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Friday, 30 July 2010

From Today's Papers - 30 Jul 2010

CoI ordered against Major caught with sensitive papers
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, July 29 A court of enquiry has been ordered against a Major of the Indian Army, posted at the Andaman Nicobar-based strategic command. He was found in possession of top secret and sensitive documents of the Indian Armed forces. A probe had suggested a Court of Inquiry.  A joint probe conducted by the National Investigation Agency and the Army authorities had earlier revealed that the Major was attached with the 21 Bihar regiment and posted to the Andamans. He had more than 2000 sensitive documents on his personal computer.  Sources confirmed that a Court of Inquiry has been ordered against the Major under the Army rules and the strictest possible action will be taken. The Army Act is very stringent and unlike civilian procedures it is quicker and action is time-bound.  The documents, which should not have been in the Major’s possession, were normally handled at a very senior level. A large amount of data from his personal computer in the Andamans was being regularly transferred to the Pakistan’s ISI, it was detected. The US agencies picked up the flow of data and informed their Indian counterparts some time in April.  The joint NIA and Army probe has ruled out the angle of espionage but serious questions have been raised about the source of documents and his negligence because he put these documents on a personal computer with an Internet connection. Standard operating procedures of the Armed forces forbid storing of data on computers with an Internet connectivity.  So far, it has been found that the Major’s computer was “attacked” or “hacked” by the ISI. When the NIA got the computer analysed by the Hyderabad-based Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), it was found that files had been deleted from the hard disc. Using a restoration technique, the CFSL found how the files were deleted.

Make the border more secure, pleads Punjab
Jangveer Singh Tribune News Service  TERROR TRAIL IN JULY      * Khanna police arrested Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) militant Harminder Singh responsible for October 2007 Shingar cinema bomb blasts on July 18.     * Three associates of Harminder arrested with 3 kg RDX and one AK 47 rifle.     * Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) militant Pargat Singh arrested by Patiala police.     * Five Babbar Khalsa militants, including a French national, arrested by Amritsar police on July 28. Two AK 47 rifles seized from them.  Chandigarh, July 29 Alarmed at increased militant activities in the state, Punjab is pleading with the Centre to plug the international border with Pakistan ‘more effectively’.  Seizures of narcotics, arms, fake currency, point out senior officials, have all gone up in recent months, indicating heightened activity from across the border. And although much of the border has been fenced, more effective measures are needed to curb infiltration, they felt.  Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal told TNS on Thursday that he would be writing to the PM and plead for more intensive patrolling. “We have reports that militants as well as drugs are being pushed into Punjab from Pakistan,” he said , and added that, if necessary, more security personnel need to be deployed on the border.  Punjab would also demand better use of technology and more sophisticated cameras on the border, he said.  Police and Intelligence sources said that recent arrest of militants indicate clear attempts to revive terrorism in the State. They claimed that radical elements across the border were feeling the pressure from the ISI and were trying to increase terrorist activities in Punjab.  Emerging trends show that youngsters who are desperate to settle abroad are being instigated to indulge in terrorist activists. Rattandeep Singh, who had planted a bomb in a car in Amritsar recently, was found to have his family in Canada and he himself was keen to save enough money to enable him to migrate.  The sources said militants also wanted to take their families out of the country while citing the case of Harminder Singh, who was involved in the Shingar cinema blast of October 2007. It is claimed that Harminder returned to make arrangements for his family to migrate.  Most of the militants are flying to India from either Malaysia or Nepal after procuring travel documents from Pakistan. Sources said the militants now prefer to land in South Indian cities and then make their way to Punjab, making it a little more difficult for law-enforcement agencies to nab them.

