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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 28 Sep 2010

India, Japan set to boost military ties
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 27 Amidst diplomatic tension between Tokyo and Beijing, China’s two neighbours Japan and India today signalled a significant boost in their military ties. The two nations will conduct their first ever Army-to-Army talks starting tomorrow in New Delhi. Separately, the Indian Air Force Chief will be visiting Japan.  The four-day talks come at time when China is exerting pressure on Japan and the two countries are locked in a bitter dispute over the control of un-inhabited islands in the South East China Sea. India, early this month, upped its military relations with South Korea, another China’s neighbour. South Korea and China see each other with suspicion largely due to China’s “friendship” with North Korea - a major irritant for the South Korea.  Apart from the Army-level talks that will plan joint exercises and military exchanges between India and Japan, the IAF Chief Air Chief Marshall P V Naik will embark on a four-day visit to Tokyo tomorrow. "Naik will be on a goodwill visit to Tokyo….. while a Japanese Army team will be in Delhi to chalk out programmes aimed at furthering army-to-army contact," Defence Ministry officials confirmed here today.  Naik's visit comes three years after then Air Force chief S P Tyagi had gone to Tokyo on a visit. Naik, in his capacity as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, will be meeting with his Japanese defence forces' Chief of Staff General Kenichiro Hokazono when they would debate regional security issues. He would also be taking a tour of military installations of Japan and a couple of their training institutes during the visit. Gen Hokazono is expected to pay a return visit to Delhi next year for the same purpose.  Meanwhile, the visiting Japanese Army team will be led by its Director (Policy and Programme) Major General Koichiro Bansho and three other officers. “They will draw up a calendar of joint events,” a senior official said. India has such an arrangement with eight other countries like the US, the UK, Israel, France, Australia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Singapore. Notably, Bangladesh is on either side of the Asian divide. The country had military relations with China also. Singapore is more on the Indian side.  In the four-day discussion, India and Japan are expected to share their ‘mutual security concerns’ and issues and review the bilateral army-to-army relations. The mutual security concerns are aimed at China, said a source while adding that it is natural.  Defence Minister A K Antony had visited Japan in November 2009. During that visit, Antony and his Japanese counterpart Toshimi Kitazawa had reviewed the on-going defence related interactions and explored ways to enhance such exchanges for mutual benefit.  Among the issues discussed then were conducting joint exercises between the two armed forces and exchange of students in their respective defence training institutions and the possibilities of co-ordination of their respective Navy's efforts in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and other maritime security challenges.

  Central formula for Kashmir  The key lies in effective follow-up
  The Centre’s eight-point initiative for Jammu and Kashmir announced by Home Minister P. Chidambaram after a high-powered meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is welcome though belated. Based as it is largely on the inputs received from members of a 39-member all-party delegation that had visited Srinagar on September 20 and 21, it reflects a broad consensus at least among parties at the Centre and the ruling coalition in the State. That Kashmir’s main opposition party the PDP led by Ms Mehbooba Mufti which had refused to meet the all-party delegation has expressed cautious optimism on this package is also a hopeful sign. The PDP has been a spoiler consistently in recent months and the fact that it has not damned the package is an indication that it is testing the waters amid indications that the people are fed up of the violence and destructive mindsets of the separatists. This is an opportunity for the Centre to isolate separatists like Syed Ali Geelani who continue to sing the hardline tune.  It is heartening that the Centre has decided to appoint a group of interlocutors under the chairmanship of an eminent person to begin the process of “sustained dialogue” in Kashmir with political parties, groups, students, civil society and other stakeholders. But it would indeed be vital that the chairperson and the members be chosen with utmost care. The Central ‘advice’ to the State Government to release all students detained for stone-pelting and similar violations of law and to withdraw all charges against them is well-meaning and apt. But there must be a clear stipulation that a repeat offence would not be condoned. While magnanimity with one-time offenders is in order, the signal that goes out must not be one of weakness.  While a review of the deployment of security forces in the Kashmir valley by the Unified Command is in order, it is prudent that no assurance has been given on withdrawal or dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. In the ultimate analysis, the proof of the pudding would lie in its eating. If this is not to be yet another failed initiative, concerted follow-up action is imperative.

  Engaging with Pakistan It’s a case of smoke and mirrors
by Arundhati Ghose  The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘schizophrenic’ as that ‘characterized by mutually contradictory or inconsistent elements’ and ‘schizophrenia’ as ‘withdrawal from reality into fantasy and delusion’. A person can be diagnosed as schizophrenic, but a State with all its institutions, military and political structures, its press and civil society? Or is it a case of smoke and mirrors? Pakistan has presented to the world several images, most of them contradictory and inconsistent, leading to apprehensions and reactions that are themselves often contradictory.  Let me at the outset offer a disclaimer: I am an outsider to the world of Pakistan watchers and commentators, dependent on reports in the media from Pakistan, India and the world. I am also a citizen of a neighbouring yet hostile country, but am unaffected by the hostility as I have no nostalgia for a country towards which reactions of my fellow citizens are complex and contradictory. It is in this spirit that I have dared to comment on what appears to me the possibility of a looming and seemingly intractable threat to the well-being of my country, its citizens and its ambitions and aspirations.  Recently, the Pakistani press reported that Pakistani Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh had said that his country was on the verge of ‘bankruptcy’, that it might not be possible for the State to pay salaries to its employees next month. In any other country, this would have been headline news, and there would have been widespread alarm. However, this was Pakistan, and the news was reported in a newspaper as an almost routine statement.  That Pakistan is facing a multitude of challenges cannot be denied: home-grown terrorism, the involvement of the country in the Af-Pak war, the floods and, of course, the stuttering economy. For a nascent democracy the challenges are indeed formidable. Add to this witches’ cauldron the separate and ambiguous role of the military, which after several decades in power, appears to retain an existence distinct from the State, and its severe paranoia about India, the desire not only for political and military parity with India, a State several times its size, but also a desire, as pointed out by Ahmed Rashid, a well-known Pakistani writer and journalist, to be recognised as a regional power. This is where the smoke begins to appear — a bankrupt regional power? Is it conceivable? Apparently it is, if the country is Pakistan. And, more stunningly, this appears to be accepted by many in the world.  Several months earlier, there was a concerted outcry that Pakistan was failing as a State and that this would lead to chaos not only in the State itself with its terrorist groups and nuclear weapons, but also in the region, indeed, in the world as a whole. This was at the time that the US, in a rabbit-in-the headlights situation in its messy war in Afghanistan, was seeking to pass a bill in its Congress transferring huge amounts of money to Pakistan, both to the economy and the military, in the forlorn hope that this would make the Pakistanis more friendly to them and more willing to back-stop them in Afghanistan. Stephen Cohen, an American scholar who has tried perhaps the hardest to understand Pakistan, has memorably likened that State to a man who holds a gun to his own head if he is not helped — with money, arms and other forms of support. Pakistan did not fail, of course, and not because millions of dollars had been poured in by the US and Pakistan’s other allies. And it did not make the US any more popular in Pakistan nor did the Pakistani army substantially support the flailing US efforts in Afghanistan. Here is where the mirrors come in.  The Pakistanis, after much talk of sovereignty and national pride etc, accepted the US largesse; much of the money went to the Pakistani army to bolster its support for the US troops in Afghanistan, who were fighting the Taliban and al Qaida, who used bases in Pakistan to launch their sallies against the US troops and who were supported by the Pakistani army, which had been paid by the US to help it fight the…the mirror-effect is dizzying. Add to this that the US sees the Pakistani army as a part of the solution of the war in Afghanistan, and possibly in post-NATO withdrawal Afghanistan as well.  Yet it would seem that the US is fighting a proxy war with that very Army. The US munificence could not possibly be funding the entire army and its operations and the country, the Pakistani Finance Minister has said, is about to face bankruptcy. So where is the Pakistani army getting its resources from? It has received promises of a soft loan of about US $250 million from the Chinese for two nuclear reactors and is in the process of purchasing from its all-weather friend other military hardware such as high-altitude anti- ballistic missile systems. According to a Pakistani defence analyst, the Chinese HQ-9/ 2000 is being considered “as no other supplier will sell these types of missiles to Pakistan.” Yet the Pakistani Ambassador to the US is “imploring” the world to help Pakistan deal with the very real catastrophe of floods and Pakistan’s President is asking the international financial institutions to write off the country’s outstanding debt. The missiles could not be for free, or could they?  