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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

From Today's Papers - 15 Jun 2010

Work as bulwark against terror: India to Pak
Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, June 14 Ahead of the high-level exchanges between the two countries, India today declared that it wanted to see a peaceful, stable, energy-secure and prosperous Pakistan which acted as a bulwark against terrorism for its own sake and for the good of the region.  “Asymmetries in size and development, should not prevent us from working together, building complementarities, and realising a vision of friendly, bilateral relations,’’ Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said, speaking at an Afghanistan-India-Pakistan Trialogue, organised by the Delhi Policy Group.  The event came days before Home Minister P Chidambaram travels to Islamabad for the SAARC Interior Ministers’ meeting. Nirupama is scheduled to accompany the Home Minister to do the groundwork for External Affairs Minister SM Krishna’s much-awaited visit to the neighbouring country on July 15 to resume the dialogue process, stalled since the Mumbai terror attacks, with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi.  In a lengthy speech, the top Indian diplomat made it clear to Pakistan that dialogue between the two countries could succeed only in an atmosphere free from terrorism, which had been the bane of the region.  “Every terrorist attack, including the one in Mumbai, hardens Indian public opinion, making our task more difficult. Terrorism as a continuation of war by other means, and the use of terrorist groups selectively, as strategic assets against India, cannot and must not, continue.”  Pakistan, she said, must act effectively against those terrorist groups that sought to mollify and to destroy the prospects of peace and cooperation between thetwo countries.  Referring to Islamabad’s apprehension about India’s conventional defence superiority and growing strategic capabilities after the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, Nirupama reiterated that India’s defence posture and capabilities were not of an offensive nature, and not targeted against any country, including Pakistan.Islamabad should also not  look at India’s economic rise in subjective or negative terms. “In fact, our fast growing economy and large market should be seen as a growth opportunity: a reliable source for investments, technology and entrepreneurial resources.”  On the unprecedented focus on the water issue between India and Pakistan in recent months, the Foreign Secretary rejected the charge that India was diverting water resources meant for Pakistan. India has never sought to deny Pakistan its fair and stipulated share of the Indus waters. New Delhi was in any case committed to resolving all differences with Pakistan over the water issue within the framework of the Indus Water Treaty.  Talking about Afghanistan, Nirupama said India neither saw Afghanistan as a battleground for competing national interests nor assistance to reconstruction and development of the war-torn country as a zero sum game.  India paid a heavy price in terms of the lost lives of its citizens who worked in Afghanistan as they were targeted by those whose agendas conflicted with the emergence of a strong and stable Afghanistan, she said, in an obvious reference to the involvement of Pakistani agencies in the attacks on Indian interests in the embattled country.

Over 10 Naxals gunned down in encounter 
Chaibasa (Jharkhand), June 14 Security forces shot dead over a dozen Maoists in an encounter in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district on Monday. According to Jharkhand Police, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was also killed in the incident.  Security forces have recovered 20 claymore mines, 60 bags of ammonium nitrate, three containers of liquid explosive, one electric metal cutter, three solar panel plates and 300 kilograms of rice and fish from the site.The slain CRPF personnel has been identified as Himmat Singh, a commando of the 203 battalion of the Special Action Force (SAF).  Over six CRPF personnel were injured in the encounter. West Singhbhum SP Akhilesh Jha said the police are yet to recover bodies of Naxals. All injured security personnel were admitted to a hospital in Ranchi. The police suspect that the Maoists team was led by its commander ‘KP’ and his comrades Anmol and Animesh.  Meanwhile, nine trains were cancelled, bus services were hit and trucks were stranded in several parts of Jharkhand on the first day of a two-day Maoist shutdown in three states Monday, officials said. — Agencies

