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Friday, 26 December 2008

From Today's Papers - 26 Dec

From CDA (O) 's Website:-

Sixth Pay Commission - Progress



  1. Allowances as per Sixth Pay Commission (SPC) will be revised and paid after receipt of Government orders.

  2. Computation of arrears as per SPC after adjustment against adhoc arrears are under process.

  3. As per orders received, Income Tax will be deducted as per normal rules at the time of computation of 40% arrears.

  4. Arrears as per SPC in case of retired Army officers will be done Dec 08 onwards.

  5. Orders for revision of Pay and Allowances as per SPC in case of officers from MNS(Regular and Local), NCC and Re-employed are awaited.

  6. Orders for revision of Pay and Allowances as per SPC in case of regular officers holding Col(TS) rank on or after 01.01.2006 are awaited.



FROM THE DESK OF THE CONTROLLER

1. Officers retired after 01 Jan 06 are requested to intimate their bankers and postal address for correspondence to Archives Section of this office immediately to enable us to remit the arrears of pay w.r.t. Sixth Pay Commission (SPC) orders.


2. Option for drawal of revised pay alongwith fresh option for revision of pay on promotion on or after 01 Jan 06 till 11 Oct 08 should reach us before 10 Jan 09 i.e. within three months of the date of publication of SAI 2/S/08 or where an existing scale has been revised by any order made subsequent to that date, within three months of the date of such order.


3. Revision of pay as per SPC orders has been carried out w.r.t the substantive rank held by the officer on 01 Jan 06. Subsequent adjustments due to the options exercised by the officer will be processed by us in due course.


4. Officers promoted to substantive grade / higher pay scales on dates subsequent to 01 Jan 06 obtain a quantum increase in basic pay in the pre-revised scale, due to higher scale of pay for different ranks. Officers of the rank of Lt to Lt Col, having been placed in the same pay band, will get monetary benefit of one increment of 3% of pay in the pay band and grade pay on promotion. Officers are requested to pay adequate attention while exercising option for revision of pay, as option once exercised will be final. For guidance, click to 'Rule Page'.


5. Regarding grievances relating to username and password for registration with CDA (O), officers are requested to use "Forgot Password" facility provided on the log in page. In case, the problem still persists, a request may be sent through e-mail to cancel the existing registration and fresh registration thereafter.


6. Officers are requested to mention Personal No. and CDA (O) Account No. in e-mails for quick redressal of grievances.


7. Officers may choose to travel on LTC by any airline provided that the fare does not exceed the fares offered by NACIL(Air India) under LTC 80 scheme effective from 01 Dec 08 for sectors covered under the scheme. For sectors not covered under the scheme, officers should ensure that cheapest economy tickets are purchased by booking through internet / authorised travel agents.

From Lt Col (Retd) Harbhajan Singh Cheema

India’s efforts to put diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to take action against perpetrators of Mumbai terrorist attack have not worked so for. Pakistan understands predicament of US and the western world that they need her cooperation for their operations in Afghanistan. Raising of war bogie with India by Pakistan is to pressurize them that they will be constrained to shift their forces to their Eastern border in event of surgical operation by India across the border. US and other countries rushing their senior representative to India was aimed more at restraining India from taking any precipitative action rather than displaying solidarity with her to bring perpetrators of attack to justice and also force Pakistan to close terrorists training camps in their country. Countries’ foreign policies are conducted in national interest is not denied but western world seems to have a narrow perception of their national interest in their Pakistan policy. Pakistan is epicenter of terrorism. To link terrorist attacks against India to J&K situation alone amounts to closing their eyes to the reality. Terrorism is a cancerous disease in the body politic of the world. To believe that it will be safe to keep it in check in a particular region at the cost of other will be the biggest of follies. Leaving it unchecked against India and playing safe in Afghanistan is not likely to work. The world has to take terrorism head on and not deal with it piecemeal. On India’s part they need to convey to world that country has its own interest to guard. And if our national interest clashes with that of their Afghanistan situation it just cannot be helped. Our desire to deal with democratic Government is nice but if it is in Pakistan’s luck to be ruled by the Army we cannot help. We cannot keep waiting for power equation to settle in favor of Civilian Government before we act. The world has to be conveyed that we have no desire to have war with Pakistan but we cannot shy away from this, should it be forced upon us. Either the world makes Pakistan to fall in line or we follow a course witch suites our national interest the best.

No War with India, says Gilani,
as Pakistan Nets 'Indian Spy'

By Muhammad Najeeb

Islamabad
Pakistan Thursday reduced its rhetoric a notch, with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani saying "there is absolutely no question of war" with India. At the same time, the authorities arrested an "Indian spy" for a terror attack in Lahore that killed a woman.

Christmas Day newspapers hailed Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his comments Tuesday that there was "no question of war" with Pakistan despite the Mumbai terror attacks for which New Delhi has blamed Pakistani terrorists, triggering tensions between the two countries.

But amid reports of Pakistani troop deployment along the border with India, Prime Minister Gilani told reporters that his coalition government desired "excellent relations" with its larger neighbour.

"There is no question of war. There is absolutely no question of war," he said in Lahore, the biggest Pakistani city closest to India.

At the same time, Gilani urged the world to convince India to defuse the situation that followed the audacious Nov 26-29 Mumbai terror that left at least 170 people dead, including 26 foreigners.

"We had good relations with India. I assure you that we want excellent relations with India. We want to maintain good relations with India," said the prime minister. "In my assessment, there will be no war."

The authorities, meanwhile, claimed to have arrested an Indian spy who they said was involved in Wednesday's blast in Lahore that killed a woman and injured four people.

An interior ministry official said Thursday that the man, who worked in the Indian high commission in Britain for about three years, was caught on the strength of secret information.

The alleged Indian was identified as Satish Anand Sharma, who was said to living in Lahore's interior city for one year as Munir Ahmad. He allegedly planted the bomb.

"During initial investigation he has admitted the crime which he carried out at the behest of an Indian intelligence agency," the official said, in what appeared to be a tit-for-tat following the much publicised arrest of a Pakistani soldier in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sharma has allegedly identified three other Indian "spies" in Pakistan and Pakistani security agencies were reportedly trying to nab them.

The police claimed to have recovered fake national identity cards, letters and other devices from Sharma.

The Pakistani media has, however, hailed Manmohan Singh's declaration that there was "no question of war" post Mumbai.

"Manmohan Singh's statement ... will have allayed some of the fears that the tension on our eastern border may spiral out of control," Dawn said in an editorial headlined "The right response".

Holding that the Mumbai attacks were an "escalation in tactics" to put pressure on the Pakistan-India peace process, Dawn said: "With the composite dialogue put on hold by India, the terrorists have already partially achieved their goal."

According to Daily Times, Manmohan Singh had "trimmed the sails" of India's response "probably after being put off" by the line of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who threatened unilateral action if Pakistan did not hand over the terrorists New Delhi had demanded.

Pakistan continued to insist, however, that it had nothing to do with Mohammed Amir Ajmal 'Kasab'. A Pakistani official said there was no record of any Ajmal 'Kasab' and so there was no question of granting him consular access as requested by the man who India insists is a Pakistani member of the Jaish-e-Mohammad group.

In his comments, Prime Minister Gilani said the Pakistani government and the army were assessing the situation vis-a-vis India.

He was asked about India's persisting demand that Pakistan move against terrorists linked to Mumbai. "If India provides solid proof of the Mumbai attacks, we'll ... act accordingly," he said.

Also in Lahore, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said India would have launched a war in the wake of the Mumbai attacks but for Pakistan's nuclear capability.

The News website quoted Sharif as praising the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his own brother, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, for making Pakistan a nuclear power.

Dhaka Daily Urges Pakistan to Act against Terrorism

Dhaka
Hailing Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's ruling out war in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack, a Dhaka daily has urged Pakistan to "go an extra mile" in meeting its commitment to fight terrorism on its territory.

"...nothing short of a genuine crackdown on the terrorist organizations will convince the international community that the country (Pakistan) is really serious about combating terrorism," The Daily Star said in an editorial Thursday.

"Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has very judiciously dismissed the talk of war, while reminding Pakistan of its obligation to act against terrorism. We believe Pakistan should feel reassured and go the extra mile in uprooting terrorists using its soil. This is what Pakistan is professedly committed to," the editorial said.

"Though Pakistan has been trying to wriggle out of the mesh, the identity of the lone captured attacker and links established through mobile calls are major pointers that Islamabad cannot brush aside.

"What has happened is undoubtedly something unprecedented and Pakistan has to accept this fact and then begin repairing the damage wreaked on the inter-state relationship," the newspaper observed.

Expressing concern at the growing tension between the two that impacts all of South Asia, the newspaper urged "people with statesmanship qualities on either side of the border who must now come forward to wield their sobering influences".

"Both India and Pakistan must fight terror jointly," the editorial said, adding: "Most important of all, we believe, active cooperation between India and Pakistan is sine qua non for containment of terrorism in this region."

"Obviously, if defeating the forces opposed to peace is the ultimate goal, war is not the option. It will only help the extremists out to spoil all reconciliatory efforts and gestures, which could enable the two countries to overcome mistrust stemming from the Mumbai carnage," the English language daily said.

Ex-Governor Chhibber joins BSP
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) today launched the phase II of its “social engineering” formula in Punjab by inducting former state Governor Lieut-Gen BKN Chhibber (retd) besides a ‘brahman’ social worker and a ‘jat’ Sikh woman player into the party in the run-up to the parliamentary elections.

General Chhibber could be fielded in the elections. The party has announced candidates for nine seats till now and will announce the names for the remaining four seats on January 5 at a rally in Jalandhar. It will also formally launch its election campaign in the state on the same day.

BSP president Avtar Singh Karimpuri said the entry of General Chhibber as well as Punjab Brahman Sabha president Deepak Joshi and former baseball player Rajwinder Brar was part of the social engineering model instituted by the BSP President Mayawati.

The party has already announced people from myriad backgrounds as candidates for the nine Lok Sabha seats, including former Superintendent of Police Madanjeet Singh from Sangrur, former divisional forest officer Surjit Singh from Jalandhar and former district judge Gurnam Singh Sewak from Fatehgarh Sahib.

There is speculation that the party may field Chhibber from Amritsar as he has lived and studied in Amritsar after arriving there after Partition and is still a member of a few social organisations in the city.

Chhibber said he could have fought elections earlier also and that he had only joined the BSP due to the love and respect being accorded to him by the party.

The former Governor, however, went on to say that since he was closely associated with Punjab since 1987, he understood its politics and said the BSP could provide a credible alternative to the people of the state, who were fed up with the present political climate.

The BSP says its initiative to involve intellectuals from various backgrounds and castes was the right mix to provide a credible alternative to the Congress as well as the SAD-BJP alliance in the state.

Party general secretary Narender Kashyap said the party was determined to face the coming polls alone and there was no question of arriving at any pre-poll understanding with any other party.

From the border, BSF chief says no need to worry

Sudhi Ranjan Sen

Thursday, December 25, 2008 (New Delhi)

There has been an increase in Pakistan Army activity across the border but there's no need to panic, the BSF Director General M L Kumawat told NDTV on Thursday.

According to sources, the Karachi based 5 Corp is conducting war games on the Gujarat-Rajasthan border.

There is no new troop deployment on the border or LoC and it's not known whether the exercises were scheduled earlier or are in response to the situation.

# Heightened movement across the border

# Extra deployment of rangers in Pakistan, but not unusual

# Border villages not being evacuated

Ground reality

Currently Pakistan has about one lakh twenty thousand troops on its eastern border with India. The Karachi based 5 Corp is conducting war games on the Gujarat-Rajasthan border.

After the ceasefire with India in 2003, Pakistan was able to move troops to its western border with Afghanistan.

It currently has about one and a half lakh troops along its 2,400 km long border. Just to put it in perspective. The distance from Delhi to Chennai is less than that about 2000 km. As many as 15 Infantry Brigades - roughly 38,000 troops - were moved to Waziristan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) last year. Pakistan Army is not experienced enough in CI operations and is also a reluctant fighter on its western border.

Peace pacts increase militancy

FATA -- Islamabad has historically held limited power over the semiautonomous tribal region made up of seven agencies of various Pashtun tribes. After the US attacked Afghanistan the Taliban and Al-Qaida moved to operate from this region.

There are about 80,000 troops here and they have suffered heavy casualties. Under President Pervez Musharraf several peace pacts were reached with tribal leaders. Analysts say that has been a virtual surrender of government power and increased militancy.

Militants threatened Peshawar

Pakistani military efforts to control extremism in the tribal areas has had an unintended consequence of causing the violence to seep into the bordering North West Frontier Province.

This area also harbours Al-Qaida and Taliban supporters and suicide attacks are on the rise. In June 2008, Pakistan's paramilitary forces led an offensive in the outskirts of Peshawar to push back militants threatening the provincial capital.

Attacks linked to insurgency

Pakistani military presence is also required in Baluchistan because of an internal insurgency. Pakistan often accuses India of being involved from Afghanistan in stoking the fire. The Baluch nationalist movement has reemerged in recent years with demands for a greater share of royalties for gas shipped to neighboring states. In 2006, a Pakistani strike killed Baluch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti setting off protests and failing to halt a simmering insurgency.

So, Pakistan military presence is twofold, Americans don't want any movement of Pakistani troops away from here because it will expose their forces in Afghanistan further.

War not an option
Action against terror a must
by Inder Malhotra

IN just three words — “Nobody wants war” — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has set the record straight. What is needed instead is that Pakistan must fulfill its dual promises of punishing the masterminds of the monstrous Lashkar-e-Taiyaba attack on Mumbai and ensuring that its soil would never again be used for mounting terrorist attacks on this country. The Prime Minister has emphasised this adequately, adding that Mumbai-like onslaughts, targeting India’s “economic ambitions”, would not be tolerated.

It is possible that Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s repeated statements to the effect that “all options are open” have contributed to the widespread impression that an India-Pakistan war is in the offing. But he had taken care to warn the media and others not to misinterpret his remarks or rush to hasty conclusions. Yet, a surprisingly large number of people seem to have done precisely that. The reality is that it is the Pakistan Army and its notorious spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), that are out to provoke a military conflict with this country, and the Pakistani media has joined them in creating war hysteria. The flexing of muscle by Pakistani military and bellicose statements by it speak for themselves. Let the motivation of the Generals in the GHQ at Islamabad be put in perspective.

For more than 50 years Pakistan has been the “most allied ally” of the United States. To be sure, there have been interludes of estrangement between the two, but their close relationship has continued. It acquired a special importance after 9/11 because of the US need of Pakistani cooperation in the “war on terror” in Afghanistan. This should explain the indulgence America has shown to General Pervez Musharraft first and to his successors later, despite American unhappiness with their policy of hunting with the American hound and running with the jihadi hare.

The horrific Mumbai outrage has brought about a remarkable change in this state of affairs, judging from the consistent US condemnation of the Pakistani responsibility for what happened and the concomitant demand that Pakistan must take action against terrorist outfits operating in its territory. The other day the US Secretary of State, Ms Condoleeza Rice, in an unusually strong statement, called Pakistan’s stand on terrorism as “shifting and shifty”, and warned the Pakistanis that if they persist in their attitude towards terrorism, this “poison would consume Pakistan itself”.

However, the key question is whether hard words alone would suffice. Nothing like Pakistan’s brazen denial of its responsibility has been witnessed before. Ignoring the word of the former Prime Minister and leader of the Muslim League (N), Mr Nawaz Sharif, and other incontrovertible evidence, the Pakistan government continues to deny that Ajmal Qasab, the sole surviving terrorist now in Indian custody, is a Pakistani national.

Under the circumstances, the US has to lean very heavily on the Pakistan army and the ISI to get any result. These two institutions are the real ulers of Pakistan. President Asif Ali Zardari and his civilian government are, as Newsweek has said, mere “bystanders”.

The Pakistan Army knows that it has some leverage even in relation to the mightiest country that it must work on. In the first place, it is transition time in Washington. No firm American policy can be finalised therefore until the President-elect,Mr Barack Obama, takes over on January 20. Even after he settles down, he is almost certain to be preoccupied by the economic meltdown. This obviously explains the timing of the unspeakable Mumbai assault. Secondly, and more importantly, Pakistani military leaders know that America’s need for their cooperation persists, especially in view of Mr Obama’s declared intention of having an Iraq-like “surge” in the number of troops in Afghanistan.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that NATO trucks carrying essential supplies to Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass have been attacked and interdicted at Peshawar in the North-West Frontier Province. Seventy per cent of the supplies required by the existing NATO troops in Afghanistan and the Afghan National Army have to go from Pakistan. The US is thus under notice that it must either relax its pressure on Pakistan or forgo supplies to Afghanistan.

Under these circumstances the possibility of America succumbing to the Pakistan Army’s blackmail cannot be ruled out. The primary duty of Indian diplomacy, therefore, is to see to it that this possibility does not materialise. It is arguable that the Foreign Minister’s statements may have been addressed as much to the US as to Pakistan. And that is where the Pakistani military’s frenzied activity to precipitate a war with India comes in. Nothing would suit it more than an armed conflict with India because this would enable the GHQ to move the bulk of Pakistani troops from the Afghan border to the eastern frontier. In any case, the Pakistani Army does not want to fight the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other extremists in the tribal lands on the Afghan border. The slogan that India is the only existential threat to Pakistan has always come very handy to the Pakistani military.

By the same token it would be wrong for India to fall into the Pakistan army’s trap. A military conflict would divert the world attention from Pakistani terror to the need to maintain peace between South Asia’s two nuclear powers. Even a “surgical strike” would quickly escalate.

To advocate avoidance of war is not a counsel of despair. It is sound policy. India must keep its powder dry and be prepared for all eventualities. But between war and the present state of face-off there are quite a few options. For instance, diplomatic relations can be broken as a first step.

Islamabad has already been told that there can be no “business as usual” until the terror issue is settled appropriately. The cancellation of the Indian cricket team’s Pakistan tour should be followed by a message to Sri Lanka that its team’s Pakistan tour would be an “unfriendly act”. Indian clout should be used fully to make Bangladesh banish the ISI from its soil. It is entirely doable.n

Pak warplanes continue emergency sorties

PTI | December 25, 2008 | 01:16 IST

Pakistan on Wednesday put its air force on red alert and warplanes conducted 'emergency scrambles' from four key airbases amidst escalating tensions with India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Soon after the Pakistan Air Force went on red alert, emergency scrambles were conducted at the Lahore, Rawalpindi,
Sargodha and Mianwali airbases, sources were quoted as saying by the private NNI news agency.

F-16 and Mirage combat jets carried out aerial surveillance of the Chashma nuclear power plant complex and other sensitive sites, sources said.

Residents of Mianwali in Punjab province shouted slogans against 'Indian aggression' as they watched the jets soaring through the skies over the city, the report said.

The Civil Defence Organisation informed people about safety measures to be observed in the event of air strikes.
Siren exercises will be conducted in the city for people to observe a blackout, the sources said.

The PAF began conducting sorties over major cities, including the federal capital, on Monday in a show of enhanced vigilance following the escalation of regional tensions.

India can strike Lashkar camps'

December 24, 2008


Mumbai-born Dr Ashley J Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is perhaps America's foremost strategic affairs expert on South Asia and China.

Dr Tellis enjoyed three different stints with the administration during President George W Bush's two terms in office: First as senior advisor to then United States ambassador to India Robert D Blackwill; then as special assistant to the President and senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia; and finally as senior adviser to then Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns.

More recently, Dr Tellis served as an informal strategic affairs adviser to Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain. His strategic expertise had made him much sought-after in the wake of 26/11, sparking regular appearances across the electronic media.

Dr Tellis spoke to Rediff India Abroad Editor Aziz Haniffa.

Can India conduct a tactical, surgical strike against Lashkar-e-Tayiba camps in Muridke and other areas in Pakistan? Should it?

India has the technical capacity to conduct a tactical strike against Lashkar-e-Tayiba camps in Pakistan, but the problem with all these scenarios is not how you start the conflict, but how you terminate it. That's why the Government of India has been extremely cautious with respect to levying any threat on Pakistan. All that they have said is that we have through our intelligence and investigation discerned that there is a link between this attack and various forces that exist within Pakistan, and that they are hoping the Pakistanis will conduct their own investigations, reach the same conclusion and apprehend these guys or turn them over to the Indians for prosecution.

Assume India does launch a tactical strike against the terrorist camps, what form can it take -- lobbing targeted missiles or something bigger?

There are various ways. You can launch a strike with air power, or use a combination of air and land power. It all depends on your target, what it is you want to eliminate. For the sake of argument, if you assume that they go after some terrorist camps, I would imagine that you can do it either through air power alone, or air power with some land support.

If you are talking of a purely punitive strike designed not so much to eliminate the terrorist camps but to send a signal of Indian retribution, then you can also use naval forces. But then, these targets become more and more removed from the source of the threat.

HC raps MoD over reply in pension case
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
The tone and contents of a reply submitted on behalf of the defence secretary in a contempt petition has invited wrath of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Recording its displeasure on the manner the reply had been drafted, the court observed that such actions were non-appreciable.

Though the High Court discharged the defence secretary from contempt proceedings in the case pertaining to release of pension of an ex-serviceman, it directed him to be careful in the future while filing such replies.

Harjinder Singh, residing at an old age home here, was discharged in 1967 after the completion of pensionable service in the army. However, the CDA authorities denied him reservist pension on the ground that he was discharged from service at own request. The army made several requests, one even through a special requisition by the then vice chief of the army staff, but to no avail.

When approached, the High Court allowed Harjinder Singh’s petition and even ordered the release of his pension, terming the action on the part of the authorities concerned as “inexcusable”. Later, Harjinder Singh filed a contempt petition when his pension was not released despite directions from the HC.

A reply to this thereafter, submitted on behalf of the defence secretary, invited the ire of the court when it was submitted by the Ministry that the petitioner was not eligible for pension but the HC in its judgement “had allowed the petition and the respondents had, therefore, obeyed the court orders in a positive manner”.

In response to the factual statement of the petitioner that his petition had been allowed, the Ministry’s reply had called the petitioner’s averments as “vexatious, fictitious, calumnious and denied”. Further, the reply went on to state that the court “had only given two months for implementation of its orders”.

Pak’s fresh warning to India

Islamabad, December 25
Pakistan's top leaders today asked India to refrain from indulging in a war or carrying out surgical strikes, saying it would trigger a “swift and matching” response.

“India should forget about conducting surgical strikes inside Pakistani territory, otherwise it will have to face serious repercussions,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in Multan as Pakistani media reported the arrest of three alleged Indian spies.

Reports said an agent of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Satish Anand Shukla was arrested from Lahore yesterday after a car bomb killed a woman and wounded four others. The security agencies also arrested two more suspected Indian spies with secret maps and cameras from Bahawalpur town in Punjab.

However, there was no official confirmation available about the arrests.

Qureshi said it would be a mistake on part of India if it carried out any surgical strikes and adding Pakistan would consider any such move as war against it.

Pakistani armed forces were put on high alert after External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee spoke of options that could be considered in case Pakistan failed to take action against militants.

New Delhi blamed the Mumbai terror attacks on militants with links to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), which Islamabad said had been banned years ago and does not exist.

However, the Pakistani authorities sealed offices of Jamaat-ud-Da’awa (JD), an off-shoot of the banned LeT, and arrested a number of JD leaders, including their chief Hafiz Saeed and froze their assets in compliance with a resolution of the UN Sanctions Committee on Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Qureshi also dispelled the impression that the US military chief Admiral Michael Mullen had advised Pakistan not to retaliate in case of a strategic strike by India.

He said neither Mullen gave such an advice nor would Pakistan accept any such request.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was also categorical in asking New Delhi to refrain from indulging in any misadventure.

“God forbid if war is imposed on us, we will retaliate with full force,” Gilani told reporters in Larkana after visiting grave of the former premier Benazir Bhutto in connection with her first death anniversary.

He said Pakistani nation and the armed forces were fully capable to defend their country and added: “We do not have aggressive designs against any country, including India, but our quest for peace should not be misunderstood as our weakness.”

He said Pakistan would not like its territory to be used to launch acts of terror against any country, be it Afghanistan or India and added Islamabad wants good neighbourly relations with both countries. — UNI

Border flurry on both sides

OUR BUREAU

New Delhi, Dec. 25: Eyewitnesses in Barmer, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and in Ferozepur in Punjab are reporting intensified military movement on both sides of the international border with Pakistan.

But sources in Indian Army headquarters in New Delhi are insisting that there is no order for a mobilisation of forces. “Whatever movement is being reported is normal for this season,” an officer at army headquarters said. “This is the time when we have exercises and a certain amount of movement takes place.”

Senior officers of the Border Security Force have reported “unusual movement” on the Pakistani side of the border. The Pakistan Air Force’s intensified sorties are already known. The Indian Army has also deployed quick reaction teams (QRTs) on some points along the border.

In the procedure of deployments, QRTs precede the movement of bridging equipment — to cross canals in Punjab — and of heavy guns.

In anticipation of hostilities, the BSF is put under the army and so is its counterpart, the Pakistani Rangers. Across border points in Rajasthan, BSF sources said, posts held by the Pakistani Rangers are being taken over by the Pakistani army. During the 2001-02 mobilisation, the BSF was asked to report to the army through a formal order from the cabinet committee on security. No such order is known to have been issued for now.

The army’s 10 corps, headquartered in Bhatinda in Punjab, is also moving assets. The army formation is not known to be an offensive force.

Since the Indian Army adopted a new doctrine, termed “cold start”, a large-scale mobilisation of the armed forces can follow an assault. In 2001-2002 such a doctrine was not adopted and a full-scale mobilisation was ordered.

A large-scale mobilisation is difficult to conceal because it means that not only troops, but also hardware — tanks, cannons, field shelters and ambulances — are moved in railway rakes and by long convoys of road transport. Primarily, it will involve the movement of strike corps from Bhopal, Mathura and Ambala.

The army’s strike corps are its largest formations with extra-heavy contingents of tanks, artillery and troops supported by the air force.

There is no military option

Friday, December 26, 2008

By by Praful Bidwai

Ultimately, it wasn’t superior firepower, sophisticated interception methods or commando training that explains how one of the Mumbai attackers was arrested alive. The key to that feat lies in the great courage shown by the city’s policemen in overpowering Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman (Kasab) with nothing more than lathis after his accomplice Abu Ismail was killed.

Assistant sub-Inspector Tukaram Ombale held on to the barrel of Kasab’s gun even as he took a burst of fire and pounced on the man, allowing his colleagues to arrest him. Ombale died, but his bravery ensured that a key participant in the attack would live to tell the tale.

Kasab’s arrest is unique in the annals of anti-terrorist operations anywhere. His interrogation has produced invaluable evidence about the preparation for and execution of the attack.

Kasab must be tried scrupulously fairly and with full respect for his right to legal defence. A lawyer of unimpeachable competence must be drafted to defend him. His conviction cannot be a foregone conclusion merely because of the attack’s barbarity. His guilt must be proved on the highest norms of criminal law.

After Kasab’s disclosures to the police, there can be little doubt that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba carried out the attack after putting recruits through rigorous training and ideological-political indoctrination for almost a year. The Pakistani media has since verified Kasab’s home address, and interviewed his father in Faridkot village in Punjab’s Okara district. The international community has confirmed the LeT’s involvement through the ban imposed on its sister organisation, Jamaat-ud-Daawa, by the United Nations Security Council under Resolution 1267.

The LeT isn’t just another jehadi group. It has had a special relationship with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Unlike other groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed, which are Deobandi, the LeT is Salafist and doesn’t believe in fighting governments in Islamic countries. The LeT doesn’t actively oppose the army’s anti-Taliban-Al-Qaeda operations at the Afghanistan border.

It’s not clear if the ISI or its “rogue” elements logistically supported the Mumbai attack. But it’s reasonably plain that the attackers’ main motive was to provoke a military response from India, which would cause a troops build-up at Pakistan’s eastern border. This would create a rationale for redeploying Pakistani troops from the western border—where they face considerable pressure from US-Pakistan operations—to the Indian border. This would allow Al Qaeda-Taliban fighters to regroup and overrun large swathes of Afghanistan and Pakistan

Secondarily, the attackers’ motive was to increase disaffection among Indian Muslims and provoke a backlash—to further help extremism. Mercifully, this hasn’t happened—despite the Sangh Parivar. The attacks have triggered unprecedented Hindu-Muslim unity and a spirited condemnation of terrorism by an overwhelming majority of India’s Muslim organisations.

Indian military retaliation would play straight into LeT’s hands. This would further destabilise Pakistan, which is already in a precarious condition, to the point of unravelling its state—with disastrous consequences for the whole region. The Indian government has acted with restraint and used diplomatic, not military, means to deal with the crisis. On December 11, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee underscored this approach. In response to a demand for attacking Pakistan, he said: “That is not the point….I am making it quite clear that that is not the solution. Let us be very clear and frank that that is no solution.”

