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Wednesday, 10 December 2008

From Today's Papers - 10 Dec

Mumbai terrorist attack and our Pakistan policy

The perpetrators of Mumbai terrorists attack came from Pakistan are without doubt. The world community too is convinced about it. It is also reasonably certain that some elements in Pakistan Government are involved in planning and execution of this heinous operation. The Indian public is so anguished and has expressed it so strongly that they are not prepared to take it any more. There is strong public opinion in favor of military action even if it involves going across the border. So what should the Government do? To find answer to this question we need to consider the aim of the terrorists, power equation with in Pakistan and what is going to be their reaction to our offensive action. India and Pakistan were progressing with their peace initiative with an ultimate aim to resolve all issues including Kashmir. This does not suite the terrorists design. And if the Military has any ambition to come to power again our crossing border will be a good excuse for it to seize power. It is not certain as to who in Pakistan has control over their nuclear weapon and if there is any likely hood of this passing in to terrorist hands? Hence, military action at this stage may not be to our advantage. The best course is therefore diplomatic. The terrorists have no religion. The world community must know that they have no boundaries either. What is happening to us today will definitely happen to them tomorrow if they fail to join us in finding answer to this menace. We should also convey to world community that as a democratic country the Government cannot ignore its people’s sentiments. And if diplomacy fails we will have no choice but to follow the military course, whatever be its ultimate outcome. The world community will have to take responsibility for not giving diplomatic course a chance. Pakistan is in economic mess. They cannot survive as a nation without cooperation from the world community. The world community must threaten Pakistan with economic sanctions unless they play ball. The Military in Pakistan must be made to understand that they can only preside over disintegration of the country if they do not cooperate. If the Military in Pakistan thinks that they are using the terrorists for their end they are sadly mistaken. They have to be made to understand that it is the terrorists who are using the military for their ultimate end and not the other way around. .

Lt Col(Retd) Harbhajan Singh Cheema

What went wrong?
And whose failure led to Mumbai mayhem?
by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd )

No event in recent history has drawn so much national attention and brought out people’s anger to such an extent as the terrorist strike in Mumbai. Much has been written on the state’s inability to come up with a viable strategy to meet the menace of terrorism in a speedy, coordinated and efficient manner. Very many suggestions and ideas have been floated such as framing new laws, creating immense security set-up and enlarging intelligence organisations.

Some of these are indeed outlandish. Such as creating a Ministry of Internal Security and posting of security guards and metal detectors at almost every conceivable point and sealing all borders.

These would require the diversion of large resources and energies to meet only the internal security challenges. Such moves will impinge on other more pressing and important demands.

However, considering the general state of anxiety, public disdain, political compulsions of the approaching Lok Sabha elections and the mounting rhetoric of the Opposition, the government is likely to stumble into overreaction and deploy excessive resources in manpower and finances.

India faces two types of terrorist threats. The first is where armed terrorists go on a shooting spree and use grenades and explosives as was seen at Mumbai and the second where improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are placed at crowded places and the ultimate precision weapon: the ‘suicide bomber.’

The two sets of terrorist acts require a completely different range of counter measures. However, to counter both together, the most cost effective and economical approach is to have an intelligence organisation, which can come up with timely and actionable intelligence so as to neutralise these threats before they materialise.

This has not been so and that has been the Achilles’ heel of the Indian intelligence organisations. Resources like commandos etc can come into play in the first case, (a rare occurrence,) and that too only when the damage is being inflicted and as such are the second best.

The government is caught in a catch-22 situation. If it takes no action against Pakistan, which is the fount of terrorist attacks against India, it comes out as weak, ineffective and incapable of providing a secure environment to its people.

India has never been able to work out a security policy framework, which would make Pakistan desist from its strategy of thousand cuts and the cheap option it has been adopting. Any move on the economic or diplomatic front by India will have no consequential impact on Pakistan. So India has few options.

Investigations are on to trace the origin of the attack and the connected links. Faheem Ahmed Ansari involved in the attack on a police station in northern India and now in police custody is one lead to go by.

However, the main source being the surviving gunman, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, and the cell phones: one on the ship in which the terrorists sailed from Karachi and the other at the site of the attacks.

It is evident that Lashkar-e-Taiba is at the back of this operation and the main handlers were Zaki-aur-Rehman Lakhvi and Muzammil and that the operation was being controlled from Lahore and Karachi.

The American press notes that the actions of the Indian security forces shown on TV channels were conveyed to the terrorists and instructions to counter these were passed by their handlers in Pakistan.

