Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites

Loading

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

From Today's Papers -



























Army differs with J&K admn on Chinese incursions
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18
The Indian Army does not seem to share fears expressed by the Civil Administration in Jammu and Kashmir that China was grabbing land in Ladakh along the Line of Control. Rather it threatens to blow it up as a tussle between the forces and civil side.

Sources said the national policy of what China or India were doing at the LAC is not decided at the level of a Brigadier or a Colonel- the two officers who were present at the meeting with Leh Commissioner AK Sahu. It is also not decided at the level of a Divisional commissioner, a senior officer said while adding the forces do not subscribe to the theory of the Civil Administration. The reports indicating China’s interest to expand its boundary up to the right bank of the Indus were not correct, said the Army sources.
Just three days ago, the Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, while talking to reporters on sidelines of the Army Day function had said “our officers were present at the meeting with the civil administration, however, they did not concur with the perception of the civil administration on China expanding across the LOC”.
General Kapoor on being asked how name of the Brigadier and the Colonel were being taken by the Civil Administration, had said the two officers were present, but no issue on China has their nod and nor was any such matter brought up during their presence. Last week, a Jammu and Kashmir government report had said India had lost “substantial” amount of land to China in the Ladakh along the Line of Control. Besides Gen Deepak Kapoor, The Indian Defence Minister AK Antony also differed with the report saying “There is no change in the LAC”.
Antony, had visited the Jammu and Kashmir last week and on coming back had said people of both sides of the LAC keep coming in and going back. The position explained by the Army commander and in the meeting nobody (civil side or intelligence agencies) had expressed a different view. The LAC is not demarcated on the ground hence shepherds on both sides often cross over.
Commissioner Leh AK Sahu had been quoted in the media saying “It is clear and be accepted that we are withdrawing from LAC and our area has shrunk over a period of time. Though this process is very slow, but we have lost substantial amount of land in 20-25 years.” Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary SS Kapoor has been quoted by news agencies as having said the state establishment did not agree with the Army’s perception.






BSF foils infiltration bids along Indo-Pak border
Press Trust of India / Jammu January 18, 2010, 12:38 IST

The Border Security Force (BSF) today foiled two infiltration bids by militants along Indo-Pak border here, officials said.

A group of at least 5 militants entered the Indian territory and came close to border fencing in Suchetgarh forward defence location along the International Border in R S Pura sub-sector of the district, they said.

They were trying to cut the fencing when the BSF patrol party fired at them, the officials said, adding the militants managed to escaped.

The BSF foiled another infiltration bid by a group of militants in Tent Border Out post in Kanachak belt of Jammu this morning, they said.

Search operations have been launched to nab them.

Today's infiltration bid was the 11th in past fortnight. The first infiltration attempt this year was foiled by BSF at Narianpur Border outpost in Ramgarh sub-sector of Samba district on January 4.

Information from various agencies involved in security grid in the state has put the figure of infiltration attempts at 433 in 2009, which is 91 more than 2008.

As per the police figures, 342 infiltration attempts were made from across the border in 2008, while 2007 and 2006 reported 535 and 573 cases respectively.





Pak needs to do more to check Taliban: Holbrooke
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 18
Just as US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna were meeting at the South Block today, a massive explosion shook Kabul, reminding them of the continuing threat from the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to the war-ravaged nation.

Sharing New Delhi’s concerns over increasing violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Holbrooke told reporters after his meeting with Krishna that he hoped for ‘more action’ from Pakistan in tackling the ‘ruthless and desperate Taliban’. He also blamed the Taliban for the latest blast in the Afghan capital.
An External Affairs Ministry spokesman said all Indians in Afghanistan were safe. The Indian Embassy in Kabul has advised the Indians to restrict their movements and follow security instructions in wake of the blast.
Holbrooke, who flew to Delhi last night after his visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan, briefed his Indian interlocutors on the situation in Afghanistan. Stressing that the spread of Taliban in the Pakistan’s NWFP areas was the ‘main subject’ of his discussions with the Pakistani leadership, President Barack Obama’s point-man for the troubled Af-Pak region said Washington was quite encouraged by the action taken by Pakistan in the restive Swat region. “I was in Swat a few days ago and I was very impressed with the progress in South Wazirstan. But there are other issues that we have talked about that I hope will see more actions on.’’
Holbrooke was all praise for India’s role in the reconstruction activity in Afghanistan. “India is a tremendously important participant in search for peace and stability not only in south Asia but throughout the vast region that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Pacific.”
He also discussed with the Indian Minister, the upcoming London conference on Afghanistan on January 28, convened by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. India is expected to announce a major initiative in the field of agriculture at the conference, at which the Indian delegation would be led by the Foreign Minister. Official sources said Holbrooke’s visit provided to India an opportunity to know the long-term US policy in Af-Pak.
President Obama has already announced his administration’s decision to send additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan and a tentative plan to withdraw troops by July 2011. However, New Delhi is of the view that US and NATO forces should stay in Afghanistan until the Al Qaeda and Taliban are wiped out. “The international community’s disengagement from Afghanistan would mean handing that country to Al Qaeda and Taliban, which would be disastrous not only for Afghanistan but also for entire region.’’ The sources said, “India also is of firm view that the Taliban in Afghanistan still enjoyed the support of Pakistan’s ISI.”





India to buy fighter aircraft from Russia
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 18
India has decided to purchase 29 MiG-29K fighter aircraft from Russia after the last of the hurdles in the purchase of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov has been cleared.

A deal to this effect is likely to be inked later this week when a team from Russia arrives in New Delhi. The price tag for the aircraft is pegged at $1.2 bn.
The new aircraft would be in addition to the 16 MiG-29K fighter aircraft purchased for deploying aboard Admiral Gorshkov. The aircraft began arriving last year even as delivery of Admiral Gorshkov, renamed INS Vikramaditya, was delayed till 2012.
Since the aircraft cannot be used for any other purpose, a shore-based training facility (SBTF) was set up at the INS Hansa in Goa by the Goa Shipyard to deploy these. These aircraft are being used for training purposes.
India was to originally purchase 12 single-seater MiG-29K and four twin-seater MiG-29 KUB aircraft as part of the deal to purchase Admiral Gorshkov. However, the Russians jacked up the price for Admiral Gorshkov even as the deadline for its delivery got pushed further ahead.
The decision to purchase the aircraft was taken during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Russia last year.





Pak troops violate ceasefire, fire rockets
January 18, 2010 22:53 IST

In yet another ceasefire violation along the Line of Control Pakistani troops on Monday evening fired small arms and rockets on Forward Defence Locations in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir a senior army official said.

Pakistani troops in Kadu post fired small arms and about five rockets on the Indian Army's [ Images ] Kranti post in Krishnaghati sub-sector in Poonch from 6.10 pm to 7.40 pm on Monday, he said.

However, there were no casualties or injuries to anyone on our side, he said.

The officer said Indian troops manning the Line of Control also retaliated and there was a brief exchange.

It appears that the firing was aimed to cover infiltrating militants from Pakistan side, he said.

Troops have further intensified patrolling and are keeping a close watch on the movement despite the thick fog along the LoC.
Earlier in the day, Border Security Force troops had foiled two infiltration bids by militants along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu region.





'The army is not above the Constitution'
January 18, 2010 10:22 IST
Seventy acres of land and an alleged issuance of a no-objection certificate has landed some of India's [ Images ] top generals in a soup.

The land in question is a 70-acre plot close to the Sukna military station in West Bengal [ Images ].

The allegation is that Military Secretary Avadhesh Prakash, Lieutenant General Ramesh Halgali, Lieutenant General P K Rath and Major General P K Sen facilitated the issuance of a no objection certificate to the Agarwal Geetanjali Education Trust in order to set up an affiliate of Ajmer's wellknown school, Mayo College.

While Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor says that action will be initiated in the case, members of General Rath's family believe the issue is engineered.

Prathap Kumar Rath, General Rath's brother, who is obviously upset with the developments, provides his version of events to rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa:

"Both Lieutenant General V K Singh (the Eastern Army commander) and General Deepak Kapoor are well aware of what has happened. Why isn't the media looking into this and letting this drama continue?

"There is talk about a report on this issue. Why has this report not been made available to my brother? A reporter on television waves this report at his viewers. When he can have that report, why can't they give a copy to my brother? I want to ask how this report has come out of the Eastern Command Headquarters? Doesn't it look as though it is stage-managed?

"There is a mass hysteria being created on this issue so that Lieutenant General Singh and General Kapoor are made to look good.

"They speak about national security. If the security of the nation was such a prime concern for these people, then let me tell you that the land was sold in April. Then how come the issue was brought up in September? If it was such a primary concern, why this delay?

"The timing was perfect. The issue cropped up when my brother got his appointment (as deputy chief of the army). Another thing that I would like to point out here is that there was no communication on this issue sent to the 33 Corps. When that is the scenario, how can they even speak of national security? Moreover this is a school, how can it pose a security risk?

"I don't know what Lieutenant General Singh has against my brother and why he is picking on him. I wish I had the opportunity to have a one on one with him and get things sorted out. He speaks of military discipline. Let everyone remember that the army is not above the Constitution.

"We will go all out in our fight and we will not buckle down to the order of the court of inquiry. This is not a full court in the first place. Moreover, we do not trust the findings since it is headed by two major generals. Obviously these people would report to their superiors and what justice can we expect?

"My brother is a disciplined officer and this has gone against him. I don't know exactly why they are targeting him. I am unaware of any personal enmity too.

"However I must warn that I am ready to bite the bullet to get justice for my brother and I also want to say that no information regarding this case has been made available to us fully. I have a right to know what is happening.

"Lieutenant General Singh may become army chief and no one in the army is ready to counter him and hence my brother will suffer in the bargain.

"We, however, have a legal course worked out. The moment we are served with a notice, we will move the civil courts and also take this matter right up to the Supreme Court. It is these courts that we trust in.

"I really don't know what sort of a game is being played over here. I can only say that my brother is just a casualty. He has been made to suffer since he is a good officer. I only want to assure him that he is not alone and has 11 siblings who will fight tooth and nail for him."





Pak terror policy intact
Militant outfits’ survival a threat to peace
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has only highlighted the ugly reality by stating in the course of a TV interview that terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan remains intact despite Islamabad’s claim of fighting the menace. The two recent fidayeen attacks in Kashmir could not have been possible without the terrorist training facilities in Pakistan. Recently, External Affairs Minister A. K. Antony also told journalists at the Indian Coast Guard headquarters in Kochi that anti-India terrorist outfits still remained active in Pakistan. This obviously means that Islamabad continues to pursue the policy of using terrorism as an instrument of state policy. That it has not abandoned this dangerous policy is also proved by its lacklustre style of fighting to finish the Taliban in Pakistan, who have close links with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s strategy appears to be to re-establish its pre-eminent position in Afghanistan once the US-led multinational forces leave the war-ravaged country. Islamabad hopes to realise its dream of having strategic depth by getting a proxy government in Afghanistan.
There is little difference in the ideology of the Taliban and the militant outfits engaged in anti-India activities. Only their targets are different. Both get their recruits from the same kind of religious educational institutions (madarsas) and poverty-stricken sections of the population. Both kinds of terrorists are considered “strategic assets by Pakistan, though Islamabad continues to pose that it has launched a serious anti-terrorism drive. It is surprising how the world community has become blind to this dangerous reality. So much harm has been caused by terrorist outfits so far, yet they are being allowed to survive!
This unfortunate situation prevails despite the fact that Pakistan is committed to not allowing any territory under its control to be used for promoting terrorism. The international community must force Islamabad to honour the word it has given to the world. Pakistan must be forced to take concrete and effective steps to eliminate all kinds of terrorist outfits and their infrastructure. Terrorism continues to remain the most potent threat to stability in South Asia as well as the rest of the world.





Talking about talks
What about the risk of terrorist attacks?
by K. Subrahmanyam
The Pakistani leadership, liberals, civil society organizations and influential media personnel on both sides of the border have been urging India to recommence the composite dialogue process snapped after 26/11. Many of them, particularly the Pakistani leadership, never tire of pointing out that the refusal to restart the dialogue amounts to playing into the hands of terrorist elements, and commencement of the dialogue will strengthen the hands of the democratic government in Pakistan.
Others argue that there is no alternative to dialogue and the Government of India will have to reopen the process sooner or later and, therefore, why not do it earlier. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that once the state of Pakistan gives up the use of terrorism as state policy, India will start the dialogue. His statement implies that he is not persuaded that Islamabad has given up its policy of using terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy. The Prime Minister has also added that he receives intelligence regularly about the plots to unleash terrorist attacks on India. Home Minister Chidambaram has disclosed that with the help of US intelligence, many possible terrorist attacks have been foiled in the last one year.
An American analyst, Daniel Markey of the Council of Foreign Relations, has raised a very pertinent point not figuring in the debate in the subcontinent. He argues that any resumption of the dialogue between India and Pakistan increases the risk of terrorist attacks on India and has made a number of policy recommendations to the US government in regard to the policies to be pursued by Washington. There can be no doubt that this will be a very relevant consideration for Delhi in considering the reopening of the dialogue, how much the risk of terrorist attack will be raised by that move. This should, in fact, be a valid consideration for Pakistan as well.
Daniel Markey has dealt with the consequences of such a terrorist attack, the likely Indian and Pakistani responses and Washington’s options.
In the light of this, will it not make sense for Delhi to discuss with Pakistan the risks of threats likely to arise if talks are to be resumed and the joint action that Pakistan is willing to undertake with India in that event? These talks can be at the level of the NSA of India and his analogue in Pakistan. Pakistanis argue that they themselves are victims of terrorism and they have initiated military action against the Pakistani Taliban and, therefore, their bona fides should not be doubted. Obviously, the Pakistani actions so far have not created adequate credibility in Delhi. For this, there are very valid reasons, and it is a pity that these are not discussed in the media debates of either country.
The best-known victim of terrorism in Pakistan was former Prime Minister and leader of the Pakistan People’s Party Benazir Bhutto. The elected Pakistani Government approached the United Nations to appoint an enquiry panel to go into the circumstances of her assassination. The UN has appointed a panel with Ambassador Haraldo Munoz of Chile, Marzuki Darusman, former Attorney-General of Indonesia, and Peter Fitzgerald, an Irish police officer. The panel is now in Pakistan. While President Zardari and General Musharraf (retd), among others, appeared before the panel and gave their depositions, it has been refused access to Army officers and those belonging to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Here is a government which moves the UN to set up a panel to enquire into the assassination, as it believed that the country’s own enquiries earlier conducted were not credible. And when the panel arrives in Pakistan it is unable to order its Army and intelligence officers to depose before it. This happens in respect of the terrorist assassination of the tallest leader of the ruling party and the wife of the present President. According to the earlier versions, the assassination was carried out on the orders of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, who has since been killed in a US drone strike.
Pakistanis highlight that their Army is fighting the terrorist Pakistani Taliban. Why then are the Pakistan Army and the intelligence network fighting shy of deposing before the UN panel? If the Pakistan Government cannot discipline the Army to depose in a case of assassination of the ruling party’s leader what credibility does that government has in fighting terrorism?
While Pakistan is maintaining that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) was banned in 2002, the FBI of the US has filed its indictments against David Headley and Tahawwur Rana that they were financed by the LeT to carry out the reconnaissance which ended in the 26/11 attack in Mumbai. The US President has named the LeT as one of the five organizations which have to be disrupted, dismantled and defeated. While Pakistanis talk of the Army’s campaign against the Pakistani Taliban, one does not hear anything about its actions against the LeT. Nor has Pakistan reacted to David Headley being brought into the 26/11 case and the US court indictment of co-conspirators who are LeT members resident in Pakistan
These issues relate to the basic credibility of the Pakistani claim that they are fighting terrorism, and the relationship between the elected government and the Army. The inability of the Pakistan government to make available witnesses from the Army and the intelligence network to the UN panel would indicate that the Government of Pakistan had been overruled by the Army. Such an action humiliates the Pakistan government before the UN and the international community. Presumably, that is not a major concern for the Army nor could it care less that its refusal to appear before the UN panel will lead to adverse inferences in view of the letter written by Benazir Bhutto before her death that she feared for her life due to the likely actions of certain individuals associated with the intelligence network and named in her letter.
The Army went on public record on its dissatisfaction with the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act extending aid to Pakistan, though the US legislation was finalised after elaborate discussions with the Pakistan government with the Army being kept informed fully. Washington had to dispatch Senator John Kerry to meet the Army Chief and mollify him. The US Secretary of State held her longest discussion in Islamabad not with the President, the Prime Minister or the Foreign Minister but with the Army Chief and his Intelligence Chief. It is in the light of this reality the US Congress has asked for half-yearly certification from the US Secretary of State on the Army-government relationship in Pakistan.
In a country where the Army can overrule the government, with whom should another sovereign government conduct negotiations? This is the problem facing the Indian Prime Minister. In any case, before recommencing the composite dialogue let us start with the joint assessment of the increased risks of terrorist attacks that will arise for India if the dialogue is restarted. India should invite Pakistan for such a discussion.






Gates Plans Push for Defense Technology Accords in India Visit
January 18, 2010, 09:43 PM EST 

By Viola Gienger

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he’ll discuss moving forward on several agreements with the Indian government that would ease the South Asian nation’s path toward acquiring the latest defense technology.

An accord to coordinate operations of communications equipment and ensure its security, and another that would allow cooperation on supply logistics are among the agreements Gates said he will pursue when he arrives in New Delhi tomorrow for a two-day visit. The defense chief, who will be making his first trip to India in almost two years, will meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Defense Minister A.K. Antony.

“Not getting these agreements signed is an obstacle to Indian access to the very highest level of technology” that they are interested in, Gates told reporters as on his plane to New Delhi today. “So we will be pursuing those agreements.”

The accords would follow another sealed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she visited India in July and won agreement on monitoring the use and any attempted resale of U.S. defense technology. That opened a door for $20 billion in defense and nuclear energy sales by meeting a requirement of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act of 1996.

That so-called end-use monitoring agreement was “hugely important” to defense trade, Gates said. “Some of these other agreements would, I think, create even greater opportunities to expand that relationship.”

India is looking to build its defense industry by buying U.S. weapons, then learning how to make them at home to supply its own forces and, ultimately, to export supplies to other countries.

Foreign Investment

U.S. military weapons suppliers such as Chicago-based Boeing Co. and Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp. also are lobbying India to increase the level of foreign investment allowed in its defense industry to 49 percent from the current 26 percent.

That would let the contractors have more control over joint ventures while giving them greater incentive to transfer proprietary technology and participate in joint production.

Gates is seeking to increase U.S. ties with India, the world’s largest democracy and fastest-growing economy after China. President Barack Obama has called India a “critical partner” on issues from climate change to combating terrorism.

Joint military exercises with the U.S. have increased steadily since 2002. India also has pledged $1.3 billion for development in Afghanistan, and participates in a multinational anti-piracy operation off the Horn of Africa.

Gates in a speech in Singapore last May described India, along with China, Russia and Indonesia, as “new and re-emerging centers of power.” The U.S. expects India, with its army of 1.4 million and an Air Force that includes 900 combat aircraft, to be “a partner and net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond,” Gates told an audience at an annual Asian security conference.

India’s and Pakistan’s status as nuclear powers compound their political and military influence.

Pakistan’s National Command Authority cautioned in a Jan. 13 statement that India continues to “pursue an ambitious” program to build up its military, adding advanced weapons systems that may destabilize South Asia.




Army Chief to visit Nepal Jan 19-22

Chief of Army Staff Gen Deepak Kapoor will pay a goodwill visit to Nepal from January 19-22 as part of the enhanced defence cooperation between the two countries.

The visit also comes at a time when the bilateral relationship between India and Nepal is growing and close on the heels of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's three-day visit to that country over the weekend.

There has been a series of high level visits between the two countries in recent times to build trust and mutual confidence and both sides have indicated a desire to work towards building a mutually beneficial cooperation in the area of defence.

According to an official press release, the traditional linkages of the two armies and defence cooperation have been important tools in cementing the friendship between the two countries.

It said India enjoyed a special military relationship with Nepal, with a large number of Nepalese domicile Gorkha soldiers and officers serving in the Indian Army. Sustained cooperation is going on in the fields of training, visits, equipment and miscellaneous activities, it said.

The release said Gen Kapoor would visit Nepal Army training establishments. He is scheduled to interact with the Nepalese Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Chief of Army Staff and various other dignitaries. His discussions with them would cover areas such as defence cooperation in the areas of training/courses, UN peace keeping, sports, adventure activities and defence industry.

Gen Kapoor will also be conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepalese Army at a special investiture ceremony by the President of Nepal as per the traditions in vogue.

The Chief of Staff of the Nepal Army was conferred the honorary rank of General of the Indian Army by President Pratibha Patil last month.




Kapoor to get honorary rank of Nepalese Army general
New Delhi, Jan 18

Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor will Tuesday arrive in Kathmandu on a four-day visit, during which he will be conferred the honorary rank of Nepalese Army general.

Kapoor, who assumed office in 2007, had kicked up a controversy last month by opposing the induction of Nepal’s former Maoist guerrillas into the country's army. The visit will see the revival of tradition after seven years of visiting Indian army chiefs being conferred the honorary general's rank.

Gen. Nirmal Chander Vij was the last Indian Army general to visit Nepal, during which then king Gyanendra had conferred the honour on him. During the monarchy, the king was the titular head of the Nepalese Army.

This time around, Nepal’s first president Ram Baran Yadav will confer the rank and the sword that goes along with it.

The Nepalese Army chief, General Chhatra Man Singh Gurung, had visited India in December and was conferred the honorary rank of an Indian Army general.

“The Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor will proceed on a goodwill visit to Nepal from 19-22 Jan, 2010. The visit assumes special significance in the light of enhanced defence cooperation between the two countries and our growing bilateral relationship with Nepal,” an Indian Army officer said Monday.

"Discussions on enhancing defence cooperation in the field of training and courses, UN peacekeeping, sports, adventure activities and defence industry cooperation are likely during this visit," the officer added.

Kapoor will interact with Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, army chief General Gurung and other dignitaries.

India enjoys a special military relationship with Nepal, with some 40,000 Nepalese Gorkha soldiers serving in the Indian Army. Their recruitment had resumed in 2009 after a two-year hiatus caused by political instability in Nepal and doubts about the policies of the Maoists, who while campaigning for last year's elections had pledged to stop the "shameful" hiring of Nepalis as "mercenaries".





No comments:

Post a Comment

 

Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal