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Thursday, 5 November 2009

From Today's Papers - 05 Nov 09

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Defence college on LeT target
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 4
Two leading boarding schools and a few five-star hotels located at popular tourist destinations are on the target of Pakistan-based terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a senior Home Ministry official said here today.

According to intelligence inputs filtering in from the USA, the organisation plans to attack National Defence College located near South Block. The college runs courses on Indian and international strategic and warfare issues. At present, around 25 foreign officers are undertaking courses here.

The news comes in the wake of reports that David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, arrested by the FBI for plotting a major terror attack in India at the behest of the LeT, had revealed that they were planning to attack National Defence College in New Delhi.

The Home Ministry official said the intelligence agencies had gathered information about the possibility of LeT attacks a few weeks ago and forwarded it to the state governments concerned for providing adequate security at schools and the hotels. The names of the schools were not revealed to avoid a panic reaction. A major security drill was conducted at a leading five-star hotel in Delhi yesterday.

Meanwhile, additional security personnel have been deployed at the NDC located on the Tees-January Marg, where a memorial of Mahatma Gandhi is also located.

Earlier, on the sidelines of a CII function during the day, Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju said, “I think there is a constant review of the threat perception and targets ...and we are working on ensuring proper safeguards.”

US, EU ask India to join NPT

Lalit K Jha/ PTI / Washington November 4, 2009, 13:41 IST

Voicing their commitment to preserving and strengthening the authority and integrity of NPT, the US and EU have asked India and other non-signatories to join the treaty, a pact New Delhi considers discriminatory.

"We are committed to preserving and strengthening the authority and integrity of the NPT," they said in a joint declaration at the conclusion of the US-EU 2009 Summit yesterday.

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), based on its three mutually reinforcing pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, represents a unique and irreplaceable framework for maintaining and strengthening international peace, security and stability, they said.

The United States and European Union urged NPT non- signatories, including India, to accede as non-nuclear weapon states to achieve universality.

India has refused to sign the NPT, maintaining that the treaty is discriminatory in nature.

Expressing support for entry into force of Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) at an early date and in the meantime continued observance of moratoria on nuclear tests, the joint statement sought immediate start of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), including verification provisions, on the basis of consensus agreement on a programme of work reached in May 2009.

"In the meantime, we call on all states concerned to declare and uphold an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices," the US-EU statement said.

It welcomed the commitment of the US and Russia to the further reduction and limitation of their strategic offensive arms and to concluding, at an early date, a new legally binding agreement to replace the current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

Expressing full support for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its work in the field of nuclear safeguards, nuclear safety and security, the US and EU endorsed the Additional Protocol and comprehensive safeguards as the standard for NPT verification.

"We will work to ensure that the IAEA has the resources and authority to carry out its essential mandate. We remain committed to ensuring responsible development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in the best safety, security and non-proliferation conditions, by countries wishing to develop their capacities in this field," it said.

"We encourage the work of the IAEA on multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle and appreciate ongoing initiatives in this regard. We also welcome research into technologies that will improve proliferation resistance in the nuclear fuel cycle," the statement said.

The US and EU also noted with interest the initiative by France to convene an international conference on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in coordination with the IAEA.

Supporting the Obama Administration's decision to convene Nuclear Security Summit in April next year, the joint statement said it recognises that the unauthorised trade in and use of nuclear materials an immediate and serious threat to global security.

"We look forward to concrete proposals to increase the security of vulnerable nuclear materials, which could include measures to effectively investigate and prosecute instances where material has been unlawfully diverted," it said.

Stressing on the importance of the full implementation of the provisions of the NPT, the joint statement emphasised that measures are needed to demonstrate that there will be real and immediate consequences for non-compliance with the treaty or for abuse of its withdrawal provision, such as withdrawing while in violation of the treaty.

"The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery continue to represent a threat to international peace and security. The international non-proliferation regime faces major challenges. We are committed to continue to address them resolutely," it said.

Referring to the recent revelation of Iran's construction of an undisclosed facility near Qom intended for enrichment, the US and EU said it has reinforced the international community's concerns regarding the nature of Tehran's nuclear programme.

"We stress that Iran has the responsibility to restore international confidence in this regard and must fulfil its international obligations in order to demonstrate the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme," the US-EU statement said.

It urged Iran to engage seriously and constructively with China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US with the support of the High Representative of the European Union (P-5+1) to advance the dialogue on the nuclear issue that began in Geneva on October 1.

Seeking a comprehensive, long-term and appropriate solution to the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation based on Iran's compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, the statement said this continues to be the objective of their dual-track approach.

"Iran has rights, but it also has responsibilities," it said.

Pak says it's yet to give Indian terror link proof


PAKISTAN'S WAR WITHIN: Troops pass through a town in South Waziristan during anti-Taliban operations.

Islamabad: The evidence of Indian arms, bombs and medicines being found in South Waziristan, where the Pakistani army is battling the Taliban, was yet to be handed over to New Delhi, a Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman has said.

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit Khan said late Tuesday there is evidence in South Waziristan Agency (SWA), which prove Indian involvement in promoting uprising and insurgency in agency, Geo News reported.

He told Geo News that the evidences found against India in South Waziristan included Indian arms, bombs and Indian medicines.

Khan said that the evidences were being investigated.

"We have yet to entrust proofs to Indian government," he added.

New Delhi on Tuesday refuted Islamabad's accusation that it was instigating trouble in the neighbouring country and rejected any connection with its internal developments.

"We have absolutely nothing to do with whatever is happening in Balochistan or whatever is happening within Pakistan. I think it is their own making," India External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said.

Pakistan's military spokesperson Athar Abbas on Tuesday claimed that Islamabad has enough evidence to substantiate that India was funding terror in South Waziristan.

He alleged that Pakistani security forces had seized Indian-made arms and equipment from the Taliban bastion of South Waziristan and added that Islamabad would soon raise the issue through diplomatic channels.

Chidambaram wants another Services match scheduled in valley
Jupinderjit Singh/Dinesh Manhotra
Tribune News Service

Jagti/Jammu, November 4
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said the Services Board cricket team should play another match in Srinagar to repair the damage done by their decision to pull out of yesterday’s fixture against Jammu and Kashmir.

Talking to mediapersons at Jagti township this morning, about 20 km from here, which is being developed for housing displaced Kashmiri Pandits, Chidambaram said the decision of forfeiture of the match was taken at a lower level.

“I express my strong displeasure at the decision. If I had known it in time, I would have ensured it did not happen,” he said. “The Services Board must request the BCCI to schedule another match in Srinagar,” Chidambaram said.

He requested that we should look ahead now and he would ensure cricket matches and others sports tournaments were held in Srinagar.

“I will see that a cricket match takes place in Srinagar,” he asserted.

On the ban on pre-paid phone connections, Chidambaram said it was the need of the hour. “We have strong reasons for banning the phones. It was for national security,” he added.

Talking to mediapersons at the Pradesh Congress Committee office this afternoon, the Home Minister said Kashmir issue needed a political solution.

“We are talking to anyone, albeit quietly for the peaceful solution of the issue,” he said. Calling upon party workers to play their role in restoring peace in the state, the Union Home Minister said like the PDP and the NC, the Congress was also an important player, which has to play an important role in solution of this problem. “Besides other political parties and groups, I want to know the view of Congress workers,” he said, adding that the opinion of all shades of people would be discussed before reaching at a solution of this problem.

Stressing on the need of early solution of Kashmir problem, the Union Home Minister observed: “How long we will allow this problem to continue. If we have to act as an important player of world politics we have to solve our internal problems.”

The Union Home Minister was of the opinion that an effective government was must to solve internal problems in the state. He said the government had been a casualty in the state and there was a need to improve the quality of governance.

He stressed on the need of intensifying economic activities in the state to create more job opportunities for youth. “This state has sufficient human and natural resources,” he observed and stressed on utilising all resources.

No strain in ties with China: India
Day after Beijing opposes Dalai’s visit, New Delhi says relationship with neighbour will get stronger
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 4
A day after China reiterated its opposition to Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, India denied any ‘strain’ in ties with Beijing due to the Tibetan spiritual leader’s proposed tour of the Northeastern state from November 8.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of seminar here this morning, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao also made it clear that any meaningful dialogue with Pakistan was ‘realistically possible’ only after it dismantled the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil.

On China, she said the relationship was in fact set to acquire more substance and relevance in the coming days. “Our position is very clear,” she said to a question on Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal while alluding to New Delhi’s stand that the Tibetan leader was an honoured guest of India who was free to move anywhere in the country.

Describing the relationship with China as ‘complex’, she said the rise of India and China was a source of dynamism in the region and the world.

Nirumapa vehemently denied Pakistan’s charge that India was fanning trouble in its restive Balochistan province. “There is no factual basis to these allegations. We have always wanted good relations with Pakistan.”

She said India had conveyed to Pakistan time and again its desire to engage in a meaningful dialogue but it was incumbent upon Islamabad to create an atmosphere for talks.

Without naming Afghanistan, the top Indian diplomat said terrorism in Afghanistan was receiving support from “contiguous areas” and asked the international community to pressure Islamabad to control such extremist outfits.

Terming the resurgence of the Taliban and the Al-Qaida as a ‘real challenge’, she asked the international community to put ‘effective pressure’ on Pakistan to implement its commitment to deal with terror groups on its territory, failing which the region could be catapulted into spiral of violence.

Terror Attacks
Enough is enough, says Army chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 4
Probably taking a cue from the tough approach adopted by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor today said India had allowed people to get away after the Parliament attack, Delhi blasts and finally the 26/11 incident. Now the time had come to say “no more”, he said.

He was speaking at a CII seminar on “network centricity and national security”. He said India had let those behind terror strikes like Parliament attack to get away. “The country cannot afford to witness a repeat of 26/11,” he said while citing the example of US and Indonesia that have not allowed a repeat of 9/11 incident or the Bali bombings, respectively.

The General’s tough words come just two days after Chidambaram warned Pakistan that any more 26/11-type terrorist attacks on the country would invite fierce retaliation.

The Home Minister had said while addressing a public meeting in Madurai, “I’ve been warning Pakistan not to play any more games. Let Mumbai be the last such game. If they carry out any more attacks on India, they will not only be defeated, but we will also retaliate with the force of a sledgehammer.”

Earlier, Kapoor had warned that South Asia would be under “constant threat of terrorism of asymmetric and fourth generation warfare”. He suggested for creation of a national architecture of intelligence sharing to ward off attacks and counter militants.

Speaking at the same CII seminar, Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju asked for synergy among plethora of intelligence agencies to prevent another 26/11-like terror attack.

Noting that terrorists were acquiring lethal weapons and had been changing tactics, Pallam Raju said, “Our defence and paramilitary forces need to be prepared to give a strategic response to tackle sub-conventional warfare and small focused insurgent missions.”

Cautioning against the dangers of turning Indian forces into an equipment-centric force like the US, Raju said, “We must, however, ensure that our soldiers match the capacity of the adversary.”

India in Afghanistan
Time for regional approach to promote peace
by Syed Nooruzzaman

ALL those working for peace and development in Afghanistan are heaving a sigh of relief with the presidential election concluding there peacefully. The Taliban had threatened to disrupt the election run-off to create more confusion in the ranks of those fighting against the extremists. The Independent Election Commission declaring the incumbent President, Mr Hamid Karzai, as the winner is obviously an upsetting development for the Taliban.

The extremists would have been happier if the tussle for power between Mr Karzai and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah had taken a turn for the worse with no clear winner at the end of the second round. Such a possibility could not be ruled out, as most voters were expected to remain indoors because of their disenchantment with the Karzai government’s functioning in the past. However, the situation changed with Dr Abdullah withdrawing from the contest.

Mr Karzai not only failed to provide an effective government during his previous tenure, but also did little to prevent corruption from spreading to every level in the administration. How far he is able to fulfil his latest promise of uprooting corruption remains to be seen. He, however, appears to have become wiser as he has begun to work for stability so that he is in a position to launch a concerted drive against corruption.

Mr Karzai, who is closely identified with Pushtun interests, may have to include in his government the Northern Alliance representatives who have their bases in the non-Pushtun segments of the population. It all depends on what Washington wants, but the fact remains that the new Karzai government cannot afford to ignore the interests of the non-Pushtun voters with a view to ensuring stability and legitimacy for his administration.

An all-inclusive government may be successful in providing the atmosphere required for the speedy reconstruction of Afghanistan. That is why India has indicated its preference for such a dispensation. And what New Delhi says carries weight in Kabul because of India’s involvement in many development projects in Afghanistan. In January this year India handed over the 218-km-long Zaranj-Delaram highway to the Afghanistan government after completing it despite the Taliban threat to those working on the road project.

The highway, a shining example of India-Afghanistan cooperation, can give a boost to trade and industrial activity in the region. The road that has taken 339 engineers to complete it in three years will provide an alternative route to supply goods to Afghanistan from India via Iran, reducing dependence on Pakistan. It will also help promote regional cooperation as Afghanistan has now got access to the sea through Iran’s Chabahar deep-sea port.

The Zaranj-Delaram highway is, however, only one of the many contributions of India to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. India is involved in a big way in power supply projects like the 220-KV power transmission line to Kabul and the Salma dam project in Herat province. India has helped modernise the telecommunication networks in Afghanistan. Over 400 buses gifted by India can be seen plying in different areas in that country. India has been involved in the construction of the parliament building in Kabul. New Delhi has also been engaged in projects related to health care, education, etc. All this has helped blunt the Taliban’s anti-India propaganda. People in Afghanistan today realise how India’s “aid diplomacy” has been effective in giving them a new lease of life.

India’s development strategy to win over the hearts and minds of the Afghans has become an interesting subject of discussion. During a recent visit to Brussels (Belgium) this writer was witness to how European Union officials and senior European journalists during discussions on Afghanistan made a special mention of Indian efforts in rebuilding that country despite the odds New Delhi had been faced with.

The EU wants to cooperate with India in whatever way it is possible in making the Afghans leave the path of violence. There is realisation that India’s success story can help considerably in convincing the Afghans that the activities of the Taliban and those aiding the extremist movement — Pakistan’s ISI — have only made the life of the people more miserable. These elements have proved to be the real enemies of Afghanistan.

India’s pledge to invest as much as $1.2 billion in development projects in the coming few years has raised its status as the sixth largest donor to Afghanistan. New Delhi cannot allow the gains of its “aid diplomacy” to get affected by developments like the Taliban attacks on the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

This has not only unnerved Pakistan, which has been unsuccessfully seeking “strategic depth” in Afghanistan, but has also made the US feel alarmed. Gen Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan, is believed to have mentioned in a recent confidential report that the “increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani counter-measures in Afghanistan or India.”

Those who are scared of India’s rising influence in Afghanistan, unfortunately, fail to realise that the war against the Taliban cannot be won unless the use of the military is accompanied by large-scale efforts to rebuild the infrastructure needed to revive economic activity. India has been of the view that war alone cannot solve any problem, as External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna pointed out recently in the course of an interview to The Wall Street Journal. India, he said, did “not believe that war can solve any problem and that applies to Afghanistan too”.

Of course, India knows that no development project can be implemented without providing adequate security to those engaged in it. The Taliban insurgents have to be tackled militarily. But the question is: who should do it? The US-led multinational forces have failed to eliminate the Taliban threat despite the investment of billions of dollars and loss of hundreds of lives. Their unending presence on the Afghan soil is being seen as one of the factors responsible for the Taliban resurgence. Doubts are being expressed about the necessity of the Obama administration preparing to send more troops to Afghanistan. There are already nearly 100,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan aiding the 200,000-strong Afghan security forces. Yet they are not sure of victory over the Taliban.

The Afghans have little faith in any Western approach, as the McChrystal report says. That is why there is now talk of trying a regional approach with India playing the lead role. The Afghan security forces should be further strengthened by substantially increasing their number, equipping them properly and providing them the essential training for fighting the Taliban. No other country in the region is as much qualified as India in taking on such elements.

Pakistan may obviously object to any regional strategy that gives India the most significant role to play. But the truth is that such a strategy can ultimately help Pakistan, too, in eliminating the Taliban threat to stability it has been faced with. Pakistan must accept that the Taliban factor on both sides of the Durand Line remains the most serious challenge to peace and progress in the region.

Chinese Army exercises north of Arunachal

by ANI on November 4, 2009

in National

Guwahati, Nov. 4 (ANI): The Chinese Army is conducting exercises in areas adjoining Arunachal Pradesh. This was disclosed by Major General S.S. Jog, General Officer Commanding the Red Horn Division, during a seminar on counter terrorism organised by the Army for officers and allied personnel engaged in anti-insurgency operations in Guwahati on Wednesday.

Apart from the serving officers, several retired personnel of the Indian Army and para-military forces shared their views and expertise in counter-insurgency operations.

To a poser on intrusion by Chinese troops in the neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh state, Major General S S Jog, General Office Commanding of the Red Horn Division, said: “There is some sort of exercises, which they generally do during this particular time of the year. They have done a few exercises and certain amounts of troops have come in but it’s normal routine exercise.”

There has been a flurry of reports in Indian media of Chinese incursions along the border-shrugged off by both the Indian and Chinese governments.

Consequently, New Delhi protested against a Chinese Foreign Ministry’s policy of issuing different visas to residents of disputed northern region of Jammu and Kashmir state.

Major General (retied) Gaganjit Singh said that although things have improved a lot in Assam the ultimate peace is yet to return.

“The things have changed a lot. What it was in 10 years back it’s not now today. Firstly, the public of Assam have realised that insurgency has given them no benefit. That realisation is a big achievement. Secondly, I can only say that ultimate peace has not come. It takes time for everything,” said Major General Singh. (ANI)

High Time for National Intelligence Coordinator, Says Pallam Raju

17:25 IST

The Minister of State for Defence Shri M.M. Pallam Raju has called for synergy among the plethora of intelligence agencies to prevent another 26/11-Mumbai-like terror attack. Inaugurating a two-day seminar on ‘Network Centricity and National Security’ here today, Shri Pallam Raju said the time has come to create a post of National Intelligence Coordinator.

Noting that the terrorists are acquiring lethal weapons and changing tactics, Shri Pallam Raju said that our Defence and Paramilitary Forces need to be prepared to give a strategic response to tackle sub-conventional warfare and small focused insurgent missions. Cautioning against the dangers of turning Indian Forces into an equipment-centric force like the US, Shri Pallam Raju said that we must however ensure that our soldiers match the capacity of the adversary.

Following is the extract of Shri Pallam Raju’s address to the seminar: -

“I am pleased to address you at the Seminar ‘Network Centricity in Homeland Security.’ I am delighted that the Directorate General of Information Systems (DGIS), Indian Army, the United Service Institute (USI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry have come together to organize a seminar on this very timely issue.

India aspires to attain a ‘Developed’ nation status in the near future. It has been experiencing a sustained high economic growth rates for about a decade and is being projected as an emerging economic giant. On the political and strategic front as well, it has made its presence felt globally. It seems that the world is ready to bestow it the rightful place and is even willing to re-structure the decade old treaties to accommodate India’s interests. But the momentum of this growth and recognition would largely depend on how successfully India is able to maintain and preserve its internal security. The rapidly developing political, economic and military strength of India, is unfortunately supported by a fragile internal security scenario, and could become a significant factor for instability in the region and in the world.

Over time, the very nature and diversity of the integral constituents of India’s internal security have broadened and acquired multifaceted dimensions. It encompasses threats from a mixed hue of separatist, ethnic and terrorist violence; challenges pertaining to infiltration and sponsorship of terrorism from across the borders; subversive activities of some groups/individuals within the country; threats to security of individuals and vital installations and services; and, transnational crimes relating to drug trafficking, smuggling of arms, fake currency, etc. Since many of the internal problems have external linkages, the line between the internal and external threats has become blurred.

Indian Government has been making a continuous effort to enhance its preparedness to counter the various security threats. A number of important initiatives have been undertaken to strengthen the security apparatus in the country. With the changed nature of crime and security threats, it is being increasingly realized that technology and equipment would play a crucial role in the strengthening the capabilities of the security forces.

There are various components to enhancing internal security. New centers for rapid response are being set up in key cities all over the country. Equipment and weapons systems are being upgraded. Security parameters are being established. Critical infrastructure and industrial centres will receive special protection. Capabilities of our military, intelligence and paramilitary staff are being enhanced.

The entire endeavour requires a new infrastructure of defence equipment and systems involving substantial expenditures. This would include outlays on protecting our borders, as well as securing critical infrastructure such as airports, mass transport, Highways, sea borders, etc.

It cannot be overstated that the task ahead is formidable. Our defence forces and paramilitary forces are underequipped, inadequately trained and improperly supported. Armaments and munitions, state-of-the-art equipment, and support systems in telecommunications, surveillance and other areas are needed. On the other hand, the terrorists, militants and insurgents are able to acquire advanced weapons and communication equipment. Their methods of warfare are becoming more sophisticated, more complex and more systematically planned. Their objectives are becoming more ambitious, with the intention of inflicting maximum damage. The increased range and lethality of weapons as well as changed tactics and small focused insurgent missions will need strategic response from our defence and paramilitary forces.

In order to counter the growing threat, India needs to work on a number of fronts simultaneously. Leveraging emerging technologies is one of the critical aspects in this area. The world has made rapid strides in technology development in conducting warfare as well as in communications and transport. India has evident capacities in information technology and engineering design in the private sector, through which it has been able to successfully capture the space of outsourcing and software services.

It now needs to deploy these same capabilities in the armed forces as well. This will require a close partnership of the civil industry and defence industries. The government has stated its intention to source defence equipment indigenously up to the extent of 70%. Although this target is far from being met, we are committed to strengthening our civil industry capacities in order to be able to meet defence production requirements as well.

Network centricity assumes significance in the light of increasing data management requirements for identifying and eliminating threats. Decision-making can be faster with the help of reliable real-time data. A range of equipment is needed to enhance India’s capabilities in this field, including sensors, access control technologies, detectors, monitors, and force protection technologies. The private sector can be a valuable partner in supplying relevant equipment and technologies.

I am aware that defence being a single consumer and owing to the level of confidentiality that has to be maintained, it has been difficult for civil industry to meet the requirements of defence. There is a high degree of business risk attached to the production of goods for defence purposes. However, there are a number of areas where civil industry and defence production facilities under the government can cooperate for developing new products that are of use to both sides.

There is need to think out of the box to strengthen civil and defence industry partnerships. While we must be careful not to be an equipment-centric force, we must ensure that each one of our soldiers at the sub-conventional level can match the capacities of the opponents. For example, there is need to equip our forces with night vision, light and lethal weapons, appropriate clothing and other equipment. Our communications strategies must encompass transmission of data, video and audio in real time. Sufficient attention to range, encryption, and protection against counter attacks must be given.

There are significant opportunities for private industry to partner in the homeland security and sub-conventional warfare space. The allocation for India’s homeland security agencies was increased by 25 percent in the budget 2009-2010. Paramilitary forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs include about 1 million personnel and have a budget of Rs 21, 634.15 Crore (USD 4.3 billion) for the year 2009-10. The equipment and training of all these must be upgraded and modernized in order to have an effective counter-insurgency internal security force.

Strengthening and Streamlining the Intelligence Gathering and Dissemination Structures, Processes and Mechanisms would be central to countering external and internal threats. The Government have taken steps for toning up the intelligence collection capability by strengthening the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) headed by the Intelligence Bureau, which had been set up as recommended by the Special Task Force (headed by G.C.Saxena, former head of the R&AW and Governor of J&K, in 2000) for the revamping of the Intelligence Apparatus. The Home Ministry have taken action to address the staff and resource constraints faced by the MAC.

While these measures would result in short-term improvements in the functioning of the intelligence machinery, there is a need to think strategically of medium and long-term measures. A number of intelligence agencies are operating at the state and national level. Besides these the Defence Forces, State Police, Central Police Organizations, Para Military Forces have their own intelligence network and set up. There is a requirement to institute a mechanism to centrally feed in and coordinate the intelligence inputs analyze the same and disseminate it in real time to the end user. This set up could be instituted at the state level and replicated at the national level. The time has come to create a post of National Intelligence Co-ordinator to handle the task of co-ordination on a full-time basis.

The key facet of the cooperation between civil and defence industry is communication. I am delighted that CII is partnering with the defence forces and institutions such as USI for bringing the opportunities in defence production to industry heads. This will alleviate many of the misconceptions and help build a culture of indigenous development and production in civil industry.

I urge CII to continue its endeavours in assisting defence and paramilitary forces in equipment provision. Seminars such as this one will help in bringing industrial opportunities to light for the general populace.

Above all, such seminars will help in clarifying and demystifying defence procurement and reducing perception of threat among the private industry. We must ensure that internal security challenges are not overstated and exaggerated beyond the reality in order that investments continue to be encouraged.”

Annual flight safety meeting held at Air Force station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Around 180 officers, including base commanders, squadron commanders, engineering officers and flight safety officers, from various stations and units under the Western Air Command attended the annual flight safety council meeting held at the Chandigarh Air Force Station today.

The meeting was chaired by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, Air Marshal NAK Browne. Officers from the Air Headquarters, the Army, the Navy and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) also attended the meeting. The Institute of Flight Safety gave a presentation on human factor analysis and classification system.

After the daylong discussions on flight safety issues, Air Marshal Browne addressed the officers and airmen, stressing upon flight safety through professional leadership. Officers from different stations discussed flight safety aspects through presentations. This was followed by interactive sessions.

The Western Air Command is the largest command of the IAF and also has the largest number of aircraft and helicopters operating in the area spreading from the icy glaciers and peaks of the Himalayas to the scorching deserts of Rajasthan. Air assets of this command are called upon for multifarious tasks ranging from protecting our western borders to air maintenance of northern frontiers in the inhospitable terrain and disaster relief during natural calamities.

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