Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Monday, 1 June 2009

From Today's Papers - 01 Jun 09

Asian Age

Asian Age

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Asian Age

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Indian Express

Indian Express

Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times

Times of India

Times of India

When Field Marshal Manekshaw faced the Indian Cabinet

The Field Marshal quoted the Bible and offered to resign!
There are many stories, some true and some apocryphal,
about India's legendary soldier - Field Marshal Sam
Manekshaw. It is common knowledge that India's military
campaign in 1971 to liberate Bangladesh was delayed on
professional military advice, against the wishes of the
political class. It is delightful to revisit the anecdote in
the words of the lead historian of the dramatis personae..
The Field Marshal narrated this incident as a personal
example of moral courage, at theinaugural Field Marshal KM
Cariappa Memorial Lecture in October 1995 at Delhi.

There is a very thin line between being dismissed and
becoming a Field Marshal. In 1971, when Pakistan cracked
down in East Pakistan, hundreds and thousands of refugees
started pouring into India, into West Bengal, Assam and
Tripura. The Prime Minister held a Cabinet meeting in her
office. The External Affairs Minister Sardar Swaran Singh,
the Agriculture Minister, Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, the
Defence Minister, Babu Jagjivan Ram and the Finance
Minister, Yashwant Rao Chavan were present. I was then

A very angry, grim-faced Prime Minister read out the
telegrams from the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Assam and
Tripura. She then turned around to me and said, "What
are you doing about it?"

And I said, "Nothing, it's got nothing to do with
me. You didn't consult me when you allowed the BSF, the
CRP and RAW to encourage the Pakistanis to revolt. Now that
you are in trouble, you come to me. I have a long nose. I
know what's happening."

I then asked her what she wanted me to do. She said,
"I want you to enter Pakistan."

And I responded, "That means war!"

She said, "I do not mind if it is war."

"Have you read the Bible?" I said.

The Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh asked, "What
has Bible got to do with this?"

I explained, that the first book, the first chapter, the
first words, the first sentence God said was, "Let
there be light" and there was light. Now you say,
"Let there be war" and there will be war, but are
you prepared? I am certainly not. This is the end of April.
The Himalayan passes are opening and there can be an attack
from China if China gives us an ultimatum.

The Foreign Minister asked, "Will China give an
ultimatum?" And I said, "You are the Foreign
Minister, you tell me". I told them that my armoured
division and two of my infantry divisions were away. One in
the Jhansi/Babina area, the other in Samba and the third one
in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu... I mentioned that I will
require all the road space, all the railway wagons, the
entire railway system to move these formations to the
operational areas and that harvesting was in progress in the
Punjab and UP and they would not be able to move the harvest
which would rot; and I pointed out to the Agriculture
Minister that it wouldn't be my responsibility if there
was a famine. Then I said, "My armoured division, which
is my big striking force is supposed to have 189 tanks
operational. I have got only 11 tanks that are fit to

The Finance Minister, who is a friend of mine asked,
"Sam why only 11?"

So I told him, "Because you are the Finance Minister.
I have been asking you for money for over a year and you say
you haven't got it!"

And finally I turned around to the Prime Minister and said
that the rains were about to start in East Pakistan and when
it rains there, it pours and when it pours, the whole
countryside is flooded. The snows are melting, the rivers
would become like oceans. If you stand on one bank, you
can't see the other. All my movement would be confined
to roads. The Air Force, because of climatic conditions
would not be able to support me. Now Prime Minister, give me
your orders.

The grim Prime Minister with her teeth clenched said,
"The Cabinet will meet again at four

The members of the Cabinet started walking out. I being the
junior most was the last to go and as I was leaving, she
said, "Chief, will you stay back?"

I turned around and said, "Prime Minister, before you
open your mouth, may I send you my resignation on grounds of
health, mental or physical?"

She said, "Every thing you told me is true".

"Yes! It is my job to tell you the truth" I
responded, "and it is my job to fight, it is my job to
fight to win and I have told you the truth."

She smiled at me and said, "All right Sam, you know
what I want?"

I said, "Yes, I know what you want!"

[Field Marshal KM Cariappa Memorial Lectures 1995 -2000,
Lancer Publishers & Distributors, Delhi, 2001]

Post 26/11, Pakistan Moved 75% of Air Force to LoC

New Delhi
Pakistan had mobilized 75 percent of its air force resources to the Line of Control (LoC) against India after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, a top Indian Air Force commander said here Sunday.

"Pakistan had mobilized 75 percent of its air force against us after 26/11. Maybe because they were afraid of us," Western Air Command (WAC) chief Air Marshal P.K. Barbora told reporters at the WAC headquarters here.

The outgoing commander of the WAC also said that after the Mumbai attacks, India also beefed up its operations in the Jammu and Kashmir region.

"As our response we had started night operations of transport aircraft from Udhampur (air base in Jammu and Kashmir) and the main thrust was on night operations," Barbora added.

Barbora Sunday handed over charge as the chief of the Western Air Command, the largest operational command of the IAF. He will be taking over as IAF's vice chief Monday.

"During my stint as the WAC commander we focused on improving the infrastructure in the command. We opened the DBO (Daulat Beg Oldie) air field and Fukche advance landing ground (in Jammu and Kashmir near the Indo-China border).

"Our friends may be scared due to our rising prowess... our growing power in the sector," he added.

During his tenure, the IAF for the first time operated its frontline combat jets Sukhoi Su-30MKI from Leh. The move was seen as IAF's strategy to counterbalance Chinese infrastructure advancement in the region.

In a bid to increase the synergy with the Indian Army, joint exercises with the army's north, western and south western command were also conducted, along with sustained efforts to provide air support to the army units in the Siachen Glacier region.

Another achievement during his tenure is the zero flying accident rate in the WAC for the year 2008-2009. The command contributes 35 percent of the flying operations in the IAF.

Pakistani Forces Face New Front After Gains in Swat

Islamist militants stepped up their activities in Pakistan's South Waziristan region near Afghanistan at the weekend, as a top government official said the military was close to wresting control of the Swat valley from the Taliban fighters.

Renewed fighting in South Waziristan, a known hub of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters and stronghold of Pakistani militant commander Baitullah Mehsud, gave credence to reports that the security forces are readying for taking on the militants in the tribal region.

The US, Pakistan's key ally in the fight against terrorism, has been pushing the nuclear-armed Islamic country lately to eliminate militant sanctuaries along the border to turn the tide against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pakistani forces fought pitched battles with the militants through Saturday night, killing at least 25 militants, while losing seven soldiers, including an officer.

Fifteen militants were killed when troops repelled a late-night attack on a checkpoint in the Spinkai Raghazai area of South Waziristan, the military said in a statement Sunday.

The clash also left three soldiers dead and six others wounded, while four more were missing.

Separately, Taliban insurgents ambushed a military convoy late Saturday, killing four soldiers.

The attack took place in the region's Teyarza sub-district where the rebels had planted roadside bombs to target troops moving to an army fort.

Soldiers defused two bombs and were removing the third one when they came under intense fire by militants hiding in a compound. Troops returned fire, killing 10 militants.

Though the military said 25 militants died in overnight clashes, intelligence sources earlier put the casualty toll at 40.

The fresh violence in Waziristan came as Pakistan's security forces battled remnants of Taliban fighters in the northwestern Swat Valley and its neighbouring districts of Buner and Lower Dir after the collapse of a controversial peace deal earlier this month.

The military said Sunday that troops were patrolling Swat's main city Mingora after recapturing it at the weekend.

One soldier died after being hit by a bomb, which officials said had been planted by militants to inflict losses on the security forces and the residents fleeing the violence.

The security forces also killed two "miscreants" at a check post in Dir, according to the army.

Five weeks of fighting in Swat and its adjoining districts have so far killed 1,219 militants and 82 soldiers. There is no independent confirmation of the figures.

Nearly 2.5 million people have abandoned their homes since May 2, joining another 555,000 displaced last year.

The UN has warned of a prolonged humanitarian crisis and sought $543 million in international assistance to take care of the refugees.

Claiming steady gains in the Swat regions, authorities have expressed the hopes that the uprooted people would be able to return to their hometowns soon after the troops secured them.

"Only five to 10 percent (of the) job is remaining, and hopefully within next two to three days these pockets of resistance will be cleared," Pakistan's secretary of defence Syed Athar Ali said Sunday at a regional meeting in Singapore.

‘Post 26/11, Pak moved 75 pc of air force to LoC’

New Delhi, May 31

Pakistan had mobilised 75 per cent of its air force resources to the Line of Control (LoC) against India after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, a top IAF commander said here today.

“Pakistan had mobilised 75 per cent of its air force against us after 26/11. Maybe, because they were afraid of us,” Western Air Command (WAC) chief Air Marshal PK Barbora told reporters at the WAC headquarters here.

The outgoing commander of the WAC said after the Mumbai attacks, India, too, beefed up its operations in the Jammu and Kashmir region.

“As our response, we had started night operations of transport aircraft from Udhampur (air base in Jammu and Kashmir) and the main thrust was on night operations,” Barbora added.

Barbora today handed over charge as the WAC chief, the largest operational command of the IAF. He will be taking over as the IAF’s vice-chief tomorrow.

“During my stint as the WAC commander we focused on improving the infrastructure in the command. We opened the DBO (Daulat Beg Oldie) air field and Fukche advance landing ground (in Jammu and Kashmir near the Indo-China border). Our friends may be scared due to our rising prowess... our growing power in the sector,” he added.

During his tenure, the IAF for the first time operated its frontline combat jets Sukhoi Su-30MKI from Leh. The move was seen as the IAF’s strategy to counterbalance Chinese infrastructure advancement in the region.

In a bid to increase the synergy with the Army, joint exercises with the Army’s north, western and south western command were also conducted, along with sustained efforts to provide air support to the army units in the Siachen Glacier region.

Another achievement during his tenure is the zero flying accident rate in the WAC for the year 2008-2009. The command contributes 35 per cent of the flying operations in the IAF. — IANS

Naik takes over as IAF chief

New Delhi, May 31
Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik, a veteran fighter pilot, today took over as chief of the Indian Air Force replacing Air Chief Marshal F H Major.

With this change of guard, the command of IAF is back in the hands of a fighter pilot after 26 months. Major, who retired today, was a helicopter pilot.

Naik has assumed the charge at a time when the IAF is undergoing rapid modernisation and is in the process of acquiring 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft, 22 combat helicopters, 15 heavy lift and 197 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) for its fleet in its efforts to deal with the problem of decreasing number of fighter aircraft squadrons.

