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Thursday, 22 April 2010

From Today's Papers - 22 Apr 2010

  Army chief in J&K Time for better rapport with people 
THE maiden Jammu and Kashmir visit of the new army chief, Gen V.K. Singh, comes at a time when some quarters are clamouring for reducing the strength of the army in the state and withdrawing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). On the other hand, the Army wants that it should have a free hand to tackle the problems of infiltration and insurgency efficiently. The suggestion of troop withdrawal is predicated on the supposed reduction in violent activities. But the fact of the matter is that there is no step-down in Pakistani perfidy, and if there is any perceptible lessening of the violence, it is only because of the pressure mounted by the security forces. The enemies of the nation would leave no stone unturned to abet the call for troop withdrawal because that suits their gameplan. The policy touchstone should be safeguarding the interests of India. At least along the LoC, a strong Army presence is inevitable.  Gen V.K. Singh has opposed the dilution of the AFSPA and has understandably annoyed the separatist forces by this tough stand. Given the situation prevailing in the Valley, the AFSPA may not be politically correct but is inescapable if the foreign designs are to be defeated. However, he must ensure that there are no human rights violations like the death of a 70-year-old person in the forest area near Handwara town in Kupwara district recently. Each such incident plays into the hands of those hell-bent on discrediting the security agencies.  What has to be borne in mind is that the Army is there as the last resort. It can be withdrawn only if the situation actually returns to normal. For that to happen, the Centre and the state government have to join hands to give what the common man wants the most: good governance and development. It is poverty and neglect which have alienated most people. Remove these grievances and the situation will turn for the better. Pakistan can be depended upon to continue with its dirty tricks. So will the confirmed separatists. Yet, the new Army chief and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is barely 15 months old in the saddle, can together try to bring about many positive changes.

  AfPak: Will they, won’t they? Towards civilian supremacy in Islamabad
by B.G. Verghese  THE passage of the 18th Amendment by Pakistan’s National Assembly, rolling back the authoritarian constitutional provisions imposed by General Musharraf during military rule, has been hailed as a major democratic reform. All people of goodwill will wish Pakistan well. As of now, maybe, no more than two cheers are in order.  In a formal sense, there is an appearance of civilian ascendancy. The President has been reduced to a figurehead, though saved from corruption hearings on account of his constitutional position. The military has, meanwhile, regained prestige at home as its Waziristan /Swat campaigns have enabled Pakistan to look the US in the eye and win greater recognition for its frontline AfPak posture.  The new amendment allows the Chief of Army Staff a four-year-term, which implies a year’s extension in service for General Kayani. But there is no evidence as yet that the military has abandoned control over critical policies pertaining to security, nuclear issues and relations with India, the US, Afghanistan and China. A briefing meeting before the Pakistan delegation, led by the Foreign Minister, left for the recent strategic dialogue with the US in Washington, was taken by General Kayani in Rawalpindi with several Federal Secretaries in attendance! The annual defence budget, largely framed by the military, remains a mere one-line entry and is virtually charged to the exchequer without debate. The Kerry-Lugar amendment imposes conditionalities on how Pakistan utilises US military aid; but it remains to be seen how effective this safeguard proves in practice.  Even setting aside past default on this count, how auspicious are the omens even today? The latest UN Report on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007 on her return to Pakistan from exile is not very reassuring. Almost a year later, the Zardari administration requested Ban ki Moon to hold a UN inquiry as it feared the involvement of local agencies in what it felt was a staged murder. The three-member commission’s report was to be presented on March 15 but Pakistan sought some further inquiries. This request was turned down.  Pakistan then argued that the Government of Pakistan could alone release the report. This too was rejected and the commission’s 70-page findings were finally presented to the media in New York by its chair, Chilean diplomat Heraldo Munoz, on April 15. The Pakistan Ambassador boycotted the function. According to a columnist of Dawn, Karachi, the Pakistani authorities wished the “establishment” to see the report before they shared its contents with the general public.  