Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Thursday, 9 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 09 Sep 10






Antony does aerial survey of Leh

 Reviews ongoing relief work Archit Watts writes from Leh  September 8 The Defence Minister of India A K Antony accompanied by the Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General P C Bhardwaj today arrived Leh and conducted an aerial survey of cloudburst and the areas hit by flash floods here.  During his one-day visit to assess the damage, the Defence Minister also reviewed the ongoing relief and rehabilitation work being carried by the Armed forces in Leh. He appreciated the Army’s efforts in undertaking rescue and relief operations.  The minister arrived here this morning at Technical Airport, Thoise, and was received, among others, by the J&K Minister of Tourism Nawang Ringzin Jora.  Immediately after arriving in Leh, Antony was briefed by Lt. General S K Singh about the rescue and relief operations at Tyakshi in Nubra valley, where the Army had suffered large casualties on August 6.  Later, the minister was also briefed on the latest situation in Leh and the role of the Army in providing succour to the affected people of Leh and restoration of road connectivity along Zojila and Rohtang axis.  However, the minister did not meet any flood-hit victims. “It was a totally confidential visit and the minister did not meet any flood victim,” said an Army spokesperson of 14 Corps.  The minister was earlier scheduled to visit Leh on September 7.







IAF afnet to be launched next week

Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 8 The Indian Air Force, in a significant development, today announced that it was ready to launch its state-of-the-art digital information system that will provide real time data, voice and images to commanders on the ground as well as to pilots in the air.  It will connect all IAF’s, fighters, choppers, transport planes, satellites and UAV’s with ground and command stations which will in turn have the position of the ground-based air defence guns deployed at airbases. The new system will make the IAF network centric force and is slated for a launch on September 14.  The Air Force Network (AFNET) will be opened next week to replace the IAF’s old communication network set-up using the “tropo-scatter” technology that was first devised in the 1950s.  IAF project is part of the overall mission to network all three services. “The mission comes in the backdrop of an IT Roadmap document of the Defence Ministry stipulating automation, simulated training and mandatory computer proficiency in the services,” IAF spokesperson Wing Commander TK Singha said in an official communication released to the media today.








