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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

From Today's Papers - 13 Apr 2010






Was Gorshkov negotiator honey-trapped?
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, April 12 A senior Indian naval officer, associated with the project for acquisition of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and now based in Delhi, may have been honey-trapped -- a phrase used when women are planted on officials to glean out information.  The Navy is conducting an inquiry to find out if Commodore Sukhjinder Singh’s official duties were compromised by the woman. The officer has spent some three years —2005 to 2007 — in Russia as the Indian overseer for refitting the sea-borne aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.  Indian civil intelligence agencies reportedly tipped off the Navy and provided evidence in the form of “objectionable” photographs involving him and a Russian woman. Sources said the photographs were “improper”.  The last time the officer visited Russia was some eight months ago. Though he has not been directly involved in the price negotiation for the Gorshkov, the Navy will look into all aspects, including his financial dealings, purchase of properties if any and also if any other officer of the Navy was involved.  A naval spokesperson today said: “The Navy has received information about a senior naval officer who has been involved in an act of loose moral conduct. The Navy has instituted an inquiry to establish whether this had any influence on the performance of his official duties.”  Navy officials said the involvement of the officer seemed to be at a personal level. The truth would be out soon as the inquiry was expected to be completed within a couple of days.  Navy sources said the inquiry under a Vice Admiral-rank officer would try to find out if the official's proximity to the woman had had any impact on the Gorshkov deal and also look into the fact if any other aspect was compromised.






Harassment of Woman Officer Colonel faces court martial
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, April 12 The Army has initiated disciplinary proceedings against a Colonel accused of sexual harassment by a woman officer. The complainant in this case, sources said, happens to be the same officer, who had earlier levelled similar allegations against a Major General who was subsequently tried by a General Court Martial and dismissed.  Sources revealed that the Colonel, who was commanding an EME battalion, has been attached to Udhampur and recording of summary of evidence (SOE) was completed a few days ago. SOE is a prelude to a possible trial by court martial and the final decision to convene a trial depends on review of the SOE.  The alleged incident occurred in 2008 and the complainant, who was then staying at the Sub-Area Officers Mess, Udhampur, had written to the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command in this regard. Following this, a court of inquiry had been ordered.  Sources added that the Colonel, on his part, has denied the allegations and termed it to be a conspiracy to target him due to his association with the court martial of another officer that was in progress at that time of the alleged incident.  In the past three years, 12 cases of “exploitation and harassment” of women officers have been registered in the armed forces, out of which punishment to delinquent personnel has been awarded in seven cases. Of the 12 cases, six were registered in the Army, five in the Air Force and one in the Navy.  In March, Defence Minister AK Antony’s told Parliament that disciplinary proceedings, Court of Inquiry and General Court Martial are in progress in four cases, while one complaint was found to be baseless.  To check the recurrence of such cases, orders have been issued on definition of sexual harassment and the procedure to be adopted fro dealing with such cases. Instructions have been issued emphasising on “zero tolerance” towards such cases.
Corruption charges against top commander  While challenging his posting orders from Bhubaneshwar to Rajouri, the commanding officer of a Territorial Army battalion has levelled serious allegations of corruption against several senior officers, including a recently retired Army Commander.  In his petition filed before the Delhi High Court, Col SP Singh of the Bihar Regiment has alleged that he is being victimised and being removed from his command prematurely as he had highlighted professional impropriety on the part of some officers holding important posts.  Among the issues raised by him is the ownership of a flat in Bhubaneshwar by a top officer, alleged connivance with contractors and irregularities in recruitment and non--payment of some bills. A retired Lieutenant General, a serving Major General and a Brigadier are among respondents in the case, scheduled to come up for hearing before a division Bench tomorrow. 





Fighting Naxals Air power must avoid collateral damage: Naik 
Allahabad, April 12 Asserting that it was always ready to face any challenge to the country's internal security, the Air Force today said any decision on use of air power to tackle the Naxals must follow a clear strategy to minimise collateral damage.  At the same time, he said his personal view was that the armed forces were not required to fight the Maoists.  “We have the capability to conduct strikes with utmost precision. However, it must be understood that if a 250 kg bomb is dropped at a spot, its impact will be in a radius of at least 800 metres and that may affect many people who may not themselves be insurgents,” Air Chief Marshal P V Naik told reporters here. — PTI






