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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

From Today's Papers - 11 Mar 09

Some HILARIOUS pieces of absurdities in the text section today - would love comments from readers.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Holi

imes of India

Asian Age

Asian Age

Telegraph India

The Pioneer

India Express

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Asian Age

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Indian Express

Asian Age

Asian Age

Hindustan Times

Indian Army Preparing for Coup in India (!!!!!!!!)

By Dr. Hassan Isfahani • Mar 11th, 2009 • Category: Lead Story • 55 Comments •

After Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma, now Indian army is also flapping it’s wings to have a coup and “discipline” the Indian people. Indian army’s inroads in the political arena through BJP and some of the hawks in Congress are all too visible. Their involvment in the riots and terrorists activities, manipulation of politicos and technocrats, increasing lust for power and pelf and spying on the political leaders has made it just matter of time before Indian army takes over the reigns of India.

The days of world’s biggest and most failed democracy are numbered. The failure of Indian politicians to bring in harmony and peace within the country’s diverse ethnicity and to bridge religious divides is only due to the Indian army’s bid to ignite and incite the hatred between religious and ethnic factions.

Mumbai Attacks were just part of that chain. By using elements in Pakistan, Austria, Spain, Middle East and largly in India, Indian army and its intelligence agencies proved once again that politicians of India are incapbale of protecting and managing the country of over one billion people. No one in India is blaming military or intelligence outfits, rather only politicians are getting the blame and its only politicos and lameducks who have resigned.

This is not to be forgotten that the first causality of Mumbai terror attacks was Hemant Karkare, who investigated attacks on Musllims in Malegaon and traced the link to Indian army colonel Purohit, who in active service organized attacks on samjhota express as well as Malegaon bombings. All those Hindu terrorists organizations VHP, RSS, BD and others receive direct training, funding and orders from Indian army.

Mir Jamilur Rahman is right when he says that Indian army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor said that surgical strikes are very definitely feasible militarily. He has not mentioned it, but the target in his mind is Pakistan. Of course, surgical strikes are feasible if there is no possibility of reprisal. Gen Kapoor wins popularity by making such outlandish statements. His ambition is to become the first military dictator of India and Pakistan is the vehicle that will carry him there. He wants to discipline the Indians to make them worthy rivals of Chinese: A task which the politicians could not accomplish.

That is why Indian should see through the wall of hatred and bias towards Pakistan and defeat the forces of darkness and terror by joing hands with Pakistani people to combat the terrorism. That is why hawks and bullies must be discouraged and scolded and sanity must prevail.

Indian Ballistic Missile better than American: DRDO scientist (!!!!!) Delhi, March 09: Terming the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC) III anti-missile system as "outdated", top DRDO scientist V K Saraswat said the Indian Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) shield was better than the American system.

III is an outdated system. Our Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile is 30 percent superior in terms of range and capability. AAD intercepts at much higher ranges and altitudes compared to PAC III as it has only 15km range for BMD," he told a press conference on the successful test of BMD system on March 6.

On the role of foreign countries in the Air Defence (AD) programme, Saraswat said Russia, Israel and France have provided assistance in areas where DRDO needed help for "bridging technology gap and accelerating technology development."

Russia has helped India develop the new Radio Frequency Seeker for the interceptor missile, Israel provided help in developing the 'Swordfish' long-range tracking radar and the French have given the Fire Control System for the BMD.

Saraswat said the new warhead weighed only around 30 kg but was able to generate the impact that a 150 kg omni-directional warhead could make.

He said the new guidance system in the missile allowed it to tackle the maneuvers of enemy's incoming missile and could be used against the Russian Topol M class of missiles, which move in a zig-zag manner.

The DRDO official also said the system was "fully automated" and did not require human intervention in activating it in case of an attack by ballistic missiles.

"Under the present system, the interceptor missiles are on 'Hot Stand-by mode' and can take-off within 120 seconds of the detection of the incoming missile by the tracking radars," he said.

Saraswat also said the current missile is 30 per cent more powerful than the missile used in the December 2006 test of the endo-atmospheric interceptor.

He said during the flight of the interceptor missile towards the ballistic missile, the interceptor is constantly updated about the position of its target by the ground-based radars.

During a war, unlike the demonstration phase, a volley of interceptor missiles would be launched against enemy ballistic missiles to improve the hit probability, he said. Commenting on the possibility of the interceptor being jammed by enemy missiles, Saraswat said with the missile having only one link with the ground, it was "very difficult" to jam it as various counter measures were in place to stop such an effort.

He said work on developing a new interceptor 'PDV' for phase-I programme was also going on.

