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Monday, 15 December 2008

From Today's Papers - 15 Dec


IAF violated airspace by mistake: Pak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi/Islamabad, December 14
India today refuted Islamabad’s charge that Indian Air Force (IAF) jets flew into the Pakistani airspace, claiming the neighbouring country was indulging in propaganda after it had been established beyond doubt that elements in Pakistan were behind the Mumbai terror attack.

“There has not been any airspace violation as has been alleged,” an IAF spokesperson said here. He said a misinformation campaign was going on to divert attention from the incidents in Mumbai on November 26.

Western Air Command officials, denying the Pakistani allegation, added that they had received no complaints from Pakistan on the matter so far.

Media reports were rife in Pakistan early today saying IAF fighter jets had violated its airspace late last night and early today in Lahore and Pakistan-administered Kashmir sectors, and an emergency was declared at the Pakistan air force (PAF) airbases at Shorkot and Sargodha.

Pakistan information minister Sherry Rehman was quoted as saying when the matter was taken up with Indian authorities, they had described the air violations as “inadvertent”.

Meanwhile, critics in Pakistan said India had deliberately committed these violations to intimidate Pakistan and accused the Pakistan government of being too soft and apologetic. They said Zardari has embarked on an “appease” India policy under pressure from the US, UK and allies.

PAF had said IAF aircraft entered about four miles inside airspace over Lahore and 2-3 miles across the line of control (LoC) in Azad Kashmir. Pakistani jets chased the Indian aircraft back over the border, a PAF spokesman Humayun Viqar told reporters.

Pakistan President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in separate statements cautioned against media hype saying the incursions were by mistake and not deliberate. “The matter is blown out of proportion by the media,” Zardari said while answering questions at a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown here today.

Analysts said it was unusual that the such territorial violations have occurred against the background of continuing tensions in the aftermath of November 26 Mumbai attacks which India blames on Pakistan. India has claimed that the Mumbai attacks originated from Pakistan and were carried out by gunmen belonging to LeT that continues to operate despite being banned and it is no coincidence that the violations took place near LeT headquarters in Muridke near Lahore and offices in Azad Kashmir.

India Denies Pakistani Allegation
of Airspace Violation


New Delhi/Islamabad
Pakistan has claimed that Indian fighter jets violated its airspace late Saturday night, an allegation that India Sunday termed as "untrue".

Meanwhile, Geo TV reported that Pakistan has declared an emergency at its airbases at Shorkot and Sarghoda following reports that Indian jets violated Pakistan air spaces twice - in Pakistani-administered Kashmir and in Lahore.

"India violated Pakistani air space and our air force is on high alert to defend any violations," Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was quoted by GEO television as saying.

However, in New Delhi, Indian Air Force (IAF) spokesperson Wing Commander Mahesh Upasini told IANS: "There has been no violation of Pakistani airspace by Indian fighter planes. The reports are untrue."

Pakistan's Information Minister Sherry Rehman said in Islamabad that Indian air force planes "inadvertently" violated its airspace Saturday.

"We have confirmed it. We contacted the Indian air force and they said the violation was inadvertent. We don't want to escalate the situation," Rehman maintained, while talking to media persons.

"Indian aircraft entered into Pakistan's airspace at two different sectors and were swiftly responded by the efficient Pakistan air defence system, forcing them to return to their own territory," said Pakistan Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Humyun Viqar in a statement.

He however said this could have been a "technical mistake", adding the Pakistan Air Force was ready to defend its space.

Relations between Pakistan and India have been under strain in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks that killed more than 170 people late last month. India has said elements in Pakistan were behind the attacks.

Leader of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif has strongly condemned the reported violation of Pakistan air spaces by Indian jets, and said ""the entire nation is united for the defence of the country".

"The Indian infiltration into Pakistan's territory will not be tolerated at any cost," Sharif said.

Pakistan television reported that Indian jets flew over Pakistani-administered Kashmir and the eastern city of Lahore, both places where the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is active. India blames the LeT for the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan has arrested key leaders of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front organisation for the LeT, and shut down its offices after the UN listed it as a terror outfit. But India has said Islamabad must do more.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence. New Delhi this week ruled out military action against its neighbour.

A report in The News daily of Pakistan said that the Pakistani army has confirmed an unusual movement of medium and heavy military artillery vehicles from the cantonment area of Lahore to north of Punjab Saturday, but the military spokesman said it was only for winter exercises.

The heavy movement of military vehicles caused a scare among the people amid the current tensions between India and Pakistan.

When contacted, Director-General Inter Services Public Relations Major-General Athar Abbas stated that the unusual military movement was due to routine winter military exercises.

Normal ties with Pak only when terror stops: PM
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Shangus (Anantnag), December 14
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked Pakistan to prevent its territory from being used by some elements for terrorist activities against India, saying the nation always stood for better and normal relations with the neighbouring country. He said India wanted to have normal relations with Pakistan and resolve all the bilateral issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, through dialogue.

Addressing a largely-attended election rally here today, the Prime Minister maintained that in view of the recent incidents in Mumbai it was clear that certain elements in Pakistan were involved in such attacks. He said India wanted good relations with Pakistan, but that would be possible only when the neighbouring country stopped its territory from being used against this country. “Our silence should not be misconstrued as our weakness”, he said.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by AICC general secretaries Union minister and JKPCC president Saifuddin Soz, former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prithviraj Chavan, while the local Congress candidates were also present.

Manmohan Singh said he was always in favour of better relations with Pakistan. “We want to have normal relations”, he said, adding that all issues, including the Kashmir issue could be solved through dialogue. “We cannot change borders, but restrictions on the cross-LoC movement of people can be eased”, he commented.

He added that cross LoC links other than Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote roads would be reopened. “There are great steps ahead”, he said, adding that the divided families on the either side of the LoC were meeting each other over the past few years.

The Prime Minister said the cross LoC trade would be made more frequent and assured that more links for people-to-people contact and trade would be opened. The Prime Minister, however, cautioned that all this would be possible only when Pakistan checked the undesired terrorist activities against India from its territory.

The Prime Minister also asked the militants to shun the path of extremism, violence and bloodshed, as it gave no solution to any issue. He emphasised that all issues could be resolved only through talks, dialogue and other democratic ways. “If you vote the Congress to power” in the state, “Hum Jaan Lagakar Kaam Karengey”, the Prime Minister said. “Our effort will be to ensure that everybody has access to power, roads, drinking water and employment”, he commented and vowed to move ahead on the path of development speedily and honestly.

In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister congratulated belatedly the people of the state on the Id. He said his association with the people here had been “very special” and he was always happy to be among people here. He also hailed the people for their overwhelming participation in the ongoing Assembly polls saying it showed “your interest in the elections that you believe in democracy”.

He said the Congress could only be the way out, which could come up to their expectations in addressing the issues of employment, education, healthcare and better governance. He added that the state progressed a lot during the Congress governments and particularly during the past six years.

The Prime Minister pointed out that during the past three years of the Congress-led coalition government in particular, the state witnessed a lot of progress. In case of the Congress returning to power, the government would further expedite the pace of development, he added.

Artillery movement causes scare in Pak

Press Trust of India

Sunday, December 14, 2008 (Islamabad)

The movement of a large number of artillery vehicles from the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore to northern Punjab caused a scare among local residents but the army has said the move was linked to winter exercises.

The movement of hundreds of medium and heavy artillery vehicles on Saturday sparked fears among people that the army was undertaking a heavy redeployment amidst heightened tensions with India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas told media that the military movement was due to "routine winter military exercises".

The artillery vehicles were seen on the roads as the 11 Corps moved from Lahore to Tilla range in Jhelum, while the 10 Corps moved towards Lahore, media reports said.

The 10 Corps returned to Lahore Cantonment after completing its exercises while the 11 Corps moved to Jhelum to replace it.

End of an era
Defence technology apartheid is over
by Gurmeet Kanwal

INDIA is likely to spend over $50 billion on defence acquisitions over the next five years. Among the weapon systems and equipment to be acquired, the big-ticket items will include the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorshkov), 126 multi-mission, medium-range combat aircraft, six C-130J Hercules transport aircraft for special forces, eight maritime patrol, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft — possibly Boeing 737 P-8I, six Scorpene submarines, and a large number of main battle tanks (MBTs), 155mm towed and self-propelled artillery howitzers and equipment for counter-insurgency operations.

Will India’s plans for defence modernisation lead to a substantive upgradation of India’s defence technology and manufacturing prowess, or will the country’s defence procurement remain mired in disadvantageous buyer-seller, patron-client relationships?

