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Monday, 10 August 2009

From Today's Papers - 10 Aug 09

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British MPs concerned over UK's link with ISI

Press Trust of India, Sunday August 9, 2009, London

Amid growing concerns about Britain's relationship with Pakistan's ISI spy agency, lawmakers have demanded an urgent inquiry into UK's complicity in the torture of detainees in Pakistan, Egypt and Uzbekistan following a critical report by a House panel on human rights.

After a critical report by parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Conservatives called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to order an urgent inquiry into the committee's claims of UK complicity in the torture of detainees in Guantnamo Bay, Pakistan, Egypt, and Uzbekistan, the 'Daily Telegraph' said on Sunday.

MPs expressed particular concern about Britain's relationship with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, calling for an explicit assurance that UK officials would not be "uncritical of, or complicit in, abuses of human rights", it said.

In a separate report, the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee warned ministers that the use of information supplied by foreign intelligence agencies implicated in the torture of detainees could amount to complicity, the British daily said.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Home Secretary Alan Johnson insisted that everything possible is done to minimise the risk of mistreatment by foreign regimes.

In a joint article for 'The Sunday Telegraph', the two Cabinet ministers said Britain's security and intelligence services (MI5 and MI6) face "hard choices" and the overriding aim is to "defend both our citizens' rights and their security".

It is impossible to guarantee that information used by the security services has not been obtained through torture, the two ministers admitted.

They wrote that "intelligence from overseas is critical to our success in stopping terrorism". "All the most serious plots and attacks in the UK in this decade have had significant links abroad," they underlined.

Scotland Yard is conducting a criminal probe into claims that MI5 was complicit in the abuse of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident who says he was tortured while being held at sites in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan, the report said.

China for building ‘strategic trust’ with India

New Delhi, August 9
In a damage control mode after its recent bid to block development aid for India at the Asian Development Bank, China has stressed the need to build “strategic trust” to handle “frictions” better and said the two countries had “no other option than living in peace and developing side by side”.

India and China have decided to take a slew of measures to further their ties that include setting up a hotline between the Prime Ministers, robust people-to-people and cultural contacts, high-level visits and expanding coordination on global issues like protectionism.

“China and India should endeavour to build strategic mutual trust. Both need to expand the common interests and cooperation bilaterally and on regional and global affairs,” a statement by the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Friday night at the end of the 13th round of boundary talks.

India’s National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and China’s State Councillor Dai Bingguo, also the vice foreign minister, held two-day talks here to devise a framework for a final settlement of the border dispute. The talks also covered other bilateral, regional and international issues.

The desire to keep bilateral relations on an even keel was mutual. The two sides decided to accelerate the process of setting up a hotline between their Prime Ministers, a proposal mooted when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of a multilateral summit in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in June.

In a deviation from the normally terse statement issued at the end of each round of boundary talks, both the Indian and Chinese foreign ministries came out with detailed separate statements emphasising the importance of consolidating their strategic partnership.

India described China as “a key foreign policy priority” while Beijing backed “a bigger role” for New Delhi in world affairs.

Ruling out any conflict, the Chinese foreign ministry said: “China and India have no other option than living in peace and developing side by side.” Beijing stressed on greater coordination with New Delhi on major international issues like the global financial crisis, climate change, energy and food security.

China also struck an upbeat note about promoting the relationship with “a higher and strategic perspective” and called for expanding people-to-people contacts and cultural interactions as the two sides get ready to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2010 by observing a year of friendship in their respective countries. The re-assertion of friendship and strategic partnership comes against the backdrop of recent discordant notes in bilateral ties. — IANS

Boeing, Lockheed frontrunners for IAF fighter deal
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, August 9
The city’s IT and other hi-tech industries, which have been perturbed over recent statements emanating from the Obama administration opposing outsourcing by American companies, may soon see a US aerospace giant tying up a multibillion-dollar deal for 126 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.

With trials of new aircraft to replace the IAF’s ageing fleet of MiG 21s and MiG 29s scheduled to begin here in the middle of this month, two major US multinationals - Boeing and Lockheed Martin -are said to be in the forefront of the race for the Rs 48,000 crore (over $10 billion) contract.

Boeing’s F/A 18 Super Hornet fighter jets will be first to arrive in Bangalore for the trials. The other American fighter aircraft in the race for the medium multirole combat aircraft that the air force is eyeing is Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Super Viper.

The signing of the end use monitoring (EUM) agreement by India with the United States shortly before the trials has given rise to speculation that either of the two US aerospace majors will bag the contract. In the absence of such a pact it would have made no sense for them to participate in the competition as the US has barred supply of advanced defence items to any country not agreeing to their use being monitored by American inspectors.

Four other contenders in the fray for the mega deal of supplying 126 aircraft to the IAF are the Swedish Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, the Russian MiG 35 and French Dassault Aviation’s Rafale.

Though there were reports that the Rafale had been disqualified after the technical evaluation process, the IAF has not yet officially spoken on the subject. Earlier, impressed by the performance of the Mirage 2000 in the Kargil skirmish, the IAF evinced interest in purchasing more of these fighters. Dassault, which was about to end production of the Mirage, wanted a concrete assurance from India to keep the fighter’s assembly line open. After the IAF eventually decided to invite fresh bids for medium multirole combat aircraft Dassault chose to offer the Rafale, a more advanced aircraft.

The aircraft are being tested for hot, humid and cold weather flying. While Bangalore has been chosen for testing performance under humid conditions, the hot weather test will be undertaken in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Leh will be the site for high altitude and cold weather flying tests. Pilots from the city-based Aircraft & System Testing Establishment (ASTE) will be test flying the supersonic fighters.

Dealing with Pakistan
India should join others in containment drive
by K. Subrahmanyam

THERE is a lot of discussion in India, the US and elsewhere on how to deal with Pakistan, bring about peace in the Pakistan-Afghanistan area and eliminate the scourge of terrorism. Various solutions, from negotiating with the Taliban to a Camp David type solution between India and Pakistan have been advocated. These discussions ignore the reality on the ground, the Pakistan Army's ambitions and the sense of manifest destiny among large sections of the Army, the establishment, civil society and the general population.

Pakistan is a nuclear-armed nation, with an Army dominating its politics and foreign policy. The Army considers itself as the guardian of Pakistani ideology, the two-nation doctrine which is the original version of the clash of civilisations thesis. The Army has developed a global strategy of using terrorism as an instrument of expansionism. Using the strategy of asymmetric warfare (terrorism) it felt it could wrest Kashmir from India, bleed India, through a thousand cuts and compel the US to leave Muslim lands.

Pakistan started its terror campaign in Kashmir in 1989, after having assembled its nuclear weapon. In May 1990, the Chinese tested the Pakistani weapon at Lop Nor. The Pakistan Army started talking about "strategic defiance" vis-a-vis the US. In 1993, Pakistanis attacked the CIA headquarters and the World Trade Center. In 1994 the Pakistan Army installed the Taliban in Afghanistan. In 1996, Osama bin Laden came to Afghanistan.

The International Islamic Front against Crusaders (Westerners) and Zionists was established in the Pak-Af region. Then followed the attacks on the US embassies in Dar-es-Salaam and Nairobi and the US ship, Cole. Finally it culminated in the 9/11 attack on the US which was planned in Pakistan by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and money for the hijackers was remitted on instructions from Pakistan. The jihadis trained in Pakistan have carried out attacks in London, Bali, India and elsewhere.

Ms Hillary Clinton admitted during her TV interview in Delhi that 9/11 was planned in Pakistan. British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown said on the TV in Pakistan that in 75 per cent of the terrorist cases in Britain the trails led to Pakistan. Yet both the US and the UK are engaging Pakistan and even financing it generously instead of confronting it for its terrorist acts against these countries. The underlying reason for this is that Pakistan is a nuclear-weapon state and not a responsible one at that, having proliferated to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Therefore, they have to handle it carefully and steer it towards being a responsible moderate, Islamic state. For this the US and its allies are depending on the democratic institutions and the civil society of Pakistan and the inherent contradictions between the jihadi groups and the Army itself.

The US leverage to persuade the Pakistan Army to act against jihadi groups is economic through military and development aid. Without that aid Pakistan will find it difficult to function as a viable state in the present circumstances. Under such compulsions the Pakistan Army has started operations against the Taliban and this has resulted in a large number of internally displaced persons. That makes international aid even more of a vital need.

At the same time, within Pakistan jihadis have intensified their own terrorist operations against the state and the Army. Differences have surfaced between the US and the Pakistan Army on the overall US strategy in the Af-Pak region. The US has intensified its campaign in Afghanistan to contain Pakistan and Pakistan-aligned forces from extending themselves in Afghanistan. The US and its allies are also strengthening their communication and electronics intelligence capabilities in the region which are likely to hamper the terrorist activities of the ISI-directed jihadi operations.

