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Friday, 16 January 2009

From Today's Papers - 16 Jan 09

The Chief of Defence Staff

By Bharat Verma

Issue: Vol 20.2

The divisive Indian culture continues to act as the principal destroyer of consolidation of military power by dithering over the appointment of a Chief of defence Staff (CDS). The ‘divide and rule’ concept not only costs the taxpayer a huge monetary loss through duplication of efforts by Army, Navy and the Air Force but also denies the government a well considered, single-point, professional military advice with integrated inputs from the three Defence Services depicting the big picture. Thus the sword of the state stands blunted by the state itself!

By the appointment of a CDS, New Delhi stands to gain multiple advantages. Foremost, the CDS, as a principal military advisor to the government, will consult the three chiefs to develop a joint military strategy after vetting the National Security Strategy. Unfortunately, like the CDS, the national security strategy document too does not exist and needs to be developed! These detailed strategic consultations will help decipher for the leadership, the security picture in its entirety, and enable it to take anticipatory action instead of fire fighting, which is the current norm. This is particularly relevant, as it is an incontrovertible fact that Indian politicians and bureaucrats both lack the insights necessary to manage military affairs.

For example, the PM’s vision of converting Siachen into a ‘mountain of peace’ is worthy of praise. However, his subsequent consultations with the military to achieve this objective is like putting the cart before the horse. A military briefing by the CDS at the initial stage might dictate that he needs to play poker with Islamabad instead of issuing a statement of political intent at this early stage without a military road map in place. Similarly, while allocating resources in the defence budget, year in and year out, lack of military expertise in the bureaucracy has forced it to provide in the ratio of 5:3:2 to the Army, Air Force and the Navy without giving due consideration to the military assets that are required on a priority after interpreting the long-term strategic picture. Or take the case of the three services buying Igla missiles, helicopters or UAVs from the same vendor, independent of each other. This results in the denial of the benefits of economy of scale for the Indian exchequer. Therefore, such tasks are best left to the CDS to optimise the cost-benefit ratio with the civil leadership having the final say.

Another vital gain by appointing a CDS is that the scattered military power, when honed into an integrated punch under a unified command, can deliver more bangs for the buck. Unlike the federal structure of the Union that correctly permits space to all regions and communities in meeting their aspirations, the reverse is true in all militaries. They can execute a superior game plan only under a regimented hierarchy. This is why the Joint Chiefs of Staff concept cannot deliver - the principle of ‘first among equals’ works for a democratic setup but not for the military. Therefore, the CDS also needs to be a five star General.

In the 1962 conflict, our air power assets were lying idle. In the 1965 War, we ended employing the land forces, wasting others. In the 1971 Indo-Pak War, the Air Force felt left out of the loop! In Kargil, we not only refused to employ the Air Force boldly, but also failed to open other fronts with the help of the Navy. Also, one of the reasons the Indian Army did not cross the LoC was that it was not adequately equipped beforehand. We continue to waver in our acquisition programmes even today for want of an efficient system. In fact, the adversary need not mount a war as he can halt India’s weak bureaucratic and political decision-making military modernisation cycle by intelligently using the local media alone! Surrounded with multiple threats on land and sea, with aspirations for a global role, where it may become necessary for India to deploy its forces in the region or beyond, it is imperative to understand that no single service by itself can win future wars.

Therefore, a dedicated Chief of the Defence Staff is a necessity to coordinate and command inter-service operations, deploy strategic forces, hone the military into integrated theatre commands, eliminate duplication of resources, and maximise strategic advantages. The Defence Secretary, meanwhile, shapes the policy and budget, personnel and infrastructure, civilian administration, defence procurement, coordinates the departments of defence, defence production, DRDO with each other and with the CDS, as also acts as the interface with Parliament.

To win wars decisively in the future, we must utilise the current period of tranquility to integrate the forces under the CDS rapidly with the personal intervention by the Prime Minister, as elements in both the bureaucracy and the military are involved in detrimental turf wars.

Bharat Verma, Editor Indian Defence Review

Is this how we treat our military?

Thursday, 15 January , 2009, 17:33

RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW. He is author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan. He is Associate Editor, Indian Defence Review.

At this critical juncture, India needs to demonstrate its resolve, and ensure the strength and morale of its armed forces. Instead, however, the self-pride of the armed forces is being subverted by parochial interests and narrow considerations. If some planted stories in the media are to be believed, the revised pay demands of the armed forces have not only been met, but enhanced by the government.

This is a travesty of truth. In reality, the basic demand of the armed forces for pre-Sixth Pay Commission status quo has been brushed aside with complete disdain. There are three major demands of the armed forces: one, a hike in pension (70 percent of the last pay drawn) in respect of personnel other than officers; two, restoration of the status of Lt Cols in the higher pay band (Pay Band-IV); and three, restoration in the status of Lt Generals vis-à-vis Director Generals of Police (DGPs).

The government's willingness to enhance pension for lower ranks does not actually translate in an actual raise, as the reduced slab announced earlier was based on the flawed premise that post-retirement they would be absorbed in the paramilitary forces, something which is still on the drawing board.

Are our forces lower caste?