  No ‘dispute’ in agenda for J&K

The opportunity that beckons us by B.G. Verghese  THE chorus is the same. Syed Ali Shah Geelani has outlined a pre-dialogue “agenda” for Kashmir: India must acknowledge an “international dispute”, commence demilitarisation under UN supervision, rein in the security forces, unconditionally release all youth and political prisoners, including Afzal Guru, and initiate proceedings against all those responsible for “war crimes” in the state. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq challenges accession, asserts that Kashmiris are not Indians and seeks demilitarisation, the repeal of “black laws” and a referendum. Masarrat Alam, the next-generation youth leader, talks of Kashmir being the “unfinished business of Partition” and demands “complete azadi”. Delusive agenda items must be firmly put aside.  Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, crisply insists on a “result-oriented dialogue”. He rewinds from Gen Pervez Musharraf’s promising “out of the box” solution, fine-tuned by Dr Manmohan Singh, to hark back to the UN Resolutions. No one talks of the pathetic colonial situation in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the Gilgit-Baltistan Area where Pakistan firmly determines who is the “self” in question.  Some basic clarifications are in order if there is to be any progress. The problem is not about the fact but the nature of the dispute. India went to the UN on a question of aggression by Pakistan. Cutting through all the cant, this was upheld by the UN Representative, Owen Dixon, and endorsed by the UN Security Council in its defining Resolution of August 13, 1948. This called for the immediate withdrawal of tribal raiders and Pakistani military personnel from J&K and the disbandment of all “Azad” Kashmir forces as the first order of business prior to a plebiscite. Pakistan’s deliberate default, subsequent invasions and cross-border terror through mercenaries and jihadis constitute the current problem. The UN Resolutions died long back.  Why not a plebiscite today? It is too late, with major demographic changes, natural and engineered across the LoC and ethnic cleansing in the valley. There is a totally different political context three generations down the road and a wholly new international geostrategic environment. Further, Pakistan, sections of the separatists and the jihadis would appeal to Islam thus reopening the still healing wounds of Partition to revive the fatuity of the two-nation theory that Jinnah himself eloquently repudiated in his first address to the country’s Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, only to find himself hopelessly isolated. To sustain its sadly negative ideological identity as India’s “other”, Pakistan” has projected Kashmir as unfinished business and sought “strategic depth” to realise the warped dream of a Talibanised caliphate. This perverse goal feeds the self-aggrandising paranoia of the military-mullah cabal that holds the Pakistani people in thrall. India is simply not prepared to revive the madness of 1947 and self-destruct.  What then is the road ahead in J&K? The external aspect is not the most critical. We must talk to Pakistan but forward movement depends on Islamabad’s willingness to end terror as an instrument of policy. Casting the blame on client “non-state actors” will not wash. This was brazenly pleaded in 1947, 1948, 1965, 1989, 1998, in between and thereafter. And churlishly refusing direct $ 25 million Indian assistance for current flood relief except, belatedly, through UN agencies, reveals a warped mindset that explains its irrational behaviour based on a cultivated Indophobia that ordinary Pakistanis do not share. That Pakistan agreed to accept the Indian aid later on is a different matter.  We should be wary but not alarmist about Chinese PLA units reportedly aiding relief activity and safeguarding Chinese workers engaged in road and other development projects along the damaged Karakoram Highway from jihadi attacks in Gilgit-Baltistan. A small Indo-Tibet an Border Police detachment in Afghanistan plays a similar role. The changing Chinese stance on J&K should be no surprise in view of Pakistan’s strategic importance for gaining access to the Arabian Sea. We need to stay cool and continue to engage China on a host of common concerns.  An internal dialogue in and over J&K could lead the way to a just resolution that addresses local, regional and Centre-state-level grievances and aspirations and thereby makes it increasingly difficult for external actors to fish in troubled waters. An empowered panchayati raj would give real meaning to “azadi”, self-determination and inclusive growth. The dialogue could cover (a) Geelani’s five points minus the rhetorical flourishes; (b) the variant azadi-autonomy — “sky is the limit” — self rule formulations of the National Conference, the Congress, the PDP, Sajjad Lone, the Mirwaiz and others; (c) repatriation of the Pandits and those trapped in PoK, best done by creating a couple of new IT and food-processing hubs in the valley where other internally displayed and unemployed youth can also be relocated with due training; (d) matching progammes for Jammu, Rajouri-Poonch, Doda, Ladakh and Kargil; (e) investments by corporate India with suitable, time-bound guarantees and tax incentives, and (e) activating Srinagar as an international airport, expediting rail and road connectivity, augmenting power capacity and transmission networks and repairing the social infrastructure over the next five years assisted by a youth peace corps.  The reports of the Prime Minister’s five Task Forces could provide the basis for progress along multiple tracks and help build confidence and trust. The Indian Constitution permits of extraordinary flexibility in accommodating diversity to match regional and sectoral needs through such instruments of entrustment provided under Articles 258 and 258A. Simultaneously, there must be a parallel dialogue with national parties and stakeholders in Delhi so that there is a matching consensus about directions and content.  None need fear that greater “autonomy” or “self-rule” within the terms of the 1952 Delhi Agreement and restoration of nomenclatures like Wazir-e-Azam and Sadr-i-Riyasat spell secession. The J&K and Indian constitutions are joined by an umbilical cord. What is removed from one can be incorporated in the other so that common values and principles remain.  Too much time has been wasted by little men on little things. Opportunity beckons.








SC wants separate pay panel for forces

R Sedhuraman Legal Correspondent  New Delhi, September 8 Pointing out that many of the armed forces personnel have returned their medals due to non-redressal of their grievances, the Supreme Court today asked the government to consider setting up a separate Pay Commission for both serving and retired members.  “We feel this is necessary as the Armed Forces personnel have many grievances which they feel are not being properly addressed by the Union Government. Many have even returned their medals,” a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and TS Thakur said in an order.  The Bench asked Attorney General GE Vahanvati and Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to forward the suggestion to the government and get its response by October 18, the next date of hearing.  The court passed the order while hearing a petition filed by some serving and retired army officers challenging the government’s refusal to accord them enhanced “rank pay” as recommended by the Fifth Pay Commission.  The AG and the SG “were present on behalf of the Central government. We have made certain suggestions to them regarding setting up of an independent commission headed by a retired Supreme Court judge for looking into all the grievances of the serving and former members of the Armed Forces,” the Bench noted in the order, marking a copy each to the AG and the SG.  Earlier during the arguments, the Bench slammed the Centre for making army personnel run from pillar to post for getting their salary disputes resolved. “The day the soldiers are forced to fight for their salaries, it would be a sad day for the country,” it remarked.  Noting that the Army people who were a disciplined lot could not go on agitation like others, the Bench said forcing them to fight for their salaries was not good for the country. Citing a senior officer who burnt his artificial limb in frustration, the Bench asked the AG and the SG: “Why do you allow such things?”  The present Pay Commission headed by bureaucrats was perhaps unable to understand the problems of the personnel, the apex court observed and felt that setting up a separate commission would provide a channel for them to vent out their feelings.  The Bench slammed the Centre for making army personnel run from pillar to post for getting their salary disputes resolved. “The day the soldiers are forced to fight for their salaries, it would be a sad day for the country,” it remarked.







