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Friday, 25 September 2009

From Today's Papers - 25 Sep 09

Indian Express

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Pokhran tests were successful: Kakodkar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, September 24
The nuclear tests conducted at Pokhran in 1998 were successful and all the intended objectives were achieved, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar said here today.

Debunking allegations by senior nuclear scientist K Santhanam that the tests were a failure, Kakodkar said they demonstrated India's capacity to build nuclear deterrence. "It has given us the capability to build deterrence based on both fission and thermonuclear weapon systems from modest to all the way up to 200 kilotonne and possibility of meeting all our security requirements," Kakodkar said at a press conference.

Apart from Kakodkar, R Chidambaram, chairman of the AEC in 1998 and the current Principal Scientific Adviser to the Union government also made a presentation to prove that the tests were a success. He further added that several peer reviews had been published in the past 11 years, which vindicated the Atomic Energy Department. Chidambaram further noted that the scientists could not comply with the demands for an independent inquiry by experts made by Santhanam for the entire information to be revealed because this was “proliferation sensitive information.”

Both senior scientists said they were unable to understand as to why the controversy was breaking now. "We are saddened that two of our colleagues used heavy rhetoric, which is not a substitute for good science.”

India won't sign 'discriminatory' NPT, says Tharoor

September 25, 2009 02:30 IST

Shortly after the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution asking the non-Non Proliferation Treaty countries to sign the NPT, India on Thursday ruled out signing the agreement saying, "It cannot support a discriminatory" pact.

"As long as some countries possess nuclear weapons we are not prepared to be supportive of a discriminatory treaty that says some countries can have something and others cannot," Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor [ Images ] told Times Now.

Earlier, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri, in a letter to United Nations Security Council President Susan E Rice of the US, rejected efforts to impose NPT on New Delhi [ Images ] and made it clear that it will not sign the pact as a non-weapon state as atomic arsenals are integral to its security.

No military exercise with China: Govt
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 24
The government is quite concerned over increasing speculative stories in the media over Sino-Indian relations in the wake of recent Chinese incursions into the Indian territory. New Delhi today promptly denied a news report that the India-China joint military exercise this year had been called off.

“India and China had conducted joint military exercises in 2007 and 2008. It was mutually decided during the last exercise that the next joint military exercise would be held in 2010,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said in a statement. “Therefore, no joint military exercise was planned in 2009,” he added.

Major Suri’s village in shock after his death
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, September 24
The family members of Major J Suresh Suri had planned to celebrate his birthday in a big way on October 5. Instead, a pall of gloom descended on his residence here as his loved ones wait for his body to arrive.

Suri (31) was killed fighting militants at Baniyari- Sumbal village, about 30 km from Bandipora in north Kashmir, yesterday. Posted in Kashmir last year and attached to 13 Rashtriya Rifles regiment, he sacrificed his life fighting terrorists. Suri is survived by his mother and wife Pallavi.

His mother Girija, a teacher at the Kendriya Vidyalaya, stays at Vani Nagar in Malkajgiri area in the city while Pallavi is pursuing her studies at Mumbai. “We are in a state of shock. He was a brave officer and very friendly.

After watching the news on television channels, we have come here to express our condolences,” Uday Bhaskar, a resident of Vani Nagar, said.

Analysis: Pakistan unlikely to cooperate with US

By CHRIS BRUMMITT (AP) – 4 hours ago

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's doubts about U.S. commitment to the Afghan war make it less likely to cooperate in targeting Taliban commanders said to be directing the insurgency across the border.

Pakistan has been ambivalent about the militants, sometimes trying to enlist them as potential allies in case they take control again in neighboring Afghanistan — a prospect many here believe is getting closer.

This country's role in the war is in sharp focus as President Barack Obama publicly questions the strategy he pushed last winter of building up U.S. forces in Afghanistan to fight a revitalized Taliban. The top U.S commander recently warned that NATO could lose the war.

Searching for alternatives to sending still more troops, the White House is now considering a strategy championed by Vice President Joe Biden that focuses on stepped-up missile attacks by unmanned U.S. drones against al-Qaida and Taliban targets on the Pakistani side of the border.

To be effective, such attacks require Pakistani intelligence.

The Pakistanis are believed to have withheld intelligence for years about key suspects in the Afghan Taliban, but the U.S. has been making progress in recent months securing their cooperation against certain targets. Although many of these militants were primarily trying to overthrow the Pakistani government, some also had close ties with fighters in Afghanistan.

More than 70 such attacks have killed scores of ranking militant commanders since last year, including Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban. On Thursday, a missile strike near the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan killed four people, Pakistani officials said. The Pakistani government routinely issues statements of protest, even though these strikes are widely believed to take place with its support.

U.S. and NATO officials have long believed that much of the direction, manpower, money and weapons fueling the Afghan insurgency comes from across the border in Pakistan — particularly Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who is thought to be based close to the city of Quetta in Baluchistan province, and the network commanded by Siraj Haqqani in the Waziristan tribal areas.

American officials and many analysts allege that Pakistan's powerful spy agency is either protecting, tolerating or actively supporting those groups because they do not pose a direct threat to the Pakistani state and may be useful allies in ensuring that a pro-Pakistan, anti-India regime takes power in Afghanistan when the Americans leave.

Pakistan has fought three wars against India and still considers it the country's main threat. India has tried to forge close ties with Kabul and has established consulates in several Afghan cities. Pakistan does not want to see a pro-New Delhi regime on its western flank if the Americans withdraw.

While nominally a parliamentary democracy, Pakistan's army generals and intelligence chiefs in practice still control defense policy and to some extent foreign policy.

With talk of NATO pulling out of Afghanistan, an increasingly potent Taliban threat and rising questions in the U.S. about whether defeating the insurgency is possible, there is even less incentive for the Pakistani authorities to share intelligence on Haqqani and Omar, said Shaun Gregory, a professor at Bradford University's Pakistan Security Research Unit.

"The Pakistanis want the Americans out; above all they want India out. And the only creatures who can do that are the Afghan Taliban," he said. "If the Pakistanis hand over more info on al-Qaida and the rest, it will have a marginal effect as to what happens in Afghanistan."

The Pakistanis have not supplied the U.S. with any intelligence on the Haqqani network, Gregory said. In return, Haqqani and other Afghan Taliban have not joined their Pakistani Taliban brethren in trying to seize other regions and advance on the capital, Islamabad.

"They don't want to antagonize several groups in Pakistan. If the Haqqani group starts helping the Pakistani Taliban, then God help us," said Talat Masood, a Pakistani defense analyst. "The Americans cannot stay in Afghanistan forever, but we will have to live here forever."

The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, said in a recent interview with McClatchy Newspapers that Pakistan had "different priorities" than America in this regard and was "reluctant to take action" against the leadership of the Afghan insurgency.

A senior Pakistani intelligence official, however, insisted the spy agencies of Pakistan were sharing intelligence with the CIA about militants operating both here and in Afghanistan, including the Haqqani network.

"The CIA knows about our role, but we don't want to highlight it through the media," said the officer, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with the requirements of his job.

In the past, Pakistani officials have pointed to the several al-Qaida commanders the country has handed over to the United States and ongoing military campaigns against insurgents that cost many Pakistani lives.

Pakistan has claimed several successes in the fight against the Pakistani Taliban in recent months, including a widely praised offensive against insurgents in the Swat Valley.

But at the very least, the army and the intelligence agencies give priority to battling groups fighting the Pakistani state rather than those who direct their energies toward U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

There is little government or military control in Pakistan's remote, mountainous border region. Al-Qaida's top leaders, including Osama bin Laden, may be hiding in the area, and militants move freely across the border.

U.S. missiles are believed to be fired from unmanned drones launched from Afghanistan or from a base inside the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. American officials generally do not acknowledge the attacks.

The strikes are unpopular among nationalist and Muslim politicians and activists, but they have become so routine that they attract little media attention or public protest in Pakistan these days.

Still, an increase in attacks — or strikes outside the semiautonomous areas where they have so far taken place — could turn the public against Pakistan's government at a time when its popularity is already low. Critics would surely paint Pakistani leader Asif Ali Zardari, who met with Obama in New York on Thursday, as an American lackey.

Chris Brummitt is the Associated Press bureau chief in Islamabad. AP writer Munir Ahmad contributed to this report.

Indian National Defence College Delegation calls on the Commander of the Navy

[Click to magnify/shrink] A delegation from the Indian National Defence College 49th Course headed by its Senior Directing Staff Air Vice Marshall SSK Karmakar called on the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe at the Naval Headquarters in Colombo today, the 24th of September 2009.

The delegation consisted of 10 Indian military officers (07 Brigadiers, 01 Commodore, 02 Air Commodores), 03 senior Indian Government officials, 01 Brigadier from the Nepalese Army and 01 Colonel each from the Kazakhastan Army, Afghan National Army and Myanmar Army respectively.

The Commander of the Navy joined the visiting delegation for an interactive session held at the NHQ conference room where many senior Naval officers of the NHQ were also present. Later, the Commander of the Navy hosted the Indian delegation for lunch at the Western Naval Command Wardroom at SLNS Rangalla.

The Indian National Defence College is a pioneer institution inaugurated in 1960 by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, for providing instructions to senior service and civil officers in wider aspects of higher direction and strategy of warfare. Today, NDC continues to provide future decision-makers with the necessary skills and background for filling senior positions in national security and associated fields. Senior Sri Lankan Security Force officers also follow the Indian National Defence College Course annually.

Old grenades creating problems for Indian Army

September 24th, 2009 - 8:32 pm ICT by IANS Tell a Friend -

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) Old grenades are proving to be a problem area for the Indian Army, the officer responsible for maintaining quality assurance admitted Thursday.

“They (the grenades) are very old. They are of vintage quality and we are looking into it,” Lt. Gen. J.S. Dhillon, who heads the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA), told reporters here.

There have been reports of late that 30 percent of the grenades used in counter-insurgency operations fail to explode. Others take up to four seconds to explode — 1.5 seconds longer than those used by militants.

The defence ministry has sought an immediate report on this.

“The grenades are very old. The detonators’ shelf life is over, creating the problem we have in hand,” another senior Indian Army official told IANS, requesting anonymity.

The DGQA, in association with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has finalised the design for a new grenade to resolve the problem.

“The new design by DRDO is already in place and hopefully it will soon be operational,” Dhillon added.

Roguish bent of Indian Armed Forces

Sajjad Shaukat

In every country, the main role of armed forces is to defend its homeland from external aggression and internal insurgency when civilian authorities fail in quelling the domestic violence. But quite contrarily, under the pretext of defending the homeland, Indian armed forces have broken all records by creating war-mongering activities against its neighbouring states-especially Pakistan. While in guise of maintaining law and order in the volatile regions, they have committed heinous crimes. In coordination with the Indian secret agency, RAW, Indian armed forces have fomented subversion and terrorism in its neighbouring states so as to fulfil Indian ambition of regional dominance. However, application of these roguish designs by the Indian forces has varied from country to country.

Sikkim was the easiest prey for Indian army which it occupied in mid-1970s. Under a well-prepard plan with RAW, on November 30, 1988, 400 well-trained Indian troops infiltrated the capital of Maldives. Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi reacted promptly by sending about 1600 more combat troops. In this way, Maldives was totally brought under Indian influence. For many years, New Delhi has openly been meddling in Nepal’s internal affairs by contriving internal strife through RAW and by sending Indian troops cladestinely in civil dresse to destabilize the successive governments. In 2001, a number of Indian military commandos were included in RAW, which had played a key role in the massacre of nine members of the Royal family of Nepal, when the former King tried to drift away from Indian hold.

Indian forces have been involved in training rebels of Chakma tribes (Hindu and Buddhists tribesmen) and Shanti Bahini to carry out subversive activities in Bangladesh. In August 17, 2005, Indian armed forces supplied the explosive devices to RAW whose masterminds rocked various districts of Bangladesh with 370 explosions. In the recent past, well-trained agents of the Indian armed forces were behind a border rebellion in Bangladesh. From time to time, Indian army and navy violated the border, entering the soil of Bangladesh—killing and kidnapping Bangli soldiers entailing local residents. Shelling by the Indian forces, across the border was also vrified.

Sri Lanka which has now crushed the Tamil rebels successfully, offers an unprecedented instance of incursion by Indian troops. After Premier Indira Gandhi, took a policy decision to support Sri Lankan northern insurgency in August 1983, within years, the number of Tamil training camps increased in Tamil Nadu. Over 20,000 Sri Lankan Tamil insurgents had been imparted armed training—tactics of guerrilla warfare by the Indian military. Specialised training was also imparted by the Indian army instructors to Sri Lankan militants in New Delhi, Bombay and other cities. In this context, Rohan Gunaratne in his book, “Sri Lanka Tamil Insurgency”, disclosed that with the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 1987, Rajiv Gandhi ordered the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to fight the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). Although the LTTE was at war with India, yet Tamil Nadu still remained LTTE’s main source of weapon supplies.

Apart from Indian army, its rogue navy and air force also played their roguish role in connection with the Sri Lankan insurgents. By openly violating the maritime laws, Indian mischievous navy had supplied larger cache of arms and ammunition to the Tamil rebels. Despite the capture of some Indian ships, and despite the complaints of Colombo, the illegitimate practice continued by the Indian roguish navy. As regards, Indian air forces, its personnel had not only helped the Tamils covertly in constructing air fields, but also provided fighter aircraft, used against the Sri Lankan forces. While explaining the roguish tendecies of the Indian armed forces, the case of Pakistan is of special consideration as since 1947, these rogue forces have left no stone unturned in desablising Pakistan. By taking advantage of the war-mongering style of New Delhi, Indian armed forces deliberately violated the Indo-Pak borders through sporadic shelling and incursion. Thus India imposed four wars on Pakistan, which were owing to the sinister designs of its forces. It is notable that in 1971, Indian rogue army in collaboration with RAW had imparted training to Bengalis (Mukti Bahini), providing them with arms and ammunition for conducting guerrilla acts against the Pakistani defence forces. Nontheless, Indian forces had played a major role in the dismembermet of Pakistan. The aftermath of the 9/11 has been availing by Indian cunning armed forces in obtaining its secret aims. Stiff resistance of the Taliban militants and lawlessness in Afghanistan have made it a most conducive place for the Indian army to prepare conspiracy with the tactical support of the US and Israel in order to fulfill their covert strategic designs against Pakistan, Iran and China. Particularly, New Delhi has been running secret operations led by its roguish army against Pakistan from its consulates in Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Kandhar and other sensitive parts of the Pak-Afghan border. India has not only increased its military troops in the counry, but has also decided to set up cantonments. Notably, our country has witnessed a perennial wave of suicide attacks in the past few months. In this regard, very young boys are being trained by the Indian army and are then being sent from Afghanistan to the troubled spots of Pakistan. No doubt, overtly and covertly Indian armed forces are behind militancy in Pakistan including support to the Baloch separatists.

In this regard, on April 23 this year, in the in-camera sitting of the Senate, the federal interior minister Rehman Malik displayed documentary evidence of Indian use of Afghanistan to create unrest in FATA and Balochistan. Recently, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quereshi and ISPR spokesman, Maj-Gen. Athar Abbas also verified Indian infiltration in Pakistan along with supply of arms. A number of developments inside India have also shown the true face of Indian army which has been cooperating with the Hindu fundamentalist organizations regarding acts of sabotage and atrocities being perpetrated on other religious minorities. In this respect, last year, arrest of a serving Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit and a retired army Major Samir Kulkarniand, having close ties with prominent politicians of BJP, VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal indicated collaboration between Hindu extremists and army officers. The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra disclosed that these army officials helped train the Hindu terrorists and provided them with the military-grade explosive RDX, used in the Malegaon bombings including other Indian cities.

Besides, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had charged the Indian Gujarat state administration for officially supporting the massive massacre of Muslims in in 2002. Demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 is another example of this kind. Nevertheless, in all these events, Indian army which was called to restore law and order, clandestinely encouraged Hindu terrorists against the Muslims. In the Indian-held Kashmir, since 1947, Indian military troops have been using barbaric tactics of extra-judicial killings, burning the houses, torture, rape etc. to suppress the genuine freedom movement of the Kashmiris. Last year, discovery of nearly 1000 graves of the unmarked Muslims in the Indian controlled Kashmir showed another evidence of Indian military terrorism. Recently, more such graves have been discovered. Reports suggest that these Muslims were tortured to deaths by the Indian army during custody.

In fact, under the cover of various anti-terrorim laws of the country, Indian armed forces have committed multiple brutal crimes such as encounter killings, illegal custody, torture, forced confession, rape of women, corruption, robbing the houses, kidnappings etc. Most of these anti-human crimes have been committed by the Indian forces during their operations in the East Punjab, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Manipur, and during communal violence.

While Indian constitution declares the country to be a secular state, but in practice ideology of Hindu nationalism (Hindutva) which has been implemented during every successive regime has become the psyche of the Indian armed forces. This ideology, while manifesting itself in several forms such as dominance of Hindu culture, religious fervour and ethnic violence-especially against Muslims and Christians has been encouraged by the Indian defence forces.

According to some sources, after Indian failure in isolating Pakistan diplomatically through self-concocted story regarding the November 26 carnage of Mumbai, Indian roguish armed forces have been preparing a most dangerous plan to use weapons of mass destructions inside the US homeland and major European countries. Particularly employment of these fatal weapons against NATO forces in Afghanistan are also part of the mischievous plan. The aim behind is to implicate Pakistan for having allegedly using these weapons through some Taliban militants. Major purpose is to bring about a full-fledged attack by the US-led western allies on Pakistan.

Pilots and planes
IAF badly needs both

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik did not say it in so many words but his frustration was obvious in his statement that the present strength of the country’s air force is inadequate. It is so short in terms of both planes and pilots that leave alone matching up with China – whose air force is about thrice as big as ours – it will have to inch past even Pakistan on the courage and skill of its magnificent airmen rather than the material strength. There has been a steady decline over the years. The IAF’s number of squadrons had fallen to an alarming 31.5 in 2006. The fleet strength increased to about 33.5 squadrons after the induction of British advanced jet trainers “Hawk” in 2008. Even that is inadequate considering that the sanctioned squadron strength is 39.5. Its intended purchase of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) is grossly delayed and the flight trials started in Bangalore only on August 17 this year. The Rs 42,000-crore induction will start in 2015 and is expected to increase the squadron strength to 42.5 by 2022.

Many of the planes it has today are aged and unsuitable for being in the service of the world’s fourth largest air force. For instance, MiG-21, which is the mainstay of the IAF, was first developed half a century ago, and barely exudes any confidence. Working on depleted strength not only compromises the country’s security but also tells on the morale of the force.

Even worse is the shortage of manpower. The IAF is short of as many as 1,400 officers. Things are no better in the Indian Army and the Navy, which are short of 11,387 and 1,512 officers, respectively. Obviously, the profession is no longer attractive for the youth. How can it be when there are no avenues of promotion even after 24 or 25 years of service? That is why over 100 pilots of the IAF have applied for voluntary retirement. There is need to take a hard look at their grievances. A country which aims to become a major power of the 21st century needs to have forces in reserve, rather than battling with shortages.

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