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Sunday, 19 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 19 Sep 2010

India, China discuss dates for boundary talks
Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 18 With tension between them escalating over a host of issues, India and China plan to hold the next meeting of the Special Representatives (SRs) of the two countries on the vexed boundary dispute as early as possible and certainly before the end of the year.  Official sources here said the two countries have been discussing mutually convenient dates for the 14th round of talks, slated to be held in Beijing. “We are trying to set the dates for the talks to be held sometime later this year,” they added. The talks will obviously be |very significant” in the backdrop of certain unsavoury developments in Sino-Indian ties, particularly the denial of visa by Beijing to an Indian Army General, who commands the Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir, and the subsequent decision by New Delhi to suspend all defence exchanges with China.  National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, a former Indian envoy to Beijing, will lead the Indian delegation at the talks while the Chinese side will be represented by State Councillor Dai Bingguo. This will be the first occasion when Menon will head the Indian side after the last round in New Delhi in August last year was conducted on India's behalf by the then NSA MK Narayanan.  New Delhi is quite worried over the increasing Chinese assertiveness in the bilateral relationship post-September 2008 when the world economic crisis erupted. The view in the South Block is that perhaps the Chinese think the United States is in terminal decline and it is time for Beijing to assert its position in ties with other major powers, including India.  China extended open support to countries opposed to giving a nuclear waiver to India at the nuclear suppliers’ group (NSG) meeting in Vienna in September 2008, followed soon by its attempt to stonewall an aid package from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, most of which, Beijing claims, belongs to it.  That was not the end but the beginning of an aggressive posturing by China in ties with India. Chinese troops made frequent incursions into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and deliberately left their footprints in order to provoke India almost throughout 2009. However, New Delhi sought to play down these incursions saying such incidents would continue to occur, pending a resolution of the boundary dispute.  However, the Chinese continued with their calculated moves against India, objecting to the Prime Minister’s visit for electioneering to Arunachal Pradesh and Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s visit to the north-eastern state in November last.  But what made the foreign office mandarins sit up and scrutinise the Chinese moves was when Beijing started stapling visas on separate sheets on the passports of Indian nationals from Jammu and Kashmir, thereby questioning the status of the state. Despite India’s objections, China has refused to change its visa policy for the residents of J&K. And now the denial of visa to Lt Gen BS Jaswal has sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries. The sources said China had already decided to deny visa to Lt Gen Jaswal in early July.  The Indian NSA, who visited Beijing as the Prime Minister’s special envoy the same month, had taken up the issue with Beijing but in vain. Menon had also made inquiries about China’s decision to build two nuclear reactors for Pakistan in clear violation of the NSG guidelines.  Reports about the presence of nearly 11,000 Chinese troops in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) have further increased India’s worries, provoking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to state recently that China wanted to get a foothold in South Asia.  The over a dozen rounds of border talks, which were started in 2003 after then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to Beijing, over the demarcation of the 3,500 km-border between the two countries have so far not yielded any significant results. However, the two countries have demonstrated their willingness and commitment to resolve the dispute through peaceful means.  At the last round of talks in New Delhi last year, the two countries had decided to establish a hotline between the two prime ministers. It is time to at least implement that decision, given the current state of relationship.   Recent hiccups  n Reports about the presence of nearly 11,000 Chinese troops in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of PoK  n Denial of visa by Beijing to Lt Gen BS Jaswal, the commander of the Indian forces in J&K  n China starts stapling visas on separate sheets on the passports of Indian nationals from Jammu and Kashmir  n Beijing extends open support to countries opposed to giving a nuclear waiver to India at the nuclear suppliers’ meet in Vienna in Sept 2008

