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Monday, 21 September 2009

From Today's Papers - 21 Sep 09

Indian Express

Asian Age

Asian Age

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Asian Age

Kashmir Times

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Kashmir Times

The Pioneer

Kashmir Times

Times of India

Times of India

Times of India

Times of India

DNA India

DNA India

DNA India

Hindustan Times

AQ Khan admits to Pak link with Iran, N Korea

London, September 20
In a damning revelation of Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation, its disgraced scientist A Q Khan, the father of the country’s nuke weapons programme, has admitted to the Pakistani nexus in the controversial atomic programme of Iran and North Korea, a media report said today.

The disgraced 74-year-old Khan, who is dubbed as maestro of the world’s largest nuclear black market, has made the revelation in a four-page ‘secret’ letter addressed to his Dutch wife Henny, the ‘Sunday Times’ reported. The letter was written to his wife after his arrest in 2003.

In numbered paragraphs, the letter outlines Pakistan’s nuclear links with China and its official support to the atomic programme of Iran and North Korea. The letter also mentions Libya.

On Iran, the letter says: “Probably with the blessings of BB [Benazir Bhutto, who became prime minister in 1988] and [a now-retired general]… General Imtiaz [Benazir’s defence adviser, now dead] asked… me to give a set of drawings and some components to the Iranians… The names and addresses of suppliers were also given to the Iranians.”

The paper described the December 10, 2003, letter handwritten in apparent haste as extraordinary and claimed its contents had never been revealed before. The paper said one of its journalists obtained a copy of the letter in 2007. On North Korea, the letter said: “[A now-retired general] took $3 million through me from the N Koreans and asked me to give some drawings and machines.”

The report said the first customer for one of its enrichment plants was China - which itself had supplied Pakistan with enough highly enriched uranium for two nuclear bombs in the summer of 1982.

“We put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (250km southwest of Xian),” Khan’s letter said.

It went on: “The Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us 50 kg of enriched uranium, 10 tonnes of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3 per cent).” (UF6 is uranium hexafluoride, the gaseous feedstock for an enrichment plant.)

Khan became an idolised figure in Pakistan from the 1980s onwards because of his success in building a uranium-enrichment plant at Kahuta, near Islamabad. In February 2004, he was accused of proliferating nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Years earlier, the newspaper said Khan had been warned about the Pakistan army by Li Chew, the senior minister who ran China’s nuclear-weapons programme. In the letter, Khan wrote: “The bastards first used us and are now playing dirty games with us.” — PTI

Army begins 'annual operation' near China border

NDTV Correspondent, Sunday September 20, 2009, New Delhi

The Indian Army has begun an operation in western Arunachal Pradesh, close to the Chinese border.

However, top government sources denied any unusual Army troop movement or stoppage of civilian traffic.

They described these as an annual operation alert in the border areas to test operational preparedness and maintain physical defences.

Sino-Indian relations
Media must heed PM’s call for restraint

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s observation that the Indian media is blowing things out of proportion on the China front and that there is no evidence of increased incursions by the Chinese into India must lead to some restraint in the Indian media while reporting international affairs. Foreign policy is a complex issue and painting an alarmist picture on the basis of half-baked information can jeopardise relations with a country. While the Indian armed forces need to maintain tight vigil on the border with China and there is no room for complacency, it is also important that minor incursions which have always taken place from both sides are not exaggerated. It is, therefore, just as well that Dr Singh has spoken to counter the tendency to whip up a virtual war hysteria.

National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan put it in perspective when he said recently, “What we need to be careful of is that we don’t have an unwarranted incident or an accident of some kind. That’s what we are trying to avoid. But there is always concern (that) if this thing (media hype) goes on like this someone somewhere might lose his cool and something might go wrong.” This overall tone of moderation on the part of the government fits in with a strategic dialogue that India and China are engaged in with a mature outlook on both sides. Barring occasional public expression of differing perceptions, the border tangle is largely confined to regular rounds of talks between the two sides.

In today’s context when economic interests dictate political ties increasingly, India and China have moved to a stage where China has become one of India’s largest trade partners, and India is now one of the most vital investment and overseas project contracting markets for China. The Indian calculation apparently is that gradually the Chinese would shed their designs on territorial acquisition in enlightened economic self-interest. How true this premise proves only time will tell, but what is vital today is that while the political dialogue be kept going, the borders, the seas and the air route be guarded zealously.

Missile defence plan
Obama’s move to scrap is pragmatic

The Obama administration’s decision to scrap the US missile defence plan for Eastern Europe is a step in the right direction. As expected, it has evoked a positive response from Russia, which had been opposed to former President George Bush’s missile shield idea for US allies in Europe on the pretext of blunting the threat from Iranian long-range missiles. Moscow considered the missile defence system, to have been built in Poland and the Czech Republic, as being aimed at neutralising Russia’s nuclear deterrent. That is why Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has described it as a “correct” and “brave” decision. It can go a long way in easing tensions between the US and Russia. The erstwhile Bush administration’s controversial scheme of things for its East European allies had undermined the achievements made after the end of the Cold War.

President Obama’s latest decision is being seen as a tactic to bring Russia on board on the Iranian nuclear issue. The US now expects Russia to soften its opposition to the US-led drive for additional UN sanctions against Iran, which has been refusing to dismantle its controversial nuclear programme. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear that there is no question of a trade-off on Iran, and Moscow will continue to firmly oppose any move for new UN sanctions against Iran.

Whether the US succeeds in winning over Russia on the Iranian nuclear question remains to be seen. But there is another objective that the US intends to achieve immediately. The scrapping of the missile defence plan is most likely to clear the way for a new pact on nuclear arms reduction between the US and Russia. This is urgently needed to replace the Cold War-era Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, going to expire within three months. If the new pact comes about, Russia may agree to destroy at least 1,300 long-range missiles, which will not be a small gain for the Obama administration. In any case, the US today needs Russia as a partner in resolving major global issues.

China won't wage war on India'

TNN 20 September 2009, 11:03pm IST

ITANAGAR: Despite reports of frequent border incursions, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu believes that China will never a wage a

war on India.

"China can't afford to go for a war. But the fact remains that its sole aim is to weaken India on all fronts. China wants to prove that it's an economic superpower in the region," said Khandu, who hails from Tawang, an area of contention between India and China.

China's policy was to force India to increase its defence expenditure at the cost of its economy, he added. "The idea is: The more the expenditure on defence, the less the money spent on development. In short they are bent on weakening India through this game of psychological warfare," Khandu told reporters here on Sunday morning.

He said India should take up the challenge on the economic front. "At the moment, we should give top priority to rapid economic and infrastructure development in border areas," he added.

Denying BJP's claims that the UPA government has shown a "slow response" to China's challenge, the chief minister of the frontier state said development on the Indian side of the border is still unmentionable."While China has developed two-lane roads right up to the McMahon Line, we do not even have porter tracks in most parts along the border. In the absence of motorable roads, troops movement may be hindered during an emergency," he said.

The chief minister said the Centre should induct more locals into the army to strengthen intelligence network in the border areas.

On the Dalai Lama's scheduled November visit to the state, he said, "China has no right to interfere or raise questions on his visit. "The spiritual leader can move freely, anywhere in India. China has no business or right to object. The Centre has given him permission to visit Tawang. The matter ends there," Khandu said.

We’re helping to resolve issues with Hawks

One of the things we are doing right now is taking technology from South Africa for mine-resistant vehicles, which has worked incredibly well in the US for the marine corps and the army

Tarun Shukla

New Delhi: With a stable Indian government in place following the April-May general election, global defence manufacturers are expecting the modernization of armed forces to gain momentum. Dick Olver, chairman of UK-based BAE Systems Plc, said in an interview that his firm is eyeing opportunities in naval systems, artillery and internal security in India, besides the land systems it is working on with auto maker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M). Olver, who was on a visit to India after a gap of a year and a half, also admitted that there were some issues in the $1.2 billion (Rs5,784 crore) deal for Hawk trainer jets supplied to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Edited excerpts:

How did your meetings with the defence ministry officials go?

Eyeing opportunities: Dick Olver says his firm has a long-term strategic aim in India. Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Eyeing opportunities: Dick Olver says his firm has a long-term strategic aim in India. Ramesh Pathania/Mint

We have had a good reception. People are listening to all our issues and concerns and are being very open, helpful and transparent.

Did you have any specific agenda?

We talked about a lot of things including the move from 26% to 49% (stake in the joint venture with M&M), which is a very strategic issue both for the government and us.

Is there a time frame for this?

I think that there is really very little resistance to it. I think the question is finding the right moment, where it comes to the top of the political agenda. I can’t be precise. We have a long-term strategic aim in India (and) we understand that patience may be part of that.

What will you be able to do if you have a 49% stake that you cannot do now?

Well, obviously it will encourage us to do a huge amount more. One of the things we are doing right now is taking technology from South Africa for mine-resistant vehicles, which has worked incredibly well in the US for the marine corps and the army. And we are looking at this and asking ourselves how can this be redesigned with more Indian content—shaped and sized for Indian requirements—and (for) Indian mine-resistance requirements. And (we are) bringing that to India in the next 90 days to start testing with not only the ministry of defence but also (internal) security. This vehicle will be useful for both. So, I mean obviously we are doing that, but if we were at 49%, we would be rather more enthusiastic to do that and other things.

What would the other things be?

All land systems. This might include artillery, combat vehicles, heavy truck requirements, all sorts of things.

Besides land systems, which are the other business areas that you are looking to venture into?

Yes, we are very interested in naval systems and we have a large naval system business. In the US we have a big ship repair maintenance and upgrade facility for the US navy. In the UK, we build everything from nuclear-powered submarines to aircraft carriers. So, we have basically two things, which I understand from our conversations, are (attractive to) is the design capability—maritime design in OPVs (offshore patrol vehicles) and other ships—and we also have a construction capability both in the UK and the US for construction of OPVs. One question now is—is that the place to start in naval in India? We are in the thinking process.

Why did you pull out of the 140 ultra-light 155mm howitzer gun contract worth around Rs3,000 crore?

We decided not to respond for lightweight guns for reasons of some issues in the RFP (request for information by the defence ministry).

If you go back now to the defence ministry, will you use the US FMS (foreign military sales) route since 70% of the gun is US-made and is assembled there?

Our job is to advance the merits of the gun to the customers. If the customer wanted to do that, it would be a matter between the two governments. In this case the governments would be India and the United States. We are ready to work with the customers to try and meet the requirements.

There have been issues lately where HAL has been upset due to non-availability of spare parts for the Hawk advanced jet trainer?

Well, that’s an issue with the first Hawks and wherever they have had a problem we have supplied spares. I think there are one or two ongoing issues. But in respect of all of them we are helping.

Army trains state police to tackle Naxalites

BRCC ceremonial parade at Madras Engineer Group in Bangalore on Saturday.

Express News Service

First Published : 20 Sep 2009 04:56:00 AM IST

Last Updated :

BANGALORE: Concerned over the Red Brigade (Naxalites) spreading its tentacles across the country, the Indian Army has been sharing its expertise and training various state police forces to combat the Naxalites.

Colonel Commandant of the Madras Engineer Group (MEG), Major General Brajesh Kumar on Saturday told reporters that the sappers have been training the state police personnel and civil defence forces in tackling the Naxal movement which has been spreading its tentacles across the country especially south of Andhra Pradesh.

“ We have been sharing training personnel in handling Improvised Explosive Device (IED’s) and other areas where we have an expertise.

Various state government’s have approached us including Karnataka in the past and we are more than willing to help them,” he said.He added that the Sappers who have been an integral part of the relief operations after various natural disasters such as Tsunami, cyclones, earthquakes, railway accidents, floods etc have also been involved in training police and civil defence forces to tackle inland insurgency like the 26/11 and Mumbai attacks. On the rehabilitation efforts for the ex-sappers, he said “ We have a fully functional Rehabilitation Cell, where we attempt to provide gainful employment to these families along with retired personnel. Being engineers, our men are trained in some technical field. Around 65 per cent of our ex-servicemen are employed after retirement, we want it to be 100 per cent. I make a sincere appeal to the business houses to take these retiring service men who are fairly young in the 40-45 years age group, with an opportunity and in turn gain from their expertise.”

MEG’s 229th Anniversary celebration

The MEG which celebrated its 229th Anniversary in the city from September 16 to September 19, held a concluding Ceremonial Parade on Saturday.

Call of the Bugles, horse drawn carriages, and immaculately dressed soldiers comprised the parade of one of the finest regiments of the Indian Army.

Six contingents of smartly dressed soldiers, with blue Dooptas on their heads, gold and maroon coloured jari bands on their waists and spotless white spats on their boots, marched proudly to the tunes of the Pipes and Drums.

How an ex-Army commando became a terrorist

Sunday, September 20, 2009

By Hamid Mir

ISLAMABAD: Once he was a blue-eyed boy of President General Pervez Musharraf. He got a cash award from the president for slitting the throat of an Indian Army officer in the year 2000 but after 9/11, he became a suspected terrorist.

This terrorist was Ilyas Kashmiri, reportedly killed in a US drone attack in North Waziristan last week. US officials claimed that Ilyas Kashmiri was a senior al-Qaeda commander and his death was a huge loss for the militants fighting against the foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Very few people know that Ilyas Kashmiri was a former SSG commando of Pakistan Army. He was originally from Kotli area of Azad Kashmir. He was deputed by Pakistan Army to train the Afghan Mujahideen fighting against the Russian Army in mid-80s. He was an expert of mines supplied to Afghan Mujahideen by the US. He lost one eye during the Jihad against Russian invaders and later on he joined Harkat-e-Jihad-e-Islami of Maulvi Nabi Muhammadi.

Ilyas Kashmiri was based in Miramshah area of North Waziristan where he was working as an instructor at a training camp. After the withdrawal of Russian Army from Afghanistan, Ilyas Kashmiri was asked by Pakistani establishment to work with Kashmiri militants. He joined the Kashmir chapter of Harkatul Jihad-i-Islami in 1991. After a few years, he developed some differences with the head of HuJI Qari Saifullah Akhtar.

Ilyas Kashmiri created his own 313 Brigade in HuJI. He was once arrested by Indian Army from Poonch area of Indian held Kashmir along with Nasrullah Mansoor Langrial. He was imprisoned in different Indian jails for two years and finally he escaped from there after breaking the jail. His old friend Langrial is still imprisoned in India.

Ilyas Kashmiri became a legend after escaping from the Indian jail. It was 1998 when the Indian Army started incursions along the Line of Control and killed Pakistani civilians many times by crossing the border. Ilyas Kashmiri was given the task to attack the Indians from their back. He did it many times.

Indian Army killed 14 civilians on February 25, 2000 in Lonjot village of Nakial in Azad Kashmir. Indian commandos crossed the LoC, spent the whole night in a Pakistani village and left early morning. They slit the throats of three girls and took away their heads with them. They also kidnapped two local girls. The next morning, the heads of the kidnapped girls were thrown towards Pakistani soldiers by the Indian Army.

The very next day of this massacre, Ilyas Kashmiri conducted a guerilla operation against the Indian Army in Nakyal sector on the morning of February 26, 2000. He crossed the LoC with 25 fighters of the 313 Brigade. He surrounded a bunker of Indian Army and threw grenades inside. After one of his fighters Qudratullah lost his life, he was able to kidnap an injured officer of the Indian Army. That was not the end. He slit the throat of the kidnapped officer.

He came back to Pakistan with the head of the dead Indian Army officer in his bag and presented this head to top Army officials and later on to the then Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf, who gave him a cash award of rupees one lakh.

The pictures of Ilyas Kashmiri with the head of a dead Indian Army officer in his hands were published in some Pakistani newspapers and he became very important among the Kashmiri militants. Maulana Zahoor Ahmad Alvi of Jamia Muhammadia, Islamabad, issued a fatwa in support of slitting the throats of Indian Army officers. Those were the days when Corps Commander, Rawalpindi, Lt Gen Mehmood Ahmad, visited the training camp of Ilyas Kashmiri in Kotli and appreciated his frequent guerilla actions against the Indian Army.

His honeymoon with the Pakistan Army generals was over after the creation of Jaish-e-Muhammad. Gen Mehmood wanted Ilyas Kashmiri to join JeM and accept Maulana Masood Azhar as his leader but the one eyed militant refused to do so. The militants of JeM once attacked the training camp of Ilyas Kashmiri in Kotli but he survived that attack. His outfit was banned by Musharraf after 9/11. He was arrested after an attack on the life of Pervez Musharraf in December 2003. He was tortured during the interrogation.

The United Jihad Council led by Syed Salahuddin strongly protested the arrest of Ilyas Kashmiri and on the pressure of Kashmiri militants, Ilyas Kashmiri was released in February 2004. He was a shattered man after his release. He disassociated himself from the Kashmiri militants and remained silent for at least three years.

It was the Lal Masjid operation in July 2007, which totally changed Ilyas Kashmiri. He moved to North Waziristan where he spent many years as a Jihad instructor. This area was full of his friends and sympathisers. He reorganized his 313 Brigade and joined hands with the Taliban but he was never close to al-Qaeda leadership. He attracted many former Pakistan Army officers to join hands with him. The strength of 313 Brigade in North Waziristan was more than 3,000. Most of his fighters were hired from the Punjab, Sindh and Azad Kashmir.

It is alleged that he organised many terrorist attacks in different areas of Pakistan, including the assassination of Major General (retd) Faisal Alvi in Rawalpindi. Alvi was also from the SSG and he led the first-ever Army operation in North Waziristan in 2004.

Kashmiri planned attacks on Alvi on the demand of Taliban in North Waziristan. Sources close to his family have yet not confirmed his death in a US drone attack but there is no doubt that Ilyas Kashmiri was actually a creation of the Pakistani establishment like Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi of the banned LeT.

The Pakistani establishment abandoned and arrested most of these militant leaders without realising that they had followers all over Pakistan and they could create problems for Pakistan anytime. The establishment is still without any policy about all those who were once declared “freedom fighters” and were honored by the top Army officials like Pervez Musharraf.

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