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Friday, 12 December 2008

From Today's Papers - 12 Dec

Mumbai Terrorist attack and Pakistan

India has been able to convince world community about Pakistan's complicity in Mumbai terrorist attack. UN Security Council has banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa. USA is going all out to put diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to cooperate in bringing perpetrator of the attack to book. While Pakistan Government does not have the heart to defy USA and the world community but the signal about the action(s) being taken are not very clear. The numbers of power players in Pakistan are many and each perceives the attack from its own angle. There is democratically elected Government in Pakistan. The military continues to count but is not in a position to oust the democratically elected Government as large part of public is against military rule. Only confrontation or threat of confrontation with India can give it the excuse to wrest power. ISI though under military operates independent of it and has its own design and aim. Terrorists though supported by the Military through ISI operate independent of them along with international terrorist organizations. Pakistan President Mr. Zardari may be partially right when he says that Mumbai terrorist attack was aimed at toppling his Government. But he cannot sit tight and wait for the problem to pass. India is hurt and she wants to see an effective action against the perpetrators of the crime. So, for his survival and survival of democracy in Pakistan he has to take a calculated risk and assert his authority. He has lost his wife and democracy has come to the country with popular movement. Public has great sympathy for him and is keen to see the democracy succeed. It will therefore not be easy for the Military to topple his Government and seize power in case he launches offensive against the terrorists. The whole world will be with him in case he decides to assert. Nothing short of effective action by Pakistan can satisfy India even it means crossing the border. So it will be in the interest of Zardari Government to act decisively and now.

Lt Col(Retd) Harbhajan Singh Cheema

2 slain NSG men may get Ashok Chakra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havildar Gajendra Singh, two commandos of the National Security Guards (NSG) who lost their lives fighting terrorists in Mumbai, are likely to get the Ashok Chakra - nation's highest peacetime gallantry award.

Besides the two, sub-inspector Tukaram Umbale of the Mumbai police is also likely to get the same award. He is the one of the three cops who caught hold of Ajmal Amin Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive. Umbale was shot at five times from point-blank range but held on to Kasab till two of his colleagues armed with lathis and an antiquated rifle nabbed him. Assistant sub-inspector Sanjay Gowilkar and sub-inspector Bhaskar Kadam of the Mumbai police is also likely to get Kirti Chakra, nation's second highest peacetime award, sources here said.

Ashok Chakra is awarded for the "most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice" done during peacetime. The decoration awarded either to military personnel or a civilian is usually given posthumously.

The NSG is yet to make the recommendation as the two killed Army men were on deputation to the special action group of the NSG. It is almost certain that the Ashok Chakra will be suggested. For a few others who were in the forefront and were injured a citation is on the cards.

It may be mentioned that three security personnel, policemen and para military men who fought terrorists when Parliament was attacked on December 13, 2001, were awarded the Ashok Chakra.

The security personnel - M.S Negi, J.P Yadav and woman constable Kamlesh Kumari - who sacrificed their lives in the face of the terrorist attack on Parliament were security assistants in Rajya Sabha watch and ward staff.

The five policemen, who also were gunned down in the attack, were decorated with the Kirti Chakra.

One Rank One Pension for Defence Personnel

Rajya Sabha

Government has not found acceptable the demand of Ex-Servicemen for one rank one pension. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Kalraj Mishra in Rajya Sabha today. The defence personnel have not rejected the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, he added.

India Rejects 'Diversionary' Tactics,
Asks Pakistan to Take Positive Steps

New Delhi
Rejecting "diversionary" tactics and "canards" by Islamabad in the wake of Mumbai's bloody terror strikes, India Thursday sent a tough message to Pakistan asking it to move beyond "mere expressions of intent" and take "positive steps" to "dismantle" infrastructure of terrorism in its territory.

Underlining that the Mumbai attacks were not an expression of the India-Pakistan problem but part of global terror, New Delhi made it clear that it was "not ready to be provoked" by propaganda and vowed that it will take resolute action which will convey the message that nobody dared attack India.

At the same time, India also ruled out a military option.

"We expect Pakistan to take some positive steps. It is for the Pakistan government to decide," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Indian parliament during a discussion on the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attacks.

"People expect this country to take resolute action which will convey the message that the territorial integrity of the country can't be ignored. And nobody dare do it," he said.

Unless the action is carried to its logical conclusion like banning terrorist outfits and the dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure, it will not help, Mukherjee said in a tough message to Pakistan.

Alluding to some recent steps taken by Pakistani security agencies against terror outfits in that country, Mukherjee stressed that the crackdown on terror must be seen to be genuine.

"They are simply changing the signboard. Ideology is the same and activities are the same," he said while referring to the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a militant outfit suspected of having masterminded the Mumbai carnage, which resurrected itself under the banner of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD).

In an acknowledgment of JuD's questionable activities, the UN Security Council Wednesday declared JuD, a public front of LeT that runs Islamic charities and schools, a terrorist organization.

India suspects JuD chief Hanif Mohammed Saeed to be the chief mastermind of the Mumbai massacre. "Issues can't be ducked. Issues can't be sidelined," Mukherjee stressed.

Likewise, Mukherjee debunked Pakistan's step of putting Maulana Masood Azhar, a suspect in the 2001 attack on Indian parliament, under house arrest.

"Criminal laws are the same in every country. Either a criminal is put in judicial custody or police custody," the minister said, signaling India's exasperation with what is seen here as tokenism to appease the international community that is also mounting pressure on Pakistan to take concrete action against terror outfits.

In a similar vein, Mukherjee questioned the argument made by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari who said that the terrorists were non-state actors over which he had no control.

"Are non-state actors coming from heaven or did they come from another planet? Non-state actors were operating from the territory of a country," Mukherjee said.

Days after New Delhi served a demarche to Islamabad Dec 1, Mukherjee said that India has asked Pakistan to return 40 fugitives from Indian law who have been "indicted" in different terrorist and criminal activities in India.

"We have not given them a list of not 20 persons, but 40 persons," he said. The 40 most wanted include mob boss Dawood Ibrahim, who is suspected of plotting the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

"We have given these names at every home secretary-level talks and at every meeting of foreign secretaries of the two countries. We have given these names during four meetings of anti-terror mechanism," Mukherjee said.

"What we are telling the government of Pakistan is to act. Mere expression of intent is not enough," he stressed. "Denying will not solve the issue," he added.

However, when an MP asked if India would attack Pakistan, Mukherjee said: "It is not a solution."

Underlining global solidarity with India in the wake of the terror attacks, the minister underlined that the attack was part of global terror as it targeted and killed over 26 foreigners.

Mukherjee said that he had expressed regret to 13 foreign ministers of those countries whose citizens were among 179 killed in Mumbai. "We could not protect them. I sincerely apologize," Mukherjee said.

"Most of them realized it is not our fault. Terrorism has a dimension which is not confined to territorial boundary of any state. It has become a cross-border and international phenomenon," Mukherjee said while describing terrorism as "the biggest menace to world peace and tranquility since the Cold War".

Alluding to a global outpouring of sympathy for India in the wake of Mumbai attacks, Mukherjee called for mobilizing support of the international community to force Pakistan to take action against terrorists and terrorist outfits in that country.

"We should build up a campaign. This is not an India-Pakistan problem. This is part of global terrorism," he said.

Exposing the larger "design" of terrorists, Mukherjee said they targeted major cities of India, including Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Mumbai this year to "deliberately harm the country".

"We have no intention to be provoked. All sorts of propaganda have been whipped up. We have not suspended air links. Nothing has happened," Mukherjee said while alluding to reports of a hoax call allegedly made in his name to Zardari that provoked the latter to put Pakistani forces on high alert.

"What is worrying us is if the establishment of a duly constituted government believes these things and act upon it, then it can sometimes cause problems," he said while denying forcefully that he rang up Zardari days after the Mumbai attacks.

Intelligence on Mumbai Was Given to Navy,
Coast Guard: Chidambaram

New Delhi
Intelligence reports of a suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) vessel attempting to infiltrate into Mumbai was shared with the Coast Guard as well as the naval intelligence, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Thursday, while asserting that India cannot go back to "business as usual" with Pakistan.

In a statement to the Lok Sabha, Chidambaram dwelt for the first time since he took over Dec 1 on whether intelligence on the Mumbai attack was evaluated and acted upon. He specified that the intelligence information was shared with the director general of the Coast Guard and the principal director of the naval intelligence.

"The Coast Guard made a serious effort including deploying vessels and aircraft to locate the suspect vessel but was not successful. The navy found that the coordinates of the vessel, as reported, placed it well within the territorial waters of Pakistan," Chidambaram said in his speech on the Mumbai terror attacks.

He emphasized that there was need to make the intelligence machinery "effective" and "result-oriented" and said time had come to take hard decisions to prepare the country and people to face the challenge of terrorism.

Chidambaram asserted that valuable evidence had been gathered to establish the involvement of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants from Pakistan in the Mumbai terror attack and said India "cannot go back to business as usual" with its neighbor.

"We will strain every nerve to defend our borders. Given the nature of the threats, we cannot go back to business as usual. Hard decisions will be taken to protect our country and its people.

"The finger of suspicion unmistakably points to the territory of our neighbor Pakistan," Chidambaram said on the terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 164 people including 26 foreigners.

The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's external intelligence agency, claimed it had given information specifying the places and the time bracket the terrorists were expected to attack, official sources earlier told IANS.

At least on four occasions and even on Nov 26, the day 10 militants laid siege on high-profile targets in Mumbai, including the Oberoi Trident and the Taj hotels, RAW had tipped off authorities of the impending attack by sea.

"The navy had committed several surface units and aircraft in the zone during the period Nov 19-20. In the absence of further inputs or information from the agencies concerned, the navy concluded that no further action could be taken on the basis of the available information," said Chidambaram.

"All aspects concerning intelligence are under my examination. While the basic structure seems sound, there is need to make intelligence gathering and sharing more effective and result oriented. Some changes have already been made and more are underway."

Making a statement in the house, Chidambaram said 10 Pakistani nationals belonging to the LeT left Karachi Nov 23, boarded a launch called Al Hussaini and hijacked an Indian fishing vessel M.V. Kuber before landing up in Mumbai in inflatable dinghies.

Chidambaram said there was a tendency among intelligence gathering agencies to "treat some intelligence inputs that are not specific or precise as not actionable intelligence".

"Some changes are have already been made and more are underway," said Chidambaram on how he hopes to reform intelligence gathering to make it accountable and responsive.

As follow-up measures to the audacious attack, Chidmbaram said the government had decided to set up 20 counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism schools in different parts of country for training commando units of the state police forces.

A decision had also been taken to create a coastal command for supervision and coordination of maritime and coastal security of India's coastline that extended to 7,500 km.

Reiterating what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said a week ago on improving the elite National Security Guard (NSG), the home minister said NSG units would be located in a few regional hubs instead of concentrating them in one single place.

A separate exercise was also underway to strengthen the laws relating to terrorist acts that included the setting up of a National Investigating Agency, he said.

"I hope to introduce a set of bills to strengthen the legal provisions relating to the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of terrorist acts. I would also urge the house to pass the amendment Bill to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002."

NSG Best Equipped to Tackle Terror,
Suffers Poor Logistics: Chidamabaram

New Delhi
Home Minister P. Chidamabaram Thursday acknowledged the National Security Guard (NSG) was the country's "best trained and best equipped force" to combat terrorists but also admitted that it suffered poor logistics.

"The NSG is our best trained and best equipped force to counter a terrorist attack. On many occasions in the past - and in Mumbai too - they have displayed exceptional courage and skill," he said while making a statement on the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attacks in the Lok Sabha.

"They are hampered by the distance between their headquarters and the airport; the absence of a dedicated aircraft; and the poor logistics in the theatre of operations.

"Nevertheless, once deployed, the NSG is a very effective counter terrorist force. I have initiated a number of steps to remove the logistical weaknesses in mobilizing and deploying the NSG."

"A decision has been taken to locate NSG units in a few regional hubs. A decision has also been taken to draw upon the commando units of the armed forces to create more regional hubs until a decision is taken to locate NSG units in those hubs too. These decisions will be implemented as expeditiously as possible. "

A decision to deploy the NSG in Mumbai was taken at about 11.30 p.m. on Nov 26 after the Maharashtra government sought its deployment.

Chidambaram pointed out that a group of around 200 men, reinforced later, was airlifted to Mumbai late that night and was deployed at the various sites of the operation in the early hours of Nov 27.

The home minister said the operations were conducted under very difficult circumstances.

"The terrorists were heavily armed, there was a hostage situation, and the terrorists had the advantage of shield and height afforded by the tall buildings that they had entered.

"Nevertheless, through their patience, skill and bravery, the security forces were able to neutralize the terrorists and rescued hundreds of persons who had been trapped in the buildings."

Pakistan to Abide by UN Sanctions
on Lashkar-e-Taiba

By Muhammad Najeeb

Pakistan Thursday said it will abide by the UN Security Council committee decision imposing sanctions on four members of outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), blamed for the Mumbai attacks.

A senior official of the foreign ministry said they have received information regarding sanctions on four Pakistanis including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who now heads Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JD).

"Pakistan would abide by (UN SC) committee's decisions," Pakistan's UN ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told GEO television after the committee announced its decision.

