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Saturday, 10 July 2010

From Today's Papers -

Naxal Menace Is LTTE training Maoists?
Man Mohan/Our Roving Editor  Bastar, July 9 The LTTE is “dead” in Sri Lanka. But some surviving Tamil Tigers are suspected to be in lush green jungles and hills of Bastar region to hide and train Maoists. The Chhattisgarh police are verifying sketchy intelligence reports from red rebels-held territory in the inhospitable terrain of Bastar about the presence of some LTTE men and women.  The LTTE waged a civil war in Sri Lanka, which was one of the longest running armed conflicts in Asia.The LTTE’s stronghold region was similar to Bastar’s jungles, where security forces are finding it difficult to penetrate. If there is some truth in the LTTE cadres’ presence here, they will be at home in dense jungles of bamboo, sal, teak, sheesam and high hills and streams.  The way the Naxals have carried out well-planned military style operations in the recent past, the question that is being debated by security experts is: who are their trainers? Besides doing self-training, Maoists are known for taking help of ex-Army men and foreign mercenaries.  The irony is that LTTE cadres, including Prabhakaran, were trained by the Indian Army in Chakrata (Uttarakhand) and elsewhere in the seventies. The same Army later fought against the LTTE as ‘Indian Peace Keeping Force’. This had later led to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.  When this correspondent met local tribals and police officers in Bastar town, they said they have heard of some dark foreigners training new Naxal recruits in jungle warfare. The LTTE fighters were known as the best in jungle warfare, which is why they could control huge territory and survive fighting the Sri Lankan army for four decades.  Over telephone, a top police officer from Raipur said, “Some LTTE members might have established their links with their old Naxal allies after their defeat in Sri Lanka last year. We are aware that the LTTE experts used to visit Bastar to give Naxal cadres training in laying land mines. The LTTE, during its golden era, also used to supply arms and ammunition to the Maoists.”  A senior Naxal leader, Ramu, who surrendered in Maharashtra recently, had told interrogators that a warfare expert from Philippines had visited and stayed in a Maoist camp in Abujmar in south Bastar in 2001 for about a month to train cadres. This disclosure had indicated the global reach of the Maoists. “Also, two LTTE men had come twice for the same purpose,” Ramu had confessed.

