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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

From Today's Papers - 29 Jun 2010

Indians pioneered missiles, Tipu Sultan used similar weapon
N Ravikumar/Tribune News Service  Coimbatore, June 28 Indians are pioneers in missile technology, since Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan used a weapon resembling these missiles, when he fought against the British rule, said Sivathanupillai, a leading scientist.  The small launchers, packed with explosives, moved forward using a similar technology that is being used now, he added. Since this technology was in its inception stage and the materials available were not sophisticated, the missiles could only hit the target at a distance of 1 to 2 kilometers, he added. He also explained the underlying principles behind BrahMos, Agni and the Nag and the small rockets developed by Tipu Sultan.  Attending a session titled “Scientific Tamil” at the World Classical Tamil Conference that concluded yesterday, the scientist said a few warriors in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu manufactured these missiles. Tipu’s arms godowns were located at Dharmapuri and Arcot. It was at these places that the missiles were manufactured. The British rulers, who defeated Tippu Sultan, finally raided these godowns and were amazed at the new technology. The rockets were taken to England and were on display at London Museum, Sivathanupillai said.

6 militants, 3 Armymen killed in J-K gunbattle 
Jammu: Six armed foreign militants were killed and three Armymen lost their lives in a fierce gunbattle along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.  Acting on a tip off, troops picked up the movement of a group of infiltrating militants in 104 forward location along LoC in Kupwara belt and launched an operation, triggering the encounter, a senior Army official at Udhampur-based Northern Command said on Monday. The gunbattle was on when reports last came in from the area. — TNS

Tinkering with AFSPA will be dangerous
The political masters of this country are bent upon diluting the 52 years old time tested AFSPA. All for short term political gains. CJ: Brigadier Arun..   Mon, Jun 28, 2010 16:36:49 IST Views:                20    Comments: 0 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 0.0 / 0 votes     OTHERS DAY a leading news paper of India on its front page had published a photograph showing an armed to the teeth paramilitary personnel using catapult to throw back the stones being pelted at the CRPF and their vehicles being burnt on the streets of Sopian town in J&K State. If this is how the vote bank oriented Indian Netas want to curb the mounting armed rebellion in various parts of the country then only God may help Mera Bharat Mahan.  Now, it is the turn of the army. The political masters of this country are bent upon diluting the 52 years old time tested Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). All for short term political gains. This is happening at a time when India’s 223 districts and 40000 square kilometer of area has been literally liberated by the Naxals, Pakistani ISI and Jehadis have openly joined hands to destabilize India and North East India is simmering with palpable discontent.  The paradox is that Jammu & Kashmir and Manipur, the two Indian states demanding this dilution, are the ones maximum affected by terror. It is this very act and the Army that has brought this terror level down to the acceptable limits. Our netas who want this dilution in the name of giving this Act a human face, a demand also shrilled by the Human Rights organizations of these states, are refusing to notice the truth that it is the separatists and terror organizations of these states that are the hidden face behind this demand.  The question which our Good Samaritan political masters must answer to the Indian public is that why should Army, an organization trained to shoot to kill an external enemy, be used against our own country men? If these countrymen of ours have been forced to take up arms against the State, it was because the Politicians and Babes refused to listen to their problems. It is the long time misgovernance; corruption and nepotism duly abetted by the insensitive Indian police having crossed all limits that have forced the aam admi to take up arms against the state. Now why do our Netas want to let loose Army against them? Our armchair intellectuals and human rights activists should be pondering on this issue.   Army is the last resort. If it fails then the country will break. Realizing this the Indian Parliament under the leadership of India’s greatest Prime minister Pandit Nehru, a world renowned democrat and statesman, passed this Armed Forces Special Powers Act in 1958.   At that time there were no Jehadis, no Naxals, no human bombs and no AK-47 or AK-56 rifles. The destructive technology had also not developed to the level that a single terrorist could cause great collateral damage as they do now. Besides the only armed rebellion India faced was in Nagaland and Mizoram. Even Supreme Court of India has upheld this Act in their judgment on 27 Nov 1997.So why dilute now when law and order problems in the country have gone from bad to worse?   When the tall politicians of India of those days enacted this Act in Indian Parliament they never wanted this act to have human face. They desired this Act to be a deterrent. They were sure of their own governing capability and were confident that Army will seldom be required to work in internal security duties, this job being basically of Indian Police. Today, army is deployed in J&K, Manipur, Assam, and Nagaland. But for the resistance from Army, our current political class would have deployed them against Naxals also with no questions asked. No wonder they want this act to be diluted. After all the elections also have to be won, let country go to dogs.   The AFSPA allows army to fire upon and even cause death against any person working in contravention of law and order in an area declared disturbed by the state government. They can arrest any person without warrant but will have to hand over the same to police within 48 hours. They can destroy any arms dumps, terror training centers etc. No prosecution suit or legal proceedings can be initiated against Army Personnel without the sanction of the Central Government. These clauses irk the local politicians because unlike police, Army is not answerable to them.  Once this Act gets diluted the terror organizations will force the local population to launch false cases against the Army. With the way our judicial system functions, which Army Officer will like to get involved in the never ending judicial hearings? Thus defocused and demotivated the Army will also be another police force with no results.   Answer does not lie in diluting this act. The need of the hour is to better train, equip and provide better leadership to the Indian police and Paramilitary forces and use only them in Internal Security duties. Army should be called in extreme conditions where there is no room forcivilian interface. The prolonged use of Army should be avoided at all costs. Instead give better governance a chance. The Indian Police reforms on the lines of Supreme Court directions of 2006 will pay better dividends. The time tested AFSPA-1958 does not require any tinkering and should be left alone.

Will call in Army if the need arises: J&K Government 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: June 28, 2010 23:44 IST  Srinagar:  Kashmir is tense. Two more civilians, including a young boy, have died in firing by the CRPF on Monday and the Valley is seeing widespread and violent protests. The state government has now said the Army may be called in to control the situation.  However, security sources have told NDTV that they don't forsee this happening and that the situation should be under control by Tuesday. The sources also said that additional Central forces, and not the Army, were being inducted in Sopore and along the Srinagar-Baramulla-Sopore highway.  Sopore has seen the worst of violent clashes between frenzied protesters and security forces. This morning, a crowd had gathered for the funeral of a youth, 20-year-old Bilal Ahmad Wani, who was killed on Sunday, allegedly hit by a rubber bullet fired from a CRPF picket. Raising anti-government and pro-freedom slogans, nearly 4,000 protestors carried Bilal's body and marched on the streets of the town.  The funeral procession turned violent and five people were injured in CRPF firing. Soon, protesters marching near Sopore clashed with the police. As they headed towards a CRPF post, a jawan fired from the picket killing another 20-year-old, Tajamul.      Some time later on Monday came the incident that shook the Valley. A young boy, Tauqir Ahmad, was allegedly killed when CRPF personnel opened fire on a protest march at Dalina in Baramulla. (In Pics: Tension in Kashmir) The last two weeks have seen eight civilian deaths in the Valley.  The CRPF has, however, denied reports that it fired during the funeral procession. Vikram Srivastava, Director General, CRPF said, "No ammunition has been fired by CRPF at the funeral procession. Our basic position is that we are there to assist state police." (Watch: CRPF denies firing at protesters in Sopore)  Separatists had called for a protest march on Monday after the overnight tension in Sopore over the use of force by CRPF against agitators in the region. Hundreds of policemen were deployed and barricades erected on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway to prevent separatists from marching to Sopore.  Police forces also reportedly used teargas and lathicharge on protesters who refused to stop.  Several leaders of the moderate Hurriyat Conference, including its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were placed under house arrest. (Read: Hurriyat leaders placed under house arrest)  Schools and colleges in the Valley will remain closed for two days to prevent student protests. (Read: Militants attack Sopore police station)  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah spoke with Home Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday night and voiced strong concern over civilians becoming victims of action by paramilitary forces. Asking him to intervene in the matter, Omar asked the Home Minister to visit the state. The visit is likely to take place in a day or two.