The official said to tackle missiles with a striking range of over 6,000 km, hypersonic interceptor missiles will have to be developed for the phase 2 of the air defence programme.

"Phase 2 interceptors will have speeds of 6-7 Mach and they will be hypersonic. Missiles will have lesser time to intercept and our guidance systems have to be far more energetic and quick responsive," he said.

In the previous two trials, DRDO had successfully tested the BMD system in November 2006 outside the atmosphere at a 48-km altitude and inside atmosphere at an altitude of 15-km in December 2007.

DRDO has developed a two-tier system with the PAD missiles intercepting ballistic missiles at altitudes between 50-80 km and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile destroying them at heights between 15-30 km.

Indian Plot to Destroy the BDR Army

Resist the Indian Plot to Destroy the Army-BDR and Protest against Government Inaction

The people of the country are angry and saddened by the horrific events of 25-26th February at the BDR headquarters especially the pre-planned and barbaric killings of more than a hundred military officers. Brutally murdering unarmed military officers and their families is an unforgivable crime.

Mutilating dead bodies of officers; torturing and killing their wives and children including pregnant women; rape and burning dead bodies - all these inhumane acts were carried out by gang of Indian agents.

Oh People!

All of you are aware of the Indian plot to weaken and create divisions in the defence forces of Bangladesh. India and her local agents utilized the opportunity and current favourable moment to execute their conspiracy as they did many times in the past. The events have made it clear that the so-called mutiny was part of long-term plot and was carried out by India and her agents inside and outside the government. The mass killing of so many brilliant officers would only be of benefit to the polytheist enemy and her agents. Now they are blaming the killings on intelligence failure and so-called differences between the BDR and Army.

An analysis of events of the two days clearly point out the mysterious role of the Awami League government.

• Did the government not have any information of a conspiracy of this magnitude?

• Why did the government send inexperienced ministers and MP’s to negotiate with the rebels on such an important security issue who ensured the safety of the rebels only? Yet they did nothing to protect the lives, property and honour of the officers and their families.

• Why did the ministers and MP’s who were frequenting in and out of the BDR compound feel safe and secure to move amongst the rebels in such a hostile situation unaccompanied by any security personnel?

• What was the purpose of the government in hurriedly declaring a general amnesty for the rebels without confirming the fate of the officers and their families?

• Did the government not allow the criminals to effectively flee from the scene by declaring the amnesty; vacating the locality; and blacking out the entire area?

Oh People!

In the guise of various demands the conspirators have managed to completely destroy the BDR chain of command and are now scheming to separate the BDR from the military’s command. This so-called demand is a threat to the security of the country. The sole beneficiary of separating the BDR from the army and creating divisions between the two forces will be the Indian enemy. This demand is unacceptable and the defence forces of the country must remain under the command of the military.

Oh People!

In this moment of crisis, Hizb ut-Tahrir in Bangladesh urges you to take the following steps:

• Resist the conspiracy to destroy the army and BDR;

• Take the government to task for its inaction and mysterious role in the conspiracy; and

• Raise your voice for punishing the individuals involved in the conspiracy and the killings.

And rush forward to re-establish the Khilafah which will unite the people and strengthen the defence forces to resist all belligerent states including US, India, and Britain.

Dhaka Mutiny was Pre-planned, Reveals Investigation

The investigation into the Bangladesh Rifles troopers' mutiny last month has shown that the carnage could be "pre-planned" and around 450 border guards were involved in the massacre in which 74 people were killed.

The investigation into the BDR mutiny revealed that "some outsiders" had knowledge about the rebellion, a top official of a law enforcement agency said.

"We have found involvement of around 450 BDR officials and jawans in the mutiny after scrutinizing the video footages and photographs," The Daily Star Tuesday quoted an investigator as saying.

The official said they are now trying to get details about the 450-odd mutineers by interrogating those who were arrested.

The border guards revolted Feb 25-26 over low wages and poor working conditions.

"We have so far identified 10 to 12 BDR members who led several groups of mutineers during the 33-hour-long bloody mutiny," said the official.

Another investigator said: "The investigation found that it was done in a planned way. When a group of mutineers attacked and killed BDR Director General Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed at the Darbar Hall, another group simultaneously attacked his residence and injured two guards there."

After killing army officers at the BDR headquarters, the rebels dumped the bodies in the sewer and mass graves in such a way that the rescuers found it difficult to trace those, the report said Tuesday.

Investigators said they are finding it hard to identify the BDR personnel who were on duty at the BDR gates and five armories inside the BDR headquarters as the duty rosters had either been burnt or torn up.

"This suggests that it was a pre-planned act and we are trying to find the mastermind behind it," said an investigator.

