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Sunday, 1 November 2009

From Today's Papers - 01 Nov 09

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Resolving border dispute with China will take time: India

Last updated on: October 28, 2009 17:47 IST

India on Wednesday said the resolution of the boundary dispute with China will take time as it required 'a lot of patience'.

A day after his talks with Chinese counterpart Yang Jie Chi in Bengaluru [ Images ], External Affairs Minister S M Krishna [ Images ] said both the neighbours are eager to maintain cordial and friendly ties.

He also refuted reports about China building a dam on Brahmaputra River, reports of which had raised concerns in India.

"China wants to have cordial relations with India and India would like to have very friendly relations with China. The effort is to take the relation to being one of partnership," Krishna told reporters, adding that he had found goodwill on both sides.

When referred to reports about incursions by Chinese troops, he said the border with China is not delineated and "as a result, there could possibly be incursions once in a while, but there is nothing to be alarmed about as the border is peaceful and relations are warm."

Krishna pointed out that special representatives of the two countries -- National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Binggou -- are engaged in discussions for resolution of the boundary question.

"It is a long boundary, it's a time consuming process. We will have to have a lot of patience before they (special representatives) complete their task," he said.

Responding to a question, Krishna said there was no time frame' for resolution of the boundary issue with China and that the Special Representatives know what they are doing.

"I would like to assert that the India-China border is one of the most peaceful and tranquil borders," he maintained.

Krishna said that even if incursions by Chinese troops occur, these are addressed at the ground level. On the Dalai Lama's [ Images ] proposed visit to Arunachal in November, he reiterated that the Tibetan spiritual leader is a 'guest' and free to go wherever he wants within the country.

"The only restriction we have put on the Dalai Lama is that he should not indulge in political activities or indulge in boundary-related questions," Krishna said.

The proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh recently triggered a war of words between India and China. Beijing [ Images ] voiced its objection to the visit but New Delhi [ Images ] said no curbs would be put on the Buddhist spiritual leader's movements.

Krishna also cleared the air over a recent media report that China was building a dam on Brahmaputra River, saying no such activity was taking place.

"We made verifications with respect to the suspected dam building on Brahmputra River by China. It has been conveyed to us by our experts that no such thing is happening," he said.

In the wake of the report, India had voiced its objection, saying it would divert water and cause submergence downstream in the North-Eastern states.

Krishna and his Chinese counterpart met in Bengaluru for nearly 90 minutes on Tuesday, discussing ways to enhance ties and address irritants.

They discussed trade relations and other matters like issuance of visas by China to Kashmiris on loose sheets of papers instead of passports and Chinese participation in projects in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

"We discussed (the Kashmiri visa issue). They (Chinese side) said they made no discrimination. We said there should be uniform visa norm for Indian nationals," Krishna said when asked whether the matter related to issuance of visas by China to Kashmiris came up.

On Chinese participation in developmental projects in PoK, he said Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] is an integral part of India and "any activity by anybody there is illegal. This has been made known to those concerned."

To a question, he made a distinction between China and India, saying the former has not allowed its soil to be used by forces hostile to India (unlike Pakistan). At the same time, he said, "We don't consider any neighbour as a threat to India because we say we want friendly relations with neighbours. We would like to have the best of relations with neighbours."

To a query about India not being seen as assertive vis-a-vis China, Krishna said New Delhi seeks relations with everyone as equal and based on mutual respect, regardless of any nation's economic or military might.

PC: Any more terror attack from Pak will be retaliated

Madurai, October 31
Home Minister P Chidambaram tonight warned Pakistan against meddling with India and said any more attack from the country will be retaliated “very strongly”.

He said he had been warning Pakistan not to play with India and that the Mumbai attacks should be the “last game”.

“We have been gaining strength day by day to counter terrorism from across the border. I have been warning Pakistan not to play games with us. (I have told them that) the last game should be Mumbai attacks. Stop it there,” he told a public meeting here.

“If terrorists and militants from Pakistan try to carry out any attacks in India, they will not only be defeated but will be retaliated very strongly,” he said in his speech in Tamil. — PTI

Chinese soldiers on Lankan ships?
Coast Guard officials elicit details from TN fishermen
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Chennai, October 31
Tamil Nadu fishermen belonging to Mandapam village in Ramanathapuram district have complained to Indian Coast Guard officials about Chinese presence on Sri Lankan naval vessels that attacked them last week.

A group of fishermen told reporters at Rameswaram that a team of higher officials from Coast Guard met them on Wednesday and inquired specifically about Chinese soldiers on Lankan vessels. The officials took photographs of the injured fishermen and the damaged boats.

