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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)

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