Indian TV channels, in their exuberance to show some action and be first at breaking news, played into the hands of the terrorist organisation, little realising the damage they were doing to the entire operation. This TV show evidently cost some lives amongst the security forces and hostages.

America can be of little assistance, except provide intelligence inputs in this case. It will urge India to exercise restraint and not to precipitate matters leading to tensions on the borders. The Pakistan army’s disengagement from the western border and move to the borders with India will seriously jeopardise American operations in Afghanistan.

Thus Secretary of state Condoleeza Rice’s recent visit to the two countries was essentially to urge India to exercise restraint and Pakistan to stop the terrorist attacks against India. The latter may not come about due to the weak nature of the government in that country and other internal political compulsions.

While LeT is a creation of the Pakistan ISI etc, it was “officially” banned in Pakistan some two years ago. So on that count the Pakistan government can deny any involvement in the case.

While Pakistan may agree to take some action against those of its citizens against whom sufficient evidence can be made available by India, but to expect Pakistan to hand over these men and those earlier listed would be naive. To expect otherwise is not to understand the internal dynamics of Pakistan.

That really leaves us with two options. One is to bolster home land security by having more security forces, which is a reactive and utterly wasteful strategy, and the other is, to revamp the intelligence set-up and improve the quality of policing. India has been repeatedly surprised and subjected to terrorist attacks. There hardly has been any pre-emptive action to forestall these attacks.

To cover up shortcomings in investigative skills, there appears to be moves to bring back some of the draconian laws, though in a different garb. Such laws turn the Indian judicial system on its head and going by the past record of their application, it will lead to further alienation of sections of our society.

Senior police officials do admit that Mumbai was the result of a systemic failure of the entire intelligence network. They close this observation with this gem: “sacking anyone or all of them would mean suddenly creating a vacuum in the security establishment of the country. And in these rather sensitive times this could send a wrong message to the world.” Simply stated it means, let sleeping dogs lie.

Imperative to make military service attractive
by Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi

Later this month, my alma mater, the prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA), will commence celebrating its diamond jubilee. It was the New Year’s Day of 1949 when the fledgling Inter Services Wing (later renamed the Joint Services Wing) was set up at Dehradun.

The coming New Year’s Day will, therefore, be a proud day not only for those who have passed out of the Academy over the last 60 years, but also for all military persons and indeed for the entire nation.

The officer cadets who have passed out from the portals of this hallowed institution later led the defence forces of the country through wars and conflicts, which the nation had to fight and is still fighting and did so from the front, setting examples of courage and professionalism rarely seen.

When I joined the NDA in June 1957, the reins of the Academy were in the capable hands of Major Gen E. Habibullah, a versatile and lovable General officer of the old school. I use the words “reins”, both figuratively and metaphorically, for he was also an accomplished horseman, besides commanding this fine institution, which converted gawky adolescent boys into gentlemen and later officers of the defence forces.

We were also privileged to train under the guidance of two commandants, as midway during our course, Rear Admiral B.A. Samson, a smart and dynamic Flag officer of the Indian Navy, took over command of the Academy and presided over our passing-out parade in June, 1960.

I did visit the NDA on a few occasions thereafter, but the defining moment for me was in June, 2001, when I was given the exceptional honour of reviewing the passing-out parade, exactly 41 years after I had marched out past the quarter deck, hopefully smartly, and said goodbye to the Academy, which had turned me round from a boy to a man! By happenstance, it was my erstwhile Golf squadron, which had earned the championship trophy that year, making me doubly proud!

Let me share another nostalgic moment with this Academy of excellence. I was back at the NDA in June last year along with a number of course mates for celebrating yet another milestone in our lives. This was to celebrate the golden jubilee of the day, 50 years back, when our course had entered the precincts of this fine institution, which embraced us with love and care, taught us discipline and the appreciation of the good things of life, set us on the road to military professionalism and built our character for the vicissitudes of life that would follow.

Thanks to the current commandant, Air Marshal T.S. Randhawa, and his dedicated and efficient team of instructors, our brief sojourn can only be termed as momentous. We relived the life we had led as cadets and appreciated all the changes for the better, which successive commandants had instituted to ensure that the Academy continued to be the apex institution of learning in our country.

While the country, the Indian military and especially the alumni of this institution of excellence would rejoice and celebrate this remarkable and unique journey, we also need to take time out to ponder on the future.

Will India be able to sustain and excel the achievements of this exceptional institution in the face of diminishing numbers joining the Academy and the defence forces, as well as the vast shortage of officers in all the three services?

