' implied assertion that 'civil control' does not mean only the control of the political leadership, but also of the civilian bureaucracy. How wrong can one be, especially a veteran admiral? I do not know his motivation for making this statement, but his assertion is patently wrong.

The writer goes on to make amends in the later part of his article; perhaps he wanted to write a politically correct and a balanced piece, but in the bargain he seems to have opted for a far too simplistic solution.

In a democracy, control is exercised by the political leadership and both the military hierarchy and the civil bureaucracy support the government of the day in their respective spheres. In our country, however, while the military is apolitical, the bulk of the bureaucracy is politically aligned and hence the political leadership is comfortable with them. That does not mean they become part of 'civil control'.

While I go along with the assertion that both the military and the civil bureaucracy need to work with each other in harmony, I strongly object to the writer's attempt to include the bureaucracy in the phrase 'civil control'.

Lt-Gen VIJAY OBEROI (retd), Panchkula


No one doubts the supremacy of the civilian authority in a democratic system like ours and we are proud of that. But the writer's definition and explanation of civilian authority appears to be prejudiced against the military.

Even if top civilian bureaucracy is taken to be superior in status to the Service Chiefs, does it mean that the status of military needs to be continuously downgraded and its rank and file made to suffer humiliation to make their point?

We as a nation have got used to honouring dead soldiers without caring about those who face death every day. We only pay lip-service to them. How many Deputy Commissioners of districts have directed their subordinate staff to attend to the genuine problems of the military personnel on priority as they come home on leave for a short period? How exactly are we looking after the welfare of the serving soldiers?

The three Service Chiefs have their responsibility to look after the interests of their commands. Let us look into their grievances with compassion, without prejudice and give them their due.

H.S. CHEEMA, Ludhiana

Indo-Pak National Security Advisors to meet today

BS Reporter / New Delhi October 13, 2008, 11:34 IST

As a sequel to the recent meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari, the National security advisors of two countries - M K Narayanan and Mahmud Ali Durrani - are meeting here today.

The meeting is likely to focus on issues like recent ceasefire violations, rise in infiltration and the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul in July.

The Narayana-Durrani meeting is also expected to prepare ground for the special meeting of the Indo-Pak joint anti-terror mechanism - the decision for which was taken up during Singh-Zardari meeting in New York last month.

Durrani is also likely to call on Manmohan Singh, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and BJP president Rajnath Singh.

Durrani, who arrived here on a five-day visit on Saturday is also expected to discuss with foreign secretary Shivsankar Menon modalities and agenda for the coming Indo-Pak meet.

Durani, who is handpicked by the newly-elected Pakistani democratic government was ambassador to the United States during the Musharraf's regime. His visit assumes significance as it is coming in the backdrop of deadly terror strikes in both the countries.

Third infiltration bid foiled at LoC in 5 days

PTI | October 13, 2008 | 17:54 IST

The Indian Army on Monday shot dead a Pakistani terrorist in Rajouri and foiled another bid by the terrorists to sneak into the Indian territory along the Line of Control.This is the third infiltration bid foiled by troops in last five days along LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.

Giving details, a senior army official said that a group of over four terrorists entered the Indian territory across the LoC in Kalsia-Laam forward area of Naushera sub-sector."Alert troops guarding the LoC laid a cordon in the area and launched a search operation during which the gun battle erupted," he said.

A terrorist was killed in the gun battle, the official said, adding an AK rifle, four magazines and 110 rounds besides some explosives were recovered.The army official added, "There is an increase in infiltration attempts from across the border. But alert troops have beaten back these attempts. This shows desperation in terrorist leadership in Pakistan to send in more armed terrorists in view of the coming assembly elections."

On October 9, troops foiled an infiltration bid in Keri sector of Rajouri district and a jawan was killed in a gunbattle.On October 1, BSF foiled an infiltration bid along IB at Tent post in Kanachak sub-sector of Jammu district as Pakistani rangers opened small arms firing on Tent post along International Border to push in a group of terrorists in J&K.

On September 27, Pakistani troops under the cover of its firing tried to infiltrate into India along IB via Chak Fagwari area in Pargwal belt on Jammu, which was foiled by the Border Security Force.On September 22, Pakistan troops violated ceasefire and opened small arms firing on Indian posts along LoC in Tarkundi forward areas in Poonch district and four terrorists were killed during infiltration bid under cover of Pakistani firing.On September 18, there was firing from Pakistan across LoC on Indian forward posts of Panjal and Kopra of Poonch district.

