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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

From Today's Papers - 20 Jul 2010

  Qureshi must shut up
Speaking too much will take India, Pakistan nowhere  Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi seems to suffer from verbal diarrhoea. This may explain why he has been speaking too much after the failed India-Pakistan talks in Islamabad. His uncontrolled comments have damaged the cause of peace. Initially, at least the two countries were not averse to continuing their dialogue. But now it is difficult to say when the talks will be held in New Delhi, though India has invited Qureshi.  Where was the need for the Pakistan Foreign Minister to say that India’s External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna had “a restricted mandate”? How could the minister have had an unrestricted mandate? As if this was not enough to spoil the atmosphere, Qureshi has gone to the extent of uttering that “I do not want to visit India for a leisure trip. I want to go for meaningful, constructive and result-oriented talks if the right atmosphere prevails and if they are fully prepared (for talks).” What exactly does he want to say? Making such provocative statements will take the two neighbours nowhere. It is obvious that there can be no talks between India and Pakistan unless an atmosphere conducive to dialogue prevails.  When he mentions “if they are fully prepared” Qureshi appears to be pointing to his earlier statement that the Indian side had been frequently consulting New Delhi during the negotiations in Islamabad. But what is the harm in holding consultations? This is a normal practice in diplomacy and Qureshi must know this. He must not forget that it is Pakistan which had been insisting on resuming the dialogue process that had got snapped after the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai. India had been saying since the very beginning that any engagement with Pakistan was possible only if Islamabad took concrete steps to get all those involved in the Mumbai mayhem, including Lashkar-e-Toiyaba chief Hafiz Saeed, punished. In the absence of this, India agreed to hold talks to first reduce the trust deficit. So, where is the question of “result-oriented talks” at this stage? It will be better if Qureshi decides to shut up, at least for now.

26/11: Pak navy trained Kasab
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, July 19 What Ajmal Kasab confessed about the role of the Pakistan navy in training him and the nine others who attacked Mumbai in November 2008 has been corroborated by David Coleman Headley during his interrogation carried out by Indian investigators.  Headley is in the FBI custody and lodged in a Chicago Jail and was questioned by the Indian investigators.  During his interrogation, Kasab confessed that the terrorists, who attacked Mumbai, received training of swimming and underwater diving from the Pakistan navy's frogmen. A frogman is someone who is trained to dive and swim under water.  "The role of the Pakistan navy was confirmed by Headley when the Indian investigators interrogated him in the US last month," an official said today.  This is being seen as another clear indicator of the Pakistani establishment's involvement in the planning and execution of the Mumbai terror attack, which claimed 168 lives.  Home Secretary GK Pillai had recently said the ISI was controlling and coordinating the attacks. Rather his remarks had created a furore.  Officials said the Indian investigators so far had no plan to interrogate Headley's accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Pakistani origin Canadian citizen, as his involvement in the Mumbai attack conspiracy was limited to providing finance.  Headley has also told his interrogators that the Pakistani intelligence agency had paid Rs 25 lakh to LeT to purchase a boat which terrorists used to travel from Karachi to the Pakistani maritime boundary, where they hijacked an Indian fishing boat 'Kuber' to reach Mumbai.