CRPF reports hint at lack of training, facilities 
New Delhi, April 12 Internal reports of the CRPF, which has just lost 75 personnel in the Maoists attack in Dantewada, say the force’s field commanders had pointed out lack of training, work pressure and communication gaps as some reasons for losses in operations.  Senior officers were of the view that non-availability of sufficient firing range, lack of shooting practice were some of the reasons for more casualties of CRPF personnel during operations. The reports also mentions a senior officer who looks after training, expressing unhappiness over the training imparted. He said the normal PT/Parades were not getting due importance in Battalions or Group Centres that he felt affects the turn-out and training aspect of men.  Besides, certain battalions have shortage of Assistant Commandant and various other ranks. — PTI







  Strategy to counter naxalism Time to go in for tough measures
by Maj-Gen Pushpendra Singh (retd)  What happened on April 6 at Dantewada was the most daring and the biggest single-strike massacre by naxalites during the past 50 years. In October 2006, Jaswinder Singh, DIG, Anti-Naxal Operations, Orissa, was killed in a blast caused by naxalites. Immediately the state government nominated a successor, who equally promptly reported sick. The next nominee too evaded the posting and so on.  In fact, comfort-loving IPS officers routinely refuse postings to naxalite-infested areas. Hence, the leadership passes to support-cadre officers of the state armed police. On February 15 this year, naxalites hit an Eastern Frontier Rifle (EFR) camp at Silda, West Bengal, killed 24 of the 51 jawans there and decamped with all the weapons and ammunition. A senior EFR officer “explained” that the jawans were taken completely by surprise, being busy in the langar or “whiling away their time”. These incidents highlight the glaring deficiencies in the police leadership and professionalism. While the naxalites have demonstrated their ability to increase hit and run strikes and attack company-strength targets, the police has displayed inexplicable incapacity to learn from blood-soaked experience.  Feeding on alienation caused by socio-economic deprivation and police atrocities, naxalism afflicts some 230 of our 610 districts. Despite Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram stating that “we do not make war on our own people”, the ground reality is vastly different with the police brutalising the hapless tribal people. Therefore, any successful counter-naxalite strategy needs to address the root cause of the problem.  Naxalism was launched as a movement by Majumdar and Sanyal in Kolkata in 1967. Rejecting the communists’ embrace of parliamentary democracy, naxalism holds that communist goals can only be attained through a violent class struggle, as is believed by the adherents of classic Marxism-Leninism. After a brief success among radical Kolkata students, they were driven from the city into rural Naxalbari. However, soon the violent movement splintered into 30-odd groups. The Nagi-Reddy group established a strong base in the jungles of Andhra Pradesh and Satyanarayan Singh set up another powerful base in Bihar.  As these groups jostled for dominance, the administrations of the affected states became somnolent. However, since the late 1990s the police intelligence network has been warning of impending unity among the naxalites, resulting in their gaining greater strength. These were taken seriously only when in 2000 they brazenly annihilated several police posts and seized large booties of arms and ammunition. By the time the governments of Bihar and MP woke up to the emerging ugly reality, the factions had already united.  Then in 2001, these states were reorganised, leading to the formation of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The new states were the most naxal-afflicted areas whereas the parent states retained all the anti-naxal information. This took the anti-naxal drive back by a decade, leaving the insurgents firmly in control of a forest corridor, spanning North AP, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and W. Bengal. Later, some areas were seized by them in Bihar and UP, connecting the red sickle with Maoist-dominated Nepal and linking it with Bangladesh. This ensured increased foreign support for the naxalites.  What enabled the naxalites to achieve such success? The truth is ruthless exploitation of tribal populations by rapacious forest contractors and mining mafias, abetted by a corrupt politician-babu nexus. Inept, desk-bound district administrations and brutal police repression complete the picture. Helpless tribals, thus exploited by human hyenas, have no basic amenities. They are deprived of all that is required for leading a dignified life even by rural India’s extremely standards.  The naxalite masterminds exploit the administration’s unhelpful attitude towards the tribal people to fan their anger and use them to launch attacks against what they call state-oppressors. They replace an indifferent administration with ruthless governance, savage justice and enforced compliance. The tribals, caught thus in a cleft stick, prefer to side with the naxalites as a lesser evil compared to the khaki-clad symbols of non-governance.  Here is a five-fold strategy to successfully countering the naxalite menace:  One, there is need for a comprehensive police reform, specially concerning the training and motivation of the state police personnel and the central paramilitary forces. This must include civilising the police dealings with hapless citizens instead of remaining the lathi-wielding henchmen of unscrupulous politicians.  The Centre should provide incentives to the states to implement the September 2006 Supreme Court judgement on police reforms. The forces engaged in counter-naxalism operations must get the latest weapons, equipment and communication gadgets. Lateral induction of Army officers and JCOs at various command levels can bolster the morale of those assigned the task of fighting the naxalites. If air power is envisaged, we must ensure that the naxalites have no idea of it.  Two, carve out and then defend the “island sanctuaries” comprising a cluster of villages and hamlets within the naxalite-held areas. Using these as bases, we should launch operations to disrupt their logistics and transit corridors. Operations should include penetrating “abuj marh”, the deep-jungle sanctuary where naxalites train and manufacture their weapons.  A Chinese think-tank has advocated dismembering India by stoking internal fires. Thus, the naxalites may be getting material support from Chinese surrogates in Nepal and Bangladesh even as their tie-up with the LTTE has withered. Such linkages must be exposed, using covert means, if need be.  Three, the secured “islands” must immediately become the focus of purposeful development to win back the populace. File-pushing, office-bound approaches cannot work. It is vital to have fearless administrators who will verify the facts and the progress made at the ground level, and provide people-centric administrations. In addition to basic health-care and education, tribals must be unshackled from exploitation, provided avenues to earn their livelihood, taught skills for value-addition of the traditional produce and, above all, have their dignity restored.  Motivated NGOs may be coopted to boost the states’ efforts. Concurrently, establishing responsive justice mechanisms is vital. Subsequent phases should seek to expand these “islands” until a pro-administration wave of goodwill is generated, ending the naxalites’ influence in the affected districts.  Four, creation of a joint intelligence set-up among the affected states is vital. This should aim at revamping HUMINT and facilitate operations to penetrate and decapitate naxalite organisations. Central intelligence agencies should supplement these efforts while also focusing on cutting off foreign support through overt and covert means. Additionally, intelligence agencies must anticipate the naxalites’ next escalation move in semi-urban and urban areas.  Five, the naxalites can easily undo any success achieved by taking hostages, as they did in the case of IPS officer Attindranath Datta, who was exchanged for 22 arrested naxalites. We are an emotionally-charged people and our “leaders” are all too susceptible to media-driven emotional frenzy, which precipitates such swaps. Therefore, a stringent law is needed to prohibit capitulating to terrorists’ demands. Such actions should be declared anti-national, attracting heavy penalties, including disqualification from contesting elections.  The naxalite menace be successfully defeated only when the nation is prepared to take tough measures.  The writer has served as General Officer Commanding in the area comprising Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Eastern UP.






World jittery over security of Pak nukes
Fears it may be the weakest link in non-proliferation efforts; Obama takes up matter with Gilani Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC  Why the doubts?  n Pak N-facilities in terrorists’ backyard n Pak won’t let US question rogue scientist AQ Khan n Terrorists have thrice targeted Pak nuclear facilities since 2007 n Top Pak scientists met Osama, who is keen to acquire nuclear weapons  The likelihood of Al-Qaida getting its hands on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons keeps many in the US awake despite President Barack Obama’s recent expressions of confidence in the security at these facilities. These concerns are likely to be discussed at the Nuclear Security Summit, which started here on Monday.  Analysts say Pakistan’s steadfast refusal to let the US interrogate rogue scientist AQ Khan, who sold nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea, has also seriously undermined international non-proliferation efforts and fed the belief that Pakistan may be the weakest link in Obama’s non-proliferation efforts.  Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, director of intelligence and counterintelligence at the US Department of Energy in the George W. Bush administration, says, “You cannot exclude the possibility that the weapons may be targeted by terrorists... The problem is people get too comfortable that there is a low probability of this happening. But the question is, is there zero probability?”  Pakistani fears that its nuclear arsenal could be in jeopardy in the event of a conflict with archrival India prompted it to locate most of these facilities in the north and west of the country and around the capital, Islamabad. Presence of the Taliban and Al-Qaida in tribal areas straddling Pakistan’s western border have put these facilities in the terrorists’ backyard.  “Pakistan’s military has a 10,000-person force specifically designed to protect nuclear facilities. The problem is that Pakistan is in a bad neighbourhood,” said Ken Luongo, a former director of the Office of Arms Control and Non-proliferation at the US Department of Energy.  Pakistan’s record was tarnished when the father of its nuclear programme, AQ Khan, confessed in 2004 to supplying nuclear technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea. Pakistan has rebuffed US efforts to interrogate Khan.  Mowatt-Larssen says denial of access to AQ Khan undermines US non-proliferation efforts. “The importance of pending requests for US access to Khan lies in the broader issues of ensuring no remnants of his network remain active and to enhance the credibility of international non-proliferation efforts,” he said.  Shaun Gregory, director of the Pakistan Security Research at the University of Bradford, says the US and the international community does not consider the AQ Khan case closed “but they do not want to create difficulties for either the Pakistani army, the ISI or the Pakistani government at this time. They, therefore, are not making a great fuss.”  The fear that Al-Qaida may get its hands on nuclear technology is very real. Osama bin Laden has declared it his religious duty to obtain a nuclear weapon. Two senior Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission scientists — Sultan Bashirrudin Mahmood and Chaudhry Abdul Majeed — travelled to Afghanistan in 2000 and again shortly before 9/11 for meetings with Laden. However, it appears nuclear know-how was not transferred to the terrorist leader.  Pakistan’s nuclear facilities have in recent years been the target of terrorist attacks. In a report last year, Gregory documented three such incidents -- a strike on the Sargodha nuclear missile storage facility on November 1, 2007; an attack on Pak’s Kamra nuclear airbase by a suicide bomber on December 10, 2007; and an August 20, 2008 attack at several entry points to one of the armament complexes at the Wah Cantonment by Pak Taliban suicide bombers.  Still, most analysts say security of its nuclear facilities is top priority for Pakistan. “These are the country’s crown jewels and are the most closely guarded inanimate objects in Pakistan,” said Michael Krepon of the Henry L. Stimson Center.  Pakistan has been reluctant to reveal the location of its nuclear facilities to the US. Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association says this is because it worries that the US may take action if it feels institutional control in Pakistan appears to be breaking down. “How concerned should we be about security at Pak nuclear facilities is hard to know given the opacity of its nuclear sector,” Kimball said.  In a bilateral meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani at Blair House on Sunday, Obama discussed these nuclear security concerns. The White House said the Pakistani leader “indicated his assurance that Pakistan takes nuclear security seriously and has appropriate safeguards in place.” Prior to heading to Washington for the nuclear summit, Gilani said his country was committed to acting as a responsible nuclear weapons state and that his country's nuclear weapons are secure.







CRPF internal reports indicate lack of training, facilities
Press Trust of India, Monday April 12, 2010, New Delhi  Internal reports of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which has just lost 75 personnel in the Maoists attack in Dantewada, say the force's field commanders had pointed out lack of training, work pressure and communication gaps as some reasons for losses in operations.  As per the reports, senior officers were of the view that non-availability of sufficient firing range, lack of shooting practice were some of the reasons for more casualties of CRPF personnel during operations.  The reports, prepared by the force's field commanders after a series of meetings, also mentions a senior officer who looks after training expressing his unhappiness over the kind of training.  He said the normal PT/Parades are not getting due importance in Battalions or Group Centres, which he felt affects the turn-out and training aspect of men.  The reports also mention that certain Battalions have shortage of Assistant Commandant and various other ranks and non availability of Company Commander for a longer duration affects the functioning and efficiency of the particular Company.  It was also felt by certain officers that competency and efficiency level varies from unit to unit and that training level had gone down.  Officers also mentioned that the personnel frequently change their role at a short notice which dos not give them time for mental preparation. The roles include law and order duties, Counter Insurgency Operations, VIP security, communal tension, election duties, jungle warfare, tackling terrorism, extremism among others.  It was also felt that infrastructure and living conditions of the personnel posted in various parts of the country have to be improved.  Questions were also raised on non-implementation of standard operating procedures at times.







India's defence secrets are out in the open
April 13, 2010 00:14 IST Tags: Ron Diebert, Citizen Lab, Dalai Lama, India, Munk Centre of University of Toronto Email this Save to My Page Ask Users Write a Comment  A report of the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre of University of Toronto, Canada [ Images ], has claimed that there's 'a vast shadow network of online espionage in China, largely in Chonging and Chongdu' that has stolen classified documents and 'sensitive Indian military information, including details of the Pechora missile system, an anti-aircraft, surface-to-air missile system.'  The 50-page Shadows in the Cloud: An Investigation into Cyber Espionage 2.0 report, on released April 6, claimed 780 sensitive documents had been stolen from India [ Images ]. It said the Chinese hackers had also stolen sensitive documents from 16 other countries and all E-mails from Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama's [ Images ] office in Dharamsala.  The report says the attackers used 'Twitter, blog posts and E-mail accounts to gain control of computers and steal more than 700 high-level political documents (from India)… Canadian visa applications, mission reports and travel plans belonging to the United Nations, and 1,500 E-mails sent by the Dalai Lama's office last year.'  The report claims the hackers have also stolen information about India's Iron Dome missile system; Project Shakti, an artillery combat system; documents related to military training schools and information on movement of troops. 'Computers at Indian corporations, including Tata, had also been compromised,' it said.  Greg Walton, an expert on India who has conducted field research in the country for the investigation, said: "I thought, 'Wow, that's the whole Indian defence establishment." They suggest a shift is occurring from criminal and industrial espionage in cyberspace to a possibility of political espionage.'  Professor Ron Diebert, director, Citizen Lab, and the principal author of the report, has been quoted as saying that they informed the Indian government of their discoveries before releasing the report and the officials were 'taken aback'.  A senior Indian diplomat in Ottawa told rediff.com, "The authorities in India have been aware of this investigation, as these people (Canadian scholars and investigators) have been in contact with the concerned organisations. Our government officials have been reluctant to discuss the matter publicly, as you don't even know if they have infiltrated. Infiltration is a different ball game."  Diebert said, "Computers connected to many Indian defence and intelligence security establishments, some Indian embassies and other organisations were certainly infiltrated and infiltrated to the point that documents were stolen."  The Indian diplomat said he didn't know which Indian officials Diebert had met and how they had had been in touch. Diebert told rediff.com that though he didn't go to Dharamsala, his team members spent weeks there working with the Dalai Lama's personal staff.  Diebert called this cyber espionage network a 'new form of arms race, one that is cheaper than the other methods of espionage, such as satellite networks.' There's a problem of 'collateral damage, since any country dealing with the embassies in India was exposed to the cyber espionage,' he said.  The report says Indian embassies in Kabul, Moscow [ Images ], Dubai [ Images ], and Nigeria were deemed to have been compromised. 'Personal data on visa applications for citizens from Afghanistan, Australia [ Images ], China, Croatia, the United Kingdom, etc were also found'.





Ex–servicemen honoured
Kohima, April 12 (MExN): A Reception was hosted at the Heritage Complex at Kohima today in honour of  the All-India Ex-Servicemen delegation comprising of approximately 200 delegates from across 20 states of India, who visited Kohima “en route Moirang” to commemorate the hoisting of the national Tricolour. The PRO of Defence, Kohima informed in a press note that the Tricolour was hoisted by Colonel S A Malik, Commander of the  Bahadur Group of the Azad Hind Fauj  or the INA, at Moirang for the first time on April 14, 1944, after the INA defeated  the British  forces.   Lt Col (Retd) S I Zakhalu, The Secretary Rajya Sainik Board, along  with staff of the ajya Sainik Board, accorded a warm welcome to the delegation, which included Lt Gen (Retd) SPM Tripathi, PVSM, AVSM the National President of the Akhil Bharatiya Poorv Sainik Sewa Parishad and member of the Board, Air Vice Marshal (Retd) HP  Singh, Vir Chakra. The Delegation was honoured with the presenting of the traditional shawls and jackets. Speaking on the occasion, Lt Gen Tripathi thanked Lt Gen NK Singh, AVSM, and VSM General Officer Commanding Spear Corps for extending support from the Army, to make the Moirang Utsav Yatra – 2010 a success.  Gen Tripathi recalled the immense and valuable contribution by Netaji and the brave  soldiers of INA to the national cause. The commemorative ceremony is observed as an Annual Feature at Moirang, the place where the Indian National Army under Netaji Subhas fought and defeated the “mighty British Army” on April 14, 1944 during World War – II and hoisted the “National Tricolour” for the first time at Moirang. The victory in Moirang by the INA, gave a “body blow to the British Forces”. This paved the way for the British to ultimately quit India, the note added. The delegation later left for Moirang, after the Reception and luncheon hosted in their honour.


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