One of the major spin-offs of the Indo-US nuclear agreement is that it has sounded the death knell of the era of defence technology apartheid practised against India by the US and many of its partners in the Western alliance. It will still be a decade or more before the ghosts of technology denial regimes are finally buried.

The deeply entrenched bureaucracies in the departments of state, defence and commerce in the Washington beltway will take quite some time to finally accept India as a co-equal partner with whom dual-use technologies can be shared to mutual advantage.

US MNCs, which have always taken their bearings from their government’s foreign policy leanings, will surely lead the charge and make a beeline for India.

Meanwhile, India too has some growing up of its own to do as the country sheds its suspicions of the past and gradually moves away from the rather overzealous chanting of the mantra of self-reliance towards joint ventures.

While the government continues to retain its monopoly on defence research and development (R&D), it is slowly moving away from relying primarily on the public sector for defence production.

The revised Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP 2008), announced recently, continues to emphasise public-private partnerships and encourages the private sector to enter defence production — either on its own or through joint ventures with multi-national defence corporations, which may bring in up to 26 per cent FDI.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is in the process of deliberating upon and implementing the report of the P Rama Rao committee that asked the DRDO to identify eight to 10 critical areas which best fit its existing human resource, technical capability and established capacity to take up new projects.

Since its inception in 1958, while the DRDO has achieved some spectacular successes, it also has many signal failures to its name. The successes include the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme that produced the Prithvi and Agni series of ballistic missiles and, subsequently the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile in a collaborative venture with the Russians.

Among the failures are the MBT Arjun that has not met some critical General Staff requirements of the Indian Army despite time and cost overruns and the light combat aircraft that still appears to be light years away from operational induction into the Indian Air Force.

However, to the DRDO’s credit, it worked under extremely restrictive technology denial regimes and with a rather low indigenous technology base.

Consequently, the policy of self-reliance did not yield substantial gains as India continued to import almost 70 per cent of its defence equipment for over four decades, primarily from the Soviet Union and, later, Russia.

And, if some MiG-21 aircraft and other weapons systems were produced in India, these were manufactured under licence and no technology was ever transferred to India, with the result that even though India spent large sums of money on defence imports, the technology base remained where it was.

As a growing economic powerhouse that also enjoys considerable buyers’ clout in the defence market, India should no longer be satisfied with buyer-seller, patron-client relationships in its future defence procurement planning.

In all major acquisitions in future, India should insist on joint development, joint testing and trials, joint production, joint marketing and joint product improvement over the life cycle of the equipment.

The US and other countries with advanced technologies will surely ask what India can bring to the table to demand participation as a co-equal partner.

Besides capital and a production capacity that is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, India has its huge software pool to offer.

Today software already comprises over 50 per cent of the total cost of a modern defence system.

In the years ahead, this is expected to go up to almost 70 per cent as software costs increase and hardware production costs decline due to improvements in manufacturing processes.

If a new weapons development project needs 500 software engineers, where else but in India can such a high quality work force be found?

However, India cannot leap-frog to a higher plane virtually overnight. The immediate requirement is to think big in keeping with the country’s growing international status and to plan for the future with a level of confidence that policy planners have not dared to do before.

Perhaps, a showpiece joint project with the US will lead to the unshackling of India’s real potential. A candidate project for such a venture can be the joint development of a theatre ballistic missile defence system that is a key priority for the US and will also benefit India’s nuclear deterrence. It will take the trajectory of Indo-US relations to a much higher orbit.

The writer is Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi

Fighting terrorism
Stay focussed, act responsibly
by B.G. Verghese

WITH Pakistan being read the riot act by the Americans and the EU, Islamabad is trying to figure how to deliver sufficiently, even if minimally, while maintaining the pretence that it has nothing to answer for the terror strike on Mumbai. At home, anger was justified but not the near-fascist hysteria fanned by vacuous socialites, sundry busybodies and sponsored children at irresponsible media “shows”. The terrorists and their mentors must have been delighted to see Indians rubbishing their own democracy. That storm has fortunately passed and the poll results have snubbed the BJP’s divisive politics trading on terror.

The new Home Minister has admitted to a failure of intelligence and security systems and the government has promised to put better and more effective mechanisms in place in short measure. While this is welcome, the proposed new edifice will be built on sand unless the foundations are well and truly laid to ensure independent and efficient police and intelligence structures and operations that are currently vitiated by flagrant political interference for sordid party-political and personal gain.

The Mumbai security operations were uncoordinated and media management and larger public relations wholly inadequate. None of this need have happened. Police reforms have been on the anvil for over three decades since the National Police Commission reported in 1978. The Nth professional-cum-political update of this was done by the Sorabjee Committee in 2006 and reinforced by a Supreme Court directive that the salient features be implemented by January 2007. All political parties in power have joined hands to scuttle meaningful reforms. If the basic police cadres are insecure, politically infiltrated and corrupted, how can the upper echelons remain uninfluenced by such gross abuse. Police reform must now be placed above petty politics and guided by the national interest. Good policing is the country’s first line of defence in upholding the rule of law, the bedrock of good governance.

Proposals for intelligence reform were advocated by a high-powered committee under the late L.P. Singh a quarter century ago. One of its principal concerns was to shield the intelligence apparatus from being misused as an instrument for spying on and fixing political opponents, thereby corrupting the service and diverting it from its task of objective collection, collation, analysis and dissemination of intelligence. The post-Kargil Review Committee Task Force on Intelligence went into the matter in great detail, but it is not known how much has been implemented.

On the management and dissemination of defence and security information, the NDA Defence Minister in 2002 invited this writer to look at all aspects of the matter, including information flows within and to the armed forces, and its interface with national and external information dissemination. The Report, “Information as Defence”, was cleared at the highest levels of the Defence and MEA establishments only to be strangled with red tape.

What is to be done is well known, but implementation is stymied for lack of political will. This applies equally to tackling corruption, which lubricates relationships between corrupt elements among the bureaucracy, the political class, businessmen, contractors, foreign suppliers and a powerful global underworld. The so-called “single directive” precludes prosecution of senior officials and politicians without higher clearance - something not easily forthcoming. The seminal UN Convention on Corruption, designed to deal with the Quattrochis and Dawood Ibrahims of this world, which India has signed, has not yet been incorporated into Indian law. Nobody wants to fight corruption.

Pakistan is still in denial as it was in 1947-49 and 1965 over J&K, in 1971 over Bangladesh, in 1984 over Siachen, in the 1990s over Punjab and its proxy war in Kashmir, in 1999 over Kargil, with regard to the notorious A.Q Khan, its nurturing of the Taliban and much else besides. It does not help when Simon Jenkins of The Guardian, typically, writes magisterially that the Mumbai attack was really “about Kashmir and the status of India’s Muslims”. The heavy turnout in the first four rounds of polling in J&K gives the lie to such piffle.

The US and the West turned a blind eye towards Pakistan for decades for purely self-regarding motives resulting in a great deal of “collateral damage” to India.

Fortunately, the world is now reappraising Pakistan as a rogue state that must be tamed. The problem is that power is fragmented between the military-corporate-jehadi-feudal complex that holds the country in thrall and a fledgling democracy struggling to set down roots. In citing aided non-state actors operating from Pakistan, President Zardari is pleading helplessness. Islamabad has been compelled to take some steps to rein in the LeT/Jamaat-ud-Dawa around Muzaffarabad. But describing this as designed to prevent “banned organisations” from collecting and selling the skins of animals slaughtered during Eid, insisting on the authenticity of a dangerous hoax call said to have been made by the Indian Foreign Minister to the Pakistan President, and demanding yet more clinching evidence on the Mumbai attack betrays the fragility of the regime.

While we need to strengthen democratic forces in Pakistan, they in turn must stop living in a world of make-believe. India is not out to destroy Pakistan, which does not need “strategic depth” to foil this plot. Kashmir is a non-issue, artificially kept alive to sustain a flawed and discredited two-nation theory. A J&K resolution is, however, necessary but can only be found along the road-map indicated by Dr Manmohan Singh. Meanwhile, we need to be firm and vigilant but keep our powder dry.

India should destroy Pak terror camps: Shourie

Hazaribag (Jharkhand), December 14
The Centre should ponder over destroying the training camps of terrorists in Pakistan, former union minister and BJP leader Arun Shourie said.

The terrorist activities in India had made the people scared. And for this the Centre should seriously concentrate on the idea, Shourie told a seminar here yesterday. Now that the Centre had the backing of all parties, it should act urgently, he said.

“Pakistan is waging a proxy war as it does not want India to prosper and develop. The proxy war, which was introduced by late military ruler Zia-ul-Haque, has been continuing by successive Pakistani regimes, military or civilian. Therefore, India should deal with it strongly,” Shourie, also an eminent journalist, said. — PTI

India, Israel to jointly develop missile system
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 14
India and Israeli are all set to jointly develop a precision-guided missile for deployment by the air forces of both countries. India’s Defense and Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel’s Rafael Industries and the Israel Aircraft Industries are already working out the modalities of the programme which is patterned on the basis of the BrahMos missile programme jointly developed by India and Russia, according to sources.

Sources also adds that the Indo-Israeli programme is patterned on the lines of the joint venture with Russia whereby technologies for the BrahMos missile programme have been transferred to the Indian partner. Analysts believe the medium range/short range precision-guided surface to air missile to be jointly developed will cost the DRDO nearly Rs 10,000 crore. Technology for the missile will come from Israel while the actual development is to be done by the Indian partner.

The programme is to be spread over four to five years and will arm at least nine air defense squadrons for the Indian Air Force, analysts say.

As a first step for joint development of missiles, Rafael is supplying the SPYDER (Surface-to-air Python and Derby) low level quick reaction missile system for the IAF. India will be buying 18 SPYDER systems through 2011 and 2012 for $260 million that will replace the outdated Soviet-era Russian missile systems.

The SPYDER system has been categorised as a low-level, quick-reaction, surface-to-air missile system meant for deploying against aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, etc. The system allows missiles to be launched in just five seconds after the target is sighted. Its range lies between less than one kilometre to 15 kilometres and can function in all weather conditions.

Since the system can be mounted on trucks, these can be transported at ease by ground units.

Mumbai Heat
Ex-servicemen for tourists’ security

New Delhi, December 14
With tourists coming on terror radar, the government is roping in the services of ex-servicemen to provide them safety and security.

The tourism ministry in consultation with the ministry of home affairs and defence ministry has framed guidelines for formation of tourist security organisations comprising ex-servicemen for the safety and security of tourists.

These security organisations were to be constituted by the state governments, said a senior tourism ministry official. Besides the ex-servicemen, retired women personnel of the Central or state police organisation are also being considered to be recruited as tourist police. The official added that guidelines had been sent to state governments for further action.

There are cases of both foreign and domestic tourists, particularly women being targeted the most by anti-social elements. “Our aim is to create a conducive atmosphere for tourists to feel safe in the country. Because any adverse perception about safety and security of tourists will affect tourist arrivals in the country,” the official said.

As per the guidelines, the tourist police will act as a link between tourists and the district administration besides ensuring safety. It will also be the responsibility of such police personnel to provide necessary information to tourists to facilitate their visits and to act appropriately in case of emergency. “Some states are already in the process of deploying tourist police in one form or other,” said the official.

The tourism ministry has also asked the state governments to ensure safety of tourists. “Law and order, the prevention of crime, including crimes against tourists is the prime responsibility of state governments. However, in order to ensure safety and security of tourists the ministry of tourism has advised all the state governments to deploy tourist police,” said the official.

According to the guidelines, the tourist police will be deployed at important tourist spots, airports and railway stations. The guidelines stipulate that the states can constitute tourists police from a pool of ex-servicemen maintained by the director general of resettlement. As per the structure of tourist police is concerned, there will be a tourist Warden, chief tourist warden and district tourist warden among others. — PTI

The ‘buzz’ behind the plane buzz

-Pak suspects India testing defences through incursion; Delhi denies

SUJAN DUTTA

New Delhi, Dec. 14: Going on hair-trigger alert, Pakistan put its air force on a warning after alleging that fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force streaked through its airspace twice last night, but India denied any violation.

“There has been no such violation as alleged by Pakistan. We understand it is an attempt to deliberately misinform,” Indian Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani said. “This is an effort to distract international attention from Pakistan’s role in the attacks in Mumbai. I believe we in the Indian Air Force and the Government of India are saying the same thing.”

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, too, stepped in to clear the air. “There are two versions about the incursions. My version is the correct version,” Zardari told a news conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Islamabad. “It is not an incursion as such. It is a technical incursion,” the President said, referring to late Saturday night reports from Pakistan that its air force had chased away the intruding Indian planes.

An officer in Delhi said on last night’s events that Pakistan was “paranoid” that the Indian Air Force was “buzzing” it in an attempt to test its defences.

On its western frontier near Afghanistan, Pakistan has been sorely tested with armed US drones (pilotless aircraft) frequently intruding and shooting down perceived Taliban targets.

Pakistan worries that India may attempt such attacks on its eastern front or in PoK. Such action could take place within a few seconds. For combat aircraft to fly into undefended airspace over Lahore or Muzaffarabad and return would take less than 120 seconds. Similarly, Pakistani aircraft could intrude into, say, airspace over Amritsar, if it were not defended.

The tension over the alleged airspace violation underscores the fragility of bilateral relations and reinforces fears in the West — when Brown is visiting — that Delhi and Islamabad could quickly slide into hostilities.

Pakistan alleged that fighter aircraft of the IAF entered its airspace twice within two hours last night — first over PoK and then over Lahore. Both air forces presume each side is fully aware of the international boundaries and of the agreement that no combat aircraft will fly without prior permission to within 10km of the border.

The directors-general of military operations of the two countries spoke over the hotline twice last night and early this morning.

This is the second time since last month’s attacks that the militaries of the two countries have been alerted, the first after Pakistan claimed Zardari had received a threatening phone call from foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee. The Indian foreign minister had dismissed the claim as a canard.

Islamabad said the Pakistan Air Force scrambled its own fighters when it detected the intrusion and forced the Indian aircraft away from its airspace. The IAF spokesperson said there was not even a chance of an accidental intrusion, though Pakistan’s information minister Sherry Rehman said she understood the violation was “inadvertent”.

Since the strikes in Mumbai, the Indian Air Force is on an “operational readiness platform” or in a state of “passive air defence”, meaning its aircraft and facilities are geared to defend against possible attacks. But it is not in “offensive mode”, meaning it hasn’t been asked to prepare for attacks.

In trying to say that its air force scrambled, Islamabad is also seeking to make the point that the Pakistan Air Force is ready for hostilities on its eastern front with India.

Artillery explanation

The Pakistan Army sought to dispel fears surrounding the movement of a large number of artillery vehicles from Lahore to Punjab. The army said the activity was linked to winter exercises, PTI reported from Islamabad.

Hundreds of medium and heavy artillery vehicles were seen on the road as the 11 Corps moved from Lahore to Tilla range in Jhelum, while the 10 Corps moved towards Lahore, reports said. Military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said the military movement was because of “routine winter exercises”.

Pressure on Pakistan will work

The terrorist attack on India’s financial capital has shocked the nation. However, no one can underestimate our military strength. The world is aware of our resolve to fight terror. Indeed, the Mumbai attack is an acid test for our diplomacy.

If Pakistani hawks indulge in any misadventure, we know how to retaliate with full force at our command. For the Pakistani leadership, wisdom lies in the dictum of former US President Bill Clinton to former Pakistan President Pervez Musharaff: “Do you want to save Pakistan or have Kashmir? You cannot have both. If you do not reign in jehadis and Al-Qaeda activists, you will lose both.”

The pressure of international community on Pakistan to hand over to India 21 fugitives involved in the terrorist attacks in India will work. It will also save Pakistan from disintegration.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana

II

Some urgent measures have become imperative. India must stop all road and rail channels with Pakistan until it mends its ways. The terrorist sentenced to death for attack on Indian Parliament and upheld by the Supreme Court should be hanged forthwith.

Tough law is needed to bring terrorists to book in the shortest possible time as was done by the US to deal with 9/11 culprits. Our borders with Pakistan should be sealed effectively to check infiltration of terrorists, smuggling of arms, fake currency and narcotics.

Bangladeshis, who have crossed over to India illegally should be sent back to their country. Separatists speaking the language of Pakistan in Kashmir be dealt with firmly and the policy of appeasement must stop.

S.P. BANSAL, Bathinda

III

Our police, commandoes and security personnel need modern arms, vehicles and bulletproof vests. As the terrorists are well armed with modern weaponry, our personnel cannot fight them with lathis, .303 rifles and substandard bulletproof vests. This aspect should be accorded top priority by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

To tackle terror, the Army should raise a special wing of commandos and train them by Israel’s instructors. These should be deployed at strategic places in different zones with individual transport planes for prompt transit during emergencies.

While accountability must be fixed on the police, intelligence and security officials for lapses, they need to be motivated with better pay and perks to serve the motherland.

Maj NARINDER SINGH JALLO (retd), Mohali

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