Trying to look through the smoke and mirrors, one can only conclude that there are two States — one a poor developing country, a nascent democracy, trying to cope with floods, terrorism and violence which claims victims almost every other day, stunned by the immensity of its problems and its fragile economy and reportedly believing that friendly relations with India can only help its development and prosperity, and the other, a well-funded army with regional, if not global, ambitions and an agenda that includes a visceral hatred of India and does not appear to take the problems facing the first as its own. To be fair, they have been helping with floods, but almost like a foreign entity. Relief material delivered by the army is marked “Gift of the Army/Corps Commander”.  Should this be of concern to us? I am one of those who support the Prime Minister’s belief that we have to engage with Pakistan in our own interest. But which Pakistan?

ISI chief told CIA that his rogue elements were behind 26/11
Watergate journo reveals who were Mumbai plotters  Washington, September 27 Less than a month after the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan's spy agency chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha had admitted before the CIA that the terror strikes had ISI links but claimed it was not an "authorised" operation and carried out by "rogue" elements, according to a new book.  However, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) later received reliable intelligence that the ISI was directly involved in the training for Mumbai, says the book entitled 'Obama's War' written by investigative American journalist Bob Woodward.  According to the book, the then President George W Bush during his meetings with his top aides had said that the terrorist attack on Mumbai was just like 9/11.  "President Bush called his national security team into the Oval Office as Mumbai sorted through the blood and rubble.  You guys get planning and do what you have to do to prevent a war between Pakistan and India, Bush told his aides. The last thing we need right now is a war between two nuclear-power states," Woodward says in his book which hit the stands today.  Giving an insight into the thinking and actions of the Bush Administration during and immediately after the Mumbai attacks, Woodward writes that an "upset Bush asked his aides about contingency plans for dealing with Pakistan," given his policy of "zero tolerance" for terrorists and their enablers.  "This is like 9/11, he (Bush) said," Woodward wrote.  "The United States military did not have 'war' plans for an invasion of Pakistan. Instead, it had and continues to have one of the most sensitive and secret of all military contingencies, what military officials call a 'retribution' plan in the event of another 9/11-like attack on the US by terrorists based in Pakistan," the book says.  Under this plan, the US would bomb or attack every known al-Qaeda compound or training camp in the US intelligence database. "Some locations might be outdated, but there would be no concern, under the plan, for who might be living there now. The attribution plan called for a brutal punishing attack on at least 150 or more associated camps," Woodward says.  According to Woodward, within 48 hours of the Mumbai attack, the then CIA Director Mike Hayden contacted Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani.  "CIA intelligence showed no direct ISI links, Hayden told him. These are former people who are no longer employees of the Pakistani government," he wrote.  "Bush informed the Indians himself. He called Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with whom he had a strong personal relationship. My intelligence shows that the new Pakistani government is not involved, Bush said. It looked like a war had been averted for the moment," Woodward writes.  "In a call to Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of the Pakistani ISI, Hayden said, "We've got to get to the bottom of this. This is a big deal'," the book says.  He urged Pasha to come clean and disclose all.  On the day after Christmas, Pasha flew to the United States, where he briefed Hayden at CIA headquarters, the author writes.  "Pasha admitted that the planners of the Mumbai attacks - at least two retired Pakistani Army officers - had ISI links, but this had not been an authorised ISI operation. It was rogue. There may have been people associated with my organisation who were associated with this," Pasha said.  "That's different from authority, direction and control," Pasha is quoted as saying by Woodward.  According to Woodward, Pasha provided details that fit with the picture developed by US intelligence.  "Hayden told Bush he was convinced it was not an official Pakistani-sponsored attack, but it highlighted the problem of the sanctuaries in Pakistan. The ease of the planning and execution, the low cost, and the alarming sophistication of the communications system that LeT had used were all troubling," he said.  The author says that the Mumbai terrorists spoke with handlers back in Pakistan with satellite phones that went through a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service in New Jersey, making the calls difficult, if not impossible to trace and routed them in a way that also concealed the locations of those talking.  "The FBI was horrified by the low-cost, high-tech operation that had paralysed Mumbai. American cities were just as vulnerable. A senior FBI official responsible for thwarting similar attacks in the United States said, Mumbai changed everything," the book says.  In his book, Woodward writes that the open secret is that LeT was created and continues to be funded by the Pakistani ISI.  "The intelligence branch of the Pakistani military uses LeT to inflict pain and hardship on India, according to US intelligence. These gunmen had, quite possibly, committed an act of war," Woodward says. — PTI

India objects to Pak’s remark on Kashmir
Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 27 India today chided Pakistan for its latest remarks on Jammu and Kashmir even as top diplomats of the countries were trying to fix a bilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in New York.  “India’s position on the state of Jammu and Kashmir is unequivocal and well-articulated,” government sources here said. They were reacting to Pakistan foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit’s statement asking New Delhi to “revisit its approach and its Kashmir policy rather than taking cosmetic measures here and there’’ as that would not bring about any change in the situation.  In the past two weeks, the two countries have exchanged sharp words over Kashmir with New Delhi accusing Islamabad of meddling in India’s internal affairs.  This verbal duel has come at a time when attempts are on to make External Affairs Minister SM Krishna meet his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmud Qureshi on the margins of the UN General Assembly meet.  If their meeting materialises, it would be the first time that they will hold substantive talks after their failed talks in Islamabad in mid-July.

Commandos, helicopters guarding CWG venues 
Press Trust of India, Updated: Mon, Sep 27, 2010 16:02 IST Commandos, helicopters guarding CWG venues New Delhi: Helicopters with armed commandos were on Monday pressed into service to ensure a ground-to-air security cover at and around the Commonwealth Games Village and the competition venues here.       Helicopters of Indian Army were seen hovering over the Games Village, which has a total build-up area of 63.5 hectare, at regular intervals.      Official sources said the helicopters have been deployed to bolster the entire security mechanism with troops of Delhi Police, paramilitary forces and the National Security Guard commandos handling the responsibility on the land.      The government has also decided to deploy three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Games security to carry out surveillance and keep vigil at regular intervals More than one lakh security personnel have been deployed for the Games including about 175 companies (17500 personnel) of paramilitary forces, 3000 commandos, 100 anti-sabotage teams, 200 dogs and 15 bomb disposal squads.      About 150 personnel of the Delhi Police's Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) have been trained by the Indian Air Force and the NSG to shoot down suspicious manned or unmanned "flying objects".      Seventy one countries and territories are participating in the event scheduled from October 3-14.      Delhi Police and central security agencies are striving hard to ensure a smooth Games, which is being hosted by the country for the first time.      The Games Village has been transformed into a fortress with over 1,000 security personnel, helped by a plethora of safety gadgets and armed commandos, guarding the premises on 24-hour basis.      Along the routes at different corners of the city, Quick Reaction Team (QRT) vehicles were parked with gun totting personnel keeping a close eye on the movement of traffic.      NSG snipers will also be positioned at different points at the venues and along the routes to thwart any sabotage attempt or probable terror attacks.

Babus bog down Army modernization
Rajat Pandit, TNN, Sep 28, 2010, 03.03am IST NEW DELHI: Modernisation of the 1.13-million strong Army, grappling with critical capability gaps in areas like artillery, air defence, aviation, night-fighting and the like, is yet to gather steam despite the deteriorating security scenario in India's neighbourhood.  There are close to 100 Army procurement projects currently meandering their way through different stages amid bureaucratic bottle-necks, cumbersome procedures and general apathy, say defence ministry sources.  In fact, given the "prevailing worrisome state of affairs'', it's estimated the Army will take over 15 years to achieve its optimum level of operational readiness to defend borders as well as battle militancy in the hinterland.  This when Pakistan is gleefully receiving massive arms packages from the US in the name of the global war against terrorism and China is expanding its trans-border military capabilities at a staggering rate.  Incidentally, the ongoing revision of Army's war doctrine factors in the possibility of India even being forced to tackle "a two-front war'' in a worst-case scenario. But to achieve the military capabilities required for such an eventuality will take a lot of doing.  The much-smaller Navy and IAF, of course, are much better placed on their modernisation paths. While the two are more technology-intensive, the Army has many more ongoing procurement projects at any given time.  The need is increasingly being felt to revamp MoD's land systems acquisitions wing to fast-track inductions, as also ensure "much greater synergy'' within the Army HQ between its different "line directorates'' and the weapons and equipment directorate.  "Apart from better processes, MoD's Army acquisitions wing needs a strong dose of additional manpower and reorganisation. At present, it's capable of handling only around 24 projects a year,'' said a source.  A series of arms scandals in Army has also often derailed its modernisation plans. Take, for instance, the long-delayed over Rs 20,000-crore artillery modernisation programme. India has not been able to import a single 155mm/52-calibre gun since the infamous Bofors scandal of the mid-1980s.  When things were just about getting back on track, they were hit once again by the Denel and ST Kinetics scandals. Consequently, Army still awaits its planned progressive induction of 1,580 towed guns, 814 mounted gun systems, 180 self-propelled wheeled guns, 100 tracked self-propelled guns and 145 air-mobile ultra-light howitzers.  Similarly, it continues to make do with obsolete air defence missile and gun systems. Moreover, the force desperately needs third-generation thermal-imaging, image-intensification and infra-red devices to bolster the night-fighting capabilities of both its infantry and mechanised forces.  The conclusion of the long-delayed selection process for acquisition of 197 "light utility'' helicopters, with Russian Kamov and Eurocopters now left in contention, is also awaited to replace the ageing Cheetahs and Chetaks for high-altitude and other operations.  While 133 of these choppers will be for Army, the other 64 will go IAF. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has also promised to manufacture another 187 light helicopters for the armed forces to meet their overall requirements.

Lift defence export curbs: Antony 
New Delhi is hoping to convince the US to remove controls on defence exports to India, for long a major drag on constantly improving ties between the two countries.  “We want an early solution to that (export control restrictions),” Defence Minister A.K. Antony told reporters ahead of his talks here.  The issue has been top of the agenda for India — figuring prominently in recent talks between the two countries.  It was raised first during foreign secretary Nirupama Rao’s talks held here to prepare the ground for President Barack Obama’s visit in November, and during Commerce Minister Anand Sharma’s talks.  For now, there is no word on it from the US side. “We will definitely have more to we approach the President’s visit,” said a US official.  The other issue that Antony said he plans to raise was of Pakistan using against India arms and weapons it got from America for fighting insurgents in its northwestern areas.  The US imposed controls  on defence exports to India  following Pokhran II nuclear tests in 1998, making government clearance mandatory for export of dual-use technology (which can be used also for defence purposes).  Antony reached here late Saturday night with a delegation comprising Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, chief of Eastern Army Command Lt Gen. Bikram Singh, Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman & Nicobar Command Vice-Admiral D.K. Joshi and director general air operations of the IAF Air Marshal A.K. Gogoi.  Anotny will be meeting his US counterpart Robert Gates, National Security Adviser James Jones and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.  The US is also keen to bag a multi-billion deal for a fighter jet put out on the market by India.  “They (India) have a big competition going on for a new modern fighter,” Gates said, adding,, “We’ll probably have some conversations about that.”  Sure, said Antony on Sunday. But no more, no commitments. “It is a multi-vendor-situation. Trials are over. I can’t say who will get it,” the minister said.  The deal is said to be worth about $10 billion. And when  trials started in 2009, there were six main competitors: American F/A 18, Swedish Saab, American F 16, French Rafale, Russian MiG 35 and European Typhoon.

AFSPA debate: Soldiers clear, but is everyone else?
September 27, 2010 20:55 IST Tags: AFSPA, AFPSA, Indian Army, Air Force Acts, Government of India Share this Ask Users Write a Comment Today's terrorist does not allow you the luxury of a magistrate's presence, notes Major General Rajendra Prakash (retd), arguing why AFPSA is necessary.  With the Kashmir [ Images ] valley on the boil, the prolific public debate on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act has taken on an unusual stridency.  But a debate which is swayed by emotion, prejudice or cultivated ignorance, instead of resting on a bedrock of factual realities, becomes an exercise in mere sophistry. Click!  Before we re-examine what AFSPA is all about, a word about the Indian soldier (means all members of the Indian Army [ Images ], Navy and Air Force).  The Indian soldier is a citizen with equal obligations and the same rights as any other Indian citizen -- s/he is neither a 'slave' of the State or of the populace and nor is s/he a robot, to be to be manipulated by the exigencies of politics or populism.  Albeit, as long as she/he wears the uniform, s/he voluntarily denudes her/him-self of three fundamental rights granted by Article 19 of our Constitution, right of free association, the right of political activity and the right to communicate to the press -- all other Constitutional rights remain intact.  Further, a soldier voluntarily places her/himself under the statutory rigours of military discipline (Army/Navy/Air Force Acts) and is bound to obey all lawful commands of her/his military superior, unto death.  Next, the Indian armed forces are the servants of the State and its ultimate resort. They are duty-bound to do all that is necessary for the 'safety, honour and welfare' of our nation and to this end, faithfully and efficiently execute all lawful commands, directions and policies of the government in power, with fidelity and to the utmost of their ability.  Reciprocally, it is the duty of the State (and its other executive instruments) to provide the armed forces, the means and wherewithal essential to perform the responsibilities and tasks assigned to them.  Now for the AFSPA. Except in war, or when guarding the international border, the Indian Army has no Constitutional authority or legal powers to use force or fire-arms against anyone, whosoever.  Like any other Indian citizen, the only legal right a soldier has, is the right of 'private defence' (of life or property), which must be proved post-facto, in a court of law, and this takes many years of court hearings.  The only other possibility of such use of force by the armed forces is when called out in 'aid to civil authority', where a magistrate must be present at each spot, and s/he must allow the use of force in writing, on a particular form, and only after completing these procedures can troops be ordered to use minimum force.  Well, today's terrorist/insurgent/militant/Naxalite does not allow you the luxury of a magistrate's presence, ready with a pen and form (and one would not be handy, everywhere and all the time) -- you are shot dead or blown-up in a jiffy, unless you are quicker and forestall him.  Any military commander ordering his troops to operate in a counter-insurgency role (cordons and searches, ambushes, counter-ambushes, pitched battles) against folks of this ilk, would be giving an unlawful command, not liable to be obeyed.  If obeyed, it would land all commanders down the chain and whole corps, divisions, brigades, battalions, companies, platoons and infantry sections before the courts of law, on charges of murder, assault, injury and destruction of property, obviously leaving no time or resources for any other military activities, for years.  So, to ensure that the army is able to perform its basic function of external defence and internal security of the nation, some pragmatic persons in the 1950s invented AFSPA for the Naga hills, and now it is applied on a 'fire-fighting basis' elsewhere also, not by the Indian Army but by the Government of India, when things get out of hand!  So before undermining AFSPA, understand one thing clearly -- in a democracy, only the elected government is mandated to govern -- if it fails and cannot find political solutions, and needs to exert State power to enforce its writ, then the army may be called in by the State -- it does not come in on its own.  So, ordering a soldier, who is also a citizen, to carry out counter-insurgency operations in the absence of any legal mandate, is to order her/him to commit murder and mayhem and this is not a lawful command and is legally and morally open to disobedience.  You apply AFPSA (or any suitable enabling legal measure) and it becomes a military operation, done in a military manner, with restraint and responsibility.  Aberrations will occur amongst humans, will be punished severely and promptly, but these aberrations are not policy. As simple as that!  So all those frantic for the removal of AFSPA, need to be clear on this -- abolish AFSPA, humanise it or whatever, but before that resolve politically or governance-wise, the problems which force the State to impose AFSPA (convince the insurgents, militants, terrorists, Naxalites [ Images ] to stop the mayhem and valley youth to stop chucking stones at the behest of 'organisers').  From the service chiefs downwards, no one can order a soldier to obey an unlawful command -- to inflict violence without legitimate legal sanction.  Thus, debates based on crass ignorance of ground realities are harmful for the community -- it is like banning a book or a movie without having read/seen it.  Soldiers are quite clear on where they stand on AFPSA, but is everyone else?

India, Japan signal ramping up of defence relations
PTI | 08:09 PM,Sep 27,2010  India, Japan signal ramping up of defence relations New Delhi, Sept 27 (PTI) Signalling ramping up of defence relations with Japan ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's tour, IAF Chief P V Naik will embark on a four-day visit to Tokyo tomorrow, even as a Japanese Army team will be here to plan joint exercises and exchanges for the first time. "Naik will be on a goodwill visit to Tokyo, basically to build bilateral military ties, while a Japanese Army team will be in Delhi to chalk out programmes aimed at furthering army-to-army contact," Defence Ministry officials said here today. The high-level visit come ahead of the Prime Minister's planned trip to Japan beginning October 24. Naik's visit comes three years after then Air Force chief S P Tyagi had gone to Tokyo on a visit. Naik, in his capacity as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, will be meeting with his Japanese defence forces' Chief of Staff General Kenichiro Hokazono when they would debate regional security issues. He would also be taking a tour of military installations of Japan and a couple of their training institutes during the visit. Naik will return to India on October 1. Gen Hokazono is expected to visit Delhi next year for the same purpose as Naik's current visit, officials said. Japanese army team led by its Director (Policy and Programme) Major General Koichiro Bansho and three other officers will be in Delhi till October 1 when they would be meeting with their Indian Army counterparts in a first-of-its kind effort at drawing up a calender of joint events. India has such an arrangement with eight other countries like the US, the UK, Israel, France, Australia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Singapore. In the four-day discussion, the two sides are expected to share their mutual security concerns and issues and review the bilateral army-to-army relations. "They will also work out a plan to institutionalise a bilateral calendar of joint exercises, visits and exchanges between the two armies," the officials said. Defence Minister A K Antony too had visited Japan in November 2009. During that visit, Antony and his Japanese counterpart Toshimi Kitazawa had reviewed the on-going defence related interactions and explored ways to enhance such exchanges for mutual benefit. Among the issues discussed then were conducting joint exercises between the two armed forces and exchange of students in their respective defence training institutions, and the possibilities of co-ordination of their respective Navy's efforts in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and other maritime security challenges. Indo-Japanese security and defence co-operation is guided by a joint statement issued by their Defence Ministers in May 2006 and the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation issued during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Japan in October 2008.

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