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Thursday, 11 June 2009

From Today's Papers - 11 Jun 09

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Telegraph India

Asian Age

The Pioneer

Asian Age

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times

Times of India

Times of India

Editorial
Making a peace bid is not a bad idea
by H.K. Dua

Even between individuals it requires some courage to make peace with an estranged neighbour. When it comes to subcontinental nations like India and Pakistan, which have fought bitter wars every now and then, it requires much more than courage even to resume talking, least of all, make a bid for peace.

For the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to have chosen the first policy speech in the new Parliament to send across a message of peace to Pakistan, it also required a vision of future relationships in the subcontinent and statesmanship he has harnessed.

Hopefully, Pakistan will take Dr Manmohan Singh’s message in the same spirit, come out with a positive response and take some steps to undo the damage done to the peace process by the gory killings of Mumbai going under the label 26/11.

Islamabad actually needs to assure India that it is taking all steps to stop the export of terrorism to India and tackle the jehadis who are always keen to follow the path of destruction and derail the peace process whenever it has begun to move forward.

Interestingly, both Dr Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Zardari will be in Moscow on June 15 to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation representing their countries as observers. The possibility of a meeting taking place between him and President Zardari is quite likely. And if all goes well, it may turn out to be more than a hand-shaking photo-op. Normally, too much should not be read into such sideline events, but even a brief encounter between the two leaders will be significant, considering that this will be the first meeting taking place after 26/11. If nothing else, they could succeed in breaking ice.

Pakistan may not have hauled up all terrorist leaders responsible for planning last November’s attack on Mumbai; but it admitted, although reluctantly, that the attackers were Pakistani nationals operating from its territory and that it would take action against the sponsors (which it has not done so far).

Releasing Hafiz Saeed under a court order came as a surprise to India, but Islamabad tried to do damage-control exercise, saying the provincial government at Lahore was filing an appeal against the court’s order. Islamabad has to take more steps to let India feel that it is serious about mending a fractured peace process.

Soon after 26/11, Pakistan raised the bogie of India mobilising its troops along the border with Pakistan, but it did not wash with the US for whom it was meant. Apparently, its comfort level on the eastern border has improved, judging from its decision to recently pull out 6,000 to 8,000 troops from borders with India for deployment in the North-West where it is willy-nilly cooperating with the American troops by launching operations against the Taliban.

Not only has New Delhi denied Pakistan a propaganda advantage about a non-existent troops mobilisation by India, it may also have told Mr Richard Holbrooke and company that India was not out to do anything that may vitiate Pakistan’s operations against the Taliban in Swat.

There are more people in Delhi than earlier who believe that the Pakistani Army’s operations against the Taliban are beneficial for Pakistan, and indirectly for India.

India is, however, seriously worried about the activities of the Pakistani wing of the Taliban who are spread over the entire country, particularly in southern Pakistan, and have been able to strike twice in Lahore and targets close to the Indian border.

Good intentions and willingness to try again apart, India is moving cautiously. One worry that is nagging New Delhi is: What happens if a group of so-called “non-state actors” choose to launch another terrorist attack on another target in India?

For a dialogue to begin on a hopeful note, Pakistan may have to ensure that such an eventuality does not arise again to cause a serious setback to a peace process that is sought to be revived.

The road to peace, particularly between India and Pakistan, has generally to traverse a tricky terrain. Even if the peace talks begin, their success is not guaranteed, considering the threats, particularly from the terrorist groups, lurking ahead.

While India has always dealt with the rulers of the day in Pakistan and it intends to do so even now, most people in Delhi do not really know who exactly is in charge in Pakistan.

Nobody in Pakistan gives many points to President Zardari, who at one time had said that he would like Kashmir to be placed on the backburner for some years—only to retract his statement. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani has lately been making more voluble statements than President Zardari, but is often seen following a different line. Possibly, he has moved closer to the Army.

The real power in Pakistan is still in the hands of the Pakistan Army, but no one in Delhi really knows where does Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani really stand on relations with India and how keen he and his corps commanders are to walk the peace track.

Dr Manmohan Singh’s initiative is reminiscent of the speech he made at Amritsar three years ago with a peace message meant for President Musharraf and the people across the border. Much has happened, meanwhile. And this time he has taken the initiative; but guardedly.

Surely, Delhi has gone into the imponderables before the Prime Minister rose in Parliament to recommend to Pakistan that it is worth resuming a joint search for peace which could benefit one-fifth of humanity living in this part of the world.

