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Saturday, 18 October 2008

From Today's Papers - 18 Oct

Pay Panel - Central Police against elevation of rank of Lt.col

This article is posted in 6CPC Matters category and has 0 Comments so far.

Continuing their tug-of-war on recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission report, central police organisations (CPOs) have strongly opposed some of the demands being made by the Armed Forces, including a proposal to elevate the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel above that of a commandant in central paramilitary forces (CPMFs).

In a memorandum submitted to Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the committee to look into the grievances of the Armed Forces on the pay commission recommendations, the CPOs have argued that the demand of the Armed Forces was entirely unjustified and would result in operational difficulties if acceded to.

A delegation comprising officials from BSF, CRPF, ITBP and CISF met Mukherjee on Wednesday and explained why they were opposed to certain proposals, sources said. The delegation told the minister that the Armed Forces were using pressure tactics to get their demands met.

The Armed Forces have openly expressed their dissatisfaction with the pay commission recommendations and one of their demands has been to elevate the rank of a Lt Colonel above that of a commandant in a central police force. Both Lt Colonel and a commandant are placed as the commanding officer of a battalion but during times of joint operations, the Armed Forces commander takes precedence. The Armed Forces have used this to argue that a Lt Colonel should be treated as a higher rank.

The threat of a Talibanised Pakistan

COULD PAKISTAN fall to a Taliban Al-Qaida coup? Is India looking at the possibility of a Talibanised neighbour, one who has nuclear weapons? If Pakistan’s senior minister for information, Sherry Rahman, is to be believed, Pakistan is in the midst of a serious internal security threat from a collection of Taliban, Al-Qaida and Jammu and Kashmir terrorist elements who want to take over the country, according to a news report in Times of India, dated 15.9.2008.
Indian security sources said they have been receiving reports of a steady infiltration of Taliban and Al-Qaida elements in Pakistan’s biggest cities of Lahore and Karachi recently. In fact, in a recent incident which rang alarm bells, there were a number of Taliban posters in Karachi and Taliban spokespersons were quoted promising a better government in Sindh.
Rahman’s statements were made during an in-camera briefing on national security and the war on terror in Pakistan’s national assembly on Tuesday. Rahman went on to state that the Taliban, which is trying to oust the Pakistan government, also had links with its Afghan counterparts and groups operating in J&K. While the fear of Taliban influence in Pakistan has increased in recent years, the latest assertions by a senior Pakistan minister linking the Taliban with J&K terror groups is a cause for concern in India.
India has been concerned about Taliban making inroads into urban areas and cities of Pakistan which are located close to the border. Only two days ago, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain made a statement that more than 400,000 Taliban men had infiltrated Karachi. The Pakistani media recently carried reports about Taliban warning traders in Lahore not to sell "immoral" stuff.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s national security advisor (NSA) Mahmud Ali Durrani on Tuesday called on the Prime Minister, foreign minister and the foreign secretary. He also interacted with the National Security Council Secretariat and members of the National Security Advisory Board.
Durrani, who met NSA MK Narayanan on Monday, denied any Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) role in the blast at the Indian embassy in Kabul. He described the reports as ’incorrect’. India had taken up the issue of Kabul bombing and ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) in a big way with Durrani. The two sides have also agreed for a joint anti-terror mechanism meeting later this month.
It is clear from the above news report that there has been a change of perception in Pakistan’s ruling circles as they have realised that militants in J&K are not freedom fighters but are terrorists who in league with the Taliban and Al Qaeda groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan are out to grab power. This would also mean that they would try to take control over the nuclear bombs built by the Pakistani scientists. If nukes fall into their hands, they would be the first to use it against India and spread obscurantism and outmoded teachings in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and later on in Bangladesh. The last time, they had their sway over Afghanistan, they used power to curtail personal rights and particularly, the rights of the women to suit their outdated beliefs in the name of holy Quran.