It is important to reflect on the reasons why young men are shying away from joining the defence forces, including this famed institution.

I do not subscribe to the view that in today’s consumer-oriented society, there is a paucity of patriots and warriors in our nation. Even a cursory look at our long history of wars and sacrifices by our soldiers and their leaders of yore should convince us that there is no dearth of valour amongst our countrymen. Neither can the reason be a perceived decline in the standards of the defence forces or of the NDA.

The truth is that over the years, despite many centrifugal forces working against the defence forces, they continue to serve the nation with dedication and resolve; I need not remind the readers of their sterling efforts in the successful resolution of a highly explosive situation at Mumbai only a few days back, where in the best traditions of the Army two young lads, Major Unnikrishnan and Havildar Gajendra Singh, sacrificed their lives for the nation.

As far as the NDA is concerned, not only has it lived up to its glorious past but has vastly improved its academics, military training and most importantly building the highest level of character qualities.

————

The writer is a former Vice Chief of Army Staff and alumni of the famed 18th course of the NDA.

Pakistan - A drama again!

Jayanta Deka 09 December 2008, Tuesday

IN A NEW drama, the Pakistan authorities have reportedly imposed restrictions on the movement of Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Maulana Masood Azhar and confined him to house despite India’s request to hand him over.

Azhar, who was freed by Indian authorities along with two other terrorists in exchange for passengers of an Indian Airlines flight hijacked from Kathmandu to Kandahar in 1999, has been confined to his multi-storey building in Model Town area of Bahawalpur, The News daily reported today.

The report quoted official sources as saying that Azhar’s activities had been restricted in the wake of India’s demand to hand him over along with criminals Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon.

There was no official word on whether Azhar had been restricted to his home. The Pakistan Army on Monday confirmed it had launched an operation against banned militant groups.

Lashker-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi is among over 20 militants arrested during the crackdown, sources said.

The Pakistan government has turned down India’s demand to hand over Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. The demand had been made in a demarche handed over by India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Azhar’s movements have been restricted in the past too when India had demanded his handing over. There have been reports in recent months that Azhar and the Jaish had stepped up activities, including the raising of funds and organising large rallies, in the Bahawalpur area.

The militant leader was being held in an Indian jail when he was released by the Indian government in exchange for passengers of the aircraft hijacked by several Pakistani terrorists and taken to Kandahar.

Soon after his release, Azhar formed the Jaish. Azhar and his group had faced restrictions in the wake of the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and the 2003 suicide attacks on former President Pervez Musharraf.

The Jaish was renamed as Khudam-ul-Islam and reorganised under the command of Mufti Abdul Rauf, the younger brother of Azhar.

The US State Department designated the Jaish a foreign terrorist organisation in December 2001, forcing the Musharraf regime to slap a ban on the group in January 2002.

Masood Azhar placed under house arrest by Pak army

Nivedita 09 December 2008, Tuesday

MAULANA MASSOD Azhar founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed was ultimately detained in Pakistan, by Pakistani army and some restrictions were imposed on him. He has been confined to his multi-storey building in Model Town area of Bahawalpur. The Pakistan government reportedly not in a mood to hand over Azhar, who was freed by Indian authorities along with two other terrorists in exchange for passengers of an Indian Airlines flight hijacked, from Kathmandu to Kandahar, in 1999, to India at this juncture.


The Pak media has reported that Azhar’s activities had been restricted in the wake of India’s demand to hand him over along with criminals Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. There was no official word on whether Azhar had been restricted to his home. The Pakistan army on Monday (Dec 8) confirmed it had launched an operation against banned militant groups. Lashker-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi is among the over 20 militants arrested during the crackdown.


The Pakistan government has turned down India’s demand to hand over Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. The demand had been made in a demarche handed over by India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.


Azhar’s movements have been restricted in the past too when India had demanded his handing over. There have been reports in recent months that Azhar and the Jaish had stepped up activities, including the raising of funds and organising large rallies, in the Bahawalpur area. The militant leader was being held in an Indian jail when he was released by the Indian government in exchange for passengers of the airplane hijacked by several Pakistani terrorists and taken to Kandahar.

Soon after his release, Azhar formed the Jaish. Azhar and his group had faced restrictions in the wake of the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament and the 2003 suicide attacks on former president Pervez Musharraf. The Jaish was renamed as Khudam-ul-Islam and reorganised under the command of Mufti Abdul Rauf, younger brother of Azhar.

