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Sunday, 30 August 2009

From Today's Papers - 30 Aug 09

Asian Age

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Indian Express

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Times of India

WW-II hero’s grave found after 67 yrs
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 29
Sixtyseven years ago at the height of World War II, Tarani Kanta Roy of Sarbhog in Assam’s Barpeta district, who was at the time a doctor with the Indian Hospital Corps, was asked to report for duty, at the Allied Forces headquarters in Singapore. Though his wife was seven months pregnant and their first son was only 18 months old, he chose to respond to the call of duty leaving the two behind with his ageing parents. However, he promised his wife, Kiranbala Roy, he would come back once the war was over. Little did she know she would never see him again.

About three years later a colleague who was also a doctor and captured by the Japanese army, informed the family that Roy, had been killed on February 13, 1942, when the Allied Forces hospital in Singapore, where he was working, was destroyed by heavy bombing by planes of the Japanese air force.

It was only on August 8 this year that Roy’s granddaughter, Bidisha Kalita, and her husband, Pulin Kalita, both of whom are now settled in Singapore, came upon his resting place during a visit to the Kranji War Cemetery in the island republic. Inscribed on the sepulchre were the words ‘Their name liveth for ever more: Tarani Kanta Roy-doctor and Satya Paul Khosla-doctor.’

“It was a great piece of news for us. I feel proud my father’s martyrdom was duly honoured and the family is relieved of a burden on the heart,” noted theatre personality Dulal Roy, Roy’s second son, told The Tribune.

Dulal, who was yet to be born when his father left for Singapore, said: “A colleague of his once told us during the aerial attack on that fateful day my father was attending his duties unflinchingly amid the bombardment. Till her death my mother, who never believed my father had died, awaited his return.” He added the family members are planning to make a trip to Singapore to pay their respects to Roy at his tomb.

At the time of Roy’s death his father, who was a ranger in the Assam Forest Department, had done his best with his limited resources to get some information about his lost son but in vain. Knowing he would never return home the old man constructed a small house in Guwahati’s Shantipur locality for Roy’s two sons -Hemendra Kumar and Dulal, naming it ‘Orphan Kutir’.

Myanmar, the regime’s policy of "divide and conquer" against minorities

by Tint Swe

The "Biblical" exodus of the minority Shan is the latest chapter in a government policy that creates divisions in the country to later guarantee - with weapons - unity. The twenty-year strategy of agreements, concessions or repression of various groups is at a crossroads, in view of the general elections of 2010.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - In recent days, AsiaNews reported on the “biblical” exodus of thousands of Burmese civilians, at least 30 thousand according to the latest data, who have crossed the border between Myanmar and China to escape the ongoing conflict between government forces and of the ethnic Shan rebel groups. The military junta in Myanmar - the nation consists of the majority Burmese and many ethnic minorities - has launched an offensive on rebel movements, the military means to force them to surrender in view of the general elections of 2010 and to cooperate with the government in defence of the borders national.

We publish the analysis of Tint Swe, a member of the Council of Ministers of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) composed of refugees from Myanmar after the 1990 elections won by the National League for Democracy and never acknowledged by the junta . Fled to India in 1990, since 21 December 1991 he lives in New Delhi, and is a member of the NCGUB where he holds the post of information officer for South Asia and East Timor

Recent developments in the Sino-Burmese border are the result of a twenty-year agreement between the Burmese regime and the armed ethnic groups. The internal rebellion or civil war had no end, neither under democracy, nor martial law.

This regime has made a strategic choice, creating a so-called cease-fire agreement with different ethnic groups. And the first group to have signed it was also the first to experience the unfortunate consequences. This group is the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (Mndaa).

The strong army of 450 thousand units has neither the ability nor the desire to break the insurgency with the guns. For this reason it uses all available means, lawful or unlawful, without distinction. If you are strong, you get more concessions in return; otherwise just get the crumbs.

The China factor has played a leading role in quashing, at the end of the Cold War, the once strong Communist Party of Burma (CPB). When the Chinese government put an end to political support and material assistance, the Communist Party was no longer able to maintain its leading role among the various ethnic groups not belonging to the majority Burmese. This gave the newly installed military regime the perfect opportunity to pursue the policy of "divide and conquer”.

To MNDAA was followed by a number of other rebel movements related to various ethnic groups. In this way the regime has had the opportunity over the past decade to show the world, and the country itself, that it alone can ensure peace. As a result the SLORC - the original State Council for the Restoration of law and order - has become the State Council for Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

This gave the junta the opportunity to implement the next step in strengthening power. While it orchestrated repression after repression, the junta finalized the drafting, writing and approval of a new constitution, with all it has cost.