They forced all men to have long beards with only moustaches shaved, forced all women to wear Burqa (veil that covers one from head to toe) and banned all entertainment including music. They also imposed Sharia Laws on their people. So, in a way they tried to take the world to the seventh century.
It is of utmost importance that the Taliban along with Al Qaeda and J&K militants should be checked. Of course, United States America and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) powers have their presence in Afghanistan and from there, they strike the Taliban-Al Qaeda network in Pakistan also. However, they need to be strongly supported by the local people. Now that their threat has spread to Pakistan, India along with Afghanistan and Pakistan should join hands with America to defeat these fundamentalist forces whether they are operating in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Kashmir, or the rest of India. We must deal firmly with these backward looking forces and enforce real secular system in the same manner in which Ata Turk Mustafa Kamal Pasha had enforced it in Turkey. The question is whether India, Pakistan and Afghanistan would join with USA in this venture against the Taliban, Al Qaeda and J&K militants.

Unexpected honours!
by Brig A.N. Suryanarayanan

On arrival at Agatti, in Nov 1992 to oversee the first Army Recruitment Rally in Lakshadweep, I was requested to stay in the aircraft, as a Police Guard was forming up! I pointed out that I was in civvies and was not entitled! ‘No sir, just two minutes’! I stood at attention on a sandy patch; the guard from inside a tin shed formed up and presented arms.

SP accompanied me in the helicopter to Kavaratti. I learnt that with zero crime rate in the Islands, SP is also the sports and youth affairs in charge! Most youth had never left the islands since birth and it was the first Rally to provide “employment”. So I was a VVIP and got the honours normally reserved for COAS/VCOAS! We recruited seven youth!

One evening I had high tea at the DC’s home; the young couple with a small baby had not heard of ‘Baby and Child Care’ by Benjamin Spock. I promised to send from mainland and I did!

Same year at Kozhikode, I was offered breakfast by the DC, who guided me around the new park designed by him. The secret was out shortly: knowing I was from Artillery, he was keen to get two unserviceable guns for display! I guided him as to whom to approach. I believe a gun exists there now!

On a private visit in own car with my daughters, I stayed at a defence laboratory guest house in Mysore. The caretaker asked for our programme and presented the Guest Book; soon he rushed to the other room! Evening when we came out of the suite, I saw armed police, with two jeeps including a Pilot! I ignored them and moved towards my car. An inspector rushed and said, they had been detailed to take us to Krishna Raja Sagar, where I was headed! My plea of non-entitlement didn’t work: with a siren, they took me right till the Musical Fountain! Just ahead of me, a big family was walking with a grey-haired gentleman leading, while we got dropped almost to our seats! As we sat down I introduced myself. I squirmed in shame when I heard he was a Judge from Allahabad High Court!

In May 1995, I had gone to Calcutta on holiday by train: airconditioner had not worked whole day; so I was in casuals with chappals! At Howrah, as I got down, I saw a band, liveried waiters and my host at the platform; I rushed back inside to change into better turnout in sweltering humidity, to “receive” the non-entitled honours!

Years earlier in 1983, while passing Bharatpur en route to Ratlam by train, when I looked out for a colleague who was to meet me, a liveried waiter entered my bogie with a hot case and cooler and asked for my name! It transpired my friend had been called away but had sent across some beer and dinner!

Pakistan objects to US Army chief's Siachen visit

PTI | October 17, 2008 | 15:17 IST

Pakistan has taken serious notice of reports that the US Army chief Gen W Casey is scheduled to visit the Siachen glacier in Jammu and Kashmir during his ongoing three-day visit to India.

"Any such visit to an area which is disputed and which is under discussion between Pakistan and India will certainly cast a shadow on the ongoing composite dialogue between the two neighbours," a Foreign Office spokesman told The News daily.

He said there was no official confirmation of the American general's plan to visit Siachen.

In the past, Pakistan has objected to India allowing civil and military expeditions to the Siachen glacier, where troops from both countries have been engaged in a face-off since 1984.

Indian and Pakistani troops regularly traded fire along the Line of Actual Control on Siachen till a ceasefire was put in place along the frontiers in Jammu and Kashmir in late 2003.

However, more troops from both sides have lost their lives due to inclement weather condition than to bullets on Siachen, often described as the world's highest and coldest battlefield.

Gen Casey will be briefed on high-altitude land warfare techniques during his visit to Siachen base camp.

US Army Chief Visits World's Highest Battlefield in Kashmir

By Fayaz Wani

Srinagar, Oct 17: Further adding to the strained US-Pakistan relations, US Army Chief-of-Staff General George W Casey on Friday visited the Siachen glacier, the highest battle field in the world.

Casey, who arrived on a three day visit to India on Thursday, arrived in the mountainous Ladakh region of Kashmir in a US aircraft. He later alongwith the Indian army chief, General Deepak Kapoor visited the Siachen, the world's highest battle field, which is situated at an altitude of above 20000 ft above the sea level.

Sources said that the US army chief visited the Siachen glacier to develop concept and medical aspect of fighting in severe cold conditions and high altitudes.

US troops are battling the Taliban and Alqaida militants in Afghanistan in the difficult terrain.

The US army chief was briefed about the ground realities of the glacier and was apprised about the measures being taken by the Indian army in defending the glacier.

Siachen is the highest battle field in the world where India and Pakistan have been fighting to claim control over the glacier.

Since September 2007, India has opened up mountaineering and trekking expeditions to the forbidding glacial heights for civilians.

Indian and Pakistani troops regularly traded fire along the Line of Actual Control on Siachen till a ceasefire was put in place along the frontiers in Jammu and Kashmir in late 2003.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.

Rajapaksa may send envoy to India soon

B. Muralidhar Reddy

The two countries discus current issues, including humanitarian crisis due to the conflict Sri Lanka President to send senior envoy to New Delhi next week

COLOMBO: High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Alok Prasad on Friday called on the island nation’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and conveyed the ‘grave concern’ of India about the humanitarian crisis triggered by the ongoing war between the government forces and the LTTE.

A statement issued by the Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry said, “The discussion centered on current issues pertaining to Indo-Lanka bilateral relations in the context of developments in the North and the East of Sri Lanka. Concerns being expressed in this regard in India were conveyed to Minister Bogollagama by the High Commissioner.

“Foreign Minister Bogollagama stated that Sri Lanka is fully conscious of the concerns being expressed and understands the context in which these matters are being raised. The Minister assured that in the spirit of existing excellent bilateral relations, Sri Lanka intends to further discuss these issues bilaterally to address those concerns. It was indicated that bilateral consultation process in this regard could continue at appropriate levels.”

Asked about the meeting, Mr. Prasad told The Hindu, “Yes, I called on the Foreign Minister and discussed the current situation.” According to diplomatic sources, the concerns aired by the High Commissioner centered on the October 6 demarche served on the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commissioner by National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, remarks made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the current situation in the island nation and the statement issued by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on Thursday

Indications from Colombo are that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would send a senior envoy to New Delhi early next week to discuss with the Manmohan Singh government issues raised by New Delhi and the Sri Lankan response.

In his statement on Thursday, Mr. Mukherjee had said, “The situation in Sri Lanka remains a matter of grave concern to us in India. We are particularly worried about the humanitarian effect of the continuing conflict on civilians who have been caught up in circumstances not of their making. It is essential that their rights be respected, that they be immune from attacks, and that food and other essential supplies be allowed to reach them. We have consistently made it clear that a return to normalcy cannot be brought about by military means or battle field victories. What is required in Sri Lanka is a peacefully negotiated political settlement which allows each community to realise its own potential within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.

“Government of India will do all in its power to achieve this goal, to ameliorate the humanitarian conditions in Sri Lanka and has been making representations to the government of Sri Lanka at several levels. The other issue which is engaging government’s effort is the harassment and killing of Indian fishermen in neighbouring areas which must cease forthwith. Government will be taking steps to ensure this”.

Senior political and official representatives of the Rajapaksa government were at pains to emphasise that Colombo is “alive and sensitive” to the “legitimate concerns” of New Delhi on various aspects related to the ongoing “operation liberation from LTTE terror” and its fall-out on the civilians caught in the cross fire.

“Since the October 6 demarche by New Delhi to our number two in the Indian mission, the governments in both the capitals have been in constant contact at various levels and assurances have been conveyed at the highest level that Sri Lanka would address all legitimate concerns of India,” a senior Minister in the government told The Hindu.

Separately, the Defence Ministry, in a statement, claimed that troops of the Task Force cut off Mannar-Poonaryn (A-32) road at eight km north of Nachchikudha in Kilinochchi district and “encircled the main Sea Tiger stronghold” on the northwestern coast of the island.

The Ministry said that the troops are now engaged in “mop up operations” towards Nachchikudha build-up from the south Pallawarayankaddu area. “Troops of Task Force 1 launched their offensives to dominate the strategically vital northwestern coast of the island in September 2007. Opening the Mannar front, troops advanced for about 40 km along the A-32 road, liberating Viddataltivu, Kalliyadi, Iluppaikkadavai, Mundampiddi and Vellankulam towns and entered into the Kilinochchi district,” it said.

The Ministry claimed that following the opening of the Kilinochchi front, troops had to clear the LTTE built earth bund that is running 28 km from Nachchikudha to Akkarayankulm. “Troops tactically bypassed the Nachchikudha terror stronghold from the west of A-32 road and moved further in to the Vannerikulam and Manniyankulam LTTE hiding areas before they moved back towards the coast. Defence observers are in the view that LTTE is on the verge of losing their vital Sea Tiger stronghold in Nachchikudha,” it said.

The United Nations said in a statement that a second attempt would be made to send a convoy of food to civilians displaced behind the lines of confrontation in the north. The 50-truck World Food Programme convoy was forced back on Thursday afternoon after a dangerously close exchange of heavy fire across the A9 route into the Wanni.

The U.N. said that it has received “renewed assurances from both parties to the conflict” that the convoy would be able to proceed unhindered. The trucks are carrying 750 tonnes of food for an estimated 2,30,000 civilians forced from their homes by fighting.

Polish soldiers to train in India

Created: 17.10.2008 11:53

Polish soldiers will begin training in India, particularly taking advantage of the high-altitude training available in the region near the Himalaya mountains.

General Mieczyslaw Stachowiak of the Polish Army states that Polish helicopter pilots in particular can benefit greatly from work in higher altitudes.

The viceminister of defence, Zenon Kosiniak-Kamysz, stated that this training is intended for “when Polish pilots get sent to Afghanistan, they will have a solid background in high altitudes.”

General Stachowiak added that “India can be a great resource for the Polish Army because the Indian Army must fight terrorism and separatist movements and engage in such direct combat operations. We will gain practical experience for engaging in various military operations.”

The agreement between the two armies was coordinated by the Indian-Polish Work Group for Military Cooperation. In recent years, India has hosted training sessions for army groups from the U.S., Great Britain and Israel. (mmj)

UAV Procurements High On India's Defense Needs

Jane's Information Group is reporting that India is planning to significantly upgrade its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capability over the next decade in order to enhance situational awareness along its land and maritime borders. Official sources said the army was planning to procure a large number of manportable mini- and nano-UAVs with short-range intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance ,and laser-designation capabilities, as well as the ability to detect nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons inside enemy territory. The army also intends to acquire weaponised UAVs similar to the General Atomics RQ-1 Predator (pictured), which can be armed with Hellfire missiles. The RQ-1A also offers a crucial Ku-band satellite datalink for over-the-horizon mission capabilities. These will be deployed largely along the disputed borders with Pakistan and China. At present, India operates around 70 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)-built Searcher Mk 1, Mk 2 and Heron UAVs, as well as 30 Harpy ground attack drones designed to detect and destroy enemy radars.

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