The meaning of the military option, advocated stridently by hawkish “strategic experts” and by Bharatiya Janata Party MPs like Arun Shourie should be plain. Shourie wants India to target Pakistan’s vital installations and keep Pakistan “preoccupied”, presumably through covert action, with its “own problems in Balochistan, in Gilgit, Baltistan”, etc. He said: “Not an eye for an eye; but for an eye, both eyes. For a tooth, (the) whole jaw.”

This is an insane prescription. Any India-Pakistan conflict is liable to escalate into nuclear war. In Nuclear Armageddon, there are no winners—only mega-deaths.

Even a limited nuclear exchange will kill millions of civilians in both countries. The economic and environmental damage will set us back by decades. A single Hiroshima/Nagasaki-type bomb will kill 8 to 20 lakh people in a big city. India and Pakistan both have scores of such bombs, indeed even more powerful ones.

In every conceivable war-gaming scenario—and many credible ones exist —, an India-Pakistan conflict has one inevitable outcome: full-scale war, in which Pakistan won’t hesitate to use nuclear weapons if it fears loss of territory. This will invite nuclear retaliation from India, with consequences too horrifying even to contemplate.

No leader has the moral right or political mandate to sacrifice millions of civilians. Only extremists with apocalyptic visions like RSS chief KS Sudarshan believe nuclear war is acceptable.

He recently told an interviewer: “Whenever the demons (Asuri powers) start dominating this planet, there is no way other than war…I know it will not stop there. It will be a nuclear war and a large number of people will perish. But … let me say with confidence that after this destruction, a new world will emerge, which will be very good, free from evil and terrorism.”

It’s dangerous to imagine that the threat of war can compel Pakistan into acting decisively against extremist groups. Indeed, Pakistan will respond with even greater bellicosity.

The idea of “surgical strikes” against terrorist training camps is equally harebrained. LeT camps are makeshift affairs, and poor candidate-targets for strikes. Any strike, however “limited”, will invite armed conflict. Pakistan isn’t Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which the US could attack without fear of resistance because it crippled all military communications. Even covert action, which will require the creation of a new monster—”India’s own ISI”—will trigger escalation.

But there are alternatives. Manmohan Singh outlined a two-pronged approach: galvanising international opinion for effective action against terrorism, and persisting with diplomatic pressure on Pakistan. Domestically, he promised reform of internal security arrangements. US and UK pressure has already led to a ban on JuD. But India must develop a broader multilateral approach to avert getting drawn into Washington’s parochial plans for the region.

The best strategy would be to press Pakistan through UN Security Council Resolution 1373, under which sanctions can be imposed on a state that fails to “deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts…” and violates its duty to “refrain from providing … support… to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts…”.

Bilaterally, India can achieve much by sharing evidence of the LeT’s role in the Mumbai attacks with Pakistan, and acting demonstrably to defuse suspicions about its covert operations in Balochistan and Afghanistan.

While revamping India’s internal security system, the Singh government should have followed the advice of Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan against using “questionable methods such as permitting indefinite detention of terror suspects…coercive interrogation techniques and the denial of the right to fair trial”, and his plea for “substantive due process”.

Regrettably, it has done the very opposite by having a law passed which replicates all the obnoxious provisions, including detention without charges for 180 days, of the discredited Prevention of Terrorism Act—except for making police confessions admissible as evidence. The National Investigative Agency Act too has flaws, including overcentralisation of powers, and their illegitimate extension to areas affected by insurgency and Left-wing extremism. These Acts must be undone.

The writer, a former newspaper editor, is a researcher and peace and human-rights activist based in Delhi. Email: prafulbidwai1@yahoo.co.in

Nepalese ex-Gurkhas protest over Maoists' plan to stop foreign recruitment

13 hours ago

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AFP) — Around 200 ex-Gurkha soldiers and their families rallied in the Nepalese capital in protest against the Maoist's government's plan to stop the recruitment of Gurkha soldiers into the British and Indian armies, eyewitnesses said.

Protesters carrying placards that read "Gurkha recruitment must continue" and "Gurkha recruitment not shameful, it is an honour," marched through the streets Thursday afternoon demanding the government revokes its policy on stopping foreign recruitment, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

The Maoists, elected earlier this year to rule the Himalayan nation after fighting a decade-long armed struggle, have threatened to end what they see as the humiliating recruitment of young Nepali men into the British and Indian armed forces.

The ultra leftists say prospective Gurkha fighters will be given opportunities at home.

"We are protesting against the Maoists to pressurise them to immediately scrap their plans to stop recruitment of Gurkha soldiers in foreign countries," Dhan Bahadur Maskey Rana, a former Gurkha soldier who served in the Indian Army, told AFP at the rally.

"There are no employment opportunities here (in Nepal) and the Maoists are trying to snatch away our source of employment," said Rana.

"I don't know why Maoists are after recruitment of Gurkha soldiers when hundreds of youth go for jobs abroad," said Leela Rana, another protester.

"It's a prestigious job and has made the country proud," she said.

Famed for their loyalty, discipline and courage in battle, Nepali Gurkhas have been recruited into the British and Indian army for centuries.

The British Army currently has around 3,400 Gurkhas serving in countries including Iraq and Afghanistan, while the Indian Army also has some 40,000 in its ranks.

Tens of thousands of family members depend entirely on Gurkha salaries and pensions, providing income that would otherwise be unobtainable in the largely agricultural, impoverished country.

The infrastructure of terrorism

Musa Khan Jalalzai

The physical function of a modern society and state ultimately depends on a strong infrastructural network. Electricity, water, communication, and transportation provide services that we use, daily keep us on the track of aggrandizement. In the cyber age, individuals have more power to wage an attack of dangerous proportions on whatever target may provoke their ire than other individuals, corporations and organizations, and even nations.

