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Monday, 7 June 2010

From Today's Papers - 07 Jun 2010

Asian Age

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





US-India bonhomie Strategic dialogue will take the process forward 
The three-day strategic dialogue between India and the US that concluded in Washington DC last week drew attention to the key areas in which the two must cooperate in their own interest as well as that of global peace and progress. Counter-terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, trade and investment, science and technology, energy security, environmental sustainability, among others, found special mention when the two nations committed themselves to working together with more openness. Through the customary joint statement they pledged to freely consult each other on most issues of regional and global significance and “remain sensitive to each other’s interests”. The Obama administration’s new-found love for India could also be noticed in the US President’s unexpected, though brief, appearance at a State Department reception for select officials and media persons, when he stated that he was keenly looking forward to his coming visit to New Delhi.  The immediate impact of the successful strategic dialogue can be seen in the US granting India the much-awaited access to David Headley, the arrested terrorist mastermind, who has confessed to his close involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist killings. This, in fact, should have happened much earlier like the US was allowed by India to interrogate Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, now awarded death penalty. India and the US became close strategic partners during the George Bush presidency, when the two signed the historic deal for civilian nuclear cooperation. However, with President Barack Obama occupying the White House, the US appeared to be showing greater interest in China and Pakistan than in India.  It is good if the US policy makers have come to realize how misplaced their initial calculations were. India and the US top the list of AfPak-based terrorist outfits’ targets. It is, therefore, imperative that they work as closely as possible to fight the menace. The two countries together can also do a lot in the areas of nuclear security and non-proliferation with India’s impeccable credentials and the Obama administration’s keenness to lay greater stress on it. The worry in New Delhi, however, is that the US policies so far do not reflect exactly what Washington DC has been proclaiming. The US, one hopes, will keep this in mind at least now.









Army suspends Major in fake encounter case Colonel too penalised; decision ahead of PM’s J-K visit
Ehsan fazili Tribune News Service  All eyes on visit  n PM last visited state in October 2009 to inaugurate last section of Qazigund-Baramulla rail link n Likely to renew offer to separatists for talks  What Hurriyat wants  n Comprehensive political package on autonomy n Release of political prisoners n Withdrawal of troops n Revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act  Srinagar, June 6 The day before Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh begins a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, his second in the last seven months, the Army responded today to allegations of a fake encounter at Machil by removing a Colonel from command and placing a Major under suspension.  The announcement followed a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at the Unified Command headquarters in Srinagar.  Both Col DK Pathania, Commanding Officer of 4 Rajput Regiment and Major Upinder of the same regiment, were named as the main accused by the J&K police in the April 30 Machil encounter case. The Army had claimed to have gunned down three unidentified infiltrators and had claimed them to be Pakistani terrorists.  However, Mohamad Shafi, Shehjad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed turned out to be residents of Nadihal in Baramulla district and their relatives claimed they were lured to the border areas and shot. The GOC-in-C of the Northern Command, Lt Gen BS Jaswal, declared after the meeting, “An inquiry has been ordered and there will be total transparency in bringing out the truth,” he said and added this is the first step and should establish the Army’s sincerity in getting to the bottom of it.  News agency PTI quoted state government sources on Sunday as stating that the Army had pressed the panic button and warned of a suicide attack during the Prime Minister’s visit to the valley. “But they have been found to be unsubstantiated by the state police and central security agencies,” said the report. A proposal to shift the PM’s official engagements to the Cantonment area was turned down by the state government.  The hardliners of the Hurriyat have given a strike call for tomorrow while the moderates have demanded a ‘political package’ for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. The ruling National Conference is also expected to seek early talks on providing greater autonomy to the state as recommended by the Sagir Ahmed Committee. During the visit, Union Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prithviraj Chavan will accompany the PM.  The Prime Minister is scheduled to address the convocation of the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. Governor NN Vohra, who is also the Chancellor of the university, had invited the PM to deliver the convocation address.  The PM will also review the progress of the recommendations made during the Round Table Conference chaired by him in 2007 besides being briefed on the security situation and infiltration.  Five working groups were set up then and they have submitted their reports on improving Centre’s relations with the state, furthering relations across the Line of Control, giving a boost to the state’s economic development, good governance and confidence-building measures like the rehabilitation of the destitute families of militants and reviewing the case of detainees.  The Prime Minister will also hold consultations with various political parties. The visit comes in the backdrop of the ‘quiet diplomacy’ initiated by the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram with separatist leaders, which failed to make much headway with the Hurriyat refusing to join it.  The PM is expected to renew the offer to hold talks with the separatists while asking them to work towards restoring normalcy in the state.








A Tribune Special India to acquire ‘x-band’ radars Can spot a six-inch object from 4,600 km
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, June 6 Seeking better protection against incoming enemy’s ballistic missiles and air-borne attacks launched by maverick terrorist organisations, India is to acquire the latest “x-band” radars that have an astonishing 4,600-km range to pick out missiles and airborne objects.  These will allow ground-based handlers to pick out even a six-inch-wide airborne object from that distance and give the option of retaliation. The long range spotting capacity will allow a reaction time that will be six times quicker than the present capacity of India. This will help ramp up the ballistic missile defence capabilities in this “missile-charged” neighbourhood with both China and Pakistan possessing missiles of varied ranges.  The new acquisition will bring cities like Beijing, large parts of South East Asia and also countries in the entire Middle East within India’s viewing range. Present Indian capability is the Swordfish radar that can spot objects from 600-800 km away, which is under an upgrade to have a 1,500-km range. This is essentially a derivative of the Israeli Green pine radar that is now produced locally by the DRDO.  The use of long-range radars is immense as they can “acquire” or view a target and are capable of tracking it down, enabling the ground based operator to fire a counter missile and shot down the incoming enemy missile. India has already demonstrated technology to fire a missile and destroy an incoming missile at an altitude of 15 km above the earth and another test to take on the missile at a height of 48 km. The new powerful state-of-the-art technology x-band radar will be the best bet to tackle ICBMs in China’s arsenal, sources said while adding that the Chinese missile code-named ‘Dongfeng 31’, was a proven platform that can fire for 8,000 km. The Pakistani Hatf and Ghauri missiles, essentially hand-me-down versions of Chinese and North Korean missiles, are India-specific.  Each of the new x-band radars is expected to cost close to $600-700 million. Sources said only a one US company has produced such a long-range radar. Israel had requested the US to provide one and got it. This was to provide a defence against any perceived misadventure by Iran. Now India could either tie-up with the US or Israel.










J&K 'fake' encounter: Major suspended, Colonel removed from command
NDTV Correspondent, Sunday June 6, 2010, Srinagar omarstory.jpgAn Army Major named in the alleged fake encounter case in Jammu and Kashmir has been suspended pending inquiry. Another Army Colonel has also been removed from command.  In the said encounter in Machil, three civilians were allegedly killed in a staged encounter after being lured for job in the Army.  The action came after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met senior officials of the Army and police at a high-level meeting today.  He chaired a Unified Headquarters meeting in Srinagar over the recent alleged fake encounter.  The meeting was attended by senior core commanders of the Army, state's police chief and state intelligence officials.  The officials discussed all the alleged fake encounters including the one in Machil.  Even as more complaints about alleged fake encounters in Kashmir are being investigated, there's cynicism, which is stemming from the fact that though several Army officers were indicted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the police in the Pathribal and Ganderbal fake encounters, no action was taken.  Commenting on the issue, CM Omar Abdullah had earlier said, "There is a need for transparency. Army is judge, jury and hangman.''







Checking China: 24 yrs later, ‘Op Falcon’ still awaits nod
Rajat Pandit , TNN, Jun 7, 2010, 01.57am IST NEW DELHI: Here’s yet another example of the Indian defence establishment’s continuing ultra-defensive mindset over China: Almost quarter of a century after Army launched ‘Operation Falcon’ along the border in Arunachal Pradesh, the government is yet to promulgate it.  Promulgation of an operation accords it with official sanctity, as also leads to better financial and other benefits to soldiers involved in the event of casualties during its conduct. Even as India belatedly tries to counter the massive build-up of military infrastructure by China all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Army has once again approached the defence ministry (MoD) to rectify this ‘‘embarrassing anomaly’’, sources said. MoD spokesperson Sitanshu Kar, despite repeated queries, stuck to the line that ‘‘the ministry has nothing at all to say’’ about Operation Falcon. Sources, however, said the file ‘‘was still shuttling’’ between the ministry and Army headquarters, with the former ‘‘raising queries after queries’’ to stonewall the promulgation.  A senior MoD official said, ‘‘Yes, there is reluctance to make Operation Falcon public and official by promulgating it. India and China, after all, are engaged in talks to amicably resolve the border issue.’’ China, however, continues to be aggressive about its claim over the Tawang tract in Arunchal Pradesh. Moreover, Chinese ‘‘transgressions’’ continue in all the three LAC sectors — western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal) — to strengthen claims over disputed territories.  Operation Falcon was launched in late-1986 after the People’s Liberation Army began to make ‘‘deep intrusions’’ in the Sumdorong Chu Valley of Arunachal in June that year. Around that time, China also began to construct helipads and other permanent structures in the area to operationally sustain its troops. New Delhi did lodge formal protests with Beijing but to no avail, with the then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping even threatening to teach India a lesson on the lines of the one taught in 1962.  Amid rising diplomatic tempers, the then Army chief General Krishnaswami Sundarji moved swiftly to air-lift an entire infantry brigade under Operation Falcon to Zimithang, a makeshift landing area close to Sumdorong Chu, to counter Chinese moves in the region. Troop reinforcements from both sides continued till about mid-1987 when diplomatic engagement finally led to cooling down of the stand-off, with even a pact to move back some border outposts of either side.  The forward deployment of troops, which began under Operation Falcon, however, still continues. It’s only in the last couple of years that India has stepped up efforts to strategically counter the Chinese build-up along the LAC.  Apart from beginning to base Sukhoi-30MKI fighters in North-East as well as upgrading airstrips and helipads, India is also raising two new specialised infantry mountain divisions (35,000 soldiers) and an artillery brigade for Arunachal Pradesh.










Army, Air Force wary of getting involved in anti-Maoist operations 
K.V. Prasad  Home Ministry's document being reviewed by Defence Ministry  Final call will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security  Defence Minister recently held a meeting with Service chiefs  NEW DELHI: Amid indications that the Army and the Air Force are chary of getting involved, the government will soon take a call on the proposal to give the armed forces a role in tackling the Naxalite problem.  According to highly placed sources, the Home Ministry has prepared a document, outlining various options in the face of the escalating Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh and other parts of the country.  The document was sent to the Defence Ministry for its views and it is still being reviewed there.  Last week, the Defence Minister held a meeting with the three Service chiefs on the security situation in the country, including the problem of naxal violence, and sought their views on the possibility of enlarging the role of the armed forces, especially the Army and the Air Force, in counter-insurgency operations.  Training to police  The Army now provides training to the State and Central police forces, while the Air Force gives logistic support of transporting personnel and supplies.  While a final call will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security, the Defence Minister is on record saying that the “eventual decision” of the government will be implemented.  But the sources told TheHindu that the Army and the Air Force are hesitant to take on a greater role on the grounds that this could result in collateral damage.  The emergent view within the brass is that the Army should be asked to step in only as a last resort in tackling internal law and order situations.  In addition, the view is that the presence of soldiers in civilian areas could lead to a greater sense of alienation among the local population.  May widen gap  With Maoists already gaining the sympathy of the tribal people, the apprehension is that the move to put military boots on the ground could widen the gap between the government and sections of the people in areas where even basic facilities are severely lacking.  Another factor is that any counter-insurgency action by the armed forces could attract greater attention by non-government organisations and other activists, along with the apprehension that the damage to the social fabric could be more serious.  The Defence Ministry still holds the view that the task of taking on the naxalites belongs to the State police, which are best equipped in the form of terrain and local conditions.  The Home Ministry has augmented the capability of the State police, both in the form of specialised training to fight the naxalites and also sent battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force.  However, the massacre of CRPF personnel in Dantewada and the recent train derailment and collision that resulted in the loss of civilian lives has led to a clamour for an increased role for the armed forces.







