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Friday, 1 January 2010

From Today's Papers - 01 Jan 10

Bid to target Wagah flag-hoisting: Pak
Lahore, December 31
A Taliban plot to target the flag-hoisting ceremony at the Wagah land border with India was foiled with the arrest of 10 persons, including a top militant commander, Pakistani security agencies claimed today.

Khalilullah, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan commander of southern Punjab province, and a 17-year-old would-be suicide bomber were captured at Manawan in Lahore over a week ago by the Pakistan intelligence agencies.
Acting on information provided by them, security officials subsequently arrested eight more persons. Some explosives and documents were also seized from their possession.
Officials said the arrested men disclosed during interrogation that they intended to target the flag-hoisting ceremony at the Wagah land border with India, where a large number of people usually gather everyday to witness the event.
Khalilullah, described as a close aide of slain Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, was wanted by the USA, officials said.
Lahore police chief Pervez Rathore said Khalilullah and his team were involved in almost all recent terror attacks across Punjab. He allegedly masterminded the December 7 suicide attack on Moon Market here that killed over 60 persons. “He is also on the US list of most-wanted terrorists and carried a head money of millions of dollars,” Rathore said.
Khalilullah told investigators that he had a team of “600 suicide bombers” in Swat. — PTI

Pak criticises Indian Army's new military doctrine
Press Trust of India, Thursday December 31, 2009, Islamabad

Pakistan on Thursday said Indian Army's new military doctorine including scenarios such as a two-front simultaneous war with both China and Pakistan "betray a hostile intent" and a "jingoistic mindset".

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said in a statement that the Indian Army's new military doctrine "betray a hostile intent as well as a hegemonic and jingoistic mindset which is quite out of step with the realities of our time". Pakistan is prepared to defend itself in the face of all contingencies, Basit said.

"No one should ever underestimate our capability and determination to foil any nefarious designs against the security of Pakistan," he said.

Indian Army officials have said that the doctrine, which is reviewed every five years at the Army's Shimla-based Training Command, will now include scenarios such as a two- front simultaneous war with both China and Pakistan.

Basit called on the world community to take "due notice of such statements".

He added: "Pakistan remains mindful of the threats posed to its security as well as the importance of promoting peace in South Asia."

The spokesman also told a weekly news briefing at the Foreign Office that Pakistan's desire for peace should not be mistaken for weakness.

Basit said the ball is in India's court for ensuring progress in resolving outstanding issues. Pakistan is not sparing efforts to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to book, he added.

The resolution of the Kashmir issue in line with UN resolutions will usher in peace in the region and help improve relations between India and Pakistan, he said.

The meeting between the premiers of the two countries in Sharm el-Sheikh reflected good progress but India did not take the peace process forward, he contended.

Replying to a question on India's alleged involvement in fomenting unrest in Balochistan and Waziristan, Basit said Pakistan will present evidence in the regard at the
appropriate forum and at the appropriate time.

Responding to another query about Indian interference in Pakistan through Afghanistan, he said Islamabad had raised its concerns several times with Kabul and countries that are part of the coalition forces in Afghanistan.

India has already dismissed Pakistan's claims that it is behind the unrest in Balochistan and the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

New Delhi, December 31
Coming up with a novel idea of using the experience of former Army men, the Home Ministry has allowed recruitment of retired jawans into paramilitary forces on a contract basis. With growing security needs, there had been questions as to why former Army or Navy men who retire in the late 30s were not being used productively.

Home Minister P Chidambaram today announced that a scheme has been formulated to re-employ ex-servicemen on a contractual basis in the categories of constables and sub-inspectors.
These retired jawans will now be re-employed in the BSF, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB). The CISF that guards the airports and vital industrial installations, including private companies like Infosys, is in a major expansion mode. The SSB guards the India-Nepal border and it needs more men to protect the porous border. Already the CRPF have been permitted to re-employ ex-servicemen.

