Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites

Loading

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.




No comments:

Post a Comment

 

Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal