Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites

Loading

Sunday, 28 February 2010

From Today's Papers - 28 Feb 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Indians killed in Taliban attack
2 Army officers among victims

Kabul/New Delhi, February 26
Targeting Indians yet again, The Taliban today carried out coordinated suicide attacks at two hotels in Kabul, killing at least nine Indians, including two Major-rank Army officers, evoking sharp reactions from India.

At least 10 others, including five Indian Army officers, were injured in the strike that killed eight others, including locals and nationals from other countries.

The bombers, believed to be three in number, struck at the guest houses, particularly at Park Residence, rented out by the Indian embassy for its staffers and those linked to India’s developmental work in Afghanistan.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said as per the preliminary information provided by Afghan government officials, “up to nine Indians... have lost their lives”.

“A few Indians have been injured, most of whom are reported to be out of danger. Arrangements are being made for their adequate and expeditious treatment, if necessary, by evacuating them to India,” he said in a statement.

Sources in the Indian Embassy in Kabul said that only six Indians were confirmed dead.

Krishna asserted that the attack would not deter India from pursuing developmental activities and would stand by the Afghans in the common fight against terrorism. Krishna, who received a telephone call tonight from his Afghan counterpart Zalmay Rassoul, said the “barbaric” attacks were clearly aimed against the people of India and Afghanistan.

Describing it as a matter of concern, he said, “These are the handiwork of those who are desperate to undermine the friendship between India and Afghanistan, and do not wish to see a strong, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan.” The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in telephone calls made to some foreign news wires.

This is the fourth attack targeted at Indians in Kabul since July 2008 when 60 people, including four Indian embassy officials, were killed in a massive car bomb attack on the embassy building.

Strongly condemning the attack, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said it would not be allowed to hurt Afghan-Indian relations. “Attacks on Indian citizens will not affect relations between India and Afghanistan,” he said.

Indian Embassy sources identified the six deceased Indians as Major Dr Laishram Jyotin Singh of Army Medical Corps, Major Deepak Yadav of Army Education Corps, engineer Bhola Ram, tabla player Nawab Khan, staffer of Kandahar Consulate Nitish Chibber and ITBP constable Roshan Lal. — PTI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100227/main6.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BSF DG receives parcel with detonator

New Delhi, February 26
A mysterious parcel with pieces of detonator was received by the office of Director General Border Security Force today setting alarm bells ringing in the security machinery here.

The parcel sent through a private courier company based in Sonepat, Haryana, was received in the CGO complex office here at 12.30 pm and sent the staff into a tizzy. It carried a book having a cavity in which pieces of detonators were detected. However, no explosives were found in it.

Showing presence of mind, the staff immediately informed the Delhi police that rushed its bomb squad to the spot along with sniffer dogs, souces said.

Director General Raman Srivastava is on tour to Meghalaya border today. The police has arrested the courier boy who delivered the parcel and the address of the courier company is being verified, they added.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has sought a detailed report of the incident from the border guarding force. — PTI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100227/nation.htm#13

 

 

 

 

 

Allocations for all paramilitary forces cut, except NSG, ITBP

Press Trust of India / New Delhi February 26, 2010, 19:00 IST

 

Allocations for all paramilitary forces except the NSG and ITBP have been decreased in the budget with cuts ranging from 6 to 16 per cent.

 

The largest paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with almost 2.50 lakh personnel has been allocated Rs 5745.87 crore under the demands for grants head which is a decline of about 16 per cent from last year's Rs 6838.84 crore to the force, which is largely involved in anti-naxal and counter-insurgency operations in the country.

 

The National Security Guard (NSG), which played the lead role in ending the terror siege during 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has been allocated Rs 352.58 crore, an increase of 10 per cent from the previous Rs 320.63 crore in the budget presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

 

The other force to get an increased allocation is the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), guarding the crucial Sino-Indian border, at Rs 1520.11 crore for the next fiscal, a bit higher than last fiscal's Rs 1508.94 crore.

 

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which guards the country's 57 airports and vital installations, has been earmarked Rs 2022.18 crore as compared to Rs 2244.36 last year.

 

The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) guarding the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders has been sanctioned Rs 1294.75 crore, almost a hundred crore less from last year's allocation of Rs 1394.97 crore.

 

The Assam Rifles has been allocated Rs 2014.53 crore for the next financial year in comparison to Rs 2168.20 crore during 2009-10.

 

The Border Security Force (BSF), guarding the country's border with Pakistan and Bangladesh, has been allocated Rs 5471.33 crore as compared to Rs 6329.14 crore during the last fiscal.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/allocations-for-all-paramilitary-forces-cut-except-nsg-itbp/87076/on

 

 

 

 

 

Nuclear track record
Pakistan can’t be treated on a par with India
by K. Subrahmanyam

Last week in the Committee on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, the Pakistani delegate made an elaborate statement on Pakistan’s objections for the CD taking up for consideration of the issue of Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). He opposed the move and argued that the treaty, as it is formulated will affect Pakistan’s security.

In his view, the issue cannot be considered in isolation independent of other developments in South Asia. He launched a vitriolic attack on India for triggering an arms race in South Asia. But his main focus was on the waiver of the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s guidelines in favour of India in respect of civil nuclear cooperation.

He cited some US experts to support his view that it will enable India to save its own uranium for weapon purposes and that the Indo-US nuclear deal was damaging the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). According to him, the Indian nuclear submarine programmed, ballistic missile programme and anti-ballistic missile programme were all making an arms race in South Asia inevitable.

Though the Pakistani delegate made his speech an attack on India, it was a criticism of the major powers of the world who took the initiative to get India the NSG waiver and a criticism of the 45-member NSG for having extended to India this waiver. Though he denied that Pakistan was isolated on the issue the fact that the 45-member NSG group gave India the waiver and not to Pakistan speaks for itself. In March 2006, when President George Bush stopped at Islamabad on his way back from New Delhi, General Musharraf raised the issue of Pakistan getting a civil-nuclear cooperation agreement analogous to India’s in public before the TV cameras. President Bush replied that Pakistan was different, its needs were different and its history was different. The last sentence that Pakistan’s history was different explained the whole issue and provided the effective answer to all US critics of Indo-US nuclear deal.

India has been recognised as a responsible nuclear state with advanced nuclear technology while Pakistan has not been so recognised by the international community. This is the crux of the issue and no amount of propagandist attacks on India can alter this fact. There are only three non-signatories to the NPT — Israel, India and Pakistan.

Israel is not in need of civil nuclear energy. Therefore, when it is argued that the NSG waiver for India will damage the NPT, the critics are only advocating the cause of Pakistan even while professing to make out a general case to save the NPT.

The Pakistani delegate evidently thinks that South Asia is an island continent like Australia and there are no countries in it other than India and Pakistan. India has a longer border with China than with Pakistan. While the Indo-Pakistan ratios in terms of population, GDP, industrial and agricultural productions are seven to one, the two neighbours, China and India are more approximately balanced in terms of population and resources.

While Pakistan argues that its security considerations should have overriding priority, it does not appear to extend that logic to its neighbour. Since President Bush cited the different history of Pakistan as the justification for not extending to Pakistan the civil-nuclear cooperation, it is necessary to focus on that history.

Pakistran is the unique case where nuclear weapon development and deployment have been exclusively in the hands of the military. Even in North Korea, the Communist Party commands the weapon. Whenever Pakistan had civilian governments, the nuclear weapon development and deployment were outside the jurisdiction of the head of the civilian government.

The Pakistani Army has not only a history of repeatedly seizing power from elected democratic governments, it has also a history of one of the largest genocides committed after World War II in Bangladesh. This has been recorded in the report of Justice Hamidur Rahman Commission set up by the Pakistan government itself.

Pakistan set up the infamous Taliban regime in Afghanistan which had to be removed as it supported the terrorist organisation Al Qaeda which plotted and executed the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US. On February 3, 2010, US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the Senate, “Pakistan’s conviction that militant groups are strategically useful to counter India are not only hampering the fight against terrorism but also helping Al Qaeda sustain its safe haven…Islamabad’s strategic approach risks helping Al Qaeda sustain its safe haven because some groups supported by Pakistan provide assistance to Al Qaeda…Islamabad’s conviction that militant groups are an important part of its strategic arsenal to counter India’s military and economic advantages will continue to limit Pakistan’s incentive to pursue an across-the-board effort against extremism.” He added, “despite robust Pakistani military operations against extremists that directly challenge Pakistani government authority, Afghan Taliban, Al Qaeda, and Pakistani militant groups continue to use Pakistan as a safe haven for organising, training and planning attacks against the United States and our allies in Afghanistan, India and Europe…However, it still judges it does not need to confront groups that do not threaten it directly and maintains historical support to the Taliban,” providing the assessment reflecting the views of 16 intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

He went on to elaborate, “Simultaneously, Islamabad has maintained relationships with other Taliban-associated groups that support and conduct operations against US and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) forces in Afghanistan...It has continued to provide support to its militant proxies such as Haqqani Taliban, Gul Bahadur group, and Commander Nazir group…The Al Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, and Pakistani militant safe haven in Quetta will continue to enable the Afghan insurgents and Al Qaeda to plan operations, direct propaganda, recruiting and training activities and fund-raising activities with relative impunity.”

Does the Pakistani delegate believe that his country which has been accused of helping and abetting the Taliban fighting the forces of the European Union countries in Afghanistan has any credibility to persuade the international community that it is not a state supporting terrorism but a responsible state?

The Pakistani Army under General Musharraf charged the Metallurgist Dr A.Q. Khan of having proliferated nuclear weapon technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya and he confessed to it in public on national TV. Now he has been exonerated by the Pakistani judiciary and he accuses that the confession was obtained by coercion and the proliferation took place with the knowledge and approval of the Generals and one of them even made money out of it.

Pakistan refuses to allow access to A.Q.Khan by the International Atomic Energy Agency. With this unique record of nuclear irresponsibility, Pakistan expects that it should be treated on a par with India and its fairytales will be credible to the international community.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100227/edit.htm#3

 

 

 

 

 

 

India needs policy for space security
by Anil Lal Vats

India’s recent successful test of a 22-metre long heavy motor can be graded as number three in the world. In fact, India has gone ahead of China in this particular aspect. This achievement will give a phillip to India’s space programme and build capacity of placing heavier version of satellites weighing four tonnes or more in the orbit projected through a 200-tonne solid propellent.

Two S-200 will hug the core liquid stage of the GSLV Mark-111 rocket, which will itself be propelled by a cryogenic engine (which is a great achievement for India as the US-led technological denial regime had denied India this capability for more than two decades). The other country with these capabilities of two heavy motors is NASA’s booster rocket of its heavy space shuttle Ariane-5 space launch vehicles.

Heavier payloads of the category of four tonnes will give multi-role capabilities to the satellite and make their operations more versatile. This will enable more efficient utilisation for civil application (and even military option). Although, India’s space programmes are strictly based on civilian application on the Eisenhower Model of the 1950s.

However, with the recent Chinese test of ASAT Weapons, India may have to revise its policy to build defensive systems in space. Over and above this, in a future scenario where solar energy can be tapped through space, such heavy platforms can become very useful.

Further,thinking on the other end of the spectrum, can India in combination with China create an Asian alliance and form the Asian Space Station like the ISS? Can this big Idea become feasible, to prove that the 21st century is Asia’s century?

Militarily speaking, these heavy satellites in combination with nano or microsatellites can become a deadly military configuration. These duel use satellites will usher space power groupings akin to the existing global nuclear order. In other words, if India has to stay as an influencing power in future, then it will have to showcase its space-based capabilities, which in a way is bound to become the power index.

Yesterday’s nuclear P-5 s are bound to transcend to similar space power groupings like S-6 or 8. Latest reports of an EMP threat from space are yet another area of worry and that too from non-state actors. There are other many weapon system, which may take shape. All these will require bigger payloads satellite and India can build on these technological successes. But this mandates a space security blue print of growth and India is already late in formulating one so as to enable cost-effective duel-use application.

Here one can quote the pioneering work done by the IDSA-Pugwash Committee Report ,which was published about a year back and which has laid out some concrete recommendations, which need urgent attention by the government. The recommendations state that there is an urgent need for India to formulate a space security policy with elements of creating an institutional structure for its implementation.

The space policy should include the requirements of the defence services and civil agencies like broadcasting services, meteorology etc. The aspect of R&D, space laws and commercial business development needs to be factored in. The government may consider setting up a “national space security command” to meet operational needs of various agencies. India needs to identify critical duel-use technologies and become self-reliant in them (technologies like sensors, satellite hardening, counter-space nano and micro-satellite, sub-orbital flights etc.) Human resources (10,000 scientists) have to be trained and thus the same be facilitated by the government.

In addition the government’s international negotiating strategy must be proactive and flexible. International cooperation on space issues should be given high priority as it builds the soft power of a nation. For instance, India should consider international cooperation with SAARC and other developing countries and give them benefits in space.

The end result of an assertive India in space will add to India’s comprehensive growth and power in the comity of nations as a responsible nation. The government and the media should take note of this urgent requirement.

The writer is a former fellow at the IDSA and has done a PhD in defence studies

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100227/edit.htm#5

 

 

 

 

 

More money for Defence hardware

BS Reporter /  February 27, 2010, 1:36 IST

 

Though defence expenditure is up almost 10%, it is still only 2.5% of GDP.

 

The Defence budget for 2010-11 was pegged at Rs 147,344 crore, up 8 per cent from the revised estimates of Rs 136,264 crore and four per cent from the budget estimates of Rs 141,703 crore in 2009-10. The armed forces will thus get around Rs 11,000 crore extra in 2010-11.

 

Of the allocation, Rs 60,000 crore would go for capital expenditure – purchase of equipment – by the three services: Army, Navy and Air Force.

 

The difference between last year’s budget estimates and revised estimates for capital expenditure was because the three services were unable to utilise the allocated amount, this was returned. This year, Rs 7,000 crore was returned unutilised by the three services. The budget estimate for capital expenditure for defence last year was Rs 54, 824 crore. The revised estimate was Rs 47, 824 crore.

 

The armed forces have long argued that with defence inflation upwards of 10 per cent, capital outlays have to increase by over 10 per cent annually. This has taken place this year, when the increase is close to 30 per cent.

 

This year, revenue expenditure for the three services went down marginally, because payments on account of the 6th Pay Commission need not be made. For all three services, the revenue expenditure – payments towards pay and allowances – amounted to Rs 87,344 crore in 2010-11. Although last year the budgeted amount was Rs 81,288 crore, this amount went up to Rs 88,440 crore in the revised estimates. As the payments have been made, the revenue expenditure is less this year.

 

Last year, the government had provided a steep hike of 34 per cent for the defence services, working out to an increase of Rs 36,103 crore. The allocation continues to hover at a little over 2.5 per cent of the gross domestic product, though there have been suggestions to increase it substantially in view of the security situation. Most of India's neighbours allocate a higher proportion of GDP to defence.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/more-money-for-defence-hardware/387000/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Different battle arenas for twin tanks
Arjun and Bhishma to coexist
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
Unlike the epic Mahabharata, the Indian Army’s lead tanks named after legendary warriors ‘Arjun’ and ‘Bhishma’ will coexist and will be deployed in different battle arenas in the future. At present, a “deployment” trials are being conducted in the deserts of Rajasthan, where 14 of the home-grown Arjun tanks face the Russian origin T-90 - christened Bhishma - by the Indian Army.

The Indian Army is likely to order more Arjun tanks rather than depend entirely on the Russian tanks, sources said. The chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Dr VK Saraswat, says: “We are expecting a repeat order of the Arjun tanks in the near future”.

Separately, sources said two more regiments - some 124 tanks - of the Arjun series are likely to be inducted. An announcement is likely after the “deployment” trials are over. Saraswat clarified the comparative evaluation referred to in media reports was nothing but a trial of the tank’s role. “It is a process to identify the role the tank will play and will not be comparative between the two tanks,” he added.

The Indian Army had ordered two regiments of the Arjun but had then showed reluctance to accept more. The trials will show the true picture. Commanders of the Indian Army, who in the past have been critical of the Arjun, have slowly come around and now say that the two tanks are of different classes and cannot be compared with each other.

The Arjun at 58.5-tonne is much heavier than the 46.5 tonne T-90. But with more powerful engines the Arjun moves faster than the T-90. It is ideal for deployment in the arid Rajasthan-Gujarat sector facing Pakistan.

The Arjun has better and latest systems on board. It has better transmission system than the T-90, accurate firepower while on the move. The Arjun has better thermal imaging capability, enabling it night vision.

The night vision capability of T-90 is of lower category. It malfunctions in the heat of Rajasthan, says an in-house input of the Indian Army. The Army plans to have 1,650 T-90s in the next few years. The production has been localised and the first tanks built in India rolled out a few months ago.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100228/main5.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kabul Attack
Prez receives victims’ bodies 
Karzai calls up PM, assures thorough probe
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
President Pratibha Patil received the bodies of Indians, who were killed in a terror attack in Kabul, here today. She also paid tributes to the victims and spoke to their relatives.

The President, who had arrived from Pune in the afternoon, just stayed on at the Palam airport’s technical area and waited for an hour for the IAF Boeing that was carrying the bodies to arrive from Kabul.

Originally, the plane, which was sent to Kabul this morning, was scheduled to return at around 3.30 pm. But it got delayed due to bad weather there and reached at around 6:30 pm. This was an hour after the President, who took an impromptu decision to stay on, landed.

Normally, the President, who is the supreme commander of the armed forces, does not receive bodies of terror attack victims. Patil paid homages to the victims, including two Army officers, an ITBP jawan, an MEA staffer, an engineer and a cultural artiste, at the technical area of the airport.

Separately, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai today called Prime MInister Manmohan Singh promised a full investigation into the attack. The PM asked Karzai to ensure security of Indian nationals in Afghanistan. The two leaders agreed to stay in touch with each other, a statement of the government said.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100228/nation.htm#1

 

 

 

 

 

Death scuttled Major’s marriage plan
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, February 27
His plan to tie the nuptial knot “after coming back from a foreign assignment” remained unfulfilled as yesterday’s strike by Talibans killed Major Dr Laishram Jotin Singh of the Indian Army’s Medical Corps along with five other compatriots in a Kabul locality.

Friends and relatives back in his home state Manipur were shocked at hearing the news of untimely death of Major Dr Jotin’s Singh, who hailed from Nambol in Bishnupur district of Manipur. Born to a middle-class family of L Markando Singh, an employee of the Agriculture Department in Manipur, the Jotin Singh was very popular among his classmates at Manipur Public School as well as the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal.

“We were classmates at Manipur Public School (MPS) as well as the RIMS. We passed out of MPS in 1990 and MBBS from the RIMS in 1996. Jotin then went to do a diploma course in sports medicine at Patiala. He was a soft-spoken person and used to crack jokes to keep everybody in good humour. Everybody used to like him. He was a good football player and a very sincere student throughout his career. It is a great personal loss for me,” said Dr Nelson, a batch mate of the slain Major.

Dr Nelson, who now serves as a doctor in the RIMS, said he met Major Jotin while he was posted with 57 Mountain Division of the Army at Agartala in Tripura. “During our last meeting at Agartala two years ago, Major Jotin told me that he would get married once he comes back from a foreign assignment,” Dr Nelson said.

 

 

 

MHA to focus on paramilitary infrastructure
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
The Home Ministry will focus sharply on building infrastructure for central paramilitary forces and the prestigious Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS). The government allocated a sum of Rs 37,136.07 crore for the Home Ministry as against Rs 33,809.86 crore in 2009-10, showing a hike of 10 per cent or Rs 3327 crore hike. A major chunk - Rs 29,940 crore - will go to central forces that are involved in internal security duties as well as policing the senstive borders with China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

A provision of Rs 444 crore has been made for a housing project for Central paramilitary forces. Another 875 crore have been set aside for creating buildings for the central paramilitray forces. This takes away a major portion of the Rs 3327 crore hike. Notably the proposals for Intelligence Bureau include Rs 15 crore under the plan outlay, while another Rs 764.37 under the non-plan outlay. The budgetary provisions come up to Rs 779.37 crore which is 15.14 per cent less compared to Rs 918.03 crore in the last fiscal.

A special proposal of recruiting 2,000 youth belonging to Jammu and Kashmir to the five central para military forces-CRPF, BSF, ITBP, SSB and CISF-has been cleared. The Special protection Group which is responsible for security of VVIPS has been given Rs 252 crore up from Rs 211 crore last year. An amount of Rs 1,975.82 crore has been set aside for providing assistance to the states for security-related expenditures.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100228/nation.htm#4

 

 

 

 

 

Trip to Indian defense academy bring thought-provoking discussions on Asian security

Makoto Iokibe (Mainichi)

Makoto Iokibe (Mainichi)

 

I visited India for the first time just recently to speak at the Asian Security Conference, which is held annually by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), a think tank based in New Delhi.

 

Whenever I am invited to visit a foreign country, I take the opportunity to meet with officials at military academies. On my most recent trip, I paid a visit to India's National Defence Academy -- located 250 kilometers southeast of Mumbai on the outskirts of Pune City -- with Professor Fumio Ota, who is in charge of international exchange at the National Defense Academy of Japan (NDA).

 

Traditionally, countries with military academies kept separate schools for army and navy training. Japan and India were the first to establish integrated military academies after World War II. Today, such countries as Canada, Australia, Singapore and the Netherlands are moving toward a similar set-up.

 

I have been impressed by the environment and facilities of all the military academies I've visited abroad. I am proud, too, of our campus environment at scenic Obaradai Hill overlooking the ocean beyond Kannonzaki, and the education we offer at the NDA.

 

But my visit to the academy in India -- established under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first post-independence prime minister of India -- was mind-blowing. With 50 times the area of our school, the campus was set up like a planned city with regal architecture built to match the vast natural environment. Land-based, off-shore, and aviation training can all be conducted on campus in its mountains and forests, lake and bay, and airport, respectively.

 

We have 70 students from other Asian countries studying, training and living together at the NDA. But surprisingly enough, none of these students are from China or India. So on my visit to Pune, Indian National Defence Academy administrators and I agreed to mutually extend invitations to international conferences that we host, and to discuss a possible semester-long cadet exchange program.

 

Back at the international conference in New Delhi, I got the impression that up-and-coming India is highly proactive on the intellectual-exchange front. With eloquent speakers from such countries as the U.S., China, Russia, and the U.K., the conference buzzed with energy. Apparently, this was not the case a few years back. It was clear that the parallel rise of China and India was creating the excitement.

 

China and India, who are continuing to grow at a rapid pace, recorded an exceptional 8 percent growth during last year's worldwide economic crisis, mostly through domestic consumption. As is widely known, China's GDP is on its way to surpassing that of Japan, which it now matches. India's is now about one-fourth of that of Japan and China. That may not seem like much, but the figure is now greater than those of Australia and South Korea, meaning that India has the third largest GDP in Asia and is still growing.

 

The conference debated scenarios for Asia in 2030. All the speakers agreed that China and India will be the main actors in Asia 20 years from now. Some predicted a bipolar regime in Asia between superpowers China and India, while others argued that China will become the dominant superpower. A major point of contention among discussants became whether the world at that point would lean toward antagonistic power politics or a cooperative interdependence. Warnings against a hegemonic power structure were commonly voiced during discussions about China. While Japan expressed concern over China's military expansion -- which is outpacing the country's economic growth, India expressed even more unease. China obtains 70 percent of the fuel it consumes through the Indian Ocean, but is trying to secure more fuel rights by promoting and cooperating in coastal development in surrounding areas such as Myanmar, Cocos Island, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. This effort is causing alarm in the region.

 

It goes without saying that there will be other major Asian actors besides China and India; I spoke about Japan's role in Asian security, while a Russian professor touched upon a trilateral order involving China, India and Russia. But the main focus was on the issue of U.S. presence. Hegemonic, bilateral and trilateral scenarios all exclude U.S. involvement. But what became clear through our discussions was that the absence of the U.S. was something for which not one of the conference participants wished.

 

Princeton University professor Aaron Friedberg offered four different scenarios in which the U.S. remains a major actor: U.S. hegemony (out of the question); joint control by the U.S. and China (difficult, because of conflicting interests and mutual distrust); trilateral U.S.-China-India order (trilateral orders are usually unstable); and a dual-group order in which the U.S. and China would lead the maritime nations (Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, etc.) and the continental nations (North Korea, Central Asia, Pakistan, Myanmar, etc.).

 

IDS associate fellow Anamrata Goswami suggested that both antagonistic and cooperative futures were possible, depending on whether China becomes a responsible actor or is driven to nationalism, hegemonism, and the use of force to claim control over Taiwan.

 

Meanwhile, Princeton University professor G. John Ikenberry pointed out the main features of the transformations taking place in Asia, such as the rise of China and India and the normalization of Japan (the latter supported by the participation of Japan's Self-Defense Forces in activities abroad in the 20 years since the Cold War ended). He argued that the U.S. should remain in Asia through various means including the Japan-U.S. alliance and participation in regional talks to ensure Asian stability.

 

Our discussions in India turned out to be far more thought-provoking and stimulating than I had expected. (By Makoto Iokibe, president of the National Defense Academy of Japan)

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/news/20100227p2a00m0na013000c.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 26 February 2010

From Today's Papers - 26 Feb 2010






Indo-Pak talks end without much headway
New Delhi says talks first step to rebuild trust
n Issue of Saeed’s arrest comes up
n Islamabad raises Balochistan
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service
India on Thursday conveyed to Pakistan its concern over the beheading of Sikhs in its North West Province and asked Islamabad to protect religious minorities in Pakistan. The beheading of two Sikhs by the Taliban was raised by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao at the talks. “We expressed our grave concern over the beheading of Sikhs and asked for action against those responsible for the crime. It is the duty of the Pakistan Government to protect all religious minorities in the country. The beheading of Sikhs has outraged the people in India with various Sikh organisations holding protest rallies and asking the government to take up the matter with Pakistan,” Nirupama said.
Step in right direction: US
Washington: The US today described resumption of Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan as an "important step" in the right direction as it appreciated the both the countries for not succumbing to terrorist game plan.
Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs PJ Crowley commended the leadership of both countries for going ahead with the talks at the highest level after the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, despite some recent effort by terrorist groups to derail the process. The US favours the resumption of "direct talks" between India and Pakistan and "encourages" them to proceed with the dialogue as it is in their mutual interest, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said. — PTI
New Delhi, February 25
A breakthrough eluded India and Pakistan at the Foreign Secretary-level talks with New Delhi rejecting Islamabad’s plea for the resumption of the composite dialogue process (CDP) and handing over three fresh dossiers to the neighbouring country linking elements in Pakistan, including JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, with terrorist activities on the Indian soil.
At the first official dialogue between the two countries after a 14-month hiatus, India focused on terrorism emanating from the Pakistani territory, while Pakistan raised the Kashmir, water and Balochistan issues. Sources in the Indian establishment asserted that 85 per cent of the discussion centered around the issue of terrorism. The sources said it was obvious from the tone and tenor of the Pakistani delegation that it was getting instructions from the Pakistan Army. “While we get our brief from the democratic government, the Pakistanis get briefing from the men in khaki.’’ The three-hour talks, being seen by diplomatic observers more as an exercise in scoring brownie points by the two sides, ended with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir announcing at separate press briefings that they would remain in touch and continue endeavours to restore trust in the relationship.
However, it was quite clear from the statements of the two top diplomats that they would have to cover a lot of distance in putting the peace process between the two neighbours back on track.
To Pakistan’s demand for reviving the CDS, Nirupama told her opposite number that India certainly did not discount the achievements of the CDS that was conducted from January 2004-2007. However, the time was not ripe for it. “We have to create a climate of trust and confidence and adopt a graduated step-by-step approach to reach that stage,” she said. She said India had expressed disappointment at the lack of sufficient prosecuting action on the information provided about the complicity of Pakistan-based individuals and organisations in the Mumbai terror attacks.
“While acknowledging the steps taken by Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai terror attack to book, I pointed out that these did not go far enough to unravel the full conspiracy behind the Mumbai attacks and to award exemplary punishment to the culprits,” she told the media after the three-hour talks at the Hyderabad House. She said that Pakistan had to take “expeditious” action on the investigations, “including by following up on the leads that have emerged following the arrest of David Coleman Headley and Tahawuur Hussain Rana in the USA”. Headley and Rana have been accused of being part of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and taking part in the planning of the Mumbai terror attacks.
The Indian Foreign Secretary said three dossiers had been handed over to the Pakistani delegation asking it to take action against terrorists on its soil. She made specific reference to the February 5 rallies, when these organisations openly talked about terror acts against India. Nirupama made specific reference to the February 5 rallies, when these organisations openly talked about terror acts against India.
On the Balochistan issue, Nirupama firmly rejected Pakistan’s charge that India was fuelling unrest there. New Delhi had never interefered in the internal affairs of any country. India also dismissed the Islamabad’s concern expressed that it was depriving Pakistan of water by making dams and said the Indus water treaty had stood the test of time to settle differences between the two nations on water sharing issues.
Pakistan did raise, what it calls the core issue of Kashmir, and India reiterated its position that the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is an integral part of India.
Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir acknowledged that terrorism posed a serious threat to the region, more to his country. He said Pakistan was in the forefront of the war against terrorism. India, which for years had been describing Pakistan as the epicentre of terrorism, needs to revisit this phrase in the context of Pakistan, he added. He said Pakistan favoured resumption of the CDP but was not desperate in that regard. New Delhi should stop making “unfair and unreasonable” demands. Islamabad was doing all that could to bring to justice those alleged to be behind the Mumbai attacks. However, the due process of law was to be followed in the matter.
He said India had given to Pakistan a dossier on Hafiz Saeed earlier, which was examined by the competent authority in Pakistan. The dossier, however, turned out to be more of literature than evidence of his complicity in the attacks in India.





Grieve not for martyred defenders of faith

Chitranjan Sawant

Thu, Feb 25, 2010 10:22:29 IST

HOW ELSE can a man die better, Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers, And temples of his goods.

This indeed is a grand morale booster of the men in uniform who go to the frontline to fight against devils working for doom of democracy and defend the democratic values of life. In any case one day or the other, every soul that enters a body to do duty in this world is bound to leave the old body and be born again to carry on the cycle of birth and death.
SALUTE THE THOUSAND

In Afghanistan one thousand Americans have sacrificed their lives at the altar of freedom and faith. They are Defenders of the Faith. The values of life that we cherish as free people and the values of life that are under attack of Al Qaida and the Islamist terrorists called the Taliban, those values have to be defended, come what may. Defending our democratic way of life the Thousand soldiers that have sacrificed themselves in Afghanistan will be remembered by a grateful people for ever.

War is a war.

The experienced soldiers and their families know that when there is a clash of cultures, there is bound to be a clash of arms. When two armies believing in two different sets of cultures, they fight for their own faiths, in that fight some lives would be lost. The history of Man is full of Battles that were fought when Peace overtures failed. The history always repeats itself. The History of Man is repeating itself now. When negotiations fail, scores are settled through battles. It has been going on for many millenia and will go on for many more. Those who win, they taste the fruits of victory, those who perish in batle, they enter the Heaven. When the deed of the dead are eulogised, it is like entering

Heaven for him.

Yogeshwar Shri Krishna, a great leader, thinker and strategist exhorted his people that they must bear arms and use them to slay the enemy when a war to defend the Dharma, our values of life, is inevitable. A Man must protect and defend the Dahrma or the Faith. Sacrificing one's life for the cause of the country is our Dharma. Those who become martyrs are respected by the survivors. The surviving kith and kin must not grieve for the loved ones who are dead and departed. A remembrance Day for the martyrs will inspire the new generation to emulate the forebears. So grieve not for the THOUSAND who sacrificed themselves for a noble cause. Let the posterity remember them and draw inspiration from them. 

THE FINAL WORD

The fallen son of the brave in the battlefield sent a word to the loved ones through surviving brothers-in-arms :

WHEN YOU GO HOME
TELL THEM OF US
AND SAY
FOR THEIR TOMORROW
WE GAVE OUR TODAY.

These memorable words of the final message to loved ones sent by the martyrs are inscribed in the cenotaph in Kohime in India and are recalled time and again by soldiers,sailors and airman to draw inspiration and buttress self confidence in the battlefield.
May I say to the Peaceniks that they should not lower the guard when a battle is imminent, they should not denigrate the dead and the departed and must not look down upon a war as a means of solving the problems.Please remember, when Peace fails, War begins. Let us prepare for war to usher in Peace.




New Delhi, February 25
Lt Gen P K Rath, former commander of 33 Corps, today withdrew petition against his court martial in the Sukna land scam from the Armed Forces Tribunal here.
Giving reasons for the move, Rath's counsel Ajit K Singh said his client withdrew the petition as the tribunal had already ordered reconvening of the Court of Inquiry (COI) in the case allowing Lt Gen (retd) Avadesh Prakash, former Military Secretary, to cross examine six witnesses.
“During the COI and cross-examination by Prakash, we will also get the opportunity to present our side. So, we will wait for the outcome of the COI and then take further decision,” he said.
Asked if the reconvening of the COI would delay court martial proceedings against him also, he said: “Nothing can proceed until the COI is over as we are also part of it.”
Rath's petition in the Delhi High Court, in which he had contended that he had been singled out in the case and the “offence” against him had been “prejudged”, was dismissed on jurisdiction issue earlier this month. Thereafter, he had moved to the Principal Bench of the AFT here.
The Eastern Command, headed by Army Chief-designate Lt Gen VK Singh, had initiated the COI against Gen Rath after the Cabinet Committee of Appointments had approved his elevation as Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Rath said in his petition.
Rath, along with Lt Gen Prakash, is facing court martial in the case that relates to no objection certificate being given by the Army to a private realtor to construct an educational institution on a 71-acre plot adjacent to Sukna military base in Darjeeling. — PTI






India names serving Pakistani army officer in 26/11
NDTV Correspondent, Thursday February 25, 2010, New Delhi

A serving Pakistani army officer has been accused of involvement in the 26/11 attacks in a dossier handed over by India to Pakistan on Thursday. The officer is referred to as Major Iqbal, a pseudonym, according to sources.

India gave Pakistan three new dossiers at a meeting of the  Foreign Secretaries for India and Pakistan. The meeting lasted for an hour and a half in New Delhi. Sources describe the meeting as "constructive and useful." (Read: Highlights of Indo-Pak talks)

The first dossier focuses entirely on the trial and investigation related to 26/11.  India has named 8 people, including Major Iqbal and Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). India wants Pakistan to take action against these men and then hand them over to India.

Sources say 'Major Iqbal' is not the person referred to as 'Major General Sahib' in the phone conversations between the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and their handlers.

The role of 'Major Iqbal' is believed to have emerged in the interrogation by the FBO of US citizen David Coleman Headley, arrested in Chicago in September last year. (Read: FBI shares details on Headley's recces across India)

The second dossier is on Ilyas Kashmiri who served as a guru for David Headley, accused of being one of the major architects of 26/11. Headley visited India several times between 2006 and 2009, and surveyed the four locations targeted in the Mumbai attacks. Headley was arrested in Chicago in September, along with Tahawwur Rana. Both men have been formally accused of planning and executing 26/11.

Emails intercepted by the FBI show that Headley reported to Ilyas Kashmiri, believed to be a commander of the Al Qaida, and a top operative of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). After the Pune blast, Kashmiri sent an email to a Pakistani website warning foreigners not to travel to India for the Hockey World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.

The third dossier says Pakistan is providing sanctuary to militants of the Indian Mujahideen and Khalistani supporters. India suspects that the blast in Pune earlier this month, which left at least 15 people dead, was a joint operation of the Indian Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Toiba. (Read: Chidambaram 'not optimistic' | Transcript)

Addressing the media after the meeting, India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said, of the meeting, "Our aims were modest." She added that India approached the talks with an "open mind but fully conscious of limitations imposed by large trust deficit between the two countries."

At the talks, India stressed that terrorism emanating from Pakistan has to end. Rao said she told the Pakistani Foreign Secretary, "The steps taken by Pakistan so far in fighting terrorism do not go far enough in dealing with 26/11 suspects." She said that India asked Pakistan to follow up urgently on leads on those involved with the 26/11 attacks, particularly after the arrests of Tahawwur Rana and David Headley.

Rao said that the Indian government also shared its objection over leaders of terrorist groups like the Jamaat-u-Dawa (JuD) holding public rallies in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir earlier this month, where they "openly incited violence against India."

Pakistan has also been asked to investigate the  groups that took responsibility for the  Pune blast. (Read: Pakistan blames 'Indian networks' for 26/11)




US asks India to raise defence FDI cap to 49%
Lalit K Jha/PTI / Washington February 25, 2010, 14:20 IST

Buoyed by its armament majors securing multi-billion contracts, US has asked India to raise its cap on foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence sector to 49 per cent from existing 26 per cent.

Making a pitch for this, the Obama Administration also wants India to undertake more sweeping reforms to attract new investments, saying this will propel New Delhi to a higher growth rate.

"Reforms to date have made Indian companies leaders in areas such as IT, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and now increasingly, in manufacturing as well as in clean energy. We hope India will seize the opportunity to undertake new reforms that will both attract new investment and propel higher growth," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake has said.

He was more particular on opening up of the defence sector, saying, "we are urging the Indian government to raise the cap on foreign equity in Indian defence firms from 26 per cent to 49 per cent to provide more opportunities for US companies interested in defence sales in India."

His comments at the Washington International Business Council meeting come as US defence majors Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other firms have bagged almost all the major Indian armed forces contracts worth more than $10 billion.

These includes sale of Hercules C-130 J transport aircraft and Boeing P-8A maritime reconnaissance aircraft. US companies are in strong contention for sale of next generation fighter aircraft to the Indian airforce.

Noting that the US recently had some important sales to India, Blake said there are significant new sales on the horizon, up to $18 billion worth of contracts, for which American companies are competing.

Calling India as a rising global power, soon to be the world's most populous country, with a trillion dollar-plus economy, Blake said it is a model of a tolerant pluralistic society in the region. "And it is a country increasingly comfortable with working with the United States," Blake said.

In July last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited India and launched a Strategic Dialogue which called for increased collaboration in a number of areas that fall under five pillars: strategic cooperation; energy and climate change; education and development; economics, trade and agriculture; and science, technology, health and innovation.

In November, President Barack Obama hosted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the first state visit of his Presidency, calling India an "indispensable" nation.

President Obama has also pledged to visit India in 2010, further underscoring the importance of India to the United States, he said. The State Department official said the strength of India's economy makes it the powerhouse of South and Central Asian regional growth.

"The Indian economy has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world since 2003, averaging 8 to 9 per cent growth in recent years... India's economy grew about 5.6 per cent in 2009, and is expected to grow 7.7 per cent this year. If India can sustain its economic reforms, it has the potential to sustain close to double digit growth rates for many years to come," Blake said.

One sign of India's prospering internal market is its growing middle class which now numbers about 300 million and is expected to double over the next 20 years to reach 600 million. To put that into perspective, that's roughly the size of the total population of the European Union right now, he noted.

As part of the US-India Strategic Dialogue, the US government is working with India to expand business opportunities, he said, adding the economics, trade, and agriculture pillar of the Dialogue is particularly important for business.

"Our trade has doubled just in the last five years. US exports to India were more than $28 billion in 2008. We expect that growth to continue into the foreseeable future as India's middle class continues to grow and as India's economy continues to open up. US investment also has grown very quickly, and now totals more than $16 billion," he said.

"The strategic cooperation pillar also is expected to offer numerous business opportunities. Last year, our two governments agreed on an end-use monitoring arrangement that will help the process of technology transfer between our two countries, and I think there's scope for further progress in that area," Blake said.






Navy Chief, Defence Secretary kick start 'TROPEX 10'
Thursday, February 25, 2010,16:41 [IST]
Kolkata, Feb 25 (ANI): Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma along with Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar embarked the aircraft carrier INS Viraat operating on the eastern seaboard to kick start the first phase of 'TROPEX 10'.

The exercise involves the participation of most major combatants of the Indian Navy, as also participation of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Coast Guard.


Just as the combination of the two fleets and the elements of the sister services contribute to synergy, the presence of the Defence Secretary with the CNS is indicative of the close coordination and synergy of the Indian Navy and the Ministry of Defence, which is the key to enhancing effectiveness at the "business end" of the Navy.

The two Western and Eastern fleets of the Indian Navy are presently carrying out a Joint Work Up after which they will proceed for a 'mock battle' to test their tactical skills and operational readiness.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Airborne Early Warning (AEW) helicopters of the Indian Navy, Air-to-Air Refueller, Jaguars and SU 30 of the IAF and advanced missile systems have also been deployed. Missile, torpedo and gun firings have also been conducted.

Several operational concepts, which have earlier been 'war-gamed' as part of a series of 'Table-Top Exercises' {these are played on paper, in the various Maritime Warfare Centres (MWCs) of the Navy}, are now being practically exercised at sea.

Lessons learnt during the exercise will be used to further develop the Navy's tactical and operational doctrines. Observers from Army and Air Force have also embarked various participating ships to gain first -hand experience of Naval combat operations. Conduct of joint operations is one of the focused aims of the exercise.

Overall, the exercise is intended to thoroughly test the human and material endurance of the Navy, the efficacy of its operational and logistics plans and its combat effectiveness. (ANI)






Procedures violated in ordering my court martial: Avadesh Prakash
IANS, Feb 25, 2010, 09.38am IST
NEW DELHI: Lt. Gen. (retd) Avadesh Prakash, the former military secretary at army headquarters who has won a temporary reprieve against a court martial ordered against him, alleges that the Indian Army chief violated a long-standing military practice in recommending the action.

The army chief, Gen. Deepak Kapoor, had violated a rule in place since 1993 that clearly prohibits anyone in the army from changing an order of taking administrative action against an officer to disciplinary action, Prakash said in a TV interview.

The Armed Forces Tribunal on Monday ruled that there had been a "mockery of justice" by an army court of inquiry into the Sukna land scam in which Prakash was allegedly involved and gave the former military secretary two months to cross-examine the witnesses in the case.

The court of inquiry had indicted Prakash in December 2009 for using his position of authority to pressure the 33 Corps based in Sukna in West Bengal, including its chief Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath, to facilitate the transfer of the land in question to his family friend.

The Eastern Army Commander, Lt. Gen. V.K. Singh, who had ordered the court of inquiry, had recommended Prakash's court martial. The army chief initially reduced this to administrative action but then reversed it to disciplinary action, apparently under pressure from the defence ministry.





