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Tuesday, 9 December 2008

From Today's Papers - 09 Dec

From Lt Col (Retd) Harbhajan Singh Cheema

Mr. Patel is out and new Home Minister has taken charge. The new HM has his task cut out before him i.e., to provide fool proof secure environment in the country. The public has become conscious of the requirement of security. This therefore needs to be addressed in real earnestness, cosmetic changes will not do. The problem has to be tackled from various angles. First and foremost is the intelligence input. The intelligence input must start from the routes of terrorism up to the local area. With the federal agency coming up this requirement will hopefully be addressed? The next important aspect of the security will be our reaction capability at various levels. The strength of the NSG is being enhanced. Its reaction time will improve with its relocation and acquisition of more suitable air crafts. Their weapons and equipment needs improvement which too needs to be looked into. What ever its location and mobility it will take some time before this force becomes operational. The local police should there fore must have the capability to pin down the terrorists till arrival of the NSG. The local support including topographical information and guidance should also be provided by the local police. Our local police have generally not performed well. They are neither trained nor equipped well. Their deployment for policing is the last priority. Provision of personal security is a joke. Beside so called VIPs any one with connection with those in power is provided with personal security. It not only takes the police off from its legitimate duty but also de motivates them. The police has very capable and dedicated cadre of officer provided they are allowed to perform. They should be allowed a fixed tenure and their carrier protected from politicians and bureaucrats. The HM must address the problem of training, equipment and deployment of local police. Intelligence output at local level can best be provided by the local police. For this they should be organized separately in to law and order and intelligence wings. The public too must be made aware of their responsibilities. They should be security conscious and vigilant about the activities in their neighborhood. Many a times, activities of the terrorists which should have given advance warning if taken note of by the vigilant public have been over looked for want of proper awareness.

Lt Col(Retd) Harbhajan Singh Cheema




Mumbai Heat : Pak arrests suspected Mumbai planner

Intelligence chief Halder goes

New Delhi: In what is the bureaucratic casualty following the Mumbai attack, the Government of India tonight appointed Rajiv Mathur as the new director of the Intelligence Bureau. Though Mathur will take over formally on January 1, next year when the present incumbent PC Haldar retires, he has been appointed as the Officer on Special Duty in the IB with immediate effect. Mathur is a 1972-batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IPS officer and at present he is posted as the Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau. Sources said a decision to remove Haldar was in the offing, however he was not sent off with just three weeks to go for his retirement.

Islamabad, December 8

In a crackdown by security forces in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), senior Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) commander and suspected Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi was arrested along with at least eight other members of the group after a gunbattle.

A total of 15 members of the LeT and its front organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawah were arrested following the raid conducted by Pakistani forces yesterday at a camp near Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK, Geo News channel reported.

The arrests took place as international pressure mounted on Pakistan to take action against the banned LeT, seen as the prime suspect in the deadly Mumbai siege that left 183 persons dead. US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice has pressed Pakistan to act quickly.

The army and other security forces backed by helicopters carried out the operation. The troops exchanged fire with the militants for almost three hours. Some of the militants were injured.

There was no official word on the arrests from the Pakistan government or the military. The military spokesman could not be reached for comments.

But LeT founder Hafiz Saeed slammed the raid in the camp operated by his charity saying, “the operation against jihadi organisations in Pakistani Kashmir is unwarranted and we strongly condemn it.” Ajmal Amir Iman, the lone terrorist captured alive by Indian authorities after the Mumbai attacks, had named Lakhwi as one of the LeT commanders who had planned the strike.

The security forces sealed a large LeT complex and a madrassa affiliated to the organisation at Shawai Nullah, 5 km northwest of Muzaffarabad.

Sources said the police in Islamabad had arrested several LeT activists who had set up camps in the federal capital to collect hides of animals slaughtered during the Eid-ul-Azha festival. LeT and Jaamat activists are known to collect the hides, which are later sold to tanneries.

The influential Dawn newspaper had earlier reported that Lakhwi was among more than 20 members of the LeT who were arrested as part of a secretive crackdown on the group that was banned by Pakistan in 2001.

Sources said the security forces first ordered LeT members to surrender but they refused, prompting action by the troops. A military helicopter shelled the LeT camp and the militants too opened fire, the sources said. There were unconfirmed reports that some security personnel were also injured in the operation.

Reports said LeT activists had gone underground to avoid possible arrest. A LeT representative told the NNI news agency that the Pakistan government seemed to be under “tremendous pressure” to take action against his group.

Residents of Shawai Nullah said they had seen the military helicopter hovering over the LeT camp and heard two to three loud explosions. Another person said the helicopter might have been used to airlift persons detained or injured during the operation. The residents also told BBC that the troops blew up buildings at the LeT camp, which had an office, a seminary and a residential area housing about 150 people. — PTI

NEXT STEPS IN THE INDO-PAKISTANI CRISIS

By George Friedman

In an interview published this Sunday in The New York Times, we laid out a potential scenario for the current Indo-Pakistani crisis. We began with an Indian strike on Pakistan, precipitating a withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the Afghan border, resulting in intensified Taliban activity along the border and a deterioration in the U.S. position in Afghanistan, all culminating in an emboldened Iran. The scenario is not unlikely, assuming India chooses to strike.

Our argument that India is likely to strike focused, among other points, on the weakness of the current Indian government and how it is likely to fall under pressure from the opposition and the public if it does not act decisively. An unnamed Turkish diplomat involved in trying to mediate the dispute has argued that saving a government is not a good reason to go to war. That is a good argument, except that in this case, not saving the government is unlikely to prevent a war, either.

If India's Congress party government were to fall, its replacement would be even more likely to strike at Pakistan. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress' Hindu nationalist rival, has long charged that Congress is insufficiently aggressive in combating terrorism. The BJP will argue that the Mumbai attack in part resulted from this failing. Therefore, if the Congress government does not strike, and is subsequently forced out or loses India's upcoming elections, the new government is even more likely to strike.

It is therefore difficult to see a path that avoids Indian retaliation, and thus the emergence of at least a variation on the scenario we laid out. But the problem is not simply political: India must also do something to prevent more Mumbais. This is an issue of Indian national security, and the pressure on India's government to do something comes from several directions.

Three Indian Views of Pakistan

The question is what an Indian strike against Pakistan, beyond placating domestic public opinion, would achieve. There are three views on this in India.

The first view holds that Pakistani officials aid and abet terrorism -- in particular the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), which serves as Pakistan's main intelligence service. In this view, the terrorist attacks are the work of Pakistani government officials -- perhaps not all of the government, but enough officials of sufficient power that the rest of the government cannot block them, and therefore the entire Pakistani government can be held accountable.

The second view holds that terrorist attacks are being carried out by Kashmiri groups that have long been fostered by the ISI but have grown increasingly autonomous since 2002 -- and that the Pakistani government has deliberately failed to suppress anti-Indian operations by these groups. In this view, the ISI and related groups are either aware of these activities or willfully ignorant of them, even if ISI is not in direct control. Under this thinking, the ISI and the Pakistanis are responsible by omission, if not by commission.

The third view holds that the Pakistani government is so fragmented and weak that it has essentially lost control of Pakistan to the extent that it cannot suppress these anti-Indian groups. This view says that the army has lost control of the situation to the point where many from within the military-intelligence establishment are running rogue operations, and groups in various parts of the country simply do what they want. If this argument is pushed to its logical conclusion, Pakistan should be regarded as a state on the verge of failure, and an attack by India might precipitate further weakening, freeing radical Islamist groups from what little control there is.

The first two analyses are essentially the same. They posit that Pakistan could stop attacks on India, but chooses not to. The third is the tricky one. It rests on the premise that the Pakistani government (and in this we include the Pakistani army) is placing some restraint on the attackers. Thus, the government's collapse would make enough difference that India should restrain itself, especially as any Indian attack would so destabilize Pakistan that it would unleash our scenario and worse. In this view, Pakistan's civilian government has only as much power in these matters as the army is willing to allow.

The argument against attacking Pakistan therefore rests on a very thin layer of analysis. It requires the belief that Pakistan is not responsible for the attacks, that it is nonetheless restraining radical Islamists to some degree, and that an Indian attack would cause even these modest restraints to disappear. Further, it assumes that these restraints, while modest, are substantial enough to make a difference.

There is a debate in India, and in Washington, as to whether this is the case. This is why New Delhi has demanded that Pakistan turn over 20 individuals wanted by India in connection with attacks. The list doesn't merely include Islamists, but also Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, the former head of the ISI who has long been suspected of close ties with Islamists. (The United States apparently added Gul to the list.) Turning those individuals over would be enormously difficult politically for Pakistan. It would create a direct confrontation between Pakistan's government and the Pakistani Islamist movement, likely sparking violence in Pakistan. Indeed, turning any Pakistani over to India, regardless of ideology, would create a massive crisis in Pakistan.

The Indian government chose to make this demand precisely because complying with it is enormously difficult for Pakistan. New Delhi is not so much demanding the 20 individuals, but rather that Pakistan take steps that will create conflict in Pakistan. If the Pakistani government is in control of the country, it should be able to weather the storm. If it can't weather the storm, then the government is not in control of Pakistan. And if it could weather the storm but chooses not to incur the costs, then India can reasonably claim that Pakistan is prepared to export terrorism rather than endure it at home. In either event, the demand reveals things about the Pakistani reality.

The View from Islamabad

Pakistan's evaluation, of course, is different. Islamabad does not regard itself as failed because it cannot control all radical Islamists or the Taliban. The official explanation is that the Pakistanis are doing the best they can. From the Pakistani point of view, while the Islamists ultimately might represent a threat, the threat to Pakistan and its government that would arise from a direct assault on the Islamists is a great danger not only to Pakistan, but also to the region. It is thus better for all to let the matter rest. The Islamist issue aside, Pakistan sees itself as continuing to govern the country effectively, albeit with substantial social and economic problems (as one might expect). The costs of confronting the Islamists, relative to the benefits, are therefore high.

The Pakistanis see themselves as having several effective counters against an Indian attack. The most important of these is the United States. The very first thing Islamabad said after the Mumbai attack was that a buildup of Indian forces along the Pakistani border would force Pakistan to withdraw 100,000 troops from its Afghan border. Events over the weekend, such as the attack on a NATO convoy, showed the vulnerability of NATO's supply line across Pakistan to Afghanistan.

The Americans are fighting a difficult holding action against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The United States needs the militant base camps in Pakistan and the militants' lines of supply cut off, but the Americans lack the force to do this themselves. A withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the Afghan border would pose a direct threat to American forces. Therefore, the Pakistanis expect Washington to intervene on their behalf to prevent an Indian attack. They do not believe a major Indian troop buildup will take place, and if it does, the Pakistanis do not think it will lead to substantial conflict.

There has been some talk of an Indian naval blockade against Pakistan, blocking the approaches to Pakistan's main port of Karachi. This is an attractive strategy for India, as it plays to New Delhi's relative naval strength. Again, the Pakistanis do not believe the Indians will do this, given that it would cut off the flow of supplies to American troops in Afghanistan. (Karachi is the main port serving U.S. forces in Afghanistan.) The line of supply in Afghanistan runs through Pakistan, and the Americans, the Pakistanis calculate, do not want anything to threaten that.

From the Pakistani point of view, the only potential military action India could take that would not meet U.S. opposition would be airstrikes. There has been talk that the Indians might launch airstrikes against Islamist training camps and bases in Pakistani-administered Kashmir. In Pakistan's view, this is not a serious problem. Mounting airstrikes against training camps is harder than it might seem. The only way to achieve anything in such a facility is with area destruction weapons -- for instance, using B-52s to drop ordnance over very large areas. The targets are not amenable to strike aircraft, because the payload of such aircraft is too small. It would be tough for the Indians, who don't have strategic bombers, to hit very much. Numerous camps exist, and the Islamists can afford to lose some. As an attack, it would be more symbolic than effective.

Moreover, if the Indians did kill large numbers of radical Islamists, this would hardly pose a problem to the Pakistani government. It might even solve some of Islamabad's problems, depending on which analysis you accept. Airstrikes would generate massive support among Pakistanis for their government so long as Islamabad remained defiant of India. Pakistan thus might even welcome Indian airstrikes against Islamist training camps.

Islamabad also views the crisis with India with an eye to the Pakistani nuclear arsenal. Any attack by India that might destabilize the Pakistani government opens at least the possibility of a Pakistani nuclear strike or, in the event of state disintegration, of Pakistani nuclear weapons falling into the hands of factional elements. If India presses too hard, New Delhi faces the unknown of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal -- unless, of course, the Indians are preparing a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Pakistan, something the Pakistanis find unlikely.

All of this, of course, depends upon two unknowns. First, what is the current status of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal? Is it sufficiently reliable for Pakistan to count on? Second, to what extent do the Americans monitor Pakistan's nuclear capabilities? Ever since the crisis of 2002, when American fears that Pakistani nuclear weapons could fall into al Qaeda's hands were high, we have assumed that American calm about Pakistan's nuclear facilities was based on Washington's having achieved a level of transparency on their status. This might limit Pakistan's freedom of action with regard to -- and hence ability to rely on -- its nuclear arsenal.

Notably, much of Pakistan's analysis of the situation rests on a core assumption -- namely, that the United States will choose to limit Indian options, and just as important, that the Indians would listen to Washington. India does not have the same relationship or dependence on the United States as, for example, Israel does. India historically was allied with the Soviet Union; New Delhi moved into a strategic relationship with the United States only in recent years. There is a commonality of interest between India and the United States, but not a dependency. India would not necessarily be blocked from action simply because the Americans didn't want it to act.

As for the Americans, Pakistan's assumption that the United States would want to limit India is unclear. Islamabad's threat to shift 100,000 troops from the Afghan border will not easily be carried out. Pakistan's logistical capabilities are limited. Moreover, the American objection to Pakistan's position is that the vast majority of these troops are not engaged in controlling the border anyway, but are actually carefully staying out of the battle. Given that the Americans feel that the Pakistanis are ineffective in controlling the Afghan-Pakistani border, the shift from virtually to utterly ineffective might not constitute a serious deterioration from the United States' point of view. Indeed, it might open the door for more aggressive operations on -- and over -- the Afghan-Pakistani border by American forces, perhaps by troops rapidly transferred from Iraq.

The situation of the port of Karachi is more serious, both in the ground and naval scenarios. The United States needs Karachi; it is not in a position to seize the port and the road system out of Karachi. That is a new war the United States can't fight. At the same time, the United States has been shifting some of its logistical dependency from Pakistan to Central Asia. But this requires a degree of Russian support, which would cost Washington dearly and take time to activate. In short, India's closing the port of Karachi by blockade, or Pakistan's doing so as retaliation for Indian action, would hurt the United States badly.

Supply lines aside, Islamabad should not assume that the United States is eager to ensure that the Pakistani state survives. Pakistan also should not assume that the United States is impressed by the absence or presence of Pakistani troops on the Afghan border. Washington has developed severe doubts about Pakistan's commitment and effectiveness in the Afghan-Pakistani border region, and therefore about Pakistan's value as an ally.

Pakistan's strongest card with the United States is the threat to block the port of Karachi. But here, too, there is a counter to Pakistan: If Pakistan closes Karachi to American shipping, either the Indian or American navy also could close it to Pakistani shipping. Karachi is Pakistan's main export facility, and Pakistan is heavily dependent on it. If Karachi were blocked, particularly while Pakistan is undergoing a massive financial crisis, Pakistan would face disaster. Karachi is thus a double-edged sword. As long as Pakistan keeps it open to the Americans, India probably won't block it. But should Pakistan ever close the port in response to U.S. action in the Afghan-Pakistani borderland, then Pakistan should not assume that the port will be available for its own use.

India's Military Challenge

India faces difficulties in all of its military options. Attacks on training camps sound more effective than they are. Concentrating troops on the border is impressive only if India is prepared for a massive land war, and a naval blockade has multiple complications.

India needs a military option that demonstrates will and capability and decisively hurts the Pakistani government, all without drawing India into a nuclear exchange or costly ground war. And its response must rise above the symbolic.

We have no idea what India is thinking, but one obvious option is airstrikes directed not against training camps, but against key government installations in Islamabad. The Indian air force increasingly has been regarded as professional and capable by American pilots at Red Flag exercises in Nevada. India has modern Russian fighter jets and probably has the capability, with some losses, to penetrate deep into Pakistani territory.

India also has acquired radar and electronic warfare equipment from Israel and might have obtained some early precision-guided munitions from Russia and/or Israel. While this capability is nascent, untested and very limited, it is nonetheless likely to exist in some form.

The Indians might opt for a drawn-out diplomatic process under the theory that all military action is either ineffective or excessively risky. If it chooses the military route, New Delhi could opt for a buildup of ground troops and some limited artillery exchanges and tactical ground attacks. It also could choose airstrikes against training facilities. Each of these military options would achieve the goal of some substantial action, but none would threaten fundamental Pakistani interests. The naval blockade has complexities that could not be managed. That leaves, as a possible scenario, a significant escalation by India against targets in Pakistan's capital.

The Indians have made it clear that the ISI is their enemy. The ISI has a building, and buildings can be destroyed, along with files and personnel. Such an aerial attack also would serve to shock the Pakistanis by representing a serious escalation. And Pakistan might find retaliation difficult, given the relative strength of its air force. India has few good choices for retaliation, and while this option is not a likely one, it is undoubtedly one that has to be considered.

It seems to us that India can avoid attacks on Pakistan only if Islamabad makes political concessions that it would find difficult to make. The cost to Pakistan of these concessions might well be greater than the benefit of avoiding conflict with India. All of India's options are either ineffective or dangerous, but inactivity is politically and strategically the least satisfactory route for New Delhi. This circumstance is the most dangerous aspect of the current situation. In our opinion, the relative quiet at present should not be confused with the final outcome, unless Pakistan makes surprising concessions.

This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to www.stratfor.com.

Copyright 2008 Stratfor.

Mumbai Attack
All terrorists hailed from Pak’s Punjab province

Mumbai, December 8
All the ten terrorists involved in the terror strike on the country’s financial capital hailed from Pakistan’s Punjab province, a senior police official said today.

