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Saturday, 22 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 22 May 2010

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

Defence On a slow march 
IT is difficult to say which of Defence Minister AK Antony’s pursuits will secure India’s long-term strategic interests. Will it be his quest of seeing the “made in India” tag to high value defence equipment or his near fanatic trait of enforcing honesty and probity?  Either way, the soft-spoken Kerala leader has sent across a strong message. Indeed, Antony is playing the right notes and slowly making the entire orchestra —the scientists in the defence production sector, the babus of the ministry and the three armed services—play in symphony. Antony’s idea of modernisation is “no compromise on transparency and fairness”.The languid pace of reforms and delay in the induction of key equipment has its fair share of detractors. Antony, has however, set some sort of a pace. The intention is to reduce the import bill for procuring defence equipment. About 70 per cent of the nearly Rs 50,000 crore of the annual procurement budget is spent on imports. Thus the stress on indigenously equipment, including the nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant, a stealth warship and the Arjun tank.  The Defence Research and Development Organisation has been made accountable for delays in delivery.  Antony also intends to transform the IAF into a strategic aerospace power “befitting our national growth and aspirations”. Crucially, even as India inched closer to the US, India and Russia again displayed how they are locked in a “bear hug” when it comes to traditional defence ties. The inter-government agreement between the two nations was extended by another 10 years.  On the issue of accountability, Antony did not mince words when he asked the former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor to court martial Lt-Gen Avadesh Prakash, his military secretary.  Last word: Slow implementation of accountability. — Ajay Banerjee   DONE: DRDO reorganisation and stress on indigenisation NOT DONE: Armaments not procured in time, slow pace of reforms

Dantewada fallout: CRPF DIG, 2 officers transferred 
New Delhi, May 21 In the first fallout of the Dantewada massacre of CRPF by Maoists, the CRPF today shunted out Deputy Inspector General Nalin Prabhat and two other officers for their alleged lapses.  CRPF Director General Vikram Srivastava told PTI that the decision had been taken “after considering the E Rammohan Committee report and the court of inquiry conducted by the CRPF.” Besides 42-year-old Prabhat, a 1993 batch IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, the other two officials who have been sent out are Commandant AK Bisht and Inspector Sanjeev Bangre, he said.  While Prabhat will be joining in Chandigarh, a charge he was already holding, Bisht has been moved to a training centre Aradi in Orissa. Bangre has been shifted to Anantnag in Kashmir.  Srivastava said a separate Court of Inquiry to be headed by an officer of the rank of IG had been instituted against these three officers. The CRPF DG said RS Sahota would replace Prabhat while Ashok Swami would move in as Commandant of 62 batallion. — PTI

Canadian mission dubs BSF ‘notorious’ force Denies immigration to retd Ludhiana trooper
Kanchan Vasdev Tribune News Service  Fateh Singh Pandher Fateh Singh Pandher  Ludhiana, May 21 In what could turn into a diplomatic battle between India and Canada, the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi has dubbed the Border Security Force (BSF) as a “notoriously violent paramilitary unit” stationed in sensitive areas, attacking civilians and torturing suspected criminals.  The Canadian mission rejected the immigration of a retired BSF Havaldar, Fateh Singh Pandher, a resident of Sihar village 25 km from here, to Canada stating he was working for the “notorious” organisation.  In its rejection letter to the former BSF trooper, the Canadian High Commission claimed the BSF was “responsible for committing crime against humanity” and he was a part of it.  Fateh Singh (60), who retired from the BSF a decade ago, had applied for his immigration to be with his only daughter in Canada in April 2005. He was called in for an interview on April 21, 2008, at the High Commission.  His case was rejected vide a letter dated December 8, 2009, stating he could not be allowed immigration under Section 35(1) (a) of Immigration and refugee protection Act. It comprises committing an act outside Canada that constitutes an offence referred to as “crimes against humanity and war crimes”.  After receiving the letter, the former trooper, who is an agriculturist post- retirement, sent a communication to the Prime Minister’s office in New Delhi, asking him to take up the matter.  “I was shocked. I cannot take this. How can they use such offensive words against my organisation? I have given my prime for the force and worked for 25 years with it, protecting several borders of the country,” said Fateh, with anger writ large on his face and eyes welling up with tears.  Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna called him up today and expressed a desire to meet him.

Dantewada fallout: CRPF DIG, two officers shunted out
Press Trust of India, Friday May 21, 2010, New Delhi CRPFjawansnaxal216grid.jpgIn the first fallout of the Dantewada massacre of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) by Maoists, CRPF on Friday shunted out Deputy Inspector General Nalin Prabhat and two other officers for their alleged lapses.  CRPF Director General Vikram Srivastava said that the decision has been taken "after considering the E Rammohan Committee report and the court of inquiry conducted by the CRPF." (Read: Rammohan submits inquiry report on Dantewada Naxal attack)  Besides 42-year-old Prabhat, a 1993 batch IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, the other two officials who have been sent out are Commandant A K Bisht and Inspector Sanjeev Bangre, he said.  While Prabhat will be joining in Chandigarh, a charge he was already holding, Bisht has been moved to a training centre Aradi in Orissa. Bangre has been shifted to Anantnag in Kashmir.  Srivastava said a separate Court of Inquiry to be headed by an officer of the rank of Inspector General has been instituted against these three officers.  R S Sahota will replace Prabhat while Ashok Swami will move in as Commandant of 62 batallion, the CRPF DG said.  CRPF Inspector General in the Bastar region Ramesh Chandra, who retired on April 30, will also be facing a court of inquiry for his alleged commissions and omissions.  The Rammohan Committee had inquired into the April six incident in which 75 CRPF personnel and one Chhattisgarh policeman were gunned down by the Naxals in Chintalnar of Dantewada district. (Read & Watch: 76 security men killed by Naxals in Chhattisgarh)  The Committee had alleged that the planning of the operation had not been done properly.  The CRPF personnel killed on that day had virtually become sitting ducks for the Naxals after they had virtually violated every standard operating procedure which included not to take help of villagers and never rest at any place for more than four hours.  This was the first incident post independence when the CRPF causality was so high.  The removal of Prabhat has come as a surprise in the CRPF ranks as he was considered among the best officers in the para-military forces and has been decorated with President's Police Medal, Police Medal for Meritorious Service and Police Medal for Gallantry. He was considered as best operational officer during his tenure as DIG in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir.

'Canada has the greatest respect for Indian Armed forces'
May 22, 2010 02:22 IST Tags: Canadian High Commission, Fateh Singh Pandher, Catherine Loubier, BSF, Canada Email this Save to My Page Ask Users Write a Comment  A statement made by Canadian High Commission in New Delhi [ Images ] against the Border Security Force has been contradicted by an official spokeswoman of  Canada's [ Images ] Minister for Foreign Affairs.  In a telephonic interview today, Catherine Loubier, told that "Canada has the greatest respect for Indian Armed forces and related institutions".  The Canadian High Commission  rejected visa application of one Fateh Singh Pandher, a retired constable with the Border Security Force. Reports say his visa application was rejected as the High Commission, Pandher reportedly says, 'described the BSF as a violent paramilitary unit  and is engaged in systematic attacks on civilians and responsible for torturing suspected criminals. According to Fateh's claim, the Canadian High Commission further 'holds the BSF responsible for committing crime against humanity'.  When asked whether the Canadian government agrees with this claim of the High Commission, Loubier said, "On the contrary I am telling you Canada has the highest regard for the Indian armed forces and related institutions."  So, you are contradicting the claim made by Canadian officials in New Delhi? "That would be correct," she conceded. "I am telling you something quite different (than what the High Commission said) and I am telling you we are reviewing the situation very closely."  But in regard to Pandher's visa application, Loubier said "Decisions on visa applications are made by public servants following process under the Immigration and Protection Act.  "I want to stress we are reviewing the situation.  I can't unfortunately give details because of privacy reasons…"  And then she emphasized that "India [ Images ] is a country with growing influence on the global stage, and Canada and India … have close ties that bind us…"  She then referred to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's official visit to India November last year  and alluded to the fact that there are over one million persons of Indian origin in Canada.  "They make a significant contributions to the strength of Canada's economy."  Loubier repeatedly said they are "reviewing the situation" but she, for various reasons, wouldn't amplify but she had no qualm in clearly admitting that on behalf of Minister for Foreign Affairs she was contradicting  the  remarks made by the High Commission against BSF.