Since January this year, Pakistani troops have violated five-year-old ceasefire agreement 37 times and Indian troops have refused to retaliate on most occasions.Army and BSF has further beefed up the security along LoC and IB in the state after intelligence reports that several big groups of terrorists are staged along launching pads to enter J&K.Pakistani breaches of ceasefire and infiltrations bids were reported from Jammu, Samba, Rajouri, Uri, Tanghdhar and Poonch sectors this year, from where a number of terrorists were trying to sneak into India.

Over 129 infiltration bids were reported in nine months from Pakistan, in which over 70 terrorists were killed.

Slain Taliban commander was Pakistan Army officer: Report

PTI | October 13, 2008 | 16:47 IST

A Taliban commander killed by British special forces in a raid in Helmand in Afghanistan in 2007 was in fact a Pakistani military officer, providing first hard evidence of covert Pakistani military presence in the war-torn country, a media report said.

The commander, targeted in the raid on a complex in the Sangrin valley, was one of the six killed in the past year by British Special Forces -- SAS and SBS. When the British soldiers entered the compound they discovered a Pakistani military ID on the body.

"It was the first physical evidence of covert Pakistani military operations in Afghanistan even though Islamabad insists it is a close ally in the 'war against terror'," The Sunday Times said.

The paper said British officials covered up the evidence and its refusal to share the information with Afghan President Hamid Karzai led to a row.

The British move to keep the information under wraps, irked Karzai who has long accused London of viewing Afghanistan through the eyes of the Pakistani military intelligence, which is widely believed to be helping Taliban.

According to the report, British officials in Kabul refused to comment on the allegation that they had covered up the discovery of a Pakistani soldier.

They insisted Karzai's government had been informed of the negotiations with the Taliban, adding, "The camp was just a place for them to be reintegrated, learn about hygiene and things."

Afghan claims of Pakistani involvement in Helmand were backed by a senior United Nations official who said he had been told by his superiors to keep quiet after Pakistan's ambassador to the UN apparently threatened to stop contributing forces to peacekeeping missions.

Pakistan is the UN's biggest supplier of peacekeeping troops.

The coalition's refusal to confront Pakistan changed after the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul last July when 55 people were killed.

According to both British and US intelligence, phone intercepts led directly back to an Afghan cell of Pakistan's military intelligence.

Repeated accusations from Karzai about Pakistan's active support for the Taliban have been backed by a senior US marine officer.

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Nash, who commanded an embedded training team in eastern Afghanistan from June 2007 to March this year, told the Army Times that Pakistani forces flew repeated helicopter missions into Afghanistan to resupply a Taliban base camp during a fierce battle in June last year.

"We were on the receiving end of Pakistani military D-30 (a howitzer). On numerous occasions Afghan border police checkpoints and observation posts were attacked by Pakistani military forces," Nash said.

NSA talks: India raises ceasefire violations

PTI | October 13, 2008 | 15:48 IST

India on Monday conveyed its concern to Pakistan over the recent spurt in border ceasefire violations and the attack on its embassy in Kabul for which ISI has been blamed.

The concerns were voiced during the talks between National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and his Pakistani counterpart Mahmud Ali Durrani.

During the meeting, the Indian side is understood to have emphasised that such incidents do not augur well for the ongoing peace process and composite dialogue.

The two sides are believed to have looked at ways by which ceasefire violations could be ended.

Ahead of the talks, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said all issues that concern India would be discussed.

"We will discuss all the issues that concern us. Naturally, that includes what happened in Kabul, that includes the situation in terms of maintaining the ceasefire. We will do that," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

India has been perturbed by increasing incidents of cross-LoC firing by Pakistani army, many a times to provide cover to infiltrating militants.

New Delhi has also been angry at the suicide attack on its embassy in Kabul on July 7, for which Afghanistan, India and the US have blamed Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI.

India, Singapore May Strengthen Defense Ties

By vivek raghuvanshi

NEW DELHI - As part of New Delhi's "look east" policy, India is probing a possible increase in defense ties with Singapore.

Indian Defence Secretary Vijay Singh visited Singapore Oct. 9 to explore the possibilities during talks with Singapore Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean, Indian Defence Ministry sources said. New Delhi is keen to forge a maritime security arrangement with Singapore.

The two countries have held joint naval exercises, including anti-submarine warfare, search-and-rescue and anti-piracy exercises in the Straits of Malacca and the Bay of Bengal, a senior Indian Defence Ministry official said.

The two countries agreed to such exercises under an October 2003 agreement that also called for joint cooperation in defense production between Indian state-owned companies and Singapore firms.

While in Singapore, Singh also chaired the fifth India-Singapore Defence Policy Dialogue Oct. 8-9 with Singapore's Permanent Defence Secretary Chiang Chie.

Under another a long-term agreement, India regularly hosts training for Singapore's small but high-tech armed forces.

Time to approach UNSC

Asif Haroon Raja

In our bid to fight US war on terror and to make Afghanistan peaceful, we allowed the insurgency to shift from Afghanistan into FATA. Within two years the flames of militancy spread to neighbouring settled areas and then enveloped whole of Frontier province and made inroads into Punjab . The suicide bombers can reach any part of the country and hit targets even within Red Zone. High expectations were pinned on elected leaders hoping that they would soon reverse the US centric policies of Musharraf and follow home based policies in the interest of Pakistan and its people. Euphoria of the nation turned into dejection when they found the new set of leaders no better. Not only they disappointed them on the issue of deposed judges, they made yet another deal with USA and UK not to try Musharraf. Having declared that they would prefer dialogue over force, they suddenly made a volta face in the face of US pressure and declared that there will be no dialogue with the militants who refused to surrender arms. Several fronts have been opened up simultaneously and the army told to use maximum force without caring for collateral damage or its reputation.

The stepped up operations no doubt lowered the graph of violence in Afghanistan but failed to appease the insatiable appetite of USA . Instead of getting satisfied, its drones started to hit suspected targets in Waziristan killing many innocent civilians. The missile attacks together with ground assault on 4 September added to the fear and insecurity of the residents of Waziristan . The drones fitted with Hellfire missiles are exclusively controlled by CIA. Musharraf had given a blank cheque to CIA in October 2001 by of virtue which it has collected exhaustive information on Pakistan and planted agents in various departments and militant organisations. Mossad too has a hand in operating these drones since it has vast experience of using them in Gaza Strip against Palestinian and Hamas activists and leaders. CIA has distanced itself from ISI ever since it has learnt that it is not only keeping a watch but is also obstructing its clandestine activities.

Amidst heightened tensions, it was sickening to hear some highly discouraging and cowardly statements uttered by our hen-hearted political leaders in the face of American xenophobia. They had no words to say about unconcealed state terrorism of USA . It was army chief¢s statement which electrified the nation and shook up the political leadership from their state of near paralysis. After remaining in a state of limbo they slowly got out of their apologetic mode and requested USA not to violate Pakistan ¢s territorial integrity. Their half-hearted protests lacking in conviction and desired punch fell on deaf ears and CIA controlled drones continued with their offensive intrusions. In a state of utter helplessness Zardari and Gilani said that since Pakistan could not militarily fight USA the matter would be resolved diplomatically. Zardari made an air-dash to UK to play his diplomatic card instead of visiting China to exert some sort of diplomatic pressure on USA . His visit to Washington was ill-timed and uncalled for.

The unabated onslaughts are taking place in spite of Bush as well as senior US military officers assurances that Pakistan ¢s sovereignty will be respected. Pentagon has now ordered stepping up raids within Pakistan . Hardly a day has passed in September when an intrusion or a drone attack killing innocent civilians was not carried out. Although not a single strike could hit any militant, yet there was no word of regret or apology tendered. While it was heartening that a drone was eventually shot down in South Waziristan by the combined fire of security forces and Waziri tribesmen and some intrusions were thwarted, it is to be seen whether it would checkmate US belligerence. In case US troops based in Afghanistan refuse to put an end to their cross border terrorism, it will be in fitness of things to move a case in UNSC.

I recall the Indian forces after extending full support to insurgency in East Pakistan from March 1971 onwards started to make forays across the border in early November 1971 and invaded the eastern province on the night of 21 November and made toeholds at 23 different points all along the border. The then military leadership failed to approach the UNSC. This omission was out of misplaced fear that the Security Council might not foist a political solution in East Pakistan based on Mujibur Rehman's wishes. According to the then Pakistani ambassador to USA Agha Shahi. By not lodging a complaint in the UNSC about the Indian invasion as soon as it was launched, Pakistan assumed a posture different from that of a victim of aggression. It weakened the credibility of our claim regarding the intent and scale of Indian military actions.

It is pertinent to mention that the Indian offensive of East Pakistan was perhaps the only instance of an armed attack by one member state of the UN upon the territory of another, which the victim did not immediately bring before the Security Council. As a consequence, the blatant invasion went unnoticed and allowed Indian army to build up its forces into the already acquired bridge heads and wage an all out war on 4 December. This was a very grave failure on part of Yahya regime as well as Bhutto not to approach UN. In that timeframe the international community was favourably inclined towards Pakistan and as such the favourable phase should have been cashed in to our advantage. Learning from history, let there not be yet another lapse. The NATO has disagreed with US contention of stepping across the Durand Line. UK after supporting US contention has also followed NATO's stance. China and Russia are likely to support Pakistan's stand. It is therefore desirable that not only UNSC is approached, a case must also be taken up in the OIC to muster the support of the Muslim world.

It must not be forgotten that although CIA is a subordinate organisation, practically it is too powerful to be dictated or kept in check. It has a history of going beyond the given mandate and is also accused of murdering Kennedy. It had played a key role in masterminding the Afghan venture in October 2001 and purchasing the loyalties of Pashtun and non-Pashtun warlords to form a puppet regime in Kabul after the fall of Taliban. Instead of eliminating warlordism, USA has allowed CIA and RAW to establish links with influential Pashtun warlords in Afghanistan and to make good use of them for their vested interests both inside Afghanistan and in the Pashtun belt of Pakistan. It is for this reason that the warlords have been allowed to cultivate poppy which is their main source of income to fuel militancy. Among the prominent ones are Hazrat Ali in Kunar linked with militants in Bajaur and Swat; Rasul Sayyaf having influence in provinces of Khost, Paktia and Paktika and in collusion with Khost based Jalaluddin Haqqani. The two have links with Al-Qaeda as well and are actively involved in South Waziristan , Kurram and Hangu. Haqqani however is anti-American and hence on their hit list. Sherazi enjoys influence in southern Afghanistan and in conjunction with Akhundzada have authority over the Pashtun belt in Baluchistan. These warlords are acting as conduits to funnel arms, ammunition and funds to numerous militant groups based in FATA and in Baluchistan. Mossad is also playing its role to keep Pakistan on the boil till it is destabilised. All these forces have projected Pakistan as the most dangerous place in the world. After master-minding Marriott blast, I expect a still bigger incident to prove their contention that our nuclear assets are unsafe.

—The writer is a Retired Brigadier and a defence and political analyst based in Rawalpindi.

Indian Air Force Firepower Gets Deadlier

Indian Air Force Firepower Gets Deadlier

Indian Air Force fighter pilots may now hit their targets more accurately if some new devices for guided weapons testing work according to plans. What's more, the tests can be carried out on the weapons just before the fighter aircraft's take-off, thereby saving time, effort and money lost in tests conducted in air-conditioned facilities.

"We have developed and successfully tested our guided weapon testing devices, which help improve the accuracy rate of guided weapons of IAF like Infra-Red Guided Missiles (IRGM) and Laser Guided Bombs (LGBs)," Director of DRDO's Laser Science and Technology Center (LASTEC), A K Maini told reportersin New Delhi .

The device matches the weapons' code specifications with their target designators and seekers, and informs the user the likely effectiveness of the attack and target acquisition accuracies. The matching codes of target designator and seekers in missiles are crucial for the weapon to be accurate, Maini said.

"Missiles drift from their targets because the codes of seekers in missiles do not match with the designators. Our fighter aircraft also face similar problems, as codes in PGMs and laser target designators and seekers tend to shift marginally after some time, which makes the missile drift from its target by a long distance," Maini said.

LASTEC's IRGM tester simulates the jet exhaust signatures of enemy aircraft, which need to match up with those of the infra-red seeker device in the IRGM, which is used against enemy aircraft.

"When the signature and the seeker do not match, the missiles will move away from its target," the scientist from the country's premier defence research agency said. "If the infra-red seeker device recognises the signature and locks on to it, the missile is performing well. Otherwise, we change the seeker codes to match the enemy aircraft's signatures. This helps the missile to home on accurately to its targets," Maini said.

The LGB tester also carries out the checks in a similar fashion. The LGB tester simulates the codes of the target designator, which direct the LGB to hit its targets after being released from aircraft. If the laser seeking device on LGB is performing well, it will lock on to the target. If not, the codes of the laser target designator are changed to match with the seeker.

IAF can perform the functionality check on its missiles even when they are strapped on to the weapon delivery platform.

"Till now, matching of codes and signatures was done in huge air-conditioned laboratories, which took 15-20 hours to perform the checks. With the LASTEC's devices, it can be done right before the aircraft takes off for a mission," Maini said.

IAF had successfully field tested the LGB and IRGM tester in Gwalior and Pune respectively along with a LASTEC team. IAF has the Russian R-73 and French Magic Matra IRGMs and Paveway LGBs in its inventory.

IAF's fighter aircraft fleet fly with a mixed package of IRGMs and LGBs during missions. IAFs Mirage 2000 aircraft had used its LGBs very effectively against enemy targets on snowy peaks in Operation 'Safed Sagar' during Kargil war in 1999.

1 comment:

  1. The third Letter to Editor 'Tribune' is by my father Lt Col H S Cheema (Retd)
    I am launching a blog for Indian Army Aviators
    Will be online in a few days time. The blog is '



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