Shillong, December 31
Air Marshal Kishan Kumar Nohwar today took over as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Air Command. Prior to taking over as AOC-in-C, Eastern Air Command, he was the senior Air Staff Officer at training command of IAF in Bangalore and took over from Air Marshal SK Bhan, who retired today.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, the senior officer was inducted in the fighter stream of the IAF on June 24, 1972.
A qualified flying instructor and a fighter combat leader, he has 3,400 hours of flying experience to his credit and has flown MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircraft and commanded a MiG-27 squadron.
A graduate from the Defence Services Staff College Course, Wellington, in June 1987 and the Air War College (USA) in June 1998, he was the Commandant, Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment, Deputy Commandant at the College of Air Warfare and Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Hasimara.
He had held several staff appointments at the Air Headquarters, New Delhi, including that of Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans). He was also the Chief of Staff at IAF's Andaman and Nicobar Command Headquarters and Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Forces Command, both tri-services units. — PTI 

India-Pakistan: military angle
Capital suggestion

Friday, January 01, 2010
Dr Farrukh Saleem

The Himalayan ranges have shaped the culture, politics, religion, mythology, climate and military doctrines of all six countries -- Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan -- that the ranges stretch across. The Great Mountain covers an area of about 650,000 square-kilometres and the width varies from 180 kilometres to 350 kilometres with a total glaciation area of over 33,000 square-kilometres. The Great Mountain Arc, from the Indus River all the way to the Brahmaputra River, encircles five countries -- India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan -- and a landmass of a little more than four million square-kilometres. This landmass has 1.5 billion inhabitants; around 22 per cent of the world population in an area about half the size of the US.

Environmental determinism is the view that Indian and Pakistani military strategists "build up knowledge by encountering the world through their senses, and are unable to transcend their responses to the environment; they are at the mercy of environmental stimuli." The Great Himalayan Arc, the inescapable environmental stimuli in the Indo-Pak region, has been -- and continues to be -- the densest and the most impenetrable natural barrier between the Subcontinent and whatever lies north, east or west of the Arc.

Genghis Khan founded the 'largest contiguous empire in history' but failed to circumvent the Himalayas into India. The Himalayas have always -- and continue to -- shield India from invaders in the north (read: China). To be certain, other than Sino-Indian border skirmishes of 1962 history has never witnessed any major invasion across the Himalayas.

As a consequence, based on environmental determinism, Indian military strategists in the post-Independence period laid out an Order of Battle whereby at least half of all Indian army corps were stationed within a striking distance from the Pakistan-India border. These corps include XV Corps with two infantry divisions in Srinagar, XIV Corps in Leh, XVI Corps with three infantry divisions, an artillery brigade and an armoured brigade in Nagrota, X Corps in Bhatinda, XI Corps in Jalandhar and IX Corps in Yol (then there's II Corps in Ambala).

According to The Geographical Dictionary, "Human activities are governed by the environment, primarily the physical environment." Pakistani military strategists, with little or no threat from the west, also laid out an Order of Battle whereby six of the nine Pakistan army corps -- both holding and strike corps -- were stationed within a striking distance from the Pakistan-India border. These corps include I Corps in Mangla, X Corp with infantry divisions in Murree, Mangla and Jhelum, IV Corps in Lahore, II Corps in Multan, XXX Corps with two infantry divisions in Sialkot and XXXI Corps in Bahawalpur.

India and Pakistan are in a state of active hostility. For FY 2009, India's defence spending, according to Jane's Information Group, will rise by close to 50 per cent to a colossal $32.7 billion. India is planning its biggest-ever arms purchases; $11 billion fighter jets, T-90S tanks, Scorpion submarines, Phalcon airborne warning and control system, multi-barrel rocket-launchers and an aircraft-carrier. At $32.7 billion India's defence spending translates into 2.7 per cent of GDP.

For FY 2009, Pakistan's official defence spending is set at $4.3 billion (some unofficial estimates go as high as $7.8 billion). If Pakistan were to match India's rise we would have to spend more than five per cent of our GDP on defence. For the record, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan spend an overwhelmingly large percentage of their GDP on defence. Iraq, Somalia and Sudan are all -- or have been -- in a state of civil war. For the record, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia used to spend an overwhelmingly large percentage of their GDP on defence. Soviet Union is no more. Czechoslovakia is no more.

The Pakistan army looks at the Indian army and sees its inventory of 6,384 tanks as a threat (none of those Indian tanks can cross the Himalayas into China so Arjun MBTs must all be for Pakistan). The Pakistan army looks at the Indian air force and sees its inventory of 672 combat aircraft as a threat. The Pakistan army looks at the Indian army and finds that 15, 9, 16, 14, 11, 10 and 2 corps are all pointing their guns at Pakistan. The Pakistan army looks at the Indian army and discovers that the 4th Armoured Division, 12th Infantry Division, 340th Mechanised Brigade and 4th Armoured Brigade have been deployed to cut Pakistan into two halves.

Roti or killing machines? As per World Bank data, 74 per cent of Pakistanis earn $2 a day or less and 75 per cent of Indians earn $2 a day or less. Imagine; one out of every two Pakistanis is short on food. One out of every two Pakistanis is food-insecure. One out of every two Pakistanis is managing to subsist on less than 2,350 calories per day. Last year, there were 60 million Pakistanis short on food. That number now stands at 77 million; a 28 per cent increase.

Over the past century, economic development has been all about trans- and cross-border trading. Pakistan has two population centres; central Punjab and Karachi. Central Punjab is a thousand kilometres from the nearest port. Between Karachi and central Punjab is a desert in the east and on the west is an area that does not -- and cannot -- support population concentrations. To develop economically, we must trade. Trade we must. And, the only population concentration to trade with is on our east.

To be certain, time -- and money -- is on India's side. Composite dialogue among civilians means little -- if anything at all. What is needed is a strategic dialogue. How can India be persuaded to pull back its offensive formations? What would Pakistan give in return? Pakistan cannot continue to race a race that it cannot win.
The writer is the executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). Email:

Pak fumes at Indian Army chief's statement
READY TO FIGHT: Kapoor is reported to have said that the Indian Army was ready to battle with both Pak and China.

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday termed as jingoistic a statement by Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor that it was capable of fighting a two-front war with Pakistan and China.

An official spokesman said such statements betrayed a hostile intent as well as a hegemonic and jingoistic mindset that is out of step with the realities of the times, Online news agency reported.

"No one should ever underestimate our capability and determination to foil any nefarious designs against the security of Pakistan," the spokesman added.

Holding that the international community should "take due notice" of such statements, the spokesman said Pakistan remained mindful of the threats posed to its security as well as to the importance of promoting peace in South Asia.

Speaking at a closed-door seminar in New Delhi earlier this week, Kapoor is reported to have said that the Indian Army was ready to battle Pakistan and China at the same time.

Kapoor, the reports said, maintained that the Indian army, navy and the air force were effectively ready to simultaneously face Pakistan and China.

Armed forces modernisation on track: Defence Ministry

Special Correspondent

Expenditure for acquisitions increased in last five years

Major achievements in 2009 included launch of INS Arihant

First Airborne Warning and Control System a ‘force multiplier’ development

NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday emphasised that the process of modernising the armed forces was on track, with the Defence Ministry expecting to spend over Rs.54,824 crore on capital acquisition earmarked in the total budget of Rs.1,41,703 crore for the current financial year.

The Ministry said the expenditure for acquisitions had increased substantially over the last five years and it was expected to cross Rs.1,78,000 crore, compared to Rs.62,672 crore in 1999-2004.

In 2008-09, the Ministry spent Rs.41,000 crore that included Rs.13,424 crore for aircraft and Rs.4,000 crore for naval fleet and Rs.4,400 crore for land and accommodation for married personnel.

Major achievements in the process in 2009 included the launch of the first indigenously developed nuclear powered submarine, INS Arihant, and the commissioning of INS Airavat, the third Landing Ship Tank designed for amphibious operations.

For the Indian Air Force, the induction of first of the three Airborne Warning and Control System was a development described as a force multiplier.

Radar and Aerostat acquisitions came along as did the modern business jets for ferrying VVIPs complete with self-protection suites.

Providing a broad overview of the work of the Ministry, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar said the process included procuring advanced jet trainers and advanced light helicopters for the forces in a year when acquisitions were put on fast track in the wake of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Effect of inflation

Interestingly, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, in its recent report, commented that while comparing data of different years, the rate of inflation should also be taken into account, since defence budget as percentage of the overall government spending and GDP were true indicators of its growth.
‘Constant process’

Mr. Kumar said the accent on modernisation remained a constant process.

While some work was done, some were in progress and some more were yet to be done. At no point could it be said that modernisation had come to a halt.

Acknowledging that no procurement was done for the Army’s demand for a field gun after the 1987 Bofors purchase, Mr. Kumar said the government recently allowed trials of 155 mm towed guns after getting the permission from the Central Vigilance Commission and the Law Ministry since it involved a firm from whom purchases were put on hold.

He mentioned that the trials process itself was both long and important since in the case of field guns, it is held on a particular day to test its efficacy in hot weather and cold weather. “If you miss the day, the trial date goes back.”

As for the requirement of ultra-light howitzers that has been held up after the dealing with Singapore Technologies was put on hold following a CBI inquiry, the Ministry said the option of foreign military sales was being explored.

Goodbye to a wretched year
December 31, 2009 12:02 IST
T V R Shenoy feels the year began with the economy in the doldrums and end as the pillars of the State seem bent on crumbling.