Pak server used to hack Indian Army officer’s computer
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, June 14 Indian security agencies have tracked a server in Pakistan that was used to hack the computer of an Army Major based in the Andamans, who is being questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).  According to sources, the computer contained some sensitive information that was being accessed from two proxy servers. The location of one the servers had been tracked to Pakistan, while there was some confusion over the origin of the other server, which was also likely to be based in that country, the sources said today.  The hackers had been using proxy IP addresses through various Internet gateways of European countries, they said adding that a forensic report has also pointed out that some key files and e-mails were deleted from the computer after it was seized by the authorities.  The Army Major came under the scanner after a tip-off from US intelligence agencies examining suspicious Internet traffic during their probe related to Lashkar-e-Toiba operative David Headley. Indian agencies quickly zeroed in on the officer and a quiet operation was planned to call him to New Delhi. The Major has pleaded ignorance. The Army and the Defence Ministry have ruled out espionage, saying it was a cyber security breach.  However, the NIA is probing if there was a deliberate leak of information. The Major has been called twice to Delhi and has been detained for questioning. A joint team of civilian and military security agencies will be looking into the role of more people involved in the incident.  The probe will look into two crucial aspects. First, who sourced the sensitive documents found on the personal computer of the Major.  Second, who deleted the files from the Major’s computer after the investigators supposedly seized it.  The probe so far indicates that the Major has violated the Official Secrets Act, as nearly 2,500 top secret and secret Army presentations were found on his computer. The presentations related to issues, which were way beyond his nature and sphere of work. The computer was analysed by the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Hyderabad, which established the deletion of files. The sources said hacking was a separate issue and could not be pleaded as a matter of innocence of the Major. (With IANS inputs)

  Flirting with Taliban At least now Pak double game must end 
That Pakistan has been clandestinely helping the Taliban survive in Afghanistan is a known fact. This has been pointed out off and on by those closely watching the scene in Afghanistan, but the US, which considered Pakistan as a “key ally” in the war on terrorism, refused to accept the reality. Now fresh and incontrovertible proof has been provided by a report of the London School of Economics (LSE). Not only that there is no change in Pakistan’s policy on the Taliban, President Asif Zardari recently met senior Taliban leaders in a jail and offered them all kinds of help, including their release at the appropriate time. What the LSE report has pointed out has been confirmed by a former intelligence chief of Afghanistan, who recently resigned owing to serious differences with President Hamid Karzai on the question of dealing with the Taliban. How the ISI has been helping the Taliban’s senior functionaries to escape the onslaught of the US-led multinational forces exposes Pakistan’s double game. Islamabad has been falsely claiming to have launched a major drive to eliminate the Taliban and other extremist elements. The truth is exactly the opposite of it.  Pakistan, which has been scared of India’s growing influence in Afghanistan, hopes to regain the position it had in that country before the US-led multinational military campaign began to stamp out the Taliban. Islamabad is quietly waiting for the withdrawal of the US troops, scheduled to begin in July 2011, so that it can start working again on its strategic depth idea. It will be easier for Pakistan to achieve success on this front once the Taliban get entry into the government as a result of President Karzai’s strategy of buying peace by inducting the Taliban into the system. The Afghan leader is believed to have no faith in the US-NATO ability to establish peace in Afghanistan by decimating the Taliban.  This is a recipe for disaster. Allowing the Taliban to regain the ground they have lost must be opposed by all those who value peace. The US must see through the Pakistani game plan and punish it for its dirty role. Any leniency on the Taliban front may lead to dangerous consequences.

Army defends Armed Forces Special Powers Act
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: June 14, 2010 17:52 IST, New Delhi 216x250_army.jpgThe Indian Army is refusing to play ball with human rights activists amidst rising clamour to dilute or altogether scarp the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a senior General, in-charge of counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, has described the legislation as a holy book for the forces.  "I would like to say that the provisions of the Armed Forces Special Power Act are very pious to me and I think to entire Indian Army...We have religious books, there are certain guidelines which are given there, but all the members of the religion do not follow it, they break it also, does it imply that you remove the religious book or you remove this chap. My take on it is to find someone guilty, take him to task, but don't touch this pious document or provision of the Armed Forces Special Power Act giving the similarity to religious book, said Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. BS Jaswal.  Gen Jaswal's strong defence of the Act is in keeping with the Army's stand that it cannot operate without it in Jammu and Kashmir or in the Northeast.  In the past couple of months Army has argued that without the Act it will not be able to launch proactive operations. The Army will also not be able to use force except in self-defence and not have powers to destroy ammunition dumps and IEDs.  Human rights activists have however contended time and again that the Act gives excessive powers to the soldiers. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said in recent past that there is a need to revoke the Act since it is prone to abuse.  But the Army says majority of human rights abuse cases are found to be false and those found true have been severely dealt with.      * 1473 of 1511 cases since 1990 found false      * 104 Armymen punished in 35 cases so far  In its detailed reasoning to the government, the Army has said the AFSPA does not put the soldier above the law, but places him under a different set of laws because he operates in different circumstances.  "Sorry for saying this, lot of clich√©s get used in describing the Army, the circumstances under which Army functions is not known to people, that's why I said we want to feel the heat be say that he is jury at that stage and he is the hangman, that jawan, I think we are stretching things a bit too far," said Lt. Gen BS Jaswal.  That the Supreme Court has upheld the AFSPA after incorporating certain safeguards against its misuse is something that the Army repeatedly points out and is therefore outraged at any suggestion to repeal the Act, seen as a must for operating in what it calls exceptional circumstances.

Army XI nail ONGC
Bangalore, June 14,DHNS:  A scintillating display of skill and Eliazer Lakra’s brace helped Army XI to a 4-2 win over ONGC in the all-India invitation Chief Minister Cup hockey tournament.  In control: IOCL’s Prabhjot Singh scored a brace in his team’s 5-1 victory over DYSS, Karnataka on Monday. DH photo Army XI looked in command from the start and, despite a couple of late goals from ONGC, held on to pick up their second win in as many matches at the KSHA stadium on Monday. Olympian Ignace Tirkey gave Army XI the lead in the fifth minute. After being awarded a penalty corner, Chitranjan Singh pushed the ball to Lakra. Lakra powered the ball towards an unguarded Tirkey, who deflected the ball to sound the board. Lakra continued to tease the ONGC defence and scored in the 29th minute from just inside the semi-circle off Rommel Singh’s defence-splitting pass. Two minutes after the break, Chitranjan guided the ball to Lakra, who smashed it past ONGC custodian Kamaldeep Singh for his brace. Army XI rounded off their scoring in the 52nd through Jerum Kujur.Dharmender pulled one back for ONGC in the 57th minute and Pramod completed the scoring in the 69th minute.  DYSS lose again In the day’s second match, IOCL consigned DYSS, Karnataka to their second defeat, scoring a comprehensive 5-1 victory. The scorers for IOCL were Inderjit Chadda (31st), Prabhjot Singh (37th, 51st), Deepak Thakur (44th) and Arjun Anjit (53rd). Aiyappa (50th) scored the sole goal for DYSS.

India's nuclear deterrence lacks capability: Analyst
14 Jun 2010, 2133 hrs IST,IANS
NEW DELHI: India's nuclear deterrence lacks capability and the country needs to build up its stockpile of fissile material to correct this, a leading defence analyst said Monday.  "We need to build up our fissile material stockpiles because our deterrence lacks capability," Brig. (retd) Gurmeet Kanwal said at a seminar here on "Nuclear Arsenals post 2010" organised by the Indian Navy-funded National Maritime Foundation.  Kanwal noted in this context that India lacked nuclear submarines capable of launching SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles) that are considered the most credible form of deterrence in case of a nuclear attack.  As Rear Admiral (retd) K. Raja Menon put it, an SLBM "is the most stabilising element of a second strike capability" in case of a nuclear attack.  India has repeatedly said that it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons in case of a war with Pakistan but experts point out that given its limited delivery capabilities of delivering these from the air or from the ground, this would make the country vulnerable in case of war.  Urging greater transparency in the decision making process on building a credible deterrence against a nuclear attack, he deprecated the fact that the armed forces were kept out of the process.  "The armed forces stay out of the discussions because they take their lead from their political masters. Transparency leads to greater credibility," maintained Kanwal, who heads the Indian Army-funded think tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).  Bharat Karnad, another analyst, concurred with Kanwal.  "Much of the strategising (on countering a nuclear threat) is done outside of the armed forces. But then, the Indian military mirrors the political confusion in the country," he said.  "There is too much of nuancing rather than getting about making a deterrent a deterrent," he added.

