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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

From Today's Papers - 31 Aug 2010

Serious concern if Chinese troops in Gilgit: India 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: August 31, 2010 00:16 IST
New Delhi:  The government has said it is "independently verifying" a report in the New York Times about the presence of Chinese troops in the Gilgit region of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, saying it would be a matter of "serious concern" if it turns out to be true.  The New York Times report says an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the Chinese Army are there in order to get road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. (Read: Pakistan handing over control of PoK to China?)  "We have seen media reports, we are conducting an independent enquiry. If found true, it would be a matter of serious concern and will do everything necessary to ensure the safety and security of the nation," said Vishnu Prakash, spokesperson, MEA.  The paper says: "China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours Many of the PLA soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China's Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects."

Supreme Court clears National Military Memorial in Bangalore 
Vasanthi Hariprakash, Updated: August 30, 2010 22:20 IST
 Bangalore:  The cranes whir noisily, laying the foundation for India's first National Military Memorial.  The location - seven acres next to the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park - has been opposed by Bangalore's environmentalists who asked the Supreme Court to stop the construction. Instead, the court has agreed that the memorial is in public interest.  "We are not against the memorial, we too are patriotic. We are against cutting of trees for the memorial," said Bhanuprakash, the petitioner.  The memorial is scheduled to be inaugurated on December 15 to mark India's victory in the Kargil war and to salute its martyrs. The ten crores being spent on it will deliver an amphi-theatre, an underground museum, a giant stone structure in honour of India's soldiers who have died in service
After screening various locations in Bangalore, the National Military Memorial Trust, headed by the Karnataka Chief Minister, BS Yeddyurappa, picked this location in 2008.  Those in charge of the memorial reassure the city that they will not compromise the environment.  "Bangalore is green today because of the Army. Look at the cantonment area. All the city's green parks are here. The Army plants trees everywhere it goes. It is a habit with us," states Colonel Sreedhar, a member of the steering committee in charge of the memorial.

Naval officer dies trying to rescue colleagues
August 31, 2010 03:31 IST Tags: Firdaus D Moghal, Indian Navy, Shankush, Mumbai, Kerzinn Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  An Indian Navy officer died due to head injuries while saving other sailors who had fallen into the sea from a submarine off the coast of Mumbai [ Images ] on Monday morning. Click!  "Lieutenant Commander Firdaus D Moghal, Executive Officer of Indian Naval Submarine 'Shankush', died in an accident off Mumbai while saving the lives of fellow personnel who had fallen in the sea," Navy officials said in Mumbai.  The Shankush, a German-origin HDW 'Shishumar'-class diesel-electric submarine, was on a planned exercise in sea when it developed a defect which necessitated the maintenance crew to come out on the casing and attempt repairs, they said.  "While coming out for effecting repairs, the maintenance team was washed overboard as the state of the sea was very rough and rescue operations led by Lieutenant Commander Firdaus were launched to recover them," they added.  During the operation, the officer also fell into the sea and suffered injuries on his forehead. "He was rescued by a helicopter and administered first- aid also but could not be revived. The post-mortem report has indicated death by drowning due to an injury," officials said.  Commissioned on January 1, 1988, Firdaus is survived by his wife Kerzinn and a two-year-old son.  This is the second such incident involving Indian submarines in the last two months as two of them had suffered minor damage in a collision at a jetty here in July.

JFR Jacob on Chinese troops in Gilgit
2010-08-31 00:08:21 Last Updated: 2010-08-31 00:20:36  Gen JFR Jacob, the hero of the 1971 India Pakistan war, warns that unless India wakes up to the recent developments in Gilgit Baltistan, it may be too late.  The Dragon has emerged from its lair with a vengeance.  A senior Indian army officer was denied an official Chinese visa on the grounds that he was commanding in Jammu and Kashmir, a disputed territory according to the Chinese.  The Chinese occupy considerable amount of territory in Ladakh, which they captured in 1962 . They are now slowly making inroads into the Indus Valley and other areas. In 1963, Pakistan had illegally ceded some 5,000 square km (2000 sq miles) in the area of the Karakoram to China.  Pakistan is now reported to have handed over control of the major part of the northern territories to China. Media reports indicate that there are some 10,000 Chinese soldiers based in Gilgit on the pretext of protecting the widening work on the Karakoram Highway and the construction of a railway line to link east Tibet with the Pakistani port of Gwadar in the Gulf of Oman.  The Russians in the 19th and 20th centuries dreamt of a getting warm water port on the Arabian Sea. The Chinese seem well on the way to fulfilling this Russian dream.  In a further move to encircle India by sea, the Chinese are establishing naval and air bases on Myanmar’s Ramree Island in the Bay of Bengal. (Incidentally, I took part in the amphibous assault on  Ramree Island during World War II). These bases on Ramree Island will help the Chinese in their endeavors to control the upper Bay of Bengal and pose a threat to Kolkata, Vishakapatnam and the Andamans.  The presence of Chinese troops in Gilgit is a matter of great concern. During the Kargil conflict, the five battalions of the intruding paramilitary Northern Rifles were maintained from Gilgit and thence from Skardu. There is a good road from Gilgit to Skardu. In pre-Partition days, road communications to Gilgit were along the Kargil-Skardu-Gilgit route. This section can easily be restored in a short period of time.  The reported presence of Chinese troops in Gilgit poses a serious threat to Indian road communications to Ladakh running through Kargil.  Another matter of concern is the increased Chinese interest in the Indus Valley. The easiest approach to Leh is along this valley. The Chinese have not only shown interest in the Indus Valley but also the Karakoram Pass between India and China.  Any Chinese move through the Karakoram Pass will threaten our troops in Siachen and our base there. In the contingency of any future conflict with the Chinese, new areas of conflict in Ladakh will open up. I served in Ladakh for two years immediately after the Chinese invasion of 1962,  and it fell under my purview subsequently as Chief of Staff and Army Commander  covering the northeast.  Keeping these factors in mind, there is a urgent requirement for another division and supporting armour to be raised for the defence of Ladakh.   In the northeast, the Chinese may after negotiations reduce their claims from the whole of Arunachal to the Tawang tract and Walong.  Major Bob Kathing and his Assam Rifles platoon only moved to take control of  Tawang in the spring of 1951 . The Chinese had placed a pillar in Walong in the 1870's. They have built up the road rail and air infrastructure in Tibet. It is assessed that the Chinese can now induct some 30 divisions there in a matter of weeks.  In west Bhutan, they have moved upto the Torsa Nulla. From there it is not far to Siliguri via Jaldakha. This remains the most serious threat to the Siliguri corridor.  There is thus a need to raise two more divisions and an armoured brigade for that region. There is an urgent requirement for more artillery firepower and mobility.  More helicopters are also needed. The Air Force needs to deploy more squadrons in that region, since unlike 1962, the air force will play a decisive role in any future operations.  The Chinese are also said to be re-establishing their earlier links with the Naga insurgents.  In 1974/75, I was in charge of operations that intercepted two Naga gangs going to China to collect weapons and money. The Nagas were then compelled to sign the Shillong Accord, and Chinese support for the Naga insurgents was put on the back burner. This has now been re activated as part of an overall Chinese scheme to destabilize the north east.  The increasing military collaboration between China and Pakistan is of growing concern, but we seem woefully unprepared for this contingency.  The government urgently needs to expedite the induction of land and air weapons systems and to build up the required reserves of ammunition and spares. In any future conflict logistics will be of paramount importance.  During the 1971 war, it took me some six months to build up the infrastructure for the operations in East Pakistan. The requirements now are far far greater. Modern weapon systems take a long time to induct and absorb. The induction of new weapons systems and build up of logistical backing should be initiated on an emergency footing.  At the moment, we seem to have insufficient resources to meet this contingency.  We are critically short of modern weapons systems and weaponry. No new 155 guns have been inducted for some two decades .  During the limited Kargil conflict, we ran out of 155mm ammunition for the Bofors field guns. Fortunately for us the Israelis flew out the required ammunition.  New aircraft for our Air Force are yet to be inducted. The navy is short of vital weapons systems . These shortages need to be addressed soonest.  There is no Soviet Union with its Treaty of Friendship to help us now [in 1971,  the Soviets moved 40 divisions to the Xinjiang and seven to the Manchurian borders to deter the Chinese]. We have to rely on our own resources. We must show that we have the will and wherewithal to meet the emerging contingencies.  It is high time the government reappraises the emerging situation and puts in place the measures required to meet the developing situation. Or soon it might be too late.  Editor's note: - Lt Gen JFR Jacob is not an armchair warrior. He has dealt with terrorism and insurgency over a period of many years. - As a young major, he took part in intensive counter insurgency operations in Sumatra 1945/1946. - In 1970, he was responsible for setting up the army counter insurgency school in Mizoram. - He was in charge of anti-Naxal operations in West Bengal in 1969-1971. The then chief minister Siddharta Shankar Ray used to say: 'Jake and I, we broke the Naxals.' - In 1974/1975 the army intercepted two Naga gangs going to China [Jacob camped at Mokochong to conduct operations]. The army attacked their bases and finally forced the insurgents to sign the Shillong Accord in 1975. Twelve years of peace followed. - He oversaw operations in Mizoram and got the hostiles to the negotiating table in Calcutta. [Calcutta Conference, 1978). - On the other side of the coin, he was responsible in setting up the Bangladesh Mukti Bahini in April 1971, and oversaw their operations. - In October 2007, He was invited to speak to the American military, State Department and CIA at Capitol Hill. The lecture was broadcast live. The US Marine Corps subsequently requested permission to incorporate parts of the talk in their counterinsurgency doctrine.

9 militants killed in Uri: Indian Army   
Srinagar: Indian Army on Monday claimed to have foiled an infiltration bid by killing nine militants in Uri sector of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.  Defence ministry spokesman based in Srinagar, Lt Col J S Brar said that Army’s 2 Raj Rifles last evening observed the movement of a group of heavily armed militants who were trying to sneak into this side of Line of Control (LoC) through Gamlitter Behak. On being challenged the militants opened heavy fire on the Army. The army returned the fire triggering off fierce gun-battle that ended early this morning. Nine militants were killed in the nightlong encounter, he said.  He said that the operation was conducted in a high altitude, thickly forested area leading to the death of nine militants.  “It is a clinical operation with no damage to the involved troops till now. The operation was on till reports last came in.” he told Press Bureau of India.  Meanwhile, a fresh gun fight erupted in Vijay Nallah area of Athwato Bandipora in the North Kashmir. The encounter ensued after troops of 9 para intercepted a group of three to four militants. When last reports came in, the operation was going on, reports added. (PBI)

China refuses to take questions on defence exchange spat with India   
(, Aug29, 2010) China has on Aug 28 denied reports that defence exchanges between it and India had been suspended in the wake of its refusal of visa to a top Indian general whom it had said controlled “disputed” Jammu and Kashmir state. “'China has not halted defence exchanges with India and has received no word that India has stopped military exchanges between the two countries,” the AFP Aug 28 quoted a faxed statement from China's defence ministry as saying.  The Indian media had widely reported Aug 27-28 that India had suspended defence exchanges with China, including with denial of visas for three relatively low-ranking Chinese army officers, after Lt-Gen BS Jaswal, the Indian Army's General Officer Commander-in-Chief, Northern Command, was denied visa for a regular official visit.  The AFP report cited a highly placed Indian military source as saying, on condition of anonymity, that no defence exchanges had been cancelled and the matter was being resolved.  The Indian Express online Aug 28 said that while India had put on hold bilateral defence exchanges, China on Aug 28 said the two countries would act in the spirit of "consultation and unity" to develop military ties. It added that China was silent on the issue of denial of visa to Lt-Gen Jaswal.  The report quoted Beijing as saying: "China takes seriously developing military ties with India, and we are confident that both sides will stay focused on the broader picture of bilateral ties between our two countries, acting in a spirit of consultation and unity to promote the healthy development of military ties."  The statement was said to make no reference to the strong protests from India, conveyed by the External Affairs Ministry to the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi Zhang Yan on Aug 27.  China was reported to have refused to respond to queries sent to its Foreign Ministry by Beijing-based Indian correspondents.

Sr Army officer to handle security emergencies
Shishir Gupta Posted online: Mon Aug 30 2010, 02:49 hrs New Delhi : The authorities are pulling out all stops to ensure that the Commonwealth Games, to be held in October, turns out to be a safe affair. A senior Army officer from Military Operations would be present at the Commonwealth Games main control room at the Delhi Police headquarters to alert South Block and designated formations in the eventuality of any emergency during the event.  Government sources also said that the Army would be on standby mode throughout the course of the Commonwealth Games, though the face of the overall security would comprise Delhi Police and National Security Guard commandos.  The Defence forces would be put on standby mode to address security concerns expressed by the Canadian and Australian governments as the armies of the two countries are involved in Afghanistan stabilisation efforts in Kandahar and Uruzgan respectively. In fact, this question was raised by the Australian government during Army Chief General V K Singh’s visit to that country this month.  The Australian Chief of Defence Staff had apparently told the Indian Army Chief that his troops had provided back-up during the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.  The discreet involvement of the Indian Army Games security was discussed when Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal called on General Singh at South Block last month. During the meeting, General Singh assured Dadwal that Army will provide complete back-up support and has already prepared a contingency plan for security during the Games.  Accordingly, a director of the Colonel rank would be appointed to act as advisor as well as link-up man between the Delhi Police and Army brass, present at the military operations control room. Indian Army troops in Delhi, Alwar and Meerut would be kept on a standby throughout the games with helicopters, requisitioned by the Delhi Police, providing aerial support. In fact, Delhi has more than 6,000 troops posted in the cantonment for the purpose.  Given the renewed threat of Sikh militancy and cross-border terror attacks, the Army has also prepared Nahan-based special forces to handle emergencies through chopper deployment.

Jindal hands over 25 racing bicycles to Indian Army unit
By Geeta Published: August 30, 2010Posted in: ANI News, NationalTags:  New Delhi, Aug.30 (ANI): Member of Parliament and the chairman of the Flag foundation of India, Naveen Jindal, presented 25 racing bicycles to a unit of the Indian Army on Monday.  A group of 20 Army men and five youngsters from Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir will undertake an expedition from Jammu and Kashmir to New Delhi.  Spreading a message of unity and peace on their way, the cyclists will commence their expedition from Poonch on October 10 and reach Delhi via Leh.  The expedition is aimed at enhancing trust and strengthening cooperation between the Army and civilians.  On behalf of the Indian Army, Brigadier Dushyant Singh accepted the bicycles.  Naveen Jindal also presented wristbands and lapel, carrying the Tricolour on them. (ANI)

Monday, 30 August 2010

From Today's Papers - 30 Aug 2010

Israeli envoy backs India on Kashmir, terror
Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, August 29 Israel yesterday extended its unflinching support to India on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and combating terrorism emanating from Pakistan while strongly pitching for enhanced economic relationship with New Delhi.  “I would like to say without any compunction or ambiguity that Israel stands 100 per cent behind India, especially on the question of Kashmir and fighting terrorism emanating from Pakistan,” Israeli Ambassador to India Mark Sofer said in an interview to The Tribune.  He said his country believed that on both these issues, India had an approach that was responsible, wide-ranging and with the best interest of the country at heart. Referring to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, he said the incident reflected that terrorism could only be fought through concerted and unified international action. “The only way to fight terrorism of the extremist ilk coming from Pakistan or that we have in West Asia from Hamas and other Iranian proxies is through concerted international action…it cannot be done by just one country.”  Sofer said the international community could not afford to lose the fight against terrorism, be it in India, Europe, the USA or Israel. “There are state-sponsored terrorists in South Asia and West Asia,” he said.  He said the problem in South Asia between India and Pakistan could not be described as a conflict between two religions. Similarly, the conflict in Middle East had no religious overtones. “We have a territorial and political conflict and not a conflict between the Jewish and the Muslim religions under any circumstances,” he said. He said Israel had the greatest respect for Islam. However, the religion had been used and abused by the likes of Bin Laden and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).  Asked to comment on speculation that Israel could establish diplomatic relations with Pakistan, the Israeli envoy acknowledged that reports to that effect had appeared in the international media from time to time. “However, nothing is on the cards,” he added.  Having said that, he added Pakistan was an important nation and almost every country, including India, had diplomatic ties with it.  To a question if India could broker peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, he said there was no substitute to direct talks between the two parties. “We have been talking to the Palestinians for 18 years…there have been ups and downs. The two sides have to find a way out. Paradoxically, on paper, at least, we agree what the end game should be: the state of Israel living side by side with the state of Palestine,” he said.

3 BSF men among 5 killed by Naxals 
Raipur, August 29 BSF men fell victims for the first time in a Naxal attack in Chattisgarh when three of them were among five security personnel killed today after armed Maoists ambushed security forces in Kanker district.  At least three Naxals are believed to have been killed in the exchange of fire when security forces were conducting search operation, ADGP Ramniwas said. One security personnel was injured.  Ramniwas said the incident occured when 77 security personnel comprising officers and jawans from Border Security Force, district police and special police officers (SPO) set out in the jungles in Kanker district for "area domination" exercise.  Naxals opened fire as soon as the security personnel reached the forests near Bhuski village killing five of them, he said.  This is the first time that BSF jawans have been killed in Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh where the victims among the security forces have been mainly men from CRPF, state police and SPOs. — PTI

China’s unfriendly acts India needs to take a tougher stand 
MUCH though India and China may feign that all’s well between them, every now and then the lack of understanding and trust in the relationship comes to the fore, locked as they are in a battle for high stakes as emerging powers. The latest spark lit by the Chinese by denial of visa to Lt-General B.S. Jaswal, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Northern Area Command, to visit China as part of high-level defence exchanges marks a new setback to relations between the two neighbours. Considering that the refusal of visa had to do with the fact that the General had Jammu and Kashmir under his charge, the Indian Government cannot but be outraged by Beijing’s challenge to the northern state being an integral part of India. Evidently, the China’s intentions are far from innocent. It wants the pot boiling on its contention that what India calls Arunachal Pradesh is actually China’s territory. At the same time, it is out to please Pakistan by dubbing J & K as disputed territory.  Last year, the Chinese had angered New Delhi by issuing visas on separate pieces of paper for Kashmiris which were then stapled into their passports. The practice resulted in many Kashmiris being prevented by Indian immigration officials from boarding their flights on the grounds that the visas were not valid. China has also been nitpicking in the past year over visits by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh.  The Indian response could well have been less conciliatory. There is little point in pretending that there is complete bonhomie between the two countries. While it is mutually-beneficial to nurture economic ties, India must make no bones about its disgust over Chinese actions that go against the spirit of friendship. The denial of visas to three Chinese army officers in retaliation for their refusal to issue visa to Lt-Gen. Jaswal is mere tokenism. Instead, the Chinese government needs to be told in no uncertain terms that actions like the denial of visa to the General only put the clock back on normalisation of ties between the two countries.

J&K: Infiltration bid foiled in Uri sector 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: August 29, 2010 23:35 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  Srinagar:  The Army has foiled one of the biggest infiltration attempts in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir and is currently engaged in a fierce gunbattle with the militants in the area. The operation which started several hours ago is still on.  Unconfirmed reports suggest that six militants have been killed in the encounter.  According to a spokesperson of the Army, they got a tip off about a large, heavily armed group of militants trying to cross over to India from the border which was stopped by the Army. He, however, refused to reveal the exact number of militants.

Nirupama, Army chief for Lanka
Aug 30 2010  New Delhi, Aug. 29: Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao’s visit to Sri Lanka this week will be followed by that of Indian Army chief, Gen. V.K. Singh, early in September. The general’s visit will be part of a series of high-level visits to the island nation scheduled over the next few months.  Also on the anvil are the visits by Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar, in that order.  External affairs minister S.M. Krishna is expected to visit Colombo later this year. His Sri Lankan counterpart, G.L. Peiris, is scheduled to visit India in October for delivering a lecture here, on the sidelines of which he can be expected to hold consultations with the Indian government on the progress of the decisions arrived at in Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit here in June.

India dismisses report of confiscation of material in China
 NEW DELHI: India on Sunday dismissed reports of alleged confiscation of some printed material depicting its map from the 'India Pavilion' at the Shanghai Expo by Chinese authorities in July, amid a row between the two countries over China's refusal to issue visa to a top Indian Army officer.  "I have seen a report...about alleged confiscation of some printed material depicting the Indian map, from the Indian pavilion at Shanghai Expo by the Chinese authorities," the spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs said.  He said, "There is no factual basis to this report. There has been no interference in the functioning of our pavilion at Shanghai Expo".  The report had said the Chinese police had seized the material showing maps depicting Arunachal Pradesh as part of India.  The comments come close on the heels of a major diplomatic row between the two countries after China refused to permit an Indian army general to visit that country as he is in-charge of "sensitive" Jammu and Kashmir.  In an angry retaliation, India put all defence exchanges with it on hold till the matter was sorted out.  India, which has already lodged its protest with China for denying permission to Northern Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal, had said the Chinese action amounts to questioning the status of Jammu and Kashmir which is "unacceptable" as it relates to the country's sovereignty.

The China syndrome
 Business Standard  | 2010-08-30 01:10:00    China is once again in the news. Having overtaken Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, it is flexing muscles. It chose to deny entry to an Indian army officer scheduled to participate in a bilateral dialogue because of his posting in Jammu and Kashmir, has reportedly taken control of parts of the state from Pakistan, and has seized maps of India from the Indian Pavillion at the Shanghai Expo because they show Arunachal Pradesh as part of India. There is method in China’s madness. Keeping India off balance is an old Chinese game. Playing with India’s highly emotional media and political class with its "blow hot, blow cold" tease is another. Winning friends in India’s neighbourhood is a third. But to place China’s latest acts of "assertiveness" in perspective, one must also draw attention to internal divisions within China as to how it should deal with the world, with Asia and with India. If in India there are as many views as there are people thinking about an issue, in China there are at least two views. When the less assertive political leaders are on top, China appears reasonable and friendly; when the more assertive Communist Party and People’s Liberation Army leaders are on top, China appears menacing. With respect to India, there have been two underlying trends: first, the so-called "all weather friendship" with Pakistan; and, second, the willingness to hurt India every now and then to show who’s the boss in Asia.  How should India respond? Coolly and calmly. Impotent rage is no substitute for potent action. India should never lose sight of the internal political dynamic within China and should keep all its lines of communication open with the more liberal and sensible Chinese. Finally, India must continue to focus on its own economic development and defence capability. Six decades ago, in November 1950, India’s legendary home minister and "Iron Man" Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel wrote a letter of great foresight, vision and strategic thinking to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru outlining what India must do to meet the "China threat". Much of what Sardar Patel said remains relevant even now. Having shown the resolve to strengthen its own capability and defences, India must show the capacity to befriend as many other countries, especially major powers, as possible. That is precisely what China itself did. In seeking to deal with the challenge closer home, from the Soviet Union, China reached out to the United States, benefited economically from the relationship and helped the US win the Cold War. It is time India learnt a lesson or two from China on how to win friends in a multipolar world. It is, however, sadly amusing to see India’s Parliament defending national sovereignty with words on a piece of paper, the week China is challenging it with deeds on the ground!

Army’s inevitable focus
Submitted 10 hrs 35 mins ago  As the tense, nay hostile, Indo-Pakistan relations have worsened over the years, instead of changing for the better, the conclusion of The Wall Street Journal that Islamabad has shifted its focus from the eastern neighbour to militancy and the floods, is off the mark. Pakistan Army sources have not minced their words, debunking the WSJ story. The militants might be posing a grave threat to the security and stability of the country and the unprecedented floods might have created a crisis of unimaginable proportions, but both are of the nature of an internal phenomenon that would, no doubt, entail hard work and time to tackle. However, New Delhi’s designs fall into a completely different category. Therein lies an existential threat to Pakistan that India has ceaselessly kept alive since the day the partition plan was agreed to by all parties to the independence of British India. Its manoeuvrings played no insignificant role in cutting the country asunder in two parts. And, as questioned by a security official, “what has India done, politically and militarily, for this threat to have been reduced?” Rather, it has increased that threat, both in the conventional and unconventional sense, by using its presence in Afghanistan to muddy the waters for Pakistan, both in FATA and Balochistan. Its keenness to firm up its stay in Afghanistan, to which it has no direct land access, could not be divorced from its intention to encircle Pakistan. The security official used, more or less, the words of COAS General Kayani when he said, “the configuration of any defence force is based on enemy capabilities and not intentions.” With Kashmir and other disputes remaining unresolved, India’s baseless accusation of Pakistan’s role in the Mumbai attacks and declared intention of acting against Pakistan in case of another similar incident, is hardly the scenario in which Islamabad could drop its guard. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has said that India wants to have friendly relations with all neighbours, would have to settle Kashmir in line with the relevant UN resolutions and other disputes. A mere façade of talks without getting down to brass tacks about resolving this core issue would be a subterfuge for the world, but would not succeed in normalisation relations with Pakistan. That dispute also comes in the way of improving its ties with China, which has rightly refused to grant a visa to Lt-General B. S. Jaswal because his command covers the disputed state. If the Indians want to create a ‘peaceful and tranquil international environment’ they would have to rethink their policies towards both Pakistan and China. Hegemonic ambitions backed by military strength can compel weaker neighbours into submission, but it would have to accept the relationship of sovereign equality with the two nuclear powers and that too must be preceded by the resolution of disputes with them.

Indian Military Revolt?
The Diplomat has an interesting piece,Will India's Military Revolt?, arguing that the Indian military favor a hard line in Kashmir and against the Maoists, that the Sonia Gandhi - Manmohan Singh is ignoring the Indian military, and that the military may in some vaguely defined sense, "Revolt".  The first thing to note is that the author of the piece assumes that the Indian military are in favor of using the army against the Maoists.  India has a long tradition of relying on paramilitary outfits like the CRPF in counterinsurgency, and the Indian Army sees itself as defending the state against external enemies like China and Pakistan.  It is not at all obvious that the senior officers of the Indian army want to get the army involved in a war against the Maoists.  So this is an unproved assumption.  The second thing is that it is not at all obvious what the Indian army can do.  As Coup d'Etat by Ed Luttwak argues, for a military coup to work, the civilian bureaucrats have to cooperate by coming to work and doing their jobs after the coup, and the civilians have to cooperate by ignoring the coup and going about their lives.  India has a long extablished civil democracy and the the Indian economy is currently doing well.  So the Indian army has no reason to assume these preconditions for a coup will be met.  In fact, since the Indians have to look no further than Pakistan to see where a military coup might lead, it is pretty likely that a military coup would be resisted.  It is quite possible that the Indian Army will ignore this and follow the example of the French Army in April of 1861.  As readers of French history will be aware, this would not be a good idea.  On theother hand, the  leaders of the Indian Army haven't lost a war in Vietnam. nor are they losing a war in Algeria.  So it seems highly likely that the Indian Army will avoid risky adventures.  On the other hand, the Indian army might try to use the techniques the US army has developed to control events in Washington to increase its influence in New Delhi.   By allying itself with defense contractors who support the army viewpoint, having those defense contractors make "campaign contributions" to politicians who support the goals of the army as interpreted by the generals, and doing everything possible to defeat anti-military politicians, it would be possible for the Indian army to increase its influence substantially.  Leaks to the press would be a useful technique for embarassing pols who favor a soft line if the army favors a hard line.  Influence might be increased by shrewdly awarding defense contracts to companies in the districts of powerful politicians.  These methods may not be as useful for the Indian Army in the Indian system as they are for the US army in America.  Also, there are advantages to a  purely professional British approach that may it look better than the more politicized US model.  I kind of wonder if the article is really expressing an American desire to deal with the Indian army instead of the Indian government, rather than an Indian viewpoint.  The US is not known for a tolerant attitude towards Maoist rebellions, and it thinks of India as an ally )except when it is thinking of Pakistan as an ally).  The Maoist rebellion in India is becoming more widely known in the US (see the Foreign Policy articles Fire In the Hole and India's Failing CounterInsurgency Campaign for examble).  It seems likely that US counterinsurgency are less anxius for the Indian government to negotiate with the Maoists than PM Manmohan Singh is.    So elements in the US may be trying to egg the Indian army on, without really understanding the situation in India.  That said, I encourage people to read both the article and the comments.

Not convinced we won Kargil
Lt Gen Kishan Pal to NDTV   Not convinced we won Kargil: Lt Gen Kishan Pal to NDTV A General who led the Indian Army on ground in the Kargil conflict, has broken his 11-year silence to say that he believes India actually lost the war in strategic terms. In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Lieutenant-General Kishan Pal, who was then the head of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, says India has failed to consolidate its tactical gains. Asked for his assessment of the conflict 11 years later, Gen Pal told NDTV: “Well for 11 years I did not speak at all…I did not speak because I was never convinced about this war, whether we really won it…We did gain some tactical victories, we regained the territories we lost, we lost 587 precious lives. I consider this loss of war because whatever we gained from the war has not been consolidated, either politically or diplomatically. It has not been consolidated militarily.” Gen Pal was recently in a controversy involving the battle performance report of one of his juniors, Brigadier Devinder Singh. Speaking to NDTV, the then Army chief General VP Mailk refused to get into the debate but said there was little doubt who won that war.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

From Today's Papers -

Capt Kohli’s mother meets Antony
 Tribune News Service  New Delhi, August 28 Veena Kohli, mother of late Captain Sumit Kohli, today met Defence Minister AK Antony and demanded a fresh probe into his death independent of the Army, which she said was suppressing the truth behind the death of her son.  Shaurya Chakra awardee Kohli was found dead on April 30, 2006, in his room in the army camp in Lolab, which falls in the Kashmir valley. The Army had said he had committed suicide by shooting himself. His mother, though, maintained after meeting the minister that he had been killed by his colleagues as they feared that he would spill the beans on some fake encounters they had committed in Lolab.  The defence minister, she told reporters, assured her that he would probe the matter and get back to her soon. Accompanied by her daughter and lawyer, she said she would prefer a probe by the CBI as she did not trust the Army any longer as it had systematically tried to suppress facts regarding the death of her son.  Veena Kohli, who hails from Chandigarh, also alleged that Sumit’s medical documents and postmortem report presented many discrepancies. The Army had denied her these documents initially, which she had demanded under the RTI Act, on the pretext that the Act was not applicable in Jammu and Kashmir. It parted with documents after a Delhi High Court order.  Veena Kohli’s husband had died of heart attack a day after their son was cremated. “I will seek CBI probe as I have no trust left in the Army. They have only tarnished my brave son’s image,” she lamented.