Why it might have been thought prudent to provide the “establishment” with prior information becomes apparent from the report. It severely indicts the Musharraf regime, of which General Kayani was a part, for wilful negligence and cover-up, as well as the current PPP Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, who was travelling in the stand-by bullet-proof Mercedes car that was, however, found missing from the scene when it could have rushed BB to hospital.  The military and the ISI have been virtually accused by the UN Commissioners of preventing an autopsy, hosing down the assassination site, thus removing vital evidence, and obstructing the commission’s own inquiries. The report calls on Pakistan to set up a “truth commission” to get to the bottom of the crime. The unfolding in Islamabad will now be watched with interest.  Of special concern to India are the UN Commissioners’ findings that a probable reason for removing Benazir was her “independent position on the urgent need to improve relations with India, and its implications for the Kashmir dispute which the military regarded as its policy domain”. Further, the commissioners found evidence that the Army and the ISI used terrorist groups to further their strategic objectives and that “the bulk of the anti-Indian activity was and still remains the work of groups such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba, which has close links with the ISI”. The LeT has morphed into the Jammat-ud-Dawa, headed by Hafeez Saeed.  General Musharraf quite clearly lied about Kargil, nuclear proliferator A.Q. Khan (who was no lone wolf), and the use of jihadi terror against India. Zardari once again reiterated on April 5 that his government would not allow the soil of Pakistan to be used for cross-border terror against India. We must await evidence of that commitment. How the Bhutto case is now handled will be one test of that; else a policy of bland denial, counter-charges of Indian villainy and asking India to dialogue will not wash.  There will be another test in Afghanistan, where Pakistan has been seeking “strategic depth” and a sphere of influence. The US and NATO are up a gum tree and do not know what to do. President Karzai, whom the West sought to undermine, has called a Loya Jirga or gathering of Afghanistan’s tribal elders or highest traditional council on May 2-4 to seek a cross-ethno-cultural consensus on a peace process, national integration of insurgent groups and ground rules for carrying forward this process.  This initiative merits support by all regional and international players whose private, self-serving agendas should be subservient to promoting peace and harmony in a traditionally neutral Afghanistan and bringing stability and progress to the entire region. This too will be an acid test of Pakistan’s sincerity in making genuinely new beginnings as a good neighbour. Moreover, it will strengthen civilian supremacy and give sustenance to democratic forces in Pakistan. 

INS Shivalik enters on April 29
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, April 21 Almost a year after the US prevented General Electric from installing gas turbine engines to power India’s own-built stealth technology warship, the Navy today announced that first of the three stealth frigates - INS Shivalik - will be commissioned in Mumbai on April 29.  It will now be powered with the same GE engine - LM 2500 - routed through the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in an arrangement that allows HAL to assemble the engine here, sources said.  Notably, the ship will have Russian weapons and Israeli sensors while about 60 per cent component will be Indian, which includes total design, stealth technology and first-ever use of Indian steel on a warship, the Navy today said.  At 5,900 tonnes INS Shivalik is one of the bigger stealth frigates and takes India into the rarefied league of nations like the US, the UK, Russia, France, Sweden, Germany and Italy.  The Navy operates three stealth frigates bought from Russia. Three more are being built in Russia and likely to be commissioned in by the next year.  The stealth technology reduces ship’s the radar visibility. The ship will look much smaller than its original size on radar screens, said the Navy. To “hide” the 143-meter-long ship, the Navy has used software to study and carry out a 3D modeling pattern that allows to reduce the visibilty.  The ship will be dual powered and will have two French diesel engines and two US built gas turbines.  Besides INS Shivalik, the other two home-built stealth frigates - INS Satpura and INS Shayadari - will be commissioned in November 2010 and April 2011, respectively. Another seven have been planned and the Navy is expected to order them shortly. These will be improvements over INS Shivalik and will have modification to house the upcoming BrahMos cruise missile on board. These will form the mainstay of the Navy attack force.  The Shivalik class ships will be fitted with state-of-the-art technology and will have a sophisticated system of radars and weaponry. Its armaments include Klub surface-to-surface missiles and Shtil and Barak air defence missiles, rocket launchers and indigenously designed sonar systems meant for detecting and attacking submarines.

Col, Lt Col face court martial for Rs 10-crore milk scam Powder purchased despite adequate stock in store
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, April 21 A milk powder scam of nearly Rs 10 crore in Army’s Northern Command has put two senior officers in the dock.  A Colonel earlier posted as the Director Military Farms, Headquarters, Northern Command, and a Lieutenant Colonel, who was the Officer Commanding, Military Farm, Jammu, are facing trial by General Court Martial (GCM) for their alleged acts of omission and commission.  Sources revealed that the GCM’s convening order, issued by the General Officer Commanding 16 Corps, Lt Gen R. Ray on April 5, has listed as many as 27 charges pertaining to intent to defraud and acts prejudicial to good order against the Lt Colonel. The GCM, with Brig Raman Chhibber as the presiding officer, is scheduled to assemble at Akhnoor on April 29.  Between January 2001 and August 2003, nearly 1,526 metric tonnes of skimmed milk power was procured through local purchase despite adequate stocks in the Army stores. Part of the stock procured was transported to stations in Eastern, Western and Central Commands without due sanction and in violation of statutory provisions. The Army has estimated the value of the powder procured to be close to Rs 10 crore.  Further, payments were allegedly made to firms despite the powder not reaching its destinations and some firms were alleged to have been favoured.  The Colonel, on the other hand, is facing charges of failure to exercise requisite supervision and not taking due action during his tenure as director from 2001--2004, when the milk powder was purchased. He also did not allegedly carry out technical inspection, failed to ensure quality tests by Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) and there were irregularities in maintenance of records.  Sources added that a probe into the matter by the CBI revealed that around 100 metric tonnes of milk powder had been moved from Jammu to Punjab. Further, false vehicle numbers were written on documents and no transport charges were mentioned or drawn as per receipt and expense vouchers. The CBI probe also indicated fraudulent entry receipts of consignment in stores.  An Army Court of Inquiry (CoI) also found irregularities in the construction of sheds at the military farm, for which administrative action had been recommended against two other Lieutenant Colonels and a Major, while departmental action was recommended against two civilian employees posted at the farm.  White Mess  l Over 1,500 MT milk powder bought  l Part of the stock transported to Eastern, Western and Central Commands  l Payments made to firms despite stock not reaching its destinations  l The GCM is scheduled to assemble at Akhnoor on April 29

Pakistan to receive guided missile frigate from US
 Press Trust of India / Washington April 21, 2010, 10:47 IST  Pakistan has signed a $ 65 million deal with the United States for the "hot transfer" of refurbished American frigate USS McInerney by August 31.  The contract for the "hot transfer" of the USS McInerney, a Perry-class guided missile frigate, was signed by senior officials of the two countries here yesterday. Under the agreement, the Pakistan Navy will take over the vessel on August 31.  The sale of the frigate, which would be inducted into the Pakistan Navy as PNS Alamgir at a ceremony in the US, was approved by the United States Congress in September 2008.  Commissioned in 1979, the frigate would be handed over after a refurbishment that includes anti-submarine capability that has been paid for with the foreign military aid provided by the United States to friendly countries.     On completion of the refurbishment in January next year, the vessel will sail to Pakistan to join the country's naval fleet.     Pakistani officials described the deal to acquire the warship a major "milestone" towards further strengthening the wide-ranging Pakistan-US relationship.     "The successful completion of this contract will pave the way for acquisition of more vessels of the same class for the Pakistan Navy to raise a squadron of eight Perry-class frigates," a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy said.     "This will greatly enhance the operational readiness of the Pakistan Navy," he added.     In the last couple of years USS McInerney has been mainly involved in successful counter-drug operations.     Pakistan plans to raise a squadron of eight Perry Class Frigates.     The frigate is being transferred under the Foreign Assistance ACT and the Arms Export Control Act in which Pakistan is considered a major non NATO Ally and is able to receive older unneeded US military equipment.

Are you inspired to serve?
