Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Friday, 10 April 2009

From Today's Papers - 10 Apr 09

Pension: SC notice to Defence Secy, Army chief
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 9
The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Defence Secretary and the Army chief on a contempt petition filed by some retired defence personnel, seeking implementation of the apex court verdict on pension for those holding the rank of Major-General or its equivalent.

A Bench comprising Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph issued notices after senior counsel Nidesh Gupta, appearing for the petitioners, said the September 9, 2008, order of the apex court had directed calculation of the pension on the pay scales revised on January 1, 1996. The pension was to be revised within three months of the apex court order, but it had not been done so far on the plea that the Centre had filed a review petition, he said. Mere filing of the review petition did not by itself extend the period of compliance, the counsel argued.

The Centre had unsuccessfully challenged a Punjab and Haryana HC order of May 26, 2005. The HC had directed the government to “fix minimum pay scale of the Major-General above that of the Brigadier and grant pay above that of a Brigadier as has been done in the case of post January 1, 1996, retirees and consequently fix the pension and family pension accordingly.”

China asks Pak for action against Islamist terrorists
Press Trust of India / London April 9, 2009, 14:46 IST

China has underlined the need for Islamabad to take action against Islamist militants who may be be plotting attacks inside the Communist nation from Pakistan's restive tribal areas, a news report has said. In two meetings over recent months, senior Chinese officials have warned the Pakistani government about the threat.

Chinese officials have told President Asif Ali Zardari's government that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (Etim), a separatist group originally from Xinjiang province, was plotting attacks into the communist nation from inside Pakistan's tribal areas, which has become a haven for Islamist terrorists, the Independent newspaper reported.

Xinjiang, a vast area that borders Central Asia, has about 8.3 million Uighurs, and many of them say they have for decades suffered under Chinese political and religious persecution.

Chinese officials revealed details of the meetings to prominent Pakistani politician Mushahid Hussain.

"They told me that the Etim has its military headquarters in [the tribal areas] and is planning to attack China on the 60th anniversary celebration of the communist revolution in October," Hussain was quoted as saying by the British daily.

Hussain, a top leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid), said that Meng Jianzhu, China's Minister for Public Security, flew from Beijing to Shanghai to discuss the threat with the Pakistani President during his visit to China in late February.

"The minister met with him for 90 minutes to discuss this issue," said Hussain, a key adviser of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The PML-Q leader revealed that Beijing also dispatched a special envoy to Pakistan in March to discuss the threat posed by the Etim. The Etim and Chinese militants have long maintained a low-profile presence in Pakistan's tribal areas. Both Washington and Beijing have listed Etim as a terrorist group and suspect it of links with al-Qaeda.

The Pakistani army killed Hasan Mahsoum, the group's leader and founder, in Pakistan in 2003. China executed two Uighurs in the restive northwestern Xinjiang region for a "terrorist" attack on border police that took place before last year's Olympic Games, the official Xinhua news agency reported today.

The August 4 attack was the worst in a wave of unrest in remote Xinjiang ahead of, and during, the Olympics that left dozens of people dead and that China blamed on separatist militants from the northwest region.

Pak military more inclined towards fundamentalist view'
Press Trust of India / Washington April 9, 2009, 14:49 IST

Pakistan's military over the years has become more inclined towards "Islamic fundamentalist view", which should be a deep cause of concern for the US, a top Republican leader has said.

Blaming the cut off of all education and training by US Congress over a long period for this, Newt Gingrich said, "the Pakistan military has gotten harder and harder and more inclined towards Islamic fundamentalist view which is very dangerous from our standpoint."

In an interview to the Fox News, former Speaker of House of Representatives Gingrich said, the problem in western parts of Pakistan is more complicated and worse than being perceived by the Obama Administration. He proposed construction of network of roads and highways in this part of Pakistan as a long term solution to the problem.

"You could have Pakistan become an enormous problem almost overnight because they already have nuclear weapons, whereas Iran is trying to get them. What we would need for them to do is control the Northwest Territories," he said. "I think there is almost no possibility that they're going to do that, and that poses a real crisis for American policy. And this is not President Obama's fault."

"The fact is northwest Pakistan and the management of the Pashtun region is a much, much bigger problem than any American politician has been willing to confront," he added.

Coming out with his own highway solution to the Af-Pak problem the former Speaker said: "The number one thing we have to do is have a highway solution for northwest Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The more paved roads you build, the more open the countries become, the greater the possibility you're going to gradually wear out the guerrillas, and you're going to help grow things that are useful."

Secondly, he argued: "I'd do is find a way, even if you had to invest a fairly good bit of money, to wean the Afghan farmers off of growing poppies and converting it into heroin and instead wean them into productive work. That's another reason you need the road network."

"It's vital to find a way to build lots and lots of roads in northwest Pakistan because it will open the region up. Until you've opened that region up, if it remains isolated and it remains able to hide, in effect, from modern civilization, it is going to remain very, very dangerous for us, he said

Fighting Taliban
US must put pressure on Pakistan

The US has sought India’s cooperation in its search for a “regional solution” to the crisis caused by the Taliban in Afghanistan. US special envoy for Afghanistan-Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and America’s top military official, Gen Mike Mullen, who were in New Delhi on Wednesday after their visit to Kabul and Islamabad, however, did not make it public what kind of help the US expected from India. The contribution India has been making to the cause of reconstruction in Afghanistan is part of the continuing Indian effort to use development as a weapon to fight the Taliban, but it is not clear what the US exactly wants from New Delhi. The Obama administration has come out with the new AfPak strategy, showing a slight change in the US policy for the region. It is increasing its military presence by its decision to add 17000 troops besides 4000 additional soldiers to train the Afghan National Army. Yet the US does not seem to be sure of achieving its objective in Afghanistan.

The US must understand that the real problem in the region is Pakistan, which is fast getting Talibanised. The solution to the crisis in Afghanistan lies in forcing the Pakistan Army to take on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and the elements associated with them in Pakistan’s areas bordering Afghanistan. As US Vice-President Joe Biden has pointed out, “In the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), the western part of Pakistan in the mountains on the Afghan border… That is where Al-Qaeda lives. That is where Bin Laden is. That’s where the most radicalised part of the Taliban is.” But Pakistan is reluctant to launch a war against these elements. It has always adopted a soft approach, unmindful of the threat to the region and Pakistan itself.

Islamabad is, in fact, trying to shift the US attention to the India-Pakistan problem. Pakistan has been misleading the US to believe that Islamabad will be able to meet the challenge posed by the extremists in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan if India eases pressure on Pakistan’s eastern border. India is doing nothing that can prevent Pakistan from launching a military drive in its Taliban-Al-Qaeda-infested tribal areas. To succeed in Afghanistan, the US must be blunt with Pakistan and assert that it should remove all the sanctuaries of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban from its territory. An early resumption of the dialogue after what happened in Mumbai on November 26 last is not easy until Pakistan guarantees that it has stopped supporting terrorist groups.

Sikh Regiment to be affiliated with IAF’s 12 Squadron
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Sikh Regiment, one of the Army’s most decorated infantry regiment, will be “affiliated” with 12 Squadron, the IAF’s oldest transport squadron. Both have a chequered history and their operational association goes back to the 1947 Kashmir operations when the first Army troops - 1 Sikh - were airlifted from Gurgaon to the Valley for the defence of Srinagar from Pakistani intruders. Stating this here today, Lt Gen RS Sujlana, Colonel of the Sikh Regiment, said the Air Headquarters had already accorded its approval for the affiliation and the final go ahead from the Army Headquarters was expected to come through soon.

The affiliation is close liaison between inter-service regiments and establishments, where officers and men interact and learn about each others’ ethos, traditions and way of functioning. This involves attending important regimental events and helps develop camaraderie and boost inter-service relations.

While the history of the Sikh Regiment dates back to 1846, 12 Squadron is a relatively young unit, raised in 1945. Then flying the venerable Dakotas, the first major transport aircraft to be inducted into the IAF, the squadron is now equipped with the AN-32 tactical transporters. From a humble beginning of just two battalions, the Sikh Regiment now has 24 battalions which have earned 82 battle honours, 16 theatre honours, two Param Vir Chakra and two Ashok Chakra.

The Sikh Regiment is already affiliated with INS Kirpan, a naval warship. A large number of Army regiments are affiliated with different air force squadrons and naval warships.

Meanwhile, a large number of serving and retired officers from the regiment, along with their wives attended the annual Baisakhi Lunch at Chandimandir today.

The event gave an opportunity for the younger generation to meet the veterans, reminiscence old memories, strengthen regimental bonds and update each other on various matters.

Several welfare measures, including setting up a children’s hostel at Jalandhar were announced on the occasion. Sports activities by regimental personnel will also be encouraged.

Book on Asian security scenario released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
“Flashpoints in South Asia”, authored by Major-General Rajendra Nath (retired) and Lt Col KS Ludra (retired) was released by former Chief of the Army Staff Gen VP Malik here today.

The book essentially seeks to emphasise and expand upon the fact that in the 21st century three Asian countries, India, Japan and China, along with a fourth closely located nation, Russia, would be among the major players on the global stage. Issues include the need for defence reforms in India.

General Rajendra Nath said the mutual relationship among these countries and the impact on security issues would largely depend upon a host of factors, including the state of their economies, their ambition in projecting their military and economic prowess, their alliances, ability to tackle terrorism and their individual relationship with the USA and Europe.

The maximum number of conflicts since World War II have been fought in Asia and issues relating to countries located along the southern Asiatic arc from Israel to Japan have been analysed.

Published by Lancer, New Delhi, the book has a foreword by Prof Brahma Chellany, a strategic affairs expert. This is General Nath’s fourth book, while Colonel Ludra, who passed away last year, had authored 21 publications.

IMA ups cover after terror alert

DEHRADUN, April 9. Amid apprehension of a repetition of a Lahore-type incident, security has been beefed up around the Indian Military Academy (IMA), followed by fresh instructions from the home ministry under threat perception from terrorist outfits in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in the category.
The highly sensitive IMA, constantly under threat from terrorist attacks, is under the scanner of police and intelligence agencies once again. According to recent reports by intelligence agencies, the academy is an exceptionally soft target for terrorists, who might choose to stage an attack here, taking their cue from the Lahore incident. The threat is heightened, in face of the upcoming parliamentary elections.
In their report to the home ministry, intelligence agencies have suggested extra precautionary measures to deter possible attacks on soft targets across the country. The brasses in Uttarakhand have been instructed to look after the security of the IMA.
The IMA, along with other premier defence institutions around the country, has been placed under the "A" category by central agencies, in view of its vulnerability to terrorist attack.
“The Quick Reaction Team (QRT) has been deployed around the IMA and security beefed up in the vicinity as a precautionary measure,” stated the SSP, Mr Dehradun Amit Sinha. Senior officials had held a meeting to work out a foolproof plan to ensure adequate security in and around the IMA. The officials have also met and discussed security arrangements with senior IMA officials.
The PRO IMA Col. Chauhan said the academy has not received any threat, and is ensuring that its security is as tight as possible. “The academy is always prepared for any such situation and has foolproof security,” he asserted.
The IG Garhwal MA Ganapati reiterated that security has been beefed up, not only around the IMA, but around other sensitive areas as well. “The police will be extra vigilant until the parliament elections and QRT has been deployed,” he said, adding that mock drills will be carried out at intervals to maintain vigilance. The IMA has been treated as “under threat” for the past few years, partly due to a group of terrorists revealing plans to attack the academy on their arrest. One such terrorist, an engineering student, was also arrested from here. n Swati R Sharma

SC notice to Army chief, defence secy

Statesman News Service
NEW DELHI, April 9: The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. Deepak Kapoor, and the defence secretary, Mr Vijay Singh, on a petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against them for ignoring an apex court order for ensuring parity between the pensions of Army personnel who retired after or before 1996.
A bench of Justices Mr Altmas Kabir and Mr Syriac Joseph issued the notice on the lawsuit filed by 18 retired army generals who approached the apex court with their grievance. In their lawsuit, the retired officers pointed out that the pension disparity had occurred due to implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission report in a faulty way by the defence ministry. The case first came up at the Punjab and Haryana High Court that had decided in favour of abolishing any disparity. But the Union of India appealed against the HC verdict in the Supreme Court.
The apex court in its judgment, too, had favoured parity in pensions given to retired Army personnel. The court had asked the government to abolish the disparity with immediate effect but there had been no move by the defence ministry so far regarding the same.
The defence ministry said it was examining the notices given by the Supreme Court. “The order will be examined before formulating the next step. But, ironically, the case refers to the fifth pay commission and the sixth pay commission has been implemented,” an official said.

Defence offsets to bring in $10b in 11th plan: Assocham

New Delhi (PTI): India's new defence procurement policy, which eased licensing conditions for private sector and allows foreign players to bank offsets on contracts, is likely to bring in $10 billion to the country during the 11th five-year plan period, a study has said.

The study carried out jointly by Assocham and Ernst & Young said the investor-friendly policy is also expected to hugely benefit the small and medium enterprises in the country.

The new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP-2008) was unveiled by Defence Minister A.K. Antony in August last year, but India has been pursuing the offsets policy since 2006. The DPP-2008 overrides the policies set forth by the Defence Ministry for procurement in 2006.

"As India has a large industrial base, offsets will further develop its technical and manufacturing potential and they will also help to increase investments in domestic research and development," the study said.

It said the offset policy was expected to generate market-entry opportunities for private companies to invest in research and development and manufacturing of defence goods.

Currently about 70 per cent of the procurement in value terms, is from foreign sources because the Indian public sector cannot deliver in terms of quality or speed on either research or production.

Under the offset policy, all foreign firms have to invest 30-50 per cent of the contract value in India on all deals of more than Rs 300 crore.

However as per the new policy foreign multinational companies are allowed to park money with banks in anticipation of future contracts so that they need not have to manage money for the offset policy when the deal is clinched.

The study said the Navy has increased its share of imports over the years whereas the Air Force has started focussing on indigenisation as well.

As far as the spending pattern of the Army is concerned, the focus has shifted between imports and indigenisation over the period 2001 to 2006, it said.

"The public sector is facilitating greater private sector participation in the area of defence goods production which will also contribute to the growth of domestic industries.

There are more than 5,000 companies supplying around 20 per cent to 25 per cent of components and sub-assemblies to state-owned companies.

"The current defence market for private sector firms in India, which includes outsourcing from Defence Public Sector Units and Ordnance Factories is estimated to be $700 million," it said.

This spend will further increase since the Indian defence industry is determined to increase the participation of private players

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal