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Monday, 1 November 2010

From Today's Papers - 01 Nov 2010

Obama visit short on substance Experts call for commitment on UNSC permanent
seat for India
Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC October 31 Barack Obama's mother
instilled in him from a very early age an interest in other cultures. An
anthropologist, Stanley Ann Dunham had worked in India and it was only
natural that one of the cultures and traditions her son would learn about
would be Indian. "Throughout my life, I have always looked to Mahatma
Gandhi as an inspiration, because he embodies the kind of transformational
change that can be made when ordinary people come together to do
extraordinary things," Obama told this correspondent when he was just a
Democratic senator from Illinois running on a message of change for the
highest office in the USA. Obama's abiding interest in Gandhi is reflected
in his itinerary while in India. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive
in Mumbai on November 6. Their stay there will be marked by a visit to the
Gandhi museum. In New Delhi, they will pay their respects to the Father of
the Nation at Raj Ghat. Obama's trip is the first in many years by an
American President to India in his first term. His two immediate
predecessors - Bill Clinton and George W. Bush - visited India in their
second terms in office. Clinton's visit, which took place in the twilight of
his presidency, was high on symbolism. It was the first visit by an American
President to India in more than two decades. Jimmy Carter was the last to
visit India in January 1978. Bush's visit, on the other hand, was loaded
with substance. His administration removed perhaps the biggest thorn in the
US-India relationship by offering New Delhi a civil-nuclear agreement. The
comparisons are inevitable. Will Obama's visit be Clinton 2.0, with
symbolism trumping substance, or Bush 2.0? Much will depend on what the
President packs in his VIP luggage.For it to count as a success as far as
substance goes, Obama will need to pack some deliverables. While there is
no equivalent of a relationship-boosting nuclear deal on the horizon, New
Delhi has been dropping heavy hints for a US endorsement of its bid for a
permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Also, the continued presence of
Indian companies on an Entities List has been viewed as an obstacle to
US-India trade as the transfer of sensitive high-technology to these
blacklisted firms is prohibited under US law. The Obama administration is
conducting a review of the US export control regime and this is one area
where India may find something to cheer when Obama visits. Back in America,
it is the state of the economy and the high rate of unemployment that has
dominated the political discourse. While Obama's references to Bangalore in
the outsourcing debate and promises of tax incentives to firms that create
jobs in the U.S. have been viewed by some in India as the beginning of
protectionism, others see in the President's comments a purely political
compulsion to favour job creation in a sagging economy. "I see it has
political pandering on the eve of the November elections," said Sumit
Ganguly, a visiting fellow at Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses in
New Delhi. "I think that the President is far too intelligent a man to
believe that U.S. economic woes are a direct result of outsourcing," he
added. The U.S. is a key trading partner for India. The total trade for
the period of January to July this year stood at $27.96 billion. Two-way
trade in services has also shown a steady growth. Indian companies are
present in 35 of the 50 US states and have done their bit to boost the U.S.
economy and create jobs. About 239 Indian firms have invested $21 billion
in the U.S. through 267 acquisitions between 2004 and 2009. These have been
spread over manufacturing, IT, biotechnology, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and
telecommunications. In fact, many Americans are unaware of the extent of
such activity. An Indian official recalled how she received a confused look
when she congratulated a friend who had purchased a Jaguar for buying an
'Indian' car. Jaguar was acquired by Tata in 2008. The U.S.-India
relationship has been eclipsed by the Obama administration's preoccupation
with a recession at home, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and international
crises that span Pakistan, Iran and North Korea. Candidates from Obama's
Democratic Party face the prospect of humiliating defeats in mid-term
elections on Tuesday. The outcome of that vote could see the Democrats
losing control of the House of Representatives and perhaps even the Senate.
The fact that Obama's visit to India takes place in this backdrop explains
the lack of American media attention to the trip. But U.S. officials insist
India is a priority for the President. Ben Rhodes, deputy national security
adviser for strategic communication, described India as an "indispensable
partner in the 21st century." In a town riven by partisan politics, the
importance of the U.S. relationship with India is one issue politicians on
both sides of the aisle agree on. Successive U.S. administrations -
Republican as well as Democratic - have sought to nurture this relationship.
