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Tuesday, 7 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 07 Sep 2010








Poland keen to sell tank recovery vehicles

Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 6 As Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk flies into New Delhi tomorrow, India is said to be mulling over Poland’s offer to supply to it tank recovery vehicles. The Indo-Polish defence cooperation will figure prominently during talks between the visiting dignitary and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here tomorrow. Defence Minister A K Antony will be part of the Indian delegation at the talks, signally the importance India attaches to burgeoning defence relationship with Poland.  MEA officials say that since most of the Indian military hardware was acquired in the 1970s from the then Soviet Union, Poland, which was a key ally of the USSR, had the spares and the technology for upgrading the equipment with the Indian forces.  The proposal for selling tank recovery vehicles was made by Poland during Antony’s visit to Warsaw in April for a meeting of the joint working group (JWG) on defence cooperation between the two countries.  A tank recovery vehicle is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to repair battle or mine damaged as well as broken down vehicles during combat operations, or to tow them out of the danger zone for more extensive repairs.  Apart from making these vehicles available to India, Poland has shown interest in providing to New Delhi its sophisticated military hardware upgradation and maintenance technology. It is also interested in joint ventures with Indian companies. In fact, one Polish company was already in talks with an Indian company, the officials said but declined to give any further details. The two sides have also been discussing various other defence-related issues, particularly joint training programmes.  Poland can help India upgrade Indian T-72 tanks, BMP II infantry combat vehicles and a variety of air defence systems purchased from the former Soviet Union.  But more than defence ties, it is the prospect of a quantum jump in economic ties with Poland that excites New Delhi. Poland, a key member of the European Union (EU), is considered by India as a gateway to Europe and Central Asia.  Ahead of his talks with Manmohan Singh, the Polish PM will address a meeting of captains of the Indian industry to seek Indian investments in his country. Poland, which will acquire the Presidency of the EU in the second half of the next year, also wants the grouping to expedite the free trade agreement (FTA) with India. Though the two sides have been discussing cooperation in different areas, only one accord will be signed tomorrow — a cultural exchange programme. Possibilities of exploring economic cooperation in food processing industry and higher education are also on the agenda of the two sides.












Navy foils Somali pirate attack

 Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 6 Indian Navy’s war ship INS Delhi successfully neutralised a pirate boat while escorting merchant vessels through the Gulf of Aden yesterday. INS Delhi deployed in the Gulf of Aden since mid-July 2010 was escorting 12 merchant vessels, including an Indian flag vessel Jag Ratan.  When the convoy of ships was 180 km north of the Coast of Somalia, a boat was detected approaching the formation at high speed. The captain of the naval ship immediately called the approaching boat through the onboard mercantile marine radio but the boat failed to respond to these calls.  A helicopter was pressed into service to provide aerial cover to the merchant vessels and the boat named Bareeda was successfully intercepted, forced to stop and boarded by a team of marine commandos. On investigation, a cache of arms, several fuel drums and ship boarding equipment were found. There were one Yemeni and seven Somali nationals as part of the crew, Navy spokesperson Commander PVS Satish said today.  Since the Indian Navy started its anti-piracy operations in October 2008, over 1,200 ships have been escorted. This is the 16th piracy attack that has been prevented and not a single ship escorted by the Indian Navy has fallen prey to pirates, the spokesperson added.







  Stone-pelting by Kashmiri youth It’s a revolt against the system

by Kuldip Nayar  Kashmir is boiling, but it is a victim of wrong perception. Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah fail to understand the ethos of the Kashmir stir. They do not realise that their intelligence agencies over the years have become part of the establishment and have little contact with those indulging in stone-pelting. The Prime Minister’s willingness to talk to all sections or individuals in Kashmir, as he said in his recent speech, is a shot fired in the dark. His dependence on the same old apparatus and individuals will yield no results. They are not relevant in the present situation.  In the same manner, Omar Abdullah’s offer to create 50,000 jobs to engage the youth is too late. He should have done it when he came to power after the elections in which 62 per cent of the people voted for him. The youth movement that Abdullah faces has no economic agenda. It is a revolt against the entire system. It is spontaneous and it started with the killing of 17-year-old Tufail Ahmed Matto on June 11. He was a Class XII student, not part of the procession which was throwing stones on the CRPF. Matto was killed by a tear gas shell. Everything else followed.  As Omar Abdullah has admitted that protests have led to the firing, and firing has led to more protests. One incident ignited the other and in no time the entire valley has been engulfed by young protesters. No separatist party led the agitation. They jumped into the arena after the event, not before. The youth is listening to them but they keep their own counsel.  Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP is a supporter of the movement. She is a problem, not the solution. Her ambition is power. She wants to step in if and when the Congress parts company with Omar Abdullah’s National Conference and picks up the PDP to run the state. Such machinations on the part of politicians have been the bane of the state. By and large, the politicians and their furtive ways are responsible for all that is happening in the state. Today all political formations, including the Hurriyat, are irrelevant because the angry youth does not have any faith in them or their methods. Syed Ali Shah Geelani has some influence because he is talking in terms of fundamentalism which has brainwashed the youth.  The vague, undefined leadership that has surfaced is radical, Islamist and ultra-fundamentalist. It is Naxalism of sorts, with a pronounced religious slant. Taliban elements have come into the picture now but they were not there when the movement got ignited. Yasin Malik, who is in jail, is respected but how far he can influence the movement is yet to be seen because he is against fundamentalism.  There is validity in the argument that the separatists are not allowing the situation to be settled down. But the fact remains that people in Kashmir have given Srinagar and New Delhi many chances to sort out the long-outstanding problem. But both have failed to do so. Where do things go wrong in Kashmir? My experience is that the more a political party or the administration in Srinagar goes nearer to India, the greater is the resentment of people who want to preserve their own identity. A state government which is seen challenging New Delhi is liked because it gives them a vicarious satisfaction of being independent.  Sheikh Abdullah, a popular Kashmiri leader, understood this. He did not question Kashmir’s accession to India but placated the Kashmiris by criticising New Delhi for eroding the state’s autonomy. For example, he would say that the Kashmiris would prefer to stay hungry if the atta from India was meant to trample upon their right to stay independent. It may have been a fiction but it worked.  Even Jawaharlal Nehru, the Sheikh’s friend and supporter in political battles against the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, had to detain him without trial in South India for some 12 years. Nehru realised rather late that the violation of the accession terms -Srinagar giving only defence, foreign affairs and communications to India - had taken the shape of separation and a strong pro-Pakistan tilt. He released the Sheikh and sent him to Islamabad. Unfortunately Nehru died when the Sheikh was in the midst of talks with General Ayub Khan, Pakistan’s Martial Law Administrator.  Kashmir remained a problem between India and Pakistan. They held talks and fought wars but reached nowhere. The Shimla Agreement in 1972 converted the ceasefire line into the Line of Control. But the two failed to go further because of their domestic compulsions. The Sheikh returned to power and entered into an accord with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that restored some autonomy which New Delhi had appropriated in his absence. But the Sheikh did not have a free hand because the bureaucracy and intelligence agencies, by then strong, wanted to guide him. They treated “me like a chaprasi (peon),” the Sheikh often told me.  His son, Farooq Abdullah, much less in stature, tried to retrieve the situation by asking New Delhi to go back to the terms of accession, the Centre retaining only three subjects — defence, foreign affairs and communications. The successive governments in New Delhi felt that they could not go back as they feared a backlash. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the only person who foresaw the danger in not reaching an early settlement. He set up a back channel which almost found a solution when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted by General Pervez Musharraf, head of the military’s coup.  The situation changed in the eighties. The Kashmiris, too, claimed a place on the table for talks on Kashmir. Rigged state elections in 1987 drove the youth from the ballot to the bullet, which Pakistan was willing to provide. The following 10 years saw a running battle between the Kashmiris and the security forces. Thousands died on both sides. The result was a further hiatus between the Kashmiris and New Delhi.  The demand for independence may be genuine but it is not possible to accede. I wonder even if Pakistan would agree to an independent, sovereign state. I opposed the demand at the Kashmir Conference in Washington last month on two counts: first, India would not agree to another partition on the basis of religion. Second, borders could be made irrelevant but not changed. I also cautioned that Jammu and Ladakh would not go along with the valley to the point of secession. My feeling is that a solution within India is possible if not within the Constitution.








J&K: 7 militants killed in two separate encounters 

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: September 06, 2010 21:18 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  Jammu:  According to latest reports from Jammu and Kashmir, seven militants have been killed in two separate encounters.  Four militants were killed by the Army in Gurez sector in an ongoing operation while three militants were killed in Hafruda forest in Kupwara district.   Read more at:








India needs adequate precautions for China: PM

  Press Trust of India, Updated: September 06, 2010 16:41 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  Delhi:  India has to take adequate precautions but not give up hope of peaceful resolution of issues with China, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today in reaction to "pinpricks" by Beijing on Jammu and Kashmir and other issues.  Relations between the two Asian giants continued to be a mix of competition and cooperation and the effort should be to create a milieu in which there can be peaceful competition, he emphasised during an interaction with a group of editors in New Delhi.  He pointed out that he had worked with the Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, whom he had been meeting almost every year.  Singh was answering questions on Beijing's refusal to issue a visa to an Indian General doing duty in Jammu and Kashmir and its insistence on issuing stapled visas people of the state About Pakistan, the Prime Minister maintained that it was his sincere belief that India had to engage it regardless of the complexity of the set up in that country but he was also sensitive to the Indian public opinion after the Mumbai terror attack.  Asked about the failure of the talks between External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in July, Singh said that "there are always mishaps" in Indo-Pak ties.  Engagement and dialogue were the only way forward in Indo-Pak ties, he said, adding that he hoped that Qureshi would accept Krishna's invitation to visit India.








Security agencies to take over CWG venues tomorrow

Press Trust of India / New Delhi September 06, 2010, 13:20 IST  Delhi Police is likely to take over all Commonwealth Games venues tomorrow and start plugging security loopholes, if any, to ensure an incident-free event which high on terror radar.  Though there is no specific threat to Games but a general one, security establishment is leaving no stones unturned for the mega event which would showcase country's ability to hold such events.  Delhi Police, which is the nodal agency for Games security, will conduct various drills, including anti-sabotage checks once they take over possession of the venues, a senior police official said today.  Apart from around 80,000 Delhi Police personnel, over 17,500 paramilitary personnel, 3,000 commandos and 100 anti- sabotage check teams will be deployed across the city. The Army has been asked to be alert.  Once security personnel take over the venues, the entire venue will be completely sanitised by security personnel and are sealed after a thorough check.  Concerns were earlier raised about the delay in handing over venues to security agencies as some quarters felt that it would hamper the security preparations.  Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal, however, downplayed the delay and said the force was prepared to handle the security issues related to the sporting extravaganza.  "We know the stadia and surrounding areas. We know the city very well. So securing them or other areas will not be a problem," Dadwal had told PTI when asked whether the delay in completion of Games projects was compromising security preparedness.  Union Home Minister P Chidambaram will review the arrangements on September 15, once the security overlays are put in place.  Heli-borne snipers, four-layered security cordon around Commonwealth Games venues and exclusive lanes for Games vehicles were among the components of the mammoth security plan for the event.  The security plan prepared for the mega event, which will see participation of around 8,500 athletes from 71 countries competing in 17 events, also envisages snipers on rooftops, commando hit teams and expert groups to tackle any chemical, biological, radio-active or nuclear attacks.  Air Force will provide surveillance from the skies. Heli-borne assault teams will also be deployed to thwart any terror strikes.  "We are closely working with central intelligence agencies. The Air Force will be surveying the airspace. We will have heli-borne snipers patrolling the skies," a senior police official said.  According to the plan, the venues, Games Village, practise and parking lots and Indira Gandhi International Airport where athletes arrive will have a four-layered security cordon.  At the outer cordon, the traffic will be stopped and access controlled. At the middle cordon, security-men will channelise the spectators to their designated seats while in the inner cordon, the barcode reading of tickets will take place and the spectators' photos captured.  At the centre would be an exclusion zone which is in the 30 metre radius of the stadium, where spectators and others will have to go through Door-Frame Metal Detectors and X-Ray scanning besides manual searching.  Mobile Quick Reaction teams will be deployed on the outer perimeter of the venues besides a close watch through CCTV surveillance.  The Games village will also have a similar elaborate security arrangement. The boundary of the village will have a three metre high perimeter wall, a 1.5 metre high iron grill on top of it, mobile QRTs and CCTV surveillance system.  Elaborate arrangements are also made for the entry for athletes and vehicles into the village. After entering the village following a thorough check, the athletes can freely move around the residential and dining halls.  For vehicles, the drivers will have to pass through radio frequency identity checking where the number plates are checked to see whether are authorised to enter the place.  There is a boom barrier and it will be opened only after the vehicle clears the radio frequency checking. But if somebody tries to forcefully enter, there will be a tyre- killer and even if the vehicle clears it, the road blocker will block the passage of the vehicle.  At the hotels, there will be "robust" security arrangements with watch towers, CCTV surveillance and access control. "All food prepared and served for Games guests in hotels will be sorted by security personnel and tasted by food experts," the official said.  With large number of athletes, officials and tourists reaching the city for the Games, security at and around the Indira Gandhi International Airport is also being augmented.  Anti-sabotage teams, commando hit teams and snipers at rooftop are some of the other components of security plan for the safe journey of the athletes and other officials.  On the movement of athletes and other officials to venues, the official said commandos will be deployed on buses they travel.  Police has also procured three armoured cars ahead of the Games and these vehicles move around the city and sometimes will stationed at venues during the Games.  Each carrying 30 commandos, armoured vehicles would be deployed to tackle eventualities like terror strikes.  For the Games, Delhi Police personnel are also being specially trained in frisking, search operations and screening baggage through X-Ray machines. Special training on enhancing communication skills and behavioural patterns were also being imparted.










AFSPA's demise will be a victory for terrorists

September 06, 2010 19:30 IST Tags: AFSPA, Army Act, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Central Reserve Police Force, North West Frontier Province Share this Ask Users Write a Comment The shrill politically-driven rhetoric demanding that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act be repealed, if allowed to hold sway, may drive us deeper into the dark world of both Islamist terror and the Maoist insurgency, warns Brigadier S K Chatterji (retd).  With a raging debate about the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, there is a need to examine the necessity of AFSPA in areas in the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ], from the operational point of view.  The shrill rhetoric of politically driven notes that invade us, if allowed to hold sway, may drive us deeper into the dark world of both Islamist terror and the Maoist insurgency, otherwise. Click!  The AFSPA came into being in 1958, with its applicability being limited to certain northeast states where insurgencies had reached levels that were beyond the capabilities of the police and para-military forces. The provisions were later extended to parts of J&K.  There are provisions, even without AFSPA, that allow the army to operate in aid of civil authorities; however these require the adherence to certain basic rules that were found operationally impracticable in insurgency areas.  These rules allow the civil administration to requisition the armed forces assistance. In the eventuality of a law and order problem, a magistrate can hand over the situation, based on his judgment, to the armed forces to act as deemed fit by the army, thereafter.  The necessity of AFSPA's provisions are better perceived when viewed in the light of the mechanics of a simple counter insurgency day-to-day operation. But before that, a degree of familiarity with the basic tenets of counter insurgency operations is essential.  Foremost, these have to be swift, since the terrorist is a fleeting target, and would have melted if not dealt with immediately. Operations also call for secrecy of plans. Should the terrorist get a whiff of the forces' plans, he would either move out or lay an ambush along their route.  Such operations call for hard intelligence so that efforts do not go waste, and our forces do not execute long tactical marches through difficult and often dangerous terrain, only to draw a blank.  Finally, such operations call for tremendous initiative in the junior leadership. They have to respond to the situation with immediacy.  Taking an example now, when an operation is to be launched based on hard intelligence of terrorists being present in a house, if the army has to go to court and get a search warrant, obviously two basic tenets would have been violated. Neither will the army's plan remain a secret nor will it be a swift operation permitting success.  Going along with the same example further, on reaching the hideout, be it a house or bunker, if the officer leading his men has to await orders from a magistrate to open fire, the terrorist would either shoot him dead or run away, all guns blazing.  The provisions of AFSPA empower even a non-commissioned officer to search without a warrant and fire if required. The forces are also empowered to blow up a terrorist ammunition dump or hideout.  Progressing further, after operations, while returning, if caught in an ambush, a situation being faced by the Central Reserve Police Force repeatedly in Naxalite-dominated areas, it is not possible to await a magistrate's order to open fire and breakout of the ambush.  Such an approach can only lead to prohibitive casualties that will surely affect morale and initiative of the forces. In fact, it will be impossible to make a magistrate available in the dense jungles and urban ghettos where battles are often fought in a rural insurgency or urban terrorist environment.  For the provisions of the AFSPA to be applicable, an area has to be notified as a disturbed area; the powers for such notification being with both the central and state governments.  The clamour demanding that such powers be the state governments alone, has dangerous implications. In our milieu of appeasement politics, the state governments may not be ready to impose AFSPA keeping in view loss of political mileage.  While there have been cases of armed forces personnel violating human rights, it needs to be perceived that of the approximately 1,500 FIRs (First Information Reports) lodged for human rights violations, barely 2.5 percent were found substantiated enough for further action.  One hundred and four army personnel have been punished under the Army Act, already.  The provisions of the AFSPA require the central government's sanction for prosecution of armed forces personnel charged with violations. Such safeguards have been there in the Criminal Procedures Code for decades without a murmur from any quarter.  While many political parties are up in arms against the provision in AFSPA, the CrPC is not applicable in J&K; the environments in which insurgency operations are conducted make such safeguards necessary.  Immediately after any operation and especially so if it leads to the death of a terrorist or any collateral damage, over ground workers of various insurgent groups take the legal route. If the safeguards of AFSPA are not there, the army's leadership will be answering court summons far more often than leading operations.  It will also have a telling effect on one of the basic tenets of counter insurgency -- officers will not take any initiative to launch anti-terror operations. In effect, we will have played into the hands of the terror groups, comprehensively.  For a terrorist, support of the population is of utmost importance. He hides within them and feeds off them. Militaries try to wean away the population, and fully perceive that should human rights be violated, they lose ground to the terrorists.  No professional army with as much experience in combating insurgencies as we have would accept human rights violations by its rank and file.  It needs also be perceived that terrorists use the freedom, ethics, institutions and technologies of the free world to further their aim. An army fighting a terror battle is unable to use the complete compliment of its power.  To also have it operate without safeguards and operationally required provisions is as good as the state fielding its last bastion in a war none can win.  It may also be relevant to recall the way Sri Lanka [ Images ] defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. They used the full range of their military capability while accepting far higher civilian casualties. The Pakistanis have used air power and artillery in the North West Frontier Province before sending their men into such areas.  Air and artillery are primarily area weapons that in an inhabited area, are bound to cause huge collateral damages. The Indian Army [ Images ] uses small arms and personal weapons, mostly; a fact that has led to its suffering higher casualties.








Army chief in Lanka on three-day tour

 The army chief’s visit comes amid concerns over increasing Chinese presence in India’s periphery including Sri Lanka and Myanmar Elizabeth Roche & Aman Malik New Delhi: Indian Army chief General V.K Singh began a three-day visit to SriLanka on Monday to enhance defence cooperation that had cooled during the island-nation’s bloody civil war in the face of domestic opposition. The army chief’s visit comes amid concerns over increasing Chinese presence in India’s periphery including Sri Lanka and Myanmar and ahead of trips to Colombo by defence secretary Pradeep Kumar and foreign minister S.M. Krishna . Singh, who was posted in Sri Lanka during the years the Indian Peace Keeping Force was deployed on the island to enforce a peace accord between the Sri Lankan army and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that was fighting for a separate state for the minority Tamils, started his visit by calling on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse. He also met Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, minister of external affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris and secretary of defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, an Indian official said. Besides Colombo, Singh will be visiting key defence establishments in Vavuniya and Indian de-mining projects in Omanthai in northern Sri Lanka -- the one-time stronghold of LTTE chief Prabhakaran who was killed at the end of the civil war last May -- the Island newspaper reported. Singh will also visit military centres in east and central Sri Lanka besides meeting student officers at the Defence Services Command and Staff College in Sapugaskanda just outside Colombo, the paper added. “India aims to maintain close, amiable and cooperative relations with Sri Lanka at both military and government levels,” a statement from Indian army headquarters in New Delhi said ahead of Singh’s visit. The decision to normalise defence ties was taken during a visit by President Mahinda Rajapakse to India in June with a yearly defence dialogue on the cards. India was cautious in its defence ties with Sri Lanka while the conflict was on due to sympathy for the Sri Lankan Tamils in India’s Tamil Nadu state -- both communities sharing close cultural and linguistic ties. An Indian Army official said the accent of the renewed cooperation would primarily be on training of officers. India has been training Sri Lankan officers at the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun and the National Defence College in Delhi. A resumption of defence exercises was also on the cards. Both sides will also exchange notes on counter insurgency procedures, given that Sri Lanka has just seen the end of decades of civil war and India is battling insurgencies -- from Kashmir in the north to Assam, Manipur and Nagaland in its northeast. “Sale or transfer of defence hardware is, however, not on the cards yet,” the army official said. India’s current wooing of Sri Lanka has a strategic dimension, say analysts. “In the past few years we have lost ground to China, in Sri Lanka,” said R.N. Das, an expert on China affairs at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses think-tank. “This was due to domestic political reasons during the civil war.” “When our engagement was lagging, Chinese presence in the form of investments has been increasing in Sri Lanka. With these visits -- by the army chief now, the naval chief was there in June and some others in the pipeline-- we are looking to regain lost ground,” Das added. China has just finished construction of the first phase of a port at Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka that was handed over to the authorities last month. Reports say China has tied up with Sri Lanka for the second phase of the port project as well. Officials in New Delhi dismiss the idea of the “encirclement” of India by China but the Indian military establishment has been taking note of deepening interaction between India’s neighbours such as Myanmar and China besides Sri Lanka. Reports said Chinese ships made their first calls at Myanmarese ports last month while the Indian military has been noting increased Chinese involvement in infrastructure -- air fields across Myanmar besides an enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean region by the Chinese Navy. The uneasy ties between India and China were buffeted last month when Beijing refused to allow an Indian Army general serving in Kashmir to visit citing the region’s disputed status. New Delhi has also expressed concern over the presence of Chinese troops in parts of the region claimed both by India and Chinese ally Pakistan.









Mole alert: MoD, services to review use of digital storage

Rajat Pandit, TNN, Sep 7, 2010, 01.22am IST NEW DELHI: Even as Chinese and Pakistani online espionage agents continue their attempts to hack into Indian computer systems, hostile intelligence agencies are also trying to steal defence secrets through use of computer storage media (CSM) devices like pen drives, removable hard disks, CDs, VCDs and the like.  The Intelligence Bureau has sounded a red alert about "intelligence officers of a hostile country'' encouraging their "assets'' working in Indian defence establishments to use CSM devices to pilfer classified information from computer networks.  "There have been reports of increasing number of incidents of leakage of data/documents in defence establishments through the use of pen drives and other digital storage devices,'' says the security alert, issued to the defence ministry as well as the Army, Navy and IAF HQs.  Consequently, MoD has ordered a thorough review of the entire policy on "the entitlement and usage of CSM devices'' in its different establishments, said sources.  While acknowledging the functional necessity to allow some officers to use such devices, MoD has asked for a comprehensive directorate-wise list of pen drives, laptops and internet connections being used in its different offices.  This comes even as the Army is conducting a court of inquiry against a major posted in the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar Command, who had stored over 2,000 classified and sensitive documents on his personal computer which was "hacked'' from Pakistan earlier this year.  While the major has been cleared of espionage charges, the probe dwells upon how he was in the "unauthorised'' possession of so many secret documents, normally handled by much senior officers, and why he violated cyber-security guidelines, which expressly prohibit such files from being stored on a computer with internet connectivity.  With cyber-warfare being a top military priority for China, its online espionage agents frequently break into sensitive Indian computer networks. A group of Canadian and American cyber-security researchers in their recent report `Shadows in the Cloud', in fact, held China-based hackers were regularly accessing classified documents from several Indian defence and security establishments, as reported by TOI earlier.  MoD, however, says "only certain internet-facing computers, which had no sensitive defence data, were compromised'' by the Chinese hackers. To prevent such incidents from recurring, "a crisis management plan'' has been worked out "for measured response in case of any untoward incident''.  The Defence Information Assurance and Research Agency (DIARA), a nodal agency mandated to deal with all cyber-security matters, for instance, is working closely with national agencies like the Computer Emergency Response Team and the National Technical Research Organisation. The armed forces, on their part, are also on a high alert to guard against "focussed large-scale cyber attacks'' on their networks.









'Miracle compound' for army rescues CWG

Ajai Shukla / New Delhi September 07, 2010, 0:35 IST  At dawn on September 18, 2009, Group Captain S C Chafekar lined up his An-32 transport aircraft for a landing approach to the spectacular, 13,300-foot high Nyoma airstrip in Ladakh, sending a herd of local Khyang (Tibetan wild asses) fleeing in panic. This first ever fixed wing aircraft landing at Nyoma, the army’s newest Advanced Landing Ground (ALG), close to the frontline with China, was made possible by a new “miracle compound” called RBI-81.  The Ministry of Defence (MoD), always secretive, merely stated that a “new advanced compound” had gone into building Nyoma ALG. But the army was pleased — as a document with Business Standard reveals — at this infrastructure coup. The 2.7-kilometre airstrip was built in just 90 days by jawans who had never worked with RBI-81. All they had to do was to mix RBI-81 with local mud, sprinkle water over the surface and then run a road roller over the mixture. Hardening instantly, the surface easily withstands repeated landings by the 20-tonne An-32.  Now RBI-81 is helping ease the chaos of Delhi’s preparations for next month’s Commonwealth Games (CWG). Here’s what just happened last week at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in South Delhi, the squash and badminton venue, to which shuttler Saina Nehwal will carry the hopes of a billion Indians. On the morning of August 28, a flabbergasted CWG Organising Committee team discovered that the Siri Fort parking area and the roads inside the complex were still knee-deep bogs of churned mud. With the Games five weeks away, the contractor threw up his arms. Laying a concrete surface would take a week; and then 28 days would be needed for the concrete to set. If it rained, said the contractor, it would take longer.  Enter RBI-81. Ashwini Mundra, of contracting firm Salasar Marketing, undertook to prepare Siri Fort’s 1,500-square metre parking area, in 48 hours using RBI-81. Work commenced at 1 pm on the afternoon of August 30; fourteen hours later, at 3 am on August 31, the job was completed. That morning, says Mundra, 100 buses were parked on the newly surfaced area.  The Delhi Development Authority’s Superintending Engineer, R K Gupta, who inspected the finished work, gave an unambiguous thumbs-up to RBI-81: “The Siri Fort Sports Complex is ready for use. This product is much faster than anything we have ever used before and the results are excellent. It is now in our sights for other projects.”  But RBI-81 is originally a military product and Alchemist Touchnology, which holds the licence to manufacture and sell RBI-81 in India, covets the Indian Army’s ongoing programme to construct 3,429 kilometres of border roads in Himalayan altitudes, temperatures and weather conditions. Already the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is testing a road segment in Jammu and Kashmir, constructed with RBI-81, to verify the company’s claims that the surface is waterproof, weatherproof and unaffected by temperatures from minus 40 to plus 60 degrees Centigrade.  “The most attractive feature of this product is the economics,” says Gautam Gulati, a group director with Alchemist, “An RBI-81 based road is almost 40 per cent cheaper than a conventional tarmac or concrete road. Instead of multiple layers of stones, bricks and gravel, all you need is 2-3 layers of RBI-81 and the tarmac can be slapped on over that. A rural road, conforming to Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) standards, costs Rs 28.23 lakh per kilometre built conventionally. If we use RBI-81 instead, the cost drops to Rs 18.52 lakh, a saving of 36.87 per cent.”  Even more important than the price advantage, say BRO officials, is the eco-friendliness of RBI-81, given the growing difficulty in obtaining environmental clearance for road projects. First, building with RBI-81 reduces manual labour by more than 50 per cent and, therefore, the administrative and security problems of moving hundreds of labourers for projects in sensitive areas. Further, building with RBI-81 minimises stone quarrying and crushing, and transporting tonnes of stones to the project area.  Says the BRO official, “RBI-81 dramatically reduces the environmental and carbon footprint of road-building.”  Alchemist Touchnology plans to leverage this environmental advantage to market RBI-81 to India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Josy Cohen, the chairman of Holland-registered RBI Global, which patented RBI-81 worldwide and licensed Alchemist Touchnology to produce and market the product in India, claims, “India’s highway building programme uses 175 million cubic metres of gravel annually. By using RBI-81, this can be reduced to just 20 million cubic metres per year.”  RBI-81 was originally developed in South Africa to build roads along that country’s troubled borders and increase the army’s mobility. Today, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are major users of RBI-81. IDF has rapidly constructed a network of roads from major towns and cities to border areas, permitting the rapid deployment of troops. Invisible from the air, these road surfaces are hard enough to prevent enemies from digging them up and planting mines.           








IPKF soldiers honoured by army chief 

Glowing tributes were paid to the slain soldiers of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) at a function on Monday where visiting Indian army chief general VK Singh laid a ceremonial wreath at the memorial built to honour them on the outskirts of Colombo.  Singh, on a five-day Sri Lanka visit, was the first Indian army chief to pay his homage at the memorial, constructed by the Sri Lankan navy. The military ceremony became particularly poignant as Singh had served with the IPKF for two years in the late '80s.  Nearly 1200 Indian soldiers lost their lives fighting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) between 1987 and 1990. By the end of its tenure, the IPKF was reviled in Sri Lanka as an "occupational force" and in their own country, the memory of the soldiers was quietly cast aside.  But with the defeat of the LTTE, the IPKF's reputation seems to be getting a facelift both in Sri Lanka and India. The Indian Navy chief Nirmal Verma visited the memorial in June and on August 15, the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K Kantha laid a wreath there, a ceremony that will now be held every Independence Day.  In his written homage on Monday, the army chief paid his "gratitude to the Sri Lankan government for the memorial" and remembered the "brave martyrs".  The Sri Lankan army (SLA) too paid its respect to the dead Indian soldiers.  "The supreme sacrifice made by the IPKF in safeguarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Mother Lanka…is ever remembered and honoured by all Sri Lankans," Major General EPD Abeysekera, Adjutant General, said in his speech.  The SLA chief, Jagath Jayasuriya paid floral tributes at the memorial.  The Indian army chief's visit is being seen here as an effort to strengthen existing Indo-Lanka defence ties. Because of political sensitivities India did not supply lethal weapons to the SLA in its fight against the LTTE.  Though the war is now over, India could well be among the first countries, for one, to help the Island nation in strengthening its maritime security.   India is likely to further open up its training facilities for SLA officers as well.









India is obstruction to China’s uni polar domination of Asia

 Posted on September 6, 2010 by The Editors i 4 Votes  Quantcast  China’s refusal to give a visa to Lt.Gen. B.S.Jaswal should not surprise anybody including those among the Indian establishment and political leadership dealing with China. China runs India roughshod after the decades following its attack in 1962.  What surprised watchers of India-China relations in the Indian establishments was the correct response to China’s action by not only cancelling the Indian army delegation’s tour of China, but also suspending all military-to-military contacts with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) till further notice.  This is the first most definitive action on the part of New Delhi since the withdrawal of ambassadors following the 1962 war. Such action by sovereign states who are attacked by non-military means but diplomatic snub with strategic aims, are not new. US-Chinese relations are replete with such incidents. The issue is the timing of these discords and how they are resolved. In relations with the USA, China has always sought a face saving way out and, Washington being the stronger of the two, has usually condescended.  US China relations and India’s China relations are not comparable, especially in terms of scale. But in India-China relations lie the critical issues of peace, development and stability not only in the South Asian region, but also in greater Asia including the Indian Ocean Sea lanes which are vital for the countries east of the Malacca strait.  The main question is how will India deal with the military diplomacy face off hence forth. There are signs that China is trying to make it a non-issue. The Chinese, habituated with India’s lukewarm reaction or non-action in the past, may have miscalculated New Delhi’s response to the refusal of visa to Lt.Gen. Jaswal.  At the same time, it appears the Indian establishment did not want to blow up the incident. There has been little comment from the establishment, and Defence Minister A. K. Antony’s brief observation to television channels suggests they are going to sweep the issue as usual under the carpet. It is India’s free media which is increasingly playing the real role of the fourth estate, that has brought the issue to public notice. If the Indian government tries to brush aside this incident, then not only the government but also the people, would have to pay dearly for this omission.  It is time to face some questions squarely. The Indian establishment including the army, demoralized by the 1962 reverses and the more recent Chinese economic and military development surge, appears to have adopted a defeatist complex, contrary to the assessment of independent Indian experts and analysts. Of course, some independent China experts who receive regular invitations from China and enjoy their hospitality, try to devise reasons on behalf of Beijing’s policies. Otherwise, those invitations will dry up. Equally important, there are political parties and leaders who indulge in America bashing, who are active votaries of China in the Indian context.  Chinese military strategists who provide inputs for the PLA’s strategic and tactical plans do not think that the 1962 situation entails today. Apart from their advantage in strategic nuclear warfare, they do not see that the PLA as a whole holds any significant advantage over the Indian forces. In fact, in some ways, they recognize certain drawbacks. The PLA is not battle tested. The last limited war they fought was in 1979 when Chinese forces entered Vietnam to teach them a lesson, but instead suffered a bloody nose.  The Indian establishment’s strategic planners must, first of all, revisit 1962 and compare the state of Indian and Chinese soldiers. The Indian soldiers did not even have the minimum winter clothing, and arms. Whereas, the Chinese soldiers were well prepared in every manner, suggesting the attack was well planned in advance. The Chinese army withdrew, especially from the Eastern Sector.  The Chinese sabre-rattling in the Eastern Sector in 1987 land threatening to teach India (a) lesson must also be reexamined.  In 1993, two PLA Colonels wrote a book “The Next India-China War II, in which they stated that the next war will be three-dimensional-land, air and sea. Thereafter, China started building infrastructure along the border with India at a hectic pace. Today they have built military airports along the border, brought the railway to the Tibetan capital Lhasa, and are getting prepared for a round the year air force presence with similar logistic support.  The Indian army lagged well behind in building infrastructure along India’s borders with Tibet. There was no lack of finances. But the army’s view was that if India built the roads, the Chinese would use them to roll into India! Appalling to say the least. Why cannot they think that they can also roll into China? It was a psychological auto-suggestion of fear.  Finally, when it was decided to place two Divisions in Arunachal Pradesh along with SU-29 fighters, and preparation for a strike corps, the Chinese criticism engineered a doubt in parts of the establishment. Thankfully, there has been no retraction of this policy of deployment.  Does the Indian establishment become a hypochondriac when faced with China? Nothing else explains why India stands up to the USA and others, but not to Beijing.  Nothing can be more nonsensical than the coinage “CHINDIA”. The expression suggests an enmeshing of China’s and India’s interests seamlessly. Contemporary history of accounts, suggests this is farthest from the truth. Indian political leaders must understand personal promotion against national interests. A former petroleum minister pushed India-China joint action to secure energy resources. He was jolted when the Chinese upstaged him through the backdoor for a stake in Kazakhstan.  The current mantra is the $60 billion trade with China, co-operation in climate change, co-operation in international fora like WTO and the G-8, and the old 1992 understanding to counter the West on human rights charges. A close look at each will classify that it is China that is the beneficiary, not India. In the area of trade China benefits from iron are imports, and pushing substandard goods into India. In climate change, there is no comparison with China being the second highest polluter in the world, with India way behind. On human rights issues China’s excesses with the law being dictated by the party does not compare with India’s legal system that the charged is innocent unless proved guilty. China’s persecution of minority rights is legendary. Is this the CHINDIA or Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai we are looking for?  On the other hand, the demands of friendship should not go too far. For example, espionage is a game played by all countries, small or big. If China breaks into Indian government sites, this is to be expected. It is for India to put up a secure barrier, and engage in similar action against China. For example, the US and lsrael, the closest of allies, spy on each other. Similar is the situation between China and Pakistan, time tested allies.  Having said the foregoing, the soul of India’s relations with China lies in China’s decades old strategy to keep India caged in South Asia by various means, and to keep India insecure. This emanates from Mao Zedong’s strategy which saw India as the main obstruction to communist China’s uni polar domination of Asia.  China’s arming of Pakistan including with nuclear arms, support to Islamabad in the international fora, encirclement of India in South Asia using Pakistan as the pivot and preying on the misplaced insecurity of other neighbours of India, is well known and needs no elaboration.  What is important is China’s false stepping India in India’s strategic civil development. It opposed the India-US civil nuclear deal, India’s clearance by the Nuclear Suppliers Groups (NSG), and is now pushing for new China-Pakistan nuclear co-operation, contravening the NSG guidelines. China is a member of the NSG, and could destroy this non-proliferation body by just one stroke. But the Beijing leaders feel they can push this through and other members will finally fall in line.  One of the reasons why China may be able to push through its nuclear deal with Pakistan is the fact that Pakistan is the biggest terrorism nuisance in the world and China enjoys huge influence on Pakistan.  Questions have been raised in the Indian media about why Lt.Gen. Jaswal, when he was the Corps Commander in charge of Arunachal Pradesh, was given a visa by the Chinese, and why Army Chief V.K.Singh as Eastern Command Chief was also accorded similar courtesy.  The answer rests in the international and domestic situation China was facing at that time, and weak Indian response to China giving stapled visas to Indians from J&K. China first tests the ground. The other parameters assess foreign pressures, the need to seek friends or supporters, and internal issues.  Another critical aspect is the PLA’s power and influence in shaping foreign policy. The PLA always had a major say in territorial disputes including the issue of Taiwan, and relations with the US, Japan, Pakistan and India. Over the past one year the PLA has been demonstrating its power both internally and externally, notwithstanding the fact that the communist party is supreme. Today, the party-PLA relations are not the same as it used be in the pre-1988 period.  The Lt. Gen. Jaswal case is intrinsic to the party’s and PLA’s shifting position on Pakistan and India. The reason given by China that Lt.Gen. Jaswal was the Commander in J&K, which China considers disputed territory, is facetious. If China wants to keep its hands off this disputed territory, then they have no locus standi to enter into an agreement with Pakistan in 1963 in which Pakistan ceded 5000 sq.kms of Kashmiri territory in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) to China. The Karakoram highway should not have been constructed through this territory as per China’s “disputed area” policy. Nor should they be constructing new infrastructure in this area. It is now reported China has positioned 11,000 soldiers in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of POK.  The Indian authorities must consider the following upcoming developments very seriously. The Jaswal incident is clearly to renew support to Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir issue, to return to the UN resolutions. It has very little to do with Pakistan being in a weak position, suffering from devastating floods.  The crux of this Chinese move is much larger. It is a Pak-China strategy to convert the Kashmir issue into a India-Pak-China issue, making China a stakeholder in the Kashmir issue. China’s de facto position has been that POK is Pakistan’s possession as revealed in the 1963 treaty, and it can be renegotiated when a final de jure position comes into force. The strategy is to ensure that such a situation does not come about. But they treat Indian Kashmir as a disputed territory which China does not want to touch. There can be no clearer indication that China may be in the process of recognizing POK as Pakistan’s defacto sovereign territory.  It is time the Indian government took a hard look at the three agreements signed with China in an effort to resolve the border issue, and how they have worked. The first was the Peace and Tranquility (P&T) treaty of 1993 signed in Beijing, the second was the Confidence Building Measures (CBM) agreement of 1996 signed in New Delhi; and the third for the modalities to resolve the boundary issues signed again in New Delhi in 2005.  The P&T treaty removed the eyeball to eyeball situation between Indian and Chinese soldiers at some points in the Eastern Sector of the border. The CBM treaty was to ensure safe distance between the troops of the two sides and prevent any untoward incident. The modalities agreement stands still as the Chinese now insist that the article saying no transfer of settled population be removed. This treaty, therefore, remains as a “living dead”.  During the period that China signed these agreements when it was under pressure from the West especially the USA, following the 1989 quelling of students’ protests in Beijing. China also sought a stable and peaceful atmosphere for them to concentrate on economic development.  Looking back, China has achieved its objective and the agreements remain on paper only. As China grew stronger, both the P&T and CBM agreements have been violated by Beijing repeatedly and with impunity, while the Indian government brushed it under the carpet.  There is the issue of the length of the Sino-Indian border. The Indian position remains that it is around 4000 kms long starting from the north-western tip of Kashmir in POK, to the eastern tip of Arunachal Pradesh and the Sikkim border in the middle.  The Chinese quietly hold that the border is between 1900-2000 kms negating Indian’s sovereignty over the whole of the J&K state, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Sooner rather than later the Chinese would be raising this position loudly in bilateral meetings, and their official propaganda.  Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee made a major mistake by agreeing in writing that Tibet Autonomous Region was an integral part of China. The expected Chinese reciprocal position on Sikkim as a sovereign state of India, never came.  New Delhi must keep aside agreements and Chinese verbal promises, and return to the drawing board. China has attacked Indian core interests of territorial sovereignty, and no one can blame India if it revived the Tibet issue. Kashmir had acceded to India voluntarily through an instrument. An independent Tibet was invaded by Chinese forces in 1951. There is also the Taiwan question and issue of the Spratly islands in the South China Sea. India has followed the “One China” policy strictly, and has kept away totally from other Chinese territorial issues and claims. But by sending soldiers to the Gilgit-Baltistan region in POK, China has violated a cardinal principle of trying to split India.  The curtain is up on China’s “denial and deception” strategy. New Delhi will have to consider China’s threat from all strategic directions.  (The author is an eminent China analyst with many years of experience. He can be reached at







Need for revival of spirit of 1965 

FORTY-FIVE years ago, on September 6, 1965, Indian Army chose to attack Pakistan in the cover of darkness. Its two pronged attack was meant to capture the border town of Sialkot and Lahore, the capital of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province. So sure was General Chaudhry, Indian Army Chief that he had issued invitations to his senior officers to join him for a “chotta peg” of Whiskey at the Lahore Gymkhana. The Indian defence planners had calculated on the element of surprise, their superior Army, vastly out numbering Air Force and better equipped Navy to gain a swift and decisive victory over Pakistan. One element that the Indian “Soormas” had grossly miscalculated was the reaction of the people of Pakistan, the morale of the Pakistani Armed Forces and the spirit of sacrifice along with the zeal and zest to defend Pakistan at all costs. The Indians paid heavily for this terrible blunder. They did achieve the element of surprise, and Indian land forces made an initial breakthrough because of the sparsely defended Pakistani forward positions. Half the Pakistan Army was on leave or furlough, not expecting a war in the offing. However, after the initial few yards of ingress by the Indian troops, the people of Lahore and Sialkot realized that their precious motherland was under attack and their hard earned independence was at stake. The people of Pakistan and its Armed Forces became one solid edifice of molten lead, which became an impregnable wall. By day break, Pakistan Air Force was called into action, which picked out the advancing columns of the saffron roundels marked tanks, armoured cars, artillery and mechanized and infantry formations. So furious was their attack, so deadly their assault and so precise their targeting that General Chaudhry’s advance formations were totally wiped out. His dream of sipping whiskey with his comrades at the Lahore Gymkhana and his triumphant march over The Mall Lahore was shattered as his troops received the mauling of their lives. By the evening of September 6th, Pakistan Air Force carried out surprise attacks on the enemy airfields of Pathankot, Halwara and Jamnagar, by night the PAF bombers targeted the deeper Indian air bases and caused such devastation that the Indian Air Force permitted the much smaller Pakistan Air Force to gain air supremacy. Pakistan Navy too struck the Indian naval base of Dwarka, pounding it incessantly with is guns till the Indian Navy virtually capitulated. The sole Pakistani naval submarine managed to enforce a naval blockade and Indian navy battleships, destroyers and frigates were confined to their ports and could not dare to venture out for fear of being targeted by the prowling PNS Ghazi, Pakistan’s sub. So complete was the Indian defeat and a crushing defeat it must be considered for a much smaller force, despite being surprised had managed to not only ward off the assault, blunted the attack but also gave the superior adversary a bloody nose.  Pakistan is once again under attack, the enemy is the same but now it is garbed in stealth, its manoeuvres are surreptitious, and its parries and thrusts shadowy and concealed. It is now faceless, for it has managed to make inroads among the local populace, hiding behind innocent civilians, crouching in the shadows of schools, Madrassas and homes. Its name is terror and it strikes with impunity, targeting the devoted engaged in prayer in the mosques or the religious in their fervent processions and rallies. It does not spare visiting sports teams, nor does it have compassion for women and children in the shopping centres or the sick and weary in hospitals. To defeat the enemy, the spirit of 1965 has to be recreated and the people have to be galvanized to combat the treacherous adversary who now strikes from within. Unity, faith and discipline, the lessons taught by the founder of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah must be relearnt. Unless the armed forces and the people are one, like 1965, moulded into one concrete mass so that the shadowy enemy can be defeated, victory will not be ours. If ever there was the need of the revival of the spirit of 1965, it is now. On this Defence Day of Pakistan, the Daily Mail urges the nation to unite for in union is strength.




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