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Friday, 11 June 2010

From Today's Papers - 11 Jun 2010

India worried over Myanmar’s N-ambition
by Neha Kumar Tiwari  Reports of Myanmar’s nuclear ambition have raised concerns of international community regarding nuclear proliferation regime. A former major, Sai Thein Win, has publicised photographs of Myanmar’s nuclear programme. He was among one of the army officers who was sent to Russia for training in missile technology. He showed photographs of secret nuclear facility, 11 km from Thabeikkyan. He described it as the army’s nuclear battalion and mentioned that Burma is also trying to build nuclear reactor for uranium enrichment.  However, researchers have mentioned that Myanmar will take a long time to develop its own nuclear and missile facilities. A striking revelation is the North Korea’s nuclear connection with Burma. There were reported attempts to transfer sensitive technology to Burma from Japan in 2008 and 2009. Burma’s quest for nuclear bomb is due to the fear of the US intervention or by the UN-led coalition to enforce democratic regime in Myanmar.  For the last 20 years, these fears are kept alive by the hostility shown by the international community and imposition of sanctions by the western powers. For example, in 2008, Burma refused to accept aid for victims of Cyclone Nargis.  If Myanmar develops its nuclear and missile system, India will be surrounded by three nuclear weapons states — China, Pakistan and Burma. Both Pakistan and Burma have good relations with China which will be disadvantageous to Indian interests. The Pakistan-China axis is well known; China has even helped Pakistan in the development of nuclear and missile technology.  Since 1988, Myanmar has emerged as a close ally of China, receiving economic and military help and also projecting Chinese power in the region. In 1988, China signed an agreement establishing trade across the border. Burma was isolated at that time due to domestic turmoil in the country and China opened up a trading outlet in the Indian Ocean.  China’s navy sees Myanmar as an important route to reach towards Indian Ocean. The PLAN would be able to reduce the distance by 3000km by not passing through the Strait of Malacca to reach the Bay of Bengal. Besides providing military hardware help, China has also helped Burma to improve railway and road system. China has also build up facilities in Coco Island by establishing modern reconnaissance and electronic intelligence system.  This is of big concern to India. India has tried to develop friendly relationship with Burma but it cannot be compared to Chinese influence. When there was domestic turmoil in Burma, the US asked China to exercise its political and economic influence to restore order in the country. Under such condition, India has to face one more nuclear ally of China which can degrade the security condition of South Asia.  Another striking similarity between the three countries is that they all are hostile to the US. Pakistan may be an US ally but there is opposition among the people of Pakistan against the US policies, especially after drone attacks which have killed many civilians.  As India, with pro-US policies, is the “odd one out” in the region, the US and India should deal with Burma’s nuclear programme. However, the problem is that President Obama is more concerned about developing relationship with China and Pakistan as compared to India. The US should understand that China won’t help in dealing with Burma’s nuclear bomb. The reason? China has been supporting pawns against the US. North Korea has been providing nuclear weapons to Burma. For it was because of China and Russia’s help that North Korea developed itself as a nuclear weapon state. China is the epicentre of nuclear proliferation.  Pakistan is struggling to protect its country from extremism and to secure its nuclear weapons material. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by Burma will not only lead to a fragile situation in South Asia but lead to the failure of the US nuclear proliferation regime. In such circumstances, India is the only country left in the Burma’s neighbourhood which could provide help to the US to put pressure on Burma to end its nuclear ambition.  The US and its European allies do not have cordial ties with Burma. It is very difficult for the US to convince Myanmar to give up its nuclear weapons. India could, as a mediator, allay Burma’s fears. The US should understand that it cannot win over nuclear proliferation alone and has to take the help of other likeminded powers in the region.  The writer is Research Associate, United Service Institution of India, New Delhi

Army, Home Ministry differ on anti-Naxal strategy
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, June 10 With the Army not agreeing to the Home Ministry’s demand to be immediately inducted into Naxal areas, the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) that met late in the evening could not take a decision on deploying the Armed Forces to tackle the Naxal menace.  Disagreement on the mode, style and pace of sending in the Army was the key issue which prevented a decision today, sources said, adding that a political consensus was elusive. Probably more round of talks are needed before the final action plan is ready and the role of the Army, if any, is defined.  Sending in the Army is the last resort in the fight against Naxals, said a top source. The fallout of sending in the soldiers to replace or augment paramilitary forces is immense. In the past four decades, where-ever the Army has been sent out to tackle militancy, its withdrawn has snowballed into a political issue. This is true for Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East.  The Army had made it clear that its engineering teams cannot be sent on a standalone basis to clear out mines or roads under control of the Naxals. These teams have to backed with the first step of having a local intelligence gathering set up followed by Infantry Battalions that form the backbone of the Army fighting units. There will be no knee-jerk reactions, said an official. “This is not about deploying quickly. There has to be plan and that needs time,” he added.  The Defence Ministry conveyed the sentiments and opinion of the Forces at the CCS conducted at the PM’s residence. The demand for use of Special Forces of the Army in Naxal operations was too far fetched, said a senior Army officer. The Army has always worked on the basis of holding ground, Special Forces or the “paras” cannot be sent in suddenly. The infantry has to first hold ground and free it of the Naxals, the “paras” go for targeted operations and cannot be asked to hold ground.  The Home Ministry wants a Unified Area Command where a Major General, will be zan adviser in each of the states. The ministry has also reportedly demanded deployment of Rashtriya Rifles in Naxal-hit areas, however, the Defence Ministry expressed its inability to free troops from Jammu and Kashmir where in filtration was growing.  The Home Ministry has also asked for MI-17 choppers from the IAF that was also discussed. The IAF already has deployed some four choppers for rescue and evacuation.  Meanwhile, sources said after the CCS meeting was over, the Prime Minister discussed the matters separately with Pranab Mukerjee and AK Antony.  The Army will continue to train police organisations to tackle Maoists. The demand of sending in the Army has reached a pitch after Naxals allegedly derailed a passenger train this month, killing at least 145 persons.

The never ending dispute over India -China-Pakistan  
Ripper   Thu, Jun 10, 2010 09:24:53 IST   IT GOES back to 1912 when the Chinese republic of Sun-Yat sen was born. Sir Arthur McMahon in Simla meet 1914 drew a line from Himalayan peeks covering Bhutan and Burma. However the Chinese Republic and the government have been in the denial mode ever since the birth of McMahon line. Although China has 14 other border dispute issues over land and sea with neighbors they hold history in retrospect.   Meantime post independence the states of Jammu and Kashmir would have gone to either country however the Maharaja of J&K acceded it to India for military aid since there was an armed revolt with Muslim peasantry.   Post 1962 war China captured Aksai Chin in the north eastern section of Ladakh district and portion of Arunachal Pradesh (originally it was eastern portion of British Designation North-East Frontier Agency). However the PRC withdrew itself to the Line of Actual Control to the proximity of McMahon line. Again in 1986-87 their forces clashed over Chu Valley and dispute resurfaced in worse way the coming year. And if though UN intervention was established India Pakistan went on war in 1965 over Kashmir. In 1971 India intervened under Indira Gandhi’s Leadership in Pakistan’s civil war and freed Bangladesh. We experienced another battle over LOC in 1990. Even after the Simla accord in 1972 the lines were never demarcated in Siachin Glacier, near the Chinese frontier and we have constant infiltration along the entire cease fire line.   During the fallout of the 1962 Indo –China war there were major questions raised in the belief of nonalignment movement and for the first time Jawaharlal Nehru felt cornered by the opponents. The next question was the state of India’s asphyxiated army who were not adapted to the kind of warfare and of high altitudes. Although many believe that China’s overall aspiration was to claim till Calcutta and hence establish an Asian Communist subcontinent and crush the belief that Asians could welcome the democratic and imperialistic system and shift the power base to east. To add to it China claims Tibet all the time however they have never been able to establish total control over it.   The McMahon line demarcated the borders between then Britain’s imperial region and Tibet. Although the British and Tibetan representatives approved of the line Chinese representatives were in refusal. The line moved the British control substantially towards north and the Chinese claimed the territory to the border of the plain of Assam.   Due to the geographical landscape and dense forest the different tribes living in five river valley region had less or no communication and hence developed their own dialects.   If we take a brief look back , the McMahon Line was suppose to be published in 1937 edition of Aitchison’s Collection of Treaties however the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) was established finally in 1954. Chou En-lai on November 7, 1957 proposed the troops on both ends to be withdrawn twenty kilometers from line which however thawed in 1962 War. China still claims Arunchal Pradesh and Beijing states it does not recognize AP. For China McMahon line was a symbolist imperial aggression and they do not hold it. Rich in natural resources the disputed area of Arunachal Pradesh is six times of Beijing. Currently it is the only major conflict between two nations.     Back in 1963,“Boundary Agreement “, Pakistan ceded over 5000 sq. kms of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to China which India claims is part of Indian Territory. In 1987 Sino-Pakistani protocol made the demarcation of their boundaries formal. The boundary ends at Karakoram pass hence establishing Pakistan’s acceptance to Chinese Sovereignty over Aksai Chin.   If the war happens this would be in the list of issues and considering Indian Government’s statement to consider China a potential threat the lurking feeling of war never dies between the two nations. Meantime while India and Pakistan constantly approach to resolve their dispute over talk, it was thawed with recent nuclear tests by the two nations. Although comparison of the military camps of the nation is again a topic of its own there are often bilateral discussions held to resolve this matter peacefully.

Indira Gandhi used Army to break Naxals: Retired General
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: June 10, 2010 23:48 IST, New Delhi General-jacobstory.jpgAt a time when there are divisions within the government on whether or not to use the Army against the Maoists, a key former General in the Eastern Command told NDTV that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had indeed sent in the Army to crush the original Naxal uprising in West Bengal in the late 60s.  Lt General (Retd) J F R Jacob also added that Para-Commandos were also used against the Naxals in the 60s and 70s.  "In 1969 in the month of October, General Manekshaw and secretary Govind Narain came to Calcutta to see me. We had a meeting and Manekshaw told me that the government had decided that the Army would be used to break the Naxals and it is the order of Mrs Gandhi. She had directed that the Army be used to break the Naxals." he said.  "I told Manekshaw that I need more troops. We had 20th Division in the Naxal areas but nothing south of the Ganga. He said, 'How much troops do you need?' I said I at least need two divisions. So he said Jake I will be good to you. I will not only give you two more divisions but I will give you 50 para-brigade as well. I said give me something in writing. He said nothing in writing. Then Govind Narain turned up and said no publicity and no records. There was no disturbed area act enforced, no AFSPA enforced. We just operated within the law. I would presume you would call it aid of civil power and we had no protection," he added.  The Cabinet Committee on Security met on Thursday on the Home Ministry's proposal for greater assistance from the Army in tackling the Naxals but ended in a stalemate. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired the key meeting.   The Army leadership, however, continues to remain wary of getting embroiled in the Naxal areas, one reason why the Ministry of Home Affairs has reportedly refrained from seeking Army's direct deployment in the counter-Naxalite strategy.  Instead, the Army has offered post brigadier-level officers in Naxal-affected states as advisers and part of the Unified Command.

Army to help strengthen state police against Maoists: G K Pillai
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: June 10, 2010 08:23 IST, New Delhi 216NEWpillaistory.jpgAs the Cabinet Committee on Security meets today on the Home Ministry's proposal for greater assistance from the Army in tackling the Maoists, Home Secretary G K Pillai told NDTV his ministry wants state police to play a key role with assistance from central paramilitary forces.  On being asked about his ministry's take on the Army's role in anti-Naxal operations, Pillai said, "I think basically the whole strategy has been to strengthen the state police to be able to fight the Maoists. The whole focus in our strategy has been that our paramilitary forces would help the state government and the state police forces and to restore civil administration."  "This remains the corner stone of our policy and we have fine tuned some of the issues in the light of development that should take place. And I think it is better to wait till the Cabinet Committee takes a view on the proposals," he added.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will chair this key meeting today and ahead of that, defence and home ministry officials will hold discussions.  It will be a political call but the Army leadership continues to remain wary of getting embroiled in the Naxal areas, one reason why the Ministry of Home Affairs has reportedly refrained from seeking Army's direct deployment in the counter-Naxalite strategy.  Instead, the Army has offered post brigadier-level officers in Naxal-affected states as advisers and part of the Unified Command.

Pakistan dismisses media reports on Headley
Rezaul H Laskar / Islamabad June 10, 2010, 19:21 IST  Pakistan today dismissed reports that LeT operative David Headley had linked serving Pakistani army officers to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, saying they were based on "misguided leaks" aimed at maligning the country.  Asked about Indian media reports that Headley had named three Pakistan Army officers who collaborated with the terrorists responsible for the attacks, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said they were based on "self-serving and misguided leaks which are meant only to malign our security agencies and Pakistan".  "These reports are not worth our comments," Basit told a weekly news briefing at the Foreign Office.  Headley, who has confessed to plotting the deadly 26/11 attacks, is being questioned by a team of Indian investigators in the US.  Basit said it was "important (and) high time" that India dispensed with its "historical bias against Pakistan so that our two countries can make a new beginning in South Asia with a view to promoting peace and prosperity in our region".  The reports had said that Headley had told Indian investigators who questioned him that three majors of the Pakistan Army had collaborated with the terrorists who carried out the attack.  Headley also purportedly said that members of the Lashker-e-Taiba carried out the attacks under the "guidance" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency.  Basit also parried a question about US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake's remarks that the US administration had sought assurances from Pakistan that weapons provided by America would not be used against India.  "He (Blake) has said what he had to say and I have nothing to add to what he has said," Basit said.  The spokesman remarked that the trust deficit between Pakistan and India was "not a new phenomenon" and has been there "for decades because of several reasons".  Basit said: "We believe that in order to move forward meaningfully with a view to bridging this trust deficit, it is important that as agreed by the two Prime Ministers in Thimphu that the two sides discuss all the issues which continue to bedevil our relations."

No decision on army vs Naxals 
The Cabinet Committee on Security on Thursday put off a decision on any significant increase in the role of the armed forces in operations against Maoists.  The army’s reservations on getting sucked into another conflict zone — it is already deployed in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast — and the political fallout of a counter-insurgency strategy where armed forces are perceived to be deployed against its own citizens are understood to be key factors that stood in the way of a consensus to address Maoists.  “There will need to be more discussions,” a senior government official said.  The defence ministry is not comfortable with a major general-rank officer being posted in the states as an adviser to the state government, deployment of commandos on short-term assignments or army experts to de-mine large stretches of roads with explosives planted deep under.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called India’s biggest internal security challenge more than three years ago.  A concerted offensive against the rebels began last November, two months after Home Minister P. Chidambaram convinced the CCS to sanction the centrally-coordinated anti-rebel plan.  Over 25 battalions of central police forces trained in jungle warfare at army installations were sent in.  But after 76 security personnel were killed in the Dantewada attack in April, the home ministry came around to the view that it not only needed more, and better trained, men but also better technological support for them.  But the army says it is already overstretched.  The defence ministry is open to raising more battalions of counter-insurgency fighters to be trained in anti-Maoist warfare. But that would take years.

US to double training aid for Pakistan Army 
The US Thursday announced it would double its training aid for the Pakistani Army and assured that all the defence and military needs of the country's armed forces would be met.  "We would double the money we are providing for training the army. Pakistan-US armed forces exercises have been conducted several times and they would be held in future as well," US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia) David Samuel Sedney told journalists at the US embassy here after the four-day meeting of the defence working group, Online news agency reported.  The working group, known as Exchange and Defence Planning, was the first sectoral working group within the framework of the strategic dialogue, since the ministerial level US-Pakistan meeting in Washington in March.  Pakistani Defence Secretary Lt. Gen. (retd) Athar Ali led his country's side. The US side was led by Sedney and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence (Force Development) David Ochmanek.  Assisted by officers from various departments and ministries, both sides discussed and reviewed cooperation in defence relations and the mutual challenges they faced. They also reviewed the mechanisms for prioritising and integrating security and defence capability requirements.  "We want strong, durable ties with the Pakistani Army," Sedney said, adding the Pakistani Army had apprised them of its needs and priorities and the US would consider them.  In mid-July, another working group session would take place and in August, a Pakistani-US defence consultation group meeting would be held in which final shape would be given to the implementation of Pakistan's defence needs, Sedney added.  "We are fully cognizant of what Pakistan is doing for the region and that is why we want durable relations with the Pakistani forces, who are truly professional, to enhance their capacity. The provision of latest technology weapons is a step in this direction," he said.  He, however, avoided answering a question on the shopping list and priorities of the Pakistani Army, saying it was better equipped to answer such a question. "However we would consider their needs and decide a formula for its implementation. We will fulfil our promises."  To a question on a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan on the lines of India, he said this did not come under the defence working group's domain.

Flight tests of laser-guided bombs conducted
Submitted by Sarika Valecha on Thu, 06/10/2010 - 11:25 Flight tests of laser-guided bombs conducted  Trials were set up by the Aeronautical Development Authority or ADE for laser guided bombs for the Indian Air Force. The DRDO and the IAF tested the bombs in the Pokhran region of Rajasthan for new upgrades for the Indian Army.  The bombs were extensively tested for safety and working process with its last evaluation in January. The DRDO's ADE said the bombs had shows the accuracy, stability and performance expected out of the technology.  "Two flight trials were conducted at Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, to test the effectiveness of the guidance and control systems of the LGBs," a Defence Ministry release in Delhi Stated. "The bomb, once released, by the mother aircraft at appropriate range, will seek the target and home on to it very accurately and with high reliability. All the necessary on-board components are sourced from Indian industry," it said.  "The flight tests demonstrated the accuracy, reliability and performance of the precision air launched bombs," an official said. "IAF is expected to upgrade a large number of unguided bombs to this standard based on the excellent results seen," they added.  The DRDO officials have stated that the army is making use og the new technology which were made by Indian industries to make new weapons for the Indian Army.  The bombs were designed at Bangalore's Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), and were tested after the necessary precautions were taken.

Pak stares at India, India at the world
10 Jun 2010, 0056 hrs IST,AGENCIES Topics ISLAMABAD: When a senior security official here was asked why Pakistan was not developing long-range missiles, unlike in India, his answer revealed how these two nuclear foes' geopolitical priorities may be diverging. "We don't have ambitions like India has, so we don't need to develop any further long-range missiles," he said.  "Our missiles cover the entire India, so that's it." Indeed, India has raised eyebrows developing a new long-range missile with a capacity to hit most of China, a signal of how New Delhi's focus is tentatively moving away from an obsession with Pakistan to more global issues.  For decades, these two countries, which have gone to war three times since independence from Britain in 1947, have been synonymous with each other. Diplomats often like to talk of India-Pakistan as "hyphenated".  But India is trying to move from that old beat, seduced more by its growing role in the global economy, its stellar growth and preoccupations with other security issues like China than dealing with what many Indians deride as a "failed state". Pakistan, meanwhile, often seems stuck in its obsession with India, mired in conspiracy theories, reflecting what critics say are decades-old fears that do little to bring regional stability.  It's an imbalance that may help redefine how these nations reach for peace as well as create new risks, making an aspiring and globalised India more vulnerable to regional tension, while making Pakistan frustrated it is losing out to its neighbour. "India sees itself as playing a global role and looks at the region as a stepping stone for its aspirations," said Siddharth Varadarajan, strategic affairs editor for India's The Hindu. "Pakistan sees its ability to be noticed globally as related to its tensions with India." Take China. India is focused on boosting trade with China as part of its growing economic clout in Asia, while ensuring security over a disputed border. The two sides fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962.  For Pakistan, China is simply source of diplomatic support and weapons to counter India. In Afghanistan, where both countries are seen in a proxy war for influence, Indian officials laud $1.2 billion aid as their ability to help bring regional stability through "soft power".  Pakistan sees that as an effort to push it out and wants Indian aid scaled down. The imbalance has already produced tensions with the United States. Washington wants Pakistan to stop worrying about India and focus more on Taliban militants on its Afghan border. President Barack Obama hinted at frustration over Pakistan earlier this year when he said that (Pakistan's) "obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan has been misguided... their biggest threat right now comes internally". Those kind of comments irk Pakistan, where policy makers still see India trying to gain the kind of influence it has in its other South Asian neighbours, like Nepal.  "There are American efforts to persuade us to put troops on our Western border," said Riffat Hussein, chairman of the department of defence and strategic studies at Pakistan's Quaid-e-Azam University. "But no one here is fooled by that." The signing of a US civilian nuclear agreement with New Delhi is another source of tension. For New Delhi, the deal was about having access to the global nuclear power market. Islamabad looked on enviously as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was feted in Washington. Its request afterwards for a similar deal has fallen on deaf ears.  Pakistan worries India's new global role will make New Delhi more arrogant, with fewer incentives for peace when it feels too important to ignore.  Those fears may be exaggerated. Singh, born in Pakistan before Partition in 1947, says India cannot really take its global place without peace in South Asia, with a second attack like Mumbai in 2008, which New Delhi blames on Pakistan-based militants, capable of derailing investor confidence in India's globalised economy. "The most cost-effective thing would be to engage Pakistan to improve the atmosphere to a point where you can reduce the possibility of another Mumbai," said a senior Indian official on condition of anonymity. "We know if we have to get on with it (India's global push), we have to move beyond Pakistan." India is far more vulnerable to economic shock from another major border build-up than it was in 2002, the year of the last major border crisis that saw the countries nearly go to war again. It still has most of its army on the border and steep rises in defence spending are also linked to a perceived Pakistan threat.  So if India has one eye on global affairs, it always has the other on Pakistan, a fact not lost on Islamabad. While former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf offered concessions over the disputed Kashmir region in a failed attempt to reach a peace deal with India a few years ago, his attempts to refocus away from an Indian threat may have proved just a blip. Under new army chief Ashfaq Kayani, one of the most powerful men in Pakistan where the civilian government is weak, there has been a return to talk of the Indian threat, a sign critics say of Pakistan's growing domestic problems. Conspiracy theories about India, often linked to the United States, abound in Pakistan. With growing militancy, attacks and social problems, they won't go away soon.  "The more you lose on the economic front, on bad governance, the more you tend to externalise your problems and fears," said Imtiaz Gul, chairman of Centre for Research and Security Studies."Our conspiracy theories typify that tendency."

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