AFSPA not arbitrary, says Army chief
Rise in infiltration bids in past two months  Chennai, September 18 The Army today expressed hope that the government will take a “correct” decision on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which it maintained was an “enabling provision” that is not “arbitrary”.  In the midst of a raging debate on the application of the AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, Army chief General VK Singh said there were “different” opinions on the issue. “The question is under deliberation with the government. Everybody has a different opinion about it and I think our leadership is considering it in all aspects. It is an enabling provision. It is not something which is arbitrary and I think the government will take a correct decision on what is to be done about it,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function at the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) here.  Asked if the AFSPA breached any contemporary international convention, the General said: “No. The Supreme Court has very clearly held that the provisions of the AFSPA are neither arbitrary nor are they against the Constitution of India.”  “We have told the Ministry of Defence whatever the Army has to say and the matter is under the consideration of the government,” he added.  The Army chief, who was here to review the passing out parade at the OTA, also said there have been more infiltration attempts into J&K in the past two months and “some elements” in Pakistan trying to exploit the unrest in the border state.  “In the past two months, approximately from the time this agitation started in Kashmir, infiltration levels have increased. We have seen more incidents. Attempts have increased and the number of terrorists killed has also increased,” said Gen Singh.  On reports about the Chinese military presence in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the Army Chief said it was not a cause of concern at the moment. — PTI

No body wants to go home - the pangs of a life after retirement
Retirement from service is the most dreadful moment for government servants, very disturbing and almost a calamity. All retire, but it is more traumatic for seniors to leave the loaves and fishes of office, and a life style that is wholly based on pe CJ: Faizi O Hashmi   Fri, Sep 17, 2010 16:26:05 IST
THAT TRAPPING of power is the stickiest glue, we always knew but the fatal attraction to government largesse is most amusing. The years of service/disservice, depending on the way you look at it, in the administration makes the babudom so totally dependent on government bounty that the very idea of being bereft of all this gives shiver down their spine and causes nervous fright to reflect on the day when they will have to break free from this glue, relinquish power and demit office.   Many perceive it almost as a catharsis. Power is an intoxicating ingestion that acts as a potent aphrodisiac. It remains insatiate and helps its protagonists going places; ‘kissa kursi ka’ is as unsullied today as it was through the pre or post-emergency years. Smug in their positions, they would be found surrounded by hangers-on, acting as great ego-boosters for their patrons who revel in the eulogy being sung in their admiration by these minions.   The coterie surrounding these powerful people is also able to draw some mileage both in kind and in cash but that is another story. However, it is their patrons that always have the last laugh. Sudden disappearance of all this is no less than an ordeal. Not surprisingly, it is real hard for them to think of a life without the hangers-on, the rigmarole, the creature comfort and what have you.   The record of last few years from all over the country as well as the union ministries will show a hugely interesting scenario whereby no body has gone home after superannuation. Clinging to power is a tribute to the resourcefulness of the mandarins, as also the resilience of the structure that they fashioned themselves to keep it subjugated, as well as for perpetuating their sway; the contraption so created has continually been able to cater to their agenda without much ado.   One should not fail to notice that this class creates work for itself, and then like amoeba proliferate to the utter bewilderment of the private sector observers. If nothing else they create work for each other and keep the wheel moving. It is the best innovation since the time of steam engine as it not only takes care of unemployment among senior bureaucrats but also provides a terrific pool of self-servers to the system.   A very imaginative way to maintain the status quo is to link the indispensability of existing incumbents to some national or international events. This helps in choosing the option of granting ‘extension’ or ‘reemployment’ look like an absolutely unassailable patriotic exercise that can only be faulted by traitors. It is made out that it would be impossible to do work shorn of such distinguished minds and ‘hands’, an euphemism in government for babus. It calls for high-level soft skills on the part of the initiators of such crafty propositions.   Also, it is a tribute to the acumen of such bright sparks to push to logical conclusion such flawlessly harmless and benign-looking offers. In the face of such determined support structure, doubting Thomases stand no chance; they get a drubbing and have to make a hasty retreat, and get relegated to the dustbins of power corridors. It becomes smooth sailing thereafter and all opposition melts away.   The worthies occupy comfortable and secure positions here and after, while the worthless obstructionists are relegated to the status of case studies for enlightening the minds of newly recruited babus in statecraft.   Another very interesting breed of officials these days have come to be known as 'consultants'. They are the most marvelous creation who can fix anything. Gone are the days when a junior engineer or a town planner, without holding any brief for them, made a project that was overseen by a chain of command up to the Chief Engineer. Now every thing is done by this ‘Mr. Fix it’ at a price that is stupendous, some times equivalent to the pay of a junior engineer for the entire length of his service.   Instead of going home our wannabe bosses get these plush jobs to perpetuate the duplication of the same errors that they committed while working for 35-40 years.   Most sought after jobs of our poor bureaucrats would be the envy of the power catalog of any developed country. On top of the listing are diplomatic postings, foreign assignments to international agencies/banks, placements in statutory bodies, in social science/cultural/linguistic bodies, universities; the inventory is endless. Most often it depends on the ingenuity of its appropriator – the smarter he/she is the more lucrative is the ROI.   Some enterprising among this breed park themselves in sinecures where there is no responsibility but only perquisites. Our commissions provide the best avenue for such bright spent sparks. Though not having the same prestige as before and many times also resented by their former peer, they are able to hold on to power for some more time by virtue of certain statutes which keep proliferating, again only to keep the commissions going.   Establishment of commissions is an end in itself; it has no better objective than providing job opportunities to elites from amongst the retired professionals.   Little less glamorous but still strong enough to goad some talented and influential persons to get into what is called committees, inquiry committees, one-man inquiry committee or even search committees, also needs a mention here. They are most versatile institutions that have been created for the ostensible purpose of humanizing governance but in reality for parking mandarins generally for shorter periods, but at smaller compensation.   So they are the poorer cousins but are still assured of a decent return on their investment of 35 years in government. Now, having some idea of what is going on, why cannot the de facto position be acknowledged as de jure? This will help in putting up the pretences and living the truth of life. Most persons in this age group are actually working.   It is best to have them continue working. It will add to the creation of wealth for the nation and also for the incumbents, and thereby add to the GDP and a raise in PCI too. Let there be complete convergence of national and personal interest – it will promote equity in governance – and thereby serve the interest of the largest number.   Therefore the government may start by extending the age of retirement to 65 years. The economic well being of the country dictates that the retirement age of babus should be raised.