Navy war room leak: Shankaran's extradition process begins
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: June 29, 2010 01:08 IST  London:  Proceedings to extradite one of the main accused in the infamous Naval war room leak case, Ravi Shankaran, have begun in London.  Ravi, who fled India and had an Interpol notice against him, was arrested in London in April. He is accused of accessing classified and sensitive information from the India navy and selling that to companies bidding for naval contracts worth billions of dollars, damaging the security and integrity of the country.  His lawyer claimed Ravi Shankaran was not arrested, he chose to go to the police himself.  "He voluntarily went to the police... want to correct some facts about him. He is free and has no armed guards as you can see," said Solicitor Henri Brandman.        A well attired Ravi Shankaran seemed nervous at the beginning but then smiled and laughed a fair bit during the hearing. The hearing lasted nearly three hours as the prosecution outline the alleged fraud and lies he and his accomplices perpetrated.  The next hearing is on September 1 but the extradition could take months.  The prosecution talked about how Ravi had used inducements including a honey trap to obtain classified information from the Indian Navy and sold that to companies bidding in tenders for naval equipment contracts worth billions of dollars.  Shankaran is on bail in London and has hired one of Britain's top lawyers to resist extradition.

Army foils infiltration bid, 6 militants killed 
Press Trust of India, Updated: June 29, 2010 00:51 IST  Jammu:  Six armed foreign militants were killed on Monday and three Armymen lost their lives in a fierce gunbattle that broke out along the Line of Control (LOC) in Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir.  Acting on a tip off, troops picked up the movement of a group of infiltrating militants in 104 forward location along the LoC in Kupwara belt and launched an operation, triggering the encounter, a senior Army official at Udhampur-based Northern Command told PTI tonight.  Six foreign militants and three Army jawans were killed in the gunbattle, which was on when reports last came in from the area.   Read more at:

Ajai Shukla: McChrystal-gazing What India can learn from Obama's unceremonious dismissal of his military commander in Afghanistan last week
Ajai Shukla / New Delhi June 29, 2010, 0:05 IST  Last week’s unceremonious dismissal by US President Barack Obama of his military commander in Afghanistan, Lt Gen Stanley McChrystal, should be carefully studied in this country. In contrast to India, where civil-military relations remain mired in wary mutual watchfulness, America has demonstrated a robust civil-military structure with a healthy tolerance for risk. This was evident from the joint political-military decision to prosecute an “Afghan-friendly” strategy despite the politically nettlesome issue of higher US casualties; and from Obama’s swift decision that the general had unacceptably violated propriety in making public the fissures between top US policy-makers.  For those who missed last week’s drama, General McChrystal and his personal staff — styling themselves in the macho moulds of The Dirty Dozen and Inglourious Basterds — committed the breathtaking mistake of embedding a writer for Rolling Stone magazine into their inner circle for a month, letting him listen in on formal and informal conversations with apparently everything on the record.  Although McChrystal’s sacking will be a studied chapter in US civil-military relations, Obama’s was an easy decision compared to the dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur by President Harry Truman in 1951. MacArthur, the hero of two world wars, a winner of the Medal of Honour (America’s Param Vir Chakra), and the de facto ruler — American Shogun — of Japan from 1945-50, had been recalled from Tokyo in 1950 to command the UN forces in Korea. Angered by China’s intervention in the war, MacArthur publicly challenged Truman’s restraint by planning nuclear attacks on Chinese air bases. An outraged Truman rejected warnings that MacArthur might beat him in the 1952 presidential elections. Overruling support for MacArthur from the Secretary of Defence, General George Marshall, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Omar Bradley, Truman ended MacArthur’s career.  All of this is unthinkable in India, where the system produces generals (and that includes flag officers of the navy and the air force) who would never dream of functioning like Stanley McChrystal. That might indicate a healthier civil-military relationship in India, but only if one were to look superficially at just the Rolling Stone fiasco. Looking deeper — especially at McChrystal’s, and now Petraeus’ selection as commanders in Afghanistan based on clear strategies that they brought to the table — India could learn much from the US civil-military structure, based as it is on meritocracy, responsibility and accountability.  Consider how India would have selected a commander for a hypothetical Afghanistan mission: the MoD would have asked the Indian Army to “post” a suitable general. In the US, the president nominates key commanders, based on their achievements and abilities, and Congress ratifies those appointments. General Petraeus, for example, was nominated as US Central Command chief, superseding several compatriots, after framing a widely acclaimed counter-insurgency doctrine for the US military. American generals routinely leapfrog less talented officers while being appointed to higher ranks.  But, in the poisoned relationship between India’s military and the bureaucratic-political elite, the armed forces reject US-style “deep selection”. India’s military suspects that political interests would run rampant, promoting well-connected officers rather than competent ones. The army remembers Lieutenant General B M Kaul, whose connections with Nehru allowed him to drive India to defeat at the hands of China in 1962.  This would be valid reasoning, were it not for a growing phenomenon: increasingly mid-ranking and senior officers are seeking political and bureaucratic patronage. The media has already reported instances where the Akali Dal and certain UP parties have lobbied on behalf of senior military officers. Bureaucrats too often approach the MoD to push the cases of nephews, nieces and country cousins. So, allowing an institutional gulf between the military and the political-bureaucratic class, even as patronage thrives below the radar, amounts to getting the worst of both worlds: condoning patronage while preventing partnership.  The Indian military’s insularity —with officers carefully shielded from outside influences, and shaped instead by a numbing professional uniformity — prevents the development of commanders who can operate confidently at political-strategic levels. While US generals like Petraeus and McChrystal gain credit for doing PhDs and MPhils, and for being cerebral academics, India’s armed forces give no credit to an officer for non-military qualifications. And the question of seconding officers to other government and non-government organisations to obtain a wider perspective is dismissed with: the MoD will never allow it.  There, the military may have a point. Political and bureaucratic elites fear, deep down, that allowing officers out of the cantonments could open the door to a rampantly political military. And so the two arms of government — civil and military — occupy separate worlds in India, glowering at each other across an abyss of distrust. Interaction is minimal, even in formulating national security policy; bureaucrats and diplomats do that for elected leaders who remain, for the most part, strategically unschooled. Bred in the tradition of the freedom struggle, they see political agitation as a more potent and familiar instrument than military power — a confusing and technical subject that is the preserve of an English-speaking elite that they don’t identify with.

Brace for two-front war, Army told 
Rahul Datta | New Delhi  In an unprecedented move that has confirmed India’s concerns about China’s growing military might, the Government has for the first time given a directive in writing to the armed forces to enhance their military capabilities vis-a-vis the neighbouring country and prepare for a two-front war scenario with China and Pakistan.  Asking the armed forces to prepare themselves to fight simultaneous wars on the eastern and western fronts with China and Pakistan, Defence Minister AK Antony has directed the chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force to rapidly modernise and upgrade their weapon systems and tone up operational preparedness.  The Services have been assured full support from the Government in this endeavour, sources said.  Explaining the significance of the directive, the sources maintained that it came against the backdrop of the armed forces’ apprehensions about the rapid modernisation programme of their Chinese counterparts. The directive will allow the armed forces to build capabilities to rapidly move troops from one theatre of war to the other by procuring more transport planes and improved rail and road network for ferrying weapons systems.  Modern warfare was all about speed, lethality and mobility and the directive would go a long way in helping the armed forces achieve this objective as soon as possible, the sources added.  The directive follows the Cabinet Committee on Security’s (CCS) nod to the Army to raise two more mountain divisions (each division has 10,000 troops) on the China front. With the focus on improving infrastructure, the Army was last year allowed to raise two mountain divisions. It means that in the next four or five years, it would have four divisions on the China front.  The Government has also removed the 10-year cap on recruitment and permitted the Army to go for fresh intakes. Coupled with this important development, the Government has cleared the proposal to acquire more than 200 Howitzer guns for these divisions through the foreign military sale route from the US.  “The Howitzer guns are light. These can be dismantled and carried on horseback or by helicopters to the remote and rugged terrain of Arunachal Pradesh and other such regions in Jammu & Kashmir where road infrastructure is non-existent,” sources said.  While the two-front war concept was in public domain and being discussed in seminars and TV debates, the political leadership had so far refrained from joining the debate. The recently-issued directive clearly indicates that the Government has finally heeded the concerns of the armed forces and given them unambiguous orders to go ahead and do the needful, sources said.  This decision would give the necessary momentum to the security establishment to improve the infrastructure, including all-weather roads right up to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and airports and helipads in remote regions of States like Arunachal Pradesh. In fact, the armed forces are already engaged in upgrading nearly 25 airports in the North-East and the project is likely to be over within the next two years.  India and China have a 5,000-km-long disputed border and the Chinese have over the years rapidly improved their logistical lines by building roads right up to their side of the LAC. India is in a disadvantageous position as the terrain on its side is hilly and building roads there takes more time than in the plains, sources said, adding that the slopes on the Chinese side are gentler.

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