The basic US strategy appears to be to contain Pakistan, compel the Army to fight some jihadi groups, create an impression of the Pakistan Army fighting on US directions which may antagonise other jihadi groups against the state and the Army, strengthen the democratic institutions and slowly establish the civil government's control over the Army. They may not succeed in this and the Army may assert itself and confront the US and the international community. While the Pakistan Army may be calculating that the Americans may tire out and exit from the Af-Pak area in the next two to three years, the moment of choice for the Pakistan Army, whether they will fight against jihadis to the end or circumvent that responsibility, is likely to arise in the next few months. Already, US Special Envoy Holebrook has voiced his reservations about the Swat campaign.

Unlike the seven years of the Bush Administration when Gen Pervez Musharraf could get away by producing, in Obama's words, mixed results, the present administration has compelled the Pakistan Army to act. With a surge of forces in Afghanistan and maintaining continuous economic and political pressure on Pakistan, the US and its NATO allies must have an overall strategy. Ms Clinton in her speech on June 17 talked about a common strategy between India and the US to deal with the common threat of terrorism.

Though India has been a victim of Pakistani terrorism, war is not an option to deal with nuclear-armed Pakistan, as accepted by the US and the UK. It is not possible for India to exercise the degree of pressure the US and NATO can exert on Pakistan. The threat faced by India, the US and the UK is the same though they may vary in degree. It, therefore, makes sense for India, to adopt a common strategy with the US and NATO to contain Pakistan and to steer it towards a moderate Islamic state. While the US was not forthcoming in regard to intelligence sharing till 26/11, there has been a significant improvement in that respect after the Mumbai attack and there are indications that the cooperation in intelligence sharing will improve further in the light of the visits of the US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser.

There are fears in India that a closer cooperation with the US on a common strategy vis-a-vis Pakistan may lead to pressure on resuming the composite dialogue process or the US nudging India to reduce its forces on the western border. In all engagements, publicly declared policies need not necessarily be the real policies actually implemented. India maintaining its forces on the border and making credible action against terrorists and terrorist infrastructure by Pakistan a conditionality for the composite peace process are the necessary components of the common containment strategy. Short of that, India should engage Pakistan in a dialogue as part of the international effort to apply pressure on Pakistan to change its ways. This appears to be the strategy Dr Manmohan Singh initiated at Sharm el-Sheikh.

India is not the only state against which the ISI-supported jihadi organisations are waging covert hostilities. These include the US, other Western countries, Austalia, Indonesia and even countries like Somalia. The most appropriate strategy to deal with Pakistan is to join the other powers in their efforts to contain Pakistan and apply combined pressure on it to compel it to change into a moderate Islamic state.

The Gorshkov deal
CAG objections not tenable
by Premvir Das

ADMIRAL Sergei Gorshkov became chief of the erstwhile Soviet Navy at the age of 45; he then remained in that chair for nearly 18 years. During his period in this high office, that Navy grew into a powerful sea-going force and it was during his tenure that the Soviets, until then derisively opposed to aircraft carriers considering them vulnerable to shore-based air and missile attacks, did a turnround and began to build these ships.

One of them, commissioned after his death, was to bear his name. This is the story of the Russian aircraft carrier, Gorshkov, currently in the news because it is being acquired by India.

In his recent report the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has made scathing remarks about its cost and condition.

The vessel, sold free but contracted at a cost of Rs 974 crore for its refit and modernisation (it had been lying unused for several years after the collapse of the Soviet economy), has suffered time and cost overruns, both due to underestimation of work and modifications needed by the Indian side.

The revised demand for $2.9 billion may finally be settled for around $2 billion but the CAG finds this a gross overspend for a platform which, in his view, would last only 20 years when a new one could be built at the same cost to last 40 years. In short, the country has been taken for a ride is the conclusion.

All those who have served in the Navy in earlier years know that no one has been more supportive of the growth of the Indian Navy as a premier maritime force in this part of the world than Admiral Gorshkov.

The Indians never asked for missile boats but were persuaded by him to buy them in 1968 with results that were seen worldwide in the spectacular attacks on Karachi in December 1971.

Later, in 1975, he pressed his own bureaucracy to clear the sale of the larger and more potent missile corvettes of the Vijaydurg class and the versatile missile destroyers of the Rajput class which made the Indian Navy comparable with any other naval force, leave aside that of the USA.

In 1988, a nuclear submarine was leased to us for three years, an act unimaginable from any of the other countries which operated such craft. The interface set in place by him has, happily, continued resulting in design collaboration for the Delhi class destroyers built in India and the sale of Tabar class frigates, all of technology relevant to modern warfare at sea.

The latest manifestation of this close relationship has seen the launch of our indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant in Visakhapatnam. This is the background in which we need to look at the acquisition of Gorshkov.

Let us look at the comments in perspective, first exploitability. In 1987, we acquired a much older aircraft carrier, HMS Hermes, from the British and renamed it INS Viraat. It has already been in service for 22 years and will last another 7 or 8 years, a life span of 30 years.

The first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, also purchased second hand in 1961, saw service until 1997, a good 36 years.

So this rather pessimistic assessment of a two decade life span for Gorshkov, much newer than the other two, by the CAG is clearly unjustified. There is no reason why this ship should not be operational for at least 30 years, possibly more.

Aircraft carriers are versatile hulls; in both the US and UK navies, which have great experience of operating such platforms, these vessels have routinely served for five decades. So the life time of Gorshkov is not an issue.

Then, there is the question of cost of repairs, which is said to have escalated to $ 2 billion. When the contract was concluded, repair work was just an estimate. It is only when the plates are ripped open and assemblies and sub-assemblies dismantled that a more accurate assessment of work can be made.

The state of cables, a very important constituent of equipment functionality, is not known until the innards are revealed. Then, there is the question of additional work required by the buyer to install new equipment and facilities.

In the case of Gorshkov, a huge ski jump of 400 tonnes of steel, 200 feet long and stretched 120 feet across the deck is being constructed for launch of aircraft.

In all such repairs carried out in Indian dockyards, work of much less scope and in smaller ships has taken far longer than earlier estimated but because the expenses are part of the dockyards' operating budget, no precise estimate of such refit costs has ever been made.

Accurate cost accounting would reveal they have been much higher than originally thought. So, we have to look at the increased refit costs now being projected with a little more pragmatism.

Finally, the contention that this ship is going to cost as much as a new one is not founded on facts. The indigenous aircraft carrier now being built at Kochi was ordered in 1997 but will not be launched until 2011 at the earliest. It will be at least 2016 before it enters operational service. Its cost, on delivery, will be nearly double that being paid for the Russian ship.

When the Navy Chief said recently that for $ 2 billion he would sign a cheque for the Gorshkov any day, he was not being flippant but clear sighted. The Indian Navy is not in the business of buying or negotiating for junk; its professional competence deserves greater credit than has been given. It is true that the delivery of the ship has been delayed a few years till 2012 due to extra work and price finalisation but this is not unusual in such complex projects.

Aircraft carriers are no ordinary warships, nor are they available off the shelf from wherever one chooses. They represent strategic sea power and provide to India a capability that no other regional nation has. We should not treat them as ordinary ammunition or ordnance.

Further, such acquisitions are to be seen in a larger context of inter-nation relationship and not as 'one off' purchases. There is a cost to everything, on either side, and there are benefits, quantifiable and non-quantifiable.

It is important to place such major weapon platform acquisitions in a larger politico-military context and not just as simple procurement issues. The proposed acquisition of 126 multi-role fighter aircraft falls in the same category. These purchases must have a political dimension and to treat them for mere financial audit is simplistic.

The writer is a former Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command

'After Mehsud's death, Pak can't oppose drone attacks'

With the almost certain death of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban [ Images ], a leading American South Asian expert on Saturday said Islamabad [ Images ] can now no longer oppose the use of drones by the United States.

"The elimination of Mehsud would make it difficult for Pakistanis to argue that the drones are not improving security in their own country, given that he was reportedly responsible for dozens of suicide bombings over the last 18 months that have killed several hundred Pakistani civilians and security personnel as well as the wife of current Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari [ Images ] and political icon Benazir Bhutto [ Images ]," said Lisa Curtis.

A senior research fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Centre at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank, Curtis is frequently invited by the Congressional committees to testify on various south Asian issues.

"Mehsud's death could also change the debate about the use of drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal border areas, thereby helping to quell public anger over the US-Pakistan counterterrorism partnership," she said.

In the past, Pakistani leaders have publicly denounced US missile attacks in the tribal areas as counterproductive.

Curtis said US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal border areas have been effective in disrupting al-Qaeda's activities and its ability to plan and train for attacks in Afghanistan and across the globe. Senior US intelligence officials acknowledge that the campaign of sustained drone attacks in Pakistan, which began about a year ago, have led to greater success against al-Qaeda and its affiliates than any other tactic employed since 9/11.

However, drone attacks alone will not degrade the terrorist threat emanating from this region over the long term, she noted, adding that militant leaders can always be replaced. Achieving long-term gains against the terrorist threat in Pakistan will require a comprehensive military action by Pakistani security forces to establish government authority in the region; joint US-Pakistan efforts to provide economic development and job opportunities; and the institution of Pakistani political reforms that seek to incorporate the semi-autonomous border regions into the Pakistani nation-state.

Curtis said Mehsud's death would also be a fillip for international counter-terrorism efforts. "Mehsud is suspected of being behind a 10-man cell arrested in Barcelona in January 2008 for plotting suicide attacks in Spain," she said.

"There is no public record of his direct involvement in plots against the US homeland, but he threatened to launch an attack in Washington last April. Mehsud's forces also cooperate closely with the al-Qaeda leadership and provide protection for al-Qaeda bases and training camps in South Waziristan. He also pledged his allegiance to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar [ Images ] last February," Curtis said.

War-on-terror funds ‘misappropriated’

* Study calls for greater scrutiny of how US aid is spent in Pakistan

LAHORE: A significant part of the American aid to Pakistan for the war on terror has been used to bolster its defences against India or stolen by corrupt officials, a counter-terrorism adviser to the British government has concluded.

According to a Guardian report, Azeem Ibrahim, a Glasgow-born entrepreneur, has concluded that most of the diverted funds have been used to buy military hardware. Ibrahim, a senior research scholar at the European Centre for Advanced Defence and Strategic Studies, has drawn on documents recently disclosed by the US government to compile a review of the American aid to Pakistan.

This will be published by the Kennedy School of Government at the Harvard University and is expected to inform US President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan policy.

Ibrahim pointed out that £121 million were spent on an air-defence radar system, although the Taliban and Al Qaeda members in the region did not have air attack capability. The report alleges that the soldiers were paid £48 million per month to fight while there was a ceasefire, £33 million went for helicopter maintenance but the helicopters were not maintained, £18 million allocated for roads which were never built, £9 million for bunkers which were never dug and £900,000 for repair of navy’s vehicles which did not see combat. Last year, he quoted US government reports as saying that out of the £550 million of military support the US gave Pakistan, only £180m reached the army.

Monitoring: The study calls for greater scrutiny of how American aid is spent in Pakistan. “For the past eight years, US taxpayers’ money has funded corruption in the Pakistani army and intelligence service,” said Ibrahim. “It has enriched Pakistani individuals at the expense of the proper functioning of Pakistani institutions. It has provided already kleptocratic institutions with further incentives for corruption. The Pakistan High Commission in London challenged the report’s findings by saying, “Pakistan and the US have established a robust mechanism to audit the expenditure and it is being done on a regular basis.”

“It would be pertinent to find out the maintenance costs of the US army in Iraq and Afghanistan and then compare the figures with Pakistan’s 120,000 strong force deployed in the global war on terror to draw fair conclusions.” daily times monitor\08\10\story_10-8-2009_pg7_27

Gurung appointed head of Nepal Army

PTI 9 August 2009, 07:17pm IST

KATHMANDU: Lt Gen Chhatraman Singh Gurung, who received training at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, was on Sunday appointed to head the

Nepal Army after his controversial predecessor General Rukmangad Katawal went on a month-long leave ahead of his retirement next month.

The 22-party alliance government led by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Sunday appoint Lt Gen Gurung as the acting chief of the army. It also approved a month-long leave to General Katawal, who has been under pressure from Maoists to resign amid accusation that he had defied the orders of the previous Prachanda-led government.

57-year-old Gurung, who has received training at the the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, is also the first from the rank of commoners to head the army, which has been led by the country's elite and the aristocracy.

He will officially be the army chief after Katawal's three-year tenure expires on September 9. Katawal, who has been at the centre of controversy ever since he became the army chief in September 2006, will be on leave from Monday.

The change of guard at the helm of 95,000-strong Nepal Army comes amid a continued blockade of parliament by the Maoists demanding Katawal's removal.

Cheers ki... Army lexicon changing

Shimona Kanwar, TNN 10 August 2009, 05:24am IST

CHANDIGARH: The Indian Army, known for its regimented life, is witnessing some changes, especially among its troopers. Though the hierarchy and

subordination remain unaffected, jawans are now no more reluctant in using friendly words in the presence of their officers.

Consider this. While raising a toast during the bara khana (a lavish meal) after seeking permission of senior-most officer, the troops instead of the old war cry specific to a unit (Jai Durga) followed by anumati shriman, now hail cheers ki anumati shriman (need permission for drinks).

"Most of these men are bored with the rules and regulations. They feel that there is nothing wrong in using informal words. Cheers was a word normally associated with officers in a mess. I had never heard this in a bara khana,’’ an officer said. "Though the infantry of the main combat core of the Army still marches to the orders of seniors, the technical and medical core troops feel comfortable with civilian language.’’

Citing an instance, a commanding officer of the electrical and mechanical engineering wing said, "Jawans who used to greet us with Jai Hind, sahib, have now switched over to good morning or Jai Hind, sir. Usage of sir is normally associated with officers.’’

Shedding another load of the disciplinary baggage is dislike for the usage of sepoy by jawans in technical core. "They despise the tag of sepoy and like to be addressed as craftsmen. They are educated and even question orders dictated,’’ noted a subedar Major in Army Medical Corps.

The kind of words and language used in any ceremony or occasion are fixed and have been followed since Independence. This gradual process of doing away with archaic words, though not gross violation of the Army code of conduct, has the officers in a fix, as they are yet to adapt to these usages.

Gen (retd) V P Malik, former Army chief said improvement in education and the quality of life has been the prime cause of this shift. "This is definitely progressive, though the Army is slow in these changes and is doing away with feudalism. Also interaction with the world outside has contributed to this,’’ he said.

Recalling his times, General Malik noted, "I had never seen these jawans wearing coats during my time.

Now they attire in tie and coat during their parties.’’

Rakesh Dutta, chairperson, defence studies department, Panjab University, added, "Nowadays the recruits are more educated as compared to the past. Quite a few are even postgraduates.’’

Col (retd) Kuldeep Sharma said modernisation of the forces with the latest weapons, armed suits, combat equipment and computerized offices has to an extent affected these changes.

Spurt in Chinese 'intrusions': India

Indrani Bagchi, TNN 9 August 2009, 04:17am IST

NEW DELHI: Prior to the 13th round of India-China boundary talks, Indian defence and security agencies reported an increased spurt in

"intrusions" and "incursions" by the Chinese, particularly in the western sector.

Security agencies say on June 1, a combined Indian Army-ITBP patrol was intercepted by the PLA in Depsang Bulge and forced to turn back after the PLA planted vehicles in front and behind the Indian patrol vehicle and escorted it back across the Chinese "perception of the LAC". Later in the month, Chinese air force helicopters again flew across the LAC in the Chushul area in J&K.

The border issue is not a cakewalk, as was clear from the talks that ended on Saturday. So, if India says Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of the country, China is not likely to give up its claim on what it calls "southern Tibet".

On August 7, China's official newspaper `Global Times', quoting `Ming Pao', a Hongkong newspaper, said, "The present time is not favorable for China to resolve the boundary issue in such a hurried way because the country is still rising globally and if the dispute is not properly addressed, the result will only be blamed by generations to come."

"Chinese military expert Long Tao commented that the disputed region of South Tibet is not the cause of the two countries' conflict in the history, but rather was left over from 1914. That was when the British colonialists arbitrarily made the `McMahon Line', which Long says is even more ridiculous than the unequal Treaty of Nanjing." While concluding, it said, "China won't sacrifice its sovereignty in exchange for friendship. Therefore, India should not have any illusions with regards to this issue."

Chinese Army forces Indian patrol to turn back from disputed area

09 Aug 2009 Times of India: Security agencies say on June 1, a combined Indian Army-ITBP patrol was intercepted by the PLA in Depsang Bulge and forced to turn back after the PLA planted vehicles in front and behind the Indian patrol vehicle and escorted it back across the Chinese "perception of the LAC". Later in the month, Chinese air force helicopters again flew across the LAC in the Chushul area in J&K.

Tributes paid to Major Shankla
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 9
Tributes were paid to Major Sandeep Shankla, who was decorated with the Ashok Chakra for his actions in counter-terrorist operations on his martyrdom day here yesterday.

A wreath was laid at his memorial here by Lt Gen JK Mohanty, GOC-in-C Central Command, who is also Colonel of the Dogra Regiment to which Major Shankla belonged. A contingent from 18 Dogra reversed arms as a mark of respect while buglers sounded the last post. Senior officers of the Western Command, veteran officers and civil dignitaries also paid tributes to the martyr.

It was on this day when Major made sacrificed his life while leading a daring operation against the terrorists that resulted in elimination of nine terrorists and apprehension of 22 others. For his courage, Major was awarded the highest peacetime gallantry award posthumously.

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