Kashmiri unrest solely designed to pressurise India
Pertinently, India has consistently said that Pakistan needs to crackdown on anti-Indian terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, including those who masterminded and attacked Mumbai on 26/11. CJ: Journalist Bhat   Fri, Jul 09, 2010 12:37:22 IST Views:     24    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               AS THE army is out, acting ‘as a deterrent’ in controlling the Kashmir situation after separatists not relenting and curfew anti-dotes by the civil administration proving an abject failure even as it caused 15 deaths between June 11 to July 6, the allegations are now doing the round that the continuance of current Kashmir unrest is a well thought-out plan, designed to pressurise the Indian domain and force New Delhi to negotiate with Pakistan on Kashmir rather than insisting on Pakistan acting against Mumbai attackers.  Pertinently, India has consistently said that Pakistan needs to crackdown on anti-Indian terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, including those who masterminded and attacked Mumbai on 26/11. No matter then the Kashmiri separatists, on their part, are toeing the dotted-line as in the wake of the frenzy whipped up, they seem to be hell-bent to strangulate India, well before July 15 when the Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is scheduled to visits Pakistan towards taking the next step on the road to reducing the trust deficit between India and Pakistan.  The allegations are ripe that people or agencies behind the current turmoil in Kashmir want to either sabotage force Delhi to negotiate on Kashmir rather than insisting on Pakistan acting against Mumbai attackers as was recently accepted by the moderate faction All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader professor Abdul Gani Bhat when he was quoted as saying, “I do appreciate India for having taken a bold step by resuming dialogue with Pakistan but what is the purpose of the dialogue when Delhi has been insisting on a discussion on terrorism, security and peace," vehemently maintaining, “let the two sides start a serious dialogue on Kashmir and once it was done turmoil in Kashmir may take the back seat,” and then inadvertently qualifying by adding that once the India-Pakistan dialogue on the Kashmir issue progressed there was need for involving ‘us’ in the parleys on the plea that ‘we are a party to the dispute’ and a ‘solution hammered out during triangular talks alone could be durable’. He also said that the anger against injustices, alienation and deprivation would end once India and Pakistan start sustained dialogue on the settlement of the Kashmir issue.  As a set-back to such elements, since the Pakistan government has been insisting that efforts to resolve the Kashmir issue must be made part of any dialogue with India, PoK Prime Minister has advised Pakistan government not to link up-coming talks with India to resolution of the Kashmir issue as, what he termed as internal vulnerabilities and formidable security challenge from the militants, have left Pakistan weak and not in a position to effectively fight the case of Kashmir. Suggesting that Pakistan should first resolve small irritants and controversial issues before finally sorting out the core issue of Kashmir, Raja Farooq Haider was quoted by 'The News' that Pakistan and India should maintain status quo on Kashmir for some time and should resolve other issues before taking up Kashmir.  However, earlier in the week, the separatists kind of achieved their break-through and the Kashmir boil found its first political victim, when Chief Minister of J&K Omar Abdullah yielding and called for a political solution to Kashmir. Abdullah said, “The aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir can’t be assuaged only by development, good governance and economic packages but needs a political solution.”  In an appeal circulated through J&K government's information department Abdullah said, “We must work together to find a solution that can lead to a lasting peace in J&K as per the aspirations of the people of this great land,” while maintaining that there was a need to work together to find a solution to the Kashmir imbroglio and also to facilitate a dialogue between India and Pakistan as well as a dialogue between the Centre and various shades of opinion in the state.  The Chief Minister said his party National Conference (NC) is for autonomy adding, “But I am not averse to move beyond it, if there is a solution other than autonomy that is acceptable to both India and Pakistan and meets the aspirations of the people of J&K.” Now everybody knows that in periods of tension the Valley’s mainstream parties and politicians are easily cowed into submission. Not surprising though, the best way they know not to incur the wrath of militant elements is to issue statements that lend themselves to pro-extremist or anti-Indian propaganda. One should not be surprised now if mainstream regional parties abdicate their responsibility, and prefer not to take a reasoned stand.  Now Kashmir situation casts a shadow over Amarnath Yatra, as an air of uncertainty and apprehension has gripped thousands of aspiring Hindu pilgrims, the continuance of Kashmir boil is sure to mar their spiritual quest for an annual ritual of traversing hundreds and thousands of miles to reach the 3,888 meter-high cave of Amarnath shrine in south Kashmir. Notwithstanding any doubt about the feeling of genuine warmth of Kashmir’s Muslim majority toward the visiting devotees, the situation is pregnant with negative probabilities, for if pilgrims are attacked by pro-Pakistan elements in the Valley, or by terrorist modules, the situation can only worsen from here.  Earlier separatists had been demanding a curtailed Amarnath Yatra and on June18, hard-line separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani threatened that he will resort to agitation in case the annual Amarnath Yatra is not restricted to the original fifteen days’ schedule while publicly demanding that the Amarnath pilgrimage be curtailed to 15 days instead of the present two months. While this, observers believe, smacks of some sort of conspiracy on one count to derail the Amarnath Yatra so that less and less Yatris travel to Kashmir for the age-old spiritual passage which kind of juxtaposes Kashmir with the Hindu cult. (Though the separatists are denying this charge saying, "Our protests are against the human rights violations and increased killing of youths in Kashmir. We are not aiming at anyone.")  On the other hand, the continuance of agitation in itself points to the involvement of certain vested interest in keeping Kashmir on boil with a mission to de-rail Indo-Pak talks once again or, as Home Minister P C Chidambaram has been saying that LeT is fomenting trouble (The Home Ministry and its intelligence departments inputs show that the current escalation of violence in Kashmir has been instigated by the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba), obviously LeT is instigating a pressure tactics as it wants India to leave claim on Hafeez Sayeed as the main accuse of Mumbai attack.  Notwithstanding all this, the trouble, however, lies with the unpredictable methods of extremist and separatist politics, which tends to take its cue from Pakistan and always treads as per their wish-list rather than devising their own ways of finding a solution for lasting peace in their and people’s this very life rather than after Quamat.

Army to return to barracks soon in JK: Pillai
July 09, 2010 23:19 IST Tags: Pillai, Kashmir, Western Union Money Transfer, Jammu, DD News Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  The Army deployed in Kashmir valley in the wake of recent violence will go back to barracks in the "next few days", the Centre said late Friday night.  "I am quite hopeful that army will be derequisitioned at the earliest. We expect that the army would go back in the next few days. I think in a very near future," Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said.  He said so far the curfew has been holding well and there would be some relaxation from tonight till tomorrow evening because of a festival in holy Hazratbal.  The home secretary said the army has been requisitioned by the state government and they are currently deployed in the periphery of the city.  Asked whether there has been an increase in violence in Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] whenever there is an Indo-Pak dialogue, Pillai said it was a fact that there has been slight increase in violence whenever there is peace talks or efforts to normalise relations between the two countries.  "I think both governments-- India [ Images ] and Pakistan-- are determined to carry forward the peace process. We have initiated the dialogue that has to be moved forward step by step. We are quite confident that we will be able to thwart any attempt by any group to disrupt the peace process," he told DD News.  On the involvement of Pakistan-based terror outfits in the recent violence in Jammu and Kashmir, he said there have been a large number of interceptions of telephone conversations which suggested so.  The home secretary also said funds are being channelised through the state through various means, including Western Union Money Transfer, to create disturbance in Jammu and Kashmir and security forces detected 12 such cases and action has been taken on this.

NCC way to become an officer & a gentleman
TNN, Jul 10, 2010, 04.58am IST LUCKNOW: The Indian forces are hard-pressed due to shortage of officers. The scarcity offers a chance to those enrolled with the National Cadet Corps (NCC). Reason: the parliamentary panel on defence which elaborately examined the shortage of officers in the armed forces suggested increasing the intake of NCC cadets in the three wings.  A second reason to celebrate is an order by the additional director general, NCC directorate, UP, major general Rajiv Verma who has asked his unit heads to give at least one officer to the Indian Army. "This is to be seen as one of the key result areas (KRAs) by each of us," said a spokesperson on Thursday.  As per the parliamentary panel's report, "The army faces a shortage of 11,456 officers, the Navy and the Air Force suffer a gap of 1,439 and 1,343 officers, respectively." Against this, it may be noted that, the strength of the NCC wing of the ministry of defence (MOD) is about 13 lakh young boys and girls.  The Army has a sanctioned strength of 46,614 in the officer cadre, while the existing strength is 35,158 officers. The Navy's sanctioned strength of officers is 9,293 and actual strength 7,854. In the IAF, the sanctioned officer cadre strength is 12,183 and present strength is 10,840.  "The deficit cannot stand if the Indian army gets one officer per unit," said a retired officer. The observation of the veteran appears true knowing that there are 107 units of NCC in Uttar Pradesh alone. Spread across 65 districts and 1,114 educational institutes, these units help over 1.19 lakh teenaged boys and girls build their personalities. Still, the large potential of this massive army is under-utilised. Consider this: figures gathered from the NCC directorate of UP show that some 26 cadets were selected in the Indian army through the UPSC exam for commissioning of officers in the academies in Dehradoon and Chennai.  Experts see the lack of motivation as the reason behind. A recent development underscored what inspiration and encouragement can do. The 64th battalion of NCC — which has Lucknow University and some of the colleges like Lucknow Christian College among others — under its umbrella is a case in point.  In 2008-09 only one of its some 1,200 cadets was able to make it to the officer rank. This year, five have been selected for the National Defence Academy, Dehradoon.  "Despite being in the NCC for so long... I always had doubted my potential... but things changed with the coming of a new team here... I owe my success to the morale boosting by my seniors and officers," said one of the cadets who got selected.  Unit head, major Varun Bajpai who himself was able to make it to the Indian army because of the exposure to NCC says that there is nothing wrong with the system. Ten cadets have been selected in the UP police as constables while four others have been selected in the Railway Recruitment Board as well.  "NCC cadets always stand a better chance when compared with an ordinary applicant... then there are incentives to the cadets as an added advantage... what probably was missing was a will which is no longer a roadblock," he told TOI on being contacted.  To note, the committee was of a firm belief that the manpower crisis in the armed forces can be met through NCC.  "There was an urgent need to give more attention to the NCC, whose main objective is to groom the youth into disciplined and patriotic citizens... NCC training would definitely help the three services in solving the problem of shortage of officers," observed the Parliamentary Committee.

India, Pakistan in first substantive talks since 26/11
 * Ex Indian foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh says old composite dialogue is dead * Says foreign ministers will probably come up with a new format that will include new issues * Analyst Hassan Askari Rizvi says Kashmir violence will be brought up in July 15 meeting, but it won’t be the focus of talks  NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan will take the first step next week in trying to revive a peace process broken off after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, but no one is realistically expecting any dramatic progress.  The meeting comes at a time when India has sent in its army to control weeks of violent anti-government protests in the Indian-held Kashmir.  The July 15 talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries could see them framing a new format to replace the composite dialogue, which India suspended after the Mumbai attacks.  That new format could free up the peace process from a political bind.  At the same time, both sides have been under pressure from the US to reduce tension because their rivalry spills over into Afghanistan and complicates efforts to bring peace there.  Before the 2004 talks stalled, both countries came close to agreement under the composite dialogue on a maritime border dispute in the area of Sir Creek and on the Siachen glacier in the Himalayas.  “I think the old composite dialogue which had eight issues is dead,” said Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian foreign secretary.  “They will probably come up with a new format that will include new issues such as water-sharing that Pakistan will want to raise,” he said.  However, no one is expecting rapid progress in the talks.  Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart SM Krishna will have to sidestep another danger — getting bogged down in a blame game over ongoing anti-government protests in Indian-held Kashmir..  In comments that could reverberate in the talks, Indian officials said the protests may have been incited by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba that Delhi has blamed for the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan too has signalled its intention to rake up the Kashmir issue, which Islamabad says is the core dispute whose resolution holds the key to peace between the two countries.  “All issues will be discussed,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said. “We’re concerned about the deteriorating situation there,” he added.  But the Kashmir protests may only remain on the margins of next week’s meeting because the damage from raking up the issue may outweigh the long-term benefits of fruitful talks. “It will be raised. That’s it,” said Hassan Askari Rizvi, a defence and foreign affairs analyst. “The escalation in violence won’t be the centre of focus,” he added. reuter

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