However, he said that the committee did not contact the Pakistani mission as regards imposing sanctions on three Pakistani citizens and organizations.

Haroon said that UN's committee had reviewed many names even before he assumed ambassadorship.

Besides Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Haji Muhammad Ashraf and Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq are "subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo," set out in Security Council resolution 1822 of 2008, said the Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee.

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was one of two senior LeT leaders Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said Wednesday were arrested in connection with the Mumbai attacks. Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, the other detainee, were allegedly key planners of the attack in which 173 people were killed.

According to Indian media, Lakhvi put together the team of gunmen that perpetrated the attack, while Shah allegedly arranged SIM cards and satellite phones used in the November 26-29 siege on India's financial capital.

The sanctions committee also listed the numerous aliases of LeT and two entities that provide it with funds -- Al Rasheed Trust and Al-Akhtar Trust International -- and which are also subject to UN sanctions.

The US State Department said it was "pleased that the (UN sanctions) Committee has decided to move forward on these high-priority designations."

"These actions will limit the ability of known terrorists to travel, acquire weapons, plan, carry out, or raise funds for new terrorist attacks."

Meanwhile, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, in a reaction to restrictions, said that Hafiz Saeed never headed LeT and the action has been taken without any proof on mere "propaganda" by the Indian media and political leadership.

The organizations' spokesman refused to comment on sanctions against three other persons, saying their respective organizations would be in better position to comment on the issue.

NSG commando loses eye in 26/11, not spirit

Sam Daniel

Thursday, December 11, 2008 6:08 PM (Chennai)

NSG commando A K Singh wants to fight for the country, even after losing sight in one eye while fighting terrorists at the Oberoi hotel in Mumbai. This happened just weeks before his wedding.

A K Singh was one of the brave NSG Commandos who stormed the 18th floor of the Oberoi hotel in Mumbai to rescue hostages and kill the terrorists a fortnight ago. But he has paid a heavy price.

Doctors say he has lost his vision in his left eye. Splinters had damaged his optic nerve when terrorists threw a hand grenade. But this has not dented his commando spirit.

"The spirit of the fauji never dies. Always it remains with full spirit and josh. I'm so proud to have been a part of this operation. I want to join my commandos fast," said Captain A K Singh, NSG Commando.

"When I reached his place he had already demonstrated his bravery. I'm sure he'd come back soon and join us all," said Major C Bharath, NSG commando.

The captain and his doctor friend Madhu had planned to get married soon. His fiance says that she is now all the more proud of her hero.

"We'd now get married soon after he recovers and gets fit, perhaps in December itself or in January," said Madhu, A K Singh's fianc .

Captain A K Singh who took the terrorists head on is still on his way to recovery. He's not complaining, but requires the best possible medical help.

Navy presence in Gulf of Aden to instill confidence: Antony

Press Trust of India

Thursday, December 11, 2008, (Gulf of Aden)

The presence of Indian Navy in the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy patrol was expected to protect the country's sea-borne trade and instill confidence in sea-faring community, as well as to function as a deterrent for pirates, the government has said.

Replying to a question, Defence Minister A K Antony told Rajya Sabha that a Navy warship was deployed in the Gulf of Aden recently and the ship patrolled the normal route followed by Indian-flagged merchant vessels during their passage through the region.

He said there was an attempt of piracy on Indian Flag cargo vessel, M V Jag Arnav, on November 11 this year and it was successfully repulsed by Indian Navy ship INS Tabar.

"Pirate gangs are operating along the coastline of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden and are reported to belong to Somalia," he added. Arms, ammo went missing from Army units: Antony New Delhi, Dec 11 (PTI) Three cases of missing arms and ammunition from various army units have come to light in the last two years and strict disciplinary action was taken against the defaulters in two of these cases, the government has said. Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, Defence Minister A K Antony said in October 2006, four Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56 mm rifles went missing from a unit kote of 11 Corps zonal workshop, while a pistol auto and two magazine pistols went missing from the 115 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army) kote in August 2007. Similarly, two 9 mm pistols, 2 pistol auto, a 7.62mm pistol, and ammunition of these weapons went missing from the kote of Anarwala Infantry Battalion of 5 Sikh Light Infantry. Courts of inquiry were ordered into the three cases to fix responsibility and in two of the cases disciplinary action was taken against the defaulters. Detailed orders on safe custody and accounting of weapons and ammunition existed and were regularly updated, Antony said. Procedure for security of weapons and ammunition in armouries including cross-checking was further tightened, he said. "Advisories have been issued by Directorate General Military Intelligence to highlight breaches of security of weapons and ammunition discovered during the Courts of Inquiry and suggest remedial action," he added.

Pak bans JuD, seals its offices in Sindh

December 11, 2008 21:16 IST

The Pakistan government today banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the front organisation for the outlawed LeT blamed for the Mumbai attacks, after the UN Security Council declared it a terrorist outfit and sealed its nine offices in Sindh apart from rounding up over 20 of its activists.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik told reporters that the JuD had been banned with immediate effect. The group's offices across Pakistan were being sealed and its activists are under observation, he said.

The government acted after the UN Security Council notified the JuD as a front organisation for the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e Toiba, he said.

Malik did not say what action would be taken against the JuD founder, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, though he noted that all activities of the group were being monitored.

However, Dawn News channel reported, citing police sources, that Interior Ministry has already issued orders for detention of eight JuD leaders, including Saeed.

Geo News channel also quoted sources as saying that Saeed was likely to be placed under house arrest. Reports said the government had directed private TV news channels not to air statements by leaders and members of the banned groups.

The police chiefs of the four provinces were directed to monitor the activities of the JuD and seal its offices. Nine Jamaat offices in Sindh, including two in the provincial capital Karachi, were sealed and over 20 of its activists were rounded up, Dawn News channel reported.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani [Images] told visiting US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte that "Pakistan has taken note of the designation of certain individuals and entities by the UN under Resolution 1267 of the UN Security Council and would fulfil its international obligations".

Target the Pakistan army, not Pakistan

Colonel Anil Athale (retd)

December 11, 2008

In the first part of a two-part column, Colonel Dr Anil Athale (retired) discussed the terrorists's objectives of the Mumbai terror attacks. Here he lists where India went wrong and how it must respond

Without the follies of our own people this attack was not possible. Foremost is the United Progressive Alliance government's policy. The scrapping of anti-terror laws signalled the government's resolve to treat terrorists with kid gloves.

Essentially, in the last four-and-a-half years India has been without a leader. The consequence of that has been the mushrooming of violence in all corners of the country. With no policy, no leadership and demoralised police forces, the country of one billion people is rudderless. This is the prime and basic cause of encouraging the terrorists from across the border who saw a golden opportunity to fulfil their dream of breaking up India.

