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Saturday, 1 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 01 May 2010

Asian Age
Telegraph India
The Pioneer
Indian Express
Asian Age
Asian Age
Asian Age
Asian Age
Telegraph India
The Pioneer
Asian Age
Asian Age
Asian Age
Telegraph India
Indian Express
Times of India
DNA India




Tribunal finds Major’s dismissal order fabricated
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, April 30 Observing that the termination order of an Army Major seemed to be fabricated and a coloured exercise, the Armed Forces Tribunal today set aside his dismissal and ruled that he be deemed to have superannuated from service.  Disposing of a petition filed by Maj SL Sharma, the bench comprising Justice Ghanshyam Prashad and Lt Gen NS Brar also directed that he be given all consequential benefits that are admissible at the time of retirement. The officer had retired in December 2006 and the dismissal order was communicated to him in February 2007 in a case that had been initiated as far back as 1994.  He was posted as the Garrison Engineer at Danapur from 1991-94, when several charges of procedural lapses were levelled against him. A court of inquiry constituted into the matter went on from 1995 to 1998, following which disciplinary action was initiated. His trial by a general court martial (GCM), however, became time-barred in September 2002. He had moved the Delhi High Court against the trial proceedings and the court had directed the GCM to consider and decide his plea on tie-bar. The bench observed that the authorities took another two years after that to issue him a show-cause notice for termination of services and further two-and-a-half years to arrive at a decision and dismiss him.  The bench came to the conclusion that the administrative action taken under Section 19 of the Army Act was a colourable exercise and abuse of administrative power by the authorities, which led led to dismissal of the petitioner . “These are facts which throw serious doubts on the objective handling of the authorities and also lead to the conclusion that the order of dismissal may not be a genuine document,” the bench ruled.







AFT directs Army to consider whistleblower for promotion
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, April 30 Two days before an Army selection board is to assemble, the Armed Forces Tribunal today ordered that the name of a Lieutenant Colonel who had alleged victimisation for blowing the whistle on his commanding officer, be included in the list of prospective candidates and he be considered for promotion to Colonel.  The petitioner, Lt Col B.S. Goraya, was being considered for promotion by the selection board in December 2009, but a gap in his confidential report profile from September 2008 to May 2009 led to his name being excluded. The Army had debarred his commanding officer to write his confidential report.  “In January this year we had also forwarded a statement of case to debar a Major General, the next superior officer in the hierarchy from initiating his confidential report on the ground that it could lack objectivity in assessment due to circumstances of the case,” his counsel, Rajeev Anand said. “The matter was also repeatedly taken up with Army Headquarters,” he added.  Colonel Goraya, Second-in-Command of an Army Supply Corps battalion, had complained against his commanding officer for various irregularities in May 2009. A court inquiry was ordered and the petitioner was attached to Headquarters Western Command in August last.  The bench comprising Justice Ghanshyam Prashad and Lt Gen H.S. Panag observed that it was clear that the officer had taken all legitimate actions to cover the gap in his confidential report profile and the onus was on the Military Secretary’s Branch army to give a decision to regularise the gap.  Pointing out that due to no fault of his, the name of the petitioner was withdrawn from the selection board held in December 2009 and the same was likely to happen for the board scheduled in May, the bench directed that the officer be considered in the board due next week and the gap in his profile should not be taken into account to defer him from being considered.






Poor Clothing For Jawans House panel raps Defence Ministry
Ajay Banerjee TNS  New Delhi April 30 The all important Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, today slammed the Defence Ministry for not being able to ensure timely and adequate clothing for the forces posted in harsh climatic conditions like the Siachen, Kargil, Ladakh, Sikkim or Arunchal Pradesh. It has also rapped the Army top brass for not streamlining the procedure.  In a report tabled in Parliament, the committee has asked the Defence Ministry “to fix responsibility on all concerned who were found to be responsible for flaws in procurement procedures, technical evaluations and rejection of ordered clothing and equipment.”  The committee headed by Gopinath Munde, deputy leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party in Lok Sabha, wants immediate action and has sought a reply within six months. The committee, which has MPs from both houses, is the most powerful in the Indian Parliamentary system. It wants the entire procurement procedure to be revised.  The committee was examining the “procurement of special clothing and mountaineering equipment”. There are 55 items authorised and 19 critical items such as down feather jackets, trousers, sleeping bags, multipurpose boots, woolen socks, rucksacks, etc. were being imported as no indigenous source was available.  This clothing is needed for sheer survival of the troops as temperature can drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius in winter.  Coming down heavily on the ministry, the committee termed the approach towards procurement as “casual”. Neither quality nor timely availability of critical items is ensured thereby compromising safety as well as comfort of the troops deployed in these conditions. The procurement process is fraught with serious delays.  The committee expressed its “dismay” that the Army headquarters, despite having procuring for two decades, has not been able to streamline technical specifications, evaluation of offers and selection of vendors.  In what will come as a shocker, the committee has revealed that it took 14-15 months to supply an item after a demand was raised. This was mainly because of the severe delay in trial evaluation, finalisation of specifications, tendering and signing of contract.  On its part, the Army headquarters has not formulated any General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) so far, for special clothing and mountaineering equipment, the committee said.