Ajai Shukla: Naxalism
Arranging the facts After six decades of floundering through dozens of uprisings, India’s govt is facing the Naxal challenge as incoherently as ever Ajai Shukla / New Delhi June 15, 2010, 0:07 IST  French diplomat and wordsmith nonpareil Charles Maurice de Talleyrand remarked of the Bourbon dynasty — restored to power after the Napoleonic Wars and back to their old excesses — that “they had learned nothing and forgotten nothing”. That withering observation accurately describes New Delhi today. After six decades of floundering through dozens of uprisings, including multiple insurgencies in the Northeast and proxy wars in Punjab and J&K, India’s government is facing the Naxal challenge as incoherently as ever.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was wrong last month in calling the Naxal insurgency “India’s greatest internal security challenge”. He first used that description three years ago and, if it remains so even today, India’s greatest internal security challenge is the strategic bankruptcy of its ruling elite.  The appalling absence of leadership is evident. Two months after the Dantewada debacle, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) is only now absorbing the reality that its traditional response to insurrection — passing the buck to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) — is not yet an option. Prompted by an overstretched military, Defence Minister A K Antony has blocked the MoHA’s request for using the army’s Rashtriya Rifles and elite special forces to “force the pace of offensive operations”.  The accommodation then reached by the Cabinet — using the army only for training and “demining” — reeks of the compromise culture that shapes our answers to crucial questions of national security. Enough military steel has been sprinkled over the pot to deflect potential criticism that the Cabinet did not take firm steps, but not enough to generate criticism that the military was being sidetracked from the borders.  This step is hardly likely to rein in the Naxals, given the systemic ineffectiveness of police forces, both those of the states and the Centre. But the appearance of action was necessary; and criticism has been deferred to the next crisis.  That this will come before long is evident from the approach of Home Minister P Chidambaram. No Churchill in inspirational leadership, but rivalling that British wartime PM in verbal and ethical gymnastics, Chidambaram claims to have demanded a “wider mandate” for tackling Naxalism even as he sought army units for discharging the primary function of his own central police organisations (CPOs): i.e. reinforcing the state police in maintaining law and order.  His ministry, meanwhile, continues to pass the buck. This week, the MoHA is inviting the chief ministers (CMs) of Naxal-affected states (a term that is entering official lexicon!) to a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) “so that their suggestions on strengthening police and paramilitary forces can be sought”.  Only Chidambaram can answer why those CMs — who are squarely blamed for the Naxal problem via home ministry leaks — are now being asked for suggestions. Clearly, the MoHA wishes to spread thin the blame for policing failure, riding on the fact that law and order is constitutionally a state subject. But what about the CPOs, which function directly under the MoHA and have long operated in Naxal-affected states?  Such is the MoHA’s indifference to its CPOs — some 7.5 lakh armed policemen in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) and others — that even top MoHA officials refer to them as “paramilitary forces”. A paramilitary force is, by definition, led by military officers on deputation. Only the Assam Rifles, which operates in India’s north-eastern states, is a paramilitary force.  This difference is not merely academic, given that the Dantewada debacle and others before it stem from professional blunders by CPO units, which could hardly have happened under military officers. The MoHA has cynically stymied multiple proposals to stiffen CPO capability by inducting soldiers who have prematurely retired after just seven years in the military. The key reason proffered by the MoHA: this would damage the promotion prospects of directly recruited policemen.  Another reason that the Home Ministry cites in rejecting the proposal to laterally induct army jawans into the CPOs is the military’s institutional orientation towards overwhelming force, which would be unacceptable in dealing with Indian citizens. This logic, while cruelly ironic for the CRPF jawans who faced a hail of Naxal bullets in Dantewada, has been fully disproved in J&K where regular army units have been no less restrained than their CPO counterparts.  Given the MoHA’s stance on guarding CPO turf, and the MoD’s minimalist stance on direct involvement in anti-Naxal operations, the compact on army training for CPOs is doomed to failure. Over the last five years, one of the army’s most experienced trainers — Brigadier (Retired) B K Ponwar of the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School in Mizoram — has trained more than 10,000 Chhattisgarh policemen at the state’s Jungle Warfare College in Bastar. The vast majority of them have gone on not to fight Naxals, but to soft jobs on the personal security details of state police officers. A policeman can be trained easily, but changing police culture is far more difficult. The same is true of the CPOs.  Do not write off the possibility that our leaders in North and South Block might have read Talleyrand. The Frenchman also said, “Since the masses are always eager to believe something, for their benefit nothing is so easy to arrange as facts.” That is all that New Delhi has done so far in confronting Naxalism.

EADS eyes Indian homeland security to sell mini drone
2010-06-14 17:20:00  The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) is in discussion with the Indian government for hard-selling its mini drone Tracker to meet the country's homeland security needs, a top company official said.  'We are in discussions with the Indian defence and home ministries for supplying the Tracker mini-drone, which is aptly suitable for the growing security requirements of India,' Bernhard Gerwert, EADS (defence & security) military air systems chief executive, told IANS here.  The fixed-wing mini unmanned aerial system or vehicle (UAV) provides day and night imagery in real time to frontline units and those deployed in disturbed or sensitive areas.  'As a handheld device, Tracker can be quickly deployed and launched by hand for over-the-hill reconnaissance and surveillance detection, classification, localisation and tracking,' Gerwart said on the margins of the six-day Berlin international air show (ILA 2010), which concluded Sunday.  Packed into two personal rucksacks, Tracker is easy to operate and maintain as it is bad weather tolerant, with stealth, accurate and safety features.  'The homeland security needs of India have grown manifold due to growing terror menace in the neighbourhood and spate of violent attacks by Maoists in some of the states. Security concerns arising out of such situations require smart response with sophisticated equipment like Tracker,' Gerwart noted.  Tracker drones are also used for tactical (target) detection, reconnaissance and surveillance, troops or convey protection and artillery support.  The Netherlands-based euro 88-billion EADS delivered 120 Trackers early this year under DRAC (Drone de Renseignement Au Contact) name to the French army, which deployed a dozen of them in Afghanistan since May.  'With long borders and a vast coastline, we estimate India may require about 500 mini-drones to enhance its homeland security set-up across the country, especially in the states facing Maoist attacks and anti-insurgency activities,' said Gerwart.  Supported with ground stations and communication sensors, Trackers can also be monitored remotely with high-speed secure data link, which gives the system a genuine long-range capability, even in adverse weather conditions.  Each Tracker system is equipped with payloads, a compact ground station and an automatic tracking antenna.

India's army and navy call on MoD for more amphibious vessels 
By Rahul Bedi  14 June 2010  Article Tools      
India's military has asked the government to allocate funds to expand its fledgling amphibious assault capability as part of its burgeoning regional aspirations that could include out-of-area deployment.  Military sources said the army and Indian Navy (IN) recently sent a proposal to the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) to finance the procurement of additional and larger amphibious assault vessels and specialised equipment as well as for joint training facilities to make the expeditionary force fully operational during the next 12-18 months.  Last month the army despatched a global request for information for the import of around 4,000 7.62 mm amphibious assault rifles capable of being carried underwater along with accessories and attachments.  Although fiscal allocation for the force is pending, the MoD has indicated 'in principle' its approval for the proposal in accord with the 'Joint Doctrine for Amphibious Operations' released in September 2008. Drawn up by the Integrated Defence Staff, the doctrine was finalised following two amphibious tri-service exercises in 2005 and 2007. These served to smooth out concepts of the proposed expeditionary force deploying regionally across an extended area of responsibility.

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