Peace, after all, is not a bad idea, certainly not for the people of a troubled subcontinent craving for it.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090611/main2.htm

Rs 12.5-cr border fencing scam unearthed
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jammu, June 10
The CBI here has unearthed a scam worth Rs 12.50 crore in the laying of fencing along the border with Pakistan and the LoC in Poonch and Akhnoor sectors.

Government officials accuse the guilty persons, including a steel industrialist, of minting money in the name of fencing border along Pakistan. So far, the CBI has not named any Army official in the scandal.

According to an FIR registered with Trikuta Nagar police station and CBI sources, the Army had awarded a contract of laying barbed wires to a company based in Gangyal. The contract was awarded through the National Consumer Cooperative Federation, a government agency.

Discrepancies were allegedly found in the fencing of a 65 km stretch, out of which 18 km was along the LoC in the Poonch sector. The LoC starts from near Akhnoor, up to which the international border exists.

The accused industrialist allegedly inflated bills and got the work done through a private agency against the norms of the contract. The money misappropriated was estimated at Rs 12.50 crore, which may increase, the sources said.

A CBI team also raided the house of a steel industrialist in Trikuta Nagar this morning. The industrialist, however, claimed he had already sold off the barbed wire manufacturing unit.

The sources said the industrialist seemed to have got wind of the CBI action. Though he is a well known person of the city, his house has plastic furniture and no costly items.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090611/main8.htm

Wreckage of missing AN-32 plane found

The remains of the missing Air Force plane, which went down mid-air in Arunachal Pradesh have been found. The plane is believed to have crashed over Rinchi hill near Heyo village, 60 km from Mechuka.

REMAINS OF the Indian Air Force plane, which went down mid-air in Arunachal Pradesh have been found, as per officials. The AN-32 had 13 people on board, when it went missing on Tuesday afternoon (June 9), while on its way to Jorhat in Assam.

The plane is believed to have crashed over Rinchi hill near Heyo village, 60 km from Mechuka.

The plane had taken off from Mechuka Advance Landing ground in West Siang and was on its way to Jorhat, when it crashed over mountains in Arunachal Pradesh.

Indian Air Force had launched an aerial reconnaissance mission to locate the plane in the morning. The plane took off at 2 pm from Mechuka and lost contact soon, officials said. Six IAF personnel including three officers and six to seven army personnel were on board the ill-fated aircraft.

State police also had began a massive operation to locate the remains of the plane. Officials said villagers in the area had sighted a huge orange ball and they believed that it could be the falling plane.

Since today morning, the policemen had launched a combing operation in the area to locate the remains of the plane.

http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=15772516

Wreckage of IAF plane recovered
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, June 10
The wreckage of the AN 32 Aircraft of Indian Air Force (IAF) that went missing during the flight from Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh to the IAF base at Rowriah in Jorhat in Assam yesterday afternoon was recovered along with the mortal remains of all the 13 persons on board from Rinchi hills of Arunachal Pradesh at around 3-15 this afternoon, an IAF source informed.

A joint ground search team comprising personnel from the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Army personnel, Arunachal Pradesh Police accompanied by a few local volunteers traced the wreckage about 140 km away from Along, the district headquarter of West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh after a five hours long search that started at 8-30 this morning. The IAF personnel killed in the plane crash have been identified as Wing Commander G S Butalia, Wing Commander P Shaji, Squadron Leader P Siddharth, Squadron Leader Manas Mishra, Flight Lieutenant Varun Kumar, Master Warrant Officer Ramesh and Aircraftsman Sanjay Kumar - all from the Rowriah air base in Jorhat.

Six of the seven army personnel who were on board and killed were identified as V Singh, K Kumar, S Kumar (all gunners), sepoy AK Tirkey, Naik B S Nanwhegh and R Wangchuk.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090611/nation.htm#16

After Swat operation
Threat to Pakistani nationhood
by G. Parthasarathy

THE Americans appear overjoyed at what they seem to believe will be an early end to the Taliban control over large tracts of Northwest Pakistan following the ongoing military operations in Swat. The military action was literally forced on the army as fears grew that the Taliban would spread its wings to the very heart of the national capital, Islamabad, if no serious efforts were made to prevent it. But within two weeks of the commencement of the military operations, the country faces a new crisis, which threatens Pakistan’s national solidarity and unity.

