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Tuesday, 11 August 2009

From Today's Papers - 11 Aug 09

Indian Express

Asian Age


Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Asian Age

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Times of India

Times of India

DNA India

DNA India

DNA India

Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times

Navy, Army Chiefs Hints at Threat from Neighbourhood

Chinese expert suggests breaking India into parts

A Chinese strategist expert in an article has suggested that India should be broken into 20 to 30 parts with the help of friendly nations. He also opines that India is not a natural nation but it is primarily united on the basis of Hindu religion. .

A suggestion by a Chinese strategic expert that Beijing should work towards breaking India and divide it into 20-30 independent states is likely to cause immense concern in the the Indian strategic and security establishment.

The article by Zhan Lue published on the official website of a leading Chinese think-tank China International Institute for Strategic Studies (CIISS), says that a little action by Beijing could easily break the great Indian federation.

The author suggests that China should take help from friendly countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to achieve the objective of breaking up India. It is also argued that so-called Indian nation does not have any history and the unity of country is primarily seen in term of Hindu unity.

Other Articles by Abu Sheikh

The article claims that India is a Hindu religious state, which suffers inherent caste frictions that could be taken advantage by the Chinese. Lue suggests that China should join forces with different nationalities including Tamils, Assamese and Kashmiris and help them in setting up independent states.

The author particularly wants China to support ULFA in Assam, which is fighting for separating homeland. It also sets the agenda for setting up a separate Bengali state, which can unite the Bengalis to create one Bengali nation.

The article claims that if India can be broken into 20-30 states like Europe then it is possible to have more social reforms and eradication of the caste system.

Army chief slams Pak’s anti-terror claims
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
Launching a scathing attack against Pakistan over its claims of efforts towards rooting out terror from its soil, Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor today said Kashmir had never gone off Islamabad’s agenda. And in its pursuit, said the Army chief, the neighbouring nation’s support to militant activity in Kashmir could not be ruled out.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a function here, General Kapoor said he found it odd when Pakistan claimed that it would like to fight terror even though it was “supporting the menace by trying to push infiltrators into Kashmir”. “Their’s (Pakistan’s) has been a dichotomous policy,” he said.

General Kapoor said the situation in Kashmir off late had been “far too peaceful”, much to the chagrin of terrorists and the increased infiltration bids undertaken by them. In support of his claim, General Kapoor even cited the use of sophisticated weapons and communication facilities by militants in Kashmir. He said a certain amount of support to the militants by some institutions (in Pakistan) could not be ruled out.

More and more infiltration bids are being made with an aim to send maximum militants before the winter sets in, the Army chief said. Also, Pakistan would use every opportunity to raise the Kashmir issue whenever its leaders got a chance, he added. Notably, the remarks by General Kapoor come a day after Defence Minister AK Antony raised concern over the increasing infiltration bids across the Line of Control (LoC).

Anup is new eastern fleet commander
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
Vice-Admiral Anup Singh has been appointed as the new Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command based at Visakhapatnam. He will take over on August 31. The command controls the entire eastern coast.

At present, he is posted as the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Operations). He has 36 years of experience in the Navy.

Singh while on posting on the western sea front in 2006, he led the operation ‘Sukoon’ for evacuation of civilians from war-torn Lebanon.

BAE Systems awarded contract for torpedo development and maintenance

Bureau News

August 10th, 2009

BAE Systems awarded torpedo contract

LONDON —BAE Systems PLC said Monday that it has been awarded a 369.5 million pound ($613 million) contract to maintain and develop torpedoes for the British military and was partnering with Swiss company Vectronix to provide handheld laser target locators to the U.S. Army.

The 10-year British military contract will provide support for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force’s Spearfish and Sting Ray torpedoes, the company said in a statement.

About 120 skilled jobs will be supported by the contract. A third of the contract value will go to subcontractors.

BAE will partner with the Ministry of Defense’s equipment and support unit, consolidating 11 separate contracts into one. BAE said the structure will provide cost savings of at least 65 million pounds ($108 million).

Spearfish are submarine-launched torpedoes which are deployed in the Swiftsure, Vanguard and Trafalgar subs. Sting Ray anti-submarine torpedoes are carried aboard Royal Navy ships and in the Royal Air Force’s Nimrod aircraft.

BAE said its five-year contract with the American military could be worth as much as $347 million. BAE said it would partner with Vectronix, Inc. to produce and maintain the laser target locators. The binocular-like devices allow soldiers to precisely locate targets such as enemy positions.

BAE shares closed up 1.53 percent at 325.50 pence ($5.35) on the London Stock Exchange.

Cow (India) Desire of Hitting Bull (China)

Monday August 10, 2009 (1600 PST)

The land of yellow soil China is the world largest country with the area of 3705387 square kilo meters. Its population is over 1.2 billion. However, since 1949 Chinese military top brass with the support of her nation has made their country strong enough to meet any aggression with iron hands. After the collapse of Soviet Union, china emerged as second super power. The calculated opinion of the world economists has declared China as emerging global economic power.

China has dispute on shared 3500 Kilo meter border with India. The relations between two states remained tense since inception of China. Apart from other conflicts, territorial dispute is the major one, which led into Sino-Indo War in 1962. In this war New Delhi faced a great set back in the shape of her armed forces defeat. After fighting a brief border war, the demarcation of the 3500km border between China and India remains unsolved. China came out in a better position after the confrontation, due in part to superior forces and supply lines.

Now just compare India with her neighbouring countries. She has border disputes with China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. On the other hand China has borders with 14 countries and has not dispute with them except India. In particular, Arunachal Pradesh province in northeastern India has continued to be a bone of significant contention with increased oratory from both sides over the past few areas.

It is worth reading that after almost 47 years or so India and China have moved their forces because of continuous increase in tension on the border. According to Indian today and Indian Express Indian Army brought armoured vehicles to the North Sikkim plateau in the late 1980s, the small detachment has now been replaced by the heavier and more powerful T-72 Main Battle Tanks and modern BMP troop carriers. As per newspapers, the mobilisation took place after repeated Chinese transgressions last year in the Finger Area; a one kilometer stretch of land in the northern tip of Sikkim that overlooks a valley called the Sora Funnel and is considered a strong defensive position. The question arises why India once again went for mobilization of forces after so many years. Probable answer could be that after the post cold war era India went close to USA because of the reasons (1) capturing one of the largest market (2) assisting Americans in containing china (3) placing watch dog in Asia to look after her interests (4) prolonging her stay in the region for getting permanent hold over CAR’s states (5) desire of becoming future global power.

On June 9, the Chinese Global Times published an editorial entitled “India’s Unwise Military Moves,” which denounced India’s troop deployment. A thinly veiled warning was explicit within the article: “India’s current course can only lead to a rivalry between the two countries. India needs to consider whether or not it can afford the consequences of a potential confrontation with China.” An affiliate of the People’s Daily published a Chinese language article on June 12 which translates to “India is a paper tiger and its use of use will be trounced, say experts.” It is a provocative article, even referring to India as a paper tiger is a throwback to the language of Mao. The confrontation between India would be amount to Cow hitting the Bull.

Therefore it is evident that India has the desire of moving forward to complete her hegemonic desire of expansion through any means. To complete her aim she even never let her old (Soviet Union) and present (USA) masters to know about covert motives of becoming future global power. In this context Indian leadership always acquired requisite weaponry to get dominance over strategically significant Indian Ocean. It is interesting to know that Indian Ocean is the 3rd largest ocean. 45 states are encircling resources enriched ocean. Almost 30000, ships are annually passing through these routes. The important sea routes are passing through Indian Ocean region. India believes that China and Pakistan are the only encumbrance in her hegemonic design of influencing region and becoming future global power.

Anyhow to complete her design, India has planned to spend US$150 billion over the next 5 years as well as a market open to foreign participation and collaboration, India cannot be ignored. The current defence spending expected to top US$34 billion in 2010. She possess second largest air force in the Asia Pacific region along with substantial naval, coastal and army aviation interests, all of which are planning for substantial modernization, acquisition of new assets and upgrading of existing capabilities in line with India’s rapid economic growth.

As the aerospace defence industry’s leading flagship conference in the region, the 3rd annual Air Power India 2009 international conference offers unrivalled market insights, business leads and networking opportunities. Indian has explored India’s air power strategies, technologies and solution lies in-depth. Retired Brig. Gurmeet Kanwal, director of Center for Land Air Warfare Studies (CLAWS), said that China’s policy is to confine India to the backwater of the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea, as it no more considers the Indian Ocean Region as Indian domain. With this perception, China could choke commerce through IOR. To say the least this is a hasty conclusion, and is in line with Indian thinking that People Republic of China is a dangerous enemy. Speaking on “India’s response to security challenges from China in Indian Ocean Region,” he said, “With the Chinese encirclement strategy, commerce through the Indian Ocean Region could be easily choked by way of disruptions of trade routes through sea. Defense of far-flung island territories and delineation of maritime boundaries are some of the maritime challenges for India, Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal reiterated. India is busy developing blue water navy, with two aircraft-carriers, twenty submarines, 25 warships and hundreds of missile boats to defeat the Chinese Navy.

On July 27, 2009 India has also launched its first indigenously made nuclear powered submarine ‘INS-Arihant’ (Destroyer of the enemy). Thus, she joined an exclusive club of US, Russia, China, France and the UK with the launch. The 6000-tonne submarine will undergo sea trials for two years before being commissioned for full service.

In 2004, Russia already built three Krivak class frigates - INS Talwar, INS Trishul and INS Tabar - for India. These frigates were armed with eight BrahMos supersonic anti-ship cruise missile systems and not the Club-N/3M54TE missile system, which was installed on previous frigates. The Krivak class frigate has deadweight of 4,000 metric tons and a speed of 30 knots, and is capable of accomplishing a wide range of maritime missions, primarily hunting down and destroying large surface ships and submarines. India is to receive three Russian Krivak IV Class Frigates by 2012.

On July 28, 2009 Pakistan Foreign Office has said that such a step would destabilise the region and would have a detrimental effect on regional peace. He further added that continued induction of new lethal weapon systems by India is detrimental to regional peace and stability. The induction of nuclear submarine by India has really started the arms race in the region. Pakistan, China`s worries in this connection are very genuine. China is also watching the ambitious desire of New Delhi with regard to nuclear expansion. Beijing has also started building necessary naval armament to counter Indian design of confining China. In short induction of nuclear Submarine would be taken as Indian nuclear sea pollution.

Basit said Pakistan would take all measures to ensure strategic balance in the region. The induction of nuclear submarine is really upset the balance of power in the region. India has fully supported by US and Russia against China. Russian leadership has forgotten that India who always been patted by her prior to its disintegration has joined American block. The Indian race of naval expansion and build up is to threaten, blocking and stifle Pakistani sea lanes, encirclement of China and dominant Indian Ocean. India has become a big threat in general to the region and particularly to Pakistan’s security and survival. On the other hand US and its Western allies always posed that Pakistan is more prone to internal threat rather than external.

US and India knows that Pakistan are real time tested friends of the region and cannot move away from each other. Indian is common enemy and always planned to create insurgency in Pakistan and China. Raw with the help of her master agency CIA staged a plot of sabotaging Beijing peace through Dalai Lama movement. In short, world community should ask India to abide by the international laws and resolve territorial disputes for permanent regional peace bilaterally.

US intel chief says no Iran nukes possible before 2013

A declassified memo from a briefing US intelligence chief Dennis Blair gave in February sheds light on how the US views Iran, Al Qaeda, and Afghanistan.

By Dan Murphy | Staff writer 08.10.09

Iran will probably not have the technical ability to produce enough fuel to make a nuclear bomb before 2013, US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told a senate intelligence committee earlier this year.

He also said that he’s seen no evidence Iran is seeking to make fuel for a bomb, and that international scrutiny appears to be deterring such efforts.

The American intelligence community’s views on Iran’s nuclear program, progress in Afghanistan, and the extent of Al Qaeda’s operational abilities were all addressed in a 40- page series of answers that Mr. Blair delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 12.

But only now has it become public.

The document was released to Steven Aftergood, who runs the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists following a Freedom of Information Act request. (A PDF to the full document can be found at this link.)

On Iran’s nuclear program, Blair relied on the assessment of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) to say that Iran does not yet have the technical ability to produce the highly enriched uranium (HEU) it would need for a bomb.

“INR continues to assess it is unlikely that Iran will have the technical capability to produce HEU before 2013,” the memo reads.

Blair said that if Iran decides to make highly enriched uranium that it would probably use “military-run covert facilities, rather than declared nuclear sites” and that “outfitting a covert enrichment infrastructure could take years. The (intelligence community) has no evidence that Iran has yet made the decision to produce highly enriched uranium, and INR assesses that Iran is unlikely to make such a decision for at least as long as international scrutiny and pressure persist.”

Why Iran backs the Taliban

Blair says in the report that Iran’s “policy calculation in Afghanistan currently emphasizes lethal support to the Taliban, even though revelation of this activity could threaten its future relationship with the Afghan government and its historic allies within Afghanistan.”

Iran is a Shiite theocracy and the Taliban is militant Sunni movement which views Shiites as apostates that should be executed. Blair says Iran has made uneasy common cause with them because “Iran is primarily concerned with preserving its national security and undermining Western influence in Afghanistan.”

Similarly, Blair says that Iran has been a provider of “training, weapons, and money to Hamas since the 2006 Palestinian elections.” Hamas is the Islamist (Sunni) Palestinian movement that now controls the Gaza strip.

Here’s a summary from other bits the memo that caught my eye.

Al Qaeda’s 20-year plan

Blair said, not surprisingly, that Al Qaeda “remains intent on attacking the US.” He said the FBI was investigating people presumably in the US who have “ties to militants in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, a region that Al Qa’ida, the Taliban and other militant groups have been able to exploit as a safe haven and use as a training ground.”

He said that Al Qaeda will seek to attack US interests for the next 20 years, though he adds that “sustained pressure against al-Qa’ida central in (Pakistan’s tribal areas), however, will diminish the group’s safe haven and thereby its ability to plan external operations.”

He said that while Al Qaeda would like to acquire a chemical, biological, or nuclear weapon, that a “conventional explosive is the most probably al-Qa’ida attack scenario.”

Afghanistan’s growing insurgency

Blair’s memo says of Afghanistan that “the insurgency has steadily grown since the Taliban’s ouster in late-2001.” He hints that a draw-down of US forces is far off, pointing out that Afghan’s army and police “remain heavily dependent on Coalition support and international funding. Recruitment, retention, and equipment shortages negatively affect efforts to sustain growth.”

He reports “widespread corruption” in the national police and “the limited ability of the Afghan government to provide good governance contributes to the insurgency goals of discrediting the legitimacy of the government.”

The 11 percent solution?

The memo highlights the reliance of the Afghan government on foreign aid. In an annual budget of $7.6 billion only $870 million, or 11 percent, is generated by Afghanistan. The remainder is foreign aid. But that aid burden could grow if the insurgency is to be defeated, he implies. At the time of his report, Afghanistan had 83,000 soldiers in its Army. The military’s counterinsurgency strategy needs 325,000 to win the war, he notes, which would require a quadrupling of Afghanistan’s defense expenditure.

Not much help from Pakistan

As for help from Pakistan, he indicates that it’s been difficult getting the country’s leaders on the same page with the US and its NATO allies.

“Al-Qaida and associated groups continue to thrive in the (tribal areas) in spite of government counterinsurgency efforts in 2008. Pakistan’s leaders seem intent on maintaining support for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency goals, but within the confines of Pakistan’s national interests. Pakistan’s actions indicate Islamabad conitnues to prioritize defending against perceived threats from India over the increasing threat emanating from the tribal areas.”

His memo expresses some frustration with Pakistan operations against militants in its tribal areas. “Military operations in 2008 were on a larger scale than in previous years, but have had the same mixed results – short-term disruptions to militant activities ultimately ending in peace agreements which seem to benefit militants more than government interests.”

Blair seems to indicate that while the US intelligence community is worried about Pakistani stability, that it does not think a collapse is imminent. “The military, primarily the Army, serves as the instrument of last resort in managing unrest and would intervene to help restore order in the event that social upheaval threatened to exceed the ability of local police and security forces to control.”

U.S. fears Pakistan turmoil could impede war effort in region

By The Washington Post

Published: Dec 29, 2007 5:00 am

WASHINGTON - President Bush held an emergency meeting of his top foreign policy aides Friday to discuss the deepening crisis in Pakistan, as administration officials and others explored whether Thursday's assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto marks the beginning of a new Islamic extremist offensive that could spread beyond Pakistan and undermine the U.S. war effort in neighboring Afghanistan.

U.S. officials fear that a renewed campaign by Islamic militants aimed at the Pakistani government, and based along the border with Afghanistan, would complicate U.S. policy in the region by effectively merging the six-year-old war in Afghanistan with Pakistan's growing turbulence.

"The fates of Afghanistan and Pakistan are inextricably tied," said J. Alexander Thier, a former United Nations official in Afghanistan who is now at the U.S. Institute for Peace.

U.S. military officers and other defense experts do not anticipate an immediate impact on U.S. operations in Afghanistan. But they are concerned that continued instability eventually will spill over and intensify the fighting in Afghanistan, which has spiked in recent months as the Taliban has strengthened and expanded its operations.

Unrest in Pakistan and increasing fuel prices have already boosted the cost of food in Afghanistan, making it more likely that hungry Afghans will be lured by payments from the Taliban to participate in attacks, a U.S. Army officer in Afghanistan said.

In a secure videoconference Friday linking officials in Washington, Islamabad and Crawford, Texas, Bush received briefings from CIA Director Michael Hayden and U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson, said National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe. Bush then discussed Bhutto's assassination and U.S. efforts to stabilize Pakistan with his top foreign policy advisers, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and national security adviser Stephen Hadley, as well as Adm. William Fallon of Central Command and Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

U.S. intelligence and Defense Department sources said there is increasing evidence that the assassination of Bhutto, a former Pakistani prime minister, was carried out by al-Qaida or its allies inside Pakistan. The intelligence officials said that in recent weeks their colleagues had passed along warnings to the Pakistani government that al-Qaida-related groups were planning suicide attacks on Pakistani politicians.

The U.S. and Pakistani governments are focusing on Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, as a possible suspect. A senior U.S. official said that the Bush administration is paying attention to a list provided by Pakistan's interior ministry indicating that Mehsud's targets include former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, former Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao, and several other Cabinet officials and moderate Islamist leaders. "I wouldn't exactly call it a hit list, but we take it very seriously," the official said. "All moderates (in Pakistan) are now under threat from this terrorism."

Mehsud told the BBC earlier this month that the Pakistani government's actions forced him to react with a "defensive jihad."

After signing a condolence book for Bhutto at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, Rice said the United States is in contact with "all" of the parties in Pakistan and stressed that the Jan. 8 elections should not be postponed. "Obviously, it's just very important that the democratic process go forward," she told reporters.

The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan warned U.S. citizens Thursday to keep a low profile and avoid public gatherings. A Pentagon official said plans to evacuate Americans from the country are being reviewed.

"We've really got a new situation here in western Pakistan," said Army Col. Thomas Lynch III, who has served in Afghanistan and with Central Command, the U.S. military headquarters for Pakistan and the Middle East. He said the assassination marks a "critical new phase" in jihadist operations in Pakistan and predicted that the coming months would bring concentrated attacks on other prominent Pakistanis.

"The Taliban ... are indeed a growing element of the domestic political stew" in Pakistan, said John Blackton, who served as a U.S. official in Afghanistan in the 1970s and again 20 years later. He noted that Pakistani military intelligence created the Taliban in Afghanistan.

How the United States responds will hinge largely on the actions of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, in whom U.S. officials have mixed confidence. If there is indeed a new challenge by Islamic militants emerging in Pakistan, then the United States will have to do whatever it can to support Musharraf, the U.S. Army officer in Afghanistan said.

"Pakistan must take drastic action against the Taliban in its midst or we will face the prospect of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of al-Qaida - a threat far more dangerous and real than Hussein's arsenal ever was," he said, referring to the deposed Saddam Hussein.

But Musharraf has a track record of promising much to Washington but doing little to counter the militants, others said. "My prediction is, Musharraf will go into a bunker mentality and be nicer to the Muslims," said John McCreary, who led the Defense Intelligence Agency's 2001 task force on Afghanistan. "He goes through the pretenses of crackdown but never follows through."

"Pakistan isn't really engaged in a fight against terror," Blackton added. "One of the mistakes amongst many U.S. policymakers is to project the American construct of a war on terror onto the Pakistani regime struggle for survival. There are some congruencies between the two, but even more differences."

The clever move for Musharraf would be to allay such doubts by capturing or killing a major Islamic extremist leader in the coming weeks, said Larry Goodson, an area expert who teaches strategy at the U.S. Army War College. But he said he doubts that would happen or that Musharraf would take many concrete actions, aside possibly from declaring a new state of emergency.

A countervailing pressure on Musharraf is that if he does not respond effectively to an Islamic militant campaign against his government, he also could face falling from power. At some point, said Teresita Schaffer, a former State Department official specializing in India and Pakistan, the Pakistani army "could conclude that he's a liability."

Indian Army Chief says Pakistan following dichotomous policy against terror


August 10th, 2009

NEW DELHI - Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor today said Pakistan was following a dichotomous policy against terror.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here, General Kapoor said that he finds it rather odd that on the one hand Pakistan was operating against militants within the country on the other hand, it is perpetuating terror by sending in infiltrators into Kashmir.

About recent spurt in terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, Pakistan will use every opportunity to raise Kashmir issue, whenever it gets a chance.

“The heightened activity of Pakistan is seen so as to get as many infiltrators in before the winters come, he added.

Commenting on the allegations levelled by a dead Indian Military Academy cadet’s family that his body was handed over to them in a decomposed state, General Kapoor said, we will look into their charge. We try to ensure that anyone who dies during training gets full respect. (ANI)

Indian armed forces on guard against spread of swine flu

August 10th, 2009 SindhToday

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) The Indian armed forces have taken steps to check the spread of Influenza A (H1N1) into its ranks and identified 50 hospitals around the country for personnel showing swine flu-like symptoms, an official said Monday.

“Thirty-nine hospitals have been identified across the country for the Indian Army, and 11 for the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force,” said a senior army official, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The official said 10 soldiers were suspected with the virus but they have tested negative.

One of the problems facing the armed forces is the lack of swine flu testing kits.

“We do not have swine flu testing kits, and efforts are on to procure them from the government hospitals,” the official added.

Two laboratories, one for north and one for south, have been identified by the armed forces for testing. The samples will be sent to the National Institute for Disease Control in Delhi and the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

“Orders have been given to report the suspected cases immediately to the concerned authorities and quarantine the patient,” the official added.

According to the official, the spread of the disease would be very fast in the armed forces as the troops live in close proximity.

Six people have succumbed to the virus since the first death was reported in the country Aug 3. On Sunday, the health ministry said the total number of people infected by swine flu was 864. Of these, 523 have been cured and discharged from designated hospitals.

Joint Indo -Tajikistan Army mountaineering expedition to Ladakh (Kashmir)

10 Aug 2009 PIB: Lieutenant General VK Ahluwalia Directorate General of Military Training flagged off a joint mountaineering expedition of Indian and Tajikistan Army, to Mount Stok Kangri (20,551 ft) and Gulap Kangri (19,776 ft) in Leh region today in Delhi.

The joint team comprising of 02 officers and 10 PBOR of Indian Army and 12 officers of Tajikistan Army is being led by Maj K.S. Rajawat of 2/11 Gorkha Rifles. Prior to the expedition, the Tajik team will undergo a special mountaineering training for 04 weeks at High Altitude Warfare School at Sonamarg in J & K. During the expedition the team moved to Base Camp at Leh which will be established at a height of 15,500 ft Camp- I will be at 17,500 feet and weather permitting, the summit will be attempted on 17-20 Sep 09.

The Peak which belongs to the Stok Kangri Massif in the Leh region of J & K attracts mountaineers from many parts of the world. The route to this peak is long' and difficult and requires expertise both in ice craft and rock craft. The team has to negotiate a number of crevasses, difficult terrain enroute and hence demands a high level of technical skill and meticulous planning. This expedition will not only help both the Armies learn from each other's varied experiences but would go a long way in strengthening the ties between both the Nations. Indian Army in the past has organized similar expeditions with Australia, Nepal, USA, UK and Kazakhstan.

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