DRDO to invest Rs 300 cr to upgrade biotech products for civilian use
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which caters primarily to the armed forces, plans to upgrade and custom-make its existing slew of biotech products for civilian use. The Life Sciences Cluster at the defence PSU will spend Rs 300 crore for the upgradation of biotech products such as intensive care units, ready-to-eat food products and clothing, which can be worn during nuclear biological chemical warfare. Some of this will be thrown open for civilian use as well, a top DRDO official told ET at the sidelines of ‘Bangalore India Bio 2010’.  “The products which are expected to come out in the next few years will be five times more efficient in terms of cost compared to the imported ones. We will be working in sync with private companies, helping them with technology, setting up assembly lines and aiding quality control,” said Dr VC Padaki, director, Defence BioEngineering and Electromedical Laboratory (DEBEL), one of the laboratories at DRDO.  “The Indian defence sector hopes to have biotech products worth around Rs 300-500 crore over the next few years,” added Mr Padaki.  Several companies have bagged contracts from DRDO to manufacture new products. Pricol, for instance, which manufactures and exports automotive parts, has won a DRDO project to develop critical-care ventilators. These ventilators, which are used in rural government hospitals, are 35% cheaper than the ICUs sold in the market.  “The Karnataka government is interested in buying these ventilators. We have sold it to the Kerala government and few corporate hospitals,” said J Purushothaman, a biomedical engineer working for Pricol Medical.  Companies such as Aeronav Industrial Safety Appliances have recently bagged an order to develop protective apparel for pilots. Some private companies are helping DRDO develop cost-effective indigenous Hapo (High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema) bags that will replace the imported ones used by people in the Ladakh sector.  “Our indigenous Hapo bag costs Rs 1 lakh while as imported bag costs more than Rs 10 lakh and the Army has placed an order for 3,000 of them,” said Mr Padaki of DRDO. SMEs and PSUs like Raksha Polycoats, Bengal Water Proof and Hindustan Metal Industries are also working with the DRDO.  Several small companies such as Bigtec Labs, located at the Entrepreneurship Centre (SID) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), have benefited from this DRDO programme. Infact, Bigtec Labs recently received the technology to make laproscopic surgery simulators from the Society for Biomedical Technology established by DRDO.  “These simulation tools help surgeons train themselves on laproscopic surgery, instead of learning it on live patients. We are going to make 25 such simulators in the first year,” Bigtec director J Guru Dutt said. “The machine usually costs $40,000 while the indigenous version is expected to be 50% cheaper,” he added.  DRDO scientists are also researching on new methodologies to defend the country against a range of potentially lethal agents. These projects include nanotechnology-based sensors, unmanned robot-operated aerial and ground vehicles attached with NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) detection sensors, laser-based detection for chemical clouds, self-contained NBC shelters and hospitals to handle NBC victims.







Zero tolerance for corruption in Army: Antony
 Lucknow: Claiming that army personnel should follow the policy of Zero Tolerance towards corruption and refrain from making any Human Rights violation, Defence minister A K Antony today announced an additional payment of Rs 3000 per month to army personnel who retired on disability pension.  ''Keeping in view the valour and sacrifice made by the army personnel, those who retired on disabled ground would get an additional Rs 3000 per month as constant attendant in additional to the disability pension,' announced the minister while addressing the Army personnel during his day long visit to the Central Command Headquarters here.  He said some armed forces personnel were retained in service despite a disability that was attributed, or aggravated by military service, who forego a lump-sum compensation in lieu of disability.  ''Now it has been decided to grant these army personnel as a disability element or war injury element at the time of their retirement or discharge in additional to pension and gratuity besides the constant attendant allowances of Rs 3000 per month,'' he disclosed.  Mr Antony said adopting Zero Tolerance towards corruption and refraining from Human Rights violation will substantially enhance the image of the Army and remove any existing misgivings.  ''There is no doubt that the defence and security of the nation is in safe hands and all of your will always continue to preserve the glorious traditions of the Indian Army,'' he told the army personnel in his address.  ''I urge the Commanders to think and devise ways and means to be more accessible to jawans beside there is also an urgent need to provide the best possible education facilities for the children of the defence personnel,'' he said.  Talking about the hardships faced by the army jawans and officers in the extremely difficult conditions and inhospitable terrain, Mr Antony said that keeping this in view the government had taken several welfare measures for the defence personnel including improvement quality of ration.  ''We remain firmly committed to build upon and carry forward these measures and do a lot more for the all-round welfare of our jawans in future,'' he added.








Indian Army too stretched to fight Naxals who control 40% of India 
Posted on 07 June 2010  Even as the Cabinet Committee on Security is actively considering a Home Ministry proposal to create unified commands in each of the five main Naxal-affected states with a military officer included in the set-up as an adviser, the Army has conveyed that it is “too stretched” to spare additional troops for any enlarged operational role. It is, however, more open to the idea of posting advisers.  While the Army stand, which is backed by the Defence Ministry, can be overruled if a political call is made to use the military in this fight, sources said, there are other complications. The Army is believed to have also pointed out that its troops cannot be deployed for active operation without adequate legal protection through the implementation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and related instruments.  Sources said initial proposals from the Home Ministry did in fact, suggest a more active role for the Army. An earlier idea to shift some Rashtriya Rifles battalions to these areas was, however, rejected by the Army on the grounds of insufficient troops. Instead, it proposed raising fresh RR battalions.  As a result, a more limited role for the military is under consideration. However, there are differences after the Home Ministry identified de-mining operations as one of the key tasks for the military. The Army has argued that de-mining cannot be segregated as an operational task as no area is permanently mined in this case. Sources said Maoists use mines and improvised explosive devices as and when they desire, so such capability will have to exist in the force that is deployed for the operations.  The Defence Ministry is likely to go along with the idea of setting up unified commands, but officials remain sceptical about its effectiveness. From what it on the table, the proposed structure will be headed by the chief secretary of the state, with senior officials of the state police and paramilitary forces deployed in that state as members.  Here again, there are issues over the rank of the military adviser. Given that the police are not keen to have an Army official senior to police officers represented in the command, the adviser may end up being of the rank of a Brigadier or a Colonel. The Army, however, seems to be of the view that an adviser of the sort being conceived should be someone more senior, with varied military experience.  A suggestion to involve retired officers — to get around the issue of hierarchy — was apparently shot down by North Block. Still, this is one issue on which the military is likely to agree despite its reservations.  For North Block, however, accommodating police concerns is proving to be an uphill task. Just like raising fresh RR battalions got entangled in turf issues as the force is officered by the Army, another South Block proposal to have the military open a National Counter-Insurgency Training School for helping the paramilitary and police has not made much headway.  The Army, meanwhile, is insisting that IPS officers deployed for operations too must undergo training before induction along with the paramilitary personnel under their command given the pivotal role leadership plays in tactical operations. It has also conveyed the importance of having an entire platoon undergo training with its commanders rather than just an unfamiliar group of personnel who are then posted to separate locations.  On the logistics front, more coordination is envisaged with a sub-area headquarters planned in Chhattisgarh, along with a training facility for special forces as a measure of both deterrence and training assistance.Pranab Dhal Samanta








Army Chief begins Bhutan visit today
Chief of the Army Staff General V.K. Singh leaves here on Monday for Bhutan on his first official overseas visit after taking charge.  Defence cooperation between India and Bhutan had seen a rise and the June 7-11 visit of Gen. Singh underlined the priority India accorded in maintaining peaceful and cordial ties with its immediate neighbours, the Army said.  During his visit, Gen. Singh is scheduled to interact with His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Prime Minister and top Royal Bhutan Army hierarchy. He will also visit important training establishments and other places of interest.  In 2005, the Bhutan King attended a course at the prestigious National Defence College here. He is scheduled to be the Guest of Honour at the NDC's golden jubilee celebrations later this year





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