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Monday, 14 September 2009

From Today's Papers - 14 Sep 09

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Chinese at work on border
n ‘Taking land in inches and not yards’ in Ladakh
n Fresh threat: Construction in Karakoram ranges

Leh, September 13
The Chinese Army has done some construction activities along the international border across Karakoram ranges in Ladakh sector for the first time since the 1962 stand-off between the two countries with a report of Jammu and Kashmir government saying that they have been taking “land in inches and not in yards.”

The Chinese Army - PLA - has been engaged in construction activities across the Karakoram ranges which could be used for either stationing of additional personnel or mounting a camera for monitoring Indian troop movement, official sources said.

The Karakoram pass falls precisely on the boundary between India and China’s Xinjiang autonomous region, marking northern end of Sino-Indian border, known as the Line of Actual Control.

It also plays a major geographic role in the dispute between Pakistan and India over control of the Siachen Glacier area immediately to the west of the pass.

This situation arose from the Simla Agreement, signed in 1972 between India and Pakistan, when the treaty failed to specify the last 100 km of ceasefire line from end of the Line of Control to Karakoram Pass. The West of the Pass is also referred as China-Indian-Pakistan tripoint. While Army tried to downplay the development, they, however acknowledged that some digging activity had been noticed. “There has been no report of concrete huts being built across Karakoram Pass. However, some digging has been noticed well inside Chinese territory,” an Army spokesman said in a written reply to PTI.

In a related development, the report of Jammu and Kashmir government highlights the Chinese incursions into various parts of Ladakh.

“They (Chinese) have threatened the nomadic people who had been using Dokbug area (in Ladakh sector) area for grazing since decades long, in a way to snatch our land in inches. A Chinese proverb is famous in the world - better do in inches than in yards,” the report filed by a former sub-divisional magistrate (Nyoma) Tsering Norboo said.

Norboo had been deputed by the state government to probe incursion of Chinese Army in Dokbug area and threatening the local shepherds to leave the land as it belonged to them. The area has been used by the shepherds to graze their livestock as the area is warmer compared to other parts of Ladakh.

The SDM pointed out that it was another attempt by Chinese to claim the territory as disputed in the same fashion as they had taken Nag Tsang area opposite to Phuktse airfield in 1984, Nakung in 1991 and Lungma-Serding in 1992. The area of Dokbug and Doley Tango was frequented by shepherds and nomads from December to March every year during which their young lambs were capable to walk.

The SDM has also highlighted the fact that Army stopped these nomads from vacating the land who were terrified by the Chinese threats.

Ahead of this construction work in Karakoram region of Ladakh sector, the Chinese Army has violated the International Border in Ladakh region and painted boulders and rocks in the area red.

The Chinese troops had entered nearly 1.5 kilometres into the Indian territory on July 31 near Mount Gya, recognised as International border by India and China, and painted the boulders and rocks with “China” and “Chin9” in red spray paint.

The 22,420 ft Mount Gya, also known as “fair princess of snow” by Army, is located at the tri-junction of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, and Tibet. Its boundary was marked during the British era and regarded as International border by the two countries.

Before this, Chinese helicopters had violated the Indian air space on June 21 along the Line of Actual Control in Chumar region and also helli-dropped some expired food. — PTI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090914/main1.htm

Tezpur to have Sukhoi-30 warplanes

Shillong, September 13
A full complement of the MKI variant of the Sukhoi-30 warplanes will be deployed at the frontline Tezpur air base in Assam by October.

Dismissing reports that infrastructure at the air base is inadequate to deploy the Su-30 MKIs, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Air Command Air Marshal SK Bhan said, “The upgradation work at the air base has been completed and a full complement of the fighter jets would be deployed at the base by October.”

“Su-30s have operated from the air base when the planes were formally inducted in the base on June 15,” Bhan told PTI.

Asked how many squadrons of the jets will be deployed in the north east, he said it depends on the IAF assessment.

When four Su30s landed at the base on June 12 last for a symbolic induction, it was after a gap of more than a year that a fighter operated from the air base after the MIG fighters were moved out of the base.

The Su30 MKI multi-role combat jets have aerial refuelling capability and a combat radius of 1,500 km.

Besides Tezpur, a full squadron of the fighter planes will also be deployed at the Chabua base in Eastern Assam, subsequently. The IAF is also contemplating deploying another squadron at the Bagdogra air base in the region, an IAF official said.

Having aerial refuelling capability, the Su30 MKI multi-role combat jets have a combat radius of 1,500 km.

At present, the IAF has five Sukhoi squadrons in two Sukhoi bases in Lohegan (near Pune), which is the home base for the aircraft where all squadrons are raised and rookie pilots trained, and Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.

Air Marshal Bhan said once the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal would be through, the Air Force would deploy some of the squadrons in the eastern sector.

Currently, trials are being conducted with the aircraft of six manufacturers for 126 planes. The six aircraft are the French Dassault Rafale, European Consortium EADS' Eurofighter, US Lockheed Martin's F-16 Viper and Boeing's F-18 Super Hornet, Swedish Gripen and the Russian MiG-35. — PTI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090914/nation.htm#6

US funds were used to fight against India: Musharraf

Press Trust Of India

PAK'S DARK SECRETS: Musharraf admitted he had violated rules governing the use of the military aid.

Islamabad: Former President Pervez Musharraf has said that military aid provided by the US to Pakistan for the war against terror during his tenure had been used to strengthen defences against India, the first such admission by any top Pakistani leader.

Musharraf admitted that he had violated rules governing the use of the military aid, and justified his actions by saying he had "acted in the best interest of Pakistan."

In an interview with a news channel, he said he "did not care" whether the US would be angered by his disclosure.

The former military ruler, who resigned as president in August last year to avoid impeachment, said he was not ready to compromise on Pakistan's interests.

India and several influential lawmakers in the US have been saying that Pakistan had used funds given to it by the US to take on militants to strengthen its defences against India. However, Pakistan had been denying the charges.

Musharraf said that if he had not supported the US in the war against terror after the 9/11 attacks, American forces could have entered Pakistan to capture its nuclear assets. He said it was also possible that the US and India could have jointly attacked the country.

Musharraf said Pakistan's nuclear programme was so advanced during his tenure that scientists had not only begun enriching uranium but had also developed plutonium-based weapons.

Asked about scientist AQ Khan's claim that he had been forced to make a confession about running a nuclear proliferation network, Musharraf said Khan "had done a lot but he was lying that he was forced to apologise before the nation".

Musharraf said he expects justice from the country's Chief Justice Ifthikar M Chaudhry if he is tried for treason and for the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti.

Musharraf, whose act of imposing emergency in 2007 was declared as "unconstitutional" by the Supreme Court, claimed Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz had assured him that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif will not insist on his trial for treason.

Sharif has been pressuring the Pakistan People's Party-led government to put Musharraf on trial.

Musharraf said if he is put on trial for treason, all the judges who supported his decisions should also be tried.

He had declared the emergency on November 3, 2007 after sacking 60 members of the higher judiciary, including Chaudhry.

The former president, who is currently living in London, told the channel that he expects justice from Chaudhry if he is tried for treason and for the killing of Baloch Nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti.

The Balochistan High Court had on Friday issued notices to Musharraf and his aides to appear before it in connection with the killing.

http://ibnlive.in.com/printpage.php?id=101304&section_id=2

Rajnath questions govt's silence on Chinese 'incursions'

TNN 14 September 2009, 02:16am IST

NEW DELHI: BJP chief Rajnath Singh has expressed concern over reports of Chinese intrusion into Indian territory and accused the Centre of

keeping mum on the issue.

"Why is the Congress leadership mum on the issue? The Army chief was compelled to speak. That Gen Deepak Kapoor had to express concern shows the situation is serious. The political leadership should be expressing this concern," Singh told reporters.