Pakistan Arrests Do Little to Stop LeT: Report
By Arun Kumar

Washington
The Lashker-e-Taiba will not be crippled by the arrest of the purported mastermind of the Mumbai attacks and at least 19 other members of the militant group, an LeT coordinator has told a US daily.

"We're still well-organized and active," the unnamed militant, who serves as a coordinator for the outlawed Pakistan-based terror group, was quoted as saying by the Washington Times in an interview conducted in a safe house near Lahore.

The LeT coordinator told the daily that the organization's strength in Pakistan was in the thousands even though it was outlawed in 2002.

Pakistan Monday announced the arrest of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, alleged organizer of the Nov 26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, who was among 20 arrested during a raid in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The LeT has "huge strength" and is concentrated in Pakistan's tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan, the militant was quoted as saying.

He ran his fingers through his bushy beard as he sat in a dingy room for the interview, surrounded by boys ages 15 to 20 who listened intently as he spoke, the Times said.

Inside the room was a wooden cupboard, a bed and two chairs. The walls were blank, and the space was lit by a solitary lamp. The man stood uncomfortably against the wall throughout the interview, his eyes avoiding the female reporter's face.

The sole gunman arrested in the Mumbai attacks, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, 21, has told Indian authorities that he is an LeT member. According to news reports, Kasab was born in a village called Faridkot in southern Punjab, Pakistan.

Reporters who have visited the village have been unable to find anyone who knows Kasab, the Times said. The LeT organizer said this didn´t surprise him because those who join his group are given other names.

"All those who join these organizations are given Arabic names," he said. "Sometimes to make them less conspicuous, they´re given non-Arabic but purely Muslim names."

Many of the members are school dropouts, the Times said citing those familiar with the workings of the LeT. One former member, who gave his name as Muhammed Yusuf, 27, told the Times in a telephone interview that he joined the outfit four years ago but became disillusioned with the organization within months and left.

The LeT organizer denied that the group had to purchase recruits. "Young boys come to us usually because their friends have convinced them, because they believe jihad is the epitome of being a good Muslim or because their families are involved," he was quoted as saying.

"Sufi shrines and mosques are usual meeting grounds for young boys," he said. "Often boys meet at these mosques and become friends. Then if one of the friends start becoming religious, he convinces the others to follow suit." The organizer said this was how he was inducted into the militant outfit.

Yusuf, the former LeT member, said the process of induction into a jihadist outfit begins with teaching boys about Islam.

Yahya Muhammed, an LeT spokesman, has denied that the organization has training camps.

But the Lashker organizer contradicted the spokesman's account. He said jihadist training is rigorous, takes place in the tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan and is divided into several parts.

The first part involves classes that "last for 40 days and during this course, we are taught the use of light machine guns, Kalashnikovs, G3 pistols and grenades", he said.

"By the end of the training, we are able to assemble a Kalashnikov with our eyes blindfolded."

The second part, known as Hezbollah, "continues for 30 days and involves the making of bombs, use of chemicals and detonators etcetera," he said. A third part involves training in guerrilla fighting, he said.

He said a fourth part was reserved for a very few. He said he had not received the training and so could not describe it.

India to Pakistan: Walk the Talk,
Move Beyond Tokenism

By Manish Chand

New Delhi
India is closely “monitoring and verifying” the crackdown by Pakistan's security and intelligence agencies on some terrorist outfits in that country and is hoping that Islamabad will move beyond “tokenism” and take “concrete, meaningful action” against the suspects behind the Mumbai terror attacks.

“It's too early to react. We have seen this kind of reaction in the past,” top government sources, who did not wish to be named, told IANS Tuesday, a day after Pakistan confirmed a quiet crackdown by its security agencies on known terror outfits in that country.

“We have to move beyond mere statements and tokenism. At this stage, nobody is interested in tokenism,” sources privy to the government's thinking on the subject said.

“There has to be real, meaningful action that will signal Pakistan's will to walk the talk on terror,” the sources said, while alluding to similar action by Islamabad in the past that did not stop terror attacks launched on India from Pakistani territory.

When asked to spell out what specific actions India sought from Pakistan, the sources said that the first thing Pakistan needs to do is to hand over fugitives wanted by India for major terror strikes, including the Nov 26 Mumbai attacks.

India has asked Pakistan to hand over at least three fugitives - mob boss Dawood Ibrahim suspected of masterminding the 1993 Mumbai violence, Masood Azhar, top suspect in the Dec 13, 2001 attack on Indian parliament and Hafez Mohammed Saeed, the LeT chief who is suspected to have masterminded the Nov 26 Mumbai massacre. Pakistan has rejected India's demand saying it would act against them under Pakistani law if India provided evidence.

