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Friday, 2 October 2009

From Today's Papers - 02 Oct 09

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IAF chief rules out repeat of 1962
Like China, we are also trying to strengthen our capabilities. Earlier, we weren’t doing anything, says AK Antony
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 1
As China showcased its military might in Beijing today, India, too, flexed its muscles, albeit verbally. The Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, asserted: “A repeat of the 1962 (India-China war) is not possible…” while Defence Minister AK Antony said India was building defence capabilities just as China has done. Both, Antony and Naik, in their separate ways, listed India’s plans.

While talking to mediapersons just ahead of the 77th anniversary of the IAF, Naik in reply to a question on the Chinese threat said: “… Nobody wants a war… The guy may not be in the right frame of mind to have a war…”. There should be no lack of confidence among public about the capabilities of the nation, he added.

Antony, while talking to reporters on the sidelines of a defence function, said: “Just as what China is doing, we are also trying to strengthen our capabilities. In the past few years, the government was bolstering the infrastructure. Earlier, we were not doing anything.”

He played the “peace card” saying in spite of “occasional troubles”, the Sino-Indian border was peaceful and India wanted to resolve its issues with Beijing only through negotiations.

Naik said the IAF aims to have an edge over other countries. The infrastructure being built is specific to any adversary. It is capability enhancement to meet the aspirations of the country. “The nation is getting caught in a vortex of a security scenario”.

The IAF will be called upon to ensure the inviolability of India’s enhanced strategic interests that now extend from the straits of Hormuz in the Middle East to the Straits of Malacca on the eastern side.

He listed out what he called the “four pillars” of strategic planning: To see first and farthest; to reach farther and first; to be able to hit accurately and hit hard and to protect the national assets during peace and wartime. This includes satellites to keep an eye in the sky, medium and long-range radars and weapons that are not deterred by electronic surveillance (jammers).

The IAF is upgrading six airstrips in Arunachal Pradesh bordering China to improve its capabilities to rapidly move troops, Naik said. These are at Along, Malong, Tuting and Machuka, among others. “It is long overdue. These should have been done much earlier”, he said while adding that the three such airstrips opened in eastern Ladakh will have concrete runaways in the next few years.

The induction of force multipliers like the Israeli Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and Russian mid-air refueller IL-78s have already added to the IAF’s war fighting capabilities. We will seek more Aerostat radars, which along with the AWACS have strengthened IAF’s capability to see beyond enemy lines and provide better surveillance. The next generation of fighter aircraft are being co-developed with Russia. The IAF chief sought to downplay the recent reports of incursions by Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control. “There is no spate in incursions. We should not take too much notice of it. They are under surveillance,” Naik added.

Allow us to fire on Naxals in self-defence: IAF
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 1
Less than a year after Naxals fired at an IAF chopper and killed a Sergeant, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik today said permission had been sought from the Ministry of Defence to open retaliatory fire at Maoists if any IAF helicopter or its crew came under attack.

The IAF had sought permission from the ministry to open fire in self-defence whenever its helicopters or the aircrew operating in Maoist-infested areas came under attack, Naik told reporters here this afternoon.

In November last year, Sergeant Mustafa Ali was killed in Chhattisgarh as an unarmed Mi-8 chopper on election duty came under attack. The firing was carried out during a take-off. The pilot somehow managed to fly the chopper away to safety.

The IAF was playing a major role in reconnaissance or surveillance, troop movement and also for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) reconnaissance, Naik said. He termed the use of air power to track down Maoists, the as a “tricky decision”. It had risk as citizens could also be hit.

It would be impossible to distinguish between good and bad guys on the ground, he said while replying to a specific query if the IAF would use its combat choppers. The IAF had provided helicopters with armour protection besides providing its men operating in conflict zones with bulletproof jackets. He said UAVs had been very successful in guiding ground-based police or paramilitary forces.

Army joins in China’s 60-year celebrations
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, October 1
Brigadier CP Mohanty today led a large contingent of Indian Army officers and soldiers along with their families across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Bum La in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh to join the 60th National Day celebrations of China.

A defence source informed that a Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) was held on the occasion between officials of the two armies in a friendly ambience that belied the reported tension between the two countries over age-old border disputes.

The Chinese border troops located opposite the Kameng Sector in Arunachal Pradesh frontier invited their Indian counterparts to join them in their celebrations. Sources said BPMs at Bum La have been instrumental in enhancing the bonhomie between the two Asian countries.

It has been a vital forum for resolving local issues to ensure peace and tranquility in the sector. The interactions between the Indian and Chinese armies started initially with flag meeting and later transformed into BPM in 1999. Since then it has become a regular event in Kameng Sector.

