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Saturday, 19 December 2009

From Today's Papers - 19 Dec 09

30,000 troops withdrawn from J&K: Antony
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 18
Defence Minister AK Antony today said if situation permitted, India was willing to further reduce the presence of Armed Forces in Jammu and Kashmir where 30,000 troops have been withdrawn in the past two years. He also made it clear that the much criticised Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) - which is in place in Jammu & Kashmir and the North East - will not be withdrawn.

The message of more troop withdrawal is aimed at creating an atmosphere for the “quiet diplomacy” mooted by Home Minister P Chidambaram besides curbing the malicious international propaganda against the Indian forces.
Separately, Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and several politicians in the North East have been demanding a repeal of the AFSPA.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Internal security: Duties and obligations in upholding human rights’, Antony conceded that AFSPA was needed for effective action by the forces. He, however, asked special provisions of the Act should not be put to any misuse. “Stern action will be taken against the guilty in case of any misuse. Even a single instance of human rights violation is totally unacceptable,” said Antony.
Later at a press meet, the Defence Minister said: “We are not happy in deploying forces for internal security. In Jammu & Kashmir, we want to see that normalcy is established there at the earliest. It was because of the forces that the law and order situation in the state is improving and infiltration is declining,” he stated.
“Two divisions have been withdrawn in the past two years. Whenever we feel the situation is improving, we are willing to further reduce the visibility. As long as forces are deployed, they need some special powers. Without them, the Army cannot operate,” said Antony as he revealed his stance.
Earlier at the seminar, he said one of the major challenges in countering terror was that on one hand the security forces had to preserve the territorial integrity and give a sense of security to the people. On the other hand, they also run the risk of being dubbed as authoritarian and repressive in the process.
“Through repeated terror attacks, the terrorists want the security forces to make mistakes that can be projected as a violation of human rights. Case of human rights violation by security forces have been rare,” he said.
The Defence Minister went on to praise the efforts of the Army in Operation Sadbhavana in Jammu & Kashmir where it has involved the local population in promoting their craft and educating children. 

Why Pakistan may be more willing to help US target Taliban than it appears

A briefing on what the US wants from Pakistan – and why Pakistan might be more willing than it publicly indicates to help the US tackle the Afghan Taliban hiding in Pakistan.
By Carol Huang Staff Writer / December 18, 2009
Islamabad, Pakistan

Pakistan may be more willing to help the United States tackle the Afghan Taliban hiding in its country than it conveys in public – though at a much slower timetable than the United States wants, some Pakistani security analysts say.

A parade of senior US officials has called on Islamabad this month to stress President Barack Obama’s message: that Pakistan must move quickly against the militant groups to complement America’s troop surge in Afghanistan. This week alone saw visits from regional commander Gen. David Petraeus and top military official Adm. Mike Mullen.

Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders have rebuffed their request, according to media reports, insisting that the Army is tied down hunting its own militant group, the Pakistani Taliban. The government, meanwhile, is embroiled in a serious political crisis – 250 senior officials, including Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, are facing revived corruption trials, political pressure to resign, and a ban on foreign travel issued Friday by an anticorruption agency.

But Pakistan’s military leaders may confront the Afghan Taliban eventually, not only to ease US pressure but also to reestablish the writ of government.

“There is a mismatch between the Pakistani priorities and what the US would like it to do, but I don’t think in the long run there’s any contradiction. It’s only a question of timing,” says Rifaat Hussain, a security analyst at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad. “Inevitably, Pakistan will have to deal with these elements.”

Here’s a briefing on what the US wants from Pakistan, and how Pakistan might be wiling or able to help.
What does the US want from Pakistan?

The US wants Pakistan to move against two Afghan insurgent groups that use Pakistan as a haven to plot attacks against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

First, it is pressing Pakistan to launch an offensive against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan, one of seven tribal areas loosely controlled by the government.

Second, it wants to expand drone attacks from the tribal areas into Pakistan proper, specifically to Balochistan Province, where it says the Quetta Shura, Afghan Taliban’s central leadership led by Mullah Omar, is hiding.

The US believes Pakistan is sheltering these Taliban as a strategic asset in case the US withdraws from Afghanistan in defeat and these groups reassert themselves next door.
What is Pakistan willing or able to do?

Military analysts often stress how much Pakistan is doing already. The Army is overstretched patrolling the eastern border against archrival India and battling the Pakistani Taliban in the west, they say, and cannot open another front.

Since October, some 30,000 troops have cleared the Pakistani Taliban’s stronghold of South Waziristan and are now chasing the many militants who fled to nearby tribal areas – an effort that could take several months.

• Haqqani network

But after that, some analysts say the Army may turn its attention to the Haqqani network, moving carefully to avoid provoking the tribes in North Waziristan.
The alternative – to wait around for the US to leave Afghanistan and let the Afghan Taliban take over and remain a controllable asset – is “a little naive,” says Imtiaz Gul, head of the Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad. He, Mr. Hussain, and other analysts believe the Army is not betting on that scenario.

“There’s no way around” acting against these factions, Mr. Gul continues. “It’s because of these groups there’s so much pressure on Pakistan.”

Pak to probe gurudwara land grab by army
Sumon K Chakrabarti
WAKING UP: It is still not clear whether Pakistan will punish the guilty anytime soon.

New Delhi: The CNN-IBN expose of Pakistan army grabbing land from gurudwaras rocked Indian Parliament on Friday.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded that India intervene if the Pakistan government fails to take action in the case.

New Delhi will now raise the issue through diplomatic channels with Islamabad.

CNN-IBN had on Thursday exposed how the Pakistan Evacuee Trust Property Board has sold around 150 acres of land in Lahore belonging to the historic Gurudwara Deh near the posh locality of Defence Colony in Lahore

"I share his concern and the concern of this House. I will certainly take it up with the concerned authorities in Pakistan," Foreign Minister SM Krishna replied in Rajya Sabha on Friday after BJP MP SS Ahluwalia raised the issue.

The issue was raised in Parliament by the BJP MP citing CNN-IBN's report and he asked the government to immediately intervene.

"Yesterday (Thursday) CNN-IBN showed the story and the documents," Ahluwalia said in Rajya Sabha.

"When they (Pakistan government) are snatching our property, when they are snatching our religious places, what type of rights are they giving?" asked Ahluwalia.

The Pakistani Minority Affairs Ministry has ordered a probe into how the land was sold in clear violation of the country's own regulations of not putting up for sale the property of any religious place inside the country.

A Pakistani court in Lahore on Thursday directed authorities to respond by December 21 to a petition against the sale of land attached to Sikh shrines.

But it is still not clear whether Pakistan will punish the guilty anytime soon.

Possibly, Islamabad is still waiting for New Delhi to intervene directly. But the message is clear that sanctity of religious land needs to be maintained on either sides of the divide.

CONSCRIPTION, the Republic, and America’s Future
Posted on December 18, 2009 by indythinker
The "American people have only one part to play in the Nation's wars-that of spectator." Adrian Lewis is a professor of history at the University of Kansas.

Though I don't concur with all the views of this Army Combat Studies Institute article, for example despite the fact that the Pentagon lowered fiscal year quotas for military recruitment in order to able to say they have made or surpassed Army enlistments in the first time since the end of the Bush administration,

I still do believe the Army does have enough recruits to avoid asking Secretary of Defense Gates, the Congress, or President Obama to implement the draft. That is at least until the end of the Obama administration shortly after 2011.

I've also posted a counter-argument from an active duty Army officer's perspective. However, I believe that there does need to be a serious debate over conscription in our nation given the reasons expressed by Dr. Lewis. That said, this debate pro, con, and otherwise must not be the exclusive realm of those in the Armed Forces, because it is not those on active duty who decide when and where America goes to war, their job is to implement civilian government controlled authority and orders.

This is a must read, because it is no longer politicians (from the left or right) advocating the draft, but thinkers within the Pentagon and our Armed Forces now teaching young officers that conscription is not longer a political debate but a necessity if we agree with that premise or not.

All comments should be addressed to Dr. Adrian Lewis and/or the Army Combat Studies Institute that published the article, unless a reader is specifically responding to something I said.

Due to the complexity of the issue, and the length of Dr. Lewis' research this will be a TWO PART posting.


 THE U.S. ARMY AND MARINE CORPS are too small to do all that we ask and require of them, and the American people live comfortably with a lie. The lie is that the U.S. armed forces have sufficient men and women to do their job, that morale is high, and burdens and pains are negligible. But the American people are absent from the battlefields, and Soldiers and Marines are angry. They are angry that they have had to serve extended tours in Iraq, that stop-loss policies have prevented some of them from pursuing their dreams, that there were too few of them to correctly implement coun¬terinsurgency doctrine, that their families have had to sacrifice much because of their repeated deployments, and that-while many of them have served two or more tours in Iraq or Afghanistan-many Americans of the same age have contributed nothing to the war effort.

       This is because of one fact: American political leaders made an expedient decision to place the entire burden of the War on Terrorism on a small, professional force. This breeds anger, pain, and contempt. However, these are all out of sight and therefore out of mind. The distance between the American people and their armed forces has grown considerably since the Vietnam War, facili¬tating the comfortable fa├žade that the American people have only one part to play in the Nation's wars-that of spectator. The American people must acknowledge the need to reinstitute conscription.

       Some argue that this is not possible, primarily because the United States is no longer a cohesive, unified nation, and because Americans are too culturally damaged, too focused on consumption. According to this school of thought, consumer culture has produced selfish people incapable of sacrificing for the greater good.

       Others argue that conscription is not possible because political and military leaders fear the public might restrict their freedom of action. They also fear the people's will is as weak as it was when it failed the military in Vietnam.

       Consider the words of Andrew Bacevich in his recent book, The Limits of Power: "As for the hope that reinstituting conscription might reenergize poli¬tics, it's akin to the notion that putting Christ back in Christmas will reawaken American spirituality. A pleasant enough fantasy, it overlooks the forces that transformed a religious holiday into an orgy of consumption in the first place." (Andrew Bacevich, The Limits of Power (New York: Henry Holt, 2008), 173.)

       The U.S. Army and Marine Corps are both overcommitted, stretched beyond their capacity to succeed in their missions. Constant deployments are wearing out Soldiers, Marines, and their families physically, psychologically, and emotionally.

       The United States lacks the strategic reserve to respond immediately to serious threats. As a matter of national security, the country needs to significantly expand the size of the Army and Marine Corps. The only way to do this in the current political, social, and economic environment is to reinstitute the draft.

       While there is ample evidence to support Bacev¬ich's conclusion, we must not lose sight of one fact: the American people have not yet been asked to serve. There has been no national debate on the subject. Political leaders have lacked the courage to initiate one, and military leaders are too uncertain of the American people and too comfortable with professional forces to challenge the status quo.

       In the years after the Vietnam War, the armed forces became a "military cluster" (representing 0.5 percent of U.S. households), a professional group with its own unique system and set of values, ethics, and beliefs. They have fought the wars of the United States from 1973 to the present. The end of the draft in 1973 effectively removed the American people from the fighting; be sure, they wanted to be removed. The Vietnam War left an anti-military atmosphere in the country, and it was not until the Reagan administration that this atmosphere started to change. However, the Reagan administration made no effort to put the people back into the equa¬tion for war. The removal of the people from the Nation's wars continues to have significant ramifica¬tions, the unacknowledged net effect of which has been disastrous for the military and national security.

       After the horrendous 9/11 attacks on the United States, the Bush administration declared a "War on Terrorism;" promulgated a new, aggressive strategic doctrine of "preemptive war" (really preventive war); and committed the Nation to war in Afghani¬stan and Iraq. It also deployed U.S. forces in other parts of the world such as the Horn of Africa and the Philippines. The Bush administration relied on forces already in existence to fight this extended war. It did not mobilize the American people for "a long, difficult struggle," though it persisted in a propaganda campaign of demagoguery through fear by naming it such. With its Manichean, black-and-white world view and bellicose rhetoric, it effectively alienated allies and told them they were not needed.

       Thus, almost the entire burden of the so-called War on Terrorism fell on the regular, professional Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force and the National Guard and Reserves. The burden rested on less than 1 percent of 300 million Americans. Moreover, with the American people removed from the equation, it was easier to go to war. There was no fear of an antiwar movement such as that expe¬rienced by the Johnson and Nixon administrations.

       The Bush wars are not national efforts in a way that would rouse the ire of large numbers of people. In fact, it is wrong to say, "The United States is at war." It is more accurate to say that the military of the United States is at war and the American people are either spectators or disinterested bystanders. They have no duties, no responsibilities, and no commitments. Indeed, after declaring war, the Bush administration instituted tax cuts and told the American people to go shopping. Bush never asked the American people to make even small sacrifices, nor did he appeal to their better nature. He appealed to greed and self-interest. This was not the tradi¬tional American response to a war, and this was not the traditional role of American presidents in war.
Why Conscription?

The strategic reserve of the United States now consists primarily of air and naval powers.

procon_150      Conscription is necessary at this time because we have too few Soldiers and Marines doing too much. However, this is only a partial explanation. The threats facing the United States are real, substantial, and growing. Part of the reason for these threats is ineptitude in managing foreign affairs and military policies. The presence of American forces in various parts of the world in the past 60 years has created stability and prosperity, making it possible for people to grow their economies without fear of invasion from their neighbors. From Korea to Europe, U.S. forces have maintained the status quo. The unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces by the Rumsfeld Pentagon, while necessary to meet the growing demands for U.S. forces in the Middle East, created new oppor¬tunities for aggression. The strategic reserve of the United States now consists primarily of air and naval powers. United States ground forces cannot adequately respond to new or old threats.

       U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine required four to five hundred thousand Soldiers in a country the size and population of Iraq, yet the United States was incapable of deploying and sustaining two hundred thousand troops. The stability achieved in recent years in Iraq is fragile, and the country will likely require the presence of substantial American forces for many years to come.

       The Taliban and Al-Qaeda are recovering in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and NATO allies have failed to provide the forces or leadership necessary to prevent this resurgence.

       The stability of the government of North Korea is uncertain. A change in leadership seems to be in progress. This always creates uncertainty in oligarchies, because they lack the institutional and constitutional systems for an orderly transition of leadership; and war sometimes appears to be a viable option for consolidating political power. Yet, the United States has withdrawn most of the 2d Infantry Division from South Korea.

       Not satisfied with the status quo, Russia invaded Georgia. Russia has also worked to destabilize the government in the Ukraine and has challenged the American deployment of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Its naval forces are reemerging as a significant force. Yet the United States has withdrawn the bulk of two corps from Europe, and the U.S. Navy has committed consider¬able resources to the Persian Gulf region.
The United States is still responsible for the secu¬rity of Taiwan. The People's Republic of China is rapidly expanding its navy, particularly its fleet of quiet diesel submarines, and has improved its ability to destroy communication satellites. It is modern¬izing its ground forces as well. Yet the United States retains no significant strategic reserve committed to conventional war.

       Iran is rapidly developing nuclear and missile technologies and, by some estimates, it may pos¬sess the wherewithal to produce nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking Europe in roughly two to five years.

       The rapprochement between Russia and China aligns two of the most powerful nations on Earth, both of which are allies of Iran and have no affinity for the United States.

       Pakistan, a state that possesses nuclear weapons, is going through a period of instability. Its new government lacks significant public support and is under pressure from the army. The disintegration of Pakistan's government would directly influence the decisions of the government of India, which is also a nuclear power. India, too, is experiencing instability and terrorist attacks.

       American influence in Europe has declined. The European Union is poorly armed and frequently seems more willing to deal with Russia than the United States. This is understandable, given its dependence on Russian oil and gas and the dismis¬sive, go-it-alone attitude of the Bush administra¬tion. The U.S. cannot count on Western Europe to provide a strategic reserve of armed forces.

General George W. Casey, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, discussed the current imbalance of U.S. forces:

      While we remain a resilient and commit¬ted professional force, our Army is out of balance for several reasons. The current demand for our forces exceeds the sustain¬able supply. We are consumed with meeting the demands of the current fight and are unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as necessary for other potential contingencies. Our Reserve Components are performing an operational role for which they were neither originally designed nor resourced. Current operational requirements for forces and limited periods between deployments neces¬sitate a focus on counterinsurgency to the detriment of preparedness for the full range of military missions. Soldiers, families, and equipment are stretched and stressed by the demands of lengthy and repeated deploy¬ments with insufficient recovery time.... Army support systems including health care, education, and family support systems that were designed for the pre-9/11 era are strain¬ing under the pressure from six years at war. Overall, our readiness is being consumed as fast as we can build it.

       No terrorist organization, undeveloped country, or failed state possesses the wherewithal to do more than minor damage to the United States. However, China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, India, and Paki¬stan can alter the strategic, international situation dramatically. The mere presence of trained, ready, well-equipped U.S. forces creates stability, deters aggression, and is evidence of America's commit¬ment to peace. The absence of American forces is an invitation to aggression. The United States needs to maintain a significant strategic reserve of ground forces ready to deploy and conduct conventional operations and maintain a significant presence in ground forces in various regions to prevent war.

       The Bush administration overcommitted U.S. forces and created vulnerabilities. It squandered numerous opportunities to diminish threats and secure real allies. The Obama administration inher¬ited this situation. It needs to restore balance, and the only way to do this without sacrificing our gains in Iraq and Afghanistan is to significantly increase the size of American ground forces.

       We are not in a new environment. We have been here before. The United States has a long history of conscription. Conscription has been the nation's response to labor-intensive wars since the Civil War. In 2006, I wrote: Many Americans believe it is wrong for the small "military cluster" to bear the full burden of war while the rest of America does nothing. Hence, there have been calls for the reinstatement of the draft. As the demand for U.S. forces around the world increases, which seems very likely after the [Obama SURGE of 2009], the arguments and demands for reinstating the draft will also increase. At the end of 2005, the Army and Marine Corps were overcommitted, trying to do more than was reasonably possible with current troop levels.3

       Obviously, I was wrong, at least, in part. The demands for U.S. forces in various parts of the world have increased. However, there has been no sustained call from any segment of American society to reinstitute the draft. The reason for this is because Americans are once again disgusted with war. Most Americans believe the war in Iraq is unnecessary, poorly planned, and poorly executed. Americans are also too enamored with high-priced, sophisticated weapons systems, which substantiate the lie that additional people are not needed for war fighting.

       In 1961, on the eve of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army had 858,622 Soldiers organized into 14 active duty divisions, roughly half its size ten years earlier. In 1968, the year of the Tet Offensive, the U.S. Army numbered 1,570,343 Soldiers organized into 19 active duty divisions.

[The U.S. Army Center of Military History provided the figures on Army manpower strength and numbers of divisions].

       In 1973, conscription ended. Many lessons have arisen from the failure of the United States to achieve its political objective of a free South Vietnam; however, one of those lessons should not be that the citizen-Soldier Army failed. Tactically and operationally, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps were not defeated in Vietnam.

       On the eve of the first Persian Gulf War, the George H.W. Bush administration was in the process of drawing down American forces. The Cold War had ended and the American people were about to receive a "peace dividend," primarily at the expense of the Army. Demobilization stopped temporarily to fight a conventional war in Iraq. After the war, demobilization continued, and the Army went from a force of almost 800,000 Soldiers to less than 500,000 and from 16 divisions to 10.

       When George W. Bush came into office, the U.S. Army still numbered less than 500,000 men and women, organized into 10 divisions, but in 2001, under the heading "transformation," the new Bush administration started developing plans to further cut the Army by more than two divisions. The terrorist attack on 9/11 put a halt to these plans, and the administration instead geared up for war in Afghanistan.

Throughout the 20th century, the U.S. Army was repeatedly under strength and ill prepared for the wars it fought,

and conscription became necessary. In each case, the citizen-Soldier Army rose to meet the requirements of war, and was successful in it.
Adrian Lewis is a professor of history at the University of Kansas.

Antony asks Army top brass to ensure non-violation of human rights at any level
The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today asked the top brass of the Armed Forces to ensure that there is no violation of human rights at any level. Delivering the key note address at a seminar on ‘Internal Security: Duties and Obligations in upholding human rights’, Shri Antony said, though cases of human rights violations by security forces have been rare, even a single instance of human rights violation is totally unacceptable.
While conceding the need for Armed Forces Special Powers Act for effective action by the Armed Forces, Shri Antony however, asked them to ensure that the special provisions of AFSPA are not put to any misuse. He said he would not hesitate in taking stern action against the guilty in case of any misuse. “We must adopt the policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ in letter and spirit towards any instance of Human Rights Violations”, he said.
Following is the text of the address:-
            The theme for today’s Seminar covers a wide gamut of issues – ranging from human rights, armed forces and civil society to internal security.   The subject is a matter of concern for all of us in view of the increasing role the Forces are required to play in the current situation.  The issue of human rights is no doubt a sensitive one, deserving our undivided and careful attention at all times. 
The complex interplay of liberalised economy and globalised citizens, coupled with the conventional and non-conventional threat perceptions have altered the security dimensions the world over like never before.   In such a scenario, internal security acquires top priority.  The challenges to our internal security are manifold, cutting across the socio-economic spectrum of our civil society – terrorism, cyber crimes, drug-trafficking, money laundering and arms proliferation, to name a few.
 Terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and North East and Left-wing extremism in some pockets require continuous diversion of time, energy and resources.  The situation is further complicated due to external support extended to perpetrators of terrorism.   India has been the worst victims of terrorism.  The international community has of late, woken up to the need for global unity in the fight against terror.
The peculiar challenges to our internal security have to be understood in the backdrop of our democratic polity.  A democracy is the best possible guardian and respecter of human rights, with its emphasis on the rule of law, liberty and equality.   In fact, human rights are the lifeblood of a democracy.    Terrorists have no regard for human life, or rights and often attack the very basis of a democratic set-up, but they underestimate, or overlook the resilience of a democratic country like ours.
One of the major challenges in countering terror is that security forces, on the one hand, have to preserve the territorial integrity, sovereignty of the nation and give a sense of security to the people.  On the other hand, in the process of combating terrorism, they also run the risk of being dubbed as authoritarian and repressive.   Through repeated terror attacks, the terrorists want the security forces to make mistakes which can be projected as a violation of human rights.  Though cases of human rights violation by security forces have been rare, even a single instance of human rights violation is totally unacceptable.  The top brass of our Armed Forces must ensure that there is no violation of human rights at any level. Our Government is fully committed to uphold human rights at all times.
We have always laid special emphasis on political and developmental models.  Initiatives like Operation Sadbhavna have been widely welcomed by the local people.   Respecting human rights is then, not simply a moral and a legal necessity, but also a crucial strategic imperative.
India has been one of the original votaries of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.  We are also a signatory to the six core human rights covenants and remain fully committed to the rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration.  This demonstrates our avowed commitment to uphold human rights.
The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy of Indian Constitution together provide the framework for every basic human right for our people.  The three arms of the Government – the executive, the legislature and judiciary must protect its citizens and provide a stable order and ensure freedom for individuals.
Our Armed Forces personnel are made aware of the respect for human rights and laws at every stage of their military training.  This awareness must be translated into action on the ground.  Our Armed Forces must consciously follow the twin ethics of ‘minimum use of force’ and ‘good faith’ during operations against an ‘invisible and ruthless’ enemy.  Though the constraints of the security forces are understandable, the security forces too must bear in mind that the process of ‘winning the hearts and minds’ of people is never an easy one. 
The Indian Army had established a Human Rights Cell in March 1993 at Army Headquarters, much before the National Human Rights Commission was established.  Similar cells have also been established at the Command and Corps level in counter-insurgency areas.  These cells act as nodal agencies for receiving complaints from various groups or individuals, investigating the veracity of each complaint and taking corrective action where required.   The track record of our Forces in upholding human rights ought to have been much better than it is.
The Indian judiciary has also been assertive on the issue of human rights.  It is well known, justice delayed is justice denied.  As the Supreme Court of India rightly recognised, “the lack of hope for justice provides breeding grounds for terrorism”.  In India, human rights activists, bar associations, individual lawyers and media have long played a crucial role in challenging human rights violations taking place in the name of security.  This is another added merit that displays the inherent vibrancy of Indian democracy.
The track record of the Indian Army in J&K and the Northeast, where it has been deployed as an aid to the State’s apparatus for internal security tasks, has been guided also by the “Dos and Don’ts”, it has drawn up for itself and which have been endorsed by the Supreme Court.  The Armed Forces Special Powers Acts empower the Forces to act in such difficult situations.  However, there is also a robust mechanism in place for course correction.   Thus, while admitting the need for Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the onus lies squarely on our Armed Forces to ensure that these special provisions are not put to any misuse.  I wish to emphasise here that we will not hesitate in taking stern action against the guilty, in case of any misuse.   We must adopt the policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ in letter and spirit, towards any instance of human rights violation.  I am sure that our Armed Forces will never let us down on this count.
The ideology of human rights advocates human dignity and recognition that every human being is born equal, entitled to basic rights of a human being.  This has been institutionalised in our system.  Despite various pressures and dilemmas, our commitment to respect and uphold human rights has been truly exemplary.
I am confident that when you deliberate on all these and other related issues, you will also come up with visionary, yet implementable recommendations for the Government’s consideration.


WASHINGTON — Although insurgents have hacked into live video feeds from Predator drones, there is no evidence they were able to jam the electronic signals or take control of the vehicles, a senior defense official said Thursday. Fighters have used off-the-shelf programs such as SkyGrabber — available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet — to watch drone video feeds, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Pakistan’s army dismissed U.S. pressure to open a front against Afghan militants operating on its territory, saying Thursday it was stretched to the limit in a bloody war against its own Taliban. Army spokesman Brig. Syed Azmat Ali said the army — which still deploys most of its troops along the eastern border facing India — had to go "step by step” in the northwestern tribal regions, which have never been under government control.

MIR ALI, Pakistan — Two U.S. missile strikes pummeled targets inside the main sanctuary used by al-Qaida and the Taliban along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, killing 17 people Thursday, local intelligence officials said.

SAN’A, Yemen — Yemeni security forces struck suspected al-Qaida hide-outs and training sites Thursday, and officials said at least 34 militants were killed. Witnesses, however, put the number killed at more than 60 in the heaviest strike and said the dead were mostly civilians, including women and children. They denied the target was an al-Qaida stronghold, and one provincial official said 10 militant suspects died.

BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded Thursday night outside a restaurant in central Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 16 as diners were out enjoying the start to their weekend, police and hospital officials said. The attack happened just days after three car bombs were detonated across the Tigris River, outside the Green Zone, and a week after suicide bombers killed 127 and wounded more than 500 in Baghdad.


India, A Rogue State: No Neighbour is Safe

Sajjad Shaukat

16th December is the day of tragic memory when Pakistan was dismembered, a wedge was driven between two brothers as part of Indian intrigue which still continues. At present, New Delhi has been supporting separatism in Balochistan, Sindh, and insurgency in the Frontier Province in order to further weaken the federation of Pakistan. Here I would not spare the Pakistani leadership to have provided the Indian wolves an opportunity on the plate.

India has a long-gone history of many centuries, based upon religious prejudice against the Muslims. In this respect, Indian intelligence agency, RAW which was founded in 1968, has assumed a significant status as invisible actor in formulation of India’s domestic, regional and global policies, particularly directed Pakistan.

Hindus give credit to Indira Gandhi who in the late 1970s gave RAW a new role to suit her Indira Doctrine specifically asking it to undertake covert operations in neighboring countries, especially Pakistan which comprises majority of Muslims. RAW was given a green signal to mobilise all its resources by exploiting political turmoil in East Pakistan in 1971 which this agency had created through its agents who provided Bengalis with arms and ammunition for conducting guerrilla acts against the Pakistani defence forces.

As regards the separation of East Pakistan, Indian RAW had unleashed a well-organized plan of psychological warfare, creation of polarisation among the armed forces, propaganda by false allegations against West Pakistan, creation of differences between the political parties and religious sects of East and West Pakistan, control of media, manipulating linguistic, political and econmic disputes in order to keep maligned the Bengalis against Islamabad.

There is no doubt that one can note political, economic and social disparities almost in every Third World country. India itself contians these disparities on larger scale. In seven states of India, separatist movements are at work. But New Delhi which has not recognized the existence of Pakistan since partition, left no stone unturned in planting and exploiting differences between the people of East and West Pakistan.

RAW has a long history of sinister activities in the East Pakistan, backing secular areas of Hindu minority who had played an important role in motivating Bengali Muslims against West Pakistan. RAW’s well-paid agents had activated themselves in East Pakistan in the 1960’s so as to dismember Pakistan. For this aim, it took the responsibility of funding Mujib-ur-Rehmans’ general elections in 1970 and the members of the Awami Party. It colluded with the pro-Indian persons and had paid full attention in training and arming the Mukti Bahnis. RAW, playing with the bloodshed of the Muslims, succeded in initiating a civil war in East Pakistan. Meanwhile, India welcomed the refugees from East Pakistan, providing them with every facility to provocate them against West Pakistn.

However, huge quantity of arms started entering East Pakisan along with the guidline of Indian army and RAW. In this connection, Asoka Raina in his book, ‘Inside RAW: The Story of India’s Secret Service’, reveals, “Indian intelligence agencies were involved in erstwhile East Pakistan…its operatives were in touch with Sheikh Mujib as the possible ‘Father’ of a new nation-Bangladesh, who went to Agartala in 1965. The famous Agartala case was unearthed in 1967. In fact, the main purpose of raising RAW in 1968 was to organise covert operations in Bangladesh. Indian army officers and RAW officials used Bengali refugees to set up Mukti Bahini. Using this outfit as a cover, Indian military sneaked deep into East Pakistan. The story of Mukti Bahini and RAW’s role in its creation and training is now well-known.”

Asoka further explained, “Indian sources including journalists have put on record how much RAW had established the network of a separatist movement through ‘cells’ within East Pakistan and military training camps in Indian territory adjoining East Pakistan…carring out acts of sabotage against communication lines so that Indian forces simply marched in at the ‘right’ time. RAW agents provided valuable information as well as acting as an advance guard for conducting unconventional guerrilla acts against the Pakistani defence forces.”

Nevertheless, India had played a key role in the debacle of Dhaka, which culminated in dismemberment of Pakistan. Even at present, Indian RAW which has been implementing Indian hidden agenda against other countries such as China, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan in order to maintain Indian dominace in the region has made Pakistanan-a special target to disintegrate or weaken it.

India has established more than 200 foreign offices and training camps in Afghanistan where RAW’s intelligence officials with the help of Khad are doing their utmost to destabilise Pakistan by sending weapons to the separatist elements in Balochistan and the insurgents of FATA regions. Very young boys including Afghans, training recruits are mostly from Central Asia, bordering Afghanistan. Thus more than 20,000 ideologically motivated terrorists are regularly being infiltrated into troubled spots of Pakistan. They join the Taliban militants to fight against Pakistan’s security forces. These miscreants also conducted a number of suicide attacks and bomb blasts in Pakistan, killing a number of innocent people and personnel of the security forces. In Kurram Agency, RAW’s Afghan agents have also been actively involved in the sectarian conflict. However, their aim is also to create unrest in our country.

It is mentionable that Pakistan’s prime minister, interior minister and foreign minister have repeatedly stated that they have concrete evidence of Indian involvement in the terrorist activities in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s army spokesman, Maj-Gen. Athar Abbas disclosed in wake of the military operation in South Waziristan that huge cache of arms and ammunition of the Indian origin, entering our country from Afghanistan was captured.

A few days ago, two containers loaded with Indian-made weapons were caught in Balochistan after entering into Chaman, bordering Afghanistan.

In this regard, in its editorial on December 7, 2008, The New York Times wrote, “India’s growing investment and intelligence network in Afghanistan is also feeding Islamabad’s insecurity and sense of encirclement”. On September 20, 2009, NATO commander, Gen. McChrystal admitted: “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan including significant development efforts…is likely to exacerbate regional tensions.”

Nonetheless, after the separation of East Pakistan, India is fully backing the Baloh separatists who have been waging a low-level insurgency by destroying gas-pipelines and eliminating Pakistani citizens from other parts of the country including targeted-killings. RAW’s agents are regularly helping them in conducting the subversive acts. Notably, On July 23, 2008, in an interview with the BBC, Brahmdagh Bugti, while replying to a question regarding the acquisition of arms, remarked that they “have the right to accept aid from India.”

In the recent past, by assassinating the Baloch nationalist leaders, Indian elements wanted to fulfill a number of clandestine aims. In Balochistan, people, openly, began to blame Pakistan’s intelligence agencies for the abduction and killing of these leaders. This is what the external plotters intended to achieve. Another aim was to gain the sympathies of general masses for Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) which has been fighting for secession of the province with the logistic support of RAW. One of the major purposes of this agency was not only to create a rift between the center and Balochistan, but also to give a greater impetus to the people of the province so as to intensify their separatist activities through acts of sabotage against the federation and Punjabis.

Besides, another CIA and Indian-supported separatist group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) is also working against the cordial relationship of Pakistan with China and Iran.

It is pertinent to note that Balochistan is replete with mineral resources. Its ideal geo-strategic location with Gwadar Deep Seaport alone could prove to be Pakistan’s key junction, linking the rest of the world with Central Asia.

However, besides separation of East Pakistan and perennial wave of suicide attacks in other regions, the largest province of Balochistan has become center of Indian intrigue. To avoid further disintegration, our politicians, armed forces and the general masses need a strong sense of unity in thwarting RAW’s sinister designs against the federation of Pakistan.

Now if you look at the Indian atrocities, no neighbour is safe from her. Even Bangladesh that she carved out of Pakistan is a victim of her aggression. Sri Lanka suffered for 28long years, Nepal paid through her nose; Maldives and Bhuttan etc, are too scared o talk.

Sajjad Shaukat is a regular writer for Opinion Maker, he writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

India likely to supply 50 phased out Ajeya T-72 tanks to Nepal

BY : myrepublica

India, which has decided to resume military aid to Nepal, is likely to supply 50 phased-out tanks at discounted rates.India´s The Telegraph newspaper reported the deal, quoting an unnamed senior Defense Ministry official in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The report said Nepal has specifically asked whether it can acquire 50 tanks from the Indian Army at discounted rates. These are Ajeya T-72 tanks that are being replaced with the Bhishma T-90 in the armored regiments.
Besides the tanks, officer cadets from Nepal will get more seats in the Indian Military Academy and the recruitment of Nepalese Gorkhas in the Indian Army would be increased.The decisions followed talks, Nepal’s visiting army chief, General Chhatraman Singh Gurung, held with Indian security officials in the Indian capital.
On recruitment of more Nepali nationals to the Indian Army, the southern neighbor has proposed to raise an additional battalion that will increase the recruitment from Nepal from the current level of about 1,600 soldiers a year.There are seven Gorkha Rifles regiments in the Indian Army, each with five or six battalions of about 900 soldiers. Gorkhas from Nepal and India are recruited not only in these battalions but also in other regiments such as the special forces (parachute battalions), the newspaper said.
Nepal Army has also enquired whether India can raise the supply of military hardware to the level prevalent nine years back. In 2005, India scaled down its military aid, following the February 1 coup by the then king Gyanendra. But the actual reduction in military assistance had begun in 2001, with the Maoist insurgency intensifying in Nepal.
General Gurung, an alumnus of the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehra Dun who attended the passing-out parade of officer cadets on Saturday, also held talks with the Indian Army’s director-general of military training. He said it was his wish to set up an institution like the IMA in Nepal.
At the academy, Gurung visited the room where he had stayed as a cadet. He also spent time in its archives searching for a photograph of himself with the late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, whom he described as his hero.
Gurung was honored with the rank of General in the Indian Army by the President on Monday. He is slated to meet the external affairs minister, the foreign secretary and national security adviser on Wednesday.Gurung’s visit comes close on the heels of an India-Nepal defence cooperation committee meeting in Kathmandu last week.
The Indian Army, the paper said, looks at the demand of the Maoists for “integration” of their PLA troops in the Nepal Army ranks — under the country’s peace accord — with “suspicion”.The delegations of the two armies have exchanged notes on security, with the Nepalese team of the view that the Maoists can present a military challenge yet again.

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