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Friday, 10 July 2009

From Today's Papers -10 Jul 09

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'US not supporting India's UNSC seat bid'

Press Trust of India / New Delhi July 9, 2009, 15:18 IST

The government today said that the United States has not expressed support for a permanent seat for India in an expanded United Nations Security Council.

"While the US has stated in the UN that it supports expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories, it has not expressed support for a permanent seat for India in the expanded Security Council," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

He added the government has discussed expansion of the UN Security Council and India's aspiration to be a permanent member of an expanded Security Council with the US administrations, including the current one.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/%5Cus-not-supporting-india%5Cs-unsc-seat-bid%5C/67213/on

China’s defence spending of concern to India
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
Days after waxing and waning on framing a response to China’s assertions on India’s defence-related growth, the Indian Defence Ministry has come down heavily on China’s huge defence spending and also its continued assistance to Pakistan.

“… It will have an effect on the overall military environment in the neighbourhood of India”, said the annual report of the ministry tabled in Parliament yesterday. In a way the report focuses more on China than on Pakistan. In security circles, China is seen as a bigger threat to India’s growth than Pakistan.

Consequently, China’s defence modernisation needs to be monitored carefully in the foreseeable future for the implications that it can have on the security and defence of India, said the report that is open comment on the Indo-China ties.

The two nations have been locked in a bitter and long -standing boundary dispute. Commenting on the ties between China and Pakistan the ministry has pointed out that the Chinese military assistance and cooperation with Pakistan and other countries in the neighbourhood was growing. The reference to other countries is Nepal and Burma where China is quickly establishing a foothold.

The ministry feels that there is a possibility of China enhancing connectivity with Pakistan through the illegally occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir. “This will have direct military implications for India”.

The report goes to says India has taken note of China’s statement in its “White paper on National Defence in 2008”. In this China states “it will never seek hegemony or engage in military expansion now or in the future, no matter how developed it becomes”.

The Indian Ministry of Defence says it has taken note of the double digit growth in Chinese defence expenditures over the previous 20 years, which has led to significant modernisation of its defence forces, both in terms of quality and quantity.

China’s stated objectives in its “white paper” are clear that it aims at developing strategic missile and space-based assets and of rapidly enhancing its blue-water navy to conduct operations in distant waters, and the systematic upgrading of infrastructure, reconnaissance and surveillance, quick response and operational capabilities in the border areas.

India will engage China to seek greater transparency and openness in its defence policy and posture, while taking all necessary measures to protect the national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty of India, the ministry has assured Parliament.

The armed forces of the two countries are engaged in building greater understanding through joint military exercises, through a regular defence dialogue since 2007 and through exchanges of military delegations.

On Pakistan, the report says that the militants operating from its soil have contributed to the deterioration of India’s external security environment.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090710/nation.htm#10

Pak-based terrorists continuing attacks in India: Krishna
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
India’s relationship with Pakistan has come stressfull because of the license, which terrorist groups have had in Pakistan to carry out attacks in India, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said today.

In a suo motu statement in Parliament on the developments in India’s neighbourhood, Krishna also accused Pakistan of reneging on its commitment not to allow the misuse of territories under its control to be used for terrorist activities against India.

“It s the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan to take all such steps as are necessary to address this issue (terrorism emanating from Pakistan) and expose and take action against the conspiracies and conspirators responsible for such attacks.

Unfortunately, terrorists in Pakistan continue to carry out attacks on India,’’ he said.

The foreign minister’s statement is clearly aimed at upping the ante against Pakistan ahead of a crucial meeting next week between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan Premier Yousaf Reza Gilani.

Recent reports have suggested that the two countries could resume the stalled dialogue after the meeting between the two Prime Ministers. Pakistan has been seeking the resumption of the dialogue process for quite some time while India insists that Islamabad must bring to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to show its sincerity in dealing with India’s concerns on terrorism.

In his statement, Krishna also emphasised the importance of a continued dialogue with Pakistan. However, the dialogue to address mutual concerns was premised in an atmosphere free of threat of violence.

Krishna said the foreign secretaries of the two countries would also meet in Egypt before the meeting between their two principals to take stock of what Pakistan had been doing to prevent terrorism from its soil.

On the situation in Sri Lanka after the conclusion of the military conflict against the LTTE, Krishna reiterated India’s interest in ensuring a lasting political settlement in the island nation, which must address the legitimate aspirations of the minorities, including the Tamil community, within the democratic framework of a united Sri Lanka.

On Nepal, he said India was concerned at the lack of progress on the peace process and fraying of the political consensus that was critical to it.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090710/nation.htm#11

Actor Mohan Lal joins TA
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
Noted Malayalam film actor Mohan Lal, today formally joined the Territorial Army (TA) in the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was piped by Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor here this afternoon.

Just last year, cricketer Kapil Dev had also joined the TA. He has since then been taking active part in the activities, including undergoing weapon training. Mohan Lal, a versatile actor clearly looked nervous and overawed by the event as he marched up in uniform to be piped. He will be affiliated with the Kerala-based 122 Inf Bn (TA) MADRAS called the “Kannur terriers”.

He has won several accolades to his credits, including four national awards, and is a Padmashree awardee. His portrayals of an army officer in movies like Kirti Chakra and Kurukshetra are seen as outstanding and realistic. As part of his preparation to depict the role, he shared the realities of army personnel in actual conflict zone near Drass on the line of control.

Lal, who was accompanied by his wife, said: “It is truly a proud moment for me to have been granted an honorary rank”. He promised to come for the Prime Minister’s Territorial Army Day parade scheduled in October.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090710/nation.htm#16

Zardari speaks
But can he tackle terrorists?

President Asif Ali Zardari has ultimately admitted that Pakistan-based terrorist outfits were “deliberately created and nurtured” by the state of Pakistan as a matter of policy to achieve “some short-term tactical objectives”. This is what India had been telling the world for a long time, but many countries came to understand this rather late in the day. The attitude of the world, particularly the US, changed when 9/11 happened. The statement by Pakistan’s head of state at a meeting of retired civil servants has come about when the country has come to realise that it faces the biggest threat to its existence from the terrorist networks like the Taliban, and not from India. He has also stated in the course of an interview with The Daily Telegraph of London that the Pakistan Army has to finish off the “assets” of yesterday as these have turned into Frankensteins, threatening to devour their creators.

Mr Zardari had earlier said that the Pakistan Army would not hesitate in eliminating even the militants it once patronised and supported as part of its proxy war against India. All these indicate something bigger happening behind the scenes in Pakistan. He cannot afford to make such statements without the tacit approval of the army. Or is he trying to score brownie points against Pakistan’s most powerful institution, which is quietly backing Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to emerge as the real power centre?

These developments should be seen in the light of Mr Zadari having agreed to relinquish some of the key powers he wields as President like those relating to the dissolution of parliament and the appointment, or sacking, of the army chief. It could be that he is making such statements to please Washington which has been asking the Pakistan authorities to tackle the terrorist groups functioning from its territory. Whatever is the reality at the political front, Pakistan must continue the fight against terrorism in the interest of its own survival. Nothing should come in the way of eliminating the scourge.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090710/edit.htm#1

US, Russia make a new ‘start’
Window-dressing on nuclear issue
by Inder Malhotra

AS was only to be expected, early during his three-day visit to Moscow, United States President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Mr Dmitry Medvedev, signed a series of agreements, most notably the one on cutting their nuclear arsenals. They have committed their countries to reduce their nuclear warheads from 2,200 to 1,500 on each side this year. Their agreed framework would lead to a treaty that will replace the 1991 START- I that is due to expire in December.

A 2002 accord on “strategic nuclear arsenals” that President George Bush and Mr. Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s President and now Prime Minister, had signed in Moscow proved to be a dead letter. The new agreement removes all its deficiencies, especially by committing both countries to reducing the number of their nuclear-capable missiles to between 500 and 1,100 in seven years. It also contains mutually acceptable verification measures, as the White House was quick to announce well before the two leaders addressed a joint Press conference.

In the context of the Moscow summit, the word START has more meaning than one. For, Mr Obama’s avowed objective is to make a new “start” in the US-Russian relationship that had “sunk to a post-Cold War low” during the eight years of the Bush presidency. A year ago the two mighty countries were on the verge of going to war over the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia. In his most important speech in Moscow, Mr Obama declared that the relationship between Russia and America that were allies in the greatest war of the last century was that of “collaboration, not confrontation”.

On the other hand, Mr. Medvedev iterated Russia’s long-standing demand that reduction in strategic arsenals should be linked to America’s global missile defence programme. Mr Bush had resolutely refused to do so. Mr Obama promised to “review” this policy, which is encouraging but not a guarantee that the policy would be changed to Russia’s satisfaction. Mr Obama’s assurance that this programme was not directed against Russia cannot satisfy Russia, determined to safeguard its backyard in Central Asia. Even stronger is the Russian opposition to NATO expansion, especially to Ukraine and Georgia, because this brings the western military alliance to Russia’s borders. Mr. Obama’s remarks on this score were cautious but ambiguous. America’s objection to Russian recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is also strong. What Washington fails to see is that this could be Russia’s riposte to Kosovo.

In short, while some progress has been made in improving US-Russian relations, several major difficulties remain. The fundamental problem is that Russia is not yet persuaded that America is prepared to treat it as an equal.

One faux pas the US President made was loudly to proclaim his preference for Mr Medvedev over Mr Putin, describing the former as a “forward- looking liberal” and the later as “a Cold Warrior”. Even before his arrival Mr Obama got a withering answer from Mr Putin. After the hour-long meeting between the two, Mr Obama changed his opinion of Mr Putin. He must have realised that on all crucial issues Russia’s former president matters more than the present one.

The Russians are pleased that the new US President chose to come to Moscow before going to Beijing or Tokyo. They know that in the US there is a strong lobby advocating that Russia should continue to be “squeezed” while the growing warmth towards China should be maintained. The reason for this is obvious: China’s formidable financial and economic clout in the midst of global economic recession.

For all the importance of the agreement on nuclear arms reduction, Mr Obama’s greater concern during his Russian sojourn was Afghanistan. On this issue the Russians have gone an extra mile to give comfort to the US. Obviously, neither Russia nor America wants the Taliban to prevail. Both want that war-ravaged country to be stabilised.

No wonder then that under another agreement Russia has allowed massive air and land transit of both military supplies and troops for the US-led operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban. Shipments of non-lethal supplies had been going on since March. Even before his arrival in Moscow, Mr Obama had received another “gift” on this score. Krygzstan, with

Russian consent, if not at Russian instance, relaxed on its earlier decision to shut down the US airbase at Manas and agreed to transform it into a “transit centre”.

All this clearly means that despite serious differences overall, there are certain issues on which Russia and the US are on the same wavelength. Iran, despite its close relations with Russia, falls in this category. Evidently, Moscow does not want Iran to go nuclear any more than does Washington. In any case, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia has gone along with all the resolutions on Iran’s nuclear quest. By contrast, America is peeved that Russia has been somewhat supportive of North Korea.

To be candid, Russia and America are at one also in another respect that has a bearing on the global nuclear issue. Their much-applauded agreement on the reduction of nuclear warheads is really no more than window- dressing in preparation for the NPT review conference next year. The previous review conference in 2005 was a fiasco because the recognised nuclear weapon powers had done precious little to fulfil their commitments to nuclear disarmament. The two now want to convince the non-nuclear powers that they are advancing towards disarmament and that total nuclear elimination is their goal, as Mr Obama emphasised in his Moscow oration. The point, however, is that the promise to abolish all nuclear weapons is no more than proverbial pie in the sky. On the other hand, 1500 warheads and 1100 delivery vehicles in the possession of each of the two nuclear big boys are enough to blow up the planet earth many times over.

Against this backdrop, India and other countries, genuinely interested in total nuclear disarmament, must take notice of the great emphasis Mr Obama put on nuclear nonproliferation in terms of the NPT. It is also noteworthy that he mentioned India, Pakistan and North Korea as the three countries that have “conducted nuclear tests” since the NPT came into force. He mentioned only testing, not manufacture of nuclear weapons. Had he adopted the second criterion he would have to include Israel among the countries possessing nuclear weapons. This he cannot do for reasons too obvious to be mentioned.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090710/edit.htm#5

Maj Gen Bharali new chief of Aviation Corps
Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, July 9 – Major General Pranab Kumar Bharali has taken over as the head of the Indian Army’s elite Army Aviation Corps. Army Aviation Corps of the Indian Army, has a massive fleet of helicopters comprising Cheetah, Chetak and advanced light helicopters.

A highly-professional Army aviator, Maj Gen Bharali has been flying helicopters for three decades. He has been the head of the helicopter units of the Army in J & K-based Northern Command.

He has also commanded an Artillery Regiment under the Hawk Division in Central

India and Army Aviation Squadron in Assam under Airawat Corps.

Son of the late Umakanta Bharali, he is a passout of Sainik School Goalpara (1973) and got commissioned in June 1977 into the Regiment of Artillery.

Maj Gen Bharali has held the prestigious appointment of Operations Staff Officer of a Rashtriya Rifles Force Headquarters and Colonel Administration of a Mountain Division in counter-insurgency operations in J & K.

A qualified flying instructor and an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, Maj Gen Bharali attended higher command course at Army War College Mhow.

http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/details.asp?id=jul1009/at06

Afghan army chief visits NDA

10 Jul 2009, 0044 hrs IST, TNN

PUNE: The Chief of General Staff of the Afghan National Army, General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, visited the NDA on Wednesday. He is in India on a four-day official visit.

Gen Mohammadi was accompanied by a delegation of seven senior Afghan military officers during his visit to the National Defence Academy, according to an official media communication by NDA.

Gen Mohammadi visited all the world-class training facilities available at the NDA, including the indoor shooting range where he demonstrated his prowess as an ace marksman.

Gen Mohammadi also met the 32 Afghan cadets who are currently undergoing training at the NDA.

"The standard of training imparted to the Afghan cadets at the NDA would certainly meet the current demand of professional excellence required by the Afghanistan military leadership in the ongoing nation-building process," said Gen Mohammadi. "This would also help to increase mutual confidence amongst the military leadership of both the countries and would pave the way for furthering military ties between India and Afghanistan," he added.

The General was briefed by NDA Commandant Vice Admiral R.K. Dhowan about the various training curriculum at the academy.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-4760059,prtpage-1.cms

MoD expresses grave concern at China's rapid military modernisation

10 Jul 2009, 0115 hrs IST, Rajat Pandit, TNN

NEW DELHI: China is really spreading its wings in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) now, venturing into areas it has rarely gone before. It has now sought India's nod for one of its frontline warships to make "a port call'' at Kochi in mid-August.

Defence ministry sources said Chinese guided-missile destroyer `Shenzhen', led by deputy commander of the South Sea Fleet Major-General Me Zhilou, would be visiting Kochi after completing its `escort duties' of Chinese ships in piracy-ridden Gulf of Aden.

While in themselves port calls are routine courtesies extended to each other's warships, it does signify the Chinese Navy's increasing forays in IOR as well as its growing prowess to effectively deploy for `out-of-area contingencies'.

India, of course, is keeping a close watch on rapid modernisation of the 2.5-million strong People's Liberation Army and its expanding strategic transborder and `area-denial' military capabilities, with straight double-digit hikes in its military budget for the last 20 years.

This was, in fact, reflected in defence ministry's latest annual report, which shed its normally defensive and ultra-cautious mindset towards China to express grave concern on Thursday.

Beijing's `stated objectives' of developing strategic missile and space-based assets, rapidly enhance its blue-water Navy and systematically upgrade infrastructure, surveillance and operational capabilities in border areas "will have an effect on the overall military environment'' in India's neighbourhood, said the MoD report.

China's massive build-up of infrastructure along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control, for instance, now allows it to swiftly amass troops for offensive operations against India.

The report also pointed at China's continuing military cooperation and assistance with Pakistan, as also other countries in the neighbourhood. "The possibility of enhancing connectivity with Pakistan through the territory of Jammu and Kashmir, illegally occupied by China and Pakistan, and with other countries, will also have direct military implications for India,'' it said.

India, however, will `engage' with China to `seek greater transparency and openness' in its defence policy and posture, while taking all necessary measures to `protect' its own national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

By beginning to deploy Sukhoi-30MKIs in North-East, raising two new infantry mountain divisions and developing China-specific 3,500-km Agni-III and 5,000-km Agni-V ballistic missiles, India is now imparting some muscle to its "active deterrence'' posture against China.

But competing militarily with China is just not possible. Beijing has a huge missile arsenal, with both ICBMs (inter-continental ballistic missiles) and SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles), as well as 75 major warships and 62 submarines, 10 of them nuclear-powered ones.

Its road-mobile DF-31A missile, for instance, can hit targets 11,200 km away, while the JL-2 SLBM has a reach beyond 7,200 km. India, in sharp contrast, has no ICBM or SLBM. Moreover, it has only 30 major warships and 16 ageing submarines, none of them nuclear-powered.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-4759775,prtpage-1.cms

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