Pakistan has made strategic shift on war against terror: US
Lalit K Jha/ PTI / Washington July 29, 2010, 9:14 IST  Notwithstanding the concerns, the US has about the continued links that some elements of ISI has with terrorist outfits like the Al Qaeda and Taliban, the Obama Administration has said that Islamabad in the last one year has made strategic shift in the war against terrorism.  "Pakistan has, in our view, made a strategic shift in the last year or more. It has taken aggressive action at considerable expense to Pakistan," State Department spokesman P J Crowley, told reporters at his daily news conference.  "The Pakistani people are suffering as much if not more than any other people in the world from terrorism. But there is clearly more to be done," he said.  "Our joint concern here is to eliminate the safe havens that exist in the region and to prevent the emergence of new safe havens from which there can be the export of terrorism that can threaten US, Europe, or other parts of the world," Crowley said.  When asked about the comment made by British Prime Minister David Cameroon, that his country would not tolerate export of terrorism by Pakistan, the State Department spokesman said US does not want to see the export of terror by any country.  "We are concerned about and have said many times that extremist element within the borders of Pakistan, in the tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, first and foremost, it represents a threat to Pakistan, it represents a threat to Afghanistan," Crowley said.  "As we have seen, extremists with links to these areas have made their way to Europe, have made their way to the United States.  This is an important component of our relationship and our strategic dialogue with Pakistan, and we are both satisfied with the aggressive steps that Pakistan has taken in recent months at considerable expense to Pakistan," he said.  "As we've made clear, we want to see Pakistan stay on the offensive in combating these extremist elements.  I know Pakistani officials in recent days have publicly stated their commitment to continue to do that," Crowley said.  The spokesman said there is a vast difference between the previous Musharraf regime and the current civilian government.  "Oh, is there a difference between a military-led governments and is there a difference between a civilian-led government with the kind of legitimacy that General Musharraf lacked?  Of course there is.  This is a new government, and even the decision to extend the term of General Kayani was the Pakistani civilian government's decision to make," he said.  "There is a vast difference in this current government. It enjoys more support from its people. And we are trying to help Pakistan build even more trust and support within its population.  Some of its institutions are fragile," he said.  "It is expressly why the supplemental is important to us that was passed by the House yesterday, to provide the resources so that we can continue to assist Pakistan, build up its institutions of government, have the government be able to deliver stronger services, more reliable services to its people.  Through that public support, that's how you narrow the space that extremists currently have to function," Crowley said.

UN chief concerned over Kashmir situation; calls for peace
Betwa Sharma/ PTI / United Nations July 29, 2010, 9:17 IST  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over the unrest in Kashmir, which exploded last month claiming the lives of seventeen people.  "In relation to recent developments in Indian-administered Kashmir, the Secretary-General is concerned over the prevailing security situation there over the past month," Farhan Haq, Ban's spokesperson, said in a statement.  "He calls on all concerned to exercise utmost restraint and address problems peacefully," it added.  Meanwhile, the Indian government said that it was aware of anti-India elements based in Pakistan provoking the people of Jammu and Kashmir with the support of certain sections of secessionist groups based in the state.  Kashmir Valley has been wracked with demonstrations since June 11, which led to the police and military cracking down on protestors.  Among the several victims was a 17-year-old boy who died after being hit by a police tear gas shell.  The state government announced that a commission would be set up to inquire into the deaths of civilians during the recent protests.  The commission will be headed by a retired high court judge and it will look into 17 incidents in which people died since June 11.  The government also announced a compensation package of Rs 100,000 and government job to a member of each family.  The inquiry commission is expected to report back in three months. The UN chief also welcomes the recent talks between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan.  "He encourages both sides to rekindle the spirit of the composite dialogue, which was initiated in 2004 and had made encouraging progress on some important confidence building measures, and to make renewed efforts to address outstanding issues, including on Jammu and Kashmir," the statement said.  "He (Ban) underlines the need for patience, perseverance and compromise on all sides," it added.

Maj Gen SS Pawar, COS, 3 Corps, retires
Source: Hueiyen News Service  Imphal, July 29 2010: Maj Gen SS Pawar, VSM the Chief of Staff 3 Corps will bid adieu to the Indian Army on 31st July 2010.The General Officer has put in an illustrious service of thirty-eight years in the army and has served in all terrains and theatres in varied commands, instructor and staff appointments in India and abroad.  An alumni of National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy, Maj Gen SS Pawar, VSM was commissioned in The JAT Regiment in Mar 1972 .  Having served in mountains, glaciers, desert and semi arid areas, he has vast experience of operations in active areas of the borders.  He commanded an Infantry Brigade in a very active area of Jammu & Kashmir during OP PARAKRAM.  The Gen is a graduate from Defence Services Staff College and has held Staff appointments at various level The General took over as the "Chief of Staff 3 Corps" in 2008 and for his meritorious services was awarded the VISHISHT SEVA MEDAL by President of India in 2010 .  As the 3 Corps bids farewell to Maj Gen and Mrs SS Pawar with our best wishes, we also look forward for continued association.

India, U.K. to give fillip to trade, security ties
Sandeep Dikshit    Manmohan, Cameron to step up cooperation in counter-terrorism  India and the United Kingdom decided to give an impetus to their trade and security ties during high level talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterpart, David Cameron, here on Thursday.  Following a detailed discussion on global security challenges, the Prime Ministers decided to step up their cooperation in counter-terrorism and welcomed the development of broad-based cooperation in the defence sector. They noted the joint army exercises that took place in India in June, the joint naval exercises now under way and looked forward to the joint air exercises scheduled for October.  In a joint press statement, the two leaders felt a civil nuclear cooperation declaration signed earlier this year had created opportunities for wide ranging cooperation, especially with regard to exchanges between scientific institutions.  India and the U.K. decided to constitute a joint CEOs Forum to be co-chaired by Peter Sands and Ratan Tata and an India-U.K. Infrastructure Group in order to double bilateral trade in the next five years. Building upon past experience, the two sides also agreed to launch a new phase of the U.K.-India Education and Research Initiative.  The Infrastructure Group will address India's particular interest in attracting international as well as domestic investment in infrastructure over the next decade and how best the two governments can enable and encourage this.  “With Prime Minister David Cameron's visit we have set in place a new momentum to drive our strategic partnership forward. I have no doubt that this will be good for both our countries, and it responds to the wishes and aspiration of both our peoples,” observed Dr. Singh.  In order to give a fillip to bilateral ties with the help of existing mechanisms, India and the U.K. also agreed to review the mandate, composition and structure of existing bilateral bodies in trade, investment and economic cooperation.  Discussions were also held on a Memorandum of Understanding between the government of India and the U.K. Trade and Investment to enhance investment in the roads sector, and the two sides looked forward to its early finalisation. Both sides also agreed to explore initiatives that will create resources and incentives to help businesses deploy renewable energy, particularly for the poor.  The lone agreement signed between the two countries pertained to culture. It was hoped that the India-U.K. Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Co-operation will provide a framework for a significant expansion of the rich cultural exchange between the two countries.