With the US reportedly giving Pakistan a 48-hour deadline to act against anti-India terror camps, the authorities Monday arrested top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi and struck at the group's camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The LeT is widely seen as an anti-India terror outfit created by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency to wage a proxy war to challenge Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistani Defence Minister Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar Tuesday confirmed that Lakhwi had been arrested and that Masood Azhar had been put under house arrest.

Pakistan banned the LeT in 2002 under international pressure following the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament but it resurrected itself as the Jamaat-ud-Dawa that ostensibly runs Islamic charities and schools.

“That's why arresting a handful of LeT operatives is not enough,” sources said.

“It's nothing more then tokenism. They want to take minimum possible action to appease the Americans,” Satish Chandra, a former deputy national security adviser and a former Indian envoy to Pakistan, told IANS.

“If Pakistan wants to come out clean, it must shut down the entire infrastructure of terrorism and hand over fugitives from Indian law. Handing over Indians wanted in crimes in India does not require an extradition treaty,” Chandra said.

“If they round up leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, arrest them and hand them over to India, that would be considered meaningful action. Nothing else will do,” K. Subrahmanyam, an eminent strategic expert, told IANS.

India is keeping open all its options, including precision strikes against terrorist camps and destroying them through covert action in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.

Other options, according to government sources and strategic experts, include intensifying international pressure and approaching the UN to declare Pakistan a terrorist state.

“We have many levers. We should step up lobbying and try to persuade the international community to tie aid to Pakistan with verifiable action against terrorist infrastructure in that country,” Chandra said.

“We should also consider dismantling anti-terror mechanism which will send the signal to the world that it's simply not working in the face of Pakistan's behavior,” Chandra said.

“It is like getting into bed with your rapist,” Chandra added.

The anti-terror mechanism was set up by India and Pakistan in 2006 to address issues relating to terrorism so that the peace process between the two countries is not derailed by accusations over the origin of terror attacks.

We are prepared for a war if needed, says Pakistan

PTI | December 10, 2008 | 01:29 IST

Pakistan today ruled out handing over to India any of its citizens found to be linked to the Mumbai attacks and warned that it was fully prepared for war in the event of a military confrontation in the wake of the terrorist strike.

Though Pakistani will fully cooperate with India in investigating the Mumbai attacks, any Pakistani individual found to be involved in the incident will be tried under the country's laws, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

"The arrests are being made for our own investigations. Even if allegations are proved against any suspect, he will not be handed over to India," Qureshi told reporters after offering Eid prayers in his hometown of Multan.

"No arrested Pakistani would be handed over to India," he said.

Asked about the arrest of leaders and members of banned groups like Lashker-e-Taiba in a crackdown launched on Sunday, Qureshi said they were apprehended due to efforts made by intelligence agencies as part of the government's commitment that Pakistan's soil would not be used for terrorist activities directed against any other country.

"We will proceed against those arrested under Pakistani laws," he said.

Qureshi said Pakistan did not want military confrontation but would defend itself if war was imposed on it.

"We do not want to impose war, but we are fully prepared in case war is imposed on us," he said.

"It is our desire that there should be no war...We want friendship, we want peace and we want stability, but our desire for peace should not be considered Pakistan's weakness," he added.

Qureshi said the government had made it clear that Pakistan was not involved in any way in the Mumbai attacks. Islamabad had also made an offer to jointly investigate the

Mumbai attacks with India but had not yet received a response from the Indian side, he said.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar confirmed the arrest of LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks, and Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Maulana Masood Azhar. In an interview with CNN-IBN channel, Mukhtar said Pakistan could consider the "joint interrogation" of the terror suspects with India.

Pakistan has arrested over 20 members of the LeT and its front organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawah since Sunday while the Jaish founder was placed under house arrest yesterday, sources said. Officials said the crackdown on banned militant groups

will continue and more arrests are expected.

The LeT, which was banned by Pakistan in 2001, has been blamed by India for planning and carrying out the Mumbai attacks that killed over 180 people. Despite being banned, the LeT continues to operate through proxies like the Jamaat-ud-Dawah.

IAF to deploy Aerostat radar to secure Delhi

Ajit K Dubey in New Delhi | PTI | December 09, 2008 | 16:46 IST

Faced with intelligence inputs of a possible threat from the skies on the pattern of 9/11, the Indian Air Force has decided to install a highly sophisticated radar in Delhi to detect low-flying aircraft.

The decision to install 'Aerostat' radar in Delhi comes close on the heels of Defence Minister A K Antony saying that the country needs to guard against aerial threats.

"We are planning to deploy a dedicated Aerostat radar to secure the capital from threats from low-flying aircraft," IAF sources said.

These radars would be integrated with units of surface-to-air missiles based in the capital.

After the recent terror strikes in Mumbai, intelligence agencies had warned about a WTC-type terror strikes at important locations across the country.

Antony had chaired a high-level meeting of the tri-services chiefs and his ministry officials to discuss means to counter any such aerial threat after terrorists breached coastal security in Mumbai recently.

In response to the intelligence warnings, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major had recently said, "We are prepared to tackle any such threat."

The deployment of an Aerostat is one of the steps taken by the IAF to strengthen the aerial security of the capital, sources said.

India must develop ties with Pakistan army

Suman Guha Mozumder in New York | December 09, 2008 | 09:29 IST

Muqtedar Khan, an Indian-American expert on South Asia and political Islam at the University of Delaware in the United States, says rather than trying to work with Pakistani politicians against that country's military establishment, India should develop military-to-military relations with Pakistan.

"There is a joke that all countries in the world have their own armies, but only two armies in the world -- Pakistan and Turkey -- have their countries. I think there might be temptations (in India) to work with politicians in Pakistan against that country's military, but what the Indian government should do is essentially sit down and have bilateral military-to-military relations," Khan said.

Khan, a popular media commentator who last week wrote an article in The Washington Post in which he called for significant rethinking in how one fights terrorism following the Mumbai terror attacks, said it is very difficult for him to imagine that there was no Pakistan government agency involvement in the horrible terrorist operation in Mumbai last month.

"I am inclined to believe that there must have been some low-level rogue element in the Pakistani government who looked the other way while the training and logistics support were being provided," Khan told rediff.com "Otherwise, it is very difficult for anybody to carry out such a sophisticated operation," Khan, who is director of the University of Delaware's Islamic Studies Programme, said.

A native of Hyderabad, who used to live when he was in his mid-twenties about a mile from the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai and often frequented the place for a buffet or breakfast, said his suggestion was that India should "adopt" Pakistan.

"It is obvious by now that on its own Pakistan cannot govern itself. They are incapable because not only there are very fundamental and multi-layer divisions between the politicians and military, there are divisions within the military as well," he said.

"Until now the Americans have been telling them it is good to train the jihadists to blow up the Russians. So, sponsorship of terrorism was in favor of democracy and freedom, and they did it for more than 15 years. And then suddenly they were told that it is okay to do the same thing on their eastern border but not on the western border which in effect means that it is okay to support groups against India but not against America. And now they are told it is not okay to do it on either side," he said.

"People in the lower ranks of the Pakistani military are totally confused. In fact, radicalisation of the Pakistani military had happened even before the radical groups were emerging. It is the radicalisation of the Pakistani army which made it so easy for radical groups to be created and trained. Now they are asking them to unwind, but I do not think that is going to happen so easily because the military is divided and there are a lot of rogue elements in the military and ISI (Inter Services Intelligence, the Pakistan military's espionage directorate) who would launch their own projects," Khan said.

But then, he added, it is also very difficult for him to imagine that there was no local support in India behind the attacks. "Ignoring that connection by the Indian government is going to be a policy problem," he said, adding that the Indian government needs more support from the Muslim population.

"Ideally, if there are some (Muslim) kids behaving strangely in their neighbourhood, Muslim wives and mothers should ideally call the police. But that is not possible perhaps in today's India because people are afraid of police and there is so much distrust between the police and the Muslim community," Khan said.

"I suspect that now police forces are going to abuse more people, especially Muslims, and in the process create the potential for more terrorist recruits than actually preventing them," he added.

Khan said he believed the Pakistani military is now just as concerned and worried about terrorism as anybody else. "Frankly, they have created a Frankenstein ('s monster). They want basically to control it, and prevent it (but cannot). I think the Indian government should develop military to military relations and the Indian military should perform joint operations in Waziristan (in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province). I think a joint anti-terrorism military task force should jointly patrol the border in Pakistan and Afghanistan," he said.

His assessment is that the US war on terror has been a complete failure. "Because after seven years of US and Pakistan efforts against terrorism -- and this has been the single agenda of President George Bush, and two wars -- if this is what the terrorists can achieve," Khan said, "then it looks really scary to me."