Army restores water channel in Achinathang
The flash floods caused because of the cloud burst on August 6, 2010, destroyed the Achinathang village and destroyed the water channel which was the lifeline for their crops. Army immediately took on the responsibility to restore the water channel.
BESIDES CONTINUING various programmes for the betterment of the locals and providing basic infrastructure to locals in remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir under Op Sadhbhavana, the army came to fore front to assist the locals of Achinathang village in Batalik region to restore the water channel of the village in Leh area of Jammu and Kashmir.   Defence spokesperson revealed that the village is a popular picnic spot which lies midway between Khaltse and the famous Darchik village but the flash floods caused because of the cloud burst on August 6, 2010, destroyed the village completely forcing the villagers to live in tent ages and pray for more aid from the authorities.  The villagers were confident that they would get over the crisis and started diligently in the restoration process but found the water channel which was the lifeline for their crops totally damaged. Thus the villagers approached the General Officer Commanding, forever in Operations Division for assistance during his visit to the village to assess the damage caused.  GOC forever in Operations immediately took on the responsibility to assist the villagers and initiated an innovative idea after visiting the site by utilising corrugated galvanised iron (CGI) sheets to provide a channel for directing the water to the village.  The enthusiastic villagers expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the army authorities for the restoration of water channel. Their efforts were not lost in vain. Their hearts swelled with pride when they reported the matter to their superiors and mission accomplished, now onto


Hurriyat withdraws protest against Army in Kashmir 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: September 19, 2010 07:48 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  PLAYClick to Expand & Play Srinagar:  After call for protests outside Army camps on September 21, hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has withdrawn the protest. Instead, he has asked people to send emails to the Army.  The Hurriyat leader called the all-party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir an 'eye wash', and has refused to meet them.  Geelani had earlier announced a new protest calendar that included a plan to protest outside Army camps on September 21.  The Army on Thursday had appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to maintain calm and avoid confronting army garrisons at the instance of Hurriyat leaders In its public appeal, the Army said that it has always been a "People's Army," but that the Hurriyat is trying to create a wedge between the Army and the people. It appealed to Kashmiris to avoid falling into the "trap" of Hurriyat leaders.  Meanwhile the unrest continues in Kashmir. Three people were killed in violence that erupted on Saturday. (Read: 3 killed, 12 injured in fresh clashes)  One person was killed and 12 others were injured in firing in south Kashmir town of Anantnag. The violence erupted during the funeral procession of a student. In another firing incident, two people were killed in north Kashmir's Pattan. Police say the crowd tried to block Srinagar-Baramulla highway and resorted to stone pelting.  With these three deaths, the number of people killed in the Valley unrest has gone up to 100 in the last three months.

Major ceasefire violation by Pakistan again 
Press Trust of India, Updated: September 19, 2010 07:27 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  Jammu:  Violating the ceasefire again, Pakistani troops tonight targeted forward Indians posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch sector in which light arms to meduium guns were used in the heavy firing.  The firing at the two posts at Kranti and Kripan in Jhalas area occurred around 8 pm, according to Poonch SSP Manmohan Singh. Intermittent firing from the Pakistani side was still on nearly four hours after the launch of the strike, Singh added.  Indian troops guarding the LoC took positions and fired back in heavy exchanges for over two hours, Singh said.  No Defence spokesman was immediately available for comment.      Singh said the firing could be an attempt to aid an infiltration bid by providing cover to militants waiting to sneak into India.  There have been several instances of ceasefire violation this year.

AFSPA an enabling provision, not arbitrary: Army Chief
Press Trust of India / Chennai September 18, 2010, 12:07 IST  Amid a raging debate on dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and its partial withdrawal from Kashmir, Army Chief Gen V K Singh today said the AFSPA was an "enabling provision" and not "arbitrary".  The army has given its views on the issue and the government will take the "correct decision", he said.  Gen Singh, who was here to review the Passing Out Parade at the Officers Training Academy, also said there have been more infiltration attempts into Jammu and Kashmir in the last two months and did not rule out "some methods" in Pakistan trying to exploit the unrest in the border state.  To questions by reporters on the demand for diluting the AFSPA, Gen Singh said it was "an enabling provision, not arbitrary".  "I think the government will take a correct decision on what is to be done about it," he said.  To repeated queries on the issue, he said, "You all know that the Supreme Court has very clearly said that provisions of AFSPA are neither arbitrary nor against the Constitution."  "We have told the Ministry of Defence whatever the Army has to say and the matter is under the consideration of the government," he added.  On infiltration, he said, "There are more attempts... more incidents in the last two months. Overall, there has been decrease in violence, but in the last two months, infiltration has increased and so, the number of terrorists killed."  He said it could be a coincidence that there have been more infiltration attempts since the unrest erupted.  "There can be some linkage. There can be some methods in Pakistan trying to exploit the situation," Gen Singh said at the same time to a question on the Kashmir situation.  The Army Chief's comments came a day after India asked Pakistan to take effective action against infiltration from across the LoC and dismantle terror infrastructure as it is people of Jammu and Kashmir who suffered its consequences.  Hitting back at Pakistan for asking India to "exercise restraint" in Kashmir, New Delhi had also told Islamabad to take effective action against infiltration.  On reports about Chinese military presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the Army Chief said it did not cause concern at the moment.  "We are watching it. If it becomes a matter of concern, we will have to go back to the government for action required to be taken."

Geelani’s protest appeal baffles Indian leaders 
Army’s top brass tells defence minister soldiers were bound to shoot in ‘self defence’ if their camps were attacked  By Iftikhar Gilani  NEW DELHI: Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s appeal to Kashmiri youth to hold demonstrations before the Indian Army has raised an alarm in the already flabbergasted Indian leadership, and it is trying to hammer out a way out from the emerging situation.  Indian Defence Minister AK Antony and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon held an hour-long meeting on Saturday evening to study the implications of Geelani’s appeal as they felt the army had been unnecessarily dragged into the political arena.  The army’s top brass have conveyed to the defence minister that their soldiers were bound to shoot in ‘self defence’ if their camps were attacked.  Even the leaders would not be allowed to handover a memorandum to officers in the camp as it could be considered provocation, Antony has been warned.  While the army has already issued an appeal, urging public to desist from such an action, an all-party delegation is likely to ask Geelani to withdraw the protest call, sources said.  Antony and Menon are believed to have discussed with the top defence brass regarding a controversy over the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that gives army officers legal immunity for their actions.  They discussed a necessity to issue the clear-cut instructions to defence officers not to speak on politically-sensitive issues as it created complications and confusion. They felt the government was always there to protect the rights of defence forces and as such the latter should not feel threatened to make statements on their own.  The issue cropped up in the meeting specifically held to discuss the Hurriyat’s threatened protests before the army and security forces-camps because of army chief General VK Singh again speaking on AFSPA to assert that it is only an enabling law and not one giving arbitrary powers to the forces.  Though the general said the army had given its views to the Defence Ministry and it was for the political leadership to decide on revoking the law in Jammu and Kashmir and not the army, Antony and Menon noted. Early this week, Indian Air Force chief PV Naik, who is also chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, had also sought to comment on the AFSPA that the soldiers engaged in civil duties deserve all the legal protection.  Meanwhile, the unending violence that began in the Kashmir valley on June 11 completed 100 days, with one more killing in police firing in Anantnag on Saturday, raising the death toll to over 90. Five others were also wounded in the police action to foil an attempt to set on fire the house of a mainstream politician. Though name of the politician was not given, Anantnag is residence of Mehboob Beg, a National Conference MP.  The house of a policeman was set on fire by a mob late on Friday night in Pinjoora village in Shopian district in south, while the demonstrators also set on fire the shop of another policeman in Pattan area of Baramulla district.  Curfew was imposed in Srinagar in the wake of violent protests and incidents of arson breaking out as people emerged after the Eid prayers last Saturday. It was extended to most of the valley.  The state government has also extended restrictions on movements in the four-km deep border belt of Kupwara district from 8pm to 8am under Section 144 of the CrPC for two months to check infiltration.

Pak trying to exploit unrest in Kashmir: Army
TNN, Sep 19, 2010, 07.40am IST CHENNAI: Pakistan is trying to take advantage of the unrest in Kashmir as indicated by a few infiltration attempts across the border, Army chief General VK Singh said on Saturday.  "There have been more attempts at infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir in the last two months. There could be some links (between the attempts and the situation in the border state). Pakistan is trying to exploit the situation," said Gen Singh, who was in Chennai to review the passing out parade at the Officers' Training Academy (OTA).  The army chief's comments came a day after India asked Pakistan to take effective action against infiltration from across the Line of Control (LoC) and dismantle terror infrastructure as it is people of Jammu and Kashmir who suffer its consequences.  Asked about the presence of the China's People's Liberation Army ( PLA) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Gen Singh said that at the moment it was not a matter of concern as the Chinese military was involved in some infrastructure projects there. "We are watching. If it becomes a matter of concern, we will go to the government for required action," he said.  On the demand for dilution of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and its partial withdrawal from Kashmir, Gen Singh said as the Supreme Court observed, the provisions of AFSPA are neither arbitrary nor in violation of the Constitution of India. "We have told the ministry of defence whatever the army has to say and the matter is under the government's consideration," he said.  On the role of women officers in combat operations, Gen Singh noted that it needs a deeper look as it was not a simple question of saying whether they have to go to combat or not. "When the army is in action, be it on the frontline or as support system, everybody is in combat,"' he said.  After completing 11 months of rigorous training, 244 young men and women passed out of the prestigious OTA on Saturday. Of these, 15 male officer cadets are from the Afghan National Army and two lady cadets are from Lesotho, a land-locked country in Africa.  After an impeccable drill and march-past at the famed Parameshwaran Drill Square, the young men and women, who till now were addressed as Gentlemen and Lady Cadets, walked past The Final Step', marking their induction into the Indian Army. After changing into their respective regiment's uniform, the 157 men and 70 women took an oath, sang Roshini', the OTA song, and the national anthem, before bursting into joy. Saturday's passing out parade marked the end of the 90th short service course (SSC) for men and the fourth SSC for women. In the last 47 tears, around 24,000 cadets have passed out of OTA.  The young officers' parents, relatives and friends were in attendance to cheer their induction into the various regiments of the Indian Army. Gen Singh urged the young men and women to develop a global outlook and indepth understanding of international affairs and security calculus.  He said the present environment was one of unprecedented complexity, ambiguity, information overload and rapid organisational change. "Be it the conventional war or proxy war, where most of you will find your immediate assignment, you will have to learn to fully understand these complexities and challenges of modern warfare and come out with innovative and practical solutions," said Gen Singh.  He handed over the Sword of Honour and Gold Medal to Lady Cadet A Divya the first lady cadet in the history of Indian Army to receive the honour -- for standing first in the order of merit. The Chief of Army Staff Banner was given to Naushera Company.


  1. Hi Sir,
    Just wanna inform that few articles, important ones are being missed out on ur blog. Today there was an editorial by MJ Akbar, and a serious one, on Army and AFSPA. Request upload that for everyone's knowledge..

  2. Sorry, seem to have missed that out. Which paper was it in?



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