The attacked fishermen said the Coast Guard officials asked them to describe the appearance of those soldiers whom the fishermen identified as Chinese. The officials took note of the fishermen's views and assured them that it would be conveyed to the authorities concerned.

Fishermen belonging to Ramanathapuram and Nagappattinam districts have been complaining about Chinese presence for the last three months. They had also alleged that it was the Chinese who had treated them harshly.

On October 28, a group of fishermen who were attacked and chased by the Sri Lankan navy near Katchatheev island said they saw Chinese soldiers on Lankan ships.

And on September 25, two groups of fishermen belonging to Nagappattinam who returned to shore wearing gunny sacks complained that the Sri Lankan navy and the Chinese who were on their boats attacked them and ill-treated them. They asserted that they could distinguish between Sinhalese and non-Sinhalese, since they were meeting the Sinhalese regularly for several decades.

The fishermen said they were stripped naked, made to stand in the midnight sea breeze with ice boxes on their head.

The fishermen were asked to tear the Indian National Flag in their boats and forced to wear them as loin cloth, while saluting the Sri Lankan national flag. They were forced to eat food, which was urinated by the Chinese soldiers, they said.

Army patents two varieties of camouflage

Jayanta Gupta, TNN 1 November 2009, 06:17am IST

KOLKATA: The army has finally patented its uniform. The Ordnance Factory, Avadi, in Chennai, has warned that legal steps would be taken against companies that continue to churn out clothing that resemble battle fatigues worn by soldiers.

For long, the army had been concerned about the use of camouflage clothing by civilians. Even militants in insurgency-hit areas use such clothing. This makes it difficult for troops to distinguish between the enemy and their comrades. Even Maoist leader Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji was seen wearing camouflage trousers on the night he released Atindranath Dutta, the abducted officer-in-charge of Sankrail police station.

"We have patented two varieties of camouflage. One is a jungle pattern in green and the other a desert pattern in brown. Both will have the logo of the Indian Army. Till now, we could do little against companies manufacturing such textile. Now, we can take legal action even if a product resembles our cloth in any way. Textile manufacturers, traders and even the general public have been asked to inform us of any misuse of the designs," a senior officer said.

In some parts of the country, like Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and Assam, use of camouflage clothing by civilians is banned in principle. The use of jungle' shoes readily available across the counter at many stores is also discouraged. However, with no law to fall back on, the defence ministry could not take any legal steps against the offenders.

"In recent times, it has become fashionable among the youth to wear combat fatigues. It may be alright in peaceful locations, but there is immense confusion in insurgency-hit states. It is very difficult to distinguish between friend and foe during a crisis. The situation turns worse when there are civilians moving around in fatigues. In fact, we also strongly object to the use of combat fatigues by security agencies," the officer added.

But what about central paramilitary force units who use combat fatigues. Sources said the Ordnance Factory Board has already started selling the material to the ministry of home affairs.

"Some paramilitary units have even started using the material for their uniform. When the OFB can manufacture weapons and supplies for such organisations, why can't we supply uniforms. The uniforms may carry the Indian Army logo but this will not lead to problems. In fact, this will lead to solidarity," another officer said.

The officer added that action under the Copyright Act can also be taken against civilians continuing to wear camouflaged clothing. Such people may even be charged with wearing combat fatigues to confuse those actually entitled to wear them.,prtpage-1.cms

Why our paramilitary should be part of future Indo-US exercises

October 31, 2009

Two separate incidents earlier this week caught my attention. The death of four CISF personnel in an Improvised Explosive Device blast in Dantewada and the Yudh Abhyas, the largest joint army exercise between the Indian and US armies.

The IED blast were part of a stepped up Maoist strategy to deter the government from carrying out a planned offensive against their central Indian strongholds by the paramilitary forces like the CRPF and the BSF. The military exercises were part of annual wargames aimed at greater interoperability between the two armies. The detection and disposal of IEDs was part of the drill. But wait, precisely what are the chances of the Indian army operating with the US military? According to a vehement Defence Minister A.K. Antony, "not now, not in the future." So if the defence minister himself doesn't see a future for these exercises, exactly what purpose do they serve other than, perhaps, a shop window display for US military hardware. But there is another force, or a group of forces which could gain from the United States military.

Poorly equipped and trained with hand-me-down weaponry from the Indian army, the paramilitary forces are extremely vulnerable to twin threats from the Maoists- IEDs and ambushes. Maoist supreme commander Mupalla Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy confirmed they had received assistance from LTTE bomb makers in fashioning these deadly explosive devices.

Sure, the Indian army can train the paramilitary in the intricacies of jungle warfare but not in the high technology that goes into combating insurgency. This is where the United States comes in. Today, there is no country in the world which has as much experience in combating IEDs as the United States military. Learning from a majority of the over 4000 US troop casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan are from IEDs. The US has a Joint IED Defeat Organisation (JIEDDO) and is investing over $ 1 billion in potentially game-changing technologies like ground sensors which can detect if soil has been freshly dug to devices which can detect command wires which detonate IEDs. Practically every new counter-insurgency platform deployed in the world today--- from mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles to the hand-held mini-UAVs--- are a direct result of the Iraq and Afghanistan experience and these have considerably reduced casualties. Our paramilitaries could learn something as basic as Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) which enable western armies to sustain prolonged patrols.

Sure, critics would carp at assistance from 'foreign forces' to fight 'our own people' but would this be less than the cost of sending in the central forces as cannon fodder? If the Maoists make no bones about admitting assistance from the LTTE for making the bombs that kill policemen, why should the government have any qualms about getting global expertise in defeating the threat. Home minister P Chidambaram who controls nearly half-a-million central police forces and severely condemned the killing of the CISF troopers, recently visited the United States. But more about learning how the US manages homeland security and coordinates multiple agencies. He should start sending representatives of the BSF and CRPF for joint exercises with the US military if he is serious about saving lives.

150 officers graduate

One hundred and fifty army officers graduated from the highest military command course in Singapore yesterday.

Four top graduands stood out from this cohort to win the top graduate awards.

Regular offiers Major Peter Chee, Major Lim Yu Chuan and Major Koi Eng Chew won the Army, Navy and Air Force awards respectively, and Major (NS)(Dr) Koh Poh Koon, topped the national servicemen graduands.

This year's graduation ceremony also saw an international officer from Vietnam graduating from the Command and Staff Course for the first time.

Lieutenant Colonel Ha Van Thang was one of 15 international officers from Australia, Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea and the United States.

The graduands comprised 106 regular officers and 28 national service officers and one officer from the Singapore Police Force

They were presented their certificates by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean at the Istana.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Defence Minister mentioned the key role that national servicemen play in Singapore's defence, "These are the men who, although not career military personnel, will take up arms when our country needs them. This requires them to be at a high state of readiness, achievable only by a steadfast commitment to their National Service duties.

"Their contributions and sacrifices over the years have provided Singapore with continued peace and security."

* P Jayapal new Embarkation HQ commander

Chennai, Oct 31 (PTI) Commodore P Jayapal today took over as the Commandant of Embarkation headquarters here from Commodore K P Ramachandram, who retired from service.

Jayapal also reviewed the ceremonial parade at the army parade ground at Fort St George Complex near the state secretariat, a defence press release said.

A recipient of Vishist Seva Meal, Jayapal has studied in the Royal Naval Hydrographic School in the UK and is also an alumni of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi.

He has vast sea experience and has spent more than 12 years in commanding five Indian Navy survey ships, the release said.

Embarkation headquarters is an organisation under the Army headquarters and is responsible for smooth transit of men and material by air, sea and rail.

Indian Army says Pakistan capitalising on ceasefire to strengthen defence

2009-10-29 16:30:00

Major General K. Majumdar, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Indian Army's 10 Division has said that Pakistan is taking advantage of the ceasefire to strengthen its defence along the India-Pakistan border.

After attending an ex-serviceman rally, General Majumdar said that India was aware of the activities of Pakistan across the border, and counter measures were being taken.

Further he added that the war of wits is always on between the two nations and it would continue.

"There is no doubt that they are taking advantage of ceasefire to strengthen their defence, but we can't take any action unless there is ceasefire violation. We are doing our bit and they are doing their bit," said General Majumdar.

General Majumdar added that threat of infiltration is always there, but the Indian army is always vigilant to foil attempts of anti-national elements.

"There has always been a lurking threat. There have been attempts in the winters in our sector. Of these, people out of sheer desperation of not having been able to get through try and infiltrate places where they feel they can. However since the time we have got this fence on road, we have developed this fence. So this sort of threat to some extent has reduced. We need to be careful and eliminate any attempts by these antinational elements to get across LoC oblique the border," General Majumdar said.

Kashmir remains at the core of a six-decade-long conflict between India and Pakistan.

They fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. (ANI)

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