William Burns, Under Secretary of state for political affairs, said the
"U.S.-India partnership for a number of years has been a genuine bipartisan
priority in Washington -- the same is true in India." He added, "Over the
last decade through three administrations of both of our parties and two
Indian governments of different parties, we've transformed the
relationship." A vibrant and influential Indian-American community also
deserves much credit for strengthening the bonds that hold the U.S.-India
relationship together.Some analysts say the problem lies not in the USA but
in India where divergent political views are forced together in a coalition
government. Richard Fontaine, senior fellow at the Centre for a New American
Security, says U.S. domestic politics are not a drag on the relationship. In
fact, he added, "I see broad bipartisan support for a strong U.S.-India
relationship." In India, on the other hand, Fontaine said the confluence
of domestic politics that produced a nuclear liability law that is viewed in
Washington as an obstacle to nuclear commerce is a "real problem." At the
end of the day, personal chemistry plays a large part in determining the
success of any relationship. U.S. and Indian officials say Obama has gone
out of his way to build a strong personal relationship with Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh - the President frequently turns to the Prime Minister for
advice on matters concerning the global economy. He even hosted his
administration's first state dinner for Manmohan Singh last November. In his
toast at that dinner, Obama raised his glass to realising "all the triumphs
and achievements that await us." Many here in Washington believe the
President's visit to India will be one such triumph. What India expects l
New Delhi has been dropping heavy hints for a US endorsement of its bid for
a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. l The Obama administration is
conducting a review of the US export control regime and this is one area
where India may find something to cheer. What eclipses the ties The
US-India relationship has been eclipsed by the Obama administration's
preoccupation with a recession at home, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and
international crises that span Pakistan, Iran and North Korea. Past
presidential visits Dwight D. Eisenhower (December 1959) Richard Nixon
(July 1969) Jimmy Carter (January 1978) Bill Clinton (March 2000) George
Bush (March 2006)
Former Army chief Kapoor returns flat
New Delhi: Former Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, one of the three ex-service
chiefs who were allotted flats in controversial Adarsh Housing Society in
Mumbai, on Sunday said the episode has caused "great anguish" to him and
that he has sought termination of his membership. Breaking his silence
after the controversy broke out, he also said the former service chiefs had
no idea that the flats were meant for Kargil war widows and that he was not
involved in any kind of "nepotism". Gen Kapoor told NDTV he has written to
the society yesterday that "irrespective of whatever (happens), I'd like my
membership of the society to be terminated and my allotment for the flat be
cancelled." "Two days back Admiral Madhavendra, an ex-Naval chief, had made
a statement on behalf of all three of us that this controversy which is
being talked about in the media for the last few days has been a source of
tremendous distress and anguish for all three of us," he said. "We were not
aware at any stage that the flats were meant for Kargil war widows. If this
is true, this is yet to be confirmed, as has come out in the media so
far...but if this is true, we have said that we will be prepared to
surrender the flats," he said. He said he has worked throughout for the
well being of Army troops. "There is no question of any nepotism as far as I
am concerned. I have never been in the chair whenever any of these
allocations etc have been made." He said has worked for improvement of
habitat conditions of armymen in the forward areas, better rations for the
troops as well as better pay and allowances for them. - PTI
Kashmir Turmoil Militants have a peace plan
New Delhi, October 31 Militants in Jammu and Kashmir have expressed their
willingness to present a "peace plan" during their meeting with the group of
interlocutors appointed by the Centre, a move seen as "something important"
by Dilip Padgaonkar, who led the three-member team. Giving details about
their meetings with those from militant groups, Padgaonkar said: "The first
time we met guys from terrorist organisations, they said would you mind
coming again once. We need to talk to you. So we went a second time." "And
the second time, something quite surprising took place which was one of
those guys who acted as spokesperson of one of these organisations said to
us that they would like to submit to us a peace plan," he said in an
interview to Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-IBN. The
person asked the group whether they would be prepared to wait for few days
because they too wanted their voice to be heard. "They believed that they
have a roadmap etc. So we said we have come to listen to you. We are quite
prepared. As and when you prepare your point of view, let us know and we
will examine that as well. I see this as something important because this is
when the idea came that you need to talk also to our people that was the
message given to us," he said. Replying to objections raised about the
meeting of Radha Kumar, one of the three interlocutors, with people accused
of terror, she said: "They do represent, unfortunately, a rather ugly view
point in Kashmir but that is important for us to meet them." She said the
purpose of her visit to prison was to meet young detainees "stonepelters"
and political prisoners. It was during one such visit that she met people
charged with terror which transpired into an "interesting meeting", she
said. She said the view of terrorists might be "unpalatable but that we
must listen to them". Kumar said: "As far as the dissident groups are
concerned especially the Hurriyat groups we do understand their compulsions
and we will always be willing to listen to them, their point of view. That
is part of our mandate." She said it was very rare to meet the Mirwaiz,
Geelani or leaders of that opinion on a first visit. "It (peace process)
needs to build up," she said, adding that there was not commitment for such
meeting in next visit. On BJP's accusation against them of using the
language of separatists, Padgaonkar said if the group was speaking their
language, they would not not have been boycotted. When asked about his
statement on factoring in of Pakistan, Padgaonkar said the country had been
involved in Jammu and Kashmir since 1947-48 through overt means and covert
means of violence and diplomatic discussion. - PTI
Hopes on Chindia front It's time to work for Asian century
That India and China have a festering border dispute and serious differences
over certain regional issues is too well known. But they also have
commonality of views on many global issues like those related to climate
change and the Iranian nuclear ambitions. For the past few years they have
been trying to keep their differences aside to cooperate to achieve their
growth-related objectives. This pragmatic approach to reconstruct their
relations found an echo during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to
Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam as well as when he had a meeting with Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Hanoi on
Friday. The views they exchanged gave a clear indication that the two Asian
giants were prepared to pursue cooperative diplomacy, not allowing
themselves to be used by other powers for their own geopolitical aims. The
time has come for India and China, or Chindia as some now call them, to do
all they can to ensure that the current century turns out to be an Asian
century. It will be easier to translate this dream into a reality if both
countries learn to avoid hurting each other's sensitivities, as pointed out
by Dr Manmohan Singh. This was his polite way to tell the Chinese not to
insist on issuing stapled visas to visitors from India's Jammu and Kashmir.
China will not lose anything by discontinuing this irritating practice. The
Chinese have also been issuing embarrassing statements on their territorial
claims off and on, which they must stop in the interest of the two
countries' common goals. These issues are bound to figure prominently during
Chinese Premier Wen's coming visit to India. India and China need to
enhance their economic achievements through a cooperative approach. How to
take the booming bilateral trade to a new high must get precedence over all
other subjects. By the end of the current year their bilateral trade is
estimated to reach $60 billion. This is a major achievement when we look at
the past figures. While we in India must do all we can to woo China on the
economic front -- which, in any case, is our biggest trading partner today
-- the Chinese, too, need to address India's trade-related concerns, showing
a sense of realism.
Debate over J & K's status Why it remains an integral part of India
by B.G. Verghese Now that the Centre's interlocutors - Dileep Padgaonkar,
Radha Kumar and M.M. Ansari - have successfully completed their initial
visit to Srinagar and touched base in Jammu, the critics, who come in all
shapes and sizes, could be a worried lot and should feel a little foolish.
Despite threats of boycott, cries of irrelevance, sniggers at the alleged
lightweight nature of these interlocutors, a dialogue has begun. And the
Babel of tongues in which sundry politicians have babbled at their
irresponsible and irrelevant best, shows that the government did well to
avoid appointing so-called heavyweight politicians of essentially
intellectually lightweight parties to parley with all strands of opinion in
Jammu and Kashmir. It is just as well that the absurd pursuit of laying
sedition charges against Arundhati Roy and Syed Ali Shah Geelani for saying
in Delhi what they and a lot of others have been saying for a long time in
J&K and elsewhere has been abandoned. To ask for azadi - if by that is meant
independence - is not treason. And asking for it is not going to make it
happen. Muzzling free speech, one of the cardinal pillars of an open and
democratic society, would be to jeopardise our own freedom. Rather, the
foolish agitation of the BJP and its ilk, if anything, gives salience to the
separatist's fatuous parrot-cry that ignores history and ground realities.
J&K was, in fact, independent from August 15 until October 22, 1947. Who cut
short its independence and who remains in occupation of half the state to
this day? Withered ideologues demand to know the truth in J&K but have
never waited for an answer. That is why they dare not engage in dialogue and
fear it, for their humbug and duplicity would stand exposed. What
credibility does like a man like Moulvi Umar have when he dare not
acknowledge who assassinated his own father because he spoke of peace, and
again angrily panicked when knowledge of a "quiet dialogue" with earlier
government interlocutors led to a dastardly bid to assassinate his moderate
Hurriyat colleague, Fazle Haq Qureshi. Men like Geelani are hirelings of
Pakistan. Yet the door remains open for them and if they are willing to
enter into a genuine dialogue they might yet redeem themselves. The other
thing to remember is that for more than a few people, including some in the
establishment, the J&K agitation is a sound business proposition that
sustains their hearths and ego. Should the matter be resolved, whatever
would they do? Like some of their counterparts in the Northeast, they fear
peace in J&K. So does Pakistan. Its governing ideology could unravel without
an object of obsessive hate while its Army and jihadi ideologues, who hold a
hapless people in thrall, would lose their very raison d'etre. In their
first round of talks, the J&K interlocutors met key functionaries like the
Governor and the Chief Minister, PDP leader Muzaffar Beigh, imprisoned
stone-pelters, detained militants, students, university faculty and senior
civil society members. Others will follow. Those who stay out for the nth
time cannot complain later that they were never consulted. The hue and cry
about "admitting" that J&K is a "dispute" and not just an "issue" or
"matter", that azadi can be on the agenda for conversation if someone puts
together a blueprint of its meaning and how to get there, that Pakistan must
be involved in any final settlement, and the fuss over Omar Abdullah's
statement that J&K has 'acceded' to but not 'integrated' with India
constitutes much sound and fury by the BJP and others who seem to know and
understand nothing. Such political and historical illiteracy, masquerading
as patriotism, is dangerous. If Kashmir is not a dispute and Pakistan not a
party to it, does the BJP plan to arraign former Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee for treason for initiating the comprehensive peace process with
Nawaz Sharif in Lahore in 1999 and then parleying with Gen Pervez Musharraf?
The issue is not the fact that a dispute exists but the nature of that
dispute. Dileep Padgaonkar stated the obvious in stating what he did in
Srinagar. And azadi. The word has different meanings for different people,
ranging from autonomy, back to the original terms of accession to complete
independence. Talking about azadi breaks no bones. India is talking azadi
with the NSCN-IM. Does the BJP not know that with approaching independence
all princely states, and not only J&K, were invited to sign a standard
instrument of accession under the three heads of external affairs, defence
and communications. Accession did not signify acceptance of the Indian
Constitution in toto beyond the limits specified. This was accomplished
through a separate merger agreement which was signed in one or two stages,
the second stage being financial merger. Tripura acceded to the Indian Union
on August 13, 1947, but complete merger was effected only on October 15,
1949. Likewise, Manipur acceded in 1947 but it was merged on October 15,
1948. Bhopal acceded in 1947 but only merged on June 1, 1949. J&K acceded on
October 26, 1947, but was never merged. Its relations with the Centre are
governed by Article 370 and it retains its own constitution. Absence of
"merger" does not mean that J&K is not an integral part of India. It is.
This is so by virtue of its accession and inclusion in Schedule I of Article
1 that lists the constituent units of the Indian Union. The J&K
interlocutors were well chosen. They are knowledgeable, open-minded and
credible. In any dialogue, process is as important and precedes outcomes.
Radha Kumar has closely followed the peace process in Bosnia, Northern
Ireland and elsewhere. Padgaonkar was earlier engaged in a dialogue process
in J&K. The interlocutors, and India, deserve a chance.n
Adarsh Scam: Was this General the mastermind?
Nitin Gokhale, Updated: October 31, 2010 23:57 IST Ads by Google Few
insurance truths - Know Why Insurance Companies are Shunning Cashless
Hospitalization Mumbai: Sources have told NDTV
that the Army is probing four successive General Officers Commanding (GOCs)
of Maharashtra and Gujarat area, all of whom were allotted flats in the
Adarsh Society. The Army has ordered a formal inquiry at the headquarters
level into the allotments. Three retired Generals and one serving General is
under the scanner. Sources say that the Army probe has zeroed in on retired
Major General TK Kaul as the mastermind in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.
And here's why. Kaul, then a Brigadier, was sub-area commander in Mumbai
when the file was initiated in 2003. He went to National Defence College in
Delhi for the year-long course, but returned to Mumbai as Major General
immediately, on promotion. Sources have told NDTV that Major General Kaul
and Brigadier (retired) MM Wanchu, currently office bearer of the society,
worked together on the file. Kaul now, reportedly, runs a security agency in
Mumbai When the file stared moving, Lieutenant General GS Sihota was the
General Officer Commanding of the Pune-based Southern Army Command, under
which the Mumbai & Gujarat Area falls. Lt. General Sihota is also one of the
allotees in the Adarsh Society. Former Navy Chief, Admiral Madhavendra
Singh was then the Commander-in-chief of the Mumbai-based Western Naval
Command. Admiral Singh, alongwith two former Army Chief, Generals Nirmal
Chander Vij and Deepak Kapoor, withdrawn from the membership of the tainted
Adarsh Housing Society. "I have written to the Adarsh Society I'd like my
membership of the society terminated and my membership cancelled," General
Kapoor told NDTV, denying all charges of nepotism. Also being probed is
Major General RK Hooda, who was the GOC in Mumbai till July this year. He is
now posted in Delhi. Two other retired Generals under the scanner are -
Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh and Major General V S Yadav. The Army
will probe not only if the Generals helped in getting permits for the
society, but how the General could afford flats which cost upwards of Rs. 75

Encounter on in Sopore; 1 terrorist killed
October 31, 2010 21:07 IST One terrorist has been killed in an ongoing
encounter in north Kashmir's [ Images ] Sopore town, a police spokesman
informed on Sunday evening. Click! He said troops of 22 Rashtriya Rifles
and special operations group (SOG) of the state police jointly surrounded
Noorbagh locality of the Sopore town, 54 km from Srinagar [ Images ] on
Sunday evening on a specific information. "The holed up terrorists have
been engaged in an encounter and so far one terrorist has been killed," the
spokesman said in a statement. "The encounter is still going on," it added.
One civilian who was injured in the exchange of fire was shifted to hospital
for treatment. However, the exact number of holed up terrorists is not

Army probe to establish officers' role in Adarsh scam
Josy Joseph, TNN, Nov 1, 2010, 12.21am IST NEW DELHI: Stung by the
involvement of a large number of its serving and retired officers, including
two former chiefs, the Indian Army is beginning a court of inquiry (CoI) in
Mumbai to look into the role played by its officers in the Adarsh society
scam. A senior Army officer said the General Officer Commanding in charge
of the Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa (MG&G) area would formally convene the
CoI soon. The CoI orders could be issued this week itself, the officer
hinted. Though the Navy is not starting any inquiry of its own since none
of its officers had any direct role in letting the society come up, it is
going to keenly await the findings of other agencies such as the Army and
the Central Bureau if Investigation (CBI) because its serving and retired
officers too are members of Adarsh society. The Navy authorities are open
to proceeding under the Navy Act against any of the service's officers who
may be indicted in investigations by other agencies. The Pune-based
Southern Army Command and the Army headquarters here are both identifying
how many of those who have flats in Adarsh apartment complex are serving
officers. "They will have to be dealt under the Army Act," a source said.
He pointed out that the CoI in MG&G area would establish the role played by
various Army officers in the entire conspiracy. "Once it is established,
then we will take appropriate action against the serving officers," he said.
Army sources said they were challenged by the fact that most Army officers
who played a crucial role in various decision making positions and helped
Adarsh society come up are now retired. Even former Army chief General
Deepak Kapoor retired several months ago. Under the Army Act, an Army
personnel can be summoned to face proceedings only until the end of three
months from his retirement. Almost same is the situation in the Navy, where
most of its key officers who assisted Adarsh conspiracy retired long ago.
So the Army headquarters insists that the best course of action would be a
CBI inquiry. A decision on formally calling in CBI by the ministry of
defence is expected over the next few days.

Army CBI probe demand ignored?
31 Oct 2010, 1909 hrs IST Sources have told TIMES NOW that Indian Army had
wanted a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the Adarsh
Housing Society project in Mumbai over a month ago. The Army had asked for
an inquiry after receiving some letters on the scam from some MPs. But
despite the Army's request there has been no word on the action taken on the
demand as yet. According to sources, Army has already constituted an inquiry
and top generals have been nominated to find out about serving officers in
the scam. The building posed a major security concern, as spelt out by
Western Naval Commander Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin in his July 2010 letter
seeking action against the building, the promoters and the officers involved
in overlooking the construction itself since 2003. The controversy, which
has been brewing since the construction began on the land in 2003,
resurfaced last week after the Navy took exception to Maharashtra government
according permission for Occupation Certificate to the building that has
come up in an area under the control of the Navy's base in Colaba. The Navy
had once again flagged the security concerns posed by the 100-metre tall
building in the aftermath of the 2008 November terror attack on the city
through the sea route. In his letter to the Defence Ministry and the Army,
Vice Admiral Bhasin had said that despite repeated intimations to various
concerned departments of Maharashtra government to not issue a 'No Objection
Certificate' or an 'Occupation Certificate (OC)', it came to notice that the
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had issued an OC to
Adarsh Society building. The building next to a planned helipad and
military installations is also believed to have violated the Coastal
Regulatory Zone (CRZ) II limit of a height of 30 metres. Former army chiefs
Generals N C Vij and Deepak Kapoor, ex-Navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh,
former Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Shantanu Chowdhary, former Union Minister and
Shiv Sena MP Suresh Prabhu are among those who have been alloted flats in
the building that came up with a promise to provide residential apartments
to widows and dependents of 1999 Kargil war martyrs.

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