Speaking in Peshawar about the growing numbers of the people (described as internally displaced persons or IDPs) who have fled from their homes following the military operations, the Information Minister of the North-West Frontier Province, Mr Iftikhar Hussein, revealed on May 29 that 2.8 million people had abandoned their homes after the recent operations. He added that this was apart from the 600,000 other Pakhtuns (Pathans) who had been forced out of their homes in earlier army operations in the province’s tribal areas.

As more and more IDPs pour into refugee camps, Pakistan’s resources are being strained. It has appealed to the UN and donor countries for urgent financial aid. But more important than the economic implications of the refugee influx is the political fallout of the military operations. It is now clear that fearing the spread of Talibanisation, major provinces like Sind and Punjab are refusing rehabilitation facilities for the displaced Pakhtuns.

In Sind province, Sindhi nationalist organisations have joined the main Muhajir political party, the MQM, now a coalition partner in the provincial government, in warning that they will not accept the Pakhtuns who are IDPs. The MQM has made it clear that any influx of refugees into Karachi could lead to ethnic violence. Even before these developments, ethnic clashes between Muhajirs and Pakhtuns had rocked Karachi.

What has, however, surprised many Pakhtuns is the attitude of the largest province of Pakistan, Punjab. According to Rahimullah Yusufzai, who is one of Pakistan’s most respected journalists, even the Punjab government, headed by Mr Shahbaz Sharif, brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has let it be known that it would not provide facilities for camps for IDPs in the province and that camps should be set up within the NWFP for this purpose.

Alluding to these developments, an anguished Yusufzai asks: “Is it asking for too much from politicians who are in and out of power and are supposed to show the way to the nation to be sensitive to the pleas of IDPs instead of rubbing salt in their wounds? Or, according to their interpretation, should the IDP issue be the concern of the NWFP and the Pakhtuns only? If this is the case, then one should be worried about the damage this attitude is causing to the concept of the nationhood of the federation of Pakistan”.

The military operations in Swat against the Taliban commenced in the middle of May. How is it that in barely two weeks 2.8 million people have left their homes? The fact is that whenever the Pakistan Army commences operations against its own people, it uses excessive force. This was evident in Bangladesh in 1971, when army brutality led to 11 million people fleeing as refugees to India.

In the operations in Baluchistan in 1973-1974 and thereafter during the Musharraf dispensation, the army used air power and artillery indiscriminately, even going in for air power to target the respected octogenarian Baloch leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti. The Baloch used to describe former Pakistan Army chief Gen Tikka Khan as the “Butcher of Baluchistan”. Use of excessive force was also manifest in the Pakistan Army operations in rural Sind in 1983 and thereafter between 1992 and 1996 against the Muhajirs in Karachi.

What are the implications of more violence of this nature against the Pakhtuns of the NWFP? In the NWFP, the Pakistan Army is today operating against the kin of those whose cause it had purportedly championed in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion of that country in the 1980s and, thereafter, in backing the Taliban in Afghanistan. Worse still, the army and the ISI have continued to provide haven and support to the Afghan Taliban leadership led by Mullah Omar in the capital of Baluchistan, Quetta, over the past seven years or more and similar support and haven to Afghan Taliban commanders like Jalaluddin Haqqani in the tribal areas of the NWFP while simultaneously acting against the Pakistani Pakhtuns, who support their Afghan kith and kin.

For how long can this contradiction persist? Are the Pakhtuns so naive that they cannot see through such intrigues? Finally, for how long will Pakhtun soldiers and officers, who constitute over 20 per cent of the Pakistan Army, tolerate such duplicity? Moreover, are the Americans so naive that they will not take note of such duplicity and turn on the heat for action against the Afghan Taliban and their Al-Qaeda allies?

There has naturally been concern about the spread of Taliban influence eastwards towards India’s borders. It has, however, to be remembered that the Taliban is predominantly a Pakhtun phenomenon. What is, however, now happening is that the influence of the groups allied to the Taliban, made up predominantly of Punjabi Pakistanis, is now spreading across the Punjab province of Pakistan. These organisations have cells in virtually all towns and cities in the province. Recent attacks in Lahore on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the police training facility and the ISI headquarters are evidently the work of those now called in some circles as the “Punjabi Taliban” or the Tehreek-e-Taliban, Punjab.

Conservative Wahabi Muslim practices are being increasingly advocated and even sought to be enforced by these groups in Punjab province. Can these challenges be overcome in Pakistan’s most populous province bordering India, given the jihadi inclinations of the army establishment and the ISI? The Lahore elite and India’s “liberals” seem oblivious to and in a dangerous denial mode on these developments.

Given these challenges and the country virtually bankrupt and under constant American pressure to act militarily on its borders with Afghanistan, Pakistan’s leadership will not be able to effect any change in its usual hackneyed rhetoric on relations with India. This was obvious from the recent comments by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Jammu and Kashmir. The more important question, however, is whether, given the army’s failure to act quickly and decisively against the Taliban, General Kiyani will seek to divert attention by escalating terrorist violence across Pakistan’s eastern borders.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090611/edit.htm#4

The menace of piracy
UN should deploy a task force
by Admiral Arun Prakash (retd)

Pirates have been the scourge of mariners since ancient times, and locations as widespread as the Caribbean, the Barbary Coast, and even the western seaboard of India have been known, historically, for their depredations. Contrary to the romantic, swashbuckling image projected by Hollywood, pirates are actually ruthless cut-throats whose motivations are entirely mercenary.

Little has changed with time. Piracy had always tended to impact negatively on seaborne trade and commerce, but with the modern day grid-locking of international markets, and the utter dependence of economies on steady energy supplies, the effect of any maritime perturbations can become exponentially magnified. Regrettably, the international response to piracy has been largely confused and ineffective.

Dominated by the Horn of Africa (HoA), the Gulf of Aden forms a funnel for 24,000 merchant ships annually transiting the Suez Canal carrying energy and raw material to Europe and finished goods to Africa and the Middle East.

The abjectly poor Somalian Republic, which occupies most of the Horn, has been in a state of turmoil for nearly two decades, and is only notionally governed by a transitional federal government.

The rich Somalian fishing grounds, have for many years, been ruthlessly exploited by foreign poachers, and this is adduced as one of the reasons for deprived local fishermen taking to the lucrative occupation of piracy.

From just 10-15 incidents in 2004, the waters of the Gulf of Aden saw acts of piracy and hijacking spiraling rapidly to 80 in 2008, and growing increasingly audacious in nature.

In an attempt to tackle this menace, the UN Security Council first adopted Resolution 1816 in June 2008, authorising nations to deploy warships for counter-piracy operations in Somali territorial waters.

This was followed by Resolution 1838 in October 2008 urging all maritime states to despatch naval units to fight piracy, off the HoA.

Despite naval task forces and many individual warships, including our own, having been deployed, piracy continues unabated, leading to great unease amongst seafarers world-wide.

Should this trend persist, shipping companies and marine insurers will be forced to hike their rates. This could deal a further blow to the tottering world economy, and India will suffer too.

India has had encounters with piracy earlier, but, like other maritime nations, it has been reluctant to take resolute action against Somalian pirates, due to the complexities of legal, jurisdictional, human rights and sovereignty issues, as some examples will show.

In October 1999 the Japanese owned and manned bulk carrier Alondra Rainbow plying under the Panamanian flag was hijacked in the Indonesian waters. Having set the master and crew adrift, the pirates changed the ship’s name and set sail westwards for the open waters of the Indian Ocean with $14 million worth of cargo.

After a dramatic high seas chase involving India’s Coast Guard as well as the Navy, the vessel was captured and pirates brought to justice. After six years in jail they were released by a Mumbai court for want of technical evidence of their trans-national crimes.

In February 2006, an Indian dhow named Bhakti Sagar registered in Porbandar was hijacked by Somali pirates while on a passage to Kisamayu, and 25 Indian crew members had been held for a large ransom.

Naval HQ dispatched a destroyer for Somalian waters, but the mission was aborted because the MEA was loath to be seen exercising anything remotely resembling “gunboat diplomacy”.

While the issue was being debated in New Delhi, the dhow owner was able to secure the release of his vessel and crew after paying ransom.

The more recent episode involving 22 Indian crew members of MV Stolt Valour being released after long captivity on payment of a huge ransom to Somalian pirates was a little different, because the vessel happened to be foreign owned.

But the fact remains that we are still not quite sure how to deal with this menace. As the crew’s families agitated in New Delhi, there was a great deal of fumbling and groping in the corridors of the South Block before we could formulate a delayed response.

As a sovereign democracy, India has a clear moral obligation to ensure that not only its 8.5 million tonnes of national merchant shipping, its trade and energy lifelines but also a hundred thousand Indian seafarers plying on the high seas under different flags are accorded protection, wherever possible, from pirates and hijackers.

Modern warships are not equipped to retain the custody of prisoners for extended periods and trial in the home country would, in any case, be impracticable for want of evidence and/or witnesses.

Most neigbourhood maritime states would be very reluctant to take pirates into detention; unless it could be proved that their own nationals or assets were involved.

This menace is obviously here to stay for some time, and a mere show of force is no substitute for well considered, coordinated and legally justified action, preferably under the aegis of the UN.

The most practical and expeditious way of countering this burgeoning threat to the safety of international shipping and lives of mariners would be for the UN to take the initiative and:

l authorise the formation of regional multi-national anti-piracy maritime task forces flying the blue UN ensign.

l frame certain rules of jurisprudence (using assistance of the World Court if required) for the trial of individuals apprehended while committing acts of piracy on the high seas or territorial waters of ungoverned nations like Somalia.

lconstitute special international courts to undertake the expeditious trial of these culprits. The courts should assemble in the nearest littoral state or at least within the region to facilitate easy production of evidence and witnesses.

The UN already has tremendous experience in the field of multi-national military operations for peacekeeping worldwide and a well-oiled organisation to support them. Deploying an anti-piracy maritime task force is an urgent requirement that should not pose a problem for the UN.

The writer is a former Chief of Naval Staff

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090611/edit.htm#6

Pak, India should begin Composite Dialogue: Gilani

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad

June 10, 2009 21:07 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani [Images] on Wednesday said Pakistan will offer the Indian leadership an "olive branch" to resume the bilateral Composite Dialogue as both countries cannot afford war.

"Pakistan and India faced common problems and it was in the interest of the whole region for the two nuclear powers to resume the dialogue which had stopped after last year's Mumbai [Images] attacks," Gilani said, while addressing students and faculty members of the army's Command and Staff College in Quetta.

However, he did not elaborate on what he meant by "olive branch". Pakistan Army [Images] chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and senior military officials were also present on the occasion.

Gilani said Pakistan was fighting the war against terrorism for its own survival. The government started military operation in parts of Malakand division as a last option after militants challenged the writ of the government and wanted to disintegrate the country, despite the implementation of Islamic laws, he said.

The government will not tolerate anybody who casts an evil eye on the sovereignty of Pakistan and establishes a parallel government in the country, Gilani said. He said he was hopeful that the government would win the war against terror with the support of the people.

A "3R" strategy comprising relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction had been adopted to overcome challenges that emerged after the launching of military operations in Malakand, Gilani said.

Noting that the Pakistan government has allocated Rs 1 billion for the relief and rehabilitation of people displaced by the fighting, Gilani called on the world community to realise the suffering of Pakistan and help it overcome its financial and other problems.

Replying to a question, Gilani said Balochistan province is extremely important for Pakistan. The government has information about "foreign involvement" in the unrest in Balochistan and will collect more intelligence to take up the issue with concerned governments at an appropriate forum, he added.

The government has conveyed to the United States administration that a planned troop surge in Afghanistan could push militants southwards and destabilise Balochistan, Gilani said.

In response to another question, the premier said his government has conveyed to the US administration that drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal belt are counter-productive and creating problems for the democratic set-up.

"I am hopeful that the Obama [Images] administration will review its policy regarding drone attacks in the country," he said.

http://news.rediff.com/report/2009/jun/10/pak-india-should-begin-composite-dialogue-gilani.htm

‘Pakistan more desirous of dialogue with India’

* Foreign minister says US has provided $330 million for IDPs’ rehabilitation

MULTAN: Pakistan is more desirous of dialogue as it cherishes peace that could not be brought about without parleys with its neighbours, Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Wednesday.

Talking to reporters at the Multan airport, he said the nation was united against terrorism, militancy and extremism.

He said, “The nation salutes the armed forces for the unique sacrifices of it’s brave soldiers in defence of their motherland against the scourge of terrorism.” The FM said the military operation was achieving tremendous success after the evolution of national consensus to curb militancy and Talibanisation.

He, however, did not give a specific time frame for ending the operation.

Provide: The foreign minister said the US had provided around $330 million, adding that the Muslim countries were also taking interest in providing relief to the IDPs.

Qureshi said the international community was satisfied with the country’s efforts against the Taliban in Malakand division.

The foreign minister condemned the Tuesday’s suicide attack on the Pearl Continental (PC) hotel in Peshawar.

He said, “No operation can succeed without public support. He said this support is being enjoyed by the army and law-enforcement agencies.”

To a question about alleged involvement of Indian intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, in terrorism, he said that it might be a random inference while the fact was that several hidden forces could be behind the “ongoing trouble”. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\06\11\story_11-6-2009_pg7_9

13 bodies, IAF aircraft's wreakage located
10 Jun 2009, 2213 hrs IST, IANS

GUWAHATI/NEW DELHI: Indian Army and paramilitary rescue teams Wednesday recovered the wreckage of an Indian Air Force (IAF) cargo plane that went


missing Tuesday and the mangled remains of 13 defence officials killed in the crash in the northeast region, officials said.

A defence spokesperson said a search team of the army and the paramilitary spotted the wreckage of the AN-32 aircraft near Tato village in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China's Tibet region.

"The search team managed to get hold of the mangled remains of the 13 people on board the aircraft that crashed Tuesday evening," IAF spokesperson Wing Commander R. Sahu told IANS by telephone.

The cargo plane with 13 people on board went missing Tuesday afternoon after it took from Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh.
The site from where the wreckage was found is about 70 km from Mechuka and is located in hilly terrain.

"It would be too early to conclusively say whether the aircraft hit the hill or plunged down due to technical problems that led to the crash. Experts would try and retrieve the black box to know the details," the IAF official said.
Of the 13 people killed, seven were from the IAF and six army soldiers.

"There were two wing commanders and a squadron leader among the IAF personnel on board," Sahu said. The mangled remains of those killed were being brought to the nearest motor head.

"The area where the wreckage was found is located in a highly inhospitable terrain and it might require days for the search team to reach the nearest motor head from where we can airlift the mortal remains to our base," the IAF official said.

The AN-32 aircraft was on its way back to its base in Jorhat in eastern Assam from Mechuka, a military forward position located in Arunachal Pradesh's West Siang district, after delivering essentials and other supplies to the soldiers.
The AN 32 is the workhorse of the transport fleet traveling to far off bases to deliver much-needed supplies to the army soldiers.

This is first crash of the AN-32 cargo aircraft in about a decade.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ET-Cetera/13-bodies-aircrafts-wreakage-found/articleshow/4641549.cms

Defense Forces take on the corporate battlefields!

Lucknow: The men in the forces sporting blues, greens and whites certainly have an enviable lifestyle. The respect comes with the job as does the adventure peppered with an aura of safeguarding the country’s frontiers. To top it all there’s always the glamour of donning a uniform as well.

Sounds good? Sure does. As for anyone an opportunity for making a livelihood in the defense services would seem like landing a dream job. But are the army, air force or navy officers who are already in the job happy with the picture perfect profession they have?

No way! They say. Not surprising either what with most ruing unequal pay scales, rigorous work routines which keep them away from their families and last but not the least slow professional growth. While that may sound quite dreary, the good news is the officers in the forces have now found a way out.

Most are opting out of the services and moving into the private sector to earn a living so that they can maintain a standard of lifestyle they have wanted but have not been able to achieve in the defense forces.

And predictably institutions like XLRI Jamshedpur and the other major B school all over the country like IIM A,B,C,I and L and MDI Gurgaon have become their hot favorites to realize those aspirations.

Says Capt Shakti Tahlan who recently retired from the Army’s short service commission and is pursuing a six months Executive Management Programme at XLRI Jamshedpur, “I knew my caliber was way above what the army was utilizing me for so the frustration of not doing enough was really getting to me. So when I got a chance to leave and join a course for resettlement I jumped at it. Currently I am pursuing a six months course in HR Management at XLRI Jamshedpur and post my course will be placed in a private company with a good salary. It’s just ideal for me.”

A fact that is seconded by Group Capt KS Malimath, who moved out of the Indian Air force after 22 years of service and is currently training at XLRI Jamshedpur as well, “To put it bluntly people are moving out of the defense services to explore greener pastures. Govt organization are no more what they were 20 years back. The armed forces have been degraded by external agents like IAS clan and internally everyone is finding themselves in a rut which is taking away professionalism from the service. Making matters worse is that being in the defense forces provides only promotions which does not exemplify professionalism as compared to private job offers which better professional growth.”

While a period of transition is indeed stressful, specially so when it is related to our professional field. Defense officers don’t feel the heat that much switching careers thanks to the management colleges they are entering to hone their skills required to excel in the private arena.

As explains Capt Tribhuvan Singh Mankotia a short service commissioned officer with over six years experience with the JAG Wing(Judge Advocate General Branch) a legal branch of the India Army, “I left the army as the respect and repute of an Army Officer has gone down drastically in the recent years. I am a Third Generation Officer and have seen the services change a lot from what the Army was 15 years back. On the other hand job satisfaction is not there, one is restricted in the work they do and the freedom and ideas that can be implemented are curtailed as well. Lot of ego problems and trying to constantly change yourself as per whim’s and fancies of your commanding officer are also the reasons why I feel most of us have left the Army.”

But does he feel defense officers will get all that was missing in army from a private job?

“Of course,” says Capt Mankotia, “The sky is the limit once you walk out of the forces. There are large numbers of MNCs which are ready to select an Army officer based on the training and the discipline which makes us stand apart from the ordinary. But I feel that we also have more scope for job satisfaction in a private job because here the performance/results speak for the efforts put in. Whereas in defense services its more of a ACR based report which assesses our caliber, one may not have done anything or their knowledge about the profession may be zero but in the end what really counts is the ACR. If the commanding officer is happy nothing else is required. Moreover in defence like any other govt job a person knows that nobody can stop his salary and time scale promotions. So majority do not work nor contribute towards the growth of the organization.”

Also adds Flt Lt N S V Shalini, from Indian Air Force’s Technical Branch who opted out of the services after 8 yrs and is training at a management institute to hone her skills to be able to fit into the corporate world, “Though in the current scenario, working outside of Armed Forces seems less lucrative, in the long run it offers better pay. Also, opportunity for growth is more the prospect of being in your choice of residence seems better. A wide variety of jobs available in the market depending upon the experience of the Armed Forces Officer make the prospect of leaving the forces trouble-free. We also have the added advantage of being able to adapt and handle any job profile which removes any restriction of jobs for Armed Forces personnel. When the job is technical-oriented, those who are qualified and trained on that technology and software will be able to fit well into such job profiles.”

But ask her if after being trained to handle combat techniques can defense personnel handle private jobs which need more of people management, pat comes her reply, “It is but natural for ex-Armed Forces Officers to adapt to civilian jobs. Combat techniques involve a huge investment of your physical and mental capabilities and require intense and constant training and updating of skills. In civilian jobs, requirements are not as intense since you hardly face combat-like situations. In addition to that we spend six months to a year in management institutions like IIMs etc learning how to fit into a corporate world.”

While the ex-armed forces officers are confident enough, those with experience of having tested the corporate scenario prefer to remain skeptical.

Says Amit Jaiswal, an advocate who has worked closely with defense officers to solve their legal issues related to their employment, “Pursuing a career in the army most certainly limits the scope of growth in terms of the job scenario. Then there is always the stringent Army Act that most succumb to as well which further develops an superiority complex and a dictatorial attitude and mindset in an officer which prevents them from fitting into the proverbial diplomatic temperament a manager in a private firm needs to have. So they eventually end up running their own security firm or take on the responsibility of administration in education field. ”

Not so says Col PK Bose(retd), who is currently working with a private company dealing with finance security,ATM Management and high value cash management, “Having led two battalions of the Infantry man management, planning security and movement of highly vulnerable equipment and troops was part of my job. So it’s but natural that I take to a similar work profile post retirement. Though I did not take up any management training when I retired I feel the young officers doing so today will only add to their skills and enhance their chances of getting a job in the private sector.”

But are such officers cut out for working in a private arena after being trained for combat tactics?

Avers Bose, “Army officers are given skills that are very varied and which are inculcated in him during his training in the defense academies. So they are well equipped to handle manpower, maintain equipments, managing finance in terms of high security cash and salary and funds. The added plus is their people’s management skills given the fact that they handle troops made up of recruits from different parts of the country make them ideal to fit into the corporate world. So in my opinion a defense officer is the best choice private companies have to pick up as part of their staff and with most now training in management skills as well the package they have will be the best in the industry.”

Well coming straight from the horses mouth there is no doubt that the sky is the limit for those who wish quit wearing fatigues and take on a civilian role. Any takers head honchos?

Anjali Singh, CNS
(The author is a Special Correspondent to Citizen News Service (CNS) and also the Director of Saaksham Foundation. Email: anjali@citizen-news.org)

http://www.modernghana.com/news/220989/1/defense-forces-take-on-the-corporate-battlefields.html

Artillery Scandal, the onus is on the Indian Army

June 10th, 2009 | email this | digg it

Posted by P. Chacko Joseph

Published in General Indian Armed Forces News, Indian Army News

In 2007, I wrote this article Blind men of Hindustan Army. To quote ” Artillery: After a lot of trials, Indian Army had selected best available option for artillery induction. Unlike Arjun Tank, which is made for Indian conditions, Indian Army had no foresight to develop this crucial component. There is another dimension to it. The current coalition government is headed by the same political party which has been accused of taking bribe during last purchase of artillery guns from Bofors. Since Indian Army had finalized guns from Bofors Defence (now owned by the BAE Systems) again, it’s unlikely the purchase is likely to happen. Another of the self propelled gun system from Denel, South Africa, which was under consideration, is now in cold storage because of a bribery case. The project is called “Bhim.”

In 2009, how this has come true even though if the situations have changed a bit.

Indian Army’s Rs 15,000+ crore artillery modernisation programme is in trouble again. Singapore Technologies which was competing for US $ 650 million 155 mm towed artillery guns for the Indian Army, has been black listed.

As per the Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) (a laboratory of the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO)), website “In the wake of the 1962 Chinese aggression, for our hardpressed gunners defending our mountain borders, ARDE, jointly with the Ordnance Factories developed and produced 75/24 Pack Howitzer and a whole family of ammunition viz., HE, Smoke and Illuminating. This light weight howitzer could be broken down into smaller units for mule transportation in the mountains or could be carried underslung by helicopter. The weapon system saw action in the 1971 operations. This was the first artillery gun system developed indigenously.”

The same facility (ARDE), subsequently made 105 mm Indian Field Gun (IFG), Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher Systems and 120mm Main Armament and Ammunition system for the ARJUN MBT.

There have been mess ups with gun upgrade contracts with OFB (not DRDO), but, it takes continuous research and development to keep up with the technology.

Kargil War has not jolted Indian Army over the fiasco with the 155 mm gun ammunition. It has imported huge volumes. What if the war had escalated?

Indian Army till date does not has an indigenous 155mm gun program. It has not not even looked at Non Line of Sight (NLOS) weapons which the world is moving to.

DRDO did have a 155mm gun design is 1990’s, but, our Indian Army wouldn’t approve of it.

In near future, if a war erupts against China, will it be the Chinese artillery or lack of Indian artillery that will put India at a disadvantage? Even Indian Air Force, like Indian Navy has moved on indigenous path, when will Indian Army learn? lack of good leadership at Indian Army for past 3 decades is showing.

http://frontierindia.net/artillery-scandal-the-onus-is-on-the-indian-army

More Indian Defense Corruption -- But We Need The Weapons So What To Do?

By Matthew Potter | June 10th, 2009 @ 3:04 am

In yet another in the continuing saga of bribes related to defense contracts the Indian government suspended seven companies with recent contracts due to bribery allegations against Sudipta Ghosh. Ghosh was the former head of the Ordnance Factories Board.

The allegations and evidence were so serious that the government decided to suspend the companies involved without waiting for a trial or conviction. Unfortunately one of the involved defense contractors is Israeli Military Industries (IMI) who make most of the small arms and ammunition for the Indian military. IMI recently signed a deal to build five factories in India to produce ordnance and ammunition. The Indian Army and Special Forces are heavily dependent on IMI for weapons.

Another company involved is Singapore Technologies. Ending their contract means that a major upgrade to the artillery equipment will have to end. A whole new contract proposal and award process would have to be completed seriously delaying the reequipping of the military with more modern and advanced artillery.

This means that India may have to reconsider ending the contracts as they require the capability being provided. Two other companies possibly related to the inquiry, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael, were not blacklisted as their contracts are considered so important to the modernization of India’s military.

India has turned more recently to a wider group of suppliers for military suppliers rather then relying on their traditional Russian, British and indigenous capabilities in a bid to rapidly modernize their forces. Unfortunately several major contract awards and selections have been marred with bribes and had to either be canceled or started over. This has been one of the reasons that the new helicopters the Army and Navy have tried to buy have started and stopped in fits.

Several major figures in the military and government have been investigated and arrested for taking bribes to steer contracts in one direction or another. In this case the government has decided that despite the allegations against the contractors and the government personnel the systems are too important to be canceled or delayed. It may be that no further cases of this type come forward, but it is certainly that with future contracts such as the new fighter aircraft it may happen again.

http://industry.bnet.com/government/10002027/more-indian-defense-corruption-but-we-need-the-weapons-so-what-to-do/



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