Expelled cadet returns to IMA on fake papers
Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, December 9
Authorities at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) have handed over a 30-year-old Gentleman Cadet (GC) undergoing training at the academy on “fake identity” to the Dehradun Police.

The GC, identified as Deepak Yadav, had earlier been expelled from the IMA in 2005 on disciplinary grounds. At that time, he was undergoing training under the name of Sanjeev Kumar.

After detecting the fake identity of the GC yesterday, the IMA authorities conducted investigations and handed him over to the Dehradun police today afternoon.

According to the IMA spokesperson, in 2005, Sanjeev, a resident of Fazalpur village, Meerut, came to the IMA after clearing the Service Selection Board (SSB).

But on account of absenteeism, he was expelled from the academy on disciplinary grounds. The IMA spokesperson further said that in July 2008, the same cadet, under the fake identity of Deepak Yadav, again joined the IMA.

The authorities revealed that during the routine interview of the GCs, it came to light that Deepak was undergoing training on a fake identity.

The IMA authorities said the residential address given by Deepak in 2005 and 2008 was the same but the father’s name furnished in the documents was different. “After conducting our internal inquiry, we have handed over the cadet to the police,” said the IMA authorities, while refusing to divulge any other details about the cadet.

The arrest of the GC just a few days before the passing out parade of the IMA has lead to some scare. Though the IMA authorities termed the incident as “no security lapse” but the fact that someone was undergoing training in the IMA under a fake identity for the past four months, the issue assumes importance.

Also under the scanner will be the role of the Meerut police, who had conducted the police verification of the cadet.

Highly placed sources have revealed that now the matter is being investigated by several agencies including the Intelligence Bureau (IB). At the Panditwari police picket, Deepak Yadav accepted that his actual name is Sanjeev Kumar Yadav. He alleged that the IMA authorities had “unjustifiably” expelled him from the academy in 2005.

“After my expulsion, I decided to prove my mettle and adopted a fake identity in order to get back into the IMA”, he said.

He added that Deepak Yadav is his cousin studying in Pune. “I got Deepak’s class X, plus two and graduation certificates and appeared for the SSB. After clearing the SSB, I got into the IMA,” he confessed.

He further said that the father’s name mentioned by him in documents furnished in 2005 is Swarn Singh Yadav and he is a farmer. “The documents, which I furnished this year, mentions S.R. Yadav, an ex-serviceman, as my father. In reality, he is my uncle and is the father of my cousin Deepak Yadav,” he revealed.

Military Farms Scam
8-yr rigorous imprisonment for Lt Col
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
A general court martial (GCM) has sentenced a lieutenant-colonel serving with the Military Farms to eight-year rigorous imprisonment, besides cashiering him from service for the alleged acts of corruption, it is learnt.

The officer, Lt-Col R. Mittal was tried on six charges under provisions of Sections 52 and 63 of the Army Act for intent to defraud and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline.

The GCM, presided over by Col Purshottam Singh, deputy commander of an infantry brigade, found the officer guilty on four of the six counts. The GCM, which began at Raiwala on May 16, concluded last week. The GCM’s verdict is subject to confirmation by the GOC-in-C, Central Command, Lucknow.

The officer had been accused of violating certain laid down policies and procedures, which allegedly resulted in “huge” loses to the government, sources said. It was also alleged that Rs 5.8 lakh were recovered from his residence at Dehradun during a raid conducted by the military intelligence.

The officer had pleaded not guilty to the charges levied against him and contended that similar practices and procedures were being followed in some other military farms.

Prosecution counsel Col P.N. Chaturvedi (retd) said the officer was held guilty by the GCM on the basis of documentary and other oral evidence produced in court during the course of the trial.

He added that the loss to the government, as estimated by the prosecution, was about Rs 2 crore. The Military Farm, Dehradun, where the alleged violations took place, was later closed down.

Sources said several other persons, including officers, are also involved in the case and action is being contemplated against them.

Delhi: Aerostat radar to detect ‘rogue’ aircrafts

New Delhi, December 9
Faced with intelligence inputs of a possible threat from the skies on the pattern of 9/11, the Indian Air Force has decided to install highly sophisticated radar in Delhi to detect ‘rogue’ low-flying aircraft.

The decision to install Aerostat’ radar in Delhi comes close on the heels of defence minister A.K Antony saying that the country needs to guard against aerial threats.

“We are planning to deploy a dedicated Aerostat radar here to secure the capital from threats from low-flying aircraft,” said IAF sources. These radars would be integrated with units of surface-to-air missiles (SAM) based in the capital.

After the recent terror strikes in Mumbai, intelligence agencies had warned about a WTC-type terror strikes at important locations across the country.

Antony had chaired a high-level meeting of the tri-services chiefs and his ministry officials to discuss means to counter any such aerial threat, after terrorists’ breached coastal security in Mumbai recently.

In response to the intelligence warnings, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major had recently said, “We are prepared to tackle any such threat.” The deployment of an Aerostat here is one of the steps taken by the IAF to strengthen the aerial security of the capital, sources said. — PTI

India flays Lankan army chief’s remark
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 9
India has lodged a strong protest with Sri Lanka over certain “derogatory” comments made by its Army chief Sarath Fonseka about some Tamil Nadu politicians and Colombo has expressed “regret” over the remarks.

India’s high commissioner to Sri Lanka Alok Prasad took up the matter “strongly” with Lanka’s defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who promised to look into the matter, external affairs ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said in response to a question on media reports pertaining to Fonseka’s comments in an interview where he referred to some politicians of Tamil Nadu as “political jokers.”

“The defence secretary of Sri Lanka promised to look into the matter and conveyed regrets should any such comment have been made,” Prakash said.

Fonseka had said the Indian government would never influence Sri Lanka to restore the ceasefire with the LTTE and it would not listen to the “political jokers” of Tamil Nadu whose “survival depends on the LTTE.”

Lanka regrets army chief’s remarks

New Delhi, December 9
With Sri Lanka army chief Sarath Fonseka’s derogatory remarks against Tamil Nadu politicians sparking outrage, India today said Colombo had expressed regrets and promised to look into the issue.

“Our high commissioner to Colombo took up the issue strongly with the Sri Lankan defence secretary,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash told mediapersons.

The defence secretary is Gothabaya Rajapaksa, a brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The spokesman was responding to a question on remarks by Fonseka dubbing Tamil Nadu politicians as “jokers” for seeking a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE.

“The defence secretary promised to look into the matter and conveyed regrets should any such comment have been made,” Prakash added.

“If the LTTE is wiped out, those political jokers like Nadumaran, Vaiko and whoever who is sympathising with the LTTE will most probably lose their income from the LTTE,” the army chief said in an interview published in The Sunday Observer in Colombo.

Lanka army chief Fonseka also alleged the politicians were “bribed” by the LTTE to make allegations that Tamil civilians were being killed by the army in Sri Lanka.

The army chief’s comments elicited strong condemnation from political parties in Tamil Nadu, which demanded that the central government extract an apology from Sri Lanka.

“Leaders criticising one another in Tamil Nadu is different but we cannot accept someone from outside the country saying such things about our leaders,” said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to go to Colombo this month to reinforce India’s message that a military offensive against the Tamil Tigers should not affect Tamil civilians in that country. — IANS

New TDS uniforms a gift from Indian Armed Forces

09 Dec 2008, 21:00

Nuku'alofa, Tonga:

TONGAN soldiers were given two sets of uniforms as a gift by the Indian Ambassador to Tonga, HE Dr Prbhakara in a handing over ceremony at the Tonga Defence Services Headquarter at Sene yesterday.

The Ambassador, who is based in Suva, Fiji, said that the sets of military uniforms, comprising of shirts, trousers, beret, belt and socks, were donated by the Indian Armed Forces and there were enough for all 615 soldiers in the TDS. They were supplied in response to a discussion between the Commander of the Tonga Defence Services Brigadier Tau'aika 'Uta'atu and the then Vice Chief of the Indian Army who is now the Chief of the Indian Army, General Deepak Kapoor during the Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference in Sydney last August.

"It shows our commitment and resolve to enhance bilateral cooperation," he said.

Tonga's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Hon. Tu'a Taumoepeau Tupou, thanked the Indian Armed Forces in particular Capt Jatinder Singh, the Indian Defence Adviser to Tonga, who was present at the ceremony, for his effort in making the donation a reality.

"We are very grateful to the Indian Armed Forces for their continued support and assistance and overall development of TDS. These uniforms will help minimise the expenses to be spent in procuring uniforms."

Tu'a said that in the past officers and cadets from the Tongan Army and Navy were enrolled at the National Defence Academy at Puna, India.

"We have witnessed the benefit the Indian Armed Forces has provided for TDS in terms of education and training, and today we witness their assistance extended to logistic support by providing these military uniforms."

The Minister said that a Tonga-India Defence agreement was formulated for the first time in 1972 when the late Prince Tu'ipelehake attended the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun.

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