In addition to this is the Raj Thackeray-led mayhem in Mumbai and the obsession with the Malegaon bomb blast investigation. Raj Thackeray's [Images] infamy has spread from Kashmir (where I was last month) to Kanyakumari and Porbunder to Mizoram (where I was last week -- on a study mission again). Thanks to the exposure in the media, he is even well-known internationally. What this did was to convince the jihadis in Pakistan that Mumbai was at war with itself and ripe for an attack.

During my visit to Pakistan a few years ago I noticed the interest that an average Pakistani takes in events taking place in Mumbai in particular and India in general. Raj Thackeray prepared the ground in a sense for this jihadi attack on Mumbai. All this while the attention of the Mumbai police was focussed on bar girls and such 'important' issues.

The sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Ahbhinav Bharat episode in which a serving lieutenant colonel from army intelligence, Srikant Purohit, was allegedly involved in the Malegaon bomb blast is indeed a very serious matter. Instead of letting it take its due course, a chorus was mounted to create an image of 'Hindu terror'. Thus in one stroke, the politicians and media elevated an individual aberration. This was good vote bank politics that played havoc with the armed forces's morale and made their job extremely difficult.

It gave a handle to Pakistan to fish in troubled waters and an opening to create a chasm between the Indian Army [Images] and the minorities. The late Hemant Karkare [Images], the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad chief, was on record saying that 70 percent of his time was being spent on the Malegaon investigation at the cost of many other cases like the horrific train bombing of 2006 for which no information exists even after two years. Who pressured the ATS to concentrate on Malegaon alone at the cost of everything else?

Though a digression, it needs to be reiterated that Indian Army has an unblemished record as far dealing with communal violence is concerned. Never has anyone levelled an allegation of bias in its conduct. I have personal experience of many riot-control missions and can vouch for that.

Even in Gujarat during the 2002 riots, the Muslims have always welcomed the army with flowers and regard it as their saviour. I had the opportunity to share the dais with Qutubuddin Ansari, a tailor from Ahmedabad [Images], who became the 'face' of that agony, on August 15, 2002 at Pune at a function at which both Hindu and Muslim victims of the riots shared their grief and urged peace. Ansari told me that it was the army's timely arrival that saved him and his family.

The cavalier fashion in which the electronic and other media went about destroying the army's credibility will mark a new low in media irresponsibility. But what can one expect from a media that makes a love affair of a Patna college teacher with one of his students as 'breaking news'. It is this media that played its role in creating a situation where the jihadis saw a golden opportunity to strike India.

What can India do?

There has been a clamour for an attack on Pakistani territory to take out the 'terror-training camps'. This is asinine. Does anyone think that the camps will still be there? In any case, these are just some makeshift buildings; empty of all terrorists by now. The terrorists may well have abandoned it already. It will have no effect other than give the golden opportunity to the Pakistan army [Images] to disengage from the Afghan border and move east. This will pressure NATO and the US who will then breathe down our necks and not that of the Pakistanis.

It is by now very clear that our target ought to be the rogue Pakistan army. Yes, I use the word rogue with full responsibility. Remember, it was this very army that killed over 300,000 Bangladeshis in March 1971, according to the Hamidur Rehaman Commission report ordered by the Pakistani government itself. It was the biggest genocide since the Second World War and yet being the pet dog of the US, it escaped all consequences of this.

If India wants peace, it has to target the Pakistan army, not Pakistan. How to do it is not a matter for public debate and is best left that way.

This will liberate the long suffering Pakistani citizenry from tyranny. With its nukes, Pakistan is safe from military aggression from India. A cut down military is in the best interest of the whole world.

Colonel Athale is the Chhattrapati Shivaji Fellow at the United Services Institute, New Delhi [Images], working on a project on internal security. He is also coordinator of the Pune-based think-tank Inpad.

War against Pakistan is not the solution: Pranab

December 11, 2008 15:48 IST

Slamming Pakistan for linking Mumbai attacks to non-resolution of Kashmir issue, India on Thursday asked it to take 'serious' action to completely dismantle terror infrastructure and end infiltration but maintained that war against the neighbour was not a solution.

Talking tough in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee raised questions over Pakistan's sincerity in curbing activities of terror groups operating from its soil as he suggested that house arrest of Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief Hafiz Moammed Saeed was not enough.

Intervening in the debate in Lok Sabha on Mumbai attacks, he said India has repeatedly given Pakistan a list of 40 terrorists, including Dawood Ibrahim [Images], with a demand that they be handed over and expressed hope that Islamabad [Images] would respond positively.

He asked Pakistan to come out of the denial mode on existence of terrorists, including non-state actors, who operate from the confines of that country as he wondered: "Did the non-state actors come from heaven, did the non-state actors come from another planet?"

Mukherjee also slammed Pakistan for creating war hysteria by indulging in propaganda on the basis of a hoax call that 'big power' India was going to attack.

"That is not the solution," he said when Shiv Sena member Mohan Rawale said India should attack Pakistan in the wake of the terror strikes.

Rubbishing efforts by Pakistan to link the terror strikes to non-resolution of Kashmir issue, Mukherjee asserted that such a 'simple formula' will not help solve the problem as the series of attacks in India are part of global terrorism.

"It (attacks) is not related to Jammu and Kashmir [Images] issue. It is part of global terrorism," Mukherjee said in the House amid repeated thumping of desks, significantly on both ruling and Opposition sides.

"It is complex..It is not that if Kashmir issue is solved, everything will be in place," the External Affairs Minister said.

Referring to the solemn assurances given by the then President Pervez Musharraf [Images] and his successor President Asif Ali Zardari [Images] to end terrorism emanating from Pakistan, he said 'expression of intent is not sufficient' and that Islamabad needs to act to convincing levels.

He pointed to the 'house arrest' of the LeT chief and said it was not convincing as even after the reported action by Pakistani authorities, Saeed was appearing on TV channels.

"What does house arrest mean? Laws, Indian Penal Code, in Pakistan are the same as in India, the names may be different. He should be either in judicial or police custody," Mukherjee said.

Suggesting that Pakistan could be indulging in non-serious actions against terrorism, he said the "same scenes were played out after the attack on Parliament in December 2001. The Lashkar-e-Tayiba was banned but it changed its name, the signboards were changed but the faces, ideology and activities remained the same."

Demanding complete dismantling of terror infrastructure existing in territories under Pakistan's control and end to infiltration, he told Islamabad "Please follow up (action) should be taken to its logical conclusion."

"It is not India-Pakistan issue, not a Jammu and Kashmir issue... Terrorism [Images] is not confined to borders of any country. It is an international phenomenon," Mukherjee said, describing terrorism as the biggest threat to the world post-Cold War.

Noting that terrorists have struck in important tourist places like Jaipur [Images], science and technology hub Bangalore, industrial hub Ahmedabad [Images] and financial capital Mumbai during the year, the External Affairs Minister said there is a 'design and method' behind these attacks.

"We tell Pakistan, please do not deny facts. Accept it," he said, as he observed that there was a sense of anger and outrage in India over the Mumbai attacks and people want the government to 'rise to the occasion and send a resolute message' to Pakistan.

During the debate which saw unusual unity between ruling and Opposition benches, Mukherjee asserted that India will not allow its 'territorial sovereignty and integrity to be played with' and 'nobody should dare to attack us. This message must be conveyed'.

Apparently hinting at the disconnect between the political leadership and military establishment in Pakistan that allows terrorists to operate from that country, he said Islamabad needs to address its internal problems and that New Delhi [Images] was ready to help in this regard.

Seeking to highlight this aspect, he said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] was promised that Director General of Inter Services Intelligence would visit India to help probe the Mumbai attacks. "But within hours, it was denied. It may be Pakistan's internal problem. They have to solve it. The international community should help."

Antony denies tampering with Arjun
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The main battle tank, Arjun, was not tampered during any trials, said defence minister A.K Antony in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

Reliability trials have been carried out systematically by the Army with successful results, he said while adding that the DRDO had not proposed any enquiry into the matter. Antony denied knowledge whether a lobby in the Army is in favour of the purchase for entire equipment for the Army from other countries.

Meanwhile, the minister said a full-scale engineering development (FSED) phase I for Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was sanctioned in 1993 for only technology development. Later in November 2001, the FSED phase II was sanctioned for manufacturing of additional prototypes and eight limited series production aircrafts.

There are no other changes in the design. The project is progressing well and has completed more than 933 test flights successfully with seven aircrafts under flight test phase.

Kashmir as ruse
Pakistan seems to justify terror

PAKISTAN has raised the Kashmir question at the United Nations at a time when it stands thoroughly exposed for its involvement in the Mumbai terrorist strikes. Its ambassador at the UN had the audacity to say at the Security Council on Wednesday: "The best outcome of the (Mumbai) tragedy would be the resolution of the issue of Kashmir…" Islamabad's tactics to hide its sins, however, had little impact on the world opinion despite China coming to its rescue by mentioning "the root causes of terrorism". Terrorism cannot be justified on any pretext. Nor can it be linked with Kashmir. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has rightly asserted that the "simple formula" propounded by Pakistan in desperation cannot help end the menace. Pakistan's behaviour reflects its unholy intentions even when the world has virtually issued an ultimatum that it must be ready to face the wrath of the global community if it fails to fulfil its promise of not allowing any territory under its control to be used for terrorism. Neither India nor the US is satisfied with the arrest of some terrorist leaders like Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and Lashkar-e-Taiyaba commander Ziaur Rehman Lakhvi. Islamabad needs to do a lot more to contain terrorism.

Ignoring Pakistan's misleading tactics, the Security Councicl has declared the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, the front organisation of the Lashkar-e-Taiyaba, as a terrorist oufit and put a ban on it and on the movement of its top functionaries — Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Z.R. Lakhvi, Haji Mohammad Ashraf and Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq. Thus, a clear signal has been sent out to Pakistan to act swiftly against these perpetrators of terrorism. It is heartening to note that the Council members were almost unanimous in declaring the Jamaat a terrorist entity. China, the lone dissenter whenever resolutions in this regard were moved in the past, too, had no hesitation in going along with the rest of the world.

The Security Council's decision is a major diplomatic achievement for India. It has been successful in its diplomatic drive against the Pakistan-based terrorists and the organisations involved in this heinous activity after what happened in Mumbai. Ultimately, the international community has accepted the Indian view of terrorism. Now there is need to ensure that the terrorist masterminds are brought to justice and the banned entities are never allowed to operate under assumed names, as had been done by the LeT after the UN declared it a terrorist outfit in 2005.

Rooting out terror
Effective action is the need of the hour
by Major Gen (retd) Pushpendra Singh

THE al-Qaeda-inspired terror strike has ignited spontaneous public revulsion against politicians, particularly those engaged in divisive, vote-bank politics. The media has reported that Shaheed Karkare's widow refused a grant from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Shaheed Maj Unnikrishnan's father shut the door on Kerala Chief Minister Achutanandan, inducing him to insult India's valiant saviour.

Instinctively, the public has realised that Indians must unite to defeat terror. In addition, ensuring effective policing and intelligence along with boosting counter-terrorism organisations assumes criticality in this battle.

It is clear that the public outrage over such a colossal internal security failure demands an overhaul of our approach to counter terrorism. Hence, it is vital that root causes of terror be identified and eradicated.

Our first-past-the-post election model ensures that the best caste-arithmetic manipulator is declared the elected representative, when in actuality he responds only to the biggest minority in his constituency the average of which, across constituencies, would probably not exceed 17 per cent. 'Social engineering' is thus encouraged by our electoral system – endlessly dividing and re-dividing our people.

Secondly, fractured verdicts coupled with crass opportunism result in frequent mid-term polls. Consequently, state and Central governments are perpetually in an election mode, necessitating constant, competitive populism and diverting the attention of governments from real issues.

There is also a need to have a fixed tenure for legislatures like in the US system. This would minimise horse-trading and encourage responsible governance. Besides, it will also offset the expense of conducting run-off polls.

Uniting Indians is one facet of fighting terror. Revitalisation of the security and intelligence agencies is equally vital. IAS bureaucrats, who exercise authority over the police and the intelligence agencies, have perfected the art of 'power without accountability'.

All major decisions on modernisation, training, deployment priorities etc. are a prerogative of bureaucrats, whereas the subordinate organisations become answerable for failure in execution.

There is now talk of a 'federal agency' for combating terror. Such an agency must have comprehensive functional autonomy coupled with unambiguous accountability.

Only the Army has the experience of dealing with terror and with an impeccable track record, the envy of world-class powers. In fact, they send their personnel to our Army for training.

The nation cannot afford to ignore this expertise any longer. Experienced Army officers must be inducted at the helm of any such organisation.

The proposed agency must have a unified structure going all the way down to the district level with special units for metros and major cities. Its responsibilities must extend to home-grown and foreign-origin terror as well Naxalism.

Mumbai's 26/11 signals that al-Qaeda has declared war on India. It is, therefore, time that our defence forces (including the NSG, manned by Army personnel), which displayed the only effective response to the attack, are strengthened. This includes equipment as well as remuneration and motivation.

As regards intelligence, counter-terrorism intelligence must be part and parcel of the proposed agency. It should have the latest modern equipment and highly trained experts. We should not be shy of taking help from any friendly nation to train our boys.

The key to effective functioning of the agency, once it is suitably organised and equipped, is to ensure suitable HRD policies and legislate suitable conduct rules which foster a high degree of motivation, while ensuring exemplary disincentives for non-performance.

Finally, the third step to counter terrorism is revamping the police, particularly at the grassroots level. Today, the police in all states exists only for VIP duties, including personal tasks of senior IPS/IAS officers.

The poor constable is overworked, deprived of amenities and totally untrained for even routine police work, leave alone countering skilled and fanatic terrorists.

On September 22, 2006, the Supreme Court directed the state and Central governments to actuate seven practical mechanisms for police reform.

The court directive required compliance from all governments by December 31, 2006, and filing these with the court by January 3, 2007.Till date, only Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland have complied.

Most states are dragging their feet. Moreover, nine states have passed laws or ordinances to circumvent the Supreme Court's directions.

These are Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Rajasthan, with the Bihar Police Bill 2007 being particularly perverse. It is high time police reforms are undertaken energetically.

The nation is crying out for a strong message to foreign perpetrators that such outrages will no longer be tolerated. Diplomatic demarches will not suffice; effective action is the call from the people.

MLI centre tailor-made for joint military exercises

12 Dec 2008, 0218 hrs IST, Vishwas Kothari & Prasad Kulkarni , TNN

PUNE: Surrounded by varied terrains jungles, mountains, plains and semi-hills highly conducive for training in different kinds of warfare, the

regimental centre of the Maratha Light Infantry (MLI) in Belgaum remains a favoured location for joint military exercises involving India and other countries.

The Belgaum training centre, which is the headquarters of the MLI, one of the oldest regiments of the Indian Army, is currently playing host to the Indo-China joint military exercise Hand-to-Hand 2008'.

The exercise focuses on joint tactical manoeuvres and drills, interoperability training and joint command post procedures, which would finally culminate in a joint counter-terrorist operational exercise with a simulated enemy.

Troops from the 1st company of the infantry battalion of the Chengdu military command area in China and the Indian Army's 8 MLI battalion are participating in the drills.

Last year, it was the men from the US armed forces who were at MLI, Belgaum, for a similar joint drill. And in January next, another US army contingent is slated to engage in a joint exercise at the MLI centre. "The impending exercise is likely to be held in the first week of January," defence PRO Ramesh Jaibhai said on Wednesday.

According to Southern Command spokesperson Col Sudhanshu Anjaria, what makes the Belgaum training centre suitable for such exercise is primarily its location. "We have good weather and terrain conditions like the surrounding forests, etc for military training. This makes it convenient to carry out various exercises," Anjaria, who is currently camping at Belgaum, told TOI on telephone.

Another factor, he said, was the infrastructure for carrying out joint drills, including tactical games, firing, etc. "The presence of infantry school's junior leaders academy in Belgaum, which trains, among other things, in confidence building and survival skills critical to jungle warfare, is another key factor," said Anjaria.

A senior MLI official, who did not wish to be identified, concurred with this view. "The training centre holds multiple advantages in terms of location, weather and infrastructure, including a firing range and open spaces, for training in different kinds of warfare."

"We are located close to the Western Ghats. A key plus point is the vast jungles that offer a perfect setting for training in guerrilla warfare," the official said. "Few regimental centres in India have such an advantageous location," he added.

Counter-terrorism expert Lt Gen D B Shekatkar (retd), who started his defence career with the MLI, said, "The regimental centre itself has a long and glorious history of courage and valour, shown time and again during conflicts like World War II."

"Terrain apart, there are other factors like Belgaum's proximity to the coastal belt (the Konkan and Goa), an operational airport and the presence of the Junior Leaders Wing (JLW) of the Infantry School which provide a distinct training advantage," said Shekatkar.

The JLW is a sub-unit of the famous Infantry School at Mhow near Indore and is known for extending the best commando warfare training to the army's young officers who have served for one to three years.

"The MLI is also located away from the public glare that is normally associated with places like New Delhi," said Shekhatkar. "Besides, the vast open spaces near the regimental centre ensure better maneuoverability of men and equipment and the firing of weapons," he added.

Col Bhagatsingh Deshmukh (retd), who was associated with the 7 MLI battalion, pointed out that the region offers conditions associated with terrorist training camps and hideouts. "Getting trained in jungle and mountain warfare becomes easy for those involved in military exercises in this region. Even training in sea warfare is possible as the coast is close," he said.

"Belgaum has earned a strong reputation of military training ever since the days of the British Raj. World War II saw a major training exercise here," Deshmukh added.

Facing the challenge of terror

It is debatable whether Lt-Gen Harwant Singh's "part solution" will address all the challenges that the fourth generation terror warfare has thrown up ("What went wrong", Oped Page article, Dec 10).

The current US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a Cabinet Department to protect the US from terrorist attacks and tackle natural disasters. The homeland security policy is coordinated at the White House by the Homeland Security Council and incorporates 22 government agencies into a single organisation.

India's Ministry of Home Affairs, however, has six charters to execute, of which only one deals with "militancy, insurgency and terrorism". To execute these charters, it has six Departments to include Border Management, J&K affairs, States, Official language, Home and Internal Security. The logic of having a separate anti-terror ministry thus speaks for itself.

Maj-Gen RAJ MEHTA (retd), Mohali


The Centre should not hesitate to synergise with foreign internal security defense programmes (outside expert assistance) from countries like Israel, the UK and the US and resort to both non-military and military aspects of counter-terrorism.

Universities are also coming forward to meet their social and intellectual obligations to provide inter-disciplinary directions for nation building as the Punjabi University has re-christened the National Integration Chair in the name of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur.

He made the supreme sacrifice for upholding pluralism, oneness, love and brotherhood and whose radiant martyrdom provide eternal inspiration to all humanity.

Prof BALTEJ SINGH MANN, Punjabi University, Patiala


Can India proclaim to provide effective safeguard to its borders and coastline? I salute the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to save innocent human lives by sacrificing their own.

I would like to ask Raj Thackeray where was he and his goons when Mumbai was under attack by terrorists, the real outsiders? Why didn't they come out to save Mumbai?

Those who have sacrificed their lives during the Operation Cyclone were not entirely Marathis.

They were none other than North Indians who have been the target of provocative hatred by Raj Thackeray and his goons.

Dr KAMALJIT SINGH, Professor, GNDU, Amritsar


We have already seen BJP's Ram Lila (Ar Par Ki Larai ) with Pakistan that ended in the humiliation of our armed forces. Now the Congress' Ram Lila (fight with determination and resolve) has started which will probably end well before the Republic Day celebrations.

Under the circumstances, the people of India must know that the Taliban entrenched in the NFWP have nearly defeated the Karzai government of Afghanistan though defended by the NATO armed forces and are posing a serious threat to take over Pakistan. With these developments in the neighbourhood, it is up to the people of India to decide what to do next.