The mutiny by the BDR troopers broke out Feb 25 when they took control of their headquarters in the capital. The troopers revolted over low wages and poor working conditions.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina offered general amnesty to them, but the troopers were defiant and refused to lay down arms.

The government held talks with a delegation of the mutineers Feb 26 and an agreement was reached but by that time, the mutiny spread to other BDR camps around the country.

The revolt ended in the face of an imminent attack by the Bangladesh Army which moved tanks into position outside the BDR headquarters. The mutineers then laid down their arms.

CISF sends commandos to secure Indian Embassy in Pak

Press Trust of India

Tuesday, March 10, 2009, (Ghaziabad, UP)

The batch of 16 personnel, trained in commando skills and unarmed combat, from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) was sent to the neighbouring country last month.

"They will perform VIP security duties after assessing the situation there," CISF Director General N R Das told reporters here on the sidelines of the force's 40th raising day.

The team includes few drivers who are trained in VIP security drills.

Das said the security of the Indian Embassy is looked after by the Pakistan government. The actual role of the CISF commandos would be finalised after an assessment report is prepared.

Some of the members of the team will also perform technical support duties.

The CISF commandos protect diplomats at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu while the ITBP earlier guarded the Indian Embassy officials in Afghanistan.

Obama unlikely to mediate on Kashmir: Report

Press Trust of India

Tuesday, March 10, 2009, (Washington)

The Obama Administration is unlikely to mediate on the Kashmir issue and the US policy of non-interference will continue despite calls for greater American involvement, according to a latest Congressional report.

The Indo-US ties appear all set to deepen under Obama's presidency notwithstanding apprehensions in some quarters about "potential friction" on issues like Kashmir and nuclear non-proliferation, said the 83-page report on the 'India-US Relations' by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

"Upon the seating of a new US President in 2009, most experts expected general policy continuity with regard to US-India relations," it said. The CRS, a research wing of the US Congress, periodically prepares such reports for the internal use of US lawmakers.

Referring to some apprehensions that the Obama Administration may mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, the report said this is unlikely to happen, as the US would continue with its policy of non-interference.

"Secretary of State Clinton recognises the dangers of rising tensions in Kashmir while also deferring calls for greater US involvement in the situation, saying the US role will continue to be as it was under the previous Administration: settlement facilitation, but no mediation," it said.

Politicians have let us down again: Pakistan media

NDTV Correspondent

Tuesday, March 10, 2009, (Islamabad)

Is a military coup round the corner in Pakistan? As speculation of another military takeover grows, the media in Pakistan has asked the country's politicians to stop warring and resolve their differences to put an end to the crisis.

Arising out of the confrontation between the two mainstream parties, President Zardari's PPP and Nawaz Sharif's PML-N, the warning comes amid media reports that the army chief General Ashfaq Kayani has warned President Zardari to clean up the mess and that too by a deadline, March 16.

On that day, lawyers and supporters of Nawaz Sharif are planning a long march calling for the reinstatement of those judges who had been sacked by Musharraf, something Zardari has been reluctant to do.

Pakistan's The Daily Times said in its editorial, "Now that the two mainstream parties have virtually declared the doors of reconciliation shut, commentators are already talking of the possibility of the army stepping in "to bring the country back to normal". We sincerely hope this doesn't happen. The army is incapable of providing any political solutions as we have learnt from our bitter experience time and again. But if this does come to pass, this time too the politicians would be to blame"

Meanwhile, the Dawn's editorial said, "Hurtling as this country is towards the brink of political chaos, there is still time for the politicians to slam on the brakes and reverse course. If not stopped immediately, the chain of events triggered by the ouster of the Sharif brothers from electoral politics and the imposition of governor's rule in Punjab will surely end in tears for everyone involved."

And The News said, "All this is despicable. There are no other words to describe what we are seeing. Politicians have once more let down people in a terrible fashion. The tall talk of national unity in the face of crisis has proven to be nothing more than a lie. Are we really to believe our leaders are oblivious of the fact that their country faces extreme peril?"

Army’s warning
Is Zardari being put on notice?

Sixty years after its creation, Pakistan is still experimenting with democracy. The latest exercise threw up the Zardari regime, which seems to be in danger. The Pakistan media has been warning the political class to this effect ever since the Supreme Court judgement disqualifying former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif from electoral politics led to the straining of relations between the ruling PPP and the opposition PML (N). Now comes the report that Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Kiyani is believed to have set the deadline — March 16 — for President Asif Ali Zardari to sort out the problem between him and the Sharif brothers to prevent the situation from taking a turn for the worse. The message is clear: Pakistan is heading towards another bout of army rule if the two principal political parties fail to find a way out for smooth functioning of the government.

March 16 has acquired special significance because the threatened Long March by lawyers will culminate on that day in Islamabad, where an indefinite “sit-in” agitation will be launched outside the federal assembly complex. There are fears of widespread violence as the PML (N) is bound to use the occasion to settle scores with the ruling PPP. Mr Sharif intends to create a condition so that the PPP-led government collapses under its own weight. His idea may be that if fresh elections are held, his party can emerge in a position to form its own government. But that can be possible only if the army remains a silent spectator. Pakistan’s chequered history says the power-hungry army has never allowed an opportunity to go unutilised.

General Kiyani, in fact, has not behaved like his predecessors who simply took over the reins of government when the opportunity came their way. Interestingly, his warning to President Zardari and the rest of the political class has come after the General’s visit to Washington. The US is obviously worried that the Pakistani politicians are helping, directly and indirectly, the extremist and terrorist outfits to strengthen their position. This can weaken the US-led international drive against terrorism. The US does not seem to be happy about the kind of government Islamabad has today. Past experience shows that Washington had no problem in supporting a military regime so long as its interests were protected. It may again look the other way if the civilians begin fighting among themselves, giving another chance to the army to grab power.

Outside View: Kayani goes after Zardari

Published: March 10, 2009 at 3:00 PM

UPI Outside View Commentator

MANIPAL, India, March 10 (UPI) -- Say this for Pakistan's army -- its aftershave works. It seems to reduce to blobs of helpless jelly the critical faculties of U.S. "experts" on Pakistan within the CIA, the State Department and the Department of Defense.

Since the jihadization of the military by Pakistan's former president Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in the 1970s, the officer corps has continued as a force multiplier for the numerous terror groups headquartered in urban and rural communities across the country.

Except for Jehangir Karamat, the former chief of army staff who accepted his 1998 dismissal by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, no chief of army staff since Zia-ul-Haq (1976-1988) has paid heed to the elected civilian government of Pakistan in matters considered by the military to be within its purview.

These include the portfolios of defense, interior, foreign affairs and now the prime minister's office, as well as subjects such as assistance to terror organizations and the nuclear deterrent. Such an arrangement has had the tacit acquiescence of every North Atlantic Treaty Organization country -- including those that specialize in delivering sermons on democracy and human rights.

Despite the armed forces' control over areas considered key to the functioning of government in any major country, both India and the United Kingdom are enthusiastic in insisting that Pakistan remain within "value-based" forums like the Commonwealth. They also back every loan application Pakistan makes to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, despite the kleptomania of its higher echelons. Admittedly, this trait of Pakistan is shared with many countries in the world, including India.

As for the United States, no country has lavished more treasure on Pakistan -- not even the two runners-up in the "Santa Claus" sweepstakes, Saudi Arabia and China.

The generals in Islamabad have found a new champion in U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who seems eager to funnel billions of U.S. taxpayers' dollars to a state whose key functions are controlled by accessories of Jihad International.

U.S. President Barack Obama has made a few comments about ensuring that the Pakistani military withdraws from jihad and from governance. However, Obama now seems to be following the lead of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, whose tenure saw a sharp rise in the influence of jihadists within the Pakistani military, helped along by complaisant U.S. envoys. It was during the Clinton presidency that Saudi Arabia and the United States helped the Pakistani army set up the Taliban.

Sometimes hindsight produces clarity of vision, but in the case of Pakistan, the United States has seemed almost blind throughout four decades of involvement in the country.

Since 2005, Pakistan's army has been using its multiple and credulous contacts within the U.S. policy and academic establishments to press its line of engagement with the "good Taliban." These are the people who believe women should neither study nor work, except in the house, and that minorities have the same "rights" as Jews did in Nazi Germany.

By surrendering the Swat Valley to the Taliban, the army in Pakistan has created a safe haven for al-Qaida to continue its mission of converting the entire country into a safe haven for terrorists, as Afghanistan was under the Taliban.

Expert at managing the media, Pakistan's military under Gen. Ashfaq Kayani -- an officer in the social and ideological mold of his hero Zia-ul-Haq -- has ensured a steady flow of reports in the Western media pointing out the obvious: that President Asif Ali Zardari is a playboy known to have made money through means other than saving a percentage of his official salary.

What such commentaries fail to consider is that Zardari is a Sufi, whose family has been bred in the syncretic and moderate traditions of that philosophy, and that he has sought to delink the Pakistani establishment from the terror networks that operate today in the country with near impunity.

With his prime minister, defense minister, interior minister and foreign minister taking orders from Kayani rather than from himself, Zardari has found his authority ebbing away. Despite Zardari's recent decision to endorse the army-sponsored deal with the so-called moderate Taliban in Swat, the embattled president is likely to be confronted by a slew of charges that Kayani hopes will force his resignation.

Instead, it is Kayani's head that should roll. Under his watch Pakistan has abandoned even the pretense of fighting the Taliban and other terror networks -- a charade that former President Pervez Musharraf maintained to the military's great advantage.

Pakistan's current president needs to appoint an army chief of his choice. He needs to ensure, through amendments to the law, that this appointee behaves not as an overlord but as a professional soldier, based on the U.S. model. Subsequently, jihadist elements should be ruthlessly winnowed out of the Pakistani army's officer corps, and the special privileges given to jihadists since the 1970s should be withdrawn in stages.

Such surgery may seem drastic, but unless it is carried out, Pakistan will continue its descent into Talibanization. The bold and the beautiful in the country's urban centers will be swallowed up the way their counterparts in Afghanistan were during the 1990s.

Kerry is wrong. Pakistan needs major surgery and not coddling. Unless the civilian government headed by Zardari is empowered by the international community to conduct such an operation, and unless Nawaz Sharif is warned away from his current flirtation with the military brass and their terrorist associates, within five years Kerry will need to convene a series of Senate hearings on "why Pakistan failed."

Although his ignorance of ground realities in Pakistan is appalling, Kerry is regrettably hardly alone. Practically all of the NATO "experts" on Pakistan are as blind to the looming future as they were in the previous decade about the real nature of the Taliban.

The civilized world is already in a war, and Pakistan is the major theater. Unless it gives battle now, the West will face a much more deadly battle within the next five years, just as the Allies did from 1939 to 1945, after they ignored the Nazi storm from 1936 to 1938.


(Professor M.D. Nalapat is vice chair of the Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO peace chair and professor of geopolitics at Manipal University. Copyright M.D. Nalapat.)

EU asks Nepal army, Maoists to halt recruitment

Kathmandu (IANS): As the row between Nepal's army and the Maoist guerrilla army deepened, the European Union on Tuesday expressed grave concern over new recruitments in violation of the peace pact, saying this could derail the peace process.

The EU Heads of Mission, which includes Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Britain and the European Commission, and the representative of the Netherlands in Kathmandu issued a joint statement saying the recent recruitment campaigns by the Nepal Army and the Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA) violated the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed three years ago between the rebels and the seven major parties.

The group said that the recruitment campaigns also posed "a serious threat to the peaceful democratic future which the Nepali people have fought so hard for".

The new complication in Nepal's fragile peace process occurred late last year after the army sought to recruit personnel and refused to back down even after being ordered to halt the process by Maoist Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal.

The over 90,000-strong army defended its move, saying it was not making any addition to its strength but filling the vacancies left by the "annual wastage rate", which included retirements, resignations and casualties.

Angered by this, the PLA this month announced it too would recruit nearly 12,000 combatants since its nearly 31,000 strength was slashed to about 19,000 after a UN verification that weeded out child soldiers and other illegal recruits.

The PLA anger is also fuelled by the uncertainty about the fate of its fighters even three years after they laid down arms and agreed to live in corralled cantonments under UN supervision.

While the peace pact had agreed that the PLA would be merged with the state army, it is being opposed by the army and some of the major parties that had signed the agreement.

Also, the Maoist government has not kept its commitment to the UN to discharge child soldiers and other disqualified combatants by February.

The EU on Tuesday urged the Maoist government and all parties to resolve the future of the Maoist combatants and said it was ready to assist.

It also urged the Maoist government to begin discharging disqualified Maoist fighters "without further delay", especially the minors in the cantonments.

The recruitment row has also reached Nepal's Supreme Court with the apex body asking both armies to halt recruitment.

But while the army remains quietly defiant, the PLA is vocally so. PLA chief Nanda Kishore Pun 'Pasang' has said that his guerrilla force would go ahead if the army was not stopped.

The PLA anger has widened the rift in the Maoist party and raised afresh fears of a new revolt against the party leadership.

Military option against terror camps
How prepared are we?

By Brigadier (Retd.) Arun Bajpai

A demotivated armed force is not the only reason, which negates against a military option. There are large gaps in India’s defence preparedness. We have not learnt any lesson from the Kargil war of 1999 or the armed forces mobilisation against Pakistan of 2001. In its recent report the Defence Committee of Parliament criticised the UPA Government for not implementing the recommendations of the Kargil Committee.

Having half heartedly mentioned military option twice it is good thing that Indian political masters of the UPA Government have now finally given it up as an riposte for 26/11. In any case it was we Indians who were being fooled. Pakistan fully knew that we are not in a position to take it on militarily. For this sorry state of affairs we must thank our entrenched bureaucracy and uninitiated netas who refuse to rise beyond the level of small time politics.

We continue to breast beat on Mumbai carnage as if the 25 jehadi strikes before this, that killed and maimed more than 2000 Indians in various parts of the country in the last five years of UPA rule, did not take place. All such attacks which went unpunished, emboldened the Pakistani military establishment and their protégés—the jehadis—to launch bigger attacks culminated into 26/11. Now the Government is patting itself on the back that without deploying a single soldier on the border, Pakistan was forced to accept that the perpetuators of Mumbai carnage did come from Pakistani soil. The truth of the matter is that this acceptance from Pakistan has come not because of any great diplomacy by India but due to the stupidity of the jehadis and their military handlers in Pakistan who searched out and killed not only Indians but citizens from 14 other countries. Besides, the entire World saw the Mumbai horror live on their TV screens for almost 60 hours that has left behind lasting memories.

India has gone on record saying that in Mumbai carnage Pakistan has crossed Indian threshold of tolerance. Had we been militarily strong and politically ready to go for an immediate military response, if necessary, would Pakistan still had dared to do Mumbai carnage?

Recently from the very senior rank of Lt. General to poor soldiers all returned their most priced possession, the gallantry awards won by them in defending their motherland, back to the President of India in thousands. Do these netas in power realise how demoralising it is for the silent force? The ex-servicemen were forced to take this extreme action because the Neta-Babu combine of the current Government has let them down on their promise of one rank one pension. In addition the Sixth Pay Commission has dealt a body blow to the izzat (respect) of the armed forces. In any other country this would have made the people in power to hide their faces in shame but in Mera Bharat Mahan sab chalta hi. Jai Ho’. It may be just a coincidence that in 1962 when an ill clad and ill equipped Indian Army suffered its only shameful defeat in the hands of China the Congress was in power and now again the same party is leading the UPA Government.

A demotivated armed force is not the only reason, which negates against a military option. There are large gaps in India’s defence preparedness. We have not learnt any lesson from the Kargil war of 1999 or the armed forces mobilisation against Pakistan of 2001. In their recent report the Defence Committee of Parliament criticised the UPA Government for not implementing the recommendations of the Kargil Committee and the GOM set up by the previous NDA Government. The Chief of Defence Staff System has not been implemented and there is hardly any jointness between the three services or for that matter integration of the three service headquarters with the Ministry of Defence.

There is acute shortage all around of defence equipment and basic spares. In last eight years, after operation ‘Parakram’ of 2001, except for the addition of three squadrons of Sukhoi 30 MKI, there has been no major acquisition. From the sanctioned strength of 39 and ½ squadrons the Air Force strength has come down to just 32 squadrons for the want of fighter aircrafts. The Navy from 142 ships is down to 132 ships. The worst hit is the submarine arm. Out of the 19 submarines that India had, 6 have retired without replacement. Six of them are under various kinds of repairs. Currently, only six very old submarines are operational. Out of the two aircraft career that we had, Vikrant retired long time back and Viraat is a floating museum piece now. The state of Army is no better. Out of the 410 Bofors guns, which won the Kargil war for us, in absence of any replacement, only 320 are now left. On our western front we have 3000 tanks. Only 390 of them have the night fighting capability rest of them are night blind.

First time in the history of Independent India the Indian defence expenditure last year fell below two per cent of the GDP. These crippling shortages are not because we do not have money to buy. This year alone Ministry of Defence is returning Rs 7000 corer as an unspent amount. This is due to the bureaucratic delays and prevarication with no accountability.

At this time when Pakistan in West, Bangladesh in East Sri Lanka in South or Nepal in North, all our neighbours are in a state of unrest and flux and when we should have been militarily strong we are weakest. The country will pay heavy price for this neglect of its strategic interests. If India wants to deter Pakistan from launching more Mumbai type of attacks, It is time India reestablishes its military superiority in South Asia. People of India have a right to know why their political masters are playing with country’s security and the lives of the countrymen.

(The writer can be contacted at

India cancels new UN peacekeeping mission in Congo over scandal 2009-03-09 13:27:56

NEW DELHI, March 9 (Xinhua) -- India has canceled a new UN peacekeeping deployment plan in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to a scandal of sexual abuse by Indian troops in that country, said a local newspaper The Asian Age on Sunday. The Indian Air Force has canceled the deployment of a contingent to the Democratic Republic of Congo as UN peacekeepers, several months after international media reports said Congo and UN authorities were not keen on new deployment of Indian troops due to complaints of sexual abuse of local women, including child abuse, by some Indian Army personnel there, said the report.

After the complaints were made, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony has reportedly ordered the military to undertake a thorough investigation. But no result of any such investigation has come out yet.

"About 200 Indian Air Force personnel who had assembled in New Delhi for the assignment were asked to disperse after the new assignment was canceled," the report quoted unnamed sources of the air force as saying.

The Indian Air Force has now three contingents in the Democratic Republic of Congo and another in Sudan on UN peacekeeping missions.

The UN Secretary-General Pan Ki-moon has urged India to take "disciplinary action to the maximum degree permitted by Indian law" against those involved in the sexual abuse scandal.


At first glance India and Israel appear to have little in common.

India is one of the world’s most populous nations, while there are just seven million Israelis. Despite its impressive economic performance in recent years, India is still very much a part of the developing world, while Israel has already joined the elite bloc of developed countries. Many of India’s key trading partners are in Asia while Israel focuses on Europe. Several hundred languages are spoken in India, while most Israelis make do with Hebrew and Arabic.

On the other hand both nations were created by the British, gaining independence within a few months of one another. They have both suffered from terrorism and warfare with their neighbors ever since, and territorial disputes endure. New Delhi and Jerusalem argue they are under a clear and ever-present threat from Islamist extremists.

Today they are nuclear powers, have thriving democracies and are close allies of the United States.

Diplomatically, the two nations have had a brief relationship, and while they are still somewhat cautious in dealing with one another, the countries realize they have much to gain by remaining partners.

The problems the two share came into sharp relief in late 2008 and January 2009. More than 170 people were killed and some 300 wounded in Mumbai last November, in a carefully coordinated attack that rocked India.

While it has taken some time for Pakistan to admit its citizens were among the perpetrators, Islamabad has now taken steps to bring the alleged masterminds to justice.

In the face of thousands of rocket attacks over a period of eight years, Israel decided to launch its highly controversial military operation in Gaza just weeks after the Mumbai atrocity. While the world condemned Israel’s tactics, the leading lights of the international community defended Israel’s right to defend itself and blamed the Islamic Hamas movement for igniting the violence.

“We are two countries making up for lost time,” says Indian’s new ambassador to Israel, Navtej Singh Sarna. “Although we started late, I think the relationship has moved by leaps and bounds in almost every aspect.”

The partnership was only formalized in 1992 when diplomatic ties were established.

On a commercial level the relations can be monitored by a look at statistical data. Between 2000 and 2004, bilateral trade more than doubled from $996 million to $2.142 billion. During that period the trade balance shifted in favor of India.

Back in July 2008, Israel’s man in New Delhi, Mark Sofer, was talking up a free-trade agreement, which he said could only further enhance bilateral trade, which surpassed $4b. in 2008. High-tech, genomics, nanotechnology and agriculture, in particular water technology, account for an increasingly large percentage of the figures.

The countries are also embarking on a major project – the so-called Med Stream. The two states have teamed up with Turkey to conduct a feasibility study into constructing an oil pipeline from Turkey to the Red Sea at the southern tip of Israel. From there Indian supertankers would ship home Russian oil. There is talk of the project being completed by 2011.

What is far more significant is the New Delhi-Jerusalem connection that is rarely made public – the military relationship. This, perhaps more than any other element of the friendship, is arguably out of necessity and with a common enemy in mind.

There were reports in September 2008 that the commander of the ground forces of the Israeli military, Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi, visited the contested Kashmir region of India. At the time, the Indian government would neither confirm nor deny the visit took place.

Mizrahi is understood to have met with the chiefs of the Indian army, navy and air force and mooted the possibility of joint military exercises. The Israel Defense Forces would not comment on the visit.

Israel’s set of elite military industries sells military hardware to the Indians, and Israeli radar is understood to be eavesdropping on Pakistan from vantage points in Indian Kashmir.

Meanwhile, India has launched at least one Israeli spy satellite, the TecSar, from its SHAR launch site near Chennai, which reportedly keeps careful watch on events in Iran. TecSar was developed by Elta Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries and was sent into space on January 21, 2008.

India and Israel speak little if at all about their military cooperation. Contacted by The Media Line, the IDF declines to discuss the matter, suggesting the country’s Foreign Ministry is the proper address. In turn, the Foreign Ministry says no branch of the Israeli government comments on the country’s military relationship with India.

The Indian Embassy in Tel Aviv remains tight-lipped about the military realm, but Indian diplomats and military officers are regular visitors to Israel’s military industry companies and also to defense-related conferences in Israel.

India is a crucial market for Israel’s military-hardware manufacturers. With Washington breathing hotly down Jerusalem’s neck when it comes to military sales, Israel is having to pick its customers very carefully and often only after American approval. Asia’s other giant, China, is a no-go area as far as Israel’s military industries are concerned. At least one huge deal was canceled following forceful pressure from the United States.

This leaves India as an attractive market, especially since Washington has seemingly shifted its support in favor of New Delhi when it comes to the cold war between India and Pakistan. Indeed, Israel has reportedly taken over from Russia as India’s largest defense supplier.

In 2008, two Israeli companies, Rafael and IAI, signed a contract to supply India with a surface-to-air missile system and Israel is about to deliver to India three Phalcon AWACS (early-warning systems).

“We see a new stage in the security cooperation: we develop weapons together, they are investing in Israeli technologies and there is cooperation between Israeli developers and Indian developers,” says Prof. Efraim Inbar, the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University.

“This is true,” agrees Dr. Thomas Mathew, the joint secretary and deputy director general of the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. “We face common problems. We have common threats to our security.”

The two countries also face another problem: they both declare themselves to be democracies and, like the United States, they have to be extremely careful in ensuring the rule of law is paramount in the fight against terror. That leaves both in a quandary.

"What do democracies like India and Israel do?” Ambassador Sarna ponders. “We are societies which are open. We are societies which cannot clamp down.”

This value is espoused in Israel too. Indeed, when looking for the glue that binds India and Israel – many experts are tempted to go way back in history, rather than merely examining the first 60 years of the nations’ statehood.

Indians see Israel and Israelis “similar to the way they see themselves,” suggests Yariv Ovadia, who once served as political secretary at Israel’s embassy in New Delhi and these days is a spokesman at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

He points to the countries’ respect for democracy and multiculturalism and their ancient roots.

Mathew, a former mayor of Cochin, a city with a historic Jewish community, says the bond was formed some 25 centuries ago, when Jews first resided in India.

Ovadia, Mathew and Inbar agree that today there is much to unite the two. Recent terror attacks in India and Israel have left Indians feeling the terrorists need no real reason to strike, Ovadia argues. Mumbai brought that home to them and they feel the same way about Palestinian attacks against Israel.

Inbar argues this shared threat has led not only to military cooperation over the last decade or so, but also to joint lobbying on Capitol Hill. Initially, the pro-Indian lobby tried to emulate its pro-Israel counterpart, he says, but today the two are pressing Congress to limit weapons sales to Pakistan.

While Israel’s Gaza operation in January of 2009 received widespread criticism in the Indian media, the underlying reasons for the action were understood. Diplomatically, India was less forthcoming in its criticism than other states, probably because it was still hurting from the Mumbai attacks.

Whatever damage was done is temporary and minimal say the diplomats and experts on both sides, and they predict the relationship will continue to blossom for the foreseeable future.

By David Harris on Monday, March 09, 2009

Coonoor's Black bridge to be named after Manekshaw

9 Mar 2009, 0544 hrs IST, Shantha Thiagarajan

COONOOR: Sam Manekshaw, the former chief of the Indian Army and one of only two Indian army officers to hold the rank of Field Marshal, is sure to have driven down the historic Black Bridge' in Wellington when he was commandant of the defence services staff college (DSSC) in the 1950s. On Monday, the newly-reconstructed Black Bridge will be inaugurated and renamed "Manekshaw Bridge" by Lt. General H.P.S. Klair, Commandant of the DSSC, in the presence of Brigadier VP Kashyap, Station Commander, Wellington, according to official sources.

The patriotism and dynamism of Gen Manekshaw, who later settled down with his wife near Coonoor, stand out as a golden chapter in the country's military history and the renaming is a tribute to his contribution, defence sources added.

The history of the bridge, which connects the Ooty-Coonoor road to the Wellington cantonment, can be traced to 1878. A wooden structure, christened the Waterloo Bridge', was first constructed over the Mynala river. It was commonly referred to as Black Bridge' since it was built of Burmese teak and painted black.

The bridge was declared unsafe in the 1950s and repair works were undertaken. The wooden decking was replaced with a concrete slab in 1963. In July 2005, the bridge was again found unsafe for vehicular traffic and was demolished completely.

The foundation stone for the reconstruction was laid by Lt Gen BJ Gupta, VSM, ex-Commandant, DSSC, on November 29, 2007. A sum of Rs 1.65 crore was sanctioned to the Military Engineering Service (MES) for the purpose. Remarkably, thereafter, the construction of the new bridge has been completed in a record time of one year and three months.

The Manekshaw Bridge' is expected to mitigate the hardship of the locals and tourists since it is the only proper link that Ooty and Aravankadu have with the cantonment. The bridge was a long-felt need of the local populace.,prtpage-1.cms

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