There are as I write still 50 hours to go before the year 2009 draws to a close. Frankly, I can scarcely wait for this wretched twelve months to end. We began the year with an economy in the doldrums, continued with once in 10,000-year rains wreaking havoc across central India, and end as the pillars of the State seem bent on crumbling.

We can survive the gyrations of the stock markets. We can plan against natural disasters. But where are the leaders that can restore their lost sheen to the khadi and the khaki?

Khadi is, of course, a metaphor for the political class, whose uniform it has been since the days of Mahatma Gandhi [ Images ]. Khaki represents the uniformed wing of the Indian State, whether the armed forces or the police.

By now, I think the average educated Indian has ceased to expect anything but the worst of politicians or even of the police. But it was horribly depressing to read of the case against Lieutenant General Avadesh Prakash.

As military secretary, he holds a highly important post. According to the army court of inquiry conducted by Lieutenant General K T Parnaik, the military secretary and two other generals conspired to offer 70 acres of land in Darjeeling to a group of businessmen.

An entity called the Dilip Aggarwal Geetanjali Education Trust reportedly wanted the property to build an affiliate of Ajmer's famous Mayo College.

Since it adjoins a military station the army was required to give an NOC (no-objection certificate). This was given by Lieutenant General P K Rath, then commander of the 33 Corps, allegedly at Lieutenant General Prakash's behest. Apart from these two, the name of Lieutenant General Ramesh Halgali has appeared n the news for all the wrong reasons.

Everything about the deal was fishy. Mayo College has flatly denied reports of an 'affiliate' being established in Darjeeling. A brochure put out by the business group claimed that Lieutenant General Prakash would join its board of directors after he retired. The army apparently refused an NOC, then reversed that decision and gave the green signal. Questions were bound to be asked, and the court of inquiry has unearthed some particularly nasty answers. But nobody can deny that the Indian Army's [ Images ] reputation for probity has taken a hammering.

On a slightly less mournful note, I am happy to note that Defence Minister A K Antony has refused to draw a veil over this unhappy episode. It would have been only too easy to hush up the scandal -- perhaps with a quiet resignation or two -- rather than let military justice run its course. That, I guess, is one of the khadi brigade that Antony represents.

Sadly, let us also admit that the current defence minister and his like are probably a vanishing breed in Indian politics. The Indian public is far more likely to associate politics with the successive chief ministers of Haryana that presided while the Ruchika Girhotra case was mishandled. (Or even with the alleged misdeeds of the former governor of Andhra Pradesh -- a freedom fighter who participated in the Quit India Movement no less!)

The allegations against S P S Rathore, the court's judgment that he was indeed guilty of molesting Ruchika Girhotra, and the laughable penalty he was required to pay are too well known to require repetition. And many will say that nothing better is expected of policemen -- a group reviled almost as much as politicians by educated Indians. But it is important to realise that Rathore had help in evading the consequences of his actions for almost two decades.

Three groups of people both helped Rathore and tormented the Girhotra family until Ruchika was driven to suicide. The first group consisted of policemen like those who arrested Ruchika Girhotra's brother, Ashu, and reportedly tortured him -- the act that drove the poor girl to kill herself rather than let her family suffer any more. Everyone is now hot on the trail of Rathore; should the policemen who hounded the Girhotra family be spared?

The second group that aided Rathore, possibly indirectly, was a series of politicians from across the political spectrum. Om Parkash Chautala appeared on news channels earlier this week to question the Girhotra family's courage. Bhajan Lal said he could remember nothing of the case with a look on his face that was so smug that it was almost unbelievable. Will there be any political penalty to follow? I don't think so!

But what of the third group -- civil society at large? The Sacred Heart School in Chandigarh expelled Ruchika -- nobody seems to know quite why today -- rather than stand by her. Isn't the Church supposed to be the standard-bearer of morality in society? Has the Bishop in whose diocese this school belongs asked for an explanation?

Some brave souls stood by the Girhotra family, but what of the bulk of civil society in Chandigarh? Was Rathore ostracised by people at large?

There are allegations of corruption against generals and allegations of abuse of power against policemen. But these men did not arise out of a vacuum; let us admit that they are products of a society that we have all helped to create.

Today, it might be easy for the educated, middle class Indian to mock both khadi (the errant, arrogant politician) and khaki (aberrant soldiers and policemen). Here is a depressing thought: how many of us would not abuse power if it were granted to us rather than them?

I wish you all a very happy 2010. It cannot, surely, be any worse than 2009.

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