India - Pak relations: An outsider's take on the way forward

The infrastructure for terror and the overt and covert support to the terror groups operating in Pakistan further muddles the water. There can be no breakthrough as long as elements like LeT roam around unhindered and plan against India. CJ: raghunath   Wed, Sep 08, 2010 15:06:29 IST Views:                19    Comments: 1 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     INDIA-PAKISTAN bi-lateral saga has had an acrimonious past and most often than not has involved accusations, counter accusations and deadlock. Since the day of independence up to the present moment both sides view each other with a perpetual suspicion and hostility to others action and motive.   As we speak, a fresh attempt has been made to start a formal peace process with Pakistan with both Indian Home and external Affairs Minister travelling to Pakistan to give impetus to normalization of relations. As usual talks ran in to heavy weather again with external Affairs minister meeting ending with acrimony. While two sides will claim that it was the other, who was responsible for the deadlock, fact remains that precious little has been achieved over the years through dialogue process.   Both sides stick to their guns. Neither is in a mood to show flexibility and make concessions for the fear of being perceived as anti-national by their people. Therein lies the problem. If we are to have any sort of durable and value added peace settlement between two countries, the respective governments will have to be ready to take a huge political risk and manoeuver deftly so as not to give an impression of buckling to others pressure. To further complicate the matters, there is the riddle as to who actually dictates Pakistan’s foreign policy especially in relation to India.   The Pakistan army no doubt is the most powerful force in the country and its view count most in the final case. An institution which has had a history of nursing anti-Indian sentiments and continues to be hostile to the opposite side cannot be expected to be amenable to overnight to some sort of a peace deal struck between the two governments.   That would undermine their authority and the sway they have over socio- political discourse in Pakistan. Incidents like 26/11 and subsequent revelations about the hands of Pakistani establishment (ISI) being involved, openly attempts to undermine Indian interests in Afghanistan and the repeated cease fire violations to aid intruders sneaking into Indian side are ample proofs that there is significant ideological change or change in thought process of the Pakistani establishment.   The infrastructure for terror and the overt and covert support to the terror groups operating in Pakistan further muddles the water. There can be no breakthrough as long as elements like LeT roam around unhindered and plan their disruptive activities aimed at crippling Indian state with the backing from the influential sections of the establishment.   In this context it is my opinion that the Indian government should continue to engage the Pakistani side in talks irrespective of the current happenings. The message must be put across clearly that India will not tolerate any activity aimed at undermining Indian state by the Pakistani actors, state or non state.   At the same time we should also putforth our commitment and discuss all bilateral outstanding issues including Kashmir water etc. genuine Pakistani concerns must be addressed. The army would also need to be kept in the loop in both countries as they are vital stake holders and their views will be of paramount importance.   By having talks between the representatives of the both armed forces an attempt can be made to shed the hostile suspicions nursed by both. In the meanwhile, trade relations should be given a boost as they will be of immense value to each other’s economy. The ordinary civilian prisoners should be released immediately and a mechanism be put in place to exchange innocent fishermen and juveniles crossing over inadvertently without too much of paper work.   On the issue of climate change which promises to be one of the most crucial challenges in the near future, India and Pakistan could make joint efforts in the multilateral conferences to protect their interests. Also, both counties are hungry for energy to fuel their economies and in this regard there is again immense scope for collaboration and co-operation, which will also have a softening effect on the suspicion each harbor about the others energy programmes.     The Himalayan glacier melting, threat to the ecology are all issues which can get both the countries on the same side of the table. Agreements and common efforts can also be made to harness the waters of Himalayan Rivers effectively to reduce wastage and aid in drought management.   There are whole raft of avenues unexplored where scope for co-operation is immense and can lead to fast betterment of relations. The India-China border dispute has a long history and negotiations even now seem to be making no headway, but that has not come in the way robust trade ties and joint efforts in various critical multilateral for a. e.g. Copenhagen.     India and Pakistan need to get over the differences on the core issues and start focusing on these areas. That is not to say that issues like kashmir shouldn’t be discussed at all. My point is that a deadlock or lack of progress on the issues like Kashmir, Sir Creek etc should not come in the way of co-operation in other fields.