From Today's Papers - 25 Feb 2010






Trust deficit clouds Indo-Pak talks
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 24
Pessimism was palpable in both Indian and Pakistani camps on the eve of Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two countries with the two sides not hopeful of any breakthrough at the first official dialogue between them after more than 14 months.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir arrived here this evening at the head of a five-member delegation for a crucial meeting with his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao at 11 am tomorrow at the majestic Hyderabad House.
Ahead of the talks, Pakistan sought to again hijack the agenda by seeking discussions on all issues that have hamstrung relations between the two countries. India, however, asserted that the talks would focus on the issue of terrorism.
Sources in the Indian establishment said New Delhi was going into the talks with an open mind, fully conscious of the limitation imposed by the trust deficit after the Mumbai terror attacks. However, India was not prejudging the outcome of the talks.
The sources said that given the complexities involved, India would use the opportunity to clear the air as much as possible and seek to take a first step, even if small, towards opening the possibility of future dialogue.
In a clear indication of the approach the two sides would adopt at the talks, the sources said no joint statement was contemplated after the meeting tomorrow. The two sides will hold separate press briefings. The Pakistani delegation is also scheduled to call on External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon.
In a brief statement on his arrival, Bashir said he was happy to be back in India. “I have come here to bridge the differences. I am hopeful of a positive outcome.” However, it was his statement made in Islamabad before leaving for New Delhi that reflected Pakistan’s intention to raise issues like Kashmir and water at the talks. Bracketing the issue of terrorism with talks would be counter-productive since terrorism was an international issue and not an issue restricted to India and Pakistan, he said.
Foreign Minister Krishna set the tone for the meeting by explaining what India expected of Pakistan and making it clear that the talks did not amount to continuation of the composite dialogue process.
“The proposed talks will focus essentially on India’s core concerns regarding terrorism. It is the government’s persistently expressed position that it is necessary to have an environment free of terror or threat of terror if relations between the two countries are to move forward concretely and meaningfully,” he said in reply to a question in Parliament.





BSF ambush party comes under attack from Pakistan
NDTV Correspondent, Wednesday February 24, 2010, Srinagar

A Border Security Force (BSF) ambush party has come under attack in Samba sector at the international border in Jammu and Kashmir.

One BSF jawan has been injured in the firing being reported from the Pakistani side.

Sources tell NDTV that search operations have been launched and senior officers are on their way to the spot.

This comes ahead of the Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan in New Delhi on February 25.

Meanwhile, a Pakistan Foreign Office statement has said Islamabad hopes that talks with India would be meaningful.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir will be visiting New Delhi for a meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary, Nirupuma Rao on February 25, 2010.

Pakistan attaches considerable importance to this meeting, which it hopes will be productive and serve as a precursor to resumption of a meaningful and purposeful dialogue process.





Sopore encounter: Pride in the midst of grief
NDTV Correspondent, Wednesday February 24, 2010, Ghaziabad

Parents of Captain Devinder Singh Jassare are proud of the 26-year-old Army officer who was killed in a fierce encounter with Lashkar terrorists in Sopore on Tuesday.

Just two days before he died, he had shot down five militants in Sopore.

Captain Singh chose to enlist in the Army in December 2007, instead of a cushy career in the corporate world.

"I received a call from Srinagar that this has happened. All we can say is that we have lost everything. We have a daughter and a son but son is not there now. Our daughter is older and the son was younger. He was 26 years old. What can we say? We read that the encounter has ended now, in which two other soldiers have also lost their lives," said Bhupinder Singh, Captain Devinder Singh's father.

Terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir virtually trapped an elite special forces team and whisked away an Army Captain before killing him in Sopore on Tuesday.

In an encounter that ended after nearly 15 hours of fierce gunbattle, two Army jawans and five terrorists were also killed.

Apart from Captain Devinder Singh Jass, the other Armymen killed are Naik Selva Kumar and Paratrooper Imtiyaz Ahmad Thokar of 1 PARA. Paratrooper Imtiyaz belongs to the Shupiyan district of Kashmir.

The gun battle began at about 5:30 am on Tuesday. The police and the Army learnt about the militants hiding in a house and launched a joint operation.

The militants, however, were well-prepared for an assault.

The Army Captain led his team close to the house, only to be met by a rain of grenades. A jawan was killed and several troops were injured and the Captain was overpowered by militants and taken away into the house.

When a fellow officer called on the Captain's phone to offer safe passage for his release, the militants said: "We are ready to get killed. We've killed your Captain." They also refused to release the Captain's body.

It is believed that between four and six militants were hiding in three houses and firing at the forces. Sources say two militants had escaped after the initial shootout.

The forces denied that there was ever a hostage situation saying the Army Captain had been killed immediately after he was taken captive by the militants.

The officer killed belonged to Ghaziabad. The jawans were from Pulwama and Thanjavur. All thee were from 1 Para SF.




Sena Medal for 23 Armymen
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service
Sriganganagar, February 24
Havildar Saheb Singh of 65 Field Regiment was in charge of a mobile check-post at a bridge in Darrang district of Assam. He challenged a gang of three cyclists approaching the bridge, who in reply opened fire and fled.

Saheb Singh chased the terrorists and kileld one and injured another.In the firefight, he sustained a gunshot wound on his head to which he later succumbed. For his exemplary display of bravery of the highest order, he is being awarded Sena Medal for gallantry (posthumous).This was the citation that was read over at the investiture ceremony held at the local military station today, before Gyanawati Devi, widow of Havildar Saheb Singh received the medal from Lt Gen CKS Sabu, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South-Western Command.
On February 1, 2009, Major Punar Preet Singh Mann of 21 Rashtriya Rifles executed a raid on a hideout in a jungle at a height of 9,000 feet and killed two terrorists He was given the Sena Medal for displaying outstanding tactical acumen in adverse terrain.Havildar, who was among 23 Army personnel who were given the Sena Medal (gallantry), was part of the team inducted inside the Taj hotel, Others who were awarded the Sena Medal included Lt Col Devinder Chaudhary, Major Kamal Thapa, Major Kumar Abhijit Banerjee, Major Rajinder Kumar Saini, Capt Manish Sobti, Capt Aveg Goel, Naib Subedar Jaibag Singh, Havildar Vikram Singh Mehta, Havildar Mukesh Kumar, Havildar Punibor Dihingia, Havildar Santer Pal, Havildar Samandar Singh, Naik Kiran Dev Rawat, Lance Naik Rajeev Kumar, Lance Naik Dev Raj, Lance Naik Vijay Kumar Shan, Lance Naik Hira Bhai Shambhaji, Lance Naik Satish Kumar, Sepoy Chattar Pal Yadav, Sepoy Dusakho Nyekha.





Dialogue with Pakistan
Not talking is no option for India
by Maj-Gen Ashok K. Mehta (retd)
India will start talking to Pakistan 14 months after the Mumbai terrorist attack. The dilemma is that the dialogue process has not led to any outcome. Instead, the tempo of cross-border terrorism after an unprecedented hiatus is beginning to pick up through a refined strategy of bleeding India by a thousand cuts. Pakistan is both unwilling and unable to rein in terrorist groups targeting India. Even if Kashmir and other disputes are resolved, terror attacks and other insidious means to belittle India will continue.
Recalibration of India-Pakistan relations devoid of hostility can result only from engagement whereby the power balance in Pakistan is restructured in favour of the civilian government. This is a realistic view which advocates lowering of expectations on the terrorism front and shaping options and responses of threat mitigation and inflicting punishment. The challenge is preventing a mass casualty, a high-profile Mumbai-like attack.
Last month US Defence Secretary Robert Gates virtually predicted the Pune attack, warning that the Lashkar-e- Toiba (LeT) would launch a Mumbai-type attack to provoke an India-Pakistan conflict. While lauding India’s tolerance and patience, US leaders have always feared that an Indian military response would seriously undermine their war in Afghanistan.
The Director, US National Intelligence, Adm Dennis Blair, CIA Director Leon E Panetta, the Chairman, Joint JCOS, Adm Mike Mullen, National Security Adviser Gen James Jones, et al, (the list is endless) have testified before Congress, unanimous in their assessment that the LeT was not a direct threat just to India and the region but also to the US and its allies. Islamabad has been and will continue to nurse militant groups, its vital assets, both in the west and the east of the country, in the pursuit of strategic depth in Afghanistan and Kashmir.
US military commanders have failed to nudge Gen Ashfaque Pervez Kayani into launching military operations against these groups. For years, Delhi has been frustrated, pressing Islamabad to book LeT mentor Hafiz Saeed for masterminding attacks in India. Pakistanis are quick to remind us that if President Gen Pervez Musharraf could not act against Saeed, how could a weak civilian government do so? General Kayani will certainly not antagonise the LeT, a force multiplier against India’s conventional military superiority, by foolishly opening another front. The military establishment will not act against the LeT and other like-minded groups.
General Musharraf had made two unequivocal commitments in 2002 after the twin terrorist attacks which threatened to escalate into a nuclear exchange: Pakistan would not allow the use of its territory for attacks against India. He gave an undertaking to Deputy Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage that cross-border terrorism will end permanently, visibly, irreversibly and to the satisfaction of India. Despite these commitments, repeated twice more by General Musharraf and President Zardari, Mumbai (and Pune) happened. The charade of regurgitating the pledges for ending terrorism has ended.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said earlier this month before the Pune attack that “Pakistan cannot give a guarantee that another attack will not occur in India”. Moreover, “When we cannot stop attacks in our own country, how can we do in India”, he added. Delhi has done great disservice to the fight against terrorism by equating Pakistan as a victim of terrorism when all acts of violence and terror are sourced from within Pakistan while 90 per cent of violence in India is cross-border terrorism.
Pakistan Home Ministry sources have stated that in 85 suicide attacks this year, more than 2000 persons have been killed. Referring to the carnage, it was Dawn columnist Kamran Shafi who reminded the Pakistanis that “our own pets have started biting us”.
In the refined strategy for terrorism, the bark is louder than the bite. The US has prevailed over Pakistan’s military establishment in restraining the eastern jehadis for 14 months from mounting a mass casualty attack. Calibrated use of sub-optimal terrorist devices, outsourced to LeT- affiliated indigenous militant groups like the Indian Mujahideen and its offshoots, allows minimum tell-tale signs of maximum deniability.
A strange paradox exists in the dialogue-terrorism nexus. Pakistan has been seeking resumption of the composite dialogue process for months which India has stubbornly resisted. Just when Delhi had reluctantly relaxed its opposition to talks, terrorists under the control of the Pakistan military establishment triggered a sub-optimal IED to try to disrupt the dialogue process. This suggests that terrorist groups either enjoy strategic autonomy, which is unlikely, or that the military establishment is not on board with the civilian government over the peace process.
Given the large inventory of negatives surrounding the dialogue, what on earth is aimed to be achieved by the exercise of talking? All the conventional reasoning has been exhausted. It is no secret that the Indian initiative described as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s vision to strengthen the civilian government in Pakistan has come about with US prodding despite reservations among Dr Singh’s Cabinet members. His detractors have not forgotten the delinking of terror from dialogue at Sharm-el-Sheikh and the mention of Balochistan in the text of the joint statement.
The tacit delinking of terror from dialogue by India has a richer history. In 2005, President Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reaffirmed their resolve not to let terrorism interfere with the composite dialogue, calling the process irreversible. All this after the NDA government had assiduously sought to hold Pakistan to its pledges on ending cross-border terrorism. Frequent interruptions in the dialogue were caused not just by terrorists but also interlocutors themselves over the primacy of terrorism over Kashmir and vice versa. While India insisted that cross-border terrorism had to end first, for creating the right ambience for dialogue, Pakistan contended that progress on the other subjects of the composite dialogue was contingent upon progress on Kashmir. Hence no outcome.
This time around Delhi has nuanced the nature of talks, saying it is not a resumption of the composite dialogue (which is contingent upon the conviction of the Mumbai attackers) but a dialogue over terrorism-related issues. Whatever the Indian Foreign Office may say, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quraishi’s jubilation was evident. “They threatened to attack us after 26/11. Now India has come to us for talks. We never kneeled and bowed to their pressure.”
The Indian lobby says this is an opportunity to tell Pakistan clearly that our response to another Mumbai will be, in the words of Home Minister P. Chidambaram, “swift and decisive”, whatever that means.
The US Council for Foreign Relations in its latest report paradoxically argues that the “risk of terrorism increases if relations between India and Pakistan improve”. It adds that India will react militarily if it is clear that the attack was sourced and supported by Pakistan. Evidently, not talking to Pakistan is not an option. On the other hand, if you’re talking you can step back and stop talking, goes the argument. That obviously is the buffer between the next attack and a “swift and decisive response”.
For better or for worse, keeping the lines of communications open is the preferred option.





A two-front defence
Feb.25 : Statements by the Indian Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor, regarding India’s two-front strategy created an uproar in the Pakistan media and in that country’s strategic community. His earlier statement — about the possibility of a conventional war between nuclear weapons powers — also drew much flak.

The Pakistani media seems to be treating these statements as a virtual declaration of war against Pakistan. Interestingly, a liberal Pakistani journalist has found nothing wrong in them. Ayaz Amir, writing in the News, stated, “What did the Indian Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor, say that has us so upset? His reported remarks that India was modifying its military doctrine to include the possibility of a two-front war — that is against China and Pakistan — what is wrong with this? If an Indian Army Chief were not to envisage a two-front war and mull over the means of waging it, he would deserve to be sacked”. Amir’s voice is a lone one in Pakistan.
In 1950, the Chinese Army moved into Tibet. Despite the then cordial relations between India and China, Sardar Patel, in his letter dated November 17, 1950, to Jawaharlal Nehru, warned him of the danger that lurked in the north. Four weeks later, Sardar Patel died. Nehru chose to ignore his warning. He told General Cariappa, the then Army Chief, to focus on Pakistan and that he would deal with China. The Army worked on a one-front strategy which led to India suffering a humiliating defeat in 1962.

With a growing Sino-Pak nexus and the continuing hostility of these two countries towards India, a two-front strategy is imperative for the defence of India. During the 1965 Indo-Pak war, China gave us an open ultimatum. In 1971, we worked on a two-front strategy. The war in Bangladesh was deferred till climatic conditions ruled out a major Chinese offensive. Our defences in the Himalayas were kept in situ. The Indo-Soviet treaty of friendship kept China at bay. Thus the desperate pleadings of the beleaguered Pakistan Army in Bangladesh for Chinese intervention went unheeded. Given the above history and Pakistan’s ongoing proxy war, as also increasing Chinese belligerence, it would be an act of madness for India not to have a two-front strategy. In fact, after 26/11, we also need to focus on our coasts, which have now become a third front.
The other statement of Gen. Kapoor, that “a limited war under a nuclear overhang is still very much a possibility in the Indian subcontinent”, has also been disputed. The Kargil war underscored this. The rationale behind India and Pakistan having large armies for conventional war substantiates this possibility. However, the Pakistan Army Chief’s assertion of ruling out a limited war under a nuclear overhang fits in with Pakistan successfully pursuing its policy of nuclear blackmail. This has been providing a shield for Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism and terror attacks. Even in the wake of the two-front controversy, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has flexed Pakistan’s nuclear muscle, pointing out that they have missiles with longer ranges than what India possesses.
Gen. Kapoor’s statement on two-front strategy is perfectly legitimate but is being deliberately misrepresented in Pakistan to promote a war psychosis. The Pakistan government’s official spokesperson had asked the world to take due note of India’s intentions. Its foreign minister, S.M. Qureshi, had called the statement “absurd” and “irresponsible”. General Tariq Majid, Chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, called it outlandish, saying, “Leave alone China, Gen. Deepak Kapoor knows very well that the Indian Armed Forces cannot and what the Pakistan Armed Forces can pull it off militarily”. Gen. Kayani had talked of the Pakistan Army suitably dealing with “Indian military adventurism”. A defence analyst in Pakistan saw in Gen. Kapoor’s statement a shift in civil-military relations in India with the weight moving in favour of the military. Another enquired if Delhi was preventing a fourth battle of Panipat or instigating one.
While reactions in Pakistan have been hysterical, it is significant that there has been no reaction or comment from China. Every country needs a strategy to defend its frontiers in worst-case scenarios. If it had been stated that India was planning to force a two-front strategy on Pakistan, such a virulent reaction from Pakistan would be understandable. The war hysteria in Pakistan is being generated perhaps to find an excuse for not moving troops from Pakistan’s eastern front to pursue the war on terror with greater vigour on the Durand Line, or to get more aid from the US to improve its military strength against India. The second possibility seems to have worked. Pakistan’s long-standing demand for drones has now been conceded.
Gen. Kapoor has also been criticised for talking out of turn. But he discussed the two-front strategy in a closed-door military seminar which was leaked to the press. This has done no harm. After a retired Naval Chief’s public statement that India cannot match China in the Indian Ocean and a serving Air Chief’s concern about the Indian Air Force being one-third the size of the Chinese Air Force, it is good for the nation to know that the Army is capable of defending India with its two-front strategy.
India has never invaded any country nor coveted any foreign territory. Ashoka the Great propagated world peace, the likes of which was never attempted by any other ruler in the history of mankind. He did this from a position of military strength. After Independence, India tried to do so from a position of military weakness. This led to the debacle of 1962. The impregnability of the Himalayas, the invincibility of our Army and the infallibility of our foreign policy were shattered. Today, as never before, we need to promote peace from a position of strength.






Post-26/11, unmanned vehicles ignite interest
With rapid technology advancements robots are now cost-effective and highly accurate soldiers of war
Samanth Subramanian
New Delhi: Not very long ago, in the Afghan theatre of war, the US Army’s method of clearing caves of bombs was so low-tech that it was practically no-tech: A young soldier with a stick, a gun and a flashlight. “Oh, and he’d have a rope tied around his waist,” Joseph Dyer, a division president of iRobot Inc., says wryly. “So that, you know, if anything went wrong, they could haul him back out.”
In 2004, though, the soldier began to be taken out of the equation. That year, 162 robots were deployed to find and dispose of explosive devices, iRobot’s PackBot among them. It was the start of an unmanned battle thrust that reached its technological apogee in the targeted strikes of armed Predator drones. Last August, a drone strike killed Baitullah Mehsud, a Taliban leader in Pakistan; the drone’s images were so clear, according to one report, that they captured Mehsud’s intravenous drip, from a height of two miles (3.2km), as he rested on his terrace.
The publicity accorded to the US drones—as well as the realization, in hindsight, of how valuable robots could have been during the terrorist attacks of 26/11—ignited interest in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) at the 2010 Defexpo last week. At the previous Defexpo in 2008, one participant recalls, there were only two or three exhibitors talking about any unmanned vehicles at all. This year, however, scaled-down replicas of UAVs stood on pedestals in nearly every hall, and UGVs conducted demos for surprisingly well-informed visitors.
The philosophy of war, experts agree, is shifting rapidly. Robots, used until recently just to neutralize bombs, are now incorporated into infantry. Last year, in his book Wired for War, a defence scholar Peter Singer outlined a future in which “our wars are…handed over to machines”. Even with present-day technology, casualty rates can be brought down significantly. “We hear a statistic like: 52% of the US Army’s deaths are in the first contact with the enemy,” Dyer says. “And we think: What a great job for robots!”
In front of Dyer’s stall, two of his robots do their thing. The PackBot, which looks like an overhead projector on steroids, has an arm that extends out many feet, ending in a grip that can handle and dismantle bombs. The Negotiator, a flat creature with a glass dome full of circuitry, is a reconnaissance robot that can crawl on its treads into suspicious rooms and send back images. “It would have been ideal for 26/11, in the hotels,” says Guptha Sreekantha, iRobot’s managing director in India.
The National Security Guard is currently testing a PackBot model out, Dyer says. He is one of several exhibitors at the Defexpo to claim that the Indian defence forces have expressed keen interest in unmanned vehicles, a trend that M.M. Pallam Raju, the Union minister of state for defence, confirms. “Our services and intelligence agencies have suddenly realized the value of (UAVs and UGVs),” Raju said on the sidelines of Defexpo.
Analysts such as Bharat Verma, a retired captain and the editor of the Indian Defence Review, cite the same internal and external uses of UAVs that Raju does. “That kind of intelligence is crucial,” Verma says. “We can look inside enemy territory and even see a guy drinking a glass of milk in his house.”
None of the unmanned vehicles being pitched to India is armed, mostly because such sales are restricted by the governments of these foreign manufacturers. Instead, the UAVs at Defexpo were purely surveillance machines.
Sepp Dabringer, Schiebel’s area manager for India, sits next to what he calls his “camcopter”—a white helicopter, not quite as long as a Tata Nano, capable of flying for eight hours within a 50km-radius and returning to land on any flat surface. “We’ve sold 130 of these to 15 countries in the last four years,” Dabringer says. “The German and French navies have bought it, and Boeing sources it from us, paints its name on it, and sells it to the US forces.” Recently, the Indian Navy tested Schiebel’s camcopter, and Dabringer is sounding out the Border Security Force, for whom he insists it is ideal.
More tireless than rotor-winged aircraft such as the camcopter are fixed-wing UAVs, of which the Predator drone is an example. The Defence Research and Development Organisation is, at present, developing its own fixed-wing UAV, the Rustom. The first flight of the Rustom prototype, last November, did not go well; it crashed, after a “misjudgement of altitude”, in an airfield near Hosur, Tamil Nadu.
Elsewhere in the world, UAV development has progressed “in leaps and bounds”, says Woolf Gross, a corporate director at Northrop Grumman Corp. Prices have dropped —into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for UAVs like the camcopter—and the capacity of technology has improved. With Northrop Grumman’s Fire Scout, a rotor-wing UAV, “we could increase the payload from 250 pounds (112.5kg) to 600 pounds just by adding a fourth rotor blade”, he says.
Gross calls the growth of the UAV market over the last five years “exponential”, and like other firms, he admits that Northrop Grumman’s marketing efforts in India accelerated after 26/11. The option to take personnel out of danger is, he says, attractive, but it is only a secondary driving force. The primary appeal of UAVs is their sheer efficacy.
The ease of waging such war has invited some criticism. In his book, Singer worries that such devices can give the impression that war is “costless”.
Dyer of iRobot, however, doesn’t think an army’s human presence can ever be entirely replaced on the battlefield. “In economic terms, this is just a classic technology-for-labour trade,” he says. There are still plenty of tasks robots cannot perform in the near future, “but they can definitely put distances between our soldiers and harm’s way”.




* Land sharks bid to grab Rs 800 cr army land?


STAFF WRITER 21:49 HRS IST

Mumbai, Feb 23 (PTI) Army today alleged that revenue records that had shown a 69-acre land in Pune belonging to military since 1918, were changed in 2008 in favour of certain individuals.

"Survey No 233A of Lohegaon village, Pune is a plot of 69 acres of defence land. This land has been in possession of army since 1920s and the land has been occupied by army units where army has carried out training, plantation, construction of a small temple, a green house and boundary wall," a defence press release said.

"The revenue records clearly show this as military land. In 2008, portion of this land was acquired by the Pune Municipal Corporation for road widening project by paying Rs 4.45 crore to the government of India.





General Deepak Kapoor calls for tie ups with global arms majors
Tuesday, February 23, 2010,7:20 [IST]

New Delhi, Feb 23 (ANI): Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor has said that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) can collaborate with global arms majors to boost indigenous defence industry.

"DRDO can continue to undertake major projects and collaborate with global majors in this field without compromising on security and vital national interest. Global collaboration in building our capability and state-of-art technologies must be aimed towards achieving self-reliance in defence production," said Kapoor, while speaking at the inaugural function of the 34th three-day DRDO Directors' Conference in New Delhi.

He also cautioned that though collaboration allows access to greater resources and expertise, the aspect of Information Security has to be taken care of.
He said that there is a need to increase the country's R and D investment, which is today only 0.9 per cent of our GDP.
General Kapoor also mentioned that world over private sector has proved to be reliable partner in the area of defence production. Hence, the private sector R and D of our country should be now leveraged for defence applications through the changes brought about in Defence Procurement Procedures.
Defence Minister A K Antony lauded the DRDO for pioneering indigenous defence industry despite technology denial regime.

"DRDO has also played a key role in the launch of INS Arihant, India's first nuclear powered submarine. The successful test of the Interceptor missile in endo and exo atmospheric roles has enhanced India's capability in Ballistic Missile Defence Capability. The development of indigenous surface-to-air missile system Akash and its offshoots of Weapon Locating Radar and 3D surveillance radar will boost our defence preparedness," said Antony.

Last week, Antony had said that India is committed to modernisation of armed forces and country's quest for self-reliance in defence underlines the importance of collaboration of various sectors.

India is palnning to spend more than 50 billion dollars over the next five years to modernise its weapon systems, after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks revealed glaring loopholes in the security system. (ANI)





Man posing as army officer held in Indore
A man who approached the police for some work posing as an Indian Army Major has been arrested in Indore and is being interrogated for terror links, officials said Monday.

‘Dharmendra Soni, a middle-aged man, was arrested late Sunday when he was trying to approach some top cops. As the officials became suspicious, his credential were examined,’ Indore Additional Superintendent of Police (Intelligence) Rajesh Singh Chandel said.

Soni earlier telephoned Inspector General (IG) of Police Sanjay Rana introducing himself as a Major in the army intelligence department. He then came in person to the IG’s office carrying a letter on official army letterhead.

Rana became suspicious and directed Superintendent of Police (East) Makrand Deuskar to investigate his credentials.

Intelligence and crime branch officials visited his house in plain clothes and found his photograph in uniform, some seals, letterheads and a captain’s uniform.

Soni has been picked up for questioning and is being interrogated for terror links by Additional Superintendent of Police (Crime) Arvind Tiwari, after which he would be handed over to Mhow military intelligence.

According to police, Soni was a craftsman in the EME unit in Himachal Pradesh from 2001 to 2004. ‘It is, however, not clear whether he is still with the army,’ a police officer said.





 

Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal