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Friday, 12 June 2009

From Today's Papers - 12 Jun 09

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Asian Age


The Pioneer

Asian Age

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Times of India

Times of India

Times of India

DNA India

DNA India

Indian Express

Indian Express

PC for phasing out CRPF in J&K
Gradual substitution by state police
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, June 11
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has asked the controlling officers of the CRPF and the Jammu and Kashmir Police to work out a strategy for the gradual substitution of the CRPF by the latter in essential duties.

Chidambaram said this at the meeting of the Unified Command Headquarters, jointly presided over by him and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah here today. The meeting was attended among others by Lt-Gen PC Bhardhwaj, GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt-Gen Bikram Singh, GOC 15 Corps, Lt-Gen RK Swamy, GOC 16 Corps, Major-Gen K. Surendranath, GOC 26 Div, DGP of the J&K Police and other senior security and police officers.

He had also one-to-one meetings with Governor NN Vohra, Omar Abdullah and with delegations of various political parties. The Home Minister met Vohra at the Raj Bhawan here this afternoon. During an hour-long meeting, they discussed the overall situation in the state.

Chidambaram at the Unified Command Headquarters meeting laid stress on strict adherence to the Standing Operating Procedures (SOP) and the Code of Conduct for the uniformed forces. He said the senior officers of various uniformed forces must acquaint their rank and file of the provisions of the code of conduct and ensure that the field officers and jawans did not transgress these while performing their duties.

Stating that the duties assigned to the security forces and the police were well defined, the Home Minister said while the Army and the paramilitary forces were tasked to perform security-related duties, the state police should perform all essential functions relating to the maintenance of law and order.

Chidambaram congratulated the Chief Minister and the state administration for the peaceful conduct of the parliamentary elections. He said the Centre was solidly behind the state government in its endeavour to create a stable and secure environment in the state, which was the prerequisite for development.

The Chief Minister said his government attached highest importance to the protection of human rights and directions in this regard had been given to all concerned to uphold human rights under all circumstances.

Omar said the government, among other challenges, had at present the challenge of carrying forward and completing developmental projects within the limited working season. “We have to make our tourist season a success, smoothly conduct the Amarnath yatra and take care of the crucial academic session,” he said. He added a peaceful and conducive atmosphere was imperative to achieve our developmental objectives.

Among the delegations of political parties that met Chidambaram included a four-member PDP delegation led by party president Mehbooba Mufti and a Congress delegation. Mehbooba reiterated its demand for the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the reduction of troops, and more space and authority to the state police in the internal security in the state.

Pak has reduced troops on Indian border: Holbrooke
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

Pakistan has moved a significant number of its troops from the Indian border in order to tackle in-land militants, a senior US official has said.

The comments from Richard Holbrooke, US President Barack Obama’s special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, who just completed a trip to Pakistan, will likely boost New Delhi’s willingness to restart a dialogue with Pakistan.

The dialogue was disrupted by the Mumbai attacks, which resulted in Pakistan deploying troops along its western border in the wake of fears of retaliation by India.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department on Wednesday, Holbrooke said, “The number of [Pakistani] troops that have been moved towards the west is clearly larger than the number that were moved eastwards after the Mumbai bombing.”

He noted that it was for the Pakistan government to “announce their own force deployments, not for me to make a headline here”.

But Holbrooke’s comments gain significance in light of US efforts to jump-start the India-Pakistan dialogue.

Holbrooke was confident that Pakistani troops would be able to build on their recent gains against the Taliban in the Swat valley. “The Pakistan army has moved a great deal of troops, to the west this time, a very large number. And it’s made a difference,” he said.

While in Pakistan, Holbrooke met with both the civilian as well as the military leadership - President Asif Ali Zardari, his archrival Nawaz Sharif, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani and ISI Chief Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha. He noted a dramatic change in attitudes from his previous trips to Pakistan and attributed this to the “outrages of the Taliban and their supporters”.

Holbrooke said the Obama administration believed it must keep in “closest consultations” with India on developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He spoke with Undersecretary of State William Burns on the latter’s arrival in New Delhi early on Wednesday. Burns is carrying a private presidential letter for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Holbrooke noted that he would have been the one carrying the message had he got the time to visit New Delhi after his visit to Pakistan.

Describing the contents of the letter as private, Holbrooke said it was important to note that the third most important person in the US State Department had gone to India to “reaffirm immediately after the election” US commitment to the relationship.

“The Indians were very frank with us. They wanted to keep in touch with us during the election period. But they had to wait through the election, just like we do; the world’s two greatest democracies,” he added.

Holbrooke will be meeting India’s Ambassador in Washington, Meera Shankar, next week. He has already met her twice since her arrival in Washington late last month. “We consider India an absolutely critical country in the region,” Holbrooke said, adding, “India is not a part of the problem but is vitally affected. And we want to work closely with India.”

Discussing the plight of refugees pouring out of Swat, Holbrooke said the highest priority for these people was to be able to return to their homes as quickly as possible. But to get back they needed security, he said, adding, “And the military is still in the process of cleaning out Swat and Buner and other areas. And that job is not yet complete.”

Holbrooke, who visited two tent cities for refugees while in Pakistan, said the displaced people understood why they had been made homeless. They did not like the Taliban.

Recounting a conversation with a mechanic who had been forced to abandon his home in Swat, Holbrooke said, “One man sitting in an unventilated tent with one of his wives and about seven of his 15 children ... quite memorably, said to me, ‘I used to live in heaven; now I live in hell’.”

Obama’s special envoy said it was imperative that the refugees should be able to return to their homes. “Those camps and those temporary facilities cannot harden into a permanent refugee settlement, as has happened in so many other parts of the world,” he said.

Holbrooke said the US was very gratified by the Pakistani government’s action against the Taliban. “What I can say is that Pakistan needs our help, and that help is in our own national security interests,” he said.

Centre reviews coastal security
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 11
Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta comprehensively reviewed all issues relating to coastal security of the country at a high-level meeting here.

The meeting assumes significance against the backdrop of the fact that the 26/11 Mumbai attackers used the sea route to travel to India from Pakistan.

The meeting was attended by senior officers from the Navy and ministries of home, defence, shipping and fisheries. The Home Secretaries or their representatives from nine coastal States and four union territories also participated in the meeting.

A critical review of the ongoing Coastal Security Scheme was done at the meeting. Now that the delivery of interceptor boats under the scheme has started, the states and union territories were asked to ensure availability of the required infrastructure and trained manpower for proper handling and upkeep of the boats.

The meeting also focused on firming up additional requirements of the coastal states and UTs, based on vulnerability/gap analysis in consultation with the Coast Guard, for the purpose of formulating the proposed Phase-II of the Coastal Security Scheme. The status of implementation of other linked initiatives such as registration for fishing and other vessels, installation of communication equipment on these boats, uniform system of issuance of ID cards to fishermen was also examined and it was observed that satisfactory progress has been achieved.

The issue of recruitment/training of executive as well as technical staff for coastal police stations/boats was also discussed at length. The Indian Navy and Coast Guard were asked to provide assistance to the States in this regard.

Meanwhile, G K Pillai, who will soon take over as the Home Secretary from Madhukar Gupta, took charge as the officer on special duty (OSD) in the ministry.

Indo-Pak conflict overshadows economic cooperation
by Saroj Bishoyi

CAN trade improve relations between hostile nations? Can economic benefits and cooperation overtake political conflicts? Are better trade relations between two nations possible only after a settlement of all conflicts? According to the Classical Trade Theory, international trade serves to reduce political conflicts.

Trade between two nations accrue gains to both while the loss of existing trade ties, resulting from a political conflict between the two nations, implies a loss of economic benefits. Two countries trading with each other, therefore, make an effort to avoid conflicts in order not to suffer such a loss.

For instance, China and Japan have shown they can have good trade relations despite having differences over important political issues.

In the case of India and Pakistan, the political conflict over Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) seems to be holding free trade hostage.

Greater economic cooperation could, however, provide mutual economic benefits, such as lower prices for consumers, much-needed revenue for the governments, and cost-effective gas import to India via Pakistan.

Indo-Pakistan relations are grounded in the historical, geographic, demographic and economic links between India and Pakistan, two of the largest and fastest-developing countries in South Asia.

The two countries share much of their common geographic location, and religion (most notably Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism), yet diplomatic relations between the two are defined by numerous military conflicts and territorial disputes.

Peace talks with Pakistan reached at the lowest point in their five-year history after a spate of bombings at the country’s embassy in Kabul and the Mumbai blasts. The blasts had “affected the future” of negotiations between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

While the Kabul and the 26/11 Mumbai attacks have been the main reason for the diplomatic downturn in the peace process, however, Indian concerns over its relations with Pakistan have predated the deadly bombings. Several times, India has conveyed its concerns over ceasefire violations on the LoC, and the sudden and quite public resurgence of banned militant groups in Pakistan to the new government in Islamabad through diplomatic channels. They were also communicated at the political level to Islamabad.

At present, two problems confront the peace process that makes the coming months a very crucial period for India-Pakistan relations: a weak government in Pakistan that is unable to assert its political will for peace with India over the “establishment”.

The newly elected Indian officials who have started interacting with the government in Pakistan too say the main worry now is that the set-up is too weak and unstable to give any assurances that it can rein in “the elements” which have been chipping away at the peace process, whether it is on the LoC, the attack in Kabul or Mumbai.

Therefore, these recent developments have further raised questions about the ongoing peace process between the two countries and the prospects of their bilateral economic cooperation.

Even though India and Pakistan are currently entangled in political and economic deadlock, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has recently suggested measures, i.e. increasing bilateral trade in the fields of banking, freight transport and goods like tea and rice, promoting people-to-people contact and raising businessmen’s stake, etc to achieve the target of Indo-Pak two-way trade to $9 billion in the next few years.

Their trade, as per current estimates, has touched around $2 billion and its potential will grow manifold as their interdependence on the economic and trade-related issues leapfrogs in future, thereby burying deep down Indo-Pak political differences, says ASSOCHAM president Sajjan Jindal.

The Indian Council of Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), New Delhi, in its recent study also said that India and Pakistan have a trade potential of Rs 46,098 crore, but the two neighbours need to take proactive measures to exploit untapped areas of economic cooperation.

Once the two countries’ leaders decide to start a political dialogue, however, expanding trade could become a useful adjunct to the political process, instead of being hamstrung by it.

With an improved security and political environment and a resolution of the long-standing Kashmir conflict, citizens of both countries would be able to reap a large peace dividend.

It would come not only through more trade in goods and services, but also from joint ventures and investments in each other’s country, improved coordination of economic and financial policies and from financing investments in human capital and economic infrastructure by releasing budget resources that are now committed to defence and security.

Both countries, therefore, need to make an effort to avoid conflicts in order not to suffer such a welfare loss. The development of trade relations between India and Pakistan will serve to resolve their political conflicts.

It is strategically more prudent for the two leading states of South Asia to move forward to take advantage of the opportunities and take on the challenges.

The writer has done research on South Asian security issues.

Pak posing as serious challenger to US foreign policy: Berman

Lalit K Jha/ PTI / Washinton June 11, 2009, 12:25 IST

Observing that Pakistan poses one of the most serious challenge to the US foreign policy, a top Democrat lawmaker has said that it becomes all the more necessary to make sure that Pak is made accountable to the US aid, to make sure that unlike in the past it does not goes down the drain.

"Pakistan constitutes one of the most vexing foreign policy challenges of our age," Howard Berman, Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Foreign Relations said Tuesday during the course of a debate on his legislation on Pakistan in the House Rules Committee.

The Pakistan Enduring Assistance Act (H R 1886), which was passed by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, was being debated in the House Committee on Rules before it could be taken up on the floor.

The act proposes to triple the civilian aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion for the next five years, but imposes strict conditions on Pakistan in lieu of that which is being resented by the Obama Administration and opposed by the establishment in Pakistan as well.

"Someone argued, "Oh, you shouldn't have any conditions, any benchmarks, any accountability provisions.", Berman said during the Rules Committee meeting. "But these aren't rigid and inflexible conditions. We are simply asking Pakistan to follow through with the commitments it has already made. We are talking about providing authorising a lot of money, here. And I think some accountability is a key part of that," he said.

"Congress should not be giving Pakistan, any more, a blank check," Berman said, in a apparent reference to a similar statement made by the US President, Barack Obama, on March 27 when he announced his Af-Pak policy.

"There are some report and accountability provisions to ensure that Pakistan is using our security assistance in a manner consistent with US national security interests.

They require an annual presidential determination that Pakistan is cooperating with the United States on dismantling the proliferation network and on non-proliferation issues, generally; is meeting its commitment to combat terrorist groups and has made progress toward that end," Berman said.

Observing that the bill calls for increased assistance for Pakistan's public education system with an emphasis on access for women and girls, he said to help ensure that US assistance actually reaches the Pakistani people, it requires increased auditing, monitoring and evaluation.

"A huge amount of the assistance we have sent to Pakistan, we have no accountability for. It has disappeared into the ether. And this bill does everything that I can think of to try and keep that from happening again," Berman asserted.

UN Security Council agrees on tough new sanctions on NKorea

Dharma Shourie/ PTI / United Nations June 11, 2009, 9:37 IST

After two weeks of tough negotiations, the five permanent members of the Security Council have agreed on a draft resolution to impose tough new sanctions against North Korea for its second nuclear test, diplomats said.

The resolution, which could go to vote as early as tomorrow, puts Pyongyang on notice in no uncertain terms that even its friends like China and Russia do not approve of its continued nuclear ambition and would like to put a stop to it.

The new resolution will include possible inspections of the North Korea's cargo vessels on high seas. In addition, it may expand an arms embargo against North Korea, seek to curtail the North's financial dealings with the outside world, and freeze assets of the communist nation's companies.

"It is important for there to be consequences and this sanctions regime, if passed by the Security Council, will bite and bite in a meaningful way," US Ambassador to the UN Susan E Rice said.

However, past sanctions have met with little success in convincing North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions. The resolution, which is expected to pass without any difficulty given that it enjoys the support of the major member nations, including South Korea and Japan, condemns the underground nuclear test conducted by North Korea on May 25.

The resolution demands that Pyongyang should suspend its ballistic missile programme immediately, put a stop to any further tests, and join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Despite conceding that "sanctions and things like that is not our choice," Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly I Churkin said that regardless, "a certain political message must be sent and some measures must be taken because we are facing a very real situation of proliferation risks."

China and Russia supported sending a strong and clear message to the Pyongyang, but not one that would provoke or destabilise the North Korean government, diplomats said.

The draft resolution states that if any nation has "reasonable grounds" to believe that North Korean vessels, whether in port or high seas, are transporting materials related to the nuclear programme or weapons, it should inspect those vessels and seize "any such material."

The inspection provision also covers airport cargoes.

Although there was no immediate reaction from North Korea, Pyongyang has maintained that the inspection of North Korean ships or other such sanctions would be tantamount to an act of war.

All member states are called upon to avoid and freeze any financial transactions by North Korea pertaining to its nuclear programme, its ballistic missile programme or any activity related to weapons of mass destruction.

Humanitarian and/or development programmes are exempt from this financial blockade.

Govt pulls up IAF top brass after China protests remarks

Shishir Gupta Posted online: Friday , Jun 12, 2009 at 0222 hrs

New Delhi : Beijing has objected to public statements made by the IAF top brass justifying the induction of frontline Su-30 MKI fighters at the Tezpur base to counter Chinese troops near Arunachal Pradesh and bracketing China in the troubled states category of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Following this, Defence Minister A K Antony has pulled up the IAF and asked Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, the new Chief of Air Staff who took over from Fali Major, to ensure that none of his commanders speak out of turn on India’s neighbours or Indian military capability.

Antony not only pulled up South Western Air Commander Air Marshal K D Singh for openly talking about a “short intense war” with Pakistan but has also shot down an IAF plan for media coverage of the Su-30 MKI induction in Tezpur on June 15.

Before he handed charge on May 31, former Air chief Major also told the media how India had come close to war with Pakistan after the 26/11 terror strikes. He retired before the Chinese objection was brought to the notice of Antony. Air chief Naik, on his part, has conveyed Antony’s message to all senior commanders.

On the sidelines of the Shangri La security dialogue in Singapore between May 29-31, Lt Gen Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of General Staff, Peoples Liberation Army, asked Indian delegates including Defence Secretary Vijay Singh and Admiral Sureesh Mehta on the reasons for this sabre-rattling by Indian commanders.

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