He also said the leader of the group, identified as Ismail Khan, had participated in earlier missions of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“We have identified all the ten accused and have communicated the details to the relevant Central agencies for verification,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said here.

Three of them, including arrested terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman, hailed from Okara district, three from Multan, two from Faisalabad, one each from Sialkot and Dera Ismail Khan area, he said.

From Ajmal’s interrogation, it emerged that Ismail had accompanied him at the shootings at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Cama Hospital, Maria said.

Ismail, who was in his mid-twenties, knew how to operate the Global Positioning System (GPS) device used on fishing vessel ‘Kuber’ to get into the Indian waters.

He also knew to operate the outboard motor of the ‘dinghy’ used to land on the city’s shores, Maria added.

“It was not Ismail’s first operation and he has taken part in LeT operations prior to this also,” the officer said refusing to disclose further details. — PTI

The armed forces remain short changed

Six decades have passed still the armed forces lack joint warfare culture and government is denied single window military advice. The entrenched bureaucrats do no allow CDS system to be implemented even though sanctioned by the NDA government..

AFTER MUMBAI terror attack, the anger of the Indian public, which had come on the streets across the country, on December 3, protesting against the insensitivity and lack of will of our politicians and bureaucrats to fight jehadi terror was palpable. Nevertheless they had all praise for the country's armed forces. It is a paradox that it is this very love and affection of people of India for their armed forces that motivates them for every sacrifice possible in protecting the country. But, the same love results in the growing insecurity of the politicians and bureaucrats. Unfortunately, they are always out to let the country's armed forces down.

Since the time the current UPA government has announced the final acceptance of the review committee report of the Sixth Pay Commission, two instances have already come to light in Kashmir where paramilitary forces have declined to work under an infantry battalion of the army commanded by an officer of the Lt. Col rank. One such instance has also been reported in coast guard, who are refusing to work under the navy. This is just the beginning and is happening because the review committee of the bureaucrats set up by this government to look into the anomalies of the Sixth Pay Commission has upgraded the officers of paramilitary forces and police, by taking them out of third pay band as recommended by the Pay Commission, to fourth pay band, while the same has not been done for the armed forces officers of the Lt Col rank in army and equivalent rank in air force and navy. In the Fifth Pay Commission these armed forces officers were above them.

In the 54000-strength officer cadre of 1.2-million strong army the Lt Col rank officers form the main leadership segment commanding field troops. This has been kept this way to keep the army young. By degrading them below their counterparts in civil, police and paramilitary forces, in addition to the monitory loss, is a direct blow to their Izzat. Our note to vote politicians fail to understand that more than money it is izzat, which is very dear to the armed forces. This deliberate act of short changing the silent force by the bureaucrats has demoralised the entire rank and file. This has happened when country needs its armed forces the most. After Mumbai carnage, a war with Pakistan cannot be ruled out.

In the Fifth Pay Commission, a PBOR (below officer rank) could take home 70 per cent of his pension, even if he got a job after retirement but the Sixth Pay Commission has reduced it to 50 per cent on the pretext that they will be provided lateral employment in paramilitary forces and police. This, however, has not been guaranteed and no quota has been fixed.

Further, in the new dispension an Lt General of the army, a Corps Commander, who commands more than a lakh troops, thousands of tanks, heavy artillery guns, helicopter gunship and what have you costing billions of rupees (there are only three strike corps in India) and who decides the fate of the country in war, has been placed below the DGP of the state police and paramilitary forces.

In other words in J&K and other places, where army is operating against terror, now they will have to work under police. If this happens, god help this country and its people!

It is strange that whether it is Azadi demand in the Kashmir Valley, Amarnath Shrine land dispute in Jammu, insurgency in North East India, Mumbai terror attack, floods in Bihar, Taslima Nasrin problem in Kolkatta and Sonu falling in a bore well, it is the army, which is always called in to set things right but in the grant of pay and perks, it is the police and paramilitary forces, which are rewarded.

What justice is this? What's even more galling is the fact that first time in the history of independent India all the three Services Chiefs together have been running from pillar to post, from President to Prime Minister to Defense Minister and Finance Minister trying to apprise them of the demoralisation that is setting in the rank and file of the armed forces due to these shenanigans of the bureaucracy, in vain. Manmohan Singh has set up a GOM to set right the mischief done by the bureaucrats in the Sixth Pay Commission but so far nothing has come out of it.

If the politicians in power really have interest of their armed forces in heart then what stops them from constituting a standing committee like Blue Ribbon of America and Royal Commission of Britain composed of eminent citizens and retired armed forces officers, who constantly keep on taking care of armed forces problems. This way Army Chiefs are free to plan and execute their operational tasks.

Immediately after Kargil operations, the then NDA government in power had constituted a GOM who had come out with 23 recommendations for reforms in the countries defense set up. All of these were accepted by the government. The most important of the proposal, setting up of the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) system in India has yet not been implemented. The proposed CDS is supposed to be single window adviser to the government on all matters military with full accountability.

The current debate going on whether Indian navy should be patrolling Gulf of Aden protecting Indian shipping from Somali pirates or for that matter why they could not intercept the Pakistani ship 'Al Husseni' bringing the terrorists to Mumbai coast, could all have been suitably dealt with in most professional manner by the CDS.

The CDS is also required to evolve and finalise joint warfare doctrines and maintain the harmony between the three services. What military action should India take against Pakistan in the current crisis, is again the responsibility the proposed CDS.

The entrenched civilian bureaucracy sitting in Ministry of Defense is playing the General is not allowing CDS to be implemented at the cost of countries wellbeing, since this will curb their unfettered power.

There is a seething anger brewing in armed forces. It is time Singh and Antony gave this problem a serious thought before it is too late.

Original at: http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=151937

Army service corps celebrate 248th anniversary

Punjab Newsline Network

Monday, 08 December 2008

CHANDIGARH: Officiating MGASC, Brig Harjeet Puri, HQ Western Command laid a wreath to pay tributes to the martyrs on behalf of all ranks of the Corps at the Command War Memorial, the "Veer Smriti" on Monday to commemorate 248th anniversary of Army Service Corps(ASC) at Chandimandir.

Several functions, including Barakhana and social get together for serving and veterans were also organised to mark the occasion.

The General Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen TK Sapru, extended his greetings to all ranks, civilian employees, their families and veterans of the Corps on this day. He lauded the professionalism displayed by ASC personnel both in peace and war and urged the Corps to rededicate themselves to the nation.

The oldest logistic component of the Indian Army,ASC,which was raised in 1760, has inherited glorious tradition of dedication , professional competence and selfless service. The Corps has ensured regular and uninterrupted movement of men, material and stores in all types of terrain and in all kinds of operations besides undertaking supply functions. The Corps in the true spirit of the Indian Army has also contributed handsomely in the field of sports and Adventure activities.

Time to tighten the security apparatus

Our internal security system needs reform. We spend crores on our borders but our enemy is there in our country itself. Our police, too, needs a make over. It should be insulated from political interference. It must be skilled and equipped with latest hi-tech armaments. The politicians should not consider the police as servants or their bodyguards. The police has to guard the common masses and instill confidence.

The print and electronic media has to play its significance role in a conscientious way. Giving live coverage to Mumbai operations was not only adding TRP of channels but also a great facilitation to terrorists for their next attack. This is not appreciated even from the security point of view.

SURAJ and R. KAPOOR, Solan

II

The need of the hour is to change the present security system and form a special organisation consisting of troops from the NSG, RAW and paramilitary forces to work independently under the command of the Army without any political interference. This should directly report to the Prime Minister. And the companies should be located in every state capital for quick action.

During anti-terrorist operations, the electronic media should avoid live telecast of the same. Only then, one can ensure the secrecy of the commando operation to overpower the terrorists according to their plan.

Col BEANT SINGH (retd), Jalandhar Cantonment

III

The Mumbai terror attack once again exposes the chinks in our preparedness to counter terrorism. The Centre should constitute a core group comprising the three Service Chiefs and intelligence outfits to deal with the matter of national security. The intelligence network has to be in place.

Special commando force with requisite infrastructure should be posted at all state capitals and district headquarters. The plans and designs of all major buildings should be readily available with security agencies so that the shortcomings of the present attack are taken care of in future.

Dr A. R. CHAUDHRI, Kurukshetra

IV

It was a united and determined India that answered the bullets from terrorists who tried to seize the nation in Mumbai on 26/11. In moments of such calamity, no one thought of being a Marathi manoos, a Bihari, a South Indian or a Punjabi! In fact, most NSG commandoes deployed in the Mumbai operations were not Marathi Manoos but from the North and South India.

The nation’s biggest tribute to those valiant men who gave their lives for the rest of us is to make people like Raj Thackeray, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Amar Singh, Mayawati and others who have done enough damage to divide us just to remain in the chair. Let us resolve to be Indians first to ensure that the moments of grief of such magnitude do not come back again.

Air Cmdr S.S. SAXENA, Greater Noida

V

Ironically, the Mumbai attacks came in the wake of the two-day negotiations between the Home Secretaries of India and Pakistan in Islamabad earlier where cooperation in fighting terrorism was top on the agenda. Detente between the two neighbours does have the potential to curb the menace because militancy does not recognise borders and it is only logical to challenge it through a joint endeavour.

K.S. JAYATHEERTHA, Bangalore

VI

In his article, “Mumbai Mayhem” (Dec 3), Admiral Arun Prakash (retd) blames politicians, intelligence agencies and everyone else for 26/11 except the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard which should share the major share of the blame. If they were vigilant and alert on the long high seas between Karachi and Mumbai, the tragedy could have been averted. Obviously, there has been laxity, connivance or money changing hands (may be at the lower level) for safe passage of the terrorists (this crucial aspect should form part of the investigation).

The writer says that the Navy can’t do marine policing at Mumbai’s Juhu, Chowpatti, Cuffe Parade or Alibagh. But he has forgotten that most vital naval establishments in Mumbai are located in the areas as mentioned above. Terrorists landed in a dinghi at the Gateway of India, which is near the Navy helipad.

TEJ K. MAGAZINE, Chandigarh

India Frowns at Chinese News Report
Suggesting Hindu Hand in Mumbai


New Delhi
The Indian government has taken “serious note” of a “mischievous and misleading” report on the Mumbai terror strike by a Chinese journalist in the People’s Daily which speculated that “Hindu youth” could be behind these attacks.

"We have taken serious note of this misleading and mischievous report and taken it up with appropriate authorities," official sources told IANS.

“Although a group called Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attack, it can be seen from the red thread worn by the attackers around their waist that they could be Hindu youth,” a report published in People’s Daily, the official organ of the Chinese Communist party, two days after the Mumbai terror attacks said. The report has been written by Ren Yan, Mumbai-based correspondent of Rebmin Ribao (People’s Daily).

“Analysts are quoted as saying that radical elements from Hinduism could also carry out this attack, because they have long opposed the US’ hegemonistic policies,” the report said. The report, however, did not name analysts the Chinese correspondent was quoting in his report in support of his claim.

The report, published Nov 28, said that the Mumbai terror attacks could be the handiwork of “radical elements within the Hindu community” who are “unhappy with domestic and foreign policies of the Congress-led government” and speculates that these attacks could have been engineered to influence the outcome of the general elections.

“Although the terrorists are not yet identified, such analysis is offering a new angle to the motives and counter-measures for such terrorist strikes,” the report claimed.

The People’s Daily report echoed speculative stories in sections of the Pakistani media that sought to blame Hindu extremists for the Mumbai attacks.

“It was a highly speculative story and came at a time when all evidence was pointing towards Pakistan,” said Sujit Dutta, a China expert at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

“It was an attempt to shift the blame from Pakistan and Pakistan-based elements to India-based elements,” Dutta said, echoing that they indicated a “design” as the report echoed stories published in Pakistani dailies like the Dawn.

China, which calls itself an "all-weather friend of Pakistan", has called for more dialogue and cooperation between New Delhi and Islamabad in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

With India and the world putting pressure on Pakistan to take action against militants responsible for the Mumbai carnage, Beijing has lauded Islamabad’s role and offered it full cooperation.

Pakistan deserves sanctions
Libyan precedent can help tame terrorists
by T. P. Sreenivasan

THE crime has been established. The criminals stand exposed. The job of the jury is to determine the degree of punishment and to decide how to administer it. Pakistan cannot escape on the ground that the actors were “stateless”. As Ms Condoleezza Rice made it clear, the country, on whose soil the terrorist act in Mumbai was hatched, must take the primary responsibility for it even if it remains to be established whether the state itself was involved in the dastardly act.

Apart from the dictum that the act itself leads to the perpetrators, there is enough evidence to show that Pakistani elements were deeply involved in the planning and execution of the Mumbai murders. The need of the hour is to determine an effective and immediate international response.

Two examples of response to terrorism are fresh in our minds. The US response to 9/11 was the most lethal and effective of them all, but the way the US has got bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq should be sufficient not to follow the same route. Even if India is prepared to undertake strikes, it should be cautious not to provoke a nuclear war. A clinically planned and executed strike against terrorist camps may be an appropriate response in the circumstances.

India’s own response to the attack on Parliament appeared effective at the time, but any threat, which may not be carried out at all, is no threat and the exercise cannot be repeated. Armies should not be mobilised unless there is a will to strike. International reaction to the drums of war will always be hostile.

An earlier clear case of tackling terrorism through united international action, that of Libya, comes to mind as the most suitable approach to deal with Pakistan. Ten years before the Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, the United States had taken the first measure against Libya for engaging in terrorist activities. Military equipment supplies to Libya were suspended in 1978, citing terrorism as the reason for it. By 1986, there were comprehensive trade sanctions against Libya and Libyan assets in the United States were seized.

In 1991, India was on the United Nations Security Council, when the US, the UK and France moved the Council for sanctions against Libya, claiming that they had concrete evidence to show that Libya had a hand in blowing up the Pan Am flight, even though the Libyan leader repeatedly asserted that he had no knowledge of the people behind it.

A total air and arms embargo was imposed on Libya by the United Nations Security Council in March 1992 with India’s support. It had crossed our minds at that time that similar sanctions should be contemplated against Pakistan, but the major powers merely promised to study the possibility and took no action. The evidence that the international community had at that time about the perpetrators of Lockerbie was not much stronger than the evidence we have today against Pakistan. The difference was that three permanent members of the Security Council initiated the proposal and ensured that the international community went along with them. We should move in the same direction and secure at least symbolic Security Council sanctions against Pakistan.

Initially, it could be an arms embargo, even limited to the kinds of weapons used by the terrorists. Once the principle of sanctions against Pakistan is accepted, it will be easier to move to more substantive sanctions as new evidence turns up.

The talk of international sanctions will immediately raise a hue and cry about the economic plight of Pakistan and the need to make sure that Pakistan does not fail as a state. The US has always believed in strengthening Pakistan rather that weakening it economically and it has also convinced us that a stable and prosperous Pakistan is in our interest.

But here it is a matter of principle, the same principle that was applied, with our concurrence, to Libya. The measures could be identified with care to ensure that Pakistan does not go bankrupt. A limited arms embargo will do no harm to Pakistan’s stability or strength. But it will be a demonstration of the determination of the international community to fight terror, wherever it originates from.

Even after the attack on Mumbai, with the frightening agenda that has been revealed, the Western Press, particularly the British Press, is apparently reluctant to call a spade a spade. They would rather call the terrorists by some other name. This is nothing but an old prejudice that anything that happens between India and Pakistan is sui generis and related to Kashmir.

The fact that the footprints of terrorists from Pakistan were all over ground zero in Manhattan has not convinced some of them that terrorism is a scourge that cannot be compartmentalised or categorised. Giving a benign name to a crime and sparing the perpetrators is as bad as punishing an innocent person by assigning malign motives.

The West should realise at least now that what plagues India is the same virus that caused conflagrations in the US, the UK, Spain and Indonesia. The permanent five should be called upon to follow the Libyan precedent and begin consultations on limited sanctions against Pakistan.

If the efficacy of sanctions is in doubt, Libya, again, is a good example. In 11 years, Libya completely changed its attitude to terrorism. It even abandoned its nuclear programme and surrendered the nuclear material to the IAEA. The old belief that sanctions, once imposed, cannot be lifted is not true. Libya today has virtually become a respected nation and the Western countries are making investments there. Pakistan should have the same chance of turning from a rogue to a responsible state. Islama”bad” should become Islama”good”. A strong medicine of sanctions will be the right way to go.

The permanent five will also have a chance to give substance to the protestations of sympathy and expressions of willingness to help. International peace and security is threatened as much by the Mumbai attack as by Lockerbie, and the Security Council should rise to the occasion.

The writer is a former ambassador.

Ex-ISI chief Gul offers himself before UN for 'inquisition'

Press Trust of India

Monday, December 08, 2008 (Islamabad)

With the US moving to corner him, former ISI chief Lt Gen(retd) Hamid Gul on Monday offered to "present himself for inquisition" before a UN Commission to clear himself of charges that he had links to Al-Qaida and Taliban.

Reports in Islamabad said that the US plans to send names of Gul and three other Pakistanis, all said to be former top officers of ISI, as also some Pakistan-based terror groups to the United Nations Security Council(UNSC) for imposing sanctions against them for alleged links with terror activities.

Gul, who served as ISI chief during 1987-89, said he had come to know about a purported US document in this regard from a journalist.

"I will directly reach out to (UN Secretary General) Ban ki Moon and ask him to set up an international commission in Islamabad in Pakistan and I shall be prepared to present myself for inquisition," said Gul.

Dismissing the US charge of his having links with the Taliban and Al-Qaida as a "pack of lies", Gul asked the Pakistan government to come out in his defence.

Gul said he had no contacts with the Pakistani Taliban and its leadership or with militant commander Sirajuddin Haqqani. He also said he was not in any way involved in recruiting youth from madrassas to fight in Afghanistan.

"I have met the Foreign Minister (Shah Mahmood Qureshi) and asked him to protect innocent citizens like me. He said he would take it up," Gul told a news agency.

The inclusion of Gul and others on the UN list would lead to freezing of their assets. A publication recently reported it had accessed a secret US document that listed charges against Gul.

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