No ‘Cold Start’ doctrine, India tells US

Manu Pubby Posted online: Thu Sep 09 2010, 03:31 hrs New Delhi : The US had taken up concerns by Pakistan on the perceived ‘Cold Start’ strategy of the Indian Army that envisages rapid deployment of troops on the western border to escalate to a full blown war within days but has been told that such a doctrine does not exist but is a term that has been fabricated by think tanks.  The matter was repeatedly taken up by senior US Defence delegations after Pakistan voiced concerns that diverting more troops to the Afghan border would not be feasible given the Indian ‘Cold Start’ strategy that could bring offensive elements of the Indian Army to its eastern border within four days.  While the US has been assured that no such doctrine exists, the Army has now come on record to say that ‘Cold Start’ is not part of its doctrine. Army Chief General V K Singh has told this newspaper that India’s basic military posture remains defensive.  “There is nothing called ‘Cold Start’. As part of our overall strategy we have a number of contingencies and options, depending on what the aggressor does. In the recent years, we have been improving our systems with respect to mobilisation, but our basic military posture is defensive,” the Army Chief told The Indian Express.  The ‘Cold Start’ doctrine has been doing the rounds since the conclusion of Op Parakram in 2002 when the Indian Army was asked to mobilise on the Pakistani border after the attack on Parliament. It took the Army almost two months to fully deploy troops. Defence strategists have been talking about the new doctrine of the Indian Army that would enable it to deploy a full strength invasion force within a few days notice, unlike several weeks of preparation that were required earlier.  However, General Singh has said while active defence is part of the defensive strategy, India does not have any territorial ambitions. “We are not aggressors; however active defence is part of our defensive strategy. India is a peace loving nation and does not covet any territory,” he said.  While the Pakistani media has been getting shriller about the perceived doctrine, even suggesting several counter doctrines, the Army Chief has now clarified that the term is not a part of the Indian doctrine. “I think that ‘Cold Start’ is just a term bandied about by think tanks and media. It is neither a doctrine nor a military term in our glossary,” he said.  In November 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Washington that ‘Pakistan faces no threat whatsoever from our country and that is the stated position of the Government of India’. He made the statement after a comment by former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor about the possibility of a ‘limited war under a nuclear overhang’. The government was upset about the comment as Islamabad and Washington raised the issue with the former pointing fingers at India’s ‘aggressive nature’.






Army saves three from drowning in Haryana

 2010-09-08 23:30:00  , Sep 8 (IANS) Indian Army officials Wednesday saved three people - two women and a man - trapped in the flooded Ghaggar river in this Haryana town, officials said.  According to a defence spokesperson, the two women, who live in a slum rehabilitation colony here, had gone to collect firewood near the river bed. But they were swept away by the sudden gush of water caused by heavy rains in the upstream areas in the morning.  'A man tried to save them but he also lost his balance and was trapped by the river currents. After receiving information, an army rescue party of 51 engineer regiment of the engineer brigade immediately reached the spot,' the spokesperson said.  'The soldiers quickly laid a safety rope and saved their lives,' he added.  Panchkula is around 10 km from the state capital Chandigarh.






Top US admiral in town, may discuss issues related to China

TNN, Sep 9, 2010, 01.00am IST NEW DELHI: With a top US military general in town, India and US are likely to discuss China's rapidly expanding military capabilities and its implications for the Asia-Pacific region, among other regional security issues.  The visit of Pacific Command chief Admiral Robert F Willard, who commands all US forces in the Asia-Pacific region, comes at a time when the diplomatic ties between India and China have taken a hit with Beijing denying a visa to Northern Army Command chief Lt-General B S Jaswal as well as describing Jammu and Kashmir as "India-controlled Kashmir''.  Admiral Willard is slated to hold talks with national security adviser Shivshankar Menon, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar as well as the three Service chiefs, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, Admiral Nirmal Verma and General V K Singh.  Incidentally, Admiral Willard's visit also comes soon after the latest Pentagon report on the military capabilities of China, which held the 2.25-million strong People's Liberation Army has moved "more advanced and survivable'' solid-fuelled CSS-5 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles closer to the borders with India "to improve regional deterrence''. China is also developing contingency plans to move airborne troops into the region.  Even as India watches with increasing concern the expanding Chinese strategic footprint in the Indian Ocean Region as well as South Asia, defence minister A K Antony is slated to visit Washington towards the end of this month.  The US, on its part, has been pushing India to swiftly ink three bilateral military pacts -- Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation ( BECA) -- for quite some time now. India, however, remains unconvinced about the benefits of the three pacts.   Read more: Top US admiral in town, may discuss issues related to China - The Times of India



No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal