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Friday, 24 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 24 Sep 2010





Vacate J&K parts: Krishna to Pak 
New York, September 23 Stating that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter of India, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has asked Pakistan to end its illegal occupation of some parts of the state before advising New Delhi.  “Kashmir is an internal matter of India,” said Krishna, who is here on a 10-day visit to attend the annual UN General Assembly meeting.  Pointing out that Pakistan is in “illegal occupation of some parts of Jammu and Kashmir”, Krishna said: “It is desirable that they vacate that and then start advising India as to how to go about doing things in Kashmir.”  “We have taken certain actions in terms of assisting what needs to be done in Kashmir... An all party delegation has just gone back to Delhi and they have had wide ranging discussions across the board from all shades of opinion. So, India is fully conscious of its responsibilities... institutional mechanism and individual mechanism will be put in place so that the genuine grievances of Kashmir and the people of Kashmir will be addressed squarely and directly,” the External Affairs Minister told a TV channel.  Meanwhile, upping the ante, Pakistan today said there can be no result-oriented discussions with India on Kashmir unless New Delhi stops treating it as the country's integral part and seeking a solution within the ambit of the Constitution.  Intensifying the criticism of the situation in J&K, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit called on India to “revisit its approach and its Kashmir policy rather than trying cosmetic measures here and there because this is not going to bring about any difference as far as the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is concerned.”  “Unless India takes a fresh look at its Kashmir policy, does some introspection and stops treating J&K as its integral part and stops harping on seeking a solution within the Constitution, we do not believe that we can really have any meaningful or result-oriented discussions with India on this (issue),” Basit told a weekly news briefing at Islamabad. — PTI








CIA’s private army in Pak to hunt Al-Qaida
The clandestine Afghan force reportedly drawn out from private militias and armies of former warlords has been trained in CIA’s facilities in the US  New York, September 23 The CIA is running a 3,000-strong covert army to hunt down key leaders of Taliban and Al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with US officials saying that the force is proving “highly effective”.  The heavily armed irregular force manned entirely by Afghan personnel operates in small units called counter-terrorism Pursuit Teams is modelled after the US Special Forces, the officials said confirming the disclosure made in new book ‘Obama’s wars’ by journalist Bob Woodward.  The brigade-sized force, officials said, is “one of the best Afghan fighting force that has made major contribution to stability and security”.  The stunning disclosures in the book which is making waves for laying bare the policy divisions and the personality clashes among the Obama advisors on the Afghan policy may complicate relations between Washington and Islamabad.  The book said the force trained and bankrolled by the CIA and had been operating for nearly eight years to hunt Al-Qaida and Taliban commanders.  The clandestine Afghan force reportedly drawn out from private militias and armies of former warlords has been trained in CIA’s facilities in the US.  The force has been designed as an elite unit to pursue “highly sensitive covert operations into Pakistan”, Washington Post reported.  New York Times said, “Firing missiles from unmanned drones patrolling over Pakistan’s turbulent northwest tribal region at a rate that has outstripped the Bush administration’s record is bad enough and now to have brigade size paramilitary units operating inside Pakistan marks a significant expansion of the covert war that the Obama administration has waged there.” These forces, the paper said, conducted clandestine raids into Pakistan as part of stepped-up campaign against Al-Qaida and Afghan Taliban havens there.  “The covert army captures and kills Taliban fighters and seeks support in Tribal areas,” the NYT reported and quoted Pentagon officials as saying that these Afghan units were closely working with American Green Berets to go after Taiban fighters. — PTI









Withdraw AFSPA: Left
Faraz Ahmad/TNS  New Delhi, September 23 Even as the BJP avoided any direct comment on the visit of the all-party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir, , the Left parties and the LJP have demanded withdrawal of the AFSPA from the state in a phased manner.  CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta, a member of the delegation led by Home Minister P Chidambaram, said: “Withdraw AFSPA at least from Srinagar. Nothing prevents you (the government) from imposing it again, if the situation demands.”  The CPI leader expressed serious reservations on the Army chief and the Joint Chief of Staffs opposing on record such suggestions. He said, “We call the Government of India not to allow the Army to become political. Who gave the Army chief the permission to comment on AFSPA?”








Let's treat our forces better
September 24, 2010   7:00:34 AM  Hiranmay Karlekar  Forgetting the signal contribution of the Armed Forces to the country and running them down will prove disastrous  September 22 came and went. Who remembered it? Not the television channels, nor the print media. This is a shame. On that day in 1965 the second India-Pakistan war was ended by a cease-fire. Neither side had gained a decisive victory but India clearly had the edge, holding 1,800 sq km of Pakistani territory against, 550 sq km of Indian territory held by Pakistan at the end of the war. And this despite the fact that the Pakistani Army was much better equipped. It had M-47 and M-48 Patton, M-4 Sherman, and M4 Chaffee tanks. India had to make do with M-4 Sherman, Centurion, AMX and PT-76 tanks. The Indian Air Force played an equally glorious role, particularly in halting thrusts by Pakistan’s armoured formations in the plains of Punjab and the Akhnoor sector in Jammu, and damaging Pakistan’s airbases. There were no major naval conflicts.  It was mainly because of the valour, courage and resourcefulness of the officers and men of the Indian Army and Air Force that the country could hold its head high at the end of the war. Yet, India did not remember them on the 45th anniversary of the cease-fire. No memorial ceremony was held to honour those that fell; not a word was said in praise of the gallantry they displayed. There was, of course, nothing surprising about the amnesia. The nation lionises personnel of the Armed Forces during conflicts and forgets them in times of peace.  Nor has the political leadership shown anything near the urgency it should have in ensuring that the Army, Air Force and Navy have the best weapons, combat vehicles, aircraft and naval vessels available globally. This holds even now, when the country faces a surge in Pakistan-sponsored terrorist strikes as well as the possibility of things erupting in a full-fledged India-Pakistan war, in the next couple of years, a war which Pakistan will fight with its arsenal swelled by massive military and financial aid from the United States. Instead, a vocal section talks of reaching out to organisations in Kashmir that seek Jammu & Kashmir’s secession from India, demands the abrogation/ significant dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, and calls for the withdrawal of the Army and para-military forces from the State.  It is not difficult to foresee the consequences of acceding to their demands.  The withdrawal of the Army and the para-military forces from Jammu & Kashmir will mean that the mountain passes along the Line of Control and International border will not be India’s line of defence against terrorist infiltrators and invading Pakistani forces. They will come down virtually unopposed to the plains of Jammu using the road infrastructure built in the State for development and defence. The revocation/modification of the AFSPA will handicap the Army whenever it is called upon to fight insurgency/terrorism, not only in Jammu & Kashmir but wherever it is deployed for the task. Equally, it will be a vindication of those who have been trying to tar the image of the Armed Forces and project them as trigger-happy and prone to atrocities, which in turn is liable to demoralise the forces, inhibit their actions and further undermine their counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. This is something the country can hardly afford.  The point needs to be made because the Armed Forces have been repeatedly sent to fight wars and undertake counter-insurgency operations with one hand tied behind their backs. In 1962, they were sent to the heights of the Himalaya ranges, ill-armed and ill-supplied. They had .303 Lee Enfield rifles, when the Chinese had semi-automatic ones. They had in most places two-inch mortars when the Chinese not only had eight-inch ones but in much larger numbers. One reason for this was that our ordnance factories were making coffee percolators when they should have been making guns and munitions. In places like Se-La pass, jawans had to pull the 25-pounder self-propelled guns physically through roads hardly equipped for taking them up. Many of them were not used to the great heights to which they were catapulted from the plains and had only summer uniforms to protect themselves against the freezing cold. Everywhere, they were hugely outnumbered by the Chinese who were much better armed, clothed, and supplied as their supply lines were much shorter. Yet in most places, they fought almost to the last man and the last bullet. The battles at Goswamy Hill, Rezang-La, Gurung Hill, Dhola and Walong will forever stand testimony to the valour, fighting ability and patriotism for which the officers and men of the Indian Army are justly famous the world over.  As seen above, they performed remarkably well in 1965 when they were relatively less disadvantaged. And they won a decisive victory in 1971 when they were prepared and were aided by Bangladesh’s Mukti Bahini, whose personnel provided valuable field intelligence inputs and combat support in the eastern sector.  Apart from outstanding performance by the Army and the Indian Air Force, the war saw, for the first time since independence, the Indian Navy engaged in major operations. In an operation code-named ‘Operation Trident’, the Western Fleet devastated the Karachi harbour, destroyed several Pakistani naval and commercial vessels and critically important reserve fuel tanks on the night of December 4-5, 1971. In ‘Operation Python’, the Indian Navy attacked Karachi roads, destroying the remaining fuel tanks and three merchant navy ships, on the night of December 8-9. Operating in the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean, the Eastern Fleet played havoc in the Chittagong area as well as off the Kulna coastline besides sinking the Pakistani submarine, PNS Ghazi. It suffered a major loss when INS Khukri went down in the Arabian Sea with the loss of 18 officers and 176 seamen. The Kargil story is too fresh in people’s minds to require re-telling.  The threat India faces from Pakistan, Al Qaeda and the Taliban will grow in the next several years if the Americans withdraw from Afghanistan with a face-saving treaty that enables a Taliban / Al Qaeda take-over of that country. There may even be a war. India will then require its Armed Forces to be adequately equipped and their morale high. Forgetting their signal contribution to the country and running them down will then prove disastrous. So will be indulgence to organisations that will sabotage India’s war efforts.









Remove AFSPA
 If government of India wants to win over the ‘hearts and minds’ of Kashmiri people, the draconian law must go     Ravi Nitesh The valley of Kashmir is burning; people are shouting slogans against state government, mourning the death of kids, teenagers and women. The security forces are on killing spree. Schools, colleges and educational institutes are closed for three months now, people are denied from their basic amenities.  The levels of insecurity have risen to new heights. The situation reveals that people who are on streets aren’t confused instead it is a revolution which is spreading like a jungle fire. People are ready to give everything even their lives for the cause of freedom. Now the question arises why this demand? In fact, it is just because India and state government have failed to win over the hearts and minds of people and security forces are continuously violating the basic human rights in Kashmir. J&K has special status as per Article 370 of Indian constitution but if anger, hate and dissatisfaction still persist it means something is grossly wrong with the approach and method. If we try to look in history we will find that the main reason of present situation is AFSPA. Security forces, especially India Army, are violating human rights. We have already found the proofs of fake and illegal killings, encounters, rape and bonded labour by security forces. Apart from that, it is violation of right to deploy army into civil areas for long time. It was not war like situation there but government has not tried for removal of Army. It is affecting badly on psychology of people there, especially on children and women. Now, people are feeling insecure because of their presence. If government really care for people of Kashmir there is a need to relocate the forces to border areas and hand over the internal control to J&K police. It may help to cool down the anger of common people. Armed forces should have some powers to maintain law and order in civil areas but it should not be at the cost of human lives. Force is no solution to maintain law and order, approach should be flexible and less forceful such as protection through police, civil defence etc. Removal of AFSPA is the primary need of valley. Though CCS has not found any decision on this issue but still a hope is there and its now matter of New Delhi's courage and strategies that how it will arrange it.









Army imparting commando training to Haryana police
2010-09-23 18:40:00  Chandigarh, Sep 23 (IANS) Army instructors have started imparting commando training to Haryana Police officers to conduct counter-insurgency operations, a senior home department official said here Thursday.  Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary-Home Krishna Mohan said that 40 instructors from the Indian Army had already arrived and started training policemen at the sprawling 500-acre Madhuban police training Complex in Karnal, 130 km from here.  Haryana Police officials will be trained in commando operations, defusing and disposing bombs, handling improvised explosive devices (IEDs), small arms and weapons, and conducting counter-insurgency operations.  'They would be divided into three batches. While one batch will be stationed at Madhuban, the other two will be sent to the Bhondsi (near Gurgaon) and Sunaria training centres,' the home secretary said.  He said the army officers and personnel will be on deputation for a period of two years.  The state government earlier took up the matter with the union Ministry of Defence seeking army trainers for the state police.









Peaceful provocation
The Indian Express Posted online: Sat Aug 28 2010, 23:50 hrs In refusing permission to welcome the head of the Indian army’s Northern Command as part of a standard, long-planned, high-level defence exchange, the Chinese authorities have to have known precisely what they were doing. The trip had been decided in January, when at the annual defence dialogue, one general-level Indian officer was supposed to be selected to visit Chinese installations. When Lieutenant General B.S. Jaswal was picked, however, the Chinese objected, saying that he was unwelcome because he “controlled” a “disputed area” — Jammu and Kashmir. Yet barely a year ago the current army chief — then heading Eastern Command, which includes Arunachal Pradesh, still claimed by China as South Tibet — was invited to China for a similar set of meetings. The government has responded by suspending defence exchanges.  This move should be seen for what it is: ramping up China’s assertiveness, and a clear reminder to India that it can be kept off-balance — unless, that is, India adjusts its expectations nimbly. The simple truth is that the Chinese establishment has been behind enough unpredictable actions to show that the goalposts have been moved. Without having the expectation of such provocation, New Delhi is having to react each time with equanimity. Remember how an Asian Development Bank aid package was blocked because of a mention of Arunachal? Or how visa applications from residents of J&K were processed on appended pieces of paper? This is a pattern of behaviour for China now, one not just visible in its relationship with India: its relations with Vietnam seemed on the up-and-up, till the Chinese suddenly ramped up their rhetoric on territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and a Chinese general said the US was “using Vietnam” against China.  India and China will continue to enhance trade possibilities, and there are enough stakeholders in this engagement in both countries. But after two decades of tranquil relations between the two countries, India needs to adjust to the challenge of power rising on its borders. Now the traditional assumptions of our foreign policy may no longer be valid. This has two implications. One, militarily, on the ground we need better infrastructure on the borders. Two, we need to be more clear-eyed in taking stock of the adjustments that need to be made given China’s phenomenal rise.




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