Indian MoD comments various defence and security issues 
 14:12 GMT, July 29, 2010 According to the Indian Press Information Bureau, the following information was recently given by Indian Defence Minister, Shri AK Antony in written replies to members of the Parliament of India:   Weapons for Low Intensity Conflict  Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is involved in development of defence technologies and now focusing on customization of certain technologies already developed for military operations to these new emerging security threats and development of new technologies and devices as projected by security forces, both military and para military, during recent interactions with them. Based on security forces’ needs and DRDO capabilities, the requirements have been grouped in various technology heads, like technologies and devices for surveillance and Reconnaissance; Enhancing Day and Night Vision capability; Incapacitation; Arms and Ammunitions; Detection and Diffusion of Explosive and IEDs; Communication and Jamming; Personnel Protection and Support Systems. A comprehensive mission mode programme with participation of many DRDO labs, security forces and industries is being formulated. Some of the weapons developed by DRDO which are quite useful for LIC Operations are as follows:  (i) INSAS Rifle (Weight with loaded magazine - 4.1 Kg and effective range – 400 m). (ii) Modern Sub Machine Carbine (MSMC) (Weight with loaded magazine – 3.4 Kg and effective range – 200 m). (iii) Oleo-Resin (Chilli) Based Hand Grenade. (iv) CR Based Shells. (v) Tear Gas Grenades (To incapacitate terrorists and flushing them out from their hideouts and for mob dispersal / riot control operations). (vi) Plastic Bullets (Non-lethal & non-poisonous bullets do not expand after penetration and cause only superficial injuries).   Blacklisting of Companies Dealing in Arms by CBI  Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recommended blacklisting/debarring of following firms in recent past:  (i) M/s Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd (STK), Singapore (ii) M/s Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI), Israel (iii) M/s Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD), Zurich. (iv) M/s Corporation Defence, Russia (CDR). (v) M/s Denel, South Africa (vi) M/s Varas Associates, Isle of Man. (vii) M/s Soltam, Israel  CBI has filed chargesheet before court against M/s TS Kisan & Co. Pvt Ltd., New Delhi, M/s RK Machine Tools, Ltd., Ludhiana, Shri Sudipto Ghosh, former Director – general & Chairman, Ordnance Factory Board and others for corruption charges.   Cap on FDI in Defence Manufacturing Sector  Ministry of Commerce and Industry has circulated a discussion paper suggesting the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap in the Defence manufacturing sector at 74 per cent raising it from the existing 26 per cent. The response of Defence Ministry is under formulation.   Transparency in Defence Deals  Central Bureau of Investigation has recommended blacklisting of following firms on the basis of their investigation of FIR against Shri Sudipto Ghosh, former DGOF and others regarding illogical gratification:-  (i) M/s Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd (STK), Singapore (ii) M/s Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI), Israel (iii) M/s TS Kisan & Co Pvt Ltd, New Delhi (iv) M/s RK Machine Tools, Ludhiana (v) M/s Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD), Zurich. (vi) M/s Corporation Defence, Russia (CDR).  Further action in the matter will be taken after obtaining the advice of CVC and the Ministry of Law. Nexus, if any, between Indian and foreign companies does not appear to have been investigated by CBI in this case.  To infuse greater transparency in the procurement process, the role of independent monitors has been enhanced and made more elaborate in the Defence Procurement Procedure – 2008 (Amendment-2009).  The role of independent monitor now envisages the following:  (i) All complaints regarding violation of integrity pact, received by the buyer, will be referred to Independent Monitors for comments/enquiry. (ii) Independent Monitors have been provided access to the relevant records of the buyer, connected with the complaint. (iii) The report of enquiry, if any, made by the Independent Monitors shall be submitted to the head of the Acquisition Wing of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India for a final and appropriate decision in the matter keeping in view the provision of Integrity Pact.   Self-Reliance in Defence Production and Equipment  ‘Self-reliance’ has been a significant goal in defence production. Towards this end the Government has so far taken the following steps:  (i) The defence manufacturing sector was earlier reserved for the public sector only. In May, 2001 the Central Government opened it for participation by the private sector to the extent of 100%, with Foreign Direct Investment permissible upto 26% both subject to licensing. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has notified detailed guidelines for licensing production of arms and ammunition. So far 135 licenses have been issued to 75 companies in the private sector.  (ii) The Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and Ordnance Factories have been upgrading and modernizing their plants to upgrade their production capacities.  (iii) DPSUs and Ordnance Factories have been advised to invest significantly in Research and Development (R&D) efforts.  (iv) The Defence Procurement Procedure – 2008 (DPP-2008) provides for the following categories of purchases / acquisition of defence equipment for boosting indigenous production of defence goods: (a) ‘Buy (Indian)’ means buying from Indian vendors only. In this case where the systems are integrated by an Indian vendor, a minimum of 30% indigenous content is required. (b) ‘Buy & Make’: Means purchase from a foreign vendor followed by licensed production / indigenous manufacture in the country. (c) ‘Make’ – high technology complex systems to be designed, developed and produced indigenously. (d) ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ means purchase from an Indian vendor, including an Indian company forming joint venture / establishing production arrangement with the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) followed by licensed production/indigenous manufacture in India. ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ must have a minimum 50% indigenous content on cost basis. (e) Cases where capital acquisitions under ‘Buy (Global)’ or ‘Buy and Make with Transfer of Technology’ with foreign vendors are for more than Rs. 300 crore, the ‘Offset’ clause gets invoked. The minimum offset is 30% of the estimated cost or foreign exchange component.  Five Sectoral Multi-Disciplinary Indigenisation Committees have been set up in the Department of Defence Production for the sectors Lands, Navy, Air, Missile and Electronics, to promote indigenisation in these fields.   Special Clothing for Army Personnel Posted in high Altitudes  Special clothing, Ski and Mountaineering Equipment authorized to the troops posts at locations characterized by extreme cold climate conditions, including Siachen/Kargil, comprise 55 items. Of these, 36 items are being procured indigenously and only 19 items are being procured ex-import.  In order to streamline above procurement as per approved quality and user requirement, an Empowered Committee under the Chairmanship of Master General of Ordnance (MGO) of Army Headquarters with full powers of competent financial authority, has been approved and functioning since August 2007. Sufficient quantity of Special Clothing and Mountaineering Equipment are kept as reserve to avoid any shortage and soldiers posted at these areas are being provided with Special Clothing items as per the authorisation. Improvement in quality and development of indigenous sources for Special Clothing and Mountaineering Equipment is a continuous process.

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