He urged the government to register its protest with China about repeated intrusions by Chinese army into Indian territory. "The Chinese ambassador should be summoned and a protest registered," Singh said, adding that India could also build diplomatic pressure on China.

He reminded the ruling Congress that even in 1962, India was in a state of denial when China intruded into the country and the issue finally flared up into a full scale war.

Gen Kapoor had stated last week that Chinese intrusions did take place but tempered his statement by saying this was done by both the armies often due to differing perceptions of Line of Actual Control. However, he was concerned about increase in Chinese intrusions and painting of "China" on rocks in Indian territory, which happened for the first time.

Gen Kapoor said India had taken up the matter with China in their border personnel meeting.

Demanding that the government come clean on the issue, Singh said, "India has suffered once in 1962 when the then government was not ready to accept (Chinese incursions into Indian territory)."

India had to face a humiliating defeat in the war that ensued after China encroached on Indian territory.

Singh reminded that then PM Jawaharlal Nehru had said there was nothing to worry. "They tried to push everything under the carpet for which India had to face consequences," Singh said.

Recently, former naval chief Sureesh Mehta had also spoken about India's position vis-a-vis China. "We neither have the intention nor the capability to match up with China, force by force," he said, but warned that China could get assertive in its territorial claims in the neighbourhood following its defence modernisation.

However, foreign minister S M Krishna seemed to dismiss these views when he said India-China border was peaceful.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Rajnath-questions-govts-silence-on-Chinese-incursions/articleshow/5006618.cms

India is beefing up China border defences

Josy Joseph / DNA

Monday, September 14, 2009 2:09 IST

New Delhi: A massive upgrade of infrastructure and military capabilities is under way along the disputed India-China border in a bid to be prepared for any misadventures from the other side.

To this end, a huge jump in military strength along the border is under way. While a decision to locate Sukhoi-30 fighters at Tezpur from June 2009 has already been announced, the Indian Air Force (IAF) may also beef up its presence in the Chabua airbase and maintain heli-lift capabilities in other parts of the north-east.

For decades since the 1962 war, India had officially decided not to develop its border with China fearing that it would provide easy access to invading Chinese troops. A few years ago, that policy was junked and India plunged into an aggressive development of its border infrastructure.

It is now reactivating several airstrips built during World War II or the 1962 war and abandoned later. On May 31 this year, the IAF reactivated the world's highest airstrip, at Daulat Beg Oldie in Ladakh, originally built during the 1962 Sino-Indian war. The strip, close to the Karakoram pass, is capable of landing AN-32 transport aircraft.

Several other advanced landing grounds, such as Fukche, Chushul and Nyama have also been made functional. "The logistics disasters of 1962 will never be repeated," says an air force officer, referring to India's inability at the time to provide support to its army in the

frontlines.

India has also been trying to quickly catch up with China in building all-weather connectivity almost up to the last post, essential for a strong response to any Chinese misadventure, say many within the military leadership. "They are much ahead

of us in infrastructure, but we are fast catching up," said a military source. A large network of roads is also being built; over 30 major new road links are in progress, besides several smaller strips.

In the north-east, the army is raising two divisions, with 15,000to 30,000 soldiers. They would add strength to the defence of the Arunachal Pradesh border, especially Tawang, which China is very keen to reclaim.

"We did exhibit our ability to carry out swift beefing-up of deployment during Operation Falcon in 1986-87," says a senior army officer. Operation Falcon refers to India's troop movement during the standoff with China at Sumdorong Chu. raising the country's third artillery division along the northeast border, with Bofors howitzers and indigenously manufactured Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers.

The absence of noise from the military leadership on the alleged Chinese incursions is because India wants to be discreet about its build-up, so as not to spark off any unnecessary complications between the Asian giants.

Military leaders also insist that though India may not match up to China in numbers, it is capable of responding well in the event of a major skirmish. "We are not the army of 1962. We have a competent presence, and technologically we are superior on many fronts," says a former commander of an army corps deployed along the northeast, an opinion shared by many senior army officers.

"I don't frankly see any change in the situation along the border. But, hypothetically, if it came to a military confrontation, we are confident of our capabilities," a senior officer in the army headquarters said.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_india-is-beefing-up-china-border-defences_1289978

Reading through the lines on China's insurgency

Yogi

Sun, Sep 13, 2009 15:38:43 IST

IN RECENT times, both the print and electronic media has been full of reports about alleged Chinese intrusions across McMahon Line. No doubt the outrage expressed regarding the Red army's insurgency is justified and has been well articulated. But what about the Indian response? Has the media done any research or in-depth reporting on the functioning of government of India?

The fact of matter is that Indian response to Chinese one-upmanship on the LAC has been always hobbled by the timidity of the Indian establishment. This timidity has led to the political heads surrendering their authority to the bureaucrats.

This fact is borne out by reports carried in many newspapers, particularly one carried by a prominent national daily on September 13, wherein it has been reported that the China Study Group, comprising of certain bureaucrats had a few years back, laid restrictions on the movement of the Indian Army along McMahon Line. The same group also reportedly stipulated that the ITBP men should go to certain areas unarmed. Imagine facing certain death without any means for self-defence.

What kind of system do we have? Is it a democracy? If yes, how come the Cabinet has surrendered it's authority over the armed forces to a bunch of bureaucrats? And, equally importantly, why has our media not taken up this issue? Would it take it up now?

http://www.merinews.com/article/reading-through-the-lines-on-chinas-insurgency/15784132.shtml

India's women troopers giving Pakistan jitters

By IANS,

New Delhi: The deployment of the all women battalion at the India-Pakistan border in Punjab, the first of its kind, seems to be giving sleepless nights to Pakistan as it has been busy running down the security initiative.

First, a news report appeared on a prominent website that called the Border Security Force (BSF) women objectionable names. This shocked the Indian defence establishment, which, however, passed it off as propaganda. The rocket firing on the border at Wagah over the weekend was given a different twist by army headquarters.

"Pakistan is heralding the coming of our all women battalion, which is another feather in the cap of India," quipped a defence official.

http://twocircles.net/2009sep13/indias_women_troopers_giving_pakistan_jitters.html

Pak designs on Gilgit-Baltistan
Self-rule or political chicanery?
by Sushant Sareen

THERE are two areas under the control of Pakistan where a pervasive sense of alienation, deprivation and disillusionment has infused in the people a feeling of being colonised by the state of Pakistan. The first is the province of Balochistan, in particular the Baloch-dominated areas of the province. The second is Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir but currently under the illegal occupation of Pakistan.

The misrule and repression unleashed on the people of Balochistan by successive Pakistani governments - both military and civilian - have driven the Baloch, especially the youth, to a point where nothing short of complete independence will satisfy their aspirations. The situation in Gilgit-Baltistan, which civil rights activists often refer to as the “Last Colony” of the world, also threatened to spiral out of control unless Pakistan took some urgent political measures that would help keep a lid on the simmering discontent among the people of this region.

It is precisely to prevent Gilgit-Baltistan from becoming another Balochistan that on August 29 the Government of Pakistan announced a package of political reforms that will, for the first time since 1947, purportedly give the people of this region a modicum of political autonomy and self-rule. Until this package was announced, Gilgit-Baltistan was denied even the most basic civil, political, constitutional and legal rights on the grounds that it was not a part of Pakistan.

Of course, such legalese never prevented Pakistan either from separating this region from the rest of the occupied part of the Jammu and Kashmir state (euphemistically called Azad Jammu and Kashmir) or parcelling a part of the state - Chitral - and amalgamating it with the NWFP, or even administering Gilgit-Baltistan directly from Islamabad through non-local bureaucrats and the Pakistan Army and brutally suppressing any dissent in the area. Nor, for that matter, did it stop Pakistan from undertaking projects like the Karakorum highway or now the Bhasha dam that will benefit Pakistan more than it will benefit the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Even more significantly, Pakistan scrapped the state subject rules to settle Sunni Pashtuns in the area in order to dilute the majority of local Shias. Worse, state-sponsored pogroms of Shias were organised to try and keep control over the people and the territory. But instead of cowing down the locals, the repression only created a reservoir of resentment among the people which over the years has manifest itself in the form of a sort of sectarian nationalism.

The methods that the Pakistani state adopted in Gilgit-Baltistan defied all political logic. After all, the people of the region were only demanding that they be integrated into Pakistan as its fifth province and that they be given political and constitutional rights as citizens of Pakistan. According to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, even if their fate was tied to the resolution of the larger Kashmir issue, there was no reason why they should be denied those basic rights which the Pakistanis had already conceded to “Azad Kashmir”. At the same time, they opposed being linked politically and administratively to “Azad Kashmir” since this would not only rob them of their identity, but also swamp them by the numerically larger population of “Azad Kashmir”.

On the face of it, therefore, the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Ordinance-2009 is a piece of progressive legislation that has given political autonomy and self-rule to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. At least on paper, the area has got the rights and paraphernalia of a province, if not the status of one - an elected Assembly headed by a chief minister with powers to legislate on some 61 subjects and also pass the budget, a public service commission, an auditor-general and an election commissioner for the region, etc. In addition, judicial rights have also been bestowed upon the people with the formation of an appellate court. But since the devil is always in the detail, what the state of Pakistan has given from one hand, it has taken away from the other hand.

For instance, not only will there be a governor who will be sitting on the head of the elected chief minister, there will also be a non-elected Gilgit-Baltistan Council that will be headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and will hold a virtual veto over the functioning of the elected assembly, as it happens in the case of “Azad Kashmir”.

As far as legislation is concerned, the now defunct Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (NALA) has no history of having legislated on any issue despite being delegated powers to legislate on around 49 subjects. Being utterly powerless, the elected members of the erstwhile NALA were only glorified show-boys. Everything was controlled by the bureaucracy, which, in classic colonial style, is imposed on Gilgit-Baltistan by the colonial master — Pakistan. And there is no reason to believe that things will be any different now. After all, what are the chances that the Pakistan Army and the bureaucracy, which continue to call the shots in “democratic” Pakistan, will allow the newly empowered elected representatives of Gilgit-Baltistan to uninhibitedly exercise their powers?

Despite the grumblings and protests over their views not having been taken into consideration in preparing the political reforms package, both the pro-Pakistan politicians as well as the “nationalist” parties will try and work this new system. To an extent, the sense of expectation created by the devolution of powers will push forward the political process in this region. But a lot will depend upon the quantum of freedom and self-rule that Pakistan allows in this territory.

If the Government of Pakistan permits political expression to flower and allows the political processes to function without too much interference, this political package could go some distance in satisfying the immediate political urges of the people. However, if Pakistan violates and subverts the letter and spirit of the political reforms package, then the entire exercise of allowing self-rule in Gilgit-Baltistan could backfire badly and create even greater disillusionment, dissatisfaction and discontent than exists at present.

The success of this political stratagem will also hinge critically on how competitive politics plays itself out in the region. If the Shia-Sunni divide widens, regional and ethnic issues acquire salience, and tensions with Islamabad mount over issues like mega dams or the boundary issue, then the entire edifice could come crashing down. On the other hand, there is also a possibility that if the system works reasonably well, it could prompt demands for even greater levels of autonomy than what the Pakistanis might be willing to concede, which in turn could fuel political and social unrest in this strategically very important region.

India, which has protested after nearly two weeks against the Pakistani move in Gilgit-Baltistan, had been caught in a Catch-22 situation. By raising its voice India could draw unnecessary and unwanted international attention on Jammu and Kashmir. India also did not want to appear as though it wanted to deprive the people of this area their basic civil and political rights. Despite all this, India could not keep quiet, as that would virtually amount to a tacit acquiescence to Pakistan’s back-door annexation of Gilgit-Baltistan.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090914/edit.htm#4

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