US-India strategic dialogue next week
May 22, 2010 02:05 IST Tags: Department of Homeland Security and National Telecommunications Information Administration, J Crowley, Krishna, State for Political Affairs Bill Burns, India Email this Save to My Page Ask Users Write a Comment  United States and India [ Images ] will hold their four-day inaugural strategic dialogue beginning June one which would include an in-depth discussion between the leaders of the two countries on global and regional issues.  The State Department spokesman also announced that the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns will travel to Afghanistan and India.  "The Secretary (of State) looks forward to hosting Minister of External Affairs (S M) Krishna," state department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters at his daily news conference.  Leading the delegations of their respective countries, Clinton and Krishna would co-chair the high-level inter-agency discussions on a range of critical issues, including agriculture, education, energy, trade and counter-terrorism, Crowley said.  "There will be in-depth discussions on global and regional issues. In addition, there'll be separate bilateral meetings, including between Cabinet members and Indian ministers on the margins of the dialogue," Crowley said.  "In Afghanistan, he will build on the progress achieved through the successful visit of (the Afghan) President (Hamid) Karzai and his cabinet to Washington. In India, he'll meet with a range of senior Indian officials and make preparations for the upcoming strategic dialogue," he said.  Also in India, from May 23 until June 4, Ambassador Philip Revere, the US coordinator for international communications and information policy, will lead an inter-agency delegation from the Departments of State, the Federal Communications Commission, Department of Homeland Security and National Telecommunications Information Administration to the fifth World Telecommunication Development Conference in Hyderabad, he announced.  The conference is held under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union.

Solution to Afghan conundrum
Lt Col (R) Zaheerul Hassan  A landlocked Afghanistan is located in southern Asia and shares her border with six countries: China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. But the approximate 1500-mile-long Durand Line along Pakistan remains the most dangerous core issue between two neighbours. It is mountainously dominated with an area of 652,000 square kilometers (251,737 square miles).Hindu Kush and the Himalayan mountain ranges to the north and arid desert to the south. Afghanistan endures the most extreme temperatures on earth. Kabul is a capital and located in the northeastern part of the country. According to CIA World Fact book its estimated population in 2000 was 25,838,797. Principally and ethnically Afghans are divided into Pashtuns, the Tajiks, the Uzbeks, and the Hazaras. Pashtunes are almost 47 % of the population. They are being recalled in the history as traditional brave and warriors and never been ruled by any foreigners. History reveals Afghans are the lost ten tribes of Israel mentioned by the Prophet Edras.  Ethically and culturally the Pakhtoons who inhabit the area on both sides of the Durand Line are of the same stock. Islam is and has been for a long time the dominant religion in the area constitutes Pakistan and Afghanistan. The great majority of the population in both countries is Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslim from Minority Groups. The Mullahs of both societies command considerable respect. Though, Afghanistan is a landlocked country but because of her strategic location always enjoyed vital and special status in global politics. Three Angelo Afghan wars (1839-42; 1878-80; 1919) between British’s Afghans rulers have been fought, in which British’s tasted horrible defeats. It is a country which attained the status of buffer state between Soviet Union and British India till 1947. Russian invaded in 1979 but after facing heavy resistance of Mujaddins, forced to withdraw in 1988. As a result system emerged Soviet Union resulted into disintegration and U.S emerged a single super power. Culmination of cold war gave birth to new cold war between China and US. Moreover, single super war set her new objectives, i.e. Contaminant of China, increasing her influence in central Asian region and stopping Iran from becoming nuclear power. The incident of 9/11 provided US and western forces to land their forces in the name of elimination of terrorism and arrest Obama bin Ladan. The energy rich central states are full of resources and directly or indirectly directly influence world economy. Central Asia now emerged as a centre of one of the largest world reserves of oil apart from the Middle East. With the Gulf War in 1991, the USA and Saudi Arabia had gained local control of the world oil price mechanism and thereby rolled back the global economic recession caused by the first oil shock. The massive hydrocarbon resources of central Asia can easily be accessed through Afghanistan which also magnitude the geopolitical significance of the later. Afghanistan is connected with the sea wit shortest route at Makaran Coast in Pakistan. After Russian collapse US started showing economical, strategic interests in the region and its foreign policy underwent a fundamental transformation becoming more inclined towards India.  The Afghan situation is very complex in nature and Obama administration has become totally confused over the Afghan state of affairs. According to the “Weekly Telegraph” report , the United States and NATO deploy 113,000 troops in Afghanistan, with another 40,000 due over the course of the year as part of a renewed strategy that emphasises development and the ‘reconciliation’ of Taliban fighters. US led ISAF troops are fighting against Taliban but no glaring victory has so far been achieved. Taliban has control over 70 % of the area despite presence of heavy strength of the foreign forces. In fact, Karzai has failed to control and improve the internal security situation of Afghanistan. Karzai brother found involved in drug trafficking, Indian Intelligence agencies were detected in planning targeting ISAF troops, millions of individuals which include, civilians, soldiers and Taliban became victim of the crisis.  The operation which started in mid October 2000 is still undergoing and not likely to be successful in near future. The regional defence analysts are in the opinion that the involvement of Americans in Afghan crises would likely to be proved another big disaster for American after Vietnam War. Pakistan is more worried about Indian ingress that doesn’t have even boundaries with Afghanistan. The hard fact is that September 11 has changed the status of Pakistan foreign Policy because the country was faced with a grim regional scenario in which its stability and long term survival could have been at stake if it had not joined the U.S war on terror”.  Pakistan was forced to become first line ally of America in 2001 but somehow India take benefit of the situation and established her training camps under the garb of development projects. Prior to its 9/11 the relation between Pakistan and Afghanistan was almost cordial, brotherly and out of hostile era. Afghanistan was and still using Pakistan soil for trades. “Since 1947 Pakistan is providing transit facilities for Afghanistan’s goods. Even during difficulties were never withdrawn bar one or two occasions when diplomatic relations Afghanistan and Pakistan had been broken off. The migration of the people form both side was part of normal phenomena. Another factor which has had to be considered in the context of changes in Pakistan-Afghan relations is the seasonal migrations of the Pawandas. The Pawandas are Afghani nomadic groups who migrate to Pakistan during the winter and go back to Pakistan in the summer months”. However, ups and down in bilateral relations of two negihbours though could be seen in the past but these became more fragile due to Indian involvement in Afghan crises. Pakistan is suffering worst kind of militancy of her history.  She was forced to deploy over 140,000 troops in FATA for elimination of militancy. It’s an open secret now that India is using Afghan territory for training of terrorists and dispatching them to Pakistan. Recently, Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha while briefing Parliamentary Committee of National Security, regarding US new Afghan policy and its implication on Pakistan revealed that Afghan soil is being used for terrorist activities in Pakistan. He told that drugs smugglers of Afghanistan have been supporting the terrorists. Pasha also suggested the need that movement of terrorists on Pak-Afghan border should be monitor. He informed members of the committee that negotiations to tighten checking on bordering area between two countries were underway with all stakeholders. The main beneficiaries of Afghan crises remained U.S President Bush, India and Israel. Pakistani military had launched 209 major and 510 minor operations in 10 regions. He said 2,273 Pakistani army officers and soldiers had been killed in the fighting so far which include one 3-star General, two 2-star generals and five brigadiers were also among the martyrs. American think tanks should understand that Jews media use to blame Pakistan for double game on Pakistan intelligence agencies. in this connection while talking to senior journalists in Islamabad, Army chief Gen Kayani rejected the allegations of double game leveled against Pakistan intelligence agencies, saying that 73 intelligence officers had embraced martyrdom in Pakistan, while 11 others were martyred in Afghanistan .  Indian lobby present in Obama administration in collaboration of Mossad and CIA keep on building pressure on Islamabad while planning, staging various types of intrigues against Pakistan . Mumabai Drama, Kabul & London Blasts, arrest of Indian diplomat Madhuri Gupta and incident of 01 May, 2010 i.e. “failed attempt of car bombing at City’s Times Square in New York” are very well connected and the glaring examples of unholy connivance of “Triple III Agencies”. Under custody Faisal in America seem to be tempted, lured in and blackmailed for staging the drama of car bombing. The Western and American lobbies do for get the sacrifices of Pakistani security Forces in war against terrorism while prior to launch media campaigns against Pakistan. In short Afghan crises have posed regional as well as well global security problem. There is a need to resolve it according to the wishes of the regional and global players.  In the resent past former ambassador of Pakistan, Dr Maleha Lodhi very rightly raised questions on the under discussing issue, i.e. Is the goal of the military means now simply the avoidance of defeat? What does “success” in Afghanistan really mean? Can Afghanistan be stabilized by just military means without applying non military elements of strategy? That is what another troops surge implies .is it all possible to for outsiders to undertake nation building?

Army officer among 23 killed in J&K road mishaps 
Seventeen persons were killed and 60 injured when an overloaded bus skidded off the road and fell into a 500-metre deep gorge in Reasi district on Friday while a Major was among six armymen killed in two separate accidents in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.  The bus was on its way from Reasi to Mahore when it veered off the road as the driver tried to negotiate a curve falling into a deep gorge at Bidda about 95-kms from here, police officials said.  Seventeen persons died in the accident which left 60 injured out of which 15 were critical, they said.  Army and police personnel have rushed to the spot and launched rescue operations with four of the seriously injured airlifted to Government Medical College (GMC) hospital, they said, adding that the toll in the mishap may rise.  The ill-fated bus met with the accident when the driver was negotiating a curve, police officials said.  In an early morning mishap in Rajouri district, a Rashtriya Rifles Major was killed and three others, including a Colonel, were injured when their vehicle collided head on with a tipper at Sunderbani about 80-kms from here, they said.  The deceased has been identified as Major Vasant Gaurav and the injured, including Colonel LK Chiter, Signalman VK Sharma and sepoy Antony Swamy were admitted in the ICU of Command hospital.  Five armymen were killed and 6 others were injured when an army vehicle of 43 Rastriya Rifles travelling towards Surankote belt of Poonch district, skidded off the road and fell down into a 150-feet deep gorge near Duggar Gala in Chingus area about 165-kms from here in Rajouri district at around 8.30 am today.  The deceased jawans have been identified as Parinder Kumar Sharma, SK Singh, Dinesh Singh, B Venakatroa and Rakesh Gulia.  Rescue teams have admitted the injured to the hospital.  The army has ordered a court of inquiry to ascertain the exact cause of the accidents, PRO Defence Col Biplab Nath said.

Revisiting ‘1971’-- Pakistan- India Relations 
Friday, May 21, 2010 Print This Post Save As PDF By Firdaus Ahmed for IPCS  The latest, if muted, storm in the military’s tea cup has been the destruction of documents relating to India’s 1971 victory. Apparently, Eastern Command made a search for the documents in order to interact with erstwhile Mukti Bahini fighters as part of a forthcoming observance of the event. It turned out that the documents in question had been destroyed on orders. This was confirmed by Lt Gen Jacob, architect of the famous victory, recalling that this was done before he took over as the Eastern Army commander soon after the war. Promptly, it surfaced that the records of the great naval action – the sinking of the Pakistani naval submarine, PNS Ghazi – were also missing.  The controversy provides an opportunity to revisit 1971. The landmark events have since had considerable resonance, particularly because the Pakistani Army has been engaged in ‘paying back’ India over the past three decades. However, this article dwells on the problems with strategic thinking in India, using the 1971 War as an entry point.  It is now widely known that the decision to go to war was taken sometime in mid April of that year, after the extreme brutality of the crack down on Bengalis in East Pakistan the previous month. Late Field Marshal Manekshaw recounted how he had stood up to his political masters insisting on postponing the date to a more opportune time later in the year for which his army would be better prepared. (It is perhaps his retelling of this ‘legend’ that led to India’s political elite inexplicably keeping away from his last rites.) The interim gave India ample scope for interfering in East Pakistan, by supporting the Mukti Bahini.  While state terrorism that occurred in East Pakistan is inexcusable, it bears mention that in the Third World context of state weaknesses, dealing with foreign interference is usually done through greater violence than is otherwise the case. Therefore, India’s earlier role in sponsoring irregulars and later in conducting operations alongside them prior to the outbreak of war contributed in some measure to the brutality of the Pakistani state and its army. There is also a question mark in history on the hijacking of and blowing up of the ‘Ganga’ Air India flight in Lahore. This enabled India to terminate over-flights between the eastern and western wings of Pakistan as early as February 1971, accentuating its problems of access and heightening its security dilemma. Therefore, to an extent the final figures of three million dead and ten million refugees can also be attributed to India’s strategy. It is no wonder that the records held with the Army are missing.  The costs of India’s strategy are easy to discern. It could have been anticipated that Pakistan’s paranoia would heighten due to the Indian angle to the crisis. Was it perhaps that Pakistan’s despicable behaviour provided India the casus belli? Was the strategy to provoke just such a response? At the UN, India initially alluded to the humanitarian consequences of Pakistani action as the casus belli, swiftly its UN officials retracted and attributed India’s action to self-defence instead; brought on, incidentally, by Pakistani attacks after a fortnight of Indian ground force presence in East Pakistan.  K Subrahmanyam, doyen of India’s strategic community, won his spurs then by making a case for dividing Pakistan. He records insisting with YB Chavan that India also take the war to West Pakistan to dictate the agenda of peace. In the event that India’s aims were limited to taking some territory in the East and being defensive in the West would Subrahmanyam’s case have led to a better outcome? The USS Enterprise was enroute to the Bay of Bengal leaving India with enough time to revert troops from the West to East. Operational level ingenuity resulted in the stunning victory. However, factoring in the entirely predictable human cost preceding it and that continues to rack the subcontinent today, makes it much less so.  The criticism today is that the gains to the east were not exploited adequately at Shimla to force Bhutto’s weak hand. The usual argument is that holding onto prisoners would have been a useful pressure point. This is ignorance of the Third Geneva Convention which requires the return of prisoners at the earliest. In the event India chose to return even the 150 prisoners pointed out by Bangladesh as war criminals. Perhaps returning them, after getting Bangladesh to acquiesce, would have closed the chapter. War crime trials would no doubt have brought out the Indian angle to the internal crisis.  Lastly, the telling lesson of 1971 is that continuing political control over the military is required, even over action seemingly in the military domain. War aims formulated in Calcutta by Eastern Command’s Chief of Staff keeping Dhaka as the center of gravity were not those of Delhi, as elaborated by the General Jacob himself in his surrender at Dhaka. In today’s nuclear environment –a consequence of political inattention then– such a situation cannot be allowed to replicate.  Firdaus Ahmed is a Freelancer and may be reached at This article was published by IPCS.

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