Of Pakistani ministers and disguised sincerity
 Notice how we never get a meaningful deal out of these 'talks'. Notice how SM Qureshi imposes his voice and command over english on every press conference he attends, with disguised sincerity. CJ: Jay Maniyar   Mon, Jul 19, 2010 15:18:27 IST Views:    11    Comments: 0 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 4.33 / 3 votes             I AM no expert on Indian foreign policy or that practised by our neighbours Pakistan. But after observing what went back and forth in the latest round of talks between India and Pakistan, I am certain that Pakistan has meticulously planned the process of dealing with India and our leaders.   Notice how we never get a meaningful deal out of these ‘talks’. Notice how SM Qureshi imposes his voice and command over english on every press conference he attends, with disguised sincerity. Notice how India is getting duped by deceitful and non-committal people from the other side of the Radcliffe Line.   By attacking GK Pillai (Home Secretary) and equating him with someone as insidious (and inspirer of many a terror acts) as Hafiz Saeed, it is evident that Pakistan is fundamentally against any progress in these talks. To demonstrate sincerity, one must first be sensible enough to separate the ridiculous and the preposterous from the debatable and the unconvincing. And the fact that Pakistan never does that, we can safely conclude there is none on offer.   Also in doing so, Qureshi loses the plot as easily as he mutters a new word in the English language. Maybe, he intends to lose the plot. This is one of those arguments where Indian officials must sit back, regroup and realize that there are no constructive talks happening at all. There is only clichéd elocution. And that too, by the Pakistanis.   Qureshi might well be an English language majors aspirant, who was picked up by the Pakistani government to confuse Indian and international observers and to rationalize what is easily laughable. If this sounds funny (and it wasn’t intended to be), we can speculate that Pakistan has a clear-cut policy on how to deal with Indian requests for talks, and the talks themselves. Even if the country may have no policy on how to ensure the sustenance of her own self.   Pakistan is like an insincere professor, the type that India’s government schools and colleges are infested with. They come to work, they intend to see out their scheduled time because it is part of their routine, they waste time and they take their pay. No difference is made. Because, none was intended to be made.   Pakistan knows. They know how to deal with India following any major terror attack on Indian soil. There is a cycle of denial first, followed by inaction (and minimal acceptance). And as the clock ticks, we have equivalence. Suddenly, everybody is quiet and terror – what terror? Pakistan faces terror too, you know.   So the solution is – Honestly, I have no clue. Maybe, we can NOT talk. And we can speed-deal with terrorists in our control. Or we can forget. And save our outrage for another day. Oh wait, THAT we already do.

Kashmir an 'impediment' in Indo-Pak ties: US
July 19, 2010 23:39 IST Tags: Hillary Clinton, India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Shah Mehmood Qureshi Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  In remarks that may ruffle feathers in New Delhi [ Images ], United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [ Images ] on Monday said the Kashmir issue is an 'impediment' in developing a relationship that will be beneficial to both India [ Images ] and Pakistan.  "Kashmir (issue) that have divided India and Pakistan and in my view are impediments to developing a relationship that would be beneficial to both countries," she told a joint press conference with her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi.  She also made it clear that the US has no desire to mediate between India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir issue which will have to be resolved by the two countries through negotiations.  With Clinton by his side, Qureshi raked up the Kashmir issue and said his country wants a sustained dialogue with India.  Qureshi, who has been blowing hot and cold against India in the last few days after a deadlock in the Indo-Pak talks, said, "Sustaining dialogue with India and finding a just solution of the Kashmir dispute" was part of the "convergent interest" of US and Pakistan.  While Pakistan has been insisting on discussing the Kashmir issue at all bilateral meetings with India, New Delhi has been maintaining that all issues can be taken up, but Islamabad [ Images ] should first address its core concern of terrorism emanating from the Pakistani soil against it.  New Delhi and Islamabad have held several rounds of discussions at high-levels on Kashmir under the Composite Dialogue which was suspended following the 26/11 Mumbai [ Images ] attacks.  During a town hall meeting with members of civil society later in the day, Clinton said: "We can only encourage, we can't solve (the Kashmir issue) because at the end of the day, this is an issue (to which) there is no dictated response."  The US cannot impose its decision on India and Pakistan or tell them what they must do to settle the Kashmir issue, she said.  "We continue to encourage, we try to arrange and facilitate but this is going to take a tremendous act of courage by the political leadership in both countries. There is no short-cut around it," she said.  Clinton aired similar views during an interaction with a panel of Pakistani television anchors, saying the US would encourage the dialogue between India and Pakistan as it is in the interest of both countries.  "I happen to think, on balance, it's even more in Pakistan's interests because (it will open markets in India)," she said.  Though officials of both countries have been meeting, the US wants to "encourage much more dialogue", Clinton said.  Clinton also told the TV anchors that there is a need to build more trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan while trying to work on long-standing issues between India and Pakistan.  The US will encourage the leadership of Pakistan and India to "persevere despite the (terrorist) attacks in both countries", she said.  Asked if the proposal to name former President Bill Clinton [ Images ] as a special envoy on the Kashmir issue was still on the table, Clinton said, "In order to have anyone play that role, both sides have to agree and that has not been the case as of now."  Responding to a question about the US condemning crackdowns on protesters in Iran and describing the demonstrations in Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] as an internal matter of India, Clinton said there was a "big difference" between the situation in Pakistan and India and that in Iran.  "India and Pakistan have vibrant democratic institutions, a free press and independent judiciaries. We do not find any of them in Iran," she said.  While the Kashmir dispute is a "very important and difficult issue", India and Pakistan were not making threats against the rest of the world, she said.  "But in contrast, Iran is threatening all of its neighbours, is threatening to wipe countries off the map and is funding terrorism all over the world," she said.

Think like an Indian
By Wajahat S Khan   July 19, 2010  The writer is a freelance journalist and a partner at Core Consulting (  The verdict is out: Pakistan’s latest ‘peace talks’ with India were anything but peaceful. Furthermore, insiders say that nobody really ‘talked’ either — rather, everyone ‘talked over’ each other. The ending was a bout between two immaculately dressed foreign ministers – one a verbose South Punjabi and the other an insipid South Indian – and a very cold departure from a very hot Islamabad by some very frigid Hindustanis.  But while Pakistan’s news cycle has quickly adjusted back to fake degrees and the charge of the Hillary brigade, Indian journos have refused to let go of their  ‘Agra 2’ — the new version of a similar breakdown in 2001 when then president Musharraf visited the Taj and buried Vajpayee’s charms right next to Shahjehan’s beloved Mumtaz Mahal. Thus, an insight into what our friends on the other side are thinking is key.  Questioning peace, The Himalayan mulls: “While the Indian government is keen to mend fences with Pakistan, it will not compromise on its ‘core concern’, which is the repeated use of terror…. India has grown at over eight per cent after Mumbai and it will continue to grow ‘despite Pakistan’, the clear implication being that Pakistan needs the dialogue process more than India does.”  Blaming Qureshi, the Indian Express recalls: “Qureshi was not happy with an open-ended language like [talks would resume] “at an appropriate time” and wanted India to specify a timeline. India, on its part, said it was in no position to provide a timeframe as the progress and pace are linked to the Mumbai attacks investigation…. There is also a sense of concern here at the way Qureshi conducted himself and his ‘petulance’ that left the Indian side surprised.” Analysing Pakistan’s establishment, the Hindustan Times alleges: “When the prime ministers met in Thimpu, Gilani indicated he had the full support of his military…. When the foreign ministers of the two countries met in mid-July, the men in khaki were opposed… developments, say sources in both countries, led them to change their minds. The first development was the political resurgence of President Asif Ali Zardari. The Pakistan military has sought to marginalise him…. The military’s view about the dialogue with India had shifted from support to strong doubt. One reason, say sources in Pakistan, was the establishment’s view that a successful dialogue with India would only add another feather to Zardari’s cap.”  But, batting for Pakistan, the Bangalore Mirror cautions: “It’s so easy to blame Pakistan…. But if the trust deficit between India and Pakistan has to be seriously addressed then India should be willing to accept that ‘composite dialogue’ is not a rhetorical ploy but a reflection of how all conflicts in South Asia are basically interlinked…. Like India in Kashmir, Pakistan has bled profusely in Afghanistan. It has a right to be concerned about the future of that country…. Subsequently, India has invested heavily in Kabul…. We remain the venal Karzai regime’s main backer. We have four consulates in Afghanistan and have given its government $1.2 billion in aid, a whopping sum for a country that is 99 per cent Muslim and with which we have no common border. We have also put up their new parliament building and chancery, and have helped train the Afghan army. In terms of one nation’s special interests that subvert another nation’s special interests, how is our involvement in Kabul different from that of Pakistan in Kashmir?”  Finally, sounding the doomsday alarm, the Hindustan Times declares: “‘In an unstable Pakistan the government and the army will become even more dependent upon China,’ the New Delhi-based Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses has warned… [The 156-page report] said: ‘… agencies in Pakistan will continue using terror as a tool of pressure against India an increasing unstable Pakistan may manifest in several ways — Lebanonisation (being divided into several small pockets) or even face disintegration… The army will get more aggressive as it finds itself fighting to save Pakistan: and its own identity. This could result in more sabrerattling and brandishing of the nuclear threat…. Within Pakistan, the society will get fragmented. The ethnic, linguistic and provincial fault lines may get accentuated. Insurgency in Balochistan might get worse. Sindh and NWFP will not remain unaffected. They will challenge Punjab’s dominance.” Thanks for playing ‘Think Like An Indian!’ Your prize: a different perspective. Come back soon.

BAE Systems M777 howitzer sales exceed 1 billion pounds
19 Jul 2010, 1736 hrs IST,IANS Topics:      * BAE Systems     * M777 howitzers  NEW DELHI: BAE Systems has received an order for 93 additional M777 howitzers, which the Indian Army is considering for its artillery upgrade, taking the order book to 955 systems and its sales for the gun to over 1 billion pounds.  The US is buying 58 guns for the US Army and US Marine Corps while Australia is acquiring 35 through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. The order makes Australia the third customer for the M777 system after the US and Canada.  Mike Smith, managing director for BAE Systems' European Weapons business, said: "The purchase of additional howitzers is further endorsement of M777 as the most effective howitzer system of its kind. Its proven combat effectiveness means we expect more orders through 2011 as we continue to promote the system globally."  "The US government is currently discussing the provision of 145 systems to India as well as several other countries. In parallel, BAE Systems is responding to requests for information from a large number of countries wishing to expand their indirect fire capability," he added.  BAE System' facility at Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is responsible for final integration and test of the weapon system. The prime contract management of the M777 programme and manufacture and assembly of the complex titanium structures and associated recoil components are undertaken at Barrow-in-Furness in Britain.  "The M777 continues to provide artillery support to coalition forces in Afghanistan where its performance exceeds expectations," a company statement said.  The gun can fire the "smart" Excalibur round, co-developed by BAE Systems, up to 40 km accurately enough to target a specific room within a building, reducing the chance of innocent casualties and allowing supporting fire to be brought down much closer to friendly troops, the statement said.  "Weighing in at less than 4.2 tonnes, the revolutionary M777 is the world's first artillery weapon to make widespread use of titanium and aluminium alloys, resulting in a howitzer which is half the weight of conventional 155mm systems. This allows it to be deployed by medium-lift helicopter quickly and beyond the reach of roadside bombs to otherwise inaccessible areas, extending its reach over the theatre of operations," the statement said.  BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services.

Cyber war: Indian Army gearing up
Jul 19, 2010, 04.19pm IST NEW DELHI: The Indian Army is fighting attacks in the cyber world with electronic warfare capability of the "highest standard", say officials pointing out that virtual strikes have shot up from hostile quarters in both sophistication and frequency.  "The army is cognisant of the threat to its cyber space from various state and non-state actors. But our network is well secured in compliance with the highest standards of cyber security," a senior official in the military headquarters told IANS on condition of anonymity.  The official said the army has established an "impenetrable and secure wide area network exclusively for its functioning".  Officials in the 1.3 million force privately admit they are facing "next generation threats" and are rather worried over the complex world of cyber warfare amid reports of Chinese and Pakistani spies targeting the Indian military establishment via the internet.  Though attacks from hackers - professional or amateur - can come from anywhere in the world, cyber onslaughts have been more frequent from China and Pakistan, which have reportedly been peeking into India's sensitive business, diplomatic and strategic records.  As per reports from the cyber industry, China and Pakistan hackers steal nearly six million files worldwide every day.  A report in the US-based Defence Systems magazine found that there were 25 million new strains of malware created in 2009. That equals a new strain of malware every 0.79 seconds. The report underlines how the current cyber threat environment is dramatically changing and becoming more challenging as the clock ticks.  Howevever, the Indian army is confident.  Revealing that secret information had been secured with unhackable electronic passwords, the official said various "cryptographic controls" have been incorporated in the wake of a significant number of viruses, worms and other forms of malware.  To address cyber defence, which is also under threat from terrorist outfits that have their own trained recruits, officials said the army frequently upgrades its comprehensive cyber security policy to pro-actively deal with and anticipate these threats.  The force has established the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to respond to attacks targeting the army's critical systems and infrastructure.  Another official said the army has its own cyber audit process conducted by cyber security personnel.  "The audit is conducted in accordance with established security standards such as ISO 27001. Audit of the network is a continuous and active process which helps identification and mitigation of vulnerabilities in a network to counter latest threats as also check the network for cyber security policy compliance," he said.  However, the official admitted there was no room for complacency in times of rapid technological change.  "In the area of cyber space, the battle between hackers and defenders is an ongoing process, influenced by latest technological developments. Due to the dynamic nature of threats, the army is constantly upgrading its network," he said.  Technology alone, however, cannot guarantee "fool-proof security", he said, adding the "Indian Army therefore emphasises on the people and the process to achieve compliance of best practices in this field".  "Regular training programmes are being conducted to enhance user awareness and counter threats like social engineering and phishing," he said.

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