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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

From Today's Papers - 08 Jul 09

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Targeting CRPF through protests?

Sudhi Ranjan Sen, Tuesday July 7, 2009, Srinagar, New Delhi

As Jammu and Kashmir simmers over the alleged human rights violations by security forces in Shopian and Baramulla, here's a look at the other side of the story.

Central Reserve Paramilitary Force (CRPF) men have been repeatedly targeted in street protests in the Valley since the new government took over. So is Pakistan deliberately provoking the force into retaliating with force?

India's central reserve police force was just recently withdrawn from Baramulla town after firing on civilian protestors. Officials in New Delhi argue that the recent clashes between the CRPF and civilians are not a coincidence. They claim it is the result of a major change in strategy of terrorists and separatists.

In the last eight months, while there has not been a single major terror strike since the new government took over, over 1200 CRPF men have seriously been injured in such protests and over 200 of their vehicles burnt or damaged.

Every Friday, in downtown Srinagar, 30 battalions of CPRF are deployed to take on protestors who pelt stones. Instead of guns, bombs and violence, mass streets protests on local issues have pushed the CPRF on to the other side of the battle lines.

The idea, New Delhi believes, is to spread enough choas to compel security forces to take harsh measures like fire on protestors. That in turn will escalate and spread the agitation.

NDTV has accessed radio message transcripts from across the border, intercepted by security agencies.

"We have sufficient information and confirmation to suggest that policy shift flows from Pakistan in instruction by handlers to separatists leadership in J&K to emphasis on street mobilisation," said Ajai Sahni, executive director, Institute for Conflict Management.

Security sources tell NDTV that the street protests are designed to achieve a couple of targets. One - create a bad image of the central forces and project India as an oppressive state, and two - tie down the CRPF, thereby creating gaps in the security grid.

The Home Minister, sources say, would prefer to pull back the CPRF into the barracks, and retain them only for anti-insurgency operations, not for everyday policing.

But, for Omar Abdullah to replace the CRPF with the locally drawn Jammu and Kashmir Police could be a double edged sword. On the one hand, it could be good politics, but on the other, the worry about whether the local police would act against their own. And not to mention that there aren't enough policemen available anyway.

India not Pakistan's enemy, says Miliband

Lalit K Jha/PTI / Washington July 7, 2009, 11:32 IST

India is not a threat to Pakistan, and New Delhi has "better things to do" than end up in a standoff with its neighbour, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said.

"The enemy that Pakistan faces is a domestic terrorist, not a large and successful neighbour India, which has got far better things to do in the world of commerce and politics than end up in a standoff with Pakistan," Miliband said in an interview with CNN.

When pointed out that it was British colonial powers which drew the boundary line between India and Pakistan, causing almost half a million people to die, Miliband said: "We did. And we have to recognise our own history."

At the same time, he was quick to point out: "But remember, 61 years, India is the world's largest and most successful — the largest democracy and the success story of the region."

Pakistan on the other hand, he observed, has had 31 years of military rule and two-thirds of its boundaries were still contested.

"Communities from Baluchistan through to the Punjab split by lines between countries and of course, the Bangladesh experience of the early 1970s. So, you see, let me just make the point that Pakistan has been a society deeply challenged — socioeconomically, politically, geographically — over the last 60 years," Miliband said.

"I think what is important is that countries like Britain and America are engaged in the right way. And we have to support credible strong government in Pakistan that is able to come to grips with its own problems, because it's the mortal threat that their own society faces that is the greatest threat to us," Miliband said.

North Korean missile launch is provocative action: US

Press Trust of India / Washington July 7, 2009, 10:00 IST

Condemning the missile launch by North Korea on July 4, the US has said it is a provocative action.

"These launches are provocative, but they are nothing new," the State Department spokesman, Ian Kelly, said at his daily press briefing at its Foggy Bottom headquarters.

"We continue to call on North Korea to refrain from these kinds of provocative actions that aggravate tensions and do not contribute at all to regional security," Kelly said.

The focus of the Obama Administration, Kelly said is on the implementation of our two UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874 that require North Korea to suspend all ballistic missile-related activity.

Navy to strengthen submarine fleet
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 7
Higher allocation for hardware procurement in the Union Budget may help the Navy to beef up its submarine fleet, which has been badly depleted due to age, according to sources here.

The Budget allotted Rs 8,322 crore for the Navy, of which Rs 2,850 crore has been earmarked for pay and allowances with the rest meant for purchase of equipment. Among the items on the Navy’s wishlist include new submarines since less than half the 16 submarines in its fleet are in serviceable condition.

Last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report noted that of the 12 Kilo-class and four HDW submarines in the fleet, many had outlived their service life. Only about six to seven submarines were available for active deployment, it was noted. The serious depletion of the country’s submarine fleet would put India at a disadvantage in case of a war, the CAG report had warned.

Pact hurdle in fencing B’desh frontier
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 7
A certain clause in the mutually agreed upon border guidelines signed between India and Bangladesh in 1974 has become a sort of hurdle in the border fencing initiative of the Government of India in Meghalaya and Assam areas. The clause in question recommends fencing at 150 yards from Zero Line.

However, once India started work on fencing, it found that leaving 150 yards between the Zero Line and fencing was not possible at many places for geographical, cultural and sometimes historical reasons.

According to an official source, places of worship are located right near the zero line at some places, making it impossible to do fencing at 150 yards from Zero Line.

In a preliminary survey conducted about a month ago, the Home Ministry and the Border Security Force (BSF) have found 46 such patches where the fencing cannot be done as per the agreed guidelines.

Diplomatic efforts are now on to get necessary go-ahead from Bangladesh to proceed in such case. A joint survey will be conducted by officials from India and Bangladesh soon to assess the situation on the ground.

A joint working group of India and Bangladesh is likely to
take up the issue of adverse possession of land along the India-Bangladesh frontier.

Security Council slams NKorean missile launches

AFP/ PTI / United Nations July 7, 2009, 9:58 IST

The Security Council condemned North Korea's weekend missile launches as a violation of UN resolutions as well as a threat to regional and international security.

Ugandan Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda, who chairs the 15-member body this month, said that members "condemned and expressed grave concern" over Saturday's North Korean ballistic missile launches.

The launches "constitute a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and pose a threat to regional and international security," he said in a relatively mild, non-binding statement.

Council members reiterated that Pyongyang "must comply fully with its obligations and relevant resolutions" and appealed to "all parties to refrain from any action that would aggravate the security situation in the region."

They also expressed their commitment to "a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution" and vowed "to continue to closely monitor the situation and act as appropriate in accordance to the UN Charter."

Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu, whose country feels most threatened by Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and who had requested the council meeting, immediately welcomed the statement.

Army recruitment gets poor response

7 Jul 2009, 2317 hrs IST

MYSORE: Army recruitment has got a lukewarm response in Mysore, said deputy director general (recruitment), Bangalore, Brigadier K C Kushalappa. Though the announcement was made 45 days before the recruitment rally, the response is poor from the Mysore region, added Kushalappa.

He called upon parents and general public to encourage their children and surrounding people to join the army, as it is a matter of pride to wear the uniform of soldiers of Indian army and serve in the cause of the nation's security.

So far, 2,000 candidates have appeared for selection in the recruitment rally in Mysore and 950 have passed the preliminary screening, Kushalappa disclosed and added that the written tests will be held in Bangalore for candidates appearing for selection to the general duty posts on July 26 and for clerks and nursing assistants on August 4.

The eight-day recruitment rally, which commenced on July 2, will go on till July 8. The rally is conducted for enrolment in categories of Soldiers General Duty, Soldier Technical, Soldier Clerk/Store Keeper Technical, Soldier Nursing Assistant, Soldier General Duty, Soldier Tradesman and re-enrolment of ex-servicemen into Defence Security Corps as Soldier General Duty. After initial screening of the height and documents, the candidates are subjected to undergo physical endurance tests consisting of a run of 1.6 km distance, balance and pull-ups and zig zag balance jumping across a 9-foot ditch.

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