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Friday, 22 October 2010

From Today's Papers - 22 Oct 2010

Day-long shootout in Srinagar leaves two Jaish ultras dead
Tribune News Service/IANS Srinagar, October 21 In a day-long operation, two foreign militants of the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad were killed in an encounter with the security forces at Maloora village on the outskirts of Srinagar city today. Two houses were also damaged in the encounter. Those killed have been identified as Yousuf Bhai and Mumtaz, both highly trained foreign militants. Yusuf Bhai, according to the local police, was an expert in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). "They had plans to carry out fidayeen (suicide) attacks on security force establishments", a police spokesman said. The third Jaish militant, involved in the over 10-hour-long gunfight with security forces, has been caught alive. The ultra jumped out of the besieged house where the three were holed up and started indiscriminate firing, before taking shelter in an adjacent house. The bodies of the other two militants have been recovered from the demolished houses. Acting on a specific information about the presence of militants, the police and the Army cordoned off Zari Mohalla in Maloora village, about 15 km from here, early this morning. The joint operation was launched by the police Sumbal, Parimpora (Srinagar) and 2RR, a police spokesman here said. A fierce encounter ensued as the militants hiding inside a house opened fire and lobbed hand grenades on the search party.
Can Chidambaram open Hussainiwala border? Chander Parkash Tribune News Service Ferozepur, October 21 Irked over restrictions and difficulties being faced by residents of the border areas whose landholdings are situated across the cobra fencing erected about 20 years ago, the Border Area Sangharsh Committee is slated to take up the issue with Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram tomorrow. "We are yet to get compensation in lieu of 11-ft-wide land acquired by the Centre alongside the zero line in 1947 . The fencing has also not been done as per the recommendations made by the Kapoor Committee about 20 years ago," alleged state president of the committee Arsal Singh. He said a memorandum in connection with their grievances and demands would be submitted to the Union Home Minister at Hussainiwala tomorrow. Confidence-building measures for the past couple of years notwithstanding, residents of villages along the border in the state continue to face a plethora of problems, including those pertaining to transportation, education and health. Though promises have been made to them since the period of militancy, nothing has been done so far. They have been facing problems of connectivity with the rest of the state as well as their own district headquarters in particular. They also rue lack of basic infrastructure and civic amenities. The Punjab Roadways runs a skeletal service linking these villages to the district headquarters while private bus operators do not seem to be interested in plying buses on these "unprofitable routes." Moreover, there is a cluster of 20-odd villages in Gurdaspur where travelling across the Ravi is a nightmarish experience. Though the district administration has made arrangements for boats to ferry passengers across the Ravi and Ujh, these are not enough. Deputy Commissioner Pirthi Chand also admits that things get worse during the monsoon every year because these villagers are cut off from the nearby towns and cities. He claimed that once a bridge on Ujh comes up next month near Narot Jaimal Singh, residents will get a reprieve. There are about 12 primary, elementary and senior secondary schools in the Bhumiyal sector in the border area, but due to a skeletal bus service, teachers face difficulties to reach there. The DC also admitted that: "There is a primary school in Skoll village in the Bhamiyal sector, where teachers seldom come. This is a routine thing in villages of the border areas. Students of this village have to transverse long distances to attend schools in other villages." Nirmal Singh of Channa village in the Ajnala subdivision rued that: "We are not even getting basic amenities like quality healthcare, education and transportation. Maninder Singh of Nangal Sohal village in Ramdas said their village school was only up to middle standard. Since his daughter had been promoted to Class IX, she had to be admitted to the nearest higher school in Jatta Passiyan village.
Renewed CIA offensive against Al-Qaeda bearing results While the CIA chief did not mention the drone strikes against the terrorists based in Pakistan, but recently there has been a spurt in the number of such attacks due to a renewed focus on destroying terror bases. CJ: Vijay Singh Thu, Oct 21, 2010 12:31:03 IST Views: 13 Comments: 0 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 Al Qaeda Chief : Tere Bin Laden movie review, film banned in Pakistan CIA CHIEF Leon Panetta has asserted that the stepped up operations against the Al-Qaeda is taking a serious toll on the agenda and operations of the terror group. He said that the pace has been increased due to stepped up intelligence, improved weather conditions and better surveilance on potential terrorists across Europe. He also said that CIA is also targetting the Haqqani group of ultras, who attack the US forces in Afghanistan, while having Pakistani origin. While the CIA chief did not mention the drone strikes against the terrorists based in Pakistan, but recently there has been a spurt in the number of such attacks due to a renewed focus on destroying terror bases. Although the US government does not officially recognize the drone attacks inside Pakistan, but off the record officials admit that these strikes are a crucial part of the strategy worked out to eliminate the teror threat. Panetta also said that CIA has been able to step up the pace because of additional capabilities and resources that have been devoted to the war against terror. "The president's been very supportive, obviously, of this operation," he stated, adding that the Pakistani intelligence service also "has been very cooperative."
Airbus Military looks to India for A400M Grizzly airlifter Press Trust of India / Seville (spain) October 21, 2010, 16:05 IST European aerospace major EADS is on the verge of bringing into markets its new A400M Grizzly to compete in Indian military proposals for inducting giant airlifters to boost its strategic reach. Didier Vernet, Head of A400M Market Development, Airbus Military, said the European consortium is looking to increase sales of the multi-national four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft outside Europe, particularly to "the lucrative Indian defence market". Click here to visit SME Buzz Also Read Related Stories News Now - Letters: Craft of defence deals - India will need 1,000 aircraft over 20 yrs: Airbus CEO - American engine to power LCA - Eurojet pips GE in LCA engine bid - EADS relaunches brand to boost integration - Five heads to hunt for jewel to succeed Ratan Tata Also Read Related Stories News Now - Sensex surges 400pts; Hindalco, Bharti soar 5% - Hindustan Foundries appoints R Seshasayee as chairman - Investors get time till Oct 25 to withdraw CIL IPO bids - FII inflows driving markets forward: Sharekhan - FinMin opposes import duty on power equipment More He said Airbus Military is looking beyond the continent for new business as it inches ahead to ink a final agreement among the launch nations -- France, Germany, Spain, the UK, Turkey, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Currently 180 aircraft are ordered by the seven launch nations, with an additional four from Malaysia. "We can consider selling A400M to India after fulfilling the orders of the launch nations as we see India as a major market," Vernet told PTI here, adding they plan to manufacture thirty aircraft per year. With India seeking to expand its strategic lift capacity, the Grizzly could give a run for money to Boeing C-17 Globemasters as well as the Russian competitors. New Delhi recently announced a decision to buy through government-to-government deal 10 American C-17 Globemasters, with planners saying that airforce needed many more. European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), the parent company of Airbus Military, is looking to India as a key market for its A400M airlifter, which has been dogged by delays and spiralling costs. In India, it plans to position the A400M between Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules and Boeing C-17 Globemasters, the two hot ticket items on the US agenda for President Barack Obama's New Delhi visit next month. The A400M programme, which was launched in May 2003 and moving into its industrial phase in 2006, was designed by Airbus Military "as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities". Vernet said the "versatile airlifter provides the strategic range capability" and undertakes both military and civic tasks. "With a typical payload of 20 tonnes, it has an operating range of 3450 nm (6390 km) and 2450 nm (4535 km) range with a payload of 30 tonnes," he said. The hulking gray A400M turboprop could be "rapidly reconfigured to become air-to-air tanker able to refuel fighters, helicopter and other large aircraft at their preferred speeds and height." It has a "built in AAR refueling capability that is fast and high enough for fast jets and slow and low enough for helicopters" "to give a commander operational flexibility enabling him to assign these aircrafts to which ever role is most needed to meet rapidly changing operational scenarios," Vernet said. Operation from austere airfields with short runways under hot and high conditions is a key characteristic of A400M. The airlifter's "good low speed characteristic and ample power allow the use of short airstrips for take off and landing". It can "deliver 25 tonnes of payload into a 750 metres (2460 ft) airstrip with enough fuel on board for a 500 nm return trip". The ambitious joint European defence project is, however, running four years behind schedule and cost overruns. EADS has been in discussions with the seven customer governments, with some key nations hesitant to plough more money into the much-delayed project. Despite reaching an agreement in principle earlier this year on how to share the cost overruns, they are still to sign the final agreement. "We are moving to ink a deal," Vernet said, even as he agreed that efforts to trim defence budget by governments across Europe has prompted alarm for the ambitious project, already dogged by delays and spiralling costs. However, he argued that inking a joint deal involving all seven nations is bound to take some time as consortium member nations are facing pressure from austerity budgets following the worst economic recession in generations. Even as Vernet suggested a sense of uncertainty over the final agreement, many at Airbus saw a silver lining in global shift toward security - including anti-terror measures, border surveillance and disaster management - as key factors that will help the project survive defense spending cuts. Manuel Portillo, Configuration Manager for A400M, agrees that the "biggest challenge for Airbus is to meet the timeline targets and cost overruns". He said three prototype of A400M is undergoing flight tests, with the earliest one having undertaken more than 86 flights. The first aircraft MSN001 made its maiden flight in December 2009, with MSN002 joining it in May. The fourth prototype of the airlifter is at the assembly line, with first flight test expected by end of 2010. Even as Indian defence planners are insisting that the military be armed with the most updated technology, IAF sources said "New Delhi would be hesitant to invest valuable resources into the project that is dogged by delays and spiralling costs". "With the project missing targets, huge backlog and still in trial stage, it makes little sense for the Indian Air Force to pitch for it," an expert said.
Operation in NWA to be launched if required: Pakistan ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said that US President Barrack Obama will visit Pakistan next year urging if required, necessary operation will be launched in North Waziristan. These views were expressed by Foreign office Spokesman Abdul Basit in a weekly briefing at the Foreign Office on Thursday. He said Strategic dialogue between Pakistan and US have started, however, ministerial level talks will take place on Friday wherein recommendations evolved by 13 working groups will be presented. In response to a question, he said that a Pakistani delegation led by Shah Mehmood Qureshi met President Barrack Obama adding that issues relating to bilateral matters, problems faced by Pakistani government, water, power energy and war against terrorism were discussed in depth. He was of the view that US will keep on supporting Pakistan in diversified fields. US is a firm supporter of democracy in Pakistan adding during the course of the meeting, US President told Pakistani delegation that he will visit Pakistan next year. While answering vollies of questions, FO Spokesman said there is no change in Pakistan policy on Iranian Nuclear Program while India is not giving any time frame on Kashmir lingering issue. Kashmiris will fight for self determination till their last drop of blood, he maintained. Regarding Mumbai terrorist attacks, FO Spokesman said that India is not cooperating and not showing positive attitude while has sent a proposal to India for sending Judicial Commission to India. FO spokesman further said that the recent statement of Indian Army Chief is baseless and fabricated. He said that undoubtedly Pakistan defence is impregnable. Pakistan believes in policy of reconciliation and consensus in Afghanistan and the solution to Afghanistan is significance and we want a stable Afghanistan and can play a constructive role, FO Spokesman added. If we need to launch an operation in NWA then we may launch it tooth and nail adding some 34,000 army Jawans are stationed in Waziristan to ensure law and order over there, FO spokesman concluded.
Army Sets Up 'Goodwill School' in Remote LoC Belt Jammu | Oct 21, 2010 In an effort to make education accessible to children living in one of the remotest areas of Jammu and Kashmir, the Army today started a 'Goodwill School' in a village near LoC in Poonch district. Lt Gen Rameshwar Roy, General Officer Commanding, White Knight Corps, dedicated the Army Goodwill School at Saujian-Gagriyan near the LoC in Poonch district to the people of the area, fulfilling the long-standing demand of locals for a school which would provide quality education to children of the area. The school has been constructed under project Sadbhavana of the Indian Army which envisages providing quality education to the children in backward and remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Spokesman Lt Col Biplav Nath said. Besides construction of the school building, the Army also provided furniture, teaching aids, sports items and two computers with accessories, he said. Saujian-Gagriyan village is one of the most remote and economically underdeveloped areas in Poonch district. "The area has borne the brunt of three wars and was victimized by a sway of rampant terrorism wherein a number of uneducated and unemployed youth were lured by the militants," Nath said. Teachers for the school have been selected from among the locals, thus providing gainful employment to people of the area, he said, adding, a total of 180 students have been admitted in the school which is initially being run from Nursery to Class I based on Jammu and Kashmir Education Board pattern. He said that subsequently, on being recognized, the school will be run from Class I to Class V as a primary school.
