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Sunday, 31 January 2010

From Today's Papers - 31 Jan 10







US drone attack kills 15 militants in Waziristan

Press Trust of India, Saturday January 30, 2010, Peshawar

Launching an unprecedented wave of deadly strikes to hit the Haqqani networks, US drones fired missiles at a Taliban hideout in Pakistan's lawless North Waziristan, killing 15 militants as violence surged elsewhere, taking a toll of 12 people on Saturday.


Three missiles were fired at a site in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan, where militants groups blamed for launching attacks on a CIA base across the border in Afghanistan are based, officials said.


As many as six foreign fighters perished in the strikes. The intelligence officers used the acronym for al-Qaeda and Uzbek fighters in the Taliban ranks. The hilly area is where a US drone is suspected to have crashed a week back.


Since the bombing of a CIA forward base in Khost province, which lies across the border in Afghanistan, US has launched as many as 13 missiles strikes in the region. American intelligence believes that Haqqani network, an al-Qaeda linked Afghan Taliban faction is based in the area and helped to carry out the attack against the CIA base.


US leaders and officials have failed to persuade Pakistani leaders to extend their current military offensive to North Waziristan. As the drone strikes continued to take heavy toll of the Taliban militants, the insurgents retaliated when a teenage bomber blew himself up in a crowded market in Bajaur tribal region, killing a dozen people and injuring 24 others.






Punjab seeks more forces to guard border
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 30
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram to raise five India Reserve Battalions for Punjab.

This, the Punjab CM said, would effectively tackle cross-border terrorism and help maintain law and order in the state. He pointed out that the cost of raising an IRB unit worked out to be about Rs 20 crore and the annual recurring expenditure of the battalion would be about Rs 26 crore.

Badal also requested the Home Ministry to bear the costs.

Chief Minister's Media Adviser Harcharan Bains said Badal also asked the Union Home Minister to grant Rs 21.78 crore for the mega city policing project in Ludhiana.

The Chief Minister also raised the issue of upgrading visitors' facilities at Hussainiwala in Ferozepur district and demanded Rs 10 crore to provide civic amenities for the thousands of spectators who witness the retreat ceremony.

Parkash Singh Badal also urged the Home Minister to issue a no-objection certificate for a proposed memorandum of understanding between Punjab and Canada’s British Columbia province for skill development and education.

The Punjab Chief Minister also requested the Home Minister to enhance the Centre’s assistance for crop damage from Rs 4,000 to Rs 15,000 per hectare.







China hits out at US over arms sales to Taiwan


China has hit back at the US over weapons sales to Taiwan as it announced a series of moves against Washington, including suspension of military exchanges between the two countries.


China will suspend bilateral military programmes and security talks with the US, impose sanctions on companies selling arms, and review co-operation on major issues, the Chinese foreign ministry announced on Saturday.


The Obama [ Images ] administration notified the US Congress on Friday of its first planed arms sales to Taiwan, a potential $6.4 billion package including Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot 'Advanced Capability-3' anti-missile missiles, and command-and-control technology.


China has decided to partially halt the exchange programs between the militaries of the two countries, as well as the vice-ministerial consultation on strategic security, arms control and anti-proliferation, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, quoting a foreign ministry release.


China will also impose sanctions on US companies involved in the arms sales to Taiwan, it said.


The latest announcement by Beijing [ Images ] means it could jeopardise important bonds of cooperation with Washington, which has looked to China for support in surmounting the financial crisis, dealing with Iran and North Korea, and seeking international agreement on fighting climate change.


According to the Xinhua report, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei on Saturday summoned the US envoy Jon Huntsman for an urgent meeting.


The US decision "constitutes a gross intervention into China's internal affairs, seriously endangers China's national security and harms China's peaceful reunification efforts," the foreign ministry statement said.


He urged the US to "fully recognise the gravity of the issue, revoke the erroneous decision on arms sales to Taiwan and stop selling weapons to Taiwan."


"The US plan will definitely further undermine China-US relations and bring about serious negative impact on exchanges and cooperation in major areas between the two countries," he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.


"Otherwise, the United States must shoulder the responsibility for the grave aftermath," the Chinese leader noted.


China took a similar step in 2008 after the former Bush administration announced a multi-billion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan - the most sensitive issue in US-China relations.


Last week US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [ Images ] angered Beijing with a call to China to investigate cyber attacks on search giant Google, after the company said email accounts of human rights activists had been hacked.


China claims the self-governing Taiwan as its own, while the US is Taiwan's most important ally and largest arms supplier. The US government is bound by law to ensure the island is able to respond to Chinese threats.

China considers Taiwan, where nationalists fled in 1949 after losing the mainland's civil war, to be a territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. It had warned Washington repeatedly against the arms sales to the country.






On defence tour, J&K kids want to join NDA

Express News Service Posted online: Saturday , Jan 30, 2010 at 0429 hrs

Pune : Aftab Ahmad, a Class X student, came all the way from Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir to Pune along with his 33 fellow students. They had come to Mumbai and Pune on a 10-day tour which ended on Friday.


After finishing his Class XII, Ahmad wants to study at the National Defence Academy (NDA). Ahmad and his friends visited few defence establishments in the city as part of ‘operation sadbhavana’ tour organised by the 27 Rashtriya Rifles (Maratha Light Infantry) of the Indian Army.


Since early 1990s, the Indian Army has been organising promotional tours for students of J&K to other parts of the country with the aim of giving these children a taste of another life, away from conflict. With Ahmad and his fellow tour members, this seems to have worked. Almost all of them want to visit Pune again and are keen on joining the NDA and eventually the Indian Army in the next few years.


“We are glad to be here. Almost everyone in the group wants to join the NDA and then the defence forces,” said Ahmad. The students said the Poonch sector had seen relative peace over the last two years. “Prior to that, we could not even go to school for fear of the violence,” said Mohammand Karim, a Class XII student from Seri Khwaja village, near the border.


On Friday, the students interacted with Brig Rajbir Singh, Pune Sub Area Commander. “We are looking at these kinds of tours to open their horizons as many have never come outside J&K. They too should get the opportunity to visit other parts of the country,” he said.


Four instructors accompanied the students. “The Army is one of the sole employment opportunities for many of us, since there are very few industries in J&K. Most of the factories have been shut down recently,” said Abdul Qayum, one of the accompanying instructors. In Pune, the students visited the College of Military Engineering (CME), the NDA, the Army Sports Institute, the Air Force base at Lohegaon along with number of private sector companies.


In Mumbai, the team met Amitabh Bachchan. “He didn’t have a lot of time, but he said he was very happy to see us,” said Ahmad. The students also interacted with the Governor of Maharashtra.






USA’s new turn…!


Sajid Ansari


After lots of drumbeating of “war-on-terror” and Al-Qaeda, for 9 years, which is nowadays under heavy criticism, at home and abroad, the US administration is now shifting world’s attention towards “Mumbai attack” and involvement of LeT- Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, declaring it as a Global threat. That’s what the US Defense Secretary; Robert Gates launched and kicked off a ‘new’ campaign in India, apparently against the so-called a ‘terrorist’ organization which, in fact, was a welfare organization, thus creating a plea to blame Pakistan, indirectly and a possible justification to attack Pakistan. Robert Gates also praised India for showing restraint following the terror siege of Mumbai. He further said, “I believe this operation, under the umbrella of Al-Qaida working with all of these groups, is intended to destabilize not just Afghanistan, or not just Pakistan, but potentially the whole region. It’s important to recognize the magnitude of the threat that the entire region faces”.


Following Gates, Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s coordinator for counter terrorism also warned saying, “Pakistan based banned group “Lashkar-e-Tayyaba” (LeT), blamed for Mumbai attack, and could become a threat to the west like Al-Qaida”. Isn’t it surprising that after more than a year, now, the US administration has suddenly realized that LeT could also become a Global threat hence equating LeT with Al-Qaida. The US administration now turning a mice into a “monster” before the world which means that there is a ‘new’ and fresh planning has been done by USA and India, of course with active back-up support from Britain and Israel.


Why suddenly the US has taken a ‘U’ turn towards Mumbai carnage about which Robert Blake, then US Ambassador in India, FBI, Interpol and MI6 had cleared Pakistan’s involvement in this episode as the world knows that the Mumbai “Drama” was played by RAW, Indian Military Intelligence–IMI and Mossad, as mentioned in an article “Mumbai Carnage”: The final Nail in Mumbai Police’s Coffin” and , “The Police Story stands shattered”, by Amaresh Misra, who wrote in one of his articles, Today, 28th December 2008, is a historic day. It marks the beginning of a process wherein my `theory’ about the Mumbai attack might just turn out to be true. But there is no joy. There is just emptiness, sadness at Karkare’s death and the killing of hundreds of innocents by the Hindutva-Mossad-CIA combine using factions in the ISI and International/Israeli mercenaries”. How is it possible that CIA and FBI do not know the real story and would Not have told it to the Defense Secretary of their country?


Isn’t it amusing that Robert Gates, Defense Secretary of US administration asking for “Guarantee” from Pakistan, against repeat of Mumbai-like attacks on behalf of India, as if Gate is also Defense Minister of India..? But can Gate, or for that matter anyone in India, give a guarantee that RAW and Mossad will NOT repeat the same in any other part of India to put blame on Pakistan…? Because it’s a proven fact that Mumbai carnage was dramatized just to kill Hemant Karkare, the police Inspector who was investigating Malegaon bomb blasts and firing of Samjhota Express.


However, both these gentlemen, Robert Gates and Benjamin, are suddenly showing much more concern about the activities of LeT but at the same time why Gates and Benjamin have ignored gruesome terrorist activities of RAW and Indian Military Intelligence-IMI, of bombing Malegaon and firing of Samjhota Express wherein 68 Pakistanis were burned alive by Indian active army man Col. Prumit.? Didn’t FBI tell them about Karkare’s planned murder under the cover of Mumbai Drama, better ask Karkare’s wife who knows all about it, I am afraid she may also be killed in a road ‘accident’. Are these two gentlemen, Gate and Benjamin, are so innocent or so ignorant about what RAW has been doing in Pakistan, killing thousands of innocent civilians by bomb blasts in different cities of Pakistan..? And if they do not know the havoc played by Indian army in Swat and other cities of NWFP under the cover of TTP, the Pakistani Taliban…?And didn’t they know that Indian 17 consulate offices in Afghanistan, mostly along the Pakistani border and carrying out terrorist activities in Balochistan from Afghanistan’s soil…?


And why Gates and Benjamin are silent on the extra judicial killings, rape, arson and what not brutalities going on by Indian terrorist army in Kashmir since 1989, where more than 90,000 Kashmiris have been killed so for, including Sikhs because IMI and RAW killed 36 Sikh villagers near Sirinagar on the day of Bill Clinton’s arrival in India, putting blame of “terrorist activity” of LeT whereas FBI investigated and the President’s secretary informed Bill Clinton about the truth while the delegation was still in India. That is why about 200 Kashmiri Sikhs took out procession in front of White House in Nov; 2009, while Barack Obama and Manmohan Singh addressed joint news conference inside the building, asking for holding Plebiscite in Kashmir, in-accordance with UN Resolution of 1948, which is also a long-time demand of Pakistan and also all the Kashmiris, both in Azad Kashmir as well as the Kashmiris of Indian-held Kashmir.


Well, we all know, rather the whole world knows what they are up to..? They attacked and invaded Afghanistan taking the plea of “war-on-terror” and to wipe-off Al-Qaida and catch Osama Bin Laden who could have been caught but ‘Rumsfeld’s decision allowed Osama to escape’, informed by a US Senator, on 30th Nov,2009, in a hard hitting Report points the finger directly at Rumsfeld for turning down request for reinforcement as Bin Laden was trapped in December, 2001, in caves and tunnels in a mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan known as Tora Bora. Because of Bin Laden would have been arrested, in 2001, there was NO justification of carrying on “war-on-terror” and stay of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan any more.


And now the same Robert Gate who was working with Rumsfeld, then as an undersecretary of Defense in US administration, now taking the plea that LeT working jointly with Al-Qaida. In fact, like they invaded Afghanistan in 2001, now they, the US forces’ Command in Afghanistan, also wants to attack on Pakistan from all sides, the eastern borders of Pakistan with India and the LoC between both the Kashmirs, the north-western borders and the western border of Balochistan, jointly, along with India, whereas NATO will take the control of a ‘Watchman” of the whole of Afghanistan to maintain statuesque and not to incite or go for war against Afghan Taliban as long as the US forces are ‘busy’ in Pakistan. Moreover, by the way, why Gates felt need to bring such a heavy and high powered delegation, of 125 members, to India and Pakistan as no such a big delegation has come to visit India & Pakistan in the past except when the Presidents used to visit the countries …? The majority of them will certainly be war experts of different departments, of ground forces, air force and the Navy, simply to discuss modes-opernedi of a joint attack on Pakistan and the requirement by India otherwise what for so many ‘people; accompanying the Defense Secretary.?


As a matter of fact we believe that in view of much more criticism, at home and abroad, on Obama’s policy of continuing Afghan war, he wanted to call off operation “war-on-terror” but upon insistence of CIA and Pentagon, which is fully infested with Zionist Jews, Obama approved the required reinforcement of additional 30,000 US troops and 7,000 troops from NATO. But Obama has also given a time-frame as well to finish the job, of Al-Qaida, that’s what he has been told, and to start withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by the summers of 2011.







Indian Army to Procure Quick Reaction SAM

To secure its skies from enemy fighter aircraft and cruise missiles, the Indian Army is planning to procure more quick reaction surface to air missiles (QR-SAMs) from global vendors. In a Request for Information (RFI) issued yesterday, without mentioning the number of systems to be procured, the Army has asked the vendors to provide missile systems which have a range of over nine kilometres and are capable of taking on aircraft or missiles at an altitude of up to six kilometres.


The Army is seeking a QR-SAM capable of being launched within six seconds and taking on hovering helicopters also. It wants the new systems to have the ability of firing two missiles at a time and simultaneously guide them to the desired targets. The Army has reportedly placed orders for four squadrons of SPYDER QR-SAMs from Israel. The DRDO is also working on the development of a home grown QR-SAM system and planning to co-develop it with a foreign partner.


The RFI states the missile system should be capable of operating in the electronic warfare environment and should be provided with Nuclear, Biological and Chemical warfare protection system. The Army wants its new systems to be highly mobile and capable of being moved on rail-based platforms besides being mobile in desert and semi-desert terrain. It also wants the vendors to do a transfer of technology to Indian firms so that the missile system can be later on produced in India also. Global missile manufacturers including MBDA of France and Israeli Rafale are expected to offer their systems to the Army.







Indian Army to Buy Special Operations Vehicles


The Indian Defence Ministry has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to national and international manufacturers for the procurement of high utility all-terrain vehicles for the Indian Army, with a capacity to carry 10 fully-armed men. The all-terrain vehicle will be used for special operations and patrol duties and must have high mobility.


The RFI issued by the Indian Defence Ministry has asked the manufacturers to indicate their ability in supplying these kinds of high-utility vehicles to India, with transfer of technology for manufacturing in India. The RFI does not specify the exact number of these all-terrain vehicles required by India.


As per the India Army’s requirement, these high-utility vehicles must be able to ply in snow-bound areas, marshes, creeks, beaches and deserts. Besides being able to operate in high-altitude areas, the high-mobility vehicle must also have the capability to cross crevasses. The Indian Army expects to procure both the wheeled and tracked all-terrain vehicles equipped with a convertible rack and seat system. A Global Positioning System powered by its own electrical systems, wind and temperature tachymeter, fire extinguisher, external storage facility for rappelling ropes, ice aces, pick axes and shovels, along with two 20-litre warming fuel cans would be additional features of the vehicle. Other attachments to the vehicle include an all-way blade, rotary snow blower, snow cutter and tilt trailer.







Who Will Defend India’s Defense Forces?

by Madhavi


gen-deepak-kapoorIndia expects the highest standards of professional conduct from its Armed Forces. And rightly so. The discipline and dedication of the Armed Forces are critical for ensuring the safety of our nation. But are not Indians too unrealistic in their expectations from the nation’s Armed Forces? Mere phrases like “We are proud of our Jawans”; “We have a military that thoroughly follows orders of the civilian leadership;” and wreath laying ceremonies at the Amar Jawan Jyoti are not enough to show our respect for the military personnel. Even the Amar Jawan Jyoti does not have the name of a single Indian soldier who scarified his life for independent India. The 90,000 names etched at AJJ are those of soldiers belonging to the British Indian Army who died during World War I and the Afghan Wars.

Coming back to the issue that motivated this post, the court martial of Lt. Gen. Awadesh Prakash.



The Army Chief’s aide Lt. Gen. Awadesh Prakash, the current Military Secretary, has been found guilty by a court of inquiry of using his position to influence a no-objection certificate given by the chief of the 33 Corps in Sukhna, Lt. Gen P.K. Rath, to a private realtor. The East Army Commander, Lt. Gen. V.K. Singh, who convened the inquiry, has recommended court martial of the two officers. However, while the Army Chief has acceded to Gen. Rath’s court martial, he has ordered only disciplinary action against Gen. Prakash. Lt. Gen. V.K. Singh, due to take over from General Kapoor on March 31, and the media has accused General Kapoor of favoring his Secretary Lt. Gen. Prakash.

According to Army sources Gen. Kapoor would have taken the total picture into consideration in ordering only administrative action against Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash. Sources are quick to point out that the successor of Gen Kapoor, Lt Gen V K Singh had gone a step further in recommending the sacking of Prakash. Said a top retired Army officer: “He (Kapoor) has a set of advisors and experts before he takes a final call. I feel he would have taken a decision keeping the highest values in the Army. It is no doubt embarrassing when the senior most General in the Army is over-ruled. It will affect the morale among senior officers.”

No doubt, that Lt. Gen. Awadesh Prakash’s actions were disapproving and action against him was imperative. But was the political highhandedness and media pouncing necessary or even desirable? Lt. General Prakash who was due to retire on January 31, 2010, has become, thanks to Defense Minister A.K. Anthony, the highest ranking member of the Indian Army to be court martialed. The country is rejoicing that the righteousness of the Indian Army was once again upheld. But what about the impact on this development on the morale of the Army? This post is not a defense for Lt. General Prakash, but a more pointed defense of the stature and morale of the Indian Armed Forces. Lengthy inquires into scams by the political leadership of the country with virtually no action against them has been the norm in India. Even murder convicts can contest elections. But error on the part of the military personnel has to be highlighted and ‘appropriate’ action is taken instantly. Hypocrisy or Justice?

General Kapoor rightly stated “The strength of the Indian Army is 1.1 million. But when something of this nature happens, the media delves into it. But when it happens on the civilian side, it does not get reported.”

Civilian control of the Army is imperative in a democracy, but India is taking it too far; embarrassing the military just to prove the obedience of the Indian military compared to it Pakistani counterpart is not advisable. And more importantly, if we Indians are so concerned about the worth of our military, why was there no protest against Gul Panag’s recent tweet that the Army Chief General Kapoor is ‘spineless’? In response to Gul’s tweet some Sudhir K. Singh tweets “U should have called Deepak Kapoor ’spineless’ much earlier. Calling him one now would suggest you are shooting a lame duck.”

We can tolerate such comments against an in-office Army Chief without raising protest, but can’t accept a anything less than court martial for Lt. Gen, Prakash.

Bravo, I could not think of any better way to de-moralize the Indian Armed Forces.









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