Born in Nagpur, Naik was commissioned into the IAF on June 21, 1969 as a fighter pilot. With over 3,000 hours of combat aircraft flying hours under his belt, the 59-year-old alumnus of the National Defence Academy, had also participated in 1971 Indo-Pak war and held various command and instructional appointments in his career spanning over 40 years.

Prior to taking over as the air chief, he was the Vice Chief of the Air Staff and commanded the Allahabad-based central Air Command as well. — PTI

P V Naik takes over as IAF chief

Press Trust of India, Sunday May 31, 2009, New Delhi

Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik, a veteran fighter pilot, on Sunday took over as chief of Indian Air Force replacing ACM F H Major.

With this change of guard, the command of IAF is back in the hands of a fighter pilot after 26 months. ACM Major, who retired on Sunday, was a helicopter pilot.

ACM Naik has assumed the charge at a time when the IAF is undergoing rapid modernisation and is in the process of acquiring 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft, 22 combat helicopters, 15 heavy lift and 197 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) for its fleet in its efforts to deal with the problem of decreasing number of fighter aircraft squadrons.

Born in Nagpur, ACM Naik was commissioned into the IAF on June 21, 1969 as a fighter pilot. With over 3,000 hours of combat aircraft flying hours under his belt, the 59-year-old alumnus of National Defence Academy, had also participated in 1971 Indo-Pak war and held various command and instructional appointments in his career spanning over 40 years.

Prior to taking over as the Air Chief, he was the Vice Chief of the Air Staff and commanded the Allahabad-based central Air Command as well.

Terrorists can get hold of the bomb
by R. Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick

Sometime next year, at a tightly guarded site south of its capital, Pakistan will be ready to start churning out a new stream of plutonium for its nuclear arsenal, which will eventually include warheads for ballistic missiles and cruise missiles capable of being launched from ships, submarines or aircraft.

About 1,000 miles to the southwest, engineers in India are designing cruise missiles to carry nuclear warheads, relying partly on Russian missile-design assistance. India is also trying to equip its Agni ballistic missiles with such warheads and to deploy them on submarines. Its rudimentary missile-defense capability is slated for a major upgrade next year.

The apparent detonation of a North Korean nuclear device on Monday has renewed concerns over that country’s efforts to build up its atomic arsenal. At the same time, U.S. and allied officials and experts who have tracked developments in South Asia have grown increasingly worried over the rapid growth of the region’s more mature nuclear programs, in part because of the risk that weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.

India and Pakistan see their nuclear programs as vital points of leverage in an arms race that has begun to take on the pace and diversity, although not the size, of U.S.-Russian nuclear competition during the Cold War, according to U.S. intelligence and proliferation experts. Pakistani authorities said they are modernizing their facilities, not expanding their program; Indian officials in New Delhi and Washington declined to comment.

“They are both going great guns (on) new systems, new materials; they are doing everything you would imagine,” said a former intelligence official who has long studied the region and who spoke on the condition of anonymity. While both India and Pakistan say their actions are defensive, the consequence of their efforts has been to boost the quantity of materials being produced and the number of times they must be moved around, as well as the training of experts in highly sensitive skills, this source and others say.

U.S. experts also worry that as the size of the programs grows, chances increase that a rogue scientist or military officer will attempt to sell nuclear parts or know-how, as now-disgraced Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan did in the 1980s and 1990s.

Former Indian government officials say efforts are underway to improve and test a powerful thermonuclear warhead, even as the country adds to a growing array of aircraft, missiles and submarines that launch them. “Delivery system-wise, India is doing fine,” said Bharat Karnad, a former member of India’s National Security Advisory Board and a professor of national security studies at New Delhi’s Center for Policy Research. India and Pakistan tested nuclear devices in 1998; India first detonated an atomic bomb in 1974.

A recent U.S. intelligence report, commissioned by outgoing Bush administration officials, warned of the dangers associated with potential attacks on nuclear weapons-related shipments inside Pakistan, for example.

Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told senators days before his retirement in March that “Pakistan continues to develop its nuclear infrastructure, expand nuclear weapons stockpiles, and seek more advanced warheads and delivery systems.” He added that although Pakistan has “taken important steps to safeguard its nuclear weapons ... vulnerabilities still exist.”

Although Maples did not offer details of the expansion, other experts said he was referring to the expected completion next year of Pakistan’s second heavy-water reactor at its Khushab nuclear complex 100 miles southwest of Islamabad, which will produce new spent nuclear fuel containing plutonium for use in nuclear arms.

Before it can be used in weaponry, the plutonium must first be separated from the fuel rods at a highly guarded nuclear facility near Rawalpindi, about 100 miles northeast of Khushab. Satellite images published by Albright’s institute show a substantial expansion occurred at the complex between 2002 and 2006, reflecting a long-standing Pakistani desire to replace weapons fueled by enriched uranium with plutonium-based weapons.

Details of precautions surrounding Pakistani nuclear shipments are closely held. Abdul Mannan, the director of transport and waste safety for Pakistan’s nuclear regulatory authority, said in a 2007 presentation to the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington that Pakistani safeguards are “enough to deter and delay a terrorist attack, and any malicious diversion would be protected in early stages.” But Mannan also said the government needed to upgrade its security measures, and warned that “a country like Pakistan is not well equipped” to contain radioactive fallout from an attack on a nuclear shipment.

The prime minister's SCO dilemma

Sheela Bhatt

May 29, 2009

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh [Images] will visit Yaketenaburg, the third largest city of Russia [Images] on June 15 and 16. This will be his first visit abroad after taking over the top job once again.

Yaketenaburg is the highly industrialised city which will host the summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on June 15-16 (morning) and the Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) summit on June 16 evening.

In the past five years, Dr Singh has resisted attending the SCO but has sent ministerial level representation. India's excuse has been that since India is not a full member but only an observer, ministerial representation was suitable.

This time the BRIC and SCO summits are being organised in same city and at the same time creating a peculiar situation for India.

According to Deepak Sandhu, media advisor to Prime Minister's Office, Dr Singh will be attending both the BRIC and SCO meetings. But the ministry of external affairs refused to confirm Dr Singh's attendance at the SCO.

Last week when Foreign Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon was informally asked by if Dr Singh will attend the SCO summit, Menon merely said, "May be."

A leading economic daily has, however, said in its report on May 28 that Dr Singh will travel to Russia for the BRIC and SCO meetings.

If the prime minister decides to attend the SCO meeting it will be a major departure from the past five years.

Kanwal Sibal, former foreign secretary, told, "India's absence has been criticised internally in some quarters. Our absence has given rise to comments that either we don't attach importance to the SCO or that we are not there because the US sees this organisation as intended to oppose or limit its presence in Central Asia. If the PM goes it will be a change of policy."

A change it will be. India's presence in the SCO will directly impact the issue of security and terrorism in the region and also, it will have positive impact on India's relations with Russia and China.

The SCO was founded in 2001 by the joint efforts of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Its thrust is on regional security in Central Asia, terrorism and drug trafficking. Many critics view it as the counter-balance to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nations and some even dubbed it as the Asian NATO. In the last few years economic and cultural cooperation is also increasing amongst its members.

India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia are 'observer' countries at the SCO while Sri Lanka [Images] and Belarus will be becoming 'dialogue partners' this year. Heads of government of observer countries like Pakistan and Iran have been attending the summits earlier.

From the Indian point of view, the important thing is that SCO-Afghanistan contact group which has been formed in 2005 has potential in tackling the issue of the security in Afghanistan.

This template of the SCO is viewed suspiciously by US because it directly challenges American 'monopoly' in solving the security issue of Afghanistan.

A retired Indian diplomat, who has served in Central Asia, told, "After the PM's visit to US in 2005 and because of the Indo-US nuclear deal there was an attempt to harmonise India's regional policy with American strategy. The US sees the SCO as antithetical to its interests, rather a main stumbling block to moving into Central Asia."

The diplomat believes that India's presence is "long overdue". India is the only country which is not represented at the level of the head of government. He adds, "For India, the last five years were a chronicle of wasted time. All serious powers were readjusting their relationships in the last 4-5 years."

Many strategic thinkers in India who have been staunch supporters of the Indo-US nuclear deal have argued that India should not attend the SCO because India is merely an observer.

Strategic expert K Subrahmanyam told, "The idea of the Indian prime minister attending the Shanghai summit as an observer needs to be thought through carefully. This will set a new precedent of India attending conferences of bodies of which it is not a full member. For instance India may be invited to attend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference as an observer in 2010.The disadvantage in that will be that India may be subjected to a lot of criticism by members and its response will be limited to the rights of observers. Do we want to place ourselves in such a situation?"

The SCO is still a developing entity and it is essentially due to Russian and Chinese efforts. The moot question is can India benefit by attending it?

Many Indian experts who support the case for India's closer ties with the SCO forward the following arguments:

1. It gives one more avenue for India to have a creative engagement with China and Russia.

2. India gets, partially, a better platform to have a dialogue for better access to the gas and oil reserves of the Central Asian countries.

3. America's Af-Pak policy has inherent contradictions which can eventually isolate India. The Taliban [Images] is the only asset that Pakistan has in Afghanistan. Why should Pakistan jettison what they have created at enormous financial and human cost? Americans want Pakistan to destroy their strategic asset in exchange for huge money, latest weapons and modern combat aircraft. India will end up watching this in horror, many experts fear. Therefore, the need to diversify and expand options in the region. Some India experts also think that the SCO's perspectives in Afghanistan are quite similar to India's.

4. In Afghanistan, the Americans are working through a single window of the Pakistan military.

5. If you engage China on regional security and terrorism it will have an affect on the India-Pakistan relationship as well.

But there are arguments against India getting closer to the SCO.

It's believed that after the emergence of the SCO, the Americans have devised the "Great Central Asia" strategy to counter the SCO. What the Americans want to do is to connect the Central Asian region with South Asian countries by developing trade relations. Under that strategy Afghanistan will act as the bridge. American help will get Central Asia direct connection to the outside world. The geo-political part of this was to get Central Asia out of the orbit of the SCO. The Indian establishment expected that India will get huge trade advantage if the idea succeeded. That could be one of the reasons that India went along and diluted its relations with the SCO.

The Americans, obviously, would like India to keep away from the SCO.

Dr Martha Brill Olcott, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has written in a paper that discusses China's role in the SCO, that "The capacity of the SCO to be a security organization with a mission in anyway analogous to NATO further diminishes if the SCO takes on new members."

However Sibal says, "But I don't think the visit in itself is particularly important. We are not members, and for PM to go as observer is not quite correct. We can't play second fiddle in a regional organisation where China has a more important formal position. Maybe the PMO thinks this will 'balance' the US tilt to Pakistan, please the Russians and the Central Asians as they gain in dignity. I would still have reservations about PM going, until and unless India becomes a full member."

In case, India attends the SCO at a prime ministerial level what will be its major considerations? The retired diplomat who favours India's closer relations with SCO argued, "India clearly recognises that American priorities are changing. America's containment policy against China is changing. China is becoming stakeholder in America's plans. They are talking about G-2 now. The US is bogged down in Afghanistan so their priority is and will be Pakistan. Eventually, Indo-US relations will suffer."

"What India expected and what George W Bush [Images] promised have become things of past. If India attends the SCO it is one manifest of this reality," he said.

India-Russia to hold naval exercise in Baltic Sea

Vinay Shukla in Moscow

May 31, 2009 18:26 IST

Indian Naval Ship Beas, India's indigenously built Brahmaputra class missile frigate, armed with state-of- the-art weapons, including the Barak anti-missile battery will hold joint naval exercises with the Russian navy.

The naval ship will be on a five-day goodwill visit to Russia [Images]n port city of St Petersburg [Images] on the Baltic Sea from June 3 to June 7 to be followed by two days of Joint Exercises (PASSEX) with the Russian Navy. St Petersburg (former Leningrad) has been the birthplace of most of the Indian naval Kilo class diesel-electric submarines and the latest Krivak class stealth frigates including INS Talwar and INS Trishul. However, in Year of India in Russia, the Indian Navy is proudly showcasing INS Beas - its indigenously designed and built Brahmaputra class guided missile frigate incorporating highly potent indigenous and foreign weapons and force multipliers.

Commanded by Captain S V Bhokare INS Beas has 'long legs' and is capable of covering over 4,500 nautical miles without replenishment, Indian Embassy website said. Packed with latest sensors able to engage air, sea surface and underwater targets INS Beas has 16 Russian 'URAN' tactical surface-to-surfaces missiles with a range in excess of 130 km and Israeli Barak Anti Missile Defence system in itsarsenals.

'Syllabus changes made us better officers'

1 Jun 2009, 0131 hrs IST, TNN

PUNE: Changes in the National Defence Academy's (NDA) syllabus have helped them become better-equipped military officers, the top-ranking cadets of the 116th course of the academy said.

A total of 376 cadets passed out of the NDA on Sunday. Cadet Gaurav Hridya was awarded the President's gold medal, cadet P S Rana won the silver medal and cadet Vivek Kalukhe claimed the bronze medal for standing first, second and third respectively in the overall order of merit of the passing-out course.

According to the NDA, it has effected several changes in its syllabus to keep cadets abreast with the times. More stress is now being laid on technological orientation.

"The changes in the syllabus have made us better-equipped armed forces professionals. We have become more technologically sound and better placed to handle technologies," Rana, who belongs to a family of doctors, said.

Kalukhe hailing from a village in Ahmednagar district with a population of 2,000 said the training he received in the National Cadet Corps (NCC) inspired him to join the services. His father is a primary school teacher in the village, Kombhali.

"My family and my teachers from the school's NCC wing advised me to join the Army. At the NDA, we develop a strong technical knowledge, which will be helpful in our stint in the armed forces," Kalukhe, who has also participated in the Republic Day parade, observed.

An alumnus of the prestigious Rashtriya Indian Military College, Hridya stated that the training imparted at the NDA will be very important during his military service.

"Nobody from my family has served in the Army. But after my selection by RIMC, I decided to join the defence forces. I eventually made it to the NDA, and now I can pursue my dream of becoming an Army officer," he said.

Lt Gen Buttar takes over as Western Command COS today

1 Jun 2009, 0224 hrs IST, TNN

CHANDIGARH: Lt Gen Manjinder Singh Buttar will take over as chief of staff (COS) of Headquarters Western Command on Monday.

Commissioned in December, 1972, in the Regiment of Artillery, his long and illustrious career spans 37 years. The General has held various prestigious instructional, staff and command appointments. He has commanded an Artillery Regt in Basoli and was commander of a Mountain Brigade before commanding an Infantry Division in UP.

The instructional and staff appointments include instructor in School of Artillery, Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade, Defence Attache in the High Commission of India in Nigeria and stints at the Army HQs, among others. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and has also done a tenure as the directing staff in Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.

The General officer has participated in Operation Meghdoot in Siachen and Operation Rakshak in J&K, and was awarded Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card for his role in the former in 1988. The General officer was again awarded the Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card in 1993. Lt Gen Buttar was Chief of Staff of a Corps in Northern Command before taking over his present appointment as the Chief of Staff of Headquarters Western Command.

Inter science topper wants to join army

30 May 2009, 2113 hrs IST, Sanjay Ojha, TNN

RANCHI: State science topper in intermediate examination Ashish Vardwaj wants to join the Indian Army and serve the motherland. Son of a history professor, Ashish has scored 95%. His total marks are 475 out of 500.

A student of A S College, Deoghar, and eldest among four siblings, Ashish has a childhood dream of becoming an officer in the Indian Army. A meritorious student from the primary school days, he had scored 83.4% in the state board (class X) examination in 2007.

"I have always performed well in studies but unlike most of my friends, who aspire to become engineers and go abroad, I want to join the army," Ashish, who has been receiving congratulatory messages from neighbours, classmates and friends since Saturday morning, said.

"I will sit in the National Defence Academy examination and join army to serve the nation instead of working as an engineer in some foreign country," he said.

This is the reason why he did not appear for the IIT entrance examination. It was only under the influence of his parents, who did not want to take any chance in today's competitive world, that he later appeared in the All India Engineering Entrance Examination conducted by the CBSE.

"My parents and teachers have always supported me in my endeavours. I hope that with the blessing of my parents and teachers, I will become an officer in the Indian Army one fine day," said Ashish.

Nirmala Devi, Ashish's mother, was equally happy with the performance of his son. "I have always taught him to be humble and follow his conscience. Everyone in the family, including his father and uncle, are with him and will help him in achieving his dream," Nirmala said.

China gifts civil hospital to Nepal

30 May 2009, 1639 hrs IST, TNN

KATHMANDU: Last year, Nepal's inscrutable northern neighbour China stole a diplomatic march over India when the Himalayan republic's first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda chose to visit Beijing first instead of New Delhi.

Almost a year later, history repeated itself, with some modification.

The 132-bed Civil Service Hospital built by China for Nepal's nearly 86,000 government employees and their families became the first completed project to be inaugurated by Nepal's new communist Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Saturday.

By contrast, the 200-bed Nepal Bharat Maitri Emergency and Trauma Centre in Kathmandu, hyped as the second institution of its kind in South Asia after the one at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, has missed its projected deadline by almost a year.

The trauma centre, for which New Delhi allocated over Rs 680 million, was started in 2006 and was scheduled to be completed early last year. Executed directly by the government of India through Hospital Services Consultancy Corporation of India as consultants and Unity Infra-projects Limited as contractors, the project is part of the India-Nepal Economic Cooperation Programme.

However, projects undertaken in Nepal under the programme have been coming into disrepute. Besides extravagant budgets, there are reports of projects not being completed within time. At least two schools were reported to have collapsed in the last one year while a gynaecological hospital built with Indian assistance was gathering rust till last year as it was yet to be officially handed over.

A fleet of buses that India gifted to Nepal's constituent assembly for the use of lawmakers lay rejected for a long time. They began to be used finally after the “Nepal Bharat Maitri” legend that was inscribed on them was painted over.

New Delhi's concern is bound to deepen with the Maoists – who are accusing the United Progressive Alliance government of having plotted to restore monarchy in Nepal – on Saturday pledging anew to keep up their disruption of parliament. The decision came after the chairman of the house, Subhash Nembang, refused to allow a debate and vote on the floor.

After failing to sack the army chief and losing their government into the bargain, Nepal's Maoists had called for a debate in the house followed by a vote to decide if the President Dr Ram Baran Yadav had acted in accordance with the constitution by reinstating the fired army chief. Now with the debate and vote dismissed, there is little hope of reconciliation between the former guerrillas and the new government.

As the divide between the two forces widens so does the rift between the Maoists and India. Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda is now saying that deposed king Gyanendra's recent visit to India was part of an elaborate plot to put him back on the throne on the condition that he would plead ill health and abdicate in favour of his grandson, seven-year-old schoolboy Hridayendra.

Pakistan and the Bomb

The security of the country’s nuclear arsenal is shaky. What the U.S. needs to do to avert a crisis


The Pakistani army, backed by attack helicopters, is fighting intense gun battles in the Swat valley 60 miles outside the capital of Islamabad with Islamic extremists. Al Qaeda and the Taliban have struck back with suicide bombs in Pakistan’s major cities, including Lahore. A plot in Karachi was foiled but the extremists vow more carnage is imminent.

The battles are the latest in a deadly struggle for the control of Pakistan. Some are hoping this, at last, is the turning point when the army and the Pakistani government will finally defeat the extremists, but history suggests that conclusion is premature. More likely this will be yet another temporary setback for the Islamists to be followed by new advances elsewhere.

Armed Taliban fighters gather at a hideout in Pakistan last month.

The fighting has cast a spotlight on the shaky security of Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal—the fastest growing arsenal in the world. Pakistan is finishing construction of several new reactors and is seeking to buy more from China to increase its production of fissile material. The United States has provided Pakistan with over $10 billion in military aid since 2001. No one outside Pakistan can say if some of that money was diverted directly to the nuclear program by the army, but undoubtedly the U.S. assistance indirectly made it easier for the army to use its own funds to accelerate the development of its nuclear weapons.

Today the arsenal is under the control of its military leaders; it is well protected, concealed and dispersed. But if the country fell into the wrong hands—those of the militant Islamic jihadists and al Qaeda—so would the arsenal. The U.S. and the rest of the world would face the worst security threat since the end of the Cold War. Containing this nuclear threat would be difficult, if not impossible.

The danger of Pakistan becoming a jihadist state is real. Just before her murder in December 2007, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said she believed al Qaeda would be marching on Islamabad in two years. A jihadist Pakistan would be a global game changer—the world’s second largest Muslim state with nuclear weapons breeding a hothouse of terrorism.

Yet it’s not inevitable. For the past 60 years, U.S. policy toward the country has been inconsistent and mercurial, rife with double standards with Pakistan’s neighbor India. Increasing calls to “secure” the country’s nuclear weapons by force are far from productive—in fact, it’s making serious work with Pakistan more difficult.

Pakistan is a unique nuclear weapons state. It has been both the recipient of technology transfers from other states and a supplier of technology to still other states. It has been a state sponsor of proliferation and has tolerated private sector proliferation as well. Pakistan has engaged in highly provocative behavior against India, even initiating a limited war, and sponsored terrorist groups that have engaged in mass casualty terrorism inside India’s cities, most recently last November in Mumbai. No other nuclear weapons state has done all of these provocative actions.

The origins of the Pakistani nuclear program lie in the deep national humiliation of the 1971 war with India that led to the partition of the country, the independence of Bangladesh and the destruction of the dream of a single Muslim state for all of south Asia’s Muslim population. The military dictator at the time, Yaqub Khan, presided over the loss of half the nation and the surrender of 90,000 Pakistani soldiers in Dacca. The Pakistani establishment determined it must develop a nuclear weapon to counter India’s conventional superiority.

The new prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, convened the country’s top 50 scientists secretly in January 1972 and challenged them to build a bomb. He famously said that Pakistanis would sacrifice everything and “eat grass” to get a nuclear deterrent.

The 1974 Indian nuclear explosion only intensified the quest. Mr. Bhutto received an unsolicited letter from a Pakistani who had studied in Louvain, Belgium, Abdul Qadeer Khan, offering to help by stealing sensitive centrifuge technology from his new employers at a nuclear facility in the Netherlands. Over the next few years—with the assistance of the Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI)—Mr. Khan would steal the key technology to help Pakistan produce fissionable material to make a bomb.

China also helped the nascent Pakistani program overcome technical challenges. According to some accounts by proliferation experts, it allowed Pakistani scientists to participate in Chinese tests to help them learn more about the bomb. Mr. Khan returned to Pakistan and with ISI built a global proliferation enterprise to acquire the technology he and other scientists needed to get Pakistan its bomb.

Military troops patrol the streets of Takht Bai, northwest of Islamabad.

Mr. Bhutto’s handpicked choice for army chief, Zia ul Huq, overthrew his mentor in 1977, executed him and accelerated work on the project. By the late 1980s Pakistan had made sufficient progress that both General Zia and Mr. Khan hinted publicly that Islamabad had a bomb. According to Mr. Khan’s public account, General Zia also warned Israel not to attack Pakistan’s nuclear facilities in the late 1980s or it would destroy Tel Aviv. In 1990 the U.S. imposed sanctions on Pakistan for building the bomb and cut off the supply of F16 jets already paid for by Pakistan.

Pakistan, like the rest of the world, was caught by surprise in May 1998 when India tested its nuclear arsenal. Despite pleas from President Bill Clinton and other world leaders, Pakistan tested its own devices a few weeks after India. Mr. Clinton offered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a $6 billion aid program if he would not test. I was part of the team that made the offer in Islamabad. We later learned Mr. Sharif ordered the tests to proceed while we were still visiting. On the eve of the tests Pakistan claimed Israel was about to attack its nuclear facilities so it had to act. Mr. Sharif proudly announced Pakistan had “a newclear vision,” as the deliberately misspelled English phrase read on posters around the country, for the future.

Pakistan would soon demonstrate that the bomb gave its military leadership enhanced confidence to deal with India and to take risks. Less than a year after the tests, the Pakistani army initiated a limited war with India in the mountains of the Hindu Kush by crossing the line of control separating Pakistani and Indian forces in Kashmir. The Kargil War, as it is called, dragged on for several weeks.

In the White House there was growing concern the war would escalate out of control and could even go nuclear. On July 4, 1999, Mr. Clinton and I met with Mr. Sharif alone at Blair House and told him Pakistan was playing with fire. Mr. Sharif agreed to withdraw the army back behind the line of control.

Within months Mr. Sharif’s handpicked army chief, Pervez Musharraf, who had ordered the Kargil War, overthrew Mr. Sharif and sent him into exile. Mr. Musharraf poured resources into the program.

The ISI has longstanding ties to a number of Pakistan-based terrorist groups active in India. In December 2001, one staged an attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi. India blamed Pakistan for the attack and mobilized. Again India and Pakistan appeared on the edge of nuclear disaster. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell needed almost a year to talk the two back from the brink.

Another ISI-backed group, Lashkar e Taiba, was behind the terror attack last November in Mumbai that kept the city in chaos for 60 hours. Again the specter of war between two nuclear weapons states was on the global agenda. Again India showed remarkable restraint in response to provocation from Pakistan, grounded in the reality that New Delhi has no attractive military options for retaliation against an opponent armed with nuclear weapons.

In short, Pakistan’s acquisition of a nuclear deterrent has worked to intimidate its opponent and to allow Pakistan to harbor terrorists who attack India and even to initiate limited military operations. What is not clear is how long India will tolerate such behavior. There are many in India who argue Pakistan must be taught a lesson for Mumbai.

Pakistan has also behaved as a major proliferator of nuclear technology. A.Q. Khan’s enterprise has become infamous for providing nuclear material and secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya. Much of his activity was sanctioned by the Pakistani authorities and was part of complex deals to enhance Pakistan’s own deterrent—for example, by acquiring missile technology from Pyongyang. Some of Mr. Khan’s activities were pursued independently of Pakistan’s government for his own wealth. We will probably never know the exact balance between the state’s interests and Mr. Khan’s on every transaction since Mr. Khan is a national hero to Pakistanis and no government in Islamabad is ever likely to reveal all of the dirty truth. The good news is that since Mr. Khan’s televised “confession” in 2004 there has been little evidence of continued Pakistani technology proliferation activity.

There are, however, persistent reports of some kind of understanding between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for Islamabad to provide nuclear weapons to Riyadh if the Saudis feel threatened by a third party with nuclear weapons. Then Saudi Defense Minister and now also Crown Prince Sultan visited Mr. Khan’s laboratories in a much publicized visit in the late 1990s. Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia deny any secret deal, but rumors of one continue to surface as Iran gets closer to developing its own bomb.

Estimates of the size of Pakistan’s arsenal by outside experts in think tanks range from 60 to 100, with more being produced each year. Pakistan can deliver its weapons by both intermediate range missiles and jet aircraft, including its F16s. The bombs and the delivery systems are dispersed around a country twice the size of California, often buried deep underground.

Mr. Musharraf created a Strategic Plans Division under his control to provide security for the arsenal. Its director, Lt. General Khalid Kidwai, has lectured across the world on the extensive security layers the SPD has developed both for physical security for facilities and personnel security to prevent unauthorized activity by those overseeing protection. The U.S. has provided expertise to the SPD to help ensure security. For now most experts agree that the necessary security architecture to protect the bomb is in place and the army has control of the weapons securely.

Of course, if the Pakistani state becomes a jihadist state, then the extremists will inherit the arsenal. There would be calls from the outside to “secure” Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, but since no outsider knows where most of them are located, these calls would be a hollow threat. Even if force was used to capture some of the weapons, Pakistan would retain most of them and the expertise to build more. Finally, Pakistan would use its weapons to defend itself.

U.S. options would be severely limited by Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. We would need to work with India, Afghanistan, China and others to isolate the danger.

Islamabad has refused for decades to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), arguing that India must do so first. After the 1998 tests I joined then Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott in an intensive diplomatic effort to persuade both India and Pakistan to sign the CTBT. The Pakistanis were the harder sell and we never even came close to an agreement with them. The effort failed entirely when the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the treaty in 2000.

Islamabad believes it was deeply unfair for Washington to offer India a civil nuclear deal in 2005 and not give Pakistan the same opportunity. The deal gives India access to advanced nuclear technology in return for international safeguards on some but not all of its reactors. Pakistanis believe the deal with India underscores America’s tilt toward the richer and bigger India and is yet another sign of Washington’s unreliability as an ally. Pakistan’s past proliferation behavior has so far ruled it out for a similar deal.

Last year the new elected civilian leadership boldly proposed that Pakistan adopt a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons. The army made it clear that it disagreed with President Asif Zardari and would not accept a no-first-use pledge. The Mumbai attack put all talk of that pledge off the table for now, but it is a good idea that Mr. Zardari should raise again if and when relations with India improve.

U.S. policy toward Pakistan in general and the Pakistani bomb in particular has oscillated wildly over the past 30 years between blind enchantment and unsuccessful isolation. President Ronald Reagan turned a blind eye to the program in the 1980s because he needed General Zia and the ISI to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. President George H. W. Bush sanctioned Pakistan for building the bomb in 1990, and Mr. Clinton added more sanctions after the 1998 tests. Both had no choice as Congress had passed legislation that tied their hands and required mandatory sanctions implementation.

President George W. Bush lifted the sanctions after 9/11 and poured billions into the Pakistani army, much of it unaccounted for, in return for Pakistan’s help again in Afghanistan. On his watch the CIA dismantled much of the A.Q. Khan global network.

President Barack Obama has a full agenda with Pakistan, burdened by the war in Afghanistan, the hunt for al Qaeda and the internal crisis inside Pakistan. But the nuclear issue will not go away. Mr. Obama’s call for a world without nuclear weapons and his pursuit of Senate ratification of the CTBT will inevitably mean arms control will be back on the U.S.-Pakistan agenda.

It is in Pakistan’s interest to get into the arms control debate on its own terms. Islamabad should put the no-first-use pledge back on the table with India, and it should sign the CTBT without demanding Indian adherence first. Pakistan’s arsenal works, and it does not need to test again. If it wants to get into the global arms control architecture and get a deal like the one India has gotten, Pakistan needs to show that the days of A.Q. Khan, Kargil and Mumbai are over for good and that it is addressing all the challenges it faces.

In the meantime Americans should stay away from idle talk by politicians and pundits about “securing” Pakistan’s weapons by force. Such chatter is not only unrealistic but actually counterproductive. It makes the atmosphere for serious work with Pakistan on nuclear security harder, not easier. It gives the jihadists further ammunition for their charge that America secretly plans to disarm the only Muslim state with a bomb in cahoots with India and Israel.

America needs a policy toward Pakistan and its bomb which emphasizes constancy and consistency and an end to double standards with India. Congress should quickly pass the Kerry-Luger bill that triples economic aid without adding crippling conditions. We should provide military aid, like helicopters and night vision devices, that helps fight extremist groups. We should also continue providing expertise in nuclear security and safety to Pakistan—that is in our interest.

Today some in Pakistan recognize at long last the existential threat to their freedoms comes from within, from the jihadists like the Taliban and al Qaeda, not from India. Now is the time to help them and ensure their hand is on the nuclear arsenal.

—Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. A former CIA officer, he chaired President Obama’s strategic review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan this winter.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal