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Sunday, 22 November 2009

From Today's Papers - 22 Nov 09

Headley Probe
CIA top boss in India, holds talks with Security Adviser
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 21
In what will be another round of information sharing on terrorism between India and the US, the Director of the Central Investigative Agency (CIA) Leon E Panetta, flew into India this morning. He is here to share with Indian investigators the leads on terror suspects US national David Headley and his accomplice Pakistan born Canadian national Tahhawur Hussain Rana.

The CIA boss and the National Security Adviser MK Narayanan had a 30-minute meeting here today before the latter went away to US accompanying the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Meanwhile in Italy, acting on a tip-off by Indian and US agencies, the police have arrested a father-son duo for financing the expenses of international calls made by the Mumbai attackers in November last year.
Panetta’s visit is seen as crucial for Indian investigative agencies looking into Mumbai attacks last years. Under the new framework of the India-US relationship spelt out by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her trip to India early this year, cooperation in combating terrorism is one of the key pillars of the relations between the two countries.
Panetta is scheduled to call on the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram besides senior officials. The discussion is expected to revolve around the duo of Headley-Rana but the Indian side is looking at what leads the US can provide on the depth of planning. Also, whether they had laid out the groundwork for another major strike across several cities. The two had been arrested by FBI for suspected links with the Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) and plotting terror attacks in India. The FBI is slated to present a chargesheet against the two in US court in January.
Already call records of Headley and Rana have established that they were in touch with the same Pakistan-based handlers who gave directions to the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai.
Sleuths are now examining how the duo had corresponded with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) masterminds Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, who are currently in Pakistani custody, and also probing if there was another module at all involved in the Mumbai attacks.

Chandigarh, November 21
With potato accounting for about 40 per cent of the fresh vegetables supplied to troops based in remote, high-altitude areas, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is undertaking a special research as regards cultivation of potatoes in cold regions.

Based upon a decade-long research on potato crop in cold desert conditions, the DRDO has now brought out a book, Potato Production, Storage and Marketing, authored by Dr Narendra Singh, a senior scientist posted with the Leh-based Defence Institute of High-Altitude Research.
Thousands of troops are stationed in high-altitude areas in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, which remain cut off from the rest of the country in winters due to heavy snow. The recommended quantity of potato is 140 gm per soldier per day and the cost of potato transported from other regions goes up to over Rs 200 per kg.
This necessitates the need for local cultivation and storage of potato during summer months.

China snubbed, says it favours direct Indo-Pak talks
November 21, 2009 23:45 IST
Tags: China, Indo-Pak, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, India, Aksai Chin
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After being snubbed, China has conveyed to India [ Images ] that it has no intention of playing a broker in India-Pakistan relations and favours direct talks between them.

Beijing [ Images ] has communicated to New Delhi [ Images ] that it respects its stance that there was no role for any third party in mediation of Indo-Pak affairs, Indian government sources said.

China has said there is no change in its position that Indo-Pak relations are bilateral in nature, said the source accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] on his way to Washington.

India was annoyed when a Sino-US joint statement, issued after talks between President Barack Obama [ Images ] and President Hu Jintao in Beijing last week, made a mention of Indo-Pak relations.

India has made it clear that it is not ready to accept "guardianship" of anybody, whether China, the US or any other country, even if mild-handed.

With regard to Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq seeking to give China a role on Kashmir [ Images ] issue, the Indian government sources were dismissive, saying he was trying to find a place for himself and emerge a "great mediator".

"Mirwaiz is trying to bring K-word (in China context) which does not exist," a source said referring to the Hurriyat leader's contention on Friday that China has a link with Kashmir issue as Aksai Chin, part of the state, is under its control.
The sources maintained that he was free to travel to China, but on proper visa.

China cannot be and should not be the arbiter in South Asia'
November 20, 2009 16:35 IST
Tags: India, China, Pakistan, United States, Manmohan Singh
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T P Sreenivasan, the former ambassador, on what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] should tell America's President at the White House on Monday.

Dear President Obama [ Images ]

I am grateful, Mr President, for the honour you have bestowed on me by inviting me as the first State guest of your administration. My people will appreciate this gesture, but they will judge my visit more by its substance than by its ceremonial frills. I appreciate this opportunity to discuss issues with a man of destiny, a fact recognised by the people of the United States last year and by the Nobel Committee this year.

I cannot but recall my last visit to the White House on the eve of the end of the second term of President Bush. At that meeting, we gave the finishing touches to the 123 Agreement, which transformed India-US relations. Three of the Senators who voted for the agreement at that time occupy the most important positions in this administration and this augurs well for the implementation of the agreement.

I appreciate your personal commitment to the agreement. We are ready to work together with you on nonproliferation and disarmament in accordance with our own international commitments. Your declaration in Prague that the US would favour a nuclear weapon free world has raised new hopes for the survival of the globe. We also welcome the Secretary of State's wish to work with India [ Images ] on a 21st century version of the NPT.

On bilateral relations, we have reason to believe that we are on a firm footing, particularly after the visit of the Secretary of State to India. We rediscovered each other since the days of President Clinton and President Bush took the relationship to a higher level. As Hillary Clinton [ Images ] rightly observed, we are in the 3.0 stage in our relations and the prospects are bright.

With goodwill on both sides, our cooperation can be further expanded. Your citizens of Indian origin are helping in the process, as you acknowledged by joining them in the festival of lights at the White House.

The international situation, however, is a cause for concern. I am glad to find signs of recovery in the US economy. It cannot but have benefits for us. Your visit to China must have been of great significance in this connection. I look forward to hearing from you on the impressions you have gained in China.

As you said, China need not have an adversarial relationship with you. The same is true of us, though some of the words and deeds emanating from Beijing [ Images ] seem to suggest that China believes in cooperation and confrontation at the same time.

China is not a disinterested observer in South Asia. It is in possession of part of Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] and has been an unscrupulous supplier of arms and war-like nuclear material to Pakistan. China cannot be and should not be the arbiter in South Asia and, in any event, we do not want any third party intervention in India-Pakistan relations.

I am sure that you are aware that we have refrained from provoking China on any issue, not even Tibet [ Images ]. The Dalai Lama [ Images ] is an honoured guest in India till he is enabled to return to Tibet in freedom and dignity. His visit to Tawang was entirely for spiritual reasons and he did not engage in any political activities. The Olympic [ Images ] torch had a most peaceful passage through India. We are determined to engage China on the border issue and find a solution with mutual understanding and mutual accommodation.

In our own region, things are still in a state of flux. You have been fighting a war against the terrorist sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan for eight years now. The Af-Pak region is still volatile. Pakistan is continuing its game of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. Pakistan cannot fight terrorism and nurse it at the same time.

We are concerned that the resources you give them to fight terrorism are being diverted to wage a war against India. They are bombing the Indian embassy in Kabul instead of blasting terrorist outfits. The biggest challenge today is to figure out who is in charge in Pakistan. But if all those in power do share one thing in common, that is their animosity towards India. They are determined to protect the perpetrators of the Mumbai [ Images ] attack.

We simply have no way to do business as usual with Pakistan as long as there is no satisfaction over the investigation into 26/11 and as long as we are not satisfied that there will be no more Mumbais.

Mr President, we are with you in your fight against terror in the Af-Pak region. It is the same region that feeds terror in Jammu and Kashmir for the last 20 years. We have a stake in your success. We are ourselves engaged in conquering the hearts of the people in Afghanistan. Our projects are extremely popular and that is the reason why the Taliban [ Images ] does not attack these projects.

We are very much in place in the country to take on reconstruction efforts once the war is over. You and we share the hope that Afghanistan will remain a stable, independent and nonaligned nation, at peace with the rest of the world.

I would urge you to persist in your efforts to root out terrorism. No one doubts your intentions and we are confident that the US would withdraw, once your mission is completed.

A peaceful and terror-free Afghanistan should be your legacy. We have remained in touch with Ambassador Holbrooke, even though his mandate, rightly, does not include India. We shall be ready to work with him on the stabilisation of Afghanistan.

We have come a long way from Stockholm 1972 to Copenhagen 2009 as far as our awareness of climate change issues is concerned. Mrs Indira Gandhi [ Images ] was the only prime minister who attended the Stockholm Conference. Today, every leader in the world, from the US to the tiny island of Maldives [ Images ], is fully engaged on this issue.

In a dramatic display of the plight of the fragile islands, the President of Maldives held a cabinet meeting under water. India is committed to do whatever it can do within its capabilities to stem the tide of environmental degradation, but the onus of arresting the growth in the emissions of greenhouse gases rests entirely with those who have contributed to the present situation by years of unscrupulous consumption.

As for India, we have committed ourselves to not exceeding the per capita emission of developing countries at any time. This is more substantial than any artificial limits that any treaty may impose on the developed world. But in Copenhagen, we are willing to work with you to find the balance between the imperatives of protecting the environment without losing sight of the compulsions of development.

Mr President, I am here on a quest for a perfect partnership with you. We have resolved most of the differences which have bedeviled our relations in the past. What remains is for us to remain faithful to the understanding we have reached and to move forward for the benefit of our people.

I hope my visit will help us to reach that goal.

Thank you.

Manmohan Singh

French Army team visits battle schools in India-controlled Kashmir 2009-11-22 00:30:19                                 Print

    SRINAGAR, India-controlled Kashmir, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- A team of French Army including military experts in the field of counter militancy Saturday completed a six-day visit to the Battle Schools of India-controlled Kashmir, a statement issued by Indian Defense Ministry's Northern Command said.

    The team arrived in the region on November 16 and was part of the implementation plan for the defense cooperation and exchanges with the Indian Army.

    The visiting team was briefed on the Indian Army's strategies to tackle militancy in the region during their visit to the Battle Schools at Sarol near Rajouri and Khreuh in Srinagar.

    "During this visit to these training establishments the French delegation was briefed in detail about the various functional, training and administrative aspects. The French military officials were demonstrated the finer aspects of battle craft and tactical drills being imparted to the troops to cope up with the challenges of combating insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.

    The presentations included the methodology of conducting people friendly operations and ensuring maintaining Human Rights in the conduct of counter terrorism operations," said K.S. Rathi, Indian Defense Ministry Spokesman of Northern Command in an official handout to press.

    The French army delegation's visit comes in the backdrop of recent visits of top army officials from various others countries including overt visit of Australian Army Chief, Lt. Gen. Ken J Gillespie, in October and furtive trips of U.S. and Israeli army officials to the region.

    Indian army officials maintain that such joint exercises are carried out to strengthen cooperation and exchange between the armies of different countries.

Russia Offer Development of Advanced RADARs to India
Daily News & Updates
Dated 20/9/2009
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As the race in the Indian Air Force's $10-billion tender for 126 combat jets reached the crucial stage of flight trials, Russia, on top of a full technology transfer, is offering India help in building its own advanced radar. This would put India in the elite league of manufacturers of some of the most sophisticated defence equipment.

"We are ready to develop a new advanced radar jointly with India," said Vyacheslav Tishchenko, head of the Phazotron-NIIR Corporation. The company has built Russia's first Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Zhuk-ME, for the MiG-35 fighter, the Russian contender in the IAF tender for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). Two planes will go to India next month for flight evaluation trials.

Also in the fray are the U.S. F-16 and F-18, the French Dassault's Rafale, the Swedish Saab Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Transfer of technology is a prime requirement in the MMRCA tender, but as far as the radar is concerned, Russia alone seems prepared to meet the demand in full. "Out of six-seven countries in the world that have the know-how to build radars for combat jets, only two — Russia and the U.S. — domestically produce the full range of radar components," Phazotron's chief designer Yuri Guskov said.

Raytheon, the U.S. company that manufactures radars for the F-18 fighter, has already said it would only transfer "limited" technology "up to the level the U.S. government allows us." This means America's European competitors in the MMRCA tender will also face restrictions on the transfer of technologies sourced from U.S. companies. Russia is the only bidder which does not depend on the U.S. for any aircraft technologies, including the radar.

Indian Navy Orders Six Naval Tejas LCA Fighters; Infuses Rs.900 Crore in Programme
Indian Navy Orders Six Naval Tejas LCA Fighters; Infuses Rs.900 Crore in Programme

Daily News & Updates
Dated 20/9/2009
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Indian Navy has okay-ed the placement of an order for six Naval Tejas Light Combat Aircrafts (N-LCA). At an approximate cost of Rs 150 crore per aircraft, this will provide a Rs 900 crore infusion into the Naval LCA programme.

That investment in the Tejas programme is rooted in the navy's plan to operate both light and medium fighters off its aircraft carriers.

The Naval LCA will supplement the heavier Russian MiG-29K, which has already been ordered from Russia. The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), being built at Cochin Shipyard, Kochi, has been designed with a separate aircraft lift and maintenance facilities for the LCA, in addition to facilities for the MiG-29K. That has linked the development of the Naval LCA with the construction of the IAC, which is expected to join the fleet by 2014.

But the LCA programme faces a bottleneck in choosing a new engine. Two uprated engines -- the General Electric GE-414 and the Eurojet EJ-200 -- are currently being evaluated, but will be supplied only by 2013-14. And only with the new engine will the LCA have the power to get airborne from an aircraft carrier.

P S Subramaniam, the Director of the Aeronautical Development Agency, which coordinates the LCA programme, explains: "We will fly the Naval LCA with the current GE-404 engine to test its flight characteristics, and whether its structural strength is sufficient for aircraft carrier operations. After the LCA is fitted with a new, more powerful engine we will take the next step of operating from an aircraft carrier."

Meanwhile, a major shore-based test facility is coming up at INS Hansa, in Goa, which replicates an aircraft carrier deck on ground, complete with arrested recovery and a ski jump for take off. This facility, which is expected to be operational by October 2011, will be used for certifying the Naval LCA before actually flying off an aircraft carrier. This will also be used for pilots’ training and for training maintenance crews.

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