China goes for troop build-up in PoK  
New York, August 28  In a quiet move, China has deployed about 11,000 troops in the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the Occupied Kashmir to take de facto control of the key area, where a rebellion is simmering against Pakistani rule.  The New York Times said there were two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan; a simmering rebellion against the Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in the area, which is closed to the world.  "China wants a grip on the strategic area to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan", the paper said, and for this purpose is building high-speed rail and road link.  The link-up would enable Beijing to transport cargo and oil tankers from eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani Naval base at Gawadar, Pasni and Ormara in Balochistan, in 48 hours.  "Many of the PLA soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China's Xinjiang province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects," the paper said.   Tunnels would be necessary for a projected gas pipeline from Iran to China that would cross the Karakorams through Gilgit. "But they could be also used for missiles storage sites," the Times said. The paper, quoting foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani media and Pakistani Human Rights groups, said so far the PLA construction crews had been living in temporary encampments and went home after completing their assignments.  But now they are building a big residential complex, clearly designed for a long-term presence, and the New York Times said what was happening in the region was a matter of concern for Washington. — PTI

 Sino-Indian war of words escalates, but no matter to worry
China refused to welcome Indian Army's Commander on its soil as he is the incharge of J&K, a disputed territory. China was playing Pakistan's game. India retorted by cancelling visas of Chinese army officers. CJ: Chitranjan Sawant   Sat, Aug 28, 2010 12:09:07 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 5.0 / 1 votes India China Relations :  The never ending dispute over India -China-Pakistan THE ESCALATION of war of words between India and China is no reason for veterans in diplomacy and matters related to military to lose their sleep. None of the two sides is losing its cool and that is a welcome feature.   Perhaps the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs miscalculated the likely Indian reaction when it said that the general Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Northern command of the Indian Army, Lieutenant General B.S. Jaswal would not be a welcome guest as a member of the Indian Military Delegation to China.   The Chinese thought that India would take this rebuff lying down. India, on the contrary, reacted strongly and retorted by saying that the two officers of the People’s Liberation Army of China coming to India to attend the National Defence College would not be welcome anymore.   THUS  FAR  BUT NO FURTHER   Why did China do what it did? It was trying to send signals to Pakistan reaffirming its friendship with that failed state. Indeed it is for historical reasons that China developed friendly bonds with Pakistan when India and the Soviet Union were bosom friends.   China and the Soviet Union had developed cracks in their friendly ties and China needed a friend in the Indian Sub-continent. Pakistan filled the bill as both had their bête noir named India. The two have remained friends through thick and thin. China, as an emerging super power, keeps on assuring Pakistan that the latter has nothing to worry and that it could carry on with its anti-India hostile attitude both in word and deed.   It serves China’s interests too. India remains entangled with a minor country called Pakistan and cannot emerge into a global force to reckon with. Thus China will have no competitor in the Asian sphere. By making this pro-Pakistan and anti-India move, China has endeavoured to kill two birds with one stone.   Is China interested in carrying on this war of words further? Is India interested in carrying the war of words forward? No, none of the two giant neighbours wish that this diplomatic tension and sending of a demarche turn into a border skirmish or a battle of books pouring over old treaties of the imperial era. Both the countries wish to resume their exchange of defence notes and continue military delegations visiting each other’s defence installations. The confidence building measures should continue.   The basic reason for China to continue this detente is its emergence as a world power. Entanglement in a regional dispute with India may make a dent in China’s international image. Thus the present stoppage of visits by defence delegations is at best a comma and not a full stop. Generally speaking, China goes by past precedence and does not deviate from the policy adopted by it in similar cases previously.   Not long ago, another Indian military delegation comprising, among others, then Lt Gen (now General and Army Chief) V.K. Singh. General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command had visited China. Lt Gen VK Singh was in military command of Arunachal Pradesh, a territory that China has been laying its claim on. China had raised no objection then to Lt Gen Singh’s visit to China.   Isn’t it a puzzle that China has adopted a different approach to the issue this time? The crossword puzzle is ipso facto solved when Pakistan enters the picture. China has undertaken the entire exercise to reassure its flood-ravaged friend that it need not worry about India and keep on denying visa to its relief workers and remain as hostile as ever. The aim is achieved and the exercise is, it is hoped, shelved now.   IS AMERICA A PLAYER ?   If anything is happening at a global scale, America cannot but take interest in it. America does not like its image of an international policeman but it has to be there lest China is acknowledged by the comity of nations as the giant among men. However, there is no evidence to prove that America has taken an active interest in the present Sino-India war of words.   Indeed, it is an observer. It may ensure that the balance of power in the region does not tilt unduly in favour of China. One of the reasons of America pouring in military and financial aid into Pakistan on a massive scale is to prevent the terror manufacturing country from falling into the lap of China lock stock and barrel. One who, pays the piper dictates the tune. When America pays green back dollars to Pakistan, it has a leverage in guiding its policies at home and abroad.   Of course, India has to follow a policy in principle and in practice to prove to the world that it is not Pakistan centric. Further, India must stick to its guns and show to the world that China is incapable of browbeating her into submission. The present round of denial of visas to military officers by either country has proved the point to the hilt.   MISSILE DIPLOMACY   When China had deployed its Dong Feng-2 or CSS 5 missiles on the Tibet-Arunachal Pradesh border, many India and China watchers put out a theory that tension between the two great neighbours was at its peak. Fortunately, no international observer had predicted a shooting war between the two.   In any case India had already deployed its Prithvi III, to cover a killing zone up to 350 Km and Agni II to cover a range up to cities in South China. The deployment of missiles should be seen in global perspective. China had to strengthen its alround defence by deploying its latest missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. America had made a defence pact with its arch enemy of yester years, Vietnam and an old time ally Phillipines to make its presence felt in the South China Sea. Deployment of the latest Chinese missiles in Tibet on the Indian border should be seen in that context.   Both India and China wish to resume their confidence building measures by holding joint exercises with officers and men of the three services of both the countries. Of course, the level of these military exercises should be raised from platoon and company level to brigade and divisional levels so that interaction between military personnel of the two countries grows at a higher level.   One may conclude that God is in heaven ( notwithstanding atheistic beliefs of Communist China) and all is well with the world.

Pakistan army buildings near US Consulate in Peshawar attacked
 A gun battle took place early on Saturday between suspected militants and security forces near the heavily guarded US consulate in Peshawar. The militants attacked army buildings near the US Consulate which was retaliated effectively by the army men. CJ: Daljit Singh Bhatia   Sat, Aug 28, 2010 11:46:27 IST Views:               12    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  Pakistan Latest News :  Taliban kill and capture Pak militia A PROLONGED gun battle took place early on Saturday between suspected militants and security forces near the heavily guarded US consulate in Peshawar. The militants attacked army buildings near the US Consulate which was retaliated effectively by the army men.   The motive behind the attacks is not clear yet. The firing took place in Peshawar, the capital of troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where military and government forces are often subjected to militant firing. Although the US consulate is completely safe, TV footage showed that commandos and police personnel are guarding the place and are checking each and every vehicle passing through that area.   Senior police officials said that the firing began at around 6:00 am and is continuing in small intervals. The building which the militants attacked belonged to the army intelligence agency and some captured terror suspects are being questioned there.   The shootout, it is anticipated, came a little after a few hours when suspected US missiles struck some vehicles that was ferrying militants in northwest Pakistan and killed four of them.   Bashir Bilour, a cabinet minister from the Khyber province, whose house is located in front of the consulate said that the first round of firing went on for about 30 minutes. The army has cordoned the entire area and have also got inside his house.   Such surprise attacks, so far have killed more than 3,500 people in the last three years. The areas under attack by militants are mainly in the north west and the border areas with Afghanistan, where US and the NATO forces have been fighting against the Taliban.

US to send more choppers for rescue operations in Pakistan
Apart from helping the Pakistani administration, US has provided monetary help worth USD 150 million for immediate relief operations. Another USD 50 million has been kept aside for re-establishing the communities displaces by the floods. CJ: Daljit Singh Bhatia   Sat, Aug 28, 2010 17:42:45 IST Views:                10    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 PART part of the rescue operations in the flood ravaged Pakistan, the United States said it will be sending 18 more helicopters for expanding the scope of relief operations. The fleet which will include 10 CH-47 Chinook and eight UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters will begin their operations by mid September in Pakistan.   As per a statement issued by the Pentagon, the units will operate in collaboration with the Pakistani military in all the flood affected areas. The move came when Pakistan openly requested for assistance.   As of now, 15 US helicopters have already been deployed in Pakistan along with three C-130 aircrafts. The present fleet in Pakistan have successfully transported humanitarian goods and supplies of more than 2 million pounds apart from rescuing more than 7,000 people. The rescue operations have been delivering the much needed medical aid and transportation to people badly affected by the floods.   Apart from helping the Pakistani administration, US has provided monetary help worth USD 150 million for immediate relief operations. Another USD 50 million has been kept aside for re-establishing the communities displaces by the floods.   Meanwhile, USAID chief Rajiv Shah said that he had to leave a relief camp in Pakistan after being threatened by extremists there.

Pak cedes some areas in PoK to China
August 28, 2010 23:22 IST Tags: New York Times, China, PLA, Pakistan, Chinese People's Liberation Army Share this Ask Users Write a Comment Click!  In a quiet move, Pakistan is handing over de-facto control of the strategic Gilgit- Baltistan region in the Occupied Kashmir [ Images ] to China in an area witnessing a simmering rebellion against Islamabad [ Images ]. The New York Times said that there were two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan; a simmering rebellion against the Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in the area, which is closed to the world.  "China wants a grip on the strategic area to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan", the paper said, and for this purpose is building high-speed rail and road link. The link up would enable Beijing [ Images ] to transport cargo and oil tankers from eastern China to the new Chinese built Pakistani Naval base at Gawadar, Pasni and Ormara in Balochistan, just east of the Gulf in 48 hours.  "Many of the PLA soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China's Xinjiang province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other project," the paper said. It said that mystery surrounds the construction of 22 tunnels in secret locations, where even Pakistanis are barred. Tunnels would be necessary for a projected gas pipeline from Iran to China that would cross the Karakorams through Gilgit. "But they could be also used for missiles storage sites," the Times said.  So far, the paper quoting foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani media and Pakistani Human Rights groups, said the PLA construction crews had been living in temporary encampments and went home after completing their assignments. But now they are building a big residential complex, clearly designed for a long term presence, and the New York Times said what is happening in the region is a matter of concern for Washington.  Coupled with support for Taliban [ Images ], Islamabad's collusion in facilitating China's access to the Gulf makes it clear that Pakistan is not a US "ally", the New York Times said. The paper said that there was widespread brutally suppressed local movements for democratic rights and regional autonomy in both Gilgit and Baltistan, where Sunni Jihadi groups allied with the Pakistani army have systematically terrorised the local Shia Muslims.  "Gilgit and Baltistan are in fact under military rule," the paper said, pointing out that the local people are aspiring for legislature and others institutions without restrictions like those imposed in other parts of PoK. The Times said in PoK the elected legislature control only four out of 56 subjects, covered in the state constitution, the rest are under the jurisdiction of a "Kashmir Council", appointed by the President of Pakistan.  In comparison, the paper said, India [ Images ] gives more power to the state government in Kashmir; elections there are widely regarded as fair, and open discussion of demands for autonomy is permitted. It said the US was uniquely situated to play a moderating role in Kashmir, given its growing economic and military ties with India and Pakistan's aid dependence on Washington.  Washington should press New Delhi [ Images ] to resume autonomy resolutions with Kashmiri separatists as success would put pressure on Islamabad to stop aiding the insurgency in Kashmir Valley. The Gilgit-Baltistan region is so important to China, the US, India and Pakistan should work together to make sure that it is not overwhelmed like Tibet [ Images ] by the Chinese behemoth.

Gurkha regiment faces axe as Liam Fox insists on £20bn Trident replacement 
Famous fighters could be sacrificed as the result of a bitter struggle over defence Repatriation Gurkhas wait to mourn a fallen comrade at Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire killed in Afghanistan. Photograph: David Hartley  The Gurkha regiment could be one of several sacrificed as a result of an increasingly bitter government dispute over defence funding, the Observer can reveal.  The Gurkhas have formed part of the British army for almost 200 years, but may be among those cut unless the government meets Ministry of Defence demands for more money to fund the replacement of Trident nuclear-missile submarines.  Last night, hopes for extra funding were fading as the Treasury rejected demands for more money from the defence secretary, Liam Fox, and insisted that the £20bn cost of replacing Trident had to be met fully by the MoD.  One expert said that the increasing costs of running the Gurkhas – following actress Joanna Lumley's high-profile campaign last year to improve their rights – added to the sense that the "writing is on the wall" for the Brigade of Gurkhas, which has 3,640 personnel.  Fox has been pushing hard for the Treasury to increase the MoD's budget in some of the toughest negotiations of the spending review, aimed at slashing Britain's £155bn deficit.  In today's interview with the Observer however, Treasury secretary Danny Alexander – whose Liberal Democrat party opposes Trident – rejected Fox's calls: "It is an MoD responsibility in terms of budgets. That is the way Trident has been done in the past. So it has to be covered within the overall defence spending allocation," he said. Alexander suggested that the MoD's unique funding pressure had already been recognised in the spending review, because it had only been asked to plan for cuts of 10% at best, and 20% at worst – far less than many other departments.  Last night the MoD conceded that, given the financial pressures, "anything is possible" regarding the Gurkhas and other regiments. Defence experts said it was a cruel irony that Lumley's campaigning – which led to retired Gurkhas being given the right to settle in the UK – had made the Nepalese soldiers more vulnerable.  With Nick Clegg and other Lib Dem ministers in the government under increasing pressure to prove to party supporters that they are influencing policy, the issue of Trident has been the focus of an ideological, as a well as a financial, tussle. Clegg, who believes that the Trident replacement is a waste of money, knows that he will be in a far stronger position at the party's annual conference next month if he is seen fighting to abandon – or at least downgrade – the Trident project.  The issue has also opened divisions within the Tory party. While Fox is said to be seeking a full Trident replacement, chancellor George Osborne and even David Cameron are said to be questioning whether this would offer good value for money.  Another defence insider said that – despite their fame and public following – the Gurkhas had long been a candidate for cuts. "Ever since 1 January1948, when the Brigade of Gurkhas joined the British army, their future has been up for discussion. They have been here before."  A spokesman for the Gurkha Welfare Trust, which provides support for ex-Gurkhas and their families, conceded that they were vulnerable. He said: "The government has made it clear there are no sacred cows."  Patrick Mercer, a Tory MP and a former army officer, said: "The first people to go will be the Brigade of Gurkhas, probably in their entirety. In the past, the Gurkhas' existence was guaranteed by the fact they are cheaper to run than British troops, and that there was a shortage of British troops.  "Recent changes mean they are now just as expensive, and recruitment is extremely healthy at the moment. I am afraid the writing is on the wall."  Lumley's triumph last year had, according to Mercer, piled costs on to the running of the Gurkhas. Nepalese soldiers who move to Britain will be entitled to full pensions, whereas those in Nepal receive around a third of what former British soldiers get.  The increased cost of the Gurkhas comes as homegrown recruitment soars, to the extent that more than 5,000 potential troops were turned away during the last year because the army was considered to be fully manned. Last week, quarterly MoD figures showed that the armed forces as a whole were close to being 100% manned for the first time since 1998.  The Gurkhas have been an integral part of the army since 1815, when the British East India Company signed a peace deal allowing it to recruit Nepalese soldiers. Professor Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute said that army manpower would have to be reduced and the Gurkhas' future would depend on whether they were perceived to have an important future role, rather than relying on sentiment.  Chalmers, who said in a recent report that the number of trained military personnel could shrink by up to a fifth to 142,000 in six years because of a lack of money, added: "The most important thing is to determine what capabilities are our highest priority for future defence needs – not for past associations.  "The Gurkhas have performed well – issues around Gurkhas versus UK recruitment forces are issues of quality of personnel and ability to recruit in the future."  Other regiments at risk are said to include a tank regiment and a Scottish battalion – such as the Black Watch or the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  Big-ticket items are also to be re-evaluated, including two new 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers – which are to come into service in 2016 and 2018 – and the RAF's Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

India evaluating Chinese stand on defence ties
 Sandeep “Defence exchanges put on hold from our side”  The Government of India is evaluating a statement by the Chinese Ministry of Defence denying that military exchanges with India were suspended. “We will see what that means. For now, defence exchanges have been put on hold from our side. There are no exercises on the anvil,'' said government sources.  However, meetings between border personnel would continue, as they are an integral part of the confidence building measures along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).  Officials said on Friday that India was putting on hold all military exchanges with China, including high- level visits after Beijing denied visa to the Army's Northern Command chief, B.S. Jaswal.  The sources indicated that diplomats from both sides would get down to sorting out differences over this issue, which officials are linking to stapled visas given by China to Indians with passports issued in Jammu & Kashmir on grounds that the State was a “disputed territory.''  At the same time, the officials pointed out that defence exchanges were a small dimension of the larger relationship with China.  The controversy arose while officials from both sides were working on a proposal to send senior Army officers to China. New Delhi was informed about a month ago that it was not possible to take the visit forward because Gen. Jaswal's area of responsibility was such that it caused “difficulties.''  The officials said the issue of Jammu and Kashmir was “candidly discussed'' with China on several occasions and, felt “there was little point'' in taking forward military exchanges in view of the stand taken in Gen. Jaswal's case.  The sources described defence ties with China as “modest'' with a “not very ambitious architecture.'' But it had led to the absence of tension on the border, though both sides have differing interpretation of the LAC at several places.  “When we talk of defence ties with China, this incident should not be taken up in isolation. Defence ties were built up over two decades since the December 1988 visit by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Except for one incident in the 80s, there has been no confrontation on the border,'' the sources added.

‘Defence ties with India not halted’
PTI, Aug 29, 2010, 02.01am IST BEIJING: As India put on hold bilateral defence exchanges, China on Saturday said that the two countries would act in the spirit of "consultation and unity" to develop military ties, but remain mum on issue of denial of permission to a top Indian General to visit here.  "China has not halted defence exchanges with India and has received no word that India has stopped military exchanges between the two countries," China's defence ministry said in a statement.  "China takes seriously developing military ties with India, and we are confident that both sides will stay focused on broader picture of bilateral ties between our two countries, acting in a spirit of consultation and unity to promote healthy development of military ties," it said. India has put on hold its defence exchanges with China after Northern Army Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal was refused permission to visit Beijing as he commands the "sensitive" J&K.  New Delhi has said Beijing's action amounts to questioning the status of J&K which is unacceptable and defence exchanges will remain suspended till the matter is resolved. In retaliation, India has denied permission to three Chinese army officials to visit the country. The statement, which was the first response from China after the controversy broke out made no reference to strong protests from India, conveyed by external affairs ministry to the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi Zhang Yan on Saturday.

India to modernise Russian-made T-72 tanks: Antony
 Last Updated:Aug 28, 2010  The T-72 tanks in Indian Army's fleet. A file photo NEW DELHI (BNS): India will refurbish Russian-origin T-72 tanks operated by its Army instead of completely phasing them out, Defence Minister A K Antony has said.  While the Army has placed an order with DRDO to acquire 124 indigenously-built Arjun Main Battle Tanks (MBTs), “it intends to retrofit/upgrade these tanks (T-72) to enhance their mission reliability and life expectancy,” Antony told the Parliament.  The Army has so far received 85 Arjun MBTs.  “Keeping in view the production capacity for MBT Arjun Tanks and strategic considerations, the Government is also exercising the option for modernising T-72 tanks instead of total replacement of these tanks on completion of their life span,” Antony said.  The Soviet-era T-72 Main Battle Tanks were acquired from Russia over 30 years ago. About 1600 such tanks are presently being operated by the Indian Army.


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