  Stealth ship Shivalik India joins elite group 
The tag “Made in India” has a wonderful feel to it. And when it is on the country’s first home-built stealth warship INS Shivalik, the sense of elation is further magnified. The induction of the Rs 2,300-crore frigate is a welcome step in keeping with the changes in warship technology. India is now in an exclusive club, considering that only the US, the UK, Russia, France, China, Japan and Italy have the capability to build such ships. Most of these countries may be far more advanced, but just keeping pace with them is a major achievement. It is heartening that the Navy has been in the forefront of the indigenisation drive. It will have greater bluewater warfare punch if its plan to induct seven advanced frigates by 2020 at a cost of Rs 65,000 crore remains on course.  Such acquisitions are very important considering that it has a yawning shortfall of ships. It suffered mainly in 1990s when hardly any orders were placed due to various reasons. Defence capabilities are built over a long period of time and it is necessary to make amends at the earliest possible. The most prestigious project the Navy has undertaken is the first indigenously designed aircraft carrier now under construction at Kochi. The pace will have to be stepped up even further.  In the 21st century, the Navy has become very important for safeguarding the country’s strategic interests. It is today a vital instrument of diplomacy and capabilities. The country has been sending ships all over the world and has engaged in joint exercises with the US, the UK, Japan and ASEAN. Quick decisions are needed to augment not only its strength but also to make its fleet younger. Many ships like aircraft carrier INS Viraat, which was commissioned in 1959 in the Royal Navy as HMS Hermes, and was purchased by the Indian Navy in 1986, cry out for replacement. 







  US arms for Pakistan India must ensure conventional superiority
 by Gurmeet Kanwal  While in Washington DC for the Nuclear Security Summit in mid-April, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remonstrated with President Barack Obama about the adverse implications of the proposed conventional arms sales by the United States to Pakistan.  In February, the American Ambassador in Islamabad had said that the US Defense Department was considering the sale of 12 unarmed drones to Pakistan to encourage it to cooperate in the war on terror. It is not beyond Pakistan’s technological capability to arm these UAVs with air-to-ground missiles for use in conventional conflict. The US has also offered 1,000 Laser-guided bombs to Pakistan to attack Taliban terrorists from the air in the NWFP and FATA areas on Pakistan’s western borders — the epicentre of international terrorism.  In October 2009, Air Chief Marshal Rao Quamar Suleman, Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), had accepted the first F-16 Block 52 aircraft on behalf of his nation at the Lockheed Martin facility at Fort Worth, Texas. The remaining aircraft was to be delivered in 2010. The total order, worth $5.1 billion, is for 12 F-16Cs and six F-16Ds. When this transfer is completed, it will raise the total number of F-16s in service with the PAF to 54. The Pakistan Air Force received its first F-16, in the Block 15 F-16A/B configuration, in 1982.  Earlier, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency had notified Congress of a foreign military sale to Pakistan of 115 M109A5 155mm self-propelled howitzers as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised by Pakistan, could be as high as $56 million.  This is not the first time that the US has offered major arms packages to Pakistan, nor will it be the last.  The US had co-opted Pakistan as a frontline state in its fight against communism during the Cold War and armed it with Patton tanks, F-86 Sabre Jets and F-104 Starfighters, among other weapons and equipment. Despite strong US assurances, all of these were used against India. US-Pakistan cooperation was expanded further when the former Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan.  In the 1980s, the CIA gave Pakistan huge quantities of weapons for the Afghan Mujahideen. These included shoulder-fired Stinger surface-to-air missiles, some of which were recovered by the Indian Army from Pakistan’s terrorist mercenaries in Kashmir. However, as soon as the last Soviet tank left Afghan soil, the US had dropped Pakistan like a hot potato and slapped sanctions on it.  Post-September 11, 2001, the US not only ignored Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation but also its emergence as the new hub of Islamist fundamentalist terrorism. It also tolerated General Musharraf’s dictatorial regime because it suited US national interests in the war against terrorism.  The US designation of Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally in March 2004 had irritated Indian policy planners because Indo-US relations had just begun to improve. The “next steps in strategic partnership” (NSSP) had been announced only in January 2004 and India was looking forward to a comprehensive engagement with the US.  The Indo-US strategic partnership is now on a firm footing, but developments such as the sale of major conventional arms to Pakistan run the risk of damaging the growing relationship.  The US justifies arms sales to Pakistan on several grounds. Besides the need to continue to retain Pakistan’s support in the hunt for Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, the US realises the fragility of the civilian regime in the face of Islamist hardliners in the Pakistan Army, the ISI and the country. It sees the Pakistan Army as a stabilising force in a country that is being gradually Islamised beyond redemption. It is also deeply concerned about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into jihadi hands if there is an Islamist coup. Therefore, the US feels inclined to offer some sops to satisfy Pakistan’s corps commanders at regular intervals.  The sale of eight Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, the Phalanx gun systems and the 2000 TOW anti-tank-cum-bunker busting missiles falls in this category. Also, India and Pakistan are among the largest arms buyers in the world today and no US administration can neglect the military-industrial complex.  Though the sale of the Orion reconnaissance aircraft will make things relatively more difficult for the Indian Navy, the aircraft do not pose a direct new threat to India. The proposed sale indicates a US design to engage the Pakistan Navy in joint reconnaissance and patrolling of the sea-lanes in the Gulf region by bolstering its capability while a similar exercise is being undertaken with the Indian Navy in the southern Bay of Bengal and the Malacca Straits.  Clearly, the US is planning to cooperate with the Indian Navy through its Honolulu-based Pacific Command and with the Pakistan Navy through its Central Command. Such an arrangement will also keep the Indian and Pakistan navies from having to launch joint operations and undertake search, seizure and rescue operations together.  The supply of a new batch of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan will certainly enhance the strike capabilities of the Pakistan Air Force even though the Indian Air Force will continue to enjoy both qualitative and quantitative superiority. If India wishes to influence US arms sales decisions, it must develop adequate leverages to make the US reconsider the pros and cons very carefully. It was reported recently that India had “prevailed” on France to abstain from selling Mirage aircraft to Pakistan in return for a deal to upgrade Mirage 2000 aircraft in service with the IAF.  India is justified in seeing the move to go ahead with the sale of F-16s as a US attempt to balance its strategic partnership with India by once again propping up Pakistan as a regional challenger. India must do what is necessary to maintain its conventional superiority. The new F-16s must not be allowed to achieve anything more than to provide fresh targets to the IAF in a future India-Pakistan conflict.n  The writer is Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi








2 CRPF jawans held for selling arms to Naxals
Three cops & retired sub-inspector among six arrested Tip-off received after Dantewada carnage Shahira Naim Tribune News Service  Modus Operandi  Kingpin ex-SI Yashoda Nand Singh collected empty shells fired during training from various CRPF and PAC armoury centres. These were replaced with live bullets at the main Rampur Armoury and then finally supplied to Naxals. Recovered: 245 kg empty cartridges, over 5,000 live cartridges, 16 Magazines, one mobile phone, Rs 1.76 lakh.  Lucknow, April 30 The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) today arrested six persons, including two serving CRPF jawans and a retired sub-inspector, for allegedly stealing arms and ammunition and supplying the same to Naxals. Unconfirmed reports said another policeman was arrested in Basti.  With raids continuing in several districts, the number of arrests was likely to go up, ADG (Law and Order) Brij Lal said. Following preliminary interrogation, the STF was conducting raids at several places, including Gonda, Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Basti, Jhansi, Chandauli and Rampur, and more arrests were likely.  The arrests were made on a tip-off in the aftermath of the Dantewada Naxal attack that left 76 security personnel dead (42 from UP alone). It was learnt that a large quantity of cartridges was being smuggled out of the CRPF Group Centre Armoury at Rampur via a source in Allahabad.  Investigating the tip-off, Special Task Force SSP Naveen Arora and his team yesterday arrested the alleged kingpin -- retired sub-inspector Yashoda Nand Singh -- from Rampur. Along with him was arrested his main supplier, Havildar (armoury) Vinod Paswan posted at the CRPF Group Centre in Rampur and his aide Vinod Singh, serving with CRPF at Rampur.  Both admitted to regularly removing live and empty cartridges from the armoury to sell to ex-SI Yashoda Nand Singh and Constable Nathi Ram Saini for a negotiated price. A large number of live and empty shells were recovered from the duo.  This led the STF to the fourth person - Constable Nathi Ram Saini, posted at the Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Police Academy, Moradabad. Later, two more policemen — Banshlal and Akhilesh Pandey — were arrested in Jhansi and booked under the Arms Act.  Police sources said kingpin Yashoda Nand Singh collected empty shells of bullets fired during training from various CRPF and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) armoury centres. A whopping 2.5-quintal empty shells were recovered. These shells were later replaced with live bullets at the main Rampur Armoury and then finally supplied to Naxals.  However, Brij Lal said that more investigation was required to conclusively prove that the pilfered arms and ammunition were being supplied to Naxals. Yet, he admitted that the large-scale recovery pointed at the involvement of a big group. “We have recovered empty shells in quintals. No small mafia or criminal gang requires such heavy ammunition,” Lal said.  The CRPF, meanwhile, has suspended both its personnel and ordered an immediate Court of Inquiry.
US submarines open door for women 'D Day' for women of US. Reason they are now free to join the submarines. The long standing ban on women serving in submarines came to an end on April 29. CJ: Anamikaa   Fri, Apr 30, 2010 17:05:28 IST Views:      20    Comments: 0 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 0.0 / 0 votes               IT IS the 'D Day' for women in US, who want to join the Navy. Reason they are now free to join the submarines. The long standing ban on women serving in submarines came to an end on April 29.  The Navy said up to 19 female officers will start duty on guided-missile and ballistic missile subs as soon as next year or early 2012, after undergoing training to serve on the cramped vessels that have long been an all male bastion.  It took 17 year for US Navy to allow women in submarines after women began serving on US Naval ships.  Senior naval officers in the past opposed proposal citing the vessels extraordinarily close quarters and modification cost to accommodate female officers. Some thinks that induction of women can upset the delicate balance.  On possibility of sexual assault navy said that it would draw on its experience with women serving on warships, and ensure strict rules to prevent possible sexual assault.  Australia inducted women in subs in 1998 and the integration of women has been proven beneficial to work well with a degree of privacy for both sexes.  Rights activists in the US says the navy's decision was long overdue, but want the US military to end ban on women in combat roles in ground unit, including in special forces.







Pak, not India, mismanaging Indus water: Qureshi
April 30, 2010 22:57 IST Tags: Indus Waters Treaty, India, Pakistan, SAARC, Qureshi Email this Save to My Page Ask Users Write a Comment  Pakistani authorities have a tendency to "pass the buck" and exaggerate differences with India [ Images ] over the sharing of river waters though mismanagement within the country is resulting in the loss of 34 million acre feet of water, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quereshi said on Friday.  Qureshi made the remarks when he was asked at a news conference whether Pakistan had taken up the issue of India trying to block the flow of rivers by building dams during a meeting on Thursday between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani [ Images ] and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh [ Images ].  Pakistan had taken up the issue during the meeting on the sidelines of a SAARC summit in Bhutan but Pakistani authorities have a "tendency to exaggerate" and "pass the buck" in this regard, Qureshi said.  The average supply of water that reaches Pakistan is 104 million acre feet while the water that is consumed is 70 million acre feet, he pointed out.  "Where is the 34 million acre feet of water going? Is India stealing that water from you? No, it is not. Please do not fool yourselves and do not misguide the nation. We are mismanaging that water," the foreign minister said.  Pakistan "must understand" actions made by India, including the construction of dams and water projects, if they comply with the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, he said.  Pakistan has to see if new structures being built in the Indian side of Kashmir are "in accordance with the Indus Waters Treaty or in violation of it", he added.  "We should examine the Indus Waters Treaty and its annexures which are binding. If there are any violations, we must take them up and will do it without any compromise as water is a matter of life and death for us. Pakistan's progress and economy (is) dependent on water and there will be no compromise on it," he said.  Qureshi also hinted that the Foreign Office had not received any information from the concerned ministry about violations of the treaty by India for almost 20 years but did not give details.  Differences over the sharing of river waters have emerged as a major irritant in bilateral ties in recent years. Pakistani politicians have accused India of trying to turn the country into a desert by building a large number of dams and power projects on rivers in Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ].  India has denied the charges and said the flow in the rivers has been affected by climate change and low rainfall.







Is US okay with China supplying N-reactors to Pak?
April 30, 2010 12:27 IST
 By choosing to keep mum over China's plans to deliver two new nuclear reactors to Pakistan, the Obama [ Images ] administration has once again enlisted the co-operation of China in strengthening Pakistan's capacity in various fields. Indian policy-makers ought to take this seriously, writes B Raman.  When he was Pakistan president, General Pervez Musharraf [ Images ] had sought to counter the Indo-US deal on civilian nuclear co-operation at two levels. He did not oppose the deal. Nor did Pakistan energetically try to have the deal disapproved by US Congress through Congressmen sympathetic to it.  Instead, it sought to counter the deal by using the following arguments. First, it would be discriminatory to Pakistan if it (the nuclear deal) was not made applicable to it too. Second, it would create a military nuclear asymmetry in the subcontinent by enabling India [ Images ] to divert its domestic stock of fuel for military purposes, while using the imported fuel for civilian purposes under international safeguards. Thus, it would have an adverse effect on Pakistan's national security.  The Bush administration rejected the Pakistani arguments by pointing out that Pakistan's economy was unlikely to grow as rapidly as the Indian economy in the short and medium terms and hence it should be possible to meet its energy requirements from conventional sources. The Bush administration also repeatedly made it clear that in view of the role of Dr AQ Khan -- the so-called father of Pakistan's atomic bomb -- and some of his colleagues in clandestinely supplying nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, Pakistan cannot be treated on par with India, which had an unimpeachable record of non-proliferation.  During his State visit to China in February 2006, Musharraf requested for Chinese assistance in the construction of six more nuclear power stations, with a capacity of 600 or 900 MW each. The Chinese reportedly agreed in principle to supply two stations of 300 MWs each to be followed later by four more.  This subject again figured in the general's bilateral discussions with President Hu Jintao on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in June 2006, and in the subsequent discussions between the officials of the two countries, who met at Islamabad [ Images ] and Beijing [ Images ] for doing the preparatory work for Hu's visit to Pakistan from November 23 to 26, 2006.  General Musharraf and his officials were so confident that an agreement in principle for the construction of two nuclear power stations would be initialled during Hu's visit that they even set up a site selection task force.  However, there was no substantive reference to the co-operation between China and Pakistan in the field of civilian nuclear energy during Hu's visit to Pakistan. The joint statement issued on November 25, 2006, by General Musharraf and Hu said: 'The two sides also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the energy sector, including fossil fuels, coal, hydro-power, nuclear power, renewable sources of energy as well as in the mining and resources sector.'  Addressing a press conference after his talks with General Musharraf, Hu said in reply to a question on nuclear co-operation: 'Cooperation in the energy sector is an important component in the relationship between the two countries. We reached a common understanding on strengthening energy cooperation. We would continue this cooperation in future as well.'  While Hu himself did not refer to any future supply of new nuclear power stations, some Pakistani analysts interpreted Hu's remarks as indicating a willingness to supply more nuclear power stations.  Well-informed Pakistani sources attributed the more-guarded Chinese position to the bilateral discussions between President George Bush [ Images ] and Hu at Hanoi in the margins of the summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation organisation on November 18 and 19, 2006.  The speculation was that during these bilateral discussions, Bush pointed out to Hu that the Chinese supply of new nuclear power stations to Pakistan could not be projected as a continuation of the Chinese assistance to Pakistan under a 1985 bilateral co-operation treaty under which Chashma and Chashma II were given and hence would need the clearance of the NSG.  According to this speculation, Bush was also reported to have referred to the Pakistani rejection of repeated requests from the International Atomic Energy Agency to hand over Dr AQ Khan for an independent interrogation and pointed out that the Chinese supply of the new power stations could encourage Pakistan's non-cooperation with the IAEA.  The Chinese attempt to project its proposal to supply two more power reactors to Pakistan as continuation of an old project of 1985 entered into by China with Pakistan before the NSG safeguards imposing restrictions on the supply of civilian nuclear equipment and technology to countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and not a new project was rejected by the Bush administration.  The Chinese sought to compare their Chashma project with the Russian project for the supply of nuclear power stations to India being set up at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu. The Russians went ahead with the project on the ground that the agreement for its construction had been reached before the NSG restrictions went into effect.  Following the rejection of the Chinese arguments by the Bush administration, the Chinese did not take any further action for going ahead with their proposal. During their visits to China, President Asif Ali Zardari [ Images ] and other Pakistani leaders kept pressing the Chinese to finalise the agreement and start its implementation. The Chinese were reluctant to do so.  In a surprise move, the Chinese have now announced that they are going ahead with the project. There have been two announcements in this regard. The first is by the China National Nuclear Corporation, which set up Chashma I and is now constructing Chashma II. It has now announced that an agreement for the provision of a Chinese loan for two new nuclear reactors at the Chashma site designated as Chashma III and IV was signed with Pakistan on February 12 and that it went into effect in March 2010.  The second announcement is in the form of a confirmation by the Chinese foreign ministry. The Global Times, the English daily of the Party-owned People's Daily group, reported as follows on April 30, 2010: 'Beijing confirmed Thursday (April 29) that Chinese and Pakistani officials have signed an agreement to finance the construction of two nuclear reactors, to be built in Pakistan by Chinese firms. Jiang Yu, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said Thursday that the nuclear deal conforms to international standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency.'  The paper quoted Shen Dingli, executive deputy president at the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, as saying: 'Beijing and Islamabad had started joint civilian nuclear projects before China joined the NSG in 2004, which means the mutual cooperation is legal. Washington can't find reasons to criticise Sino-Pakistani nuclear cooperation.'  This is a reiteration of the original Chinese stand that Chashma III and IV are extensions of an agreement of 1985 signed before the NSG safeguards went into effect and hence not affected. This would also indicate that China does not consider it necessary to seek the approval of the NSG for going ahead with the construction of Chashma III and IV.  The surprise Chinese announcement has come at a time when Pakistan has stepped up pressure on the US for a US-Pakistan civilian nuclear co-operation agreement similar to the agreement signed with India in July 2005, followed by action to have the restrictions against Pakistan lifted. This issue was raised by Pakistan at the recent ministerial-level strategic dialogue between the two countries at Washington, DC.  While the Obama administration was reported to have rejected the Pakistani request, there were indications that it was treating the AQ Khan affair as a closed chapter and was sympathetic to Pakistan's energy needs. The US has already made a commitment to help Pakistan improve its conventional energy production capacity.  While rejecting the Pakistani request for a nuclear agreement once again -- though not as firmly as was repeatedly done by the Bush administration -- did the Obama administration indicate to China that it would not raise an objection to China's going ahead with its proposal for the construction of Chashma III and IV by accepting the Chinese interpretation that it did not attract the NSG safeguards?  If so -- I am inclined to believe it is -- this is the second instance in which the Obama administration has enlisted the co-operation of China in strengthening Pakistan's capacity in various fields.  The Los Angeles Times reported on May 25, 2009, that the Obama administration had appealed to China to provide training and even military equipment to help Pakistan counter a growing militant threat and that Richard C Holbrooke, the administration's special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, had visited Beijing in this connection for talks with the Chinese authorities.  Following his visit, the Chinese government announced an aid package of $290 million to enable Pakistan strengthen its counter-terrorism capability.  Indications of the Obama administration taking a benign view of China's military and nuclear co-operation with Pakistan ought to be taken seriously by Indian policy-makers.







3 militants killed as army foils infiltration bid
STAFF WRITER 20:20 HRS IST  Srinagar, Apr 30 (PTI) Scuttling an infiltration bid, the army today gunned down three heavily-armed militants near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara district of north Kashmir.  A group of three militants made an abortive attempt to sneak into this side of LoC but were shot dead by troops in Machil sector, 150 kms from here, in the wee hours, defence spokesman Lt Col J S Brar said here.  This is the first infiltration bid by militants in Machil sector of Kupwara this year. Earlier, militants made attempts to sneak in from nearby Keran and Tangdhar sectors but these were foiled by the troops who killed nearly a dozen militants.  Brar said the security personnel observed the movement of the militants at around 3 AM and challenged the armed intruders who opened fire.    The troops retaliated and in the ensuing gunbattle, the militants were killed.



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