In the UK and Europe, critical infrastructure, private and government departments are under threat from the Asian, specifically migrant Indians, and Middle, Eastern hackers and cyber warriors. These hackers and electronically trained terrorists gather defence, commercial or economically valuable information. Defence and financial data can be obtained easily through various electronic means. Cyber terrorism attack on the UK infrastructure will happen in near future because members of cyber army have got citizenship or asylum here. They are in operation; they can obtain military, financial and sensitive information through their electronic skills. They are well aware of the state function in the country.

Politically-motivated hacking attacks are on the increase. In recent months, we have seen the politically driven strikes on the governments of Italy, UK, USA and Estonia. However, this is trend for the future and is unlikely to overtake financially motivated cyber crime. Cyber crime, banking fraud and the preparation of fake ID documents have provided the terrorists and extremists the opportunity to easily enter into Europe. Internet plays an important role in our daily life. It is the largest single component of cyberspace, with a presence of more than 200 countries.

Internet is built upon telecommunication infrastructure including the landlines of public phone systems and wireless. Most countries around the world have paid little attention to the cyber attacks on their basic civil and military infrastructures. Reducing infrastructure vulnerabilities to cyber attack is inherently global issue that will require global response. Modern technological competition and electronic warfare in Asia and Europe has created uncertainties in the defence and financial market.

In view of the cyber-warfare dimension to the Russia-Georgia conflict, and the Chinese cyber-espionage against UK and Europe, an effective countering strategy needs to be developed. A Chinese and Russian electronic attack against Europe’s Critical National Infrastructures worldwide is widely discussed in print and electronic media these days. Electronic espionage and cyber attacks are not under the sole ownership of China and Russia, other nations, like India, US and Pakistan are also accused. These countries have established their own cyber armies.

The current information system and the shallow preventive measures of most European nations against possible major cyber attack leave sensitive personal, military and financial information open to theft. Nuclear installations and weapons of mass destruction need more security and protection. Extremist and sectarian terrorist groups have the capability and skill to use these weapons.

The involvement of some personalities in this high risk business is the matter of great concern. Though the UK armed forces and police have gained invaluable experience and expertise in counterterrorism in the past but the ongoing cyber war against the country needs a different strategy. Britain is at particular risk because it is the closest ally of the United States in war against terrorism in Afghanistan. To tackle this menace, countries in Europe and Asia are joining hands in countering the recent modern technological attacks. Belgium and India have joined the growing ranks of countries voicing concerns about cyber attacks originating from China.

Chinese hackers are targeting Belgium because the European Union and NATO have their headquarters in Brussels, officials said. Belgium’s ties to Africa, which China increasingly relies on for energy exports, also make it attractive. The threat of cyber attacks in the region is growing every day, due in large part to increased business reliance on e-mail and the Internet.

Human traffickers and professional criminal migrants from Asia can smuggle nuclear materials, pathological organism, military type toxic chemical and uranium to the United Kingdom and Europe. The basic worry about cyber terrorist attack in Europe is that terrorist can use electromagnetic pulse device to increase in the destructive effects of biological attack.

The existence of electronically highly cyber warrior in the United Kingdom can make a greater threat to the basic military, economic and institutional infrastructure in near future. The underground networks of these trained armies are preparing militants to disrupt the banking and financial system of the country. They are constantly scanning and mapping UK’s official networks. France, Germany and other European nations are under threat as well. According to some reports, hackers who stole a large amount of sensitive information from the US Pentagon last June were based in China. The Chinese government has, however, strongly rejected such allegations.

Chinese cyber warriors hack into the UK government computers that contain the country’s military and foreign policy secrets. As MI5 has already warned the Government that at least 20 foreign intelligence services were operating to some degree against British interests, and that China and Russia were of greatest concern. Experts in UK and Europe say UK, USA and the European nations have all become the subject of targeted attacks originating from China, with many observers pointing the finger of blame towards China’s Peoples Liberation Army (PLA). France, Australia and New Zealand joined the growing list. According to the secretary general of France National Defence Office, France had recently become the target of similar attacks.

Major companies that play important role in the UK national infrastructure are being attacked by professional cyber terrorists. The computer systems of critical businesses in the United Kingdom and financial institutions are being repeatedly probed to steal information or uncover weaknesses that could take them down. This doctrine includes strategies that would disrupt financial markets, military and civilian communications capabilities as well as other parts of the enemy’s critical infrastructure prior to the initiation of traditional military operations. Finally, in my opinion, India can target Pakistani state institutional infrastructures in near future.

In this war of information, China has a significant cyber weapons and intelligence infrastructure in place today. The concept of hurting a nation’s technological infrastructure as part of a wider conflict is not new. The extent to which the digital warfare was waged, however, clearly added to a growing concern that has already led U.S. officials to prepare for the next wave of computer warfare.

The writer is former Executive Editor of Daily Outlook Afghanistan and author of 156 books on terrorism, extremism, and human trafficking, Afghanistan, drug trafficking and foreign policy studies. He is based in London, UK

Pak mobilizes troops along Indian border

Thu, 25 Dec 2008 15:55:12 GMT

Pakistan deploys more troops along Indian border.

Pakistan has increased troops' movement along its border with India in the wake of escalating tension between the two countries, Indian official says.

"A lot of military movement is being noticed in districts just across the international border for the last few days, which is not normal," R C Dhyani, a senior official from Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) told the Press Trust of India on Thursday.

"It was not a normal practice some days ago and after escalation of tension between two countries Pakistan has deployed more troops across border," he said, adding that "Patrolling across the border has intensified while defense personnel are constantly on vigil from watch towers."

The development came just a day after Pakistan Army Chief General Asfaq Kiyani warned India of a befitting reply in the wake of an Indo-Pak war.

Meanwhile, after reports of a possible Indian attack on Pakistan, the Pakistan Air Force continued its state of high alert and started aerial surveillance of the nuclear and other sensitive sites.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday vowed to defend the country 'until the last breath', and said no compromise would be made with the nation's sovereignty.

Also, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, 'We should not stay negligent of India,' adding the armed forces of Pakistan are fully alert and vigilant for the defense of national territory.

The troops buildup by Pakistan could also be seen as a tactic to send a message to the US administration that any tension along its eastern border could jeopardize Pentagon's anti-Taliban operations along the Pak-Afghan border.

Pakistan says Indian fighter jets had crossed into Pakistani airspace on Dec. 13.

Indian fighter jets had crossed into Pakistani airspace over Kashmir and Punjab province, Pakistan said on Dec. 13. India, however, denied any violation of Pakistani airspace.

The renewed tensions come four weeks after New Delhi blamed the Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba for orchestrating the November 26 attacks on Mumbai, which left 179 people dead.

Islamabad says Indian intelligence agencies have failed to offer concrete proof justifying claims that militants who attacked Mumbai were Pakistani nationals.

DAVIS: Another war on the horizon?

Searching for today's Gandhis and Kings

Daniel L. Davis

Thursday, December 25, 2008

More than 2 million people have been displaced and 200,000 have been killed in the four-year-old conflict between government-backed Arab militias and the mostly black African Darfuris in Sudan. Some foreign leaders have accused the government of genocide.

Romans 12:17-18: Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

The Bible

Sura 8, chapter 6: And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in Allah

The Koran

We are today in one of the world's most violent and unstable periods since perhaps World War II.

In the past seven years the world has seen major terror attacks in the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Africa, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India, horrific genocidal slaughter in Darfur and outright war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of citizens, soldiers, insurgents, men, women, children, the innocent, the guilty and the in-between have been killed, wounded, maimed, blown apart, beheaded, executed and otherwise dispatched from the land of the living. Tensions are heating to the boiling point and could explode into major war between India and Pakistan; the Kurds and Iraq/Turkey/Iran/Syria; Iran and the United States/Israel; Hezbollah and Israel; and Russia and Georgia - among others. War and rumors of war dominate our lives.

Somehow the spirit of joy and happiness that normally characterizes this time of year seems strangely out of place. Far more than presents this Christmas, we are in desperate need of the gift of peace.

The editorial pages of the nation's leading newspapers are stocked full of pundits explaining how we can "win the war on terror" by using strong-armed tactics, co-opting the weak and employing intimidation to attain our ends. Many recommend we threaten military action against Iran if it doesn't bend to our will. Others argue that the new president ought to hold to a tough and aggressive policy regarding Russian "aggression."

Still more enthusiastically endorse a deepening and widening of the war in Afghanistan, perhaps even to Pakistan - whether the government in Islamabad agrees to it or not. What is consistent about all these efforts is that they posit that to achieve peace, we must employ ever greater amounts of violence and force. The result seems only to be a festering of the violence, an increase in the amount of terrorism and more antagonistic relations between nation states.

But what we need now more than ever is the emergence of strong, powerful, disciplined and visionary men and women of peace to show a new and better way.

Not at all referring to anti-war protesting, I believe the world needs courageous and driven people who are willing to stand against the tide of increasing violence and the militarization of conflict resolution, to aggressively promote peaceful solutions and reason; and to appeal to the better side of man's nature. It is a commonly held belief among rational and educated adults that such ideas are "pie in the sky" comments better suited to fairy tales than serious policy discussion. But such dismissive attitudes would be factually wrong. History provides powerful and recent evidence to the contrary.

In my view, the five most historically significant and consequential leaders in American history are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Our nation would not be what it is today were it not for the cumulative efforts of all five men. King is most commonly lauded for the courage and passion he displayed in his fight for the equality of black Americans during the turbulent '60s. But such a view fails to illuminate the powerful intellect, wisdom, moral courage, discipline and iron will of the man I believe was the most consequential American of the 20th century.

The passage of time has dulled contemporary understanding of the humiliation, the violence and outright evil King endured to bring justice and equality to American citizens who happened to have black skin. Had he responded with "an eye for an eye" and answered violence with violence, I am convinced that King would have only been a footnote in history and the cause for which he fought would have foundered. But he did not follow the path of violence, and the 300 million residents of our country are today the lucky beneficiaries of his efforts.

King, who himself was inspired early in his life by the example of nonviolent resistance demonstrated by Mahatma Gandhi, wrote in his autobiography that "Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigor and power as the violent resister, but he resisted with love instead of hate. True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflictor of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart."

In his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, King expanded on this theme when he said, "Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force." King did not simply lay the foundation of equality for black Americans, he elevated American society and culture itself with his commitment to nonviolent resistance. Where, I ask, is the Martin Luther King Jr. of the 21st century?

Perhaps somewhere in America this day there lives a man or woman in whose soul burns a King-esque passion for the betterment of our nation and world. Someone who believes that the solution to violence is not simply the application of more and greater force, but the way of understanding, respect, honor, wisdom, creative ideas and humility. But maybe that person is somewhere in Pakistan. Or maybe Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Canada, Germany, Russia, or even what we might consider the unlikeliest of places - Iran, some obscure madrassa in the Islamic world or a former member of Hezbollah. Better yet, how great it would be if a number of new Gandhis or Kings rose from each of those locations, working within their respective spheres of influence for the common good of both their own nation and the world around them.

Conventional wisdom in today's world ridicules the idea that a violent world can be changed using nonviolent means - just like British authorities initially ridiculed Gandhi and American leaders in the South dismissed the efforts of King. But I submit the absence of such visionaries, coupled with the currently prevailing concept for the escalation of violence to solve violent problems, could lead to the same globally volatile environment that existed in 1914.

On the eve of the "Great War," leaders in countries all over Europe were intent on not appearing weak in the eyes of their competitors, and thus took strong action after the Sarajevo spark, answering strength with strength, violence with escalating violence so that their adversaries would "get the message." Instead, as has happened all too often in mankind's history, violence took on a life of its own, spiraling out of anyone's control. Millions paid with their lives; whole generations of European men were gutted.

For there to be even a chance of avoiding their fate, new leaders cast from the molds of Gandhi and King must arise. Pray such leaders show themselves soon.

• Army Maj. Daniel L. Davis is a cavalry officer who fought in Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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