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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

From Today's Papers - 30 Mar 2010







MoD report slams Pak, cautious on China
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  Defence annual report      * Expresses concern at the worsening situation in Pakistan     * Says it was “conscious of China’s rapid military modernisation in Tibet     * Underlines India’s move to equip the Indian Army with the BrahMos missile  New Delhi, March 29 Indian Defence Ministry today expressed concern at the worsening situation in Pakistan, calling terrorism a “threat to Pakistan and to the region”. India has exercised exemplary restraint in the face of the gravest provocation, said the ministry as it released the excerpts of its Annual report for the year 2009-10 here this evening.  On the other hand, the ministry treaded the middle path on China saying, it was “conscious and alert” of China’s rapid military modernisation in the Tibet region bordering India. “Necessary steps” have been taken to upgrade infrastructure and force levels …along the northern borders.  Separately, the report underlined India’s move to equip two regiments of the Indian Army with the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos and also the setting up of an Integrated Space Cell (ISC) to act as the nodal point for all space-related activities of the three Services. The DRDO will shortly conduct the 4th flight test of the long range Agni - III missile, capable of carrying a 1500 kg war head, informed the ministry.  Slamming Pakistan, it said India was concerned with the worsening security situation inside Pakistan as it is with the continuing infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir. The incidents of terrorism within Pakistan targeting the security establishment and senior military personnel underlined the serious threat to Pakistan itself and to the region. Continued infiltrations and presence of terrorist camps across the border, demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its actions against terrorists.  Infiltration attempts continued in the year. As many as 33 infiltration bids were foiled. “Pakistan needs to take effective steps to address India’s concern on terrorism,” it said while adding that dialogue with Pakistan was possible only in an environment free of terror or threat of terror.  On China, the regular mechanism for exchanges in the military sphere has been established through the ongoing confidence-building measures between the armed forces of both countries and other military interactions.






No major troop withdrawal, only relocation in J&K: Army
Press Trust of India, Monday March 29, 2010, Jammu  Contradicting the government's announcement that 35,000 troops were sent out of the border state, the Army on Monday said personnel were only relocated as per security demands and that there was no major pullout.  "There is no major troop pullout or withdrawal in the state. There have been redeployments and relocations of troops as per the security assessment from time to time," Brigadier General Staff (BGS), 16 Corps, Brig Gurdeep Singh told reporters in reply to a question about troop withdrawal.  Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had told the Assembly last week that 35,000 troops were withdrawn, their camps closed and they were sent out of the state after NC-Congress coalition came to power.  Brig Singh said, "Troop relocation and redeployment is a continuous process and it is being undertaken from time to time. Troops are deployed as per security needs."       About the proposed surrender policy, he said "the Army is prepared to take up anything. The government is in the process of formulating such a policy.  "We had read about this (surrender policy). The government while formulating this policy would automatically take into consideration the safeguards".  Brig Singh said the army would ensure measures like screening to prevent inflow of anti-national elements. "There is no threat due to this policy to the Army".    http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/no-major-troop-withdrawal-only-relocation-in-jk-army-18687.php





'India alert about China's military modernisation'
March 29, 2010 21:17 IST
India [ Images ] on Monday said it was 'conscious and alert' about China's military modernisation and infrastructure development in Tibet [ Images ] and adjoining areas and noted that it had taken 'necessary steps' to restructure its force levels along the border.  "India remains conscious and alert about the implications of China's military modernisation. Rapid infrastructure development in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang province has considerably upgraded China's military force projection capability and strategic operational flexibility," it said in the defence ministry's annual report for 2009-10.  "Necessary steps have been initiated for the upgrading of our infrastructure and force structuring along the northern borders," the report, which was released in New Delhi [ Images ], added.  Noting that Sino-Indian relations had progressed well last year with convergence of views and actions in global fora, the defence ministry said a regular mechanism for exchanges in the military sphere too were established through ongoing confidence building measures.  "The relations with China have generally progressed well in the last year based on their strategic and cooperative partnership. There has been a convergence of views and actions on various issues of international fora," it said.  "A regular mechanism for exchanges in the military sphere has been established through the ongoing confidence building measures between the armed forces of both countries and other military interactions," it added.  Expressing concerns over worsening security situation inside Pakistan and the increasing infiltration by militants trained in the neighbouring country into Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ], the report said the rising tide of extremism within Pakistan had posed a serious threat, not only to itself, but to the entire region.  "The increasing incidents of terrorism within Pakistan targeting, inter alia, the security establishment and senior military personnel, and the rising tide of extremism underlined the serious threat to Pakistan itself and to the region," the report said.  It noted with satisfaction the 'progress' made by Pakistan in tackling 'jihadi' insurgency in Swat and the adjacent districts and also in South Waziristan.  "The continued infiltrations across the LoC and the existence of terrorist camps across the Indo-Pak border, however, demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its actions against terrorist organisations," it said.  Pointing out that India had 'exercised exemplary restraint in the face of gravest provocation,' the report asked the neighbouring control to take effective steps to address concerns on terrorism directed against it from the territory under Pakistan control.  "India has never shut the door for dialogue with Pakistan, and is of the view that meaningful dialogue with it is possible only in an environment free of terror or threat of terror. This calls for Pakistan to take effective measures to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil which is directed against India," the report said.  Focusing on Afghanistan, the report observed that 'the security and stability of Afghanistan is critical to India's own security concerns,' even as it took note of the deployment of additional 30,000 US troops in the Af-Pak region by May this year and President Barack Obama's [ Images ] July 2011 time frame for troop withdrawal from that country.  On the other hand, the report praised Bangladesh. "Relations with Bangladesh have been strengthened since the restoration of multi-party democracy in that country. India is appreciative of the increasing cooperation with Bangladesh in security matters, especially vis-a-vis Indian insurgent groups operating from its territory," it said.  On Myanmar, the report said cooperation with the eastern neighbour in security matters was being enhanced, while India continued developmental activities in the country which lies at the tri-junction of South and South-East Asia.  The report also called the post-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam scenario in Sri Lanka [ Images ] as a 'historic opportunity' to find a lasting political settlement in northern Sri Lanka with the conclusion of the military operation against the Tigers.  On Iran's controversial nuclear programme, India said it continued to support a peaceful resolution of the issue, which would be in the interest of peace and stability in West Asia.  The report also took note of the worldwide economic slowdown, saying the challenges confronting the global financial system created strains in the global security environment.  Regarding the internal security challenges, the report said the focus had shifted from the proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir to Left wing extremism and insurgency in North-Eastern states.  It said the arrest of the top leadership of United Liberation Front of Asom including its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa had been a major breakthrough.  On Jammu and Kashmir, the report said 'all parameters of proxy war are at an all time low and the current situation indicated a shift towards normalcy and peace.'  "The ceasefire on the borders and Line of Control [ Images ] is holding out with a few minor aberrations," it added.  Despite improving security situation in the state, infiltration attempts continued and between April 2009 to February 2010 there were 33 infiltration bids that were foiled with 50 terrorists killed in the process.  During the same period, 213 terrorists were also killed and 68 apprehended in encounters with the armed forces in the state.







Defence ministry report blasts Pak for letting terror camps flourish
TNN, Mar 30, 2010, 03.40am IST NEW DELHI: With Pakistan not taking any concrete action to dismantle the anti-India terror infrastructure operating on its soil, New Delhi has held that 'meaningful dialogue' with Islamabad 'is possible only in an environment free of terror or threat of terror'.  Even as security forces in J&K brace for 'a hot summer' in terms of infiltration and terrorism, the ministry of defence's latest annual report has blasted Islamabad for letting terror-training camps to flourish in Pakistan and PoK.  The Army, in fact, estimates the 42 or so camps house 2,000 to 2,500 trained militants, with around 400 well-armed terrorists waiting in 'launch pads' along the LoC to infiltrate into J&K as the snow in the mountain passes melts further.  As for China, the MoD report said India was "conscious and alert" about Beijing's military modernisation and the massive development of infrastructure in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and adjoining areas, and was taking steps to counter them. The report, however, comes down heavily on Pakistan.  "Continued infiltrations across the LoC and the existence of terrorist camps across the border demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its action against terrorist organisations," it said. "India has exercised exemplary restraint in the face of gravest provocation. Pakistan needs to take effective steps to address India's concern on terrorism directed against it from the territory under Pakistan control," it added.  Indicating that recent foreign secretary-level talks will not lead to resumption of the composite dialogue process anytime soon, MoD said while India "has never shut the door for dialogue", Pakistan needed to "take effective measures" against terror outfits for any meaningful progress in bilateral ties.  The report expressed concern at deteriorating internal security situation inside Pakistan. "The increasing incidents of terrorism within Pakistan targeting, inter alia, security establishment and senior military personnel, and rising tide of extremism underline a serious threat to Pakistan itself and to the region," it said.







Defence echoes concern on Maoists
 OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT  New Delhi, March 29: The operations against Maoists are the main focus of internal security, more important than even the “proxy war” in Jammu and Kashmir, the annual report of the defence ministry said.  The defence ministry also acknowledged for the first time in several years that relations with Bangladesh had improved but India was concerned with the security situation in Pakistan.  The text of the defence ministry’s 2009-2010 annual report was paraphrased and sent as a media release today but the report itself is likely to be publicly released on Tuesday.  Reflecting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 2005 statement that Naxalites were the “gravest internal security threat”, the defence ministry has probably for the first time knocked Jammu and Kashmir off the top billing it got in its list of priorities for internal security.  Even insurgency in the Northeast is more important now that there are signs that militancy in Kashmir is on the wane, the report added.The report does not dwell on the role of the armed forces in tackling Maoists because that is primarily the responsibility of the home ministry. But the army and the air force are involved in training police and transporting troops and material in anti-Maoist operations.  In Jammu and Kashmir, it says, “all parameters of proxy war are at an all time low and the current situation indicated a shift towards normalcy and peace … the ceasefire on the borders/Line of Control is holding out with a few minor aberrations”.  “The increasing incidents of terrorism within Pakistan targeting, inter alia, the security establishment and senior military personnel, and the rising tide of extremism underlined the serious threat to Pakistan itself and to the region”, the report said.  It noted that “the Pakistani government made some progress in tackling jihadi insurgency in Swat and the adjacent districts and also in South Waziristan”.  “The continued infiltrations across the LoC and the existence of terrorist camps across the India-Pak border, however, demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its actions against terrorist organisations,” India has exercised exemplary restraint in the face of gravest provocation,” the report said.Praising Bangladesh, the ministry said: “Relations with Bangladesh have been strengthened since the restoration of multiparty democracy in that country. India is appreciative of the increasing co-operation with Bangladesh in security matters, especially vis-à-vis Indian insurgent groups operating from its territory.”  It also said co-operation with Myanmar on security issues was being expanded. In Sri Lanka, the report said, there is “a historic opportunity” to find a political settlement in the northern region after the conclusion of anti-LTTE operations.  On China, the ministry observed that India was “conscious and alert about the implications of China’s military modernisation…”. Rapid infrastructure development in Tibet and Xinjiang have boosted China’s force projection abilities.  But a regular mechanism for friendly military exchanges with China has been established with continuing confidence-building measures.  “Necessary steps have been initiated for the upgradation of our infrastructure and force structuring… along the northern borders,” the report claimed.  India is also concerned in Afghanistan because “the security and stability of Afghanistan is critical to India’s own security concerns.” The report also took note of the security situation in Afghanistan after the US’s plan to deploy an additional 30,000 troops in the Af-Pak region by May this year and President Barack Obama’s July 2011 timeframe for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.







India shoring up presence along border with China
India on Monday said it is shoring up its military presence in the northern borders and upgrading infrastructure along the border with China in the light of Beijing's rapid infrastructure development and its upgraded military force projection in Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang province.  “India also remains conscious and alert about the implications of China's military modernisation…rapid infrastructure development in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang province has considerably upgraded China's military force projection capability and strategic operational flexibility,” the Defence Ministry said in its2009-10 annual report released on Monday.  While efforts to build 73 roads near Sino-Indian border have been taken up with vigour, Indian Air Force upgraded advanced landing grounds, including at Daulat Beg Oldie, to facilitate landing of AN-32 transport aircraft while the Army is raising two Mountain Divisions in the north-east and plans to acquire ultra-light howitzers that can be dropped via helicopters at higher altitudes.  The report also said that based on strategic and cooperative partnership, relations with China progressed well during the last year. It said there was convergence of views and actions on various issues in international fora and a regular mechanism for exchanges in military sphere has been established.  In its 2008-09 report, the Ministry said that China's defence modernisation needed to be monitored carefully in the foreseeable future for the implications it can have on the security and defence of the country. Ties with Pakistan  Turning to Pakistan, in the latest report India reasserted that meaningful dialogue with Pakistan could be possible only in an environment free of terror and said Islamabad should take measures to dismantle terror infrastructure on its soil directed against India.  While expressing concern with the worsening security situation inside Pakistan as also with continuing infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir, in its latest annual report the Defence Ministry underscored that India exercised “exemplary restraint in the face of gravest provocation.”  “The increasing incidents of terrorism within Pakistan targeting, inter alia, the security establishment and senior military personnel, and the rising tide of extremism underlined the serious threat to Pakistan itself and to the region,” the report said.  On several occasions, Defence Minister A.K. Antony mentioned that some 42 terror camps operate on the other side of the border. The report said these demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its actions against terrorist organisations.  “India has never shut the door for dialogue with Pakistan, and is of the view that meaningful dialogue with Pakistan is possible only in an environment free of terror or threat of terror. This calls for Pakistan to take effective measures to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil which is directed against India,” the report said. Cooperation with Dhaka  On the other hand, it praised Bangladesh and noted that since the restoration of multi-party democracy there, relations with Dhaka have strengthened. It also appreciated increasing cooperation with Bangladesh in security matters, especially vis-à-vis Indian insurgent groups operating from its territory.  Similarly, it observed that cooperation with Myanmar in security matters is being enhanced, while India continues developmental activities in the country which lies at the tri-junction of South and South-East Asia.  On Sri Lanka, the report said, there lies “a historic opportunity” to find lasting political settlement in Northern Sri Lanka after the conclusion of operations against the LTTE.  On Afghanistan, the latest report said that security and stability there was critical to India's own security concerns and takes note of reports of deployment of additional 30,000 U.S. troops in the AfPak region by May this year and President Barack Obama's July 2011 time frame for troop's withdrawal from Afghanistan.  On Iran's controversial Nuclear Programme, the report said India continues to support a peaceful resolution of the issue which would be in the interest of peace and stability in West Asia.








India and Pakistan: a personal view of the water wars
Mar 29, 2010 17:32 It was so long in the making,  so utterly predictable, that the news that Pakistan and India are now arguing over water carries with it the dull ache of inevitability.  When I was living in Delhi, which I left in 2004, a few analysts were already warning that the next war between Pakistan and India would be over water, rather than over Kashmir.  The mountain glaciers which fed the rivers which are the lifeline of both countries were melting, they said, and sooner or later India and Pakistan would blame each other for climate change. I did not take it that seriously at the time. Not even after seeing first hand how far the Siachen glacier – the world’s longest glacier – had receded.    Nor indeed did it properly register after talking to an Indian sherpa who had led the first Indian military expedition to Siachen in 1978 in what India considers part of its own Ladakh region  At the time, Ladakh was much colder, he said, and the snow on the glacier came right down into the valley. It had receded in recent years because of global warming, exposing the black tracts of scree I had scrambled up during my trip there. “It was like a beautiful road coming right down from K2,”he said, , “black moraine on either side.” There was nothing, and nobody there.  From the records of the India Office of the British Library, I unearthed an account written by the American explorer Fanny Bullock-Workman of her own travels in Siachen in 1911-12 – so little consulted nowadays that the pages of her book began to come away in my hands.  She suggested that Siachen had been receding back in her days too,  so I was able to put the ebb and flow of the glacier down to natural changes in the climate.  Then a few years ago,  I made the drive from Srinagar in Kashmir to Leh in Ladakh and — dangerous as it is to extrapolate from one’s own experiences – saw the impact of global warming first hand.  It is a two-day drive from Srinagar to Leh, with a stopover in Kargil where India and Pakistan fought an intense border war in 1999. It is a spectacular drive, but also one of the most precipitous and most terrifying. By the time you are nearing Leh, you are looking forward to a comfortable hotel bed and a bowl of thick Tibetan soup.  Not long before we reached Leh, we discovered that the road bridge had been swept away by heavy floods rushing down from the mountain glaciers. I met a local Ladakhi journalist I knew who was, like me, stranded on the wrong side of the broken bridge. He took one look at me, and though I had not seen him for three years or so, he shook my hand and said two words: “global warming”.  Then, like all the other Ladakhis there, he disappeared over a precarious crossing which the locals had fashioned across the river — which involved walking across the upturned root of  a tree and then somehow making it from branch to branch across a raging glacial torrent to the other side.  I was too scared to make that crossing, and so spent the night sleeping in the car, and then much of the following day waiting for the Indian Army to reopen the road.  The Srinagar to Leh road is one of India’s most strategic. It is why they fought the Kargil war when Pakistani artillery began shelling it. I expected, wrongly, that they would repair it quickly.  The Indian Army took their time.  In one of those things that always happen in India, a dead body – presumably of someone who had drowned in the floods – lay out with us all night.  In another of “those things” — and anyone who has travelled in India knows this — there were no toilets. We were out in the high plateau Tibetan desert with, by that time, hundreds of Ladakhis crowding around at the other side of the broken bridge to see what was going on.  Not realising that the army was about to blow up the remnants of the bridge,  I wandered into a copse trying to find a private space. I still remember the heat on my face from the explosion. After that I have taken global warming more seriously.  So back to water wars.  On this blog, we have been discussing this for a while,  going right back to 2008. We also covered it here, here and here.  More details to follow. For now, let’s none of us pretend this is a new issue.



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