China strategist gets red carpet Posted by admin on 21 October 2010, 12:16 pm New Delhi, October 20, 2010: Forgets visa denial to Army general China strategist gets red carpet. The UPA Government has dropped in less than two months the ban it had slapped on visits by the Chinese defence officials and strategists, after Beijing refused visa to one of India's top Army generals on account of his Kashmir connection as the northern army commander. Ignoring the strongly worded demarche ( protest letter) with threat of retaliation issued to Beijing on August 27 for heaping insult on Lt Gen. B S Jaswal, the National Defence College has extended a red carpet welcome to Shen Dingli, a top Chinese strategist. Incidentally, Shen Dingli is known votary of China's military bases in Pakistan; he will now grace the NDC's 2 – day golden jubilee celebrations that began here on Wednesday. The government tried to justify the clearance on the ground that Shen does not represent the Chinese government but is an independent academic voice from China on the Chinese perspective on military and strategic issues. Only in August, the Delhi – based NDC, a top military institution that was among the places covered by Pakistani American David Coleman Headley, had kept in abeyance induction of two Chinese military officers in an year – long course it runs for brigadiers and top policy makers from India and neighbourhood. A physicist by training, Shen Dingli is professor and executive vicedean of the Institute of International Affairs at Fudan University, Shanghai, and director of its Centre for American Studies. He is also reported to be a Chinese Communist Party member. The invite has evoked interest in academic circles as Shen will be speaking in the NDC golden jubilee seminar on nuclear deterrence. His views will be great interest as he is has long defended supply of nuclear and ballistic missile technology to Pakistan, a claim that Beijing stoutly denies. Notwithstanding the Indian government's claim that he has nothing to do with the Chinese government, Shen was allowed only last January to use the official portal to recommend a strategic shift in the official line. He had advocated that China should set up military bases overseas just like the Americans, the British and the French have done. He has argues that Beijing can better protect its interests overseas if it has bases abroad. The article raised immediate concerns in the strategic establishment in New Delhi, particularly because China is already developing the Gwadar Port near Karachi in Pakistan that can threaten India's oil supplies from the Gulf any day.
'7 Pak armymen behind 26/11' New Delhi October 21, 2010 Twenty-one people plotted 26/11, including four serving officers of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and three ex-officers of the Pakistani Army, David Coleman Headley has said in a 109-page interrogation report prepared by the National Investigative Agency (NIA). Of the serving ISI officers Headley named, Major Sameer Ali and Major Iqbal were already cited in a dossier sent by India to Pakistan earlier this year. Headley has now named two more: Lt-Colonel Hamza and Colonel Shah. "The LeT (Lashkar-e-Tayyeba) chief, Hafiz Saeed, is very close to the ISI," the report quotes Headley as saying. "The chief commander of the LeT, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, is close to the directorgeneral of the ISI. ISI officers have profound influence and great control over the top brass of the LeT." Headley also confessed that he separately briefed his ISI handler, Major Iqbal, after every reconnaissance visit to Mumbai. "I carried out certain exclusive reconnaissance tasks for my ISI handlers," Headley says. "Every important member of the LeT is handled by one or more ISI officers. Hafiz Saeed is diplomatic and never talks directly. I have shown you his house on the Google Earth map. He is well-protected. Without his approval, 26/11 could not have happened." Headley spoke for 34 hours from June 3 to June 9 this year in Chicago to a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). However, India has no independent corroboration from either the US or Pakistan if these names are for real. In the report, Headley says Major Sameer Ali, Major Iqbal, Lt-Col Hamza and Col Shah were central to the 26/11 plot. He describes these men and his first meeting with them in Lahore. "Major Iqbal is in his mid-30s, 5'9", fat, with a moustache, a big head, thick hair and a deep voice," Headley says. "He smokes cigarettes. In the first meeting, he introduced me to his boss, Lt-Col Hamza, who was in his early 40s, 5'6", baby-faced and also overweight by army standards. He appeared to be from Punjab. This I could guess from his accent. They listened to my entire plan to attack India for more than two hours." Headley spoke at length about retired Pakistani Army Major Abdur Rehman alias Pasha and a key LeT man, Sajid Majid, who Headley claims has undergone plastic surgery to hide his true identity. Last week, India got Interpol to issue Red Corner Notices (RCNs) against both Rehman and Majid. Headley says both these men were in India in April 2005 and had recced the National Defence College (NDC) in Delhi and the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun. This was after the LeT attacked bus services in Muzaffarabad and Srinagar. "They went under the pretext of watching an Indo-Pak cricket match," Headley reveals. "They went from the Wagah border. Rehman went to the NDC for the recceĆ¢€¦ both had possibly gone to the IMA. Rehman recalled to me that Sajid was very nervous at the Wagah Gate on their way back." Headley says Rehman was a hardened jihadi who retired as a Major from the 6 Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan army and was in direct touch with the al-Qaeda top brass. Rehman quit the army after refusing to fight the Taliban in Tora Bora in 2002. He later trained an LeT suicide squad to carry out attacks in India while Headley was training with the terror group in 2003. "Around 2004, the Indian PM's rally was attacked in Srinagar by the LeT. This attack was carried out by one of the trainees of Rehman," Headley says, identifying this particular attacker. Headley, who was born Daoud Gilani to a Pakistani-American father and an American mother but later changed it to David Coleman Headley to avoid racial profiling at US airports, says Hamza assured him of financial help for the 26/11 mission. "(Hamza) directed me to follow the directions of Major Iqbal from time to time and inform the Major about all my activities," he is quoted in the report as saying. In March 2006, on the streets of Lahore, Iqbal trained him in clandestine photography and spycraft. This was after Headley had completed his LeT training. "I became close to Major Iqbal as I found him professional in his approach," he says. "Major Iqbal taught me the basics of IntelligenceĆ¢€¦ this included several lessons, such as how to create sources, how to take cover and so on. After explaining the theory, he would take me to the streets of Lahore to execute them. His training was much more scientific and effective than the trainings I did in LeT camps. I truly enjoyed this training." Two other Pakistani ex-army officers and brothers -- Major Haroon and Major Khurram, from 10 Punjab and 6 Baloch regiments of the Pakistan army respectively -- were also trainers for the LeT, Headley says. Headley also identified Sajid Majid, from the transcripts recorded during the 26/11 attack, as the person directing terrorists on the phone to kill all, including women, at Nariman House in Mumbai. He says Sajid showed him a number of CDs of atrocities on Indian Muslims, including videos of Gujarat Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi shot during the Gujarat riots of 2002. Headley speaks of two other important and senior LeT operatives -- Muzzammil and Abu Dujana. He claims Muzzammil was behind the Chattisinghpora massacre in March 2000, when 34 Sikhs were assembled and shot dead in the village gurudwara by militants dressed in Indian Army fatigues. Headley claims Muzzammil also planned the Akshardham temple attack in Gujarat in September 2002. Headley also identified the voices of Abu Qahafa and Abu Hamza, besides Sajid Majid, as those directing the 26/11 terrorists on the phone. Headley gave NIA details of LeT and ISI safe-houses and also LeT's operational camps. Using Google Earth, he pointed out a couple of LeT safe-houses in Rawalpindi, along with the houses of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and Abdur Rehman, in addition to his own.
Gung ho posture by India Submitted 8 hrs 53 mins ago "War is the greatest plague that can afflict humanity; it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it." –Martin Luther There is no doubt that senior Indian officials still continue to follow a belligerent attitude against Pakistan. First, it was Indian Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor, who propounded the theory of surgical strikes against the so-called training camps or safe havens of the extremists in Pakistan. However, it was snubbed by the Indian leadership, and was widely assumed that the General had taken one too many kicks to the head that led to his outburst against Pakistan. In this backdrop, recently the present Indian Army Chief has expressed serious concern over the presumable threat posed to India's security by both Pakistan and China. This statement was issued just a few days before the Pak-US Strategic Dialogue were to take place - that was expected to envelope all the security issues in the region and Pakistan's effort in the war on terror - in order to subvert our efforts to acquire the much needed weapons for the Pakistani security forces not only to defeat insurgency that was raging in certain parts of the country, but also to deter any aggressive design by the Indian military. It is a fact that India has embarked on a massive spending spree not only to modernise its army, but also to expand its air force to a level where, according to its officials, it could play a dominant role in South Asia. Indeed, it is no joke that the Indians have increased their defence budget by an alarming 43 percent and are still in the process of adding armaments to their already lethal arsenal, which it could use to blackmail its regional neighbours. Furthermore, while the Indians may harbour certain designs against the Chinese, but they know that in case its military tries any adventure against China, it would be equivalent to committing suicide the Indians security forces. It could also result in a serious blow to the Indian economy. So, the only concern that the Indian leadership could arouse - before the Strategic Dialogue began - was from Pakistan, as the two countries have a history of hostility and aggression that has been repeatedly committed by successive Indian governments against Pakistan. More so, in a recent statement Mani Shankar, a senior Indian diplomat and a leader of the ruling Congress Party, while talking to the New York Times, has boasted that the Indian army can defeat Pakistan within three weeks. But he also claimed that the race for nuclear weapons by India has weakened the traditional capability of its army, which must be boosted so that it can fulfil its hegemonic designs in the region. Undoubtedly, this statement must be considered as a representative voice of the present Indian government, as well as its military. It would, therefore, be better for Pakistan to continue its effort to modernise its nuclear arsenal, and put in place a weaponry system that has the capability to beat the pulp out of the Indians in case they dare to test their military muscle against us. It is well known that Pakistan is ahead of India by 15 to 20 years as far as the nuclear missile programme is concerned, and that it has a potent capability to respond even if it is subjected to a nuclear strike by the Indians. Hence, this forced the Indian leadership to fall in USA's lap and compromise its nuclear programme in return for American technology, which the Indians believe that it will allow them to achieve parity in the field of nuclear weapons with Pakistan. Above all, it is the responsibility of our government to make it clear to the Indian administration, and its supporters in the West, that if India thinks it can defeat Pakistan in three weeks or months, Pakistan will respond with full force which would ensure the total destruction of the Indian military infrastructure and its economy. But as it is sheer madness to think about a nuclear war between the two neighbouring countries, it is equally important that the Indians are made to understand that Pakistan will not hesitate to use its strategic weapons in case the India decides to follow the path of self-destruction. Certainly, the statement of the Congress leader should be enough to open the eyes of the US administration that is now asking Pakistan to open another front in North Waziristan, so that NATO troops can comfortably fight the Afghanistan war. The US is aware of the fact that action by the Pakistan army in North Waziristan will be quite a treacherous affair, which can only be carried out if our economy improves dramatically, especially after the hit it has taken due to the unprecedented floods. In addition, Pak army would require uninterrupted supply of weapons that could play a vital role if the insurgents are to be defeated quickly in North Waziristan. But it would not be proper, if the US makes a half-hearted attempt to supply the much needed arms and ammunition to the Pakistani forces. One would, therefore, expect that the Pakistani representatives would be able to successfully negotiate terms and conditions that will not only help to stabilise Pakistan's economy, but would also result in the provision of weapons that will allow our brave soldiers to win yet another war against the insurgents. Pakistanis should also make it clear to the US administration that they must use their influence to find a respectable solution for the Kashmir dispute, and make it clear to the Indians that they must stop financing and training insurgents in Balochistan. Because unless the Indians adhere to the internationally accepted norms of good behaviour, it will not be possible for the US and the western world to achieve anything worthwhile as far as their strategic interests for this important region are concerned. The writer is a freelance columnist.

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