Rachna Bisht-Rawat  In an age where most other jobs offer air conditioned offices and better pay packages, why would anyone want to join the Army or the Air Force? Rachna Bisht-Rawat looks at what makes the Defence Forces a wonderful career option  On the face of it, the defence forces offer a career that doesn’t pay too much. They also make you spend the best years of your life in places the rest of the world has never heard of and (if asked to take a guess) will probably identify as things that horses eat or plants are grown in. Take Ghaspaani, Kimin, Zero, Nachna, Dras, Kiari for example.  You often live in tents, bamboo huts and barracks that look like they could fall on you any moment, and sometimes even do. You stay away from loved ones for months at a stretch, and if together, get a lot of flak on the home front because your spouse seldom gets an opportunity to have a career. Neither do your children get the chance to be educated in a big city with all its big promises.  It sometimes gives you tea made of milk powder and puris that can be mistaken for papads, at altitudes where only birds fly. It wakes you up at unearthly hours and makes you sprint in biting cold in white shorts and tucked in T shirts (yes, probably the only place where smart young boys and dashing older men, still tuck in T shirts and run to stay fit).  It makes you work in blistering desert heat in thick combat wear and boots, taking turns to take a breather on a camp cot that has to be shifted with the rotating shade of the only tree in the area. And, for all this, it asks from you a slightly heavy price — that you will unquestioningly give, when required, your life for your country.  ‘Who wants the good life?’  Why would anyone join the Defence Forces? Particularly in an age where most other jobs offer air conditioned offices, stay home options in case of bad headaches, better pay packages and the opportunity to lunch on Lebanese food and spend the weekend sipping Chardonnay at a stylish pub.  Mention this to any Defence Services officer —  from retired officers in their eighties to men/ women in their twenties — and you will hear a dry laugh (they are too well behaved to snort in public).  People don’t join the Defence Forces for shallow things like money, they say. They join it for things like dignity and honour, the privilege of wearing the uniform, of finding friends willing to live and die with you, and at the very least — the opportunity to impress the other sex with the charms of your work clothes.  For young people who actually think like this, we have this piece and here are the details that can help you decide if the Defence Forces are the career for you.  The Indian Army  The Indian Army is responsible for defending the territorial integrity of the country against external aggression and in times of internal disturbances. During war, the army is responsible for protecting the nation against external aggression, whereas, during peace time it provides aid to civil authorities during natural calamities like floods, famines, babies falling into pits dug for tube wells and helps in maintenance of law and order.  The army is mainly divided into combat arms and services. The combat arms are the infantry, the artillery, and the armoured corps, The Corps of Engineers and Corps of Signals. Whereas, services includes Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, Army Postal services, Army Medical Corps, Army Education Corps, Intelligence Corps and so on. So you can be an engineer, a doctor, a teacher, an intelligence agent, a paratrooper and till be an Army officer.  Combat arms are responsible for actual combat, whereas, services are responsible to ensure continuous flow of required ordnance including food for men and animals, fuel for vehicles and tanks, and ammunition.   The Indian Navy  The Indian Navy is responsible for defending the extensive coastline of the country in times of war and peace. The navy is also responsible for safeguarding our maritime interests including defence of off-shore oil and gas installations, coastal shipping and fisheries rights, and to protect vital trade links.  The Navy has three main branches.  - The Executive Branch which manages the navy’s warships and submarines as instruments of tactical warfare.  - The Engineering Branch which is responsible for the maintenance and service of engineering equipment and the propulsion systems on board the ships including electrical and electronic systems, weapon systems, missiles, radar, and radio communication systems.  -  The Education Branch which ensures that the officers and men are updated in their technical and tactical knowledge.  The Indian Air Force  The Indian Air Force is responsible for the air defence of the country, ensuring both offensive and defensive roles. It is also responsible for the air defence of vital installations of strategic importance to the country. The Air force is divided into three main branches:  - The Flying Branch includes fighter pilots who fly combat or fighter planes carrying ammunition and missiles; transport pilots who fly planes which carry men and materials, and helicopter pilots who provide air support to a moving army, or are used for para-dropping men and supplies.  - The Technical Branch which includes engineering sections and is responsible for the engineering equipment and weapons systems of the air force.  - The Administrative Branch which includes all the departments that provide logistical, meteorological, educational and administrative support to the flying and technical branches.  Entry  There are number of types of entries in the Armed Forces in India — at 10+2 level, after graduation and after professional courses (graduate/ post graduate level). Basic entry for all the three forces is through National Defence Academy (NDA). There are following entries to armed forces:  - Entry through NDA in all three wings, permanent commission, after 10+2 level through prescribed competitive examination known as National Defence Academy/ Naval Academy Examination.  - Entry after graduation through Combined Defence Services Examination, through Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun for Army, the Naval Academy, Goa for Indian Navy and the Air Force Academy, Hyderabad for Air Force as permanent Commission officer.  - Through Officers Training School as Short Service Commission officer. All three services can be joined after completion of technical education i.e. Engineering degree, but requirement of each service is different.  Army Medical Corps, which serves all three services, can be joined after completion of MBBS degree, either through Armed Forces Medical College or from any other medical college.  Eligibility  General eligibility conditions demand that a candidate must be:  - A citizen of India (subjects of Bhutan, Nepal, Tibetan refugees or migrants from the rest of the Indian subcontinent with the intention of settling permanently in India can also apply).  - In addition, candidates must be physically fit in accordance with the prescribed physical standards.  = There is a Women’s Special Entry Scheme (officers) for women graduates in specified subjects between 19-27 years of age.  Selection process for NDA  If you are between the ages of 16½-19 and have completed the junior year of high school, you can write the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam which is meant for entry into the National Defence Academy (NDA). The exam is held every six months at various centres in India.  Out of the 50,000 to 60,000 candidates who write the UPSC exam, only around one-third pass.  Individuals faring well in this exam are called for a Services Selection Board (SSB) interview which lasts for three to four days.  This includes medical and written tests, outdoor activity contests, personal interviews etc. Candidates, who want to join the Indian Air Force, have to take a Pilot Aptitude Test, which, once failed, can never be taken again.  All candidates have to undergo extensive psychological examinations and meet exhaustive physical parameters to appear on the SSB merit list, from which 300 join NDA as cadets for three years.  NDA takes in new cadets every January and June. There are no fees to join NDA, but for an individual wishing to opt out, as a small percentage do, it is an expensive procedure. An NDA drop-out has to pay the government costs incurred in training,which are calculated by the number of weeks that have been spent at NDA.  NDA courses  While in the NDA, a cadet earns a Bachelor degree in Arts, Science or Computer Science, which is affiliated to the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. The three years in the NDA are divided into 6 semesters. Five are general semesters which every candidate has to take, and in the sixth and final semester, each candidate specialises for the Army, Navy or Air Force.  Academics constitute around 57 per cent of the programme comprising 12 disciplines, which are eight languages, three pure sciences, two applied sciences and four social sciences. Also a part of the curriculum are Special Services Subjects like training in battlefield and peace-time skills, and operations specific to individual streams of the Army, Navy or Air Force. There is also outdoor training which includes physical training, drill and horse riding.  After three years in the NDA, Army cadets join the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun; Navy cadets join the INS Tir or INS Krishna at Cochin and Air Force cadets move on to the Air Force Training Academy at Hyderabad. These courses are of 18 months duration after which, individual gets a commissioned rank.  Graduate/Direct Entry  Individuals between the age of 19 and 22 and having a three-year Bachelor degree can appear for the Combined Defence Services Exam (CDSC), which is held every six months at various centres in India.  Again, there is an SSB interview and a medical examination. On clearing these, the individual is enlisted into the Indian Military Academy (if he opts for the Army), and gets trained for 18 months, after which he gets a commissioned rank.  Technical Entry  Those having an Engineering degree can apply for direct commission. They can directly appear for the SSB interview and medical exam. If the exam is cleared, they will be paid a stipend by the Indian Government during their senior years. After completing the degree, they are straight away enlisted into the Air Force Training Academy in Hyderabad (if they opt for the Air Force), without entering NDA, with a commissioned ranCk or in Army, through IMA.  Entry-level salaries  Monthly salaries start around Rs 40,000 but to this you can add perks like opportunities for adventure, foreign travel, living in well manicured, safe, clean and green Army cantonments (wherever in the country you are); with free access to swimming pools, gymnasiums, tennis, badminton and squash courts, subsidised canteens, libraries, clubs, a good social life and, above all, an access to like-minded people.

A place where you can make friends for life 
Squadron Leader Puneet Pareek (retd)Why I joined the Air Force  The Air Force was a career I felt passionately about. It was my first career choice because to my mind (as a young man just out of college) the Defence Forces had an irresistible charm.  It was associated with the uniform and also courage, honour and an opportunity to prove oneself.  It was not your run-of-the-mill career. It was a job that commanded respect from society and gave an opportunity for vast exposure to skills, people and places. It also gave me an opportunity to fly fast jets (in short I was young).  What I learnt  The Air Force taught me discipline and endurance. It gave me an exposure to various professional and social activities. It improved my etiquette and honed my social behaviour. It exposed me to a wide variety of jobs and I met some wonderful people and made friends for life.  Why I left  I decided to leave for personal reasons. These included poor service conditions prevailing at that time, my microbiologist wife’s professional career getting compromised and limited career progression available to me. The salary we were getting also did not compare with what pilots outside the Air Force were earning.  What I miss  I miss regularly associating with like-minded defence colleagues and the social bonding in forces even though, at that time, we used to curse the establishment for organising PT, parade and so many parties.  What it gave me  I learnt to believe in myself and I learnt discipline, which comes in handy even today when I decide to go off drinks to cleanse the system.  (Puneet Pareek, a trained fighter pilot, left the Air Force to join Air India Express. He now takes international flights and lives in Delhi.)  Navin GuliaA place where you can make friends for life  What do you think of a career in the Defence Forces for a young person looking for employment?  I think a career in the defence forces is not meant for everybody. It is perfect only for people with passion. One of the main reasons why a young person seeks employment is to earn a livelihood and for security. The Army, Navy and Air Force give you that. You get the pay. However, the perks they give matter so much more. When you join the forces, as a bonus, you also get a very large group of friends who will stand by you through thick and thin. Till you join the forces, you cannot even imagine the number of people who will always be there for you in life and in life-threatening situations. Compare this to civilian life where most people are there for you only if they need something in return.  Was it just another career choice for you or something that you felt passionately about?  Joining the Army was a passion for me. My father was in the Army. I have grown up in that environment. What more could I have wanted than to wear the same uniform with the same pride as him?  What do the forces give an officer?  What do they not give? A large family of friends and well wishers. An organisation that stands by you. A never-say-die attitude. A spirit to live life to its fullest. Pride which makes you hold your head high always. Empathy for others. A medical, financial and social cover for life. Any other profession can give you an obscene amount of money, but to earn the above perks you will have to join the forces.  What is it that you miss most after leaving?  I miss the friends, the environment, and the challenges.  What are the teachings that stay with men/ women who have served in the forces for life?  The Defence Forces give you a never-say-die attitude. They ensure that you have your priorities clear in life always. They bring in you a disciplined approach and a spirit to live life to the fullest.  Anything else you’d like to share?  A person who wants to earn Rs 11,000 instead of Rs 10,000 would most probably not like the forces. It is a career meant for those who appreciate the better things in life. (Navin Gulia left the Army after a spinal cord injury paralysed him for life. Despite this, he went on to set adventure sport records, learn gliding, design car controls for differentially abled people like himself and now runs an NGO for street children called ADAA or Apni Duniya Apna Ashiana Welfare Society

IGNOU awards certificates to 308 army personnel
2010-04-21 19:40:00  A total of 308 personnel below officers rank (PBOR) of the Indian army were awarded degrees, diplomas and certificates by the Indira Gandhi National Open University ( IGNOU) Wednesday in different courses of telecommunication and computers.  The PBORs were from the army's corps of signals in Jabalpur. The ceremonial function took place at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) headquarters in the national capital under project Gyandeep, launched last year.  'The aim of the project is to confer educational certification to PBORs by according recognition to in-service training carried out by individuals during the span of their service career,' an army official said.  'We want to empower all PBORs by arming them with a diploma and degree so as to facilitate a second career post-retirement. This programme has the potential to transform the post-retirement life of soldiers by equipping them with a formal qualification and preparing them for competitive job avenues,' the official added.

Army should be equipped to deal with cyber terrorism’
Updated on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 19:32 IST Tags:Andhra Guv, cyber terrorism, Army be equipped Print this page Print E-mail E-Mail Bookmark and Share Hyderabad: The threat scenario in the country has undergone a sea change over the years with issues like cyber terrorism emerging as major threats and the armed forces officers should be equipped to deal with them, Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan said here today.  "From a mere external aggression facet, we have now moved into a new era of threats. Earlier, when we talk of national security , we always thought of as external aggression from across the borders.  "But today, the whole concept of national security has undergone a radical change, though external aggression is still a major factor," he said in his valedictory address at the College of Defence Management (CDM) here on completion of the Higher Defence Management Course by a group of 108 officers.  "Globalisation, convergence, networking, technological advancements, state actors and non-state actors, criminal-terrorist linkages have all together changed the security scenario today," he said.  The officers should be able to anticipate situations and "calibrate the threat levels" instead of being reactive, Narasimhan, a former IB Chief, said.  "There is a convergence of interests among state players today against India. We need to understand this. There are proxy actors, there are facilitators to fulfil a common objective that is basically to destabilise India," he said. Nexus between terrorists and criminals and cyber terrorism are other major threats to security, Narasimhan said.  He regretted that cyber terrorism is a much neglected area in terms of tackling the security threats which resulted in cyber attacks.  The need of the hour is to take effective measures to prevent cyber terrorism, he said.  Narasimhan asked the officers to make effective use of technology, adopt human resource management practices by decentralising decision making and delegating responsibility to achieve optimum results.  108 officers of Colonel and equivalent rank, belonging to the three Services, the Coast Guard and friendly foreign countries including Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan, were conferred post graduate degree of Master of Management of Studies on the occasion.

Gurdwara land sold to Pak's Defence Housing Authority: Report  
PTI Wednesday, April 21, 2010 16:13    A secret probe conducted by Pakistani authorities after the Indian government protested against the sale of a Sikh gurdwara's land to the Defence Housing Authority in Lahore has confirmed that the deal was "less than clean", according to a media report today.     The 575 kanals of land was sold by the Evacuee Trust Property Board, the body that administers the shrines and properties of Pakistan's minority communities.     The sale had triggered protests in the Indian parliament last year.     The probe by the federal ministry for minority affairs revealed that the land belonged to gurdwaras and could not be sold under The Sikh Gurdawara Act of 1925.  The inquiry also revealed that the land was sold at rates lower than those prevailing in the market.     The findings of the inquiry are being kept secret as the "confirmation of massive irregularities in the questionable deal... might land certain top guns of the ETPB in big trouble", The News daily reported.     The probe was launched after the Indian government sent a letter dated December 29, 2009 in which it asked its Pakistani counterpart to investigate the sale of land attached to gurdwaras and other Sikh shrines.     The newspaper's report contended that the inquiry resulted in ETPB chairman Asif Hashmi's "dramatic" decision to announce his resignation during an official function in Lahore on Monday.     The daily quoted its sources as saying that Hashmi was aware of the findings of the inquiry, which had been sent to prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for further action.  The inquiry revealed that the land sold to the army-run Defence Housing Authority belonged to ETPB for the past century and was attached to Sikh gurdwaras and trusts.  The current management of the ETPB, led by chairman Hashmi, decided to enter into a "dubious agreement" with the Defence Housing Authority after violating all "relevant rules and laws", the report said.  "The intricacies have provided a lot of room to the Indian government because of association of Defence Housing Authority with our armed forces and this was used to defame Pakistan, present government and our armed forces. That was why the deal between Defence Housing Authority and ETPB was highlighted in the media all over the world," the inquiry report said.  The prime minister's Inspection Commission is reportedly conducting a separate inquiry into serious irregularities detected in the ETPB since its current management took over.     Sources said report of the inquiry by the ministry of minority affairs is now with the office of prime minister for further action as proposed in the report.  The inquiry committee has requested the federal government to constitute a high-power committee comprising officials from the ministries of minority affairs, finance and defence, intelligence agencies and Federal Investigation Agency to look into the possibility of cancelling the land deal.

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