This is why 2010 is D-day. The time has come to address the issue related to the cease-fire and the rebel groups. The plan to turn them into border guards has not gone as smoothly as hoped. The smallest folded, but the larger groups continue their resistance.

This explains the regime’s decision to adopt the same tactic used previously for the Karen. The Karen National Union (KNU), the strongest political movement, has been infiltrated by the regime, it was bought and sold and then divided from within. The result was the birth of DKBA in 1994. The strange acronym stands for the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, consisting of a fringe group from the Karen National Liberation Army (Knla), the armed wing of the KNU. The result: Karen have had to kill Karen.

Now MNDAA represents the last show of the pre-election campaign ahead of the 2010 vote. Kokangs must kill Kokangs. The State Council for Peace and Development has needed less than a thousand soldiers. Ten thousand civilians have fled to China. Now China has to decide whether to support the armed resistance of Kokang Chinese or Burmese army.

(with the collaboration of Nirmala Carvalho)

Navy doctrine covers int, synergy gaps exposed by 26/11

Press Trust of India / New Delhi August 29, 2009, 15:24 IST

With the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks exposing gaps in intelligence sharing and synergy among maritime forces, the latest Navy's doctrine has laid greater emphasis on these two critical aspects of security.

"There are subtle, but notable changes in the 'principles of war' outlined in the revised Maritime Doctrine, released yesterday, with the inclusion of 'synergy' and 'intelligence' as key factors," Navy officials told PTI here today.

The doctrine, first brought out in 2004, lays down its task as an armed force furthering Indian security interests and also provides the fundamentals for readiness and response planning for the Navy.

"The chapter on India's maritime environment and interests has been significantly revamped and expanded to include the geostrategic importance of India's location and the Indian Ocean Region, maritime terrorism, piracy and coastal security," they said.

Outgoing Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta released the 2009 edition of the doctrine that would provide a common understanding of universally applicable maritime concepts not only to the uniformed fraternity, but also to the public at large.

The review of the doctrine, Navy officials said, was necessitated by the ongoing changes in the geostrategic environment, the growing needs of the nation and consequently the navy, evolving operational complexities and transformational changes sweeping the maritime domain.

However, the new edition of the maritime doctrine continues to cover the fundamental framework of the principle practices and procedures that govern the development and employment of the military maritime power, they added.

The chapter on concepts of maritime power was also revamped considerably to reflect the contribution of the government and the people through a maritime attitude and consciousness, and economic factors such as ship building, they said.

"Since doctrines evolve over time, the present edition maintains its temporal relevance, addressing the tenets of contemporary maritime thought, with emphasis on the Indian maritime environment," they said.

An entirely new chapter called Naval Combat Power highlights the ever-changing demands on conceptual, physical and human concepts emerging from rapid transformational changes in technology and consequently tactics, they said.

"The laws governing armed conflict have been covered for a better understanding of the legal aspects covering combat," they said.

A conscious effort was made to move forward from the commonalities of maritime thought, as applicable to most sea faring nations, to address specific maritime concepts, concerns and developments applicable to India and the Indian Navy, the officials said.

The Great Global Officer Shortage

August 29, 2009: Despite having only one soldier (sailor or airman) for every 866 people, India has a chronic officer shortage. The United States, with one soldier for every 187 Americans, has no shortage . China, with one soldier for every 591, has no shortage either. What is going on here? What is happening is a global officers shortage. Until the last few decades, it was considered prestigious, and career enhancing, to serve at least a few years as a military officer. These days, no more. Shortages are often filled by lowering standards, which can have disastrous results in combat.

The Indian Army is short 24 percent of its officer strength, while China has the numbers, it is seriously concerned with the quality. Meanwhile, the Indian army has had a shortage of officers for decades. The air force and navy are also short, but only by 12-15 percent. In China, the problem is growing as the economy continues to boom (despite the global recession.)

But it's not just officers that are hard for the Indians to recruit and keep. Technical specialists are in short supply, which is a growing problem as the army adds more high tech gear. The basic problem is that the army must compete with the civilian economy for highly trained or educated personnel.

The Indian army maintains high standards for officers, and has tried to eliminate the shortages by more aggressively recruiting young NCOs for officer candidate school. But that doesn't always work, because too many of the NCOs cannot pass the entrance exam. The source of that problem is the corruption in the Indian primary school system. Teaching jobs in many parts of the country are considered political patronage. These teaching assignments are handed out to political activists, with the understanding that they are no-show jobs. So, despite a lot of money being put into primary education over the last half century, the illiteracy rate is still 39 percent. The Chinese rate is 9.1 percent.

The Indian military has long been an all-volunteer force, and had no trouble filling the ranks. But over the last decade, as the government dismantled controls on business, and privatized many government owned companies, the economy has boomed. There are not enough qualified technical and management people to fill all the skilled jobs. India has been looking at how other nations solve these problems. They have noted American success (over the last four decades) in outsourcing a lot of support jobs. This is almost a necessity with some high tech specialties, where even civilian firms face shortages. Another American technique, cash bonuses for jobs with shortages, is more difficult for India, which much less money to spend on defense. India also has some unique cultural problems. While the caste system is, in theory outlawed and not functioning, it is still there. Which caste you belong to not only influences who you can marry, but, to a lesser extent, where you can work. And when the word gets around that the "wrong kind of people" are becoming army officers, many (a large minority) potential officers suddenly show no interest in a military career. Coupled with the high illiteracy rate, small number of college grads, and huge competition from the booming economy, it's a wonder the shortfall is only 24 percent.

China has similar problems, although there are differences. The Chinese education system is more efficient, or at least less corrupt. Although China still has conscription, the armed forces are basically staffed with volunteers. But the three decade economic boom has made it difficult for the military to get the quality people it wants. Thus many Chinese officers are, for want of a better word, losers. The same could be said for many Indian officers, but India, or at least many parts of India, have a military tradition. There, bright young lads will forgo higher pay to serve as officers. But that is not as fashionable as it used to be, and the Indian army wants to double the pay of junior officers to make it competitive with what civilian employers are offering new college grads. China recently gave its junior officers a raise.

Moreover, India has a problem that China does not have. India is at war, with troops getting killed and injured in Kashmir, the northeastern tribal areas, and fighting Maoist rebels in eastern India. The casualty rate is actually quite low, but just serving in a combat zone is hard on the nerves, and not attractive to many educated young Indians. Overall, bright young Indian men are competing to get into business and technical schools, while the military academy cannot fill vacancies. On the other hand, Indian officers are getting invaluable combat experience, much more than their Chinese peers.

Indian military leaders want officer conscription, via mandatory officer training and service for university graduates. But the majority of citizens and politicians oppose this. China has a system similar to the American ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps), where the costs of college are picked up by the government for those who study military subjects in college, and then serve as officers for a few years after they graduate. China also has more military academies than India, and is also having a hard time getting young men to attend them. China still gets a lot of officers via NCOs taking officer training. This provides good military leaders, but ones lacking the technical skills that are increasingly important.

Neither India nor China have found a solution for their junior officer shortage, and until there is a solution, the quality of their armed forces will suffer.

India fields admiral to trash scientist’s claim

NEW DELHI: India’s senior most military commander, Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee and Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Thursday iterated that the country had a credible nuclear deterrent even as former president A P J Abdul Kalam refuted claims of a former defence scientist that a hydrogen bomb tested in 1998 (Pokhran II) had failed.

Admiral Mehta’s assertion and Kalam’s statement countered the claim of K Santhanam, a member of the team that conducted Pokhran II, that the yield of the thermonuclear device tested in the Rajasthan desert 11 years ago was much below expectation.

Kalam, who had led the campaign as director general of Defence Research and Development Organisation, dismissed his team member’s claim. “After the test, there was a detailed review, based on the two experimental results – seismic measurement close to the site and around radioactive measurement of the material after post shot drill in the test site,” Kalam told agencies. “From these data, it has been established by the project team that the design yield of the thermonuclear test has been obtained.”

Santhanam maintained his position, but all others involved in the project were quick to rebut the claim. R Chidamabaram, the team leader of Pokhran II, also said that Santhanam’s disclosure was absurd.

Former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra, another key player in Pokhran II, also claimed that the five tests carried out were successful.

Santhanam’s remark reignited the debate if India possessed a thermonuclear device more powerful than an atom bomb.

Admiral Mehta, who retires as navy chief on Monday and passes on the baton of chiefs of staff committee to army chief general Deepak Kapoor, said India had no first strike policy, which required a credible deterrence.

Santhanam was director for 1998 test site preparations. He had made the low yield disclosure on Tuesday at an event organised by Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis on Comprehesive Test Ban Treaty. India had conducted a series of tests on May 11 and 13. The first of the three tests carried out on May 11 was a thermonuclear device or a hydrogen bomb. Santhanam said India needed more thermonuclear tests and should not commit itself to signing the CTBT.

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