This year the event commenced with the Chinese delegation leader welcoming his Indian counterpart Brigadier Mohanty in Bum La. This was followed by flag hoisting ceremony by the Chinese.

The delegations interacted with an aim of furthering the growing trust and confidence between the two great nations. Both sides once again reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen friendship and to maintain peace and tranquility along the border. The Chinese also hosted a cultural show depicting the cultural heritage of their country.

China vs India: Military might

NDTV Correspondent, Thursday October 1, 2009, New Delhi

China's military parade on the 60th anniversary of the Communist Party taking over was designed, right down the smallest detail, to prove the country's super-power status.

The world's other declared rising super-power watched the parade closely. And India's calculations reflected this.

India has over 13.25 lakh active military personnel compared with China's 22.55 lakh troops.

China's Air Force has 9,000 aircrafts with 2000 fighter planes. The Indian Air Force has 3,000 airplanes with 790 fighter planes.

China's combat power is guaranteed through its fleet of Russian Sukohi-30 MKK and indigenously built J-10 fighters.

The Indian Air Force, on the other hand, has French built-Dassault Mirage 2000s and Russian Sukohi-30 MKI as the best aircrafts in its combat fleet. No indigenous fighters or aircrafts have been deployed by India so far.

The Indian Navy is the world's eighth largest navy with a with a fleet of 145 vessels consisting of missile-capable warships, advanced submarines, the latest naval aircrafts, and an aircraft carrier in its inventory. It is experienced both in combat and rescue operations during wartime and peace, as seen from its wars with Pakistan in 1971, and the Tsunami that struck in December 2004.

In comparison, China's Navy with its fleet of 284 vessels is quantitatively larger but lacking in actual war experience, which could undermine its strategic capability. China currently has no aircraft carriers in its naval fleet but is slated to build and induct an aircraft carrier by 2010.

In strategic nuclear defence and delivery systems, China's army is miles ahead of India's nuclear forces with 200-400 active nuclear warheads. In comparison, India's strategic nuclear force is estimated to have stockpiled about 50-70 nuclear warheads.

The most powerful warhead tested by India had an yield of 0.05 megatons which is quite small compared to China's highest yield of 4 megatons. India's nuclear delivery system consists of bombers, supersonic cruise missiles and medium range ballistic missiles. Agni 2,

India's longest range deployed ballistic missile is capable of a range of 2500 km, carrying a single nuclear warhead of about 1000 kg. In stark contrast, China's nuclear delivery system is far more capable with multiple warheads.

BSF outpost faces firing from Pakistan border

Press Trust Of India

ENEMY LINES: Unprovoked firing from Pak side, not unheard of by BSF guarding international border at Jammu.

Jammu: In the second incident of its kind in a fortnight, a BSF outpost on Wednesday night came under fire from across the International Border with Pakistan in R S Pura sector but there was no casualty on the Indian side, police officials in Jammu said.

The outpost at Abduliam was subjected to small arms fire from Ata post on the Pakistan-held territory at around 2130 hours, drawing retaliatory action by BSF, they said adding the intermittent exchange of fire continued well past midnight.

Police officials, however, could not say whether the firing from across the border was by terrorists or by Pakistani troops providing cover fire to facilitate infiltration bid by terrorists.

This is the second time in a fortnight that a BSF outpost was fired on from across the border in Jammu region.

On September 18, an outpost had come under fire in Akhnoor sector.

Pak troops open fire on BSF outpost again

October 02, 2009 02:56 IST

In the second incident of its kind in a fortnight, a Border Security Force outpost came under fire on Thursday night from across the International Border with Pakistan in R S Pura sector but there was no casualty on the Indian side, police officials said in Jammu.

The outpost at Abduliam was subjected to small arms fire from Ata post on the Pakistan-held territory at around 2130 hours, drawing retaliatory action by BSF, they said, adding that the intermittent exchange of fire continued well past midnight.

Police officials, however, could not say whether the firing from across the border was by militants or by Pakistani troops providing cover fire to facilitate infiltration bid by terrorists.

This is the second time in a fortnight that a BSF outpost was fired on from across the border in Jammu region. On September 18, an outpost had come under fire in Akhnoor sector.

© Copyright 2009 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

Terrorists, security forces engage in Poonch

October 02, 2009 02:54 IST

A gunbattle broke out on Thursday between a group of terrorists and security forces inside a forest in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ], police officials said in Jammu.

The encounter erupted when a joint team of army troops, police and CRPF, on a tip-off about the presence five terrorists, cordoned off an area at Harni forest in Mendhar tehsil at around 1955 hours.

Realising that they were cornered, the terrorists opened fire, drawing retaliation from the security forces.

There was no immediate report of any casualty.

Additional security men have been sent to lay a siege of the area in a bid to prevent terrorist from escaping, police officials said.

India's N-sub undermines strategic stability: Pak

October 01, 2009 23:42 IST

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday said that the recent launch of a nuclear-powered submarine by India has undermined strategic stability in the region.

"We are opposed to nuclear proliferation as well as an arms race in the region," he said, adding that Pakistan believes the launch of the Indian nuclear-powered submarine will affect strategic stability.

Pakistan has proposed a "strategic restraint regime" to India with the three inter-locking principles of dispute settlement, conventional balance and nuclear and missile restraint, Qureshi said in his address at the Los Angeles World Affairs Congress.

"Our friends should encourage India to sign on to the proposed strategic restraint regime to guarantee strategic stability in our region," he said. Peace and security are inextricably linked and strategic stability in South Asia is critical for sustainable peace, he added.

India launched its first nuclear-powered submarine named Arihant in July. Built with Russian cooperation, the submarine will form the crucial third leg of India's triad of land, air and sea platforms capable of delivering nuclear weapons. India already has warplanes and missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Pakistan's nuclear capability was developed in self-defence following the Indian nuclear test in 1974, which disrupted the security balance in South Asia, Qureshi said.

"The establishment of deterrence then became important."

Qureshi said Pakistan adheres to a doctrine of credible minimum deterrence as a nuclear weapon state. The country's regional policy is based on promoting dialogue for peaceful settlement of disputes, he said.

Regional cooperation can be strengthened through trade, investment and people-to-people to contacts, he said.

Referring to Pakistan's relations with the US, Qureshi sought Washington's support for curbing terrorism and extremism.

He said the partnership between the two countries should be based on mutual trust and mutual respect "that is not transactional, but is enduring and multi-faceted, spanning trade and economy, defence and security, health and education, science and technology and counter-terrorism and non-proliferation".

The Kerry-Lugar Bill, he said, is a step forward in strengthening the strategic partnership.

"The 1.5 billion dollars annually in non-military assistance for a sustained period of five years should have a positive impact on the lives of the people," he said.

Qureshi said in the long run, the real transformational impetus will come not from aid but greater market access.

He said a free trade agreement, the bilateral investment treaty and early implementation of the Reconstruction Opportunity Zones legislation will have a major impact on Pakistan and the region.

He also welcomed the US offer to help Pakistan in overcoming its energy deficit. This aid should be sustained and involve efforts to diversify Pakistan's energy mix.

Pakistan and the US should continue their strategic dialogue to discuss all issues relating to disarmament and non-proliferation, he said.

© Copyright 2009 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

Gen Lamba takes over as ATC head
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 1
Lt General AS Lamba, yesterday took over as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Army Training Command at Shimla.

He was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery in June 1971. He has vast experience of conventional warfare and unconventional counter insurgency operations. He has participated in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war besides serving on almost all fronts in Nagaland and Manipur.

He has commanded an Infantry Brigade in Counter Insurgency and later in and the elite 21 strike corps in central India.

* India building defence capabilities like China: Antony


New Delhi, Oct 1 (PTI) Defence Minister A K Antony today said India was building its defence capabilities just as China did.

"Just as what China is doing, we are also trying to strengthen our capabilities," Antony told reporters here on the sidelines of a defence accounts event.

In the last few years government was bolstering the infrastructure and capabilities of the three forces. "Earlier we were not doing anything," he added.

Antony said in spite of "occasional troubles", the Sino-Indian border was peaceful and India wanted to resolve its issues with Beijing only through negotiations.

"We must try to understand that in spite of occasional troubles here and there, by and large the Indo-China border is peaceful," he said when asked about the increase in Chinese incursions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Pak’s Gilgit package
Can clear way for a settlement along LoC
by Justice Rajindar Sachar (retd)

President Asif Zardari’s address at the U.N. General Assembly reiterating his priority for the resumption of composite dialogue with India and seeking a peaceful resolution of outstanding issues, including Kashmir, has again opened a window through which possibly a permanently workable solution to the J & K imbroglio can be worked out between India and Pakistan.

I am more than optimistic now, notwithstanding the brooding presence of 26/11 in all communications between the governments of India and Pakistan, because of the recently announced Gilgit-Baltistan package by Islamabad. It needs to be emphasised that since April 28, 1949, Pakistan has had administrative control over this region, and it was governed through Pakistan’s presidential ordinances.

This admission that a good part of old J & K is under the occupation of Pakistan and the Gilgit area is now to be directly under the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Council coupled with Pakistan having ceded hundreds of miles area in Aksai Chin permanently to China is a clear admission by Islamabad that all talk of part of J & K on its own side of the LoC was an independent state was nothing but a concerted move to malign India as if India was forcibly occupying the whole of J & K. It deceived no one but quite a few years back that was the understanding of quite a number of international community members, facilitated, no doubt, by the reluctance by our Foreign Office for years not to highlight it at international fora. Much less were they aware that the Gilgit-Baltistan part of erstwhile J & K was directly under the Pakistan Government’s control. But such was the unexplained attitude of our Foreign Office that it preferred to take all this blame on the misplaced assumption that this will strengthen the case of India to be able to retain the whole of erstwhile J & K.

It is only later that gradually and mostly because of the representatives from the Gilgit-Baltistan area that it became open knowledge that Pakistan, which in public expressed so much support for independent J & K, had put under its tutelage the area without even the pretence of formal democracy and self-rule. Such was the disdain of Pakistan for the sensitivity of J & K people that it has permanently ceded thousands of sq miles to China in Aksai Chin which goes against the proclaimed desire to maintain the integrity of the whole of J & K as one unit. In a practical sense, these acts obviously were (though not expressed openly) a silent recognition by Pakistan that it would be agreeable to settle the J & K question on the basis of the existing factual boundaries with the LoC being made a permanently soft border and with more friendly ties of trade and travel between the two sides of the LoC.

Much has happened since 26/11 which has put further pressure on Pakistan, accentuated by the US debacle in Afghanistan, to genuinely take some effective steps against terrorists, the Taliban. This as well as the army involvement in Swat and Pakistan’s quiet acceptance of Taliban leader Mehsud being killed by a US drone (but no doubt with complicity from the Pakistan government) has opened a route through which a mutually acceptable solution to J & K could be found between India and Pakistan.

Some people in India have justifiably voiced their criticism at this sham of democratic set-up for GilgitBaltistan. The Government of India has obviously taken the usual official line to protest against Pakistan seeking to incorporate the Gilgit-Baltistan region on the obviously technically correct argument that as the whole of J & K (which included the Gilgit-Baltistan region) acceded to India in 1947, the action of Pakistan is illegal. Speaking purely in legalese, this official position is incontestable. As a matter of fact, Mr Alstair Lamb, the internationally known jurist, who had been briefed by Pakistan to opine on the accession by Maharaja to India, has said that the accession is legal. He has gone further to say that the announcement of Pandit Nehru that there will be a plebiscite subject to conditions approved by the UN General Assembly was only obiter and had no legal sanction, because India’s Independence Act only empowered the ruler of the state to decide on the question of accession and the Maharaja having acceded unconditionally, the validity of accession cannot be called in question by invoking a subsequent statement of Nehru.

No, I am not so cut off from practical realism as to advocate India’s claim over the whole of J & K because of the validity of the Instrument of Accession. Both in India and Pakistan we have to realise and accept practical realities and the acceptable formula. For India to lay its claim to the whole of Kashmir is as unrealistic as is for Pakistan to insist on a plebiscite — which can only be voting for India or Pakistan. The Hurriyat and other groups in J & K should also realise that the question of independent J & K , outside India and Pakistan, is a non-starter.

Is it not clear to even a novice in the political domain that no government in Pakistan or India can agree to give up the territory of J & K which at present falls under its respective jurisdiction, and no government either in Pakistan or India can survive if it acts differently? That is the ground reality, which constraints not only the governments but also any honest appraisal of the matter.

But this does not mean that India can underplay the sentiments and aspirations of the people of J & K, especially of the valley, which has been in a state of turmoil and has raised many uncomfortable questions of violation of human rights in the state. Consequently, it is incumbent for all political parties in India to commit before the public their agreement that only subjects such as defence, foreign affairs, currency and communications as were ceded by the Instrument of Accession will be Central subjects. All other subjects will be within the jurisdiction of J&K. Article 370 will continue and, therefore, the Centre will have no jurisdiction over any other subject unless the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly so permits by a resolution.

The Central government should withdraw all the Central legislation which the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly had authorised it earlier. (In practical terms, this would not create a void because these are normal pieces of legislation like the Municipal Act and the Industrial Act which the state government itself will have to provide for proper governance).This exclusive autonomous power to legislate has already been given to certain areas in Assam and Meghalaya decades ago by a constitutional amendment. Can one hope for some such silver lining in India-Pakistan relations, clouded as they are at present by the 26/11 syndrome?n

The writer is a retired Chief Justice of the High Court of Delhi.

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