12 steps to shock-and-awe Pakistan's economy

R Vaidyanathan

December 11, 2008

I did not anticipate the huge response my inbox received for the article slamming Pakistan. Many of those who wrote in have sought concrete steps to tackle the Terror Central.

The terror attack on world citizens at Mumbai has created revulsion and outrage all over the world. It is imperative that India seize the opportunity provided to destabilise Pakistan.

A stable Pakistan is not in the interest of world peace, leave alone India. Army controls the country and owns its economy.

A significant portion of its GDP is due to army-controlled entities (See: Military Inc - Inside Pakistan's Military Economy, by Ayesha Siddiqa; OUP; 2007). One can easily say that Pakistan economy and its Army/ISI are synonymous.

Unless this elementary fact is internalised, we are not going anywhere. This implies we should stop talking of a stable Pakistan since a stable Pakistan means multiple attacks on many more cities of India by that rogue organisation ISI, which is the core of the Pakistan Army and the heart of Pakistan's economy.

Let us not even assume that Zardari is in control. Poor man -- he did not trust his own investigators to probe his wife's assassination -- he wanted Scotland Yard to do the job. Now he blabbers that if his investigators are satisfied, then he will initiate action against terrorists sitting inside Pakistan.

Periodically, the Pakistan Army likes to present some useful idiots (as Lenin would have called them) as elected representatives and we swoon over such events.

India should take the following steps to destabilise the economy of Pakistan:

1. Identify the major export items of Pakistan (like Basmati rice, carpets, etc) and provide zero export tax or even subsidise them for export from India. Hurt Pakistan on the export front.

2. Identify the major countries providing arms to Pakistan and arm twist them. Tell Brazil and Germany (currently planning to supply massive defense items to Pakistan) that it will impact their ability to invest in India. Tell Germany that retail license to Metro will be off and other existing projects will be in jeopardy.

3. Incidentally, after the arrival of Coke and Pepsi in China, the human rights violations of China are not talked about much by US government organs. Think it is a coincidence? Unless we use our markets to arm-twist arms exporters to Pakistan, we will not achieve our objectives.

4. Tell American companies that for every 5% increase in FDI limit for them, their government needs to reduce equipping Pakistan by $5 billion. That is real politics, not whining. Let us remember that funds are in desperate search of emerging markets and not the other way about. Let us also remember that international economics is politics by another name.

5. Create assets to print/distribute their currency widely inside their country. To some extent, Telgi types can be used to outsource this activity. Or just drop their notes in remote areas.

6. Pressurise IMF to add additional conditionality to the loans given to them or at least do not vote for their loans.

7. Create assets within Pakistan to destabilise Karachi stock market - it is already in a shambles.

8. Cricket and Bollywood are the opium of the Indian middle classes. Both have been adequately manipulated/ controlled by the D-company since the eighties. Chase the D-company money in cricket/ Bollywood and punish by burning D-assets in India instead of trying to have them auctioned by the IT department when nobody comes to bid for it.

9. Provide for capital punishment to those who fund terror and help in that. We have the division in the finance ministry to monitor money laundering, etc. It is important that terror financing is taken seriously and fully integrated into money laundering monitoring systems and this division is provided with much larger budget and human resources. And it should coordinate with RAW.

10. Encourage and allow scientists/ academicians/ elites of Pakistan to opt for Indian passport and widely publicise that fact since it will hurt their self-respect and dignity. There will be a long queue to get Indian passports -- many will jump to get our passport -- since they will not be stopped at international airports. It is rumoured that Adnan Sami wants one. Do not give passports to all -- make it a prized possession. Let it hurt the army- and ISI-controlled country. This one step will destroy their identity and self-confidence.

11. Discourage companies from India from investing in Pakistan, particularly IT companies, till Pakistan stops exporting its own IT (international terrorism).

12. In all these, it is important that we do not bring in the domestic religious issues. The target is the terror central, namely Pakistan, and if there are elements helping them here then they also should be punished -- irrespective of religious labels. If Pakistan is dismantled and the idea of Pakistan is gone, many of our domestic issues will also be sorted out.

Will the Indian elite go for the jugular or just light more candles and scream at the formless/ nameless political class before TV cameras?

It is going to be a long haul and may be in a decade or so, we can find a solution to our existential crisis of being attacked by barbarians from the West. We need to combine strategy and patience and completely throw to the dustbin the 'Gujral Doctrine' by that mumbling prime minister about treating younger brothers with equanimity. The doctrine essentially suggests that if we are slapped on both the cheeks we should feel bad that we do not have a third cheek to show.

He, according to security experts, seems to have dismantled our human intelligent assets inside Pakistan, which has resulted in the gory death of thousands of Indian citizens in the last few years.

Such is our strategic thinking in this complex world since our political class is not adequately briefed and the elite don't think through issues. Better to be simple in our talks and vicious in our actions rather than the other way.

Hopefully, this November attack will create a new vibrant India capable of taking care of its own interests.

Pakistan's top general reins in own Army

Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani has been curtailing the political influence of a military accustomed to running the country.

By Mark Sappenfield | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
and Issam Ahmed | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

In recent weeks Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has repeatedly promised to cooperate with India and uproot terrorism. Yet Ashfaq Kayani is the one who can deliver.

As Army Chief, General Kayani is the man behind the curtain of Pakistani power, controlling an Army that has ruled for much of Pakistan's 61 years. Without Kayani's support, Mr. Zardari can do little against Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group tied to the Mumbai (formerly Bombay) attacks.

One year into the job, Kayani has been a reformer – clipping the Army's interference in politics and mounting offensives against militants in Pakistan's tribal areas.

But today's crisis poses unique challenges: His Army is stretched and in no mood to do its archrival's bidding.

As India applies more pressure, the days ahead will test Zardari, Kayani, and Pakistan's often-inverted chain of command.

"We are starting to see a greater cooperation between the government and the Army," says Ahmed Rashid, a political analyst in Lahore. But, he adds, it is a "fluid situation that is changing day to day."

Thursday, as India announced plans to restructure its counterterrorism forces it also had strong words for Pakistan. In an address to Parliament, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Pakistan's arrest this week of several Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders was not enough, demanding that Pakistan turn over 40 people it lists as terrorists.

He also hinted at India's suspicions that the Army, and not the civilian government, is running Pakistan. Though he pleaded with Pakistan to "please act," he added that India had "no quarrel" with the democratic government.

There is some truth in his statement, says Mr. Rashid. "The Army is still in control of foreign policy and policy with regards to India and Afghanistan," he says. "If the Army doesn't want to do something it won't."

That was true in July, when Pakistan's civilian leaders tried to bring the nation's top intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, under the control of the Interior Ministry. The Army denied the move. The Army has also refused to hand over control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

But the dynamic is slowly changing, Rashid says. Kayani has removed some 3,000 active and retired military personnel from civilian government posts, and he deactivated the political wing of the ISI, which had long been accused of intimidating or blackmailing politicians opposed to the Army.

He continued to subordinate the military to civilian control last week by allowing the disbanding of the National Security Council, an influential panel dominated by the president and military.

Its functions will now be fulfilled by the parliamentary Defense Committee, which made the decision to arrest the Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders earlier this week, Rashid says.

Kayani's purpose is to move the Army back toward its core functions, such as war fighting, and away from political intrigue, says Shuja Nawaz, author of "Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within."

"It appears that the Army is trying to retool itself and is quite happy for the civilians to make the decisions," he says. After the Musharraf years, in which Army generals got rich off real estate and construction deals, Kayani "is convinced that the military needs to return to its professional roots."

He is the product of a different mind-set, says Badar Alam of the Pakistani magazine, The Herald. Kayani served as military secretary to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Zardari's late wife, and he attended the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

"Kayani has a much more liberal outlook" than past Army chiefs, says Mr. Alam.

This extends to his view of militants, he adds. Kayani and his top brass are not of the generation that rose through the ranks by cultivating militant networks – such as the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba – to strike at Indian interests throughout the region.

"Their relationship with militants is not as strong," Alam says.

It is one reason he has been willing to launch the largest attack against militants in Pakistan's history. The Army says it has deployed 120,000 troops into the areas bordering Afghanistan, while the United States has begun to carry out complementary operations on the Afghan side of the border to catch militants in a vise.

In a Pentagon teleconference, Col. John Spiszer claimed the biggest success of the operation was the growing cooperation between forces.

It offers the hope that Zardari will have a free hand in dealing with Lashkar-e-Taiba, should he choose to.

On Thursday Indian Foreign Minister Mukherjee demanded it. He asked Pakistan for a "complete dismantling of the infrastructure facilities available from that side to facilitate terrorist attack [and] banning the organizations."

Pakistan has begun by banning Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the charity that the United Nations designated as a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba Wednesday. The head of the charity, Hafiz Saeed – who also founded Lashkar-e-Taiba – has been put under house arrest.

Yet there appear to be limits to how far the Army is willing – or able – to go. In the hours after terrorists began their rampage in Mumbai, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani offered to send the head of the ISI to India. He later retracted the offer, though it is not clear whether that was the result of public opinion or Army obstinacy.

More significantly, the Army feels it lacks the capacity to take on Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has its roots in Punjab, the heart of Pakistan. "Punjab would not be a small operation," says Mr. Nawaz.

With forces already deployed in the tribal areas and concern about a potential attack across the Indian border, "they can keep tabs on Lashkar-e-Taiba, but they don't want to open that front at this point," says Moeed Yusuf, a Pakistani military expert at Boston University.

"There's a desire to put the house in order one by one," starting with the tribal areas, he continues.

Besides, the Army already feels antagonized by the US, which has been firing missiles at terrorist targets in Pakistan, though there are reports of a secret deal with Pakistan allowing this.

Still, the US is a major ally and donor. India is neither. Says Nawaz: Zardari and Kayani "can't be seen to be folding to Indian demands."

Belgaum exercise: Indian soldiers excel in firing of Chinese weapons

By Praful Kumar Singh

Belgaum (Karnataka), Dec 11 (ANI): Indian and Chinese Army soldiers familiarised each other with their weapons as apart of the ongoing joint military exercise in the mountainous terrains of Belgaum, Karnataka.

After familiarization on each other weapons, the soldiers excelled in using the weapons during exercise Hand in Hand.

Sino-Indian soldiers were introduced to Improvised Explosive Devices, Night Firing, Room intervention and neutralization of impromptu targets on Wednesday.

Expert commandos of the Indian Army also imparted confidence and survival training. Besides these, the Indian Air Force carried out slithering training operations by MI-8 helicopters dropping commandos at the exercise area for rapid action.

After the firing session, Lieutenant Colonel Alex Monn of India who was in-charge of the firing of weapons of both contingents said that there isn't much of a difference between the firing standards of the two countries. Chinese weapons are lighter in their make, he added.

We familiarised with each other's weapons and we handled both the weapons and once we were confident with each other's weapons, we went for firing. We found that their weapons were slightly lighter than ours but as far as the firing standards are concerned, there is no difference. We found that firing standards of we both are very good, said Lt. Colonel Alex Monn.

Troops from both the countries are also undergoing Yoga sessions to cool their nerves everyday after long sessions of counter- terror operations at various locations without break.

The exercises between the world's largest and third largest army will run from December 6 to 14. Chinese troops from the 1st Company of the Infantry Battalion of the Chengdu Military Area Command and Indian Army troops from 8 Maratha Light Infantry Battalion are participating in the joint military exercise.

Meanwhile, a high-level Chinese defence delegation led by Lt. General Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of General Staff, People's Liberation Army, called on Defence Minister A. K. Antony on Wednesday.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the ongoing Joint Training Exercise in Belgaum between their armies.

Lt. General Ma Xiaotian will travel to Belgaum to witness the closing ceremony of the India-China exercise. (ANI)

Govt will decide on military strike: Air Force chief


New Delhi: Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major says it is up to the Union Government to decide on any military strike on Pakistan.

"We are certainly against terrorism but that doesn't mean that we go at war with any country," Air Chief Marshal Major said.

The Air Chief declined to reveal any plans and said, "That's upto the government, the Air Force and the Army are there only to carry out the will of the government."

Indian Air Force (IAF) has already been put on the highest level of readiness since Operation Parakram in 2001.

The level of readiness has been raised to 'Passive Air Defence' (PAD). The high alert is in response to heightened perceptions of air attack on Indian positions.

All IAF aircraft have been armed and are ready to take off within minutes. Even the warships of the Western Naval Fleet are aggressively patrolling the Arabian Sea.

The alert has been sounded in view of intelligence reports of air strikes at Indian installations from across the border or an aerial attack by terrorists groups based in Pakistan.

However, the alert is still defensive in nature and intended to protect Indian targets.

Leave of all key personnel in the Western and South-Western Air Commands, which face Pakistan, has been cancelled.

Percentage of personnel allowed to go on leave, too, has been reduced from 30 per cent to 10 per cent.

However, there is still no mobilisation of troops on the border and Indian Army is not on the highest level of readiness.

Following the Mumbai terror attack, the defence chiefs had briefed defence Minister AK Antony about the steps being taking to beef up security at the border and to prevent a 9/11 type of terror attack involving aircrafts.

During Operation Parakram, IAF was on 'Active Air Defence", which means aircraft were primed to destroy enemy targets.

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