The other two demands, for restoration in status of Lt Cols and Lt Generals have either been rejected or have come with riders. The most ridiculous clause is the pay package of Lt Cols and their equivalent in the other two services. While their pay package have been upgraded to Pay Band-IV, it has been stipulated that their status in this Pay Band with regards to their Grade Pay, which determines their status, would be only applicable when they are serving on combat duties and not when on deputation. The term 'combat duties' has confounded all ranks. This smacks of a disdainful 'take the money and forget about status' attitude on part of the government.

The junior officers, that includes Lt Cols and their equivalents in the other two services, form the cutting edge of the armed forces. It is the same grade of officers, who dislodged Pakistani troops from the Kargil heights, by some most tenacious and daring assaults, without any parallel in the history of high altitude warfare. The demand for status parity for Lieutenant Generals with the DGP Police has been rejected. In Uttar Pradesh alone, there are more than two-dozen officers in the rank of DGP.

Indian army, foreign hand

Is this the way the to treat the Indian Armed Forces, which are respected for their professionalism in most parts of the world? Our vote-bank driven politicians have no direct stake in the armed forces. In the United Kingdom, the males of the Royal family invariably serve in the armed forces. In the US, a military past is a political asset, with most Presidents proudly proclaiming their military background. The Indian politicians, leave alone sending their sons, discourage even their even sons-in-laws from the military.

Time and again, the Indian Armed Forces have drawn applause in bilateral and multilateral military exercises involving several nations. When India wins a cricket match, the Speaker does not fail to mention it in the Parliament. However, a few years ago when the Special Forces of the Indian Army stood first in a professional competition organised in South Africa, where more than two-dozen countries had participated, it did not find any mention. Our politicians including our Prime Minister and the concerned bureaucrats, I am sure, were even not aware of it.

Foreign observers laud Indian war games

The bureaucrats and the police hierarchy, relics of our colonial past, have over the years been systematically denigrating the armed forces out of sheer inferiority complex and to promote their own vested interests. The only hope for the armed forces personnel was the politicians. The politicians, however, have allowed their minds to be subverted by wily bureaucrats.

To make matters worse the Prime Minister too seems to relish the role of a bureaucrat rather than the leader of the country. In the Sixth Pay Commission, he had refused the military's demand to appoint an armed forces member in the commission. Now he conveniently concedes that the military is entitled to a separate pay commission, which ironically will be constituted in 2018!

Indian defence and the Abominable No Men

A leader of the country like India, which aspires to be a great power, must enjoy the respect of the armed forces. He must realise that diplomacy and military strength are the two sides of the same coin. He must also realise that the 'argument of power' is as, if not more, important than the 'power of argument'. And the 'argument of power' is based on the strength and efficacy of a country's armed forces. During his visit to India, US President George Bush told the Andhra Chief Minister that military should always be kept happy for the well being of the nation.

Yet our leaders, abetted by the bureaucrats, for reasons best known to them, thrive on sowing seeds of inter-service rivalry in the armed forces. A Minister of State for Defence with a police background was candid in telling me that to be a successful defence minister, one has to generate inter-service rivalry, and the best way to do it was by making the three service chiefs squabble over budgetary allocations.

With such an attitude, one wonders if the Indian Armed Forces can ever hope to find their legitimate status, and the institution of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) will ever see the light of the day.

Courtesy Indian Defence Review

Original article at:

Centre decides to set up anomaly committee for 6th pay panel

New Delhi, Jan 15 (PTI) The Government has decided to set up an Anomaly Committee to settle disputes arising out of implementation of the sixth pay commission recommendations. The panel will receive anomalies upto six months from the date of its constitution and will dispose them within one year, the Department of Personnel, Public Grievances and Training said in its order.

DoPT sources today said the items already taken up by the Fast Track Committee will not be considered by the anomaly committee.

They said there will be two Anomaly Committees -- national and departmental.

The national anomaly committee will deal with anomalies common to two or more departments and in respect of common categories of employees.

The departmental anomaly committee will handle cases pertaining exclusively to the department concerned and will have no repercussions on the employees of another ministry or department.

The anomaly will include cases where the maximum of the revised scale is less than the amount at which one is entitled to be fixed and where the amount of revised allowance is less than the existing rate, they said. PTI

Don’t roll back ties with Pakistan: Boucher
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

Even as India threatens to roll back ties with Pakistan, a US official has cautioned against such a move saying it is in both nations’ interests to continue moving ahead in the relationship.

Assistant secretary of state for south and central Asian affairs Richard Boucher said in an interview with this correspondent: “India has to decide what its outlook is on ties with Pakistan.”

“Our view is that there has been tremendous progress in many of the government and economic relationships with Pakistan. It is in both sides’ interests to continue that,” he said, adding, “I think it is important for both sides, obviously you cannot neglect the issue of terrorism, but if we can establish cooperation against terrorism we can add to the building of ties rather than have to subtract from it.”

Even as India-Pakistan ties have been pushed to breaking point in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush’s administration believes both sides have managed tensions successfully.

State department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Wednesday the U.S. has been keeping a close eye on the situation. He said U.S. officials have been “talking to both sides, the Pakistan side and the Indian side about managing the tensions in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Mumbai.”

“To this point, both sides have managed to do that successfully, some of these troop movements notwithstanding, both on the Indian side as well as the Pakistani side,” McCormack said.

“Thus far, each side has managed the aftermath of Mumbai in such a way that the tensions haven’t escalated in a way that has been unhelpful to maintaining peace and stability,” he added.

The official said the US would like to see “more the exchange of information about the Mumbai attacks so that you can get to the bottom of exactly who was responsible, see the entire plot, and hold all responsible for their actions, and make sure that in doing so you prevent any further plots from getting to the point of execution.”

Meanwhile, Boucher denied the Mumbai attacks had reintroduced a hyphenation in the U.S. policy for India and Pakistan. “I think first of all what we found is that the U.S. and India have an enormous variety of shared interests… One of those common interests is to end terrorism in the region and Mumbai, for the both of us, really makes it very clear how much of a shared interest we have in stopping terrorism,” he said.

Boucher said the dismissal of Pakistani National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani was an “internal matter for the Pakistani government.” Durrani was fired after he confirmed reports that the gunman captured alive after the Mumbai attacks is a Pakistani national.

Boucher, who recently wrapped up a visit to India and Pakistan, said the sense he got from talking to Pakistanis in politics, civil society and the military is that “they understand that terrorists are a threat to Pakistan. They know they need to find a way to eliminate that threat from Pakistani soil.” He described US-Pakistan ties as a “very positive relationship.”

“We are working with a government that is committed to democracy, committed to an open economy and is committed to stabilizing Pakistan by eliminating the terrorist groups,” he said. He admitted not all the policies in those areas have been effective.

“They have gone through simultaneous crises on security, economics and finishing the democracy transition. Our commitment to be there and work with them on these things is quite clear,” Boucher said.

Pak blinks, sets up team to probe LeT's links to 26/11

Press Trust of India

Thursday, January 15, 2009 9:52 PM (Islamabad)

Pakistan on Thursday said it has formed a special team to ascertain whether the banned Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) or any other militant group was involved in the Mumbai attacks as part of efforts to gather evidence on the terrorist incident that can stand up in a court of law.

Foreign Office spokesman Mohammed Sadiq said the issue of LeT or any other group being involved in the Mumbai incident is "presently under probe (and) inquiry by our concerned authorities". The results of the inquiry will be shared with the Indian government, he added.

Pakistan has formed an inquiry team led by the Federal Investigation Agency that will conduct the probe into the matter, Sadiq said during a briefing in response to a question on whether Islamabad agreed with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband's contention that LeT was responsible for the Mumbai attacks.

The information received from India on January 5 had been given to the interior ministry for inquiry into the matter.

"There is a clear distinction between information and legally scrutable evidence that can stand the test of a court of law," he said. Pakistan has also offered to conduct a joint inquiry with India and is awaiting a response from New Delhi in this regard, he said.

Sadiq described as "most unfortunate" statements by Indian leaders about severance of trade, transport and tourist links and keeping open the military option.

"Pakistan continues to make every effort to defuse tensions in South Asia and has repeatedly stated that it is prepared to extend its cooperation to the Indian government," he added.

Pak army fully prepared to meet challenges: Kayani

Press Trust of India

Thursday, January 15, 2009, (Islamabad)

Pakistan's army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Thursday said the force was "fully prepared" to meet challenges a day after his Indian counterpart made it clear that all options were open to deal with Islamabad in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.

Without naming India, Gen Kayani "emphasised that the threat could best be defeated through a comprehensive national effort." Gen Kayani stated this during a meeting of formation commanders at the General Headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi near Islamabad.

"Pakistan Army is fully prepared to meet the challenges", he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the army. His remarks came a day after Indian army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor said the country had kept open all options, including the "fighting option", to deal with Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

The meeting chaired by Kayani was attended by Principal Staff Officers, corps commanders and formation commanders -officers who constitute the top brass of the army. The participants were given a comprehensive briefing on the prevailing security environment, the statement said.

Kayani expressed satisfaction at "efforts undertaken by the military commanders for training and operational preparedness". He said the "spirit of sacrifice and high morale of troops is reassuring for the defence of the country".

Pakistan safe haven for Al-Qaida: Cheney

Press Trust of India

Thursday, January 15, 2009, (Washington)

US Vice-President Dick Cheney has said that a part of Pakistan has become a safe haven for terrorists organisations like Al-Qaida and the Taliban and this would be one of the main challenges for the incoming Obama administration.

Though Pakistan has cooperated with the US post-9/11, Cheney, in an interview to a television news channel on Wednesday, said, "They've got a portion of the country that isn't really controlled by the central government that's become a safe haven for the Taliban operating into Afghanistan, and for Al-Qaida."

Cheney said, "Those (Iran and Pakistan) are going to be challenges that the new administration is going to have to deal with early on."

"The situation in Iran is a regime that's a terror-sponsoring state, a prime mover and shaker where Hezbollah is concerned, but also actively and aggressively trying to develop nuclear weapons," said the Vice President.

No threat of war with India: Gilani

Press Trust of India / Islamabad January 15, 2009, 15:58 IST

Seeking to downplay the Indian army chief's remarks that all options were open for dealing with Pakistan, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani today said there was "tremendous" public pressure on Indian government after the Mumbai attacks and insisted there was "no threat of war".

"Both countries are nuclear powers. I think there is no threat of war," Gilani told a news conference during a visit to the Information Ministry.

He was responding to a question about army chief General Deepak Kapoor's comments yesterday that all options were open before New Delhi, including the "fighting option" as a last resort, for dealing with Pakistan.

Gilani indicated that the Indian government's stance is being influenced by public pressure. "There is tremendous pressure of the public on the government of India," he said.

Responding to another question about Pakistan possibly abandoning the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, Gilani said a special envoy of Iran who met him recently had given no indication that the venture will not be implemented.

On the investigation into the killing of Benazir Bhutto, Gilani said the UN probe into the former premier's assassination on December 27, 2007 is expected to start soon.

On the issue of scrapping of the 17th amendment of the Constitution that gives the President sweeping powers to dismiss the Premier and dissolve Parliament, Gilani said the ruling PPP is committed to repeal the provisions.

A two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament is needed for scrapping the 17th amendment. The government is setting up a committee that will examine all suggestions in this regard and then forge consensus on the move, he added.

Military strike an option, says Indian army chief

BS Reporter / New Delhi January 15, 2009, 11:03 IST

India has all options, including a military strike, available to deal with Pakistan, which has moved some of its soldiers from FATA to the border with India, said India's Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor in New Delhi on Wednesday.

He said the Army would have to upgrade its capabilities to handle low-intensity conflicts by focusing on its “counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency capabilities.” “We live in troubled times and a fragile region and the possibility of a marginal conventional conflict cannot be ruled out. We must maintain [a] high level of combat readiness at all times,” he said.

Additional Army personnel will be provided for the National Security Guard hubs being set up in the country, added General Kapoor.

Meanwhile, in interviews to TV channels, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband underlined that India and Pakistan did not have an extradition treaty and once again reiterated that Pakistan's justice system is capable of prosecuting the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Miliband endorsed External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's rejection of the Obama administration appointing an envoy on Kashmir, saying Kashmir is a bilateral issue that must be addressed by the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan.

He also said the UK is “not for any particular version of how to cooperate” with regard to Pakistan's proposal for a joint investigation.

Pakistan seeks F-16 jets from US

PTI | January 16, 2009 | 01:21 IST

Pakistan has asked the US to meet the requirements of its armed forces, especially the supply of F-16 combat jets.

Defence Minister Chaudry Ahmad Mukhtar, a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari, informed US Ambassador Anne Patterson about the defence requirements of Pakistan, particularly the provision of F-16 aircraft.
Patterson emphasised the need to strengthen defence ties for the mutual benefit of the two countries. Both sides
agreed to "intensify bilateral cooperation so as to overcome the challenges being confronted" by both countries, said a statement issued after the meeting held on Tuesday.

The US is currently in the process of supplying 12 used F-16 jets to Pakistan for its role as a "major non-NATO
ally". Pakistan also had plans to buy 36 new F-16s worth USD 5.1 billion but reduced its order to 18 jets after the
devastating 2005 earthquake in Kashmir brought on a financial crunch.
It was not immediately clear if Mukhtar wanted the US to supply the refurbished F-16s or he had sought more new
In August last year, the US approved the delivery of 20 P-37 jet trainer aircraft to Pakistan. The US is providing
the used aircraft free of cost to Pakistan, which will only have to bear shipment costs.
The US also released USD 116 million last year to finance mid-life upgrades for Pakistan's aging fleet of F-16
fighter jets. The US is providing a total of USD 474 million to Pakistan for this purpose.

Terror under arrest
Fighting militancy Omar Abdullah’s first task

THE arrest of Hizbul Mujahideen founder Mohammad Ahsan Dar in Bandipore district in Jammu and Kashmir symbolises a major success achieved by the security forces in their drive against militancy. Since he coordinated the activities of various terrorist outfits in the strife-torn state, his detention is bound to affect the functioning of these destructive organisations. Keeping in view the fact that the man has a history of dodging the police, measures must be taken to ensure that he is unable to escape from jail again as he did in the past. As Dar is a terrorist ideologue, chances of the Lashkar-e-Taiyaba, the Hizbul Mujahideen or the other militant networks using surprising tactics to get him freed cannot be ruled out.

His arrest may help find out the extent of militant operations today. The new state government headed by Mr Omar Abdullah should concentrate on fighting the monster at a time when terrorists are demoralised and disoriented. In the recent elections the militant leadership was given a body-blow by the voters, who overwhelmingly exercised their franchise ignoring the boycott call issued by the extremists. People have no love lost for the terrorists and their masters across the Line of Control. That is why militant outfits are finding it difficult to get fresh recruits.

There is a decline in the infiltration from the other side of the LoC. But the infiltration may go up once the winter is over and snow starts melting, as it has been happening in the past. While the Central Government has to keep putting diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to force it to destroy terrorism root and branch, the state government must use all the resources at its command to make the problem disappear forever. All the militants in hiding should be ferreted out and put behind bars. Equally important, the Omar Abdullah government has to undertake development projects on a massive scale to tackle the growing unemployment problem in the state. After all, development remains as one of the most effective weapons to fight militancy. The scourge requires a multi-pronged attack to bring Jammu and Kashmir back on the road to progress.

Kashmir not the key to Kabul
US logic on terrorism is flawed
by Sushant Sareen

ANYONE who has ever wondered why India has been so obstinate in its refusal to allow third-party mediation on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir should have got his answer in the linkage that the next US President, Mr Barack Obama, and his foreign policy aides have drawn between Afghanistan and Kashmir. The incoming US administration wants to play an active role in resolving the Kashmir issue, not out of altruism but because it thinks that a “satisfactory” solution of the Kashmir issue will help in the achievement of US security interests in Afghanistan. In other words, US interests and not some higher ideal or vision will guide and propel its mediation efforts.

Needless to say, since Pakistan will be satisfied with nothing less than a solution of Kashmir that is substantially, if not entirely, according to its wishes, it means that the US implicitly expects India to sacrifice on Kashmir to satisfy Pakistan. Not surprisingly then, India is deeply suspicious of the US desire to play an honest broker on resolving the Kashmir issue, and will find it impossible to accept US good offices in settling its problems with Pakistan.

Clearly, the Americans see Kashmir as the missing part of the puzzle on not only defeating the Al-Qaeda/Taliban-inspired Islamist insurgency in Afghanistan, but also ensuring the unstinted cooperation and compliance of the Pakistan Army in fighting the Islamist guerrillas. The guiding logic of the argument linking Kabul with Kashmir is seductively simple — give the Pakistani state something to show on Kashmir, which in turn will make it easier for Pakistan’s Army and its politicians to sell to their people the idea of cooperating with the Americans in the War on Terror.

The Americans believe, somewhat naively, that by “satisfying” Pakistan on Kashmir, they will be able to end Pakistan’s policy of running with the jihadist hare and hunting with the American hound. What is more, normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan will free the Pakistan Army from its engagements on the eastern front with India and enable the deployment of the bulk of troops on the troubled western borderlands.

Unlike the US officials and academicians, India knows that any argument linking Kashmir with Kabul is totally specious and self-serving. There are broadly two dimensions to the Kashmir imbroglio. The first is the bilateral Indo-Pak track in the search for a mutually acceptable solution to the problem. The second is the International dimension of the insurgency in Kashmir, which is inextricably linked to the jihadist ideology and radical philosophy that is afflicting Islamic societies around the world. Unless both these dimensions are understood, quick-fix solutions advocated by campus radicals and neo-liberal think-tanks will end up creating a problem far worse than the one that confronts the people of the region and the world at present.

The terrorism in Kashmir is nothing if it is not part of the international jihad being waged by disparate Islamic groups in different parts of the world. Centred on the Islamist identity of Kashmiri Muslims, the basic DNA of the separatist movement in Kashmir is jihadist, only it is packaged in nationalist hues. Although the so-called moderate separatists try to agitate and win support by bandying more liberal labels, the real ideologues of the separatists — people like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Syed Salahuddin — make no apologies for the Islamist underpinnings of their demand.

Since the jihadists, both Kashmiri and Pakistani, see Kashmir as a part of the larger international jihad, their success in Kashmir will not bring an end to Islamic militancy in either the region or the world. Instead a victory for the jihadists in Kashmir will only serve as a shot in the arm for Islamic radicals and give a tremendous boost to violent jihad in other parts of the world by attracting ever more recruits to their war against both Muslim and non-Muslim societies.

The argument that once Pakistan’s concerns on Kashmir are addressed the Pakistani state will be in a better position to take on the Islamic militias rests on the heroic assumption that Pakistan remains strong enough to eradicate the menace of Islamic militancy. The facts on the ground suggest that this assumption no longer holds true. Simply put, the Pakistani state no longer dominates the radical groups that operate inside that country and has lost the coercive monopoly that enables a state to impose its authority over recalcitrant elements.

Today the Pakistani state is almost reduced to being a minor player, surviving on the sufferance of both non-state and statist jihadist militias. The bottom-line is that instead of the Pakistan Army exercising control over its jihadist assets, the army itself has become an asset of the jihadists. This means that even if Kashmir is solved entirely according to the Pakistani wishes, the Pakistani state will not be able to put the jihadist monster back in the bottle. In fact, victory for the jihadists in Kashmir will sound the death knell of the Pakistani state structure and put it at the mercy of the Islamists.

There is, in any case, very little that will be achieved by any international mediation that is aimed at hustling India into making concessions on territory or sovereignty or both only to address Pakistan’s neurosis that emanates primarily from its refusal to accept that Kashmir is a part of India. Quite aside the fact that Munich-type agreements, based as they are on the appeasement of irredentism, have never brought peace, it is an entirely fallacious argument that tensions with India prevent Pakistan from taking effective action on its western border.

India has until now done absolutely nothing to exploit Pakistan’s discomfiture on its western borders. For nearly five years now, India has scrupulously observed the ceasefire along the Line of Control, and this despite Pakistan’s repeated violations of it. The peace process between India and Pakistan has made a lot of progress, both in the official dialogue as well as in the back-channel. Imaginative and out-of-the-box solutions were being actively considered by both countries to solve the Kashmir issue to the satisfaction of both sides. The confidence building measures already in place in Kashmir — bus service, travel across the LoC, opening up of trade across the LoC, meeting points for divided families — were unimaginable a few years back.

In fact, ever since the peace process commenced, border tensions between the two countries were practically non-existent. And yet if during this entire period Pakistan’s capacity and capability to take on the Islamic militants has declined, then surely the reason for that isn’t India but something that is seriously wrong inside Pakistan.

The Obama administration will be making a terrible and very costly mistake if it tries to reach Kabul and Kandahar through Kashmir. Instead of being a short-cut to winning the war in Afghanistan, this will be a path that will bring with it the worst of both worlds. Not only will the US end up strengthening the militant Islamists, it will also lose the support and trust of India in this widening war. Unfortunately, imperial hubris will ensure that the US embarks on this disastrous road. The only hope is that things don’t reach the point of no return before the Americans realise the mistake they have made.

‘26/11 tested our patience’


New Delhi

Jan. 15: Army Chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor on Thursday said that the Mumbai terror attack was a test of India’s patience, even as Pakistan’s defence and Army adviser in New Delhi attended the Indian Army Day parade on Thursday in the capital despite mounting tensions between the two countries.

Speaking on the occasion of Army Day, Gen. Kapoor also reiterated that all options were open before the country in order to protect its people and territory. "The attack on Mumbai was a test of our patience," he said, addressing troops in the capital. He added that terrorism is the biggest challenge and threat facing the country.

Just on Wednesday, Gen. Kapoor had said that India is keeping all its options open and that "military option is the last option". On Wednesday, the Army Chief had said, "There is a larger amount of tension since 26/11. We feel perpetrators (of the Mumbai terror attack) came from Pakistani soil. We in India are keeping all our options open. This is not hysteria for war but all options are open — diplomatic, economic and the last resort is the fighting option." Another reference to the Mumbai terror attacks on Thursday by the Indian Army Chief indicated that India has now decided to keep up the pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terrorists operating from Pakistani soil and back up words with action against militants.

But on Thursday, Pakistan’s defence and Army adviser in New Delhi, Brig. Muhammad Iqbal, attended the Indian Army Day parade. Confirming this, sources said that Pakistan appeared keen to send a signal to India that it would be willing to cooperate in the fight against terror. "The presence of the Pakistan defence and Army adviser in the Pakistan high commission at the Indian Army Day parade at a time when military tensions are mounting between the two countries is extremely significant. It appears that the Pakistan government and Army want to send a clear signal now that Pakistan prefers cooperation to confrontation," sources said. However, Brig. Iqbal did not attend the "At Home" function hosted by the Army Chief on Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, MoD sources indicated the Army and Navy would soon conduct another test of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

The BrahMos missile, jointly developed by India and Russia, can be fired from sea, land and air.

War drill on LoC

Indian army mobilized on Baramulla, Poonch sectors

Wasim Khalid

Srinagar, Jan 15: Indian Army Thursday reinforced troop deployment besides installing Bofors artillery guns and other battle wares along the 734 Km long, 34 Km wide LoC. The soldiers, according sources, have been put on highest alert “to meet any eventuality.”

A top army officer based in North Kashmir confirmed to Rising Kashmir that adequate manpower and logistics are being transported towards the Line of Control (LOC).

“We are building adequate logistics and are also filling gaps by further reinforcing troops,” he disclosed, adding, “We are taking such steps as a precautionary measure as Pakistan is mobilising its troops on other side of LoC”.

Without disclosing the number of troops being deployed on the de-facto border, he said, “Our arms and ammunition are in ready mode. We are ready to deal with any situation”.

Maintaining that armoury and manpower proves effective during wars, he said, “We think Pakistan would react”.

He, however, ruled out a full-fledged war. “Pakistan would probably engage them in border skirmishes,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Uri residents have panicked after observing the increased troops movement from the last four days.

“The movement of army convoys has increased during past few days,” a resident of Tchal, Uri Ahmad Khan told Rising Kashmir. “They are transporting troops, artillery guns and mules to LoC. It looks as if they are preparing for the war”.

The border residents said army has deployed artillery guns inside their camp near Tchal. “They were installed also installed at the same place but later were taken away,” a resident of Nowshera Uri Ghulam Mohammad said.

“Army has also started installing bofors guns at the same place. The war preparations have started in full scale,” he added.

According to the border residents, army has also deputed its men alongwith BSF personnel to guard and patrol the roads.

Troops build up at Poonch

Army has also started building up logistics and reinforcement along the Line of Control in Mendhar sector of Poonch district.

The residents of Saki Maidan close to LoC in Mendhar sector said army has deployed a full artillery brigade in the area. “Three days back, the artillery and troops were placed in the agricultural land. After our protests, army redeployed the men and machinery and positioned the tanks and artillery guns near the river,” they said.

The border residents said that army is gathering logistic and deploying reinforcement in the Saki Maidan, which is just 3 kilometres from Mendhar sector.

“Every day army adds a bofors gun to the already assembled artillery guns. The tanks and artillery guns were deployed in similar manner in the Saki Maidan area after the Indo-Pak tension increased following 1998 Kargil war,” they said.

The fear-stricken villagers said that it appears that India and Pakistan is preparing for a war. “We are really worried and do not want”.

Army speaks

A spokesman of Northern Command, Colonel D K Kachari denied to comment over the issue. “I am not authorized to comment on this issue,” Kachari told Rising Kashmir.

However, General Officer Commanding in chief, Northern Command, Lt-Gen P C Bhardwaj while addressing a function in winter capital said after the build up of Pakistani troops along the border on the Indo-Pakistan border, army has increased vigilance along Line of Control. “We have kept an operational preparedness to a degree that we require at present. Northern Command is a deployed command and along LoC we are always on vigil,” he said.

On the number of Pakistani troops there, he said, “My chief of staff has given a very explicit reply and summed up the whole situation on the border on eve of Army Day. As far as our side is concerned, the forward troops are doing their routine defence activity. That is what we have observed."

Army Chief hosts ”At Home” on occasion of 61st Foundation Day

January 15th, 2009 - 8:33 pm ICT by ANI - Send to a friend:

New Delhi, Jan 15 (ANI): The 61st Foundation Day of the Indian Army on Thursday culminated with the At-Home function hosted by Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, which was attended by top government functionaries as well as serving and retired officers of the armed forces.

Army Day is celebrated on January 15 every year in India, in recognition of Lieutenant General (later Field Marshal) K. M. Cariappa becoming the first Indian Commander-in-Chief in 1948. The day is celebrated in the form of parades and other military shows.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Defence Minister AK Antony and his cabinet colleague, Leader of the Opposition LK Advani along with Field Marshal Arjun Singh and three services chiefs graced the occasion.

The President also met officers and family members of army men who laid their lives for the country last year.

Earlier in the day, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall Fali Homi Major paid floral tributes at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate.

On the occasion, the Army Chief took the salute at a parade held at the Delhi Cantonment. He also presented 16 Sena Medals for gallantry and eight regiments with unit citations.

General Kapoor today described the Mumbai attacks as a test of Indias patience.

Addressing a function at the Army Day parade here, General Kapoor described terrorism as the biggest challenge before the country.

Terrorism is the only biggest challenge before us and the menace has engulfed the entire world. But India has been grappling with it for long. The recent Mumbai attacks were a test of Indias patience, said General Kapoor.

The Army Chief further said that India stands for peace, but would not hesitate to defend its territorial integrity with all of its resources.

The Army Day parade showcased technological prowess and achievements of the Indian Army.

Several serving and retired defence officers were present on the occasion. (ANI)

True face of dynamic Indian Armed Forces

Lt Col Zaheerul Hassan (R)
January 15, of each year is being celebrated as Indian Army Day. The army authorities rather feeling proud on their self-generated wonders should analyze the factors and causes which are taking their soldiers away from humanity and profession. The Indian Forces including Para Military Forces and police are playing in the hands of politicians. These opportunists are using them for crushing Sikhs, Muslims, Christens, Tamils, Sri Lankan, Kashmiri and harassing their political opponents. Carrying out such illegal intelligence and state sponsored activities totally converted the psyche of Indian soldiers. It becomes their second nature to commit unlawful and inhuman actions without considering their repercussions. Indian Armed forces are being known as Rogue Armed Forces.

They are terribly involved in corruptions, looting, raping women, and drinking, unnatural and indecent acts, selling of issued items, embezzlements, theft, kidnapping, desertions, and disobedience of their seniors. Since 1947 there is not a single year could be found free from occurrence of criminal act amongst the troops. Quite frequently soldiers of Indian Armed Forces become the news of the day in locals, national and international media as a result of their involvement in malicious activities. Indian soldiers found committing immoral acts in peacekeeping forces too. On the night of 3 and 4 December at around 12:00 A.M. Indian troops of 36 RR and 146 Battalion CRPF barged in the house of Mohammad Abdullah Khatana in south Kashmir village at Dandipora, Kokernag.. The troops who were six in number asked them to switch off the lights before breaking the bolt of the main entrance. While narrating the incident the father of the victim said, we were locked in a room after thrashing me and my brother in law who also stays with us. After locking us in one room they took the victim in another room. The four troop’s gang raped the 17-year girl for an hour, while other two were guarding us. Its not one incident, in fact Indian Army are in the habits of repeating such type of valiance against the innocent public. According to Indian National Human Rights Commission, there were 1,039 cases of human rights violations ( which include, rapes, terrorizing, abduction & killing of innocent women, children youngsters & communal violence) by the security forces from 1990-1999, an average of 109 per year. I would also like to reveal here that no downward trend in crime ratio have been noticed so far. The indecent activities against the innocent agitators almost raised 100%. If we consider that it reduced by 50 % even then figures will be quite alarming for the international community. Indian Ministry of Defence reported that it filed 17 rape cases against army personnel whereas media reported 20 cases of rapes from 2003-2004 and by adding 50 % per annum will make this figure 80 till December, 2008. There are reports that till to-date only two or three rape cases have been concluded so far in a guilty verdict. In the remaining cases, the investigations are still in process or terminated because of tremendous pressure on the presidents of the court of inquiries, investigating officers or on the eye witnesses. After the death of Anti Terrorists Chief Karkara it becomes further difficult for the investigators to produce the genuine results in the criminal cases against powerful security forces.

Another bleak picture of Indian Armed Forces have been revealed by “The Times of India’ on October 3, 2005 , according to the newspaper War-room leaks, liquor scams and fake kills to garner gallantry medals and even rapes, murders has forced the authorities to stag 6,000 courts martial just since 20005. It further stressed that latest statistics show the, Army alone court-martialed 1,215 soldiers in 2000; 1,034 in 2001; 1,031 in 2002; 945 in 2003; and 872 in 2004. On June 6, 1984 Indian military attacked on the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, and 38 other Sikh temples throughout Punjab. It is an esteemed and established fact that Indian Army had slaughters over 20000 Sikhs and over 70000 Kashmiri in last few years. In 2008 Indian Army has also received a jolt when a serving Lt Col Srikant Prasad Purohit along with retired comrade were arrested in Malegaon Hindu violence against Muslims. Indian Police said that Lt. Col. Srikant Prasad Purohit, provided combat training and explosives to Hindu activists. On November 23, Andrew Buncombe, writing for the Independent, reported: “India is in something of a state of shock after learning from official sources that its first It should be noted that the head of the Maharastrian Anti-Terrorist Squad making the allegations about Hindu false flag terrorism, Hemant Karkare, was assassinated as he led his team into the Hotel Taj during the Mumbai attacks. “Killed in the line of duty, Hemant Karare was targeted as the man who was an immense problem for the BJP [the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party] because his forthright investigation revealed Hindutva terrorism and he was not about to stop. Clearly this invalidated the BJP campaign rhetoric against Muslim terrorism, but the BJP will still use the emotional fervor of Hindutva to win against the Congress party,” writes Allen Heart for Op Ed News. Can so called secular New Delhi Government, US, UK and Security Council satisfy the heirs of those innocent persons who were martyred and butchered for no fault by Indian security forces. Fareeda Sheik Liaqat, who lost her 10-year-old daughter in the bombing that Ramadan night in Malegaon and loved one of victimized persons of Samjota Express, Sikhs of India , Christian of Orrisa , Kashmiri , Tamil and Mizos are still crying and asking to so called civilized international community to provide them justice. But I don’t think that this paralyzed UNO, its Security Council and civilized society will raise their voice against Indian brutality as they are already quite on Israeli Naked Terrorism against innocent Palestinians women, children and others civilian.

On February 3rd 2007, while returning from the market at 5 P.M., a young tribal woman was dragged into the forest and gang raped by 4 members of the Mizo Security forces deployed in Dantewada. The men of the Mizo Security force restrained her to prevent from shouting and she lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness, she was alone and naked in the woods. Her back was badly injured and her arms and legs were scratched and bruised from rocks and branches in the forest and now she can hardly move. None of the culprit was arrested because they were from security forces. In September, 2007 a Major General faced the music for sexual harassment. Maj Gen A K Lal, removed as commander of the strategically-located 3 Infantry Division at Leh in September 2007 after a woman officer accused him of “misconduct” and “misbehaviour”, held that he should be dismissed from service. The dynamic Indian Army senior officers are least pushed about the moral of their troops. They were found involved in corruption while concluding contracts of frozen meat which are being supplied to the troops deployed in Indian held Kashmir and at Siachen area. They accept substandard items for the troops deployed at high altitude area and thus playing with the lives of the soldiers who are already fighting with the weather and locals against their wills. As per Indian press, one Serving Lt General Sahni, One Lt General (Retired) S K Dahiya, four Major Generals, two Brigadiers and eight officers are being charred for various irregularities in relation to procurement of “certain items of dry rations” for soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir .The scam involved the multi-corer purchase of around 1,000 tones of `masoor dal’, which was found adulterated and unfit for human consumption. There were also irregularities in the purchase of huge quantities of animal feed for the force in early-2005. If the court martial had gone ahead, Sahni would have become the first-ever Lt Gen, serving or retired, to face such military proceedings for alleged corruption. The names of Sahni, Dahiya, four Maj-Gens, nine Brigadiers, a Navy Commodore, two Commanders a Lt-Commander, an IAF Group Captain and a Coast Guard DIG have figured in a list of 21 senior officers facing corruption charges tabled by defence minister A K Antony in Parliament. The corruption charges range from selling military liquor in civilian markets to financial bungling in purchase of cereals, petrol and the like in the armed forces.

Their low morality and unethical actions can be observed from the recent example too when on January 11, 2009 an Indian Army Unit 43 Rashtriya Rifles has distributed wine bottles as ‘gift’ to the school children including girls, who had participated in the “National Anthem Singing Competition” on her Raising Day at Thanmandi in Poonch district As per Kashmir Media Service the residents and children of various schools of the area were invited to participate in sports and cultural events. There were total 20 participants’ students out of which 11 were girls’. As per sources a student Sakina Kousar said that she got ‘this award’ from army in a packing. “When I opened the packing, I found ‘Golden Eagle’ wine bottle”, she said. Sakina along with Rubeena Raina, Imtiyaz and Nazir have received wine bottles as award for their outstanding performance in singing national anthem of India “Jana Gana Mana”. The Kashmiri of Poonch observed strike on January 12, 2009 on the appeal of Muslim United Front Chairman Shafkat Wani. In short all above narrated incidents are indicators of the declining standards of decency, integrity, sincerity, candor and discipline of Indian armed forces. Indian top brass should give a thought, whether they be able to defend their internal external boundaries in the presence of such a Rogue Armed Forces as proved by their own media.

International Community should pressurize India and Israel to stop state terrorism against the innocent people. Pakistan Government should ask India to produce Lt Col Prasad for killing of passengers of Samjota Express.

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