Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

From Today's Papers - 09 Nov 2010

India, US agree on homeland security Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service
* The framework will include critical technology and infrastructure capacity
to screen visitors coming in and going out of the country * The new
security apparatus will primarily be aimed at ensuring that people like
Headley do not go undetected New Delhi, November 8 After the activities of
terror suspect David Coleman Headley exposed the loopholes in intelligence
sharing between various agencies, India and the US today announced a new
homeland security apparatus besides pledging " …..nations should ensure
there are no safe havens for terrorists." The new security apparatus will
primarily be aimed at ensuring that people like Headley, who planned the
November 2008 Mumbai attacks, do not go undetected. Headley had visited
India several times before and after the attacks. Union Home Secretary GK
Piillai had accused the US of not sharing his name despite he being under
watch in the US. Addressing a joint Press conference here today, US
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled the plan.
"India and the US have decided to start a new homeland security dialogue to
deepen their cooperation," said Manmohan Singh. Obama on his part said this
would increase security at our ports, airports and borders. He said
cooperation between India and US intelligence agencies has been established,
it was the time to take it to the next level. Manmohan Singh conveyed to
Obama India's "gratitude" for the help the US provided in counter-terrorism
measures after the Mumbai terror attack of 2008. The Prime Minister termed
it as "a historic and bold bilateral initiative." The two leaders had a
detailed discussion on East Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and West Asia.
Sources said the new homeland security framework would include a high-level
dialogue on homeland security that will cover critical technology and
infrastructure capacity to screen visitors coming in and going out. On its
own, India has already started total computerisation of the immigration
systems covering all Indian missions aboard and linking the database of
visas with immigration counters at airports, sea ports and land borders.
Already the Home Ministry screens visa applications of people of Pakistani
origin. The framework of the dialogue will be decided in March next year
when US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visits India. The
dialogue will be a level up from the counter-terrorism cooperation
initiative signed between the two countries last July. This will not change
the operational relationship shared by the intelligence agencies of the two
countries on the counter-terrorism front. India is looking to have joint
working groups on each security concept with one main group giving policy
Obama offers help ease Indo-Pak tension PM asserts talks not to be held till
Islamabad curbs terror Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service New Delhi,
November 8 Choosing his words carefully so as not to offend his hosts, US
President Barack Obama today came quite close to endorsing New Delhi's
calibrated approach on the question of dialogue with Pakistan. At the same
time, however, he said the US was ready to play any role the two countries
desired to reduce tensions between them. But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
spoke tough on Pakistan, bluntly telling the American leader that India was
not afraid of discussing the 'K' word (Kashmir) with Islamabad while making
it clear that the neighbouring country must stay away from using terror to
coerce India to start a dialogue. The two leaders this morning held
detailed talks on a whole range of bilateral issues as well as global issues
of mutual concern. They held a one-on-one meeting lasting about 45 minutes
before going into delegation-level talks. There was a free and frank
exchange of views between the two sides on all issues, officials said.
Later at their joint press conference, Obama was asked by an American
journalist to elaborate his administration's policy on Kashmir, which had
become a flashpoint between India and Pakistan. Describing Kashmir as a
long-standing dispute, he said he believed India and Pakistan had an
interest in reducing tensions between them. "The US can't impose a solution…
we are happy to play any role the two parties may want to reduce tensions
between the two countries." He was hopeful that conversation would take
place between the two countries. "It may not start with that particular
flashpoint (Kashmir),'' he underlined, while recalling that the Indian PM
had consistently spoken about his personal commitment to reduce tensions
with Pakistan. Obama's statement is almost in line with the position that
India has taken over the dialogue process with Pakistan. While Pakistan has
been insisting that the two countries discuss the 'core issue of Kashmir'
first, New Delhi's contention has been that they should first concentrate on
resolving the less controversial issues and then consider controversial ones
for settlement. Even in Islamabad in mid-July, the talks between the foreign
ministers of India and Pakistan failed because of Pakistan's defiant
attitude on Kashmir. Obama said he was convinced that the PM was sincere
and relentless in his desire for peace. He was also hopeful that in the
coming months and years India and Pakistan would find appropriate mechanisms
to work out very difficult issues. For his part, the PM said a strong,
peaceful and moderate Pakistan was in the interest of India, South Asia and
the world as a whole. "We are committed to engage Pakistan on all issues,
including the word 'K'…we are not afraid of that." However, Islamabad must
understand that the two countries can't talk while at the same time the
terror-machine remains as active as before. Once 'terror-induced coercion'
ends, India would be happy to hold dialogue to resolve all issues."
Soon, a panel to address grievances of armed forces R Sedhuraman Legal
Correspondent New Delhi, November 8 The government is in the process of
setting up a commission for the speedy redressal of the grievances of armed
forces personnel, the Centre informed the Supreme Court today. "We are
setting out the proposed terms of reference" of the commission, Solicitor
General Gopal Subramanium told a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju
and Gyan Sudha Misra. The SG, however, indicated that the commission would
not cover personnel in all areas of the armed forces. "It may not be
necessary for some areas as the government has taken positive decisions in
these areas," he said without giving details. The SG sought a week's time
for providing the details of the proposed commission. The move could not be
finalised before today's hearing due to the intervening Divali holidays, he
said. Allowing his plea, the Bench posted the next hearing for November 15.
On September 8 this year, the Bench had passed an order asking the
government to consider setting up an independent commission headed by a
retired SC Judge "for looking into all the grievances of the serving and
former members of the armed forces. We feel this is necessary as the armed
forces personnel have many grievances which they feel are not being properly
addressed by the Union Government." Pointing out that the widow of a war
veteran had approached the SC questioning the logic of paying her a meagre
pension of Rs 70 against her claim of Rs 27,000, the Bench said this was the
treatment meted out to highly decorated officers. "It is shameful" that the
government had allowed such cases to come to the Supreme Court. "Does it
require a case? What are you people up to? It is very demoralising for the
armed forces," the Bench told the Solicitor General. The SG assured the
Bench that such grievances would also be addressed by the proposed
commission. The court was hearing a petition filed by some serving and
retired army officers, challenging the government's refusal to accord them
enhanced rank pay as recommended by the Fourth Pay Commission.
Yes, he can! Barack Obama delivers by promising to back India's bid for a
UNSC permanent seat, lifts hi-tech curbs on ISRO and DRDO and signs a slew
of bilateral pacts Anita Katyal and Faraz Ahmad Tribune News Service New
Delhi, November 8 US president Barack Obama today disarmed his hosts and
silenced critics with his dramatic declaration backing India's ambitions for
permanent seat on the UN Security Council and his unequivocal message to
Pakistan that terrorists behind the Mumbai massacre be brought to justice.
"The just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a
United Nations that is efficient, effective,credible and legitimate. That is
why I can say today - in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed UN
Security Council that includes India as a permanent member," Obama told
Indian lawmakers, who received his support with a thunderous applause. His
declaration was not totally unexpected as he had hinted at this during his
media interaction at the Hyderabad House earlier during the day when he
refused to take a question on this issue, stating that he would be speaking
on the subject during his speech to MPs. His declaration was not totally
unexpected as he had hinted at this during his media interaction at the
Hyderabad House earlier during the day when he refused to take a question on
this issue, stating that he would be speaking on the subject during his
speech to MPs. These and other lucid observations were part of President
Obama's speech to members of both houses of Parliament in the high-domed
Central Hall. Obama's support today, however, does not mean that India will
soon be joining the charmed circle of the present five permanent members of
UN Security Council. On the contrary, this could take years as the US
president qualified his statement by backing India claims in a reformed
Security Council, which could take several years to accomplish.
Nevertheless, India has reason to be pleased with this announcement as the
US has, so far, been chary of backing its quest for a seat alongside the
P-5. India has been pushing hard for such a place for several years now on
the plea that it has emerged as an important political and economic force in
the changed world order. The US president's speech, which was interspersed
with several India-specific references and continuously underlined the
fast-improving partnership between New Delhi and Washington, was attended by
a packed House, which included Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi,
Cabinet ministers and members of the two Houses of Parliament. If Obama's
support to India for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council was aimed
to please the hosts, the visiting President was equally forthright when he
reminded India that this membership also comes with greater responsibilities
which require it to spell out its position on issues like human rights
violations. All those who aspire to the membership of the Security Council,
he emphasised, have to ensure the effective implementation of its
resolutions and enforcement of sanctions. Obama, who was given a standing
ovation at the end of his mesmerising speech, also pleased his hosts with a
specific mention to the terrorist organisations being harboured by Pakistan.
He was probably taking heed of criticism that he had remained silent on
Pakistan's role in fomenting terrorism,espeically its role in the 26/11
attacks. Obama did a course correction this evening. "We will continue to
insist to Pakistan's leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders
are unacceptable, and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks must be
brought to justice," Obama said refering to America's ongoing strategy to
defeat and dismantle Al-Qaida networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. While
speaking on Iran's nuclear programme, he said the US and India "can pursue"
the goal of securing the world's vulnerable nuclear material. "We can make
it clear that even as every nation has the right to peaceful nuclear energy,
every nation must also meet its international obligation, and that includes
the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said.
India-US vow to defeat LeT and other terrorist networks Ashok Tuteja Tribune
News Service New Delhi, November 8 India and the United States tonight
pledged to defeat all terrorist networks, including the Pakistan-based
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and strengthen international cooperative activities
that will reduce the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or
material. Condemning terrorism in all its forms, Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh and US President Barack Obama, in a joint statement, issued at the end
of the American leader's official engagements in India, called on Pakistan
to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
They reiterated that success in Afghanistan and regional and global security
required elimination of safe havens and infrastructure for terrorism and
violent extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The two leaders also
emphasised the importance of close cooperation in combating terrorist
financing and in protecting the international financial system. Deciding to
strengthen and expand the Indo-US global strategic partnership, the Indian
PM and Obama called for an efficient, credible and legitimate United Nations
to ensure a just and sustainable international order. Singh welcomed
President Obama's affirmation that in the years ahead, Washington looked
forward to a reformed UN Security Council that included India as a permanent
member. The two leaders reaffirmed that their countries' common ideals,
complementary strengths and a shared commitment to a world without nuclear
weapons gave them a responsibility to forge a strong partnership to lead
efforts for non-proliferation and universal and non-discriminatory global
nuclear disarmament in the 21st century. They affirmed the need for a
meaningful dialogue among all states possessing nuclear weapons to build
trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in
international affairs and security doctrines. Singh and Obama also
expressed a commitment to strengthen international cooperative activities
that would reduce the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or
material without reducing the rights of nations that played by the rules to
harness the power of nuclear energy to advance their energy security. This
sentence in the joint statement is obviously aimed at justifying the Indo-US
civil nuclear deal under which India will develop nuclear energy with the
assistance of major world powers to meet its growing electricity needs. Both
sides expressed deep concern about the threat of biological terrorism and
pledged to promote international efforts to ensure the safety and security
of biological agents and toxins. On the civil nuclear deal, they reiterated
their commitment to build strong bilateral cooperation through the
participation of American energy companies in India on the basis of mutually
acceptable technical and commercial terms and conditions that enabled a
viable tariff regime for the electricity generated. The two leaders noted
that India was committed to ensuring a level playing field for US companies
seeking to enter the Indian nuclear energy sector, consistent with New
Delhi's national and international legal obligations. They welcome the
commencement of negotiations and dialogue between the Indian operator and US
energy companies. The two leaders decided to take mutual steps to expand
US-India cooperation in civil space, defence and other high-technology
sectors commensurate with India's non-proliferation record and commitment to
abide by multilateral export control standards.
Safe havens for terrorists within Pakistan unacceptable: Obama The United
States President Barack Obama further said the relationship between India
and the United States was bound by shared values, adding that the two
nations were partners in meeting the challenges. CJ: Richa Sinha
Mon, Nov 08, 2010 20:50:52 IST Views: 14 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 THE
UNITED States President Barack Obama on Monday (November 8) said that
terrorists' safe havens within Pakistan borders were unacceptable, asserting
that the United States will insist that terrorists behind 26/11 Mumbai
terror attacks be brought to justice. "We will continue to insist to
Pakistan's leaders that terrorists' safe-havens within their borders are
unacceptable and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks be brought to
justice," the US President said here today. Addressing the Joint Session of
the Parliament here on Monday, President Obama said: "As we work to advance
our shared prosperity, we can partner to address a second priority - our
shared security." Recalling his meeting with the families of Mumbai terror
attacks, President Obama termed the incident 'barbaric' and paid tribute to
the victims of 9/11 and 26/11 attacks, he said, " In Mumbai, I met with the
courageous families and survivors of that barbaric attack. And here in this
Parliament, which was itself targeted because of the democracy it
represents, we honour the memory of all those who have been taken from us,
including American citizens on 26/11 and Indian citizens on 9/11." The US
President further said the relationship between India and the United States
was bound by shared values, adding that the two nations were partners in
meeting the challenges. "This is the bond we share. It is why we insist
that nothing ever justifies the slaughter of innocent men, women and
children. It is why we are working together, more closely than ever, to
prevent terrorist attacks and to deepen our cooperation even further. And it
is why, as strong and resilient societies, we refuse to live in fear, we
will not sacrifice the values and rule of law that defines us, and we will
never waver in the defense of our people," he said. He said nuclear
terrorism and proliferation were on top of the agenda of the United States.
Talking about America's fight against the terrorist outfits Al Qaeda and its
affiliates, Afghanistan, he remarked that major development assistance from
India has improved the lives of the Afghan people. President Obama said,
"We are making progress in our mission to break the Taliban's momentum and
to train Afghan forces so they can take the lead for their security."
President Obama said that American forces will begin the transition to
Afghan responsibility next summer, but made it clear that America's
commitment to the Afghan people will endure. He said, "The United States
will not abandon the people of Afghanistan - or the region - to the violent
extremists who threaten us all." Talking about US's two-pronged strategy in
meeting the challenge posed by Al Qaeda and Taliban, Obama said, "Our
strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al-Qaeda and its affiliates has to
succeed on both sides of the border. That is why we have worked with the
Pakistani government to address the threat of terrorist networks in the
border region." He said that the Pakistani government increasingly
recognises that these networks are a threat to the Pakistani people, who
have suffered greatly at the hands of violent extremists. "We must also
recognise that all of us have and interest in both an Afghanistan and a
Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic - and none more so than
India," he added. On the issues between India and Pakistan, Obama clearly
stated that it was for both the countries to resolve them and the US would
welcome any dialogue held between the two neighbours. He said, "In pursuit
of regional security, we will continue to welcome dialogue between India and
Pakistan, even as we recognise that disputes between your two countries can
only be resolved by the people of your two countries." Obama wanted the
United States and India together to pursue the goal of securing the world's
vulnerable nuclear materials. He said, "We can make it clear that even as
every nation has the right to peaceful nuclear energy, every nation must
also meet its international obligations - and that includes the Islamic
Republic of Iran. And together, we can pursue a vision that Indian leaders
have espoused since independence - a world without nuclear weapons. "
President Obama received a standing ovation in the Parliament House as he
concluded his address with the remark 'Jai Hind'.

Column : The preaching and the practice Bibek Debroy Posted online:
2010-11-09 00:08:33+05:30 The US economy is in trouble. Growth is
sputtering. Unemployment is high. Given debt and taxes, further fiscal
stimuli are difficult. Mid-term elections, so to speak, have already
punished the President. One can understand President Obama's priorities, and
India, in an indirect way, has a vested interest in the US economy
recovering. But for all the talk about trade being "a dynamic two-way
relationship for jobs and higher living standards", what are the 10 billion
dollars worth of "landmark" deals? They will create 50,000 jobs in the US.
Boeing will sell planes to SpiceJet and perhaps aircraft to IAF. GE will
sell aircraft engines to Indian army and power equipment to Reliance Power.
While defence and aircraft may be bad examples, couldn't one have required
'Buy Indian' clauses for power equipment? To use President Obama's own
doubtful logic, isn't job creation in the US against interests of job
creation in India? Defence and civil aviation aren't competitive markets
where one can float global tenders. However, there are commercial and
strategic (spare parts, changes in weapons systems) considerations that
determine purchases. Is removal of DRDO, ISRO and Bharat Dynamics from
black-list (for high technology) carrot enough for the defence market to
realign from Russia, France and Israel to the US? While that's what the US
wants, what's the quid pro quo we obtain, even on sourcing from Boeing, as
opposed to Airbus? Indeed, there is a plausible argument that our purchases
of civilian aircraft haven't been leveraged enough for strategic purposes.
Agreements on shale gas reserves, weather forecasting, health and energy
cooperation, commercial satellite launches and even joint army exercises are
symbolic and relatively innocuous. However, on hard business decisions, it
is difficult to avoid ennui at being lectured to about virtues of
competition. Indeed, we should open up FDI in retail, banking and insurance.
But first, do we need lecturing from a country that is now unabashedly
protectionist? There are 'Buy America' provisions in American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act. The Border Security Bill increased fees on H1-B and L-1
visas. Ohio has banned off-shoring of IT. This is in addition to
restrictions in agriculture, steel and high tariffs on garments and other
labour-intensive products. India alone is not guilty of complicated tariffs
and trade and service barriers. If competition is what has made the US
prosper, how about throwing open domestic civil aviation services in the US
to external competition? If import/GDP ratios (for merchandise trade) are an
indicator of how open an economy is, the Indian ratio is about 2 percentage
points higher than the American. Second, President Obama has told us
outsourcing is a political issue in the US. Ipso facto, economic rationale
cannot be followed because there are political constraints. However, the
test of true political leadership is in handling such political concerns and
pushing the economic agenda nevertheless. The President's track record, both
before and after becoming President, doesn't inspire confidence in his faith
in free trade principles. But that is between the US President and America's
citizens. However, if the logic is accepted, political constraints also
inhibit opening up of retail, banking and insurance in India. Third,
negotiations (bilateral and multilateral) are about reciprocity, even though
there are welfare gains from unilateral liberalisation. So far there is no
evidence on how the US is reciprocating on liberalisation, beyond a vague
statement about "committing". India becoming the largest American trade
partner is conditional on that, as is the win-win argument. That quid pro
quo doesn't necessarily have to be in the area of trade and business, but it
has to figure somewhere. By all accounts, India's concerns on terrorism and
Pakistan (there is also the permanent Security Council seat) aren't going to
be met. There is a parallel in Indo-Bangladesh relations, where Bangladesh's
cooperation on security enabled trade and business agenda to move forward.
Thus, to use clich├ęd language, what India brings to the table is clear
enough. But there is lack of clarity about what the US brings to the table,
apart from removal of restrictions on high technology trade. This isn't
carrot enough. And nor are assertions about democracy and shared values.
Consequently, hype over this visit isn't warranted. It isn't going to
transform relationships the way Clinton and Bush did. Let's by all means
have vague and sanctimonious motherhood statements, reminiscent of G20
communiques. Let's discuss China, yuan, the globe and environment. "Change
will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are
the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." That's an
oft-cited Barack Obama quote. It is unfortunate that we will have to wait
for some other person and some other time. For the moment, after these
motherhood statements, we can wish President Obama bon voyage for Indonesia.
In listings of countries, India usually comes before Indonesia and after
Iceland. There is a moral there somewhere.

Barack Obama's trip to India is a grossly indulgent waste of the defence
budget By James Corum World Last updated: November 8th, 2010 39 Comments
Comment on this article President and Mrs Obama arrive for a lavish trip
President and Mrs Obama prepare to enjoy a lavish trip After last week's
humiliation of President Barack Obama in the midterm elections – in which
the Republicans made huge gains at every level of government – you might
think that the president would want to avoid another political disaster for
a while. But not our Obama. To compound America's rejection of his domestic
policies, one week later he is determined to call attention to the
bankruptcy of his foreign and security policies. Obama's trip to India
bears all the hallmarks of failure at home. In the past, when things were
going badly for the president domestically, he went on a foreign tour
designed to highlight his stature as a world leader. But this lavish visit
is simply highlighting the administration's incompetence in foreign affairs.
First of all, India is not a close ally or a key strategic nation for
America. We have no alliance with India, no bases there, no security
partnership, Nor is India is not a key nation in terms of trade. There was
no urgent reason for Obama to go there: no major treaty to sign, no dramatic
arms control event. It is a "feelgood" stunt in which the US president and
Indian president share platitudes while the Obama-worshipping international
media applaud. Meanwhile, while the president is travelling with an
entourage that would dwarf the armed forces of even large nations (US Navy
ships deployed, a fleet of aircraft and vehicles, hundreds of advisors) and
displaying a level of pomp and ceremony that would have impressed the old
Raj, some American newspapers have been noting the cost of $200 million a
day. For a president that runs up new spending in the trillions, this is
small change. But he will be coming back to face a new Congress. And, after
a two-year spending binge, he is asking it to make some major cuts – in the
defence budget. As it happens, the defence budget is the main source of
President Obama's lavish travel budget. When the Congressional committees –
after January to be controlled by conservative Republicans – look at his
wish to cut defence, they may note that the cost of this latest trip could
have paid for a squadron of new F-35 fighters for the US Air Force, or a
destroyer for the US Navy, or a whole new brigade for the US Army, complete
with personnel and armoured vehicles. Republican Congressmen may note that
America could have bought itself some real security in the form of men and
equipment for a military worn down by a decade of conflict. It comes down
to a different worldview. Republicans and conservatives are happy to
negotiate and push for peaceful solutions. But real international solutions
are not obtained unless they are backed up by powerful armed forces. Reagan
knew this – and that is why the US-Soviet negotiations led by him were so
effective in winning a real peace. But Barack Obama and his Leftist
supporters have another view of defence spending. They believe that
international problems can be solved by Western apologies, vast aid
programmes to third world nations (especially hostile dictatorships) and
disarmament. In return, the Western democracies get vague promises of good
behaviour. The Republicans need to make an issue of Obama's grossly
indulgent trip to India and use it to contrast the two parties' philosophies
of national security. As we found out last week, whatever Obama's adulatory
media might say, American voters prefer the Republicans' worldview.

Why India's realty scam should interest Obama Jawed Naqvi Monday, 08 Nov,
2010 | 07:23 AM PST | On the face of it, the Adarsh housing
society scam in Mumbai does not look very different from dozens of similar
scandals spawned by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's dream to make India rich
with a nearly vertical take-off. A nation that pawned its gold reserves to
avert default just 20 years ago was being wooed at the weekend by President
Barack Obama to help save the American economy. A UNDP report released last
week has presented a damning picture of the country's social health,
evidently rooted in its grinding poverty and political callousness. The
report equates the country's most populous states with shocking social
indicators of sub-Saharan Africa. It is difficult to say if the hurriedly
acquired wealth or the intractable poverty is the bigger scandal. If you
were a Kashmiri stone-thrower, or even a simple apple farmer living under an
inevitably violent occupation by the Indian army, you should look at the
Adarsh scam with concern, even fear. If the highest ranking officers of the
Indian army could be involved in a corrupt transaction in Mumbai,
short-changing the government and the Indian taxpayer under public glare,
what havoc could the lower ranking soldiers be wreaking in Kashmir, where
they enjoy unbridled immunities? If they can do it to themselves, what
won't they do to others? The rush for rewards and promotions by producing
corpses of alleged militants in Kashmir came to a head in a bizarre
revelation in the Siachen Glacier in 2004. The Indian defence establishment
was shaken over revelations by a newspaper that its officers on duty in the
glacier had routinely stage-managed encounters with imaginary Pakistani
troops. The idea was to paint the Indian officers with false glory that
would fetch them coveted gallantry awards. The army promptly admitted to
faking encounters with "enemy personnel" in Siachen last year and ordered
"administrative action" against a colonel and a major and disciplinary
action taken against another major. The Adarsh scandal surfaced recently
after India's Western Naval Commander Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin wrote to
the defence ministry seeking action against the building promoters for
disregarding security concerns over army land handed over for the
multi-storeyed structure. Among those reportedly allotted flats in the 100
feet building are former Army Chiefs Generals Deepak Kapoor and N.C. Vij,
retired Navy Chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh, former Union Minister Suresh
Prabhu and kin of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan. Of the 104
apartments in the buildings, about 40 have been allotted to serving
personnel from the army, navy and the defence estates, which is the
custodian of all defence land in the country. Why should Bruce Riedel, a
former CIA official who advises President Obama on South Asia and the Middle
East, be made to be interested in the Adarsh society scam? There is an
excellent reason. In President Obama's interaction with students in Mumbai
on Sunday, his key policy statements on Pakistan and Afghanistan were an
echo of what Mr Riedel has been saying recently. That includes what Mr Obama
did not say – for example, on Kashmir. Bruce Mr Riedel's importance in the
Obama administration's thinking on the region linked with Afghanistan is
discussed in detail in Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's Wars. What did Mr
Riedel say recently that seems to be the mantra followed by the American
president on his India tour? He said: "The intifada that exploded this
summer in Kashmir cannot be ignored by the president during the visit but
any comments on it will be potentially explosive." He has said that
President Obama and Prime Minister Singh needed to cooperate to help
Pakistan solve its "jihadist nightmare". It cannot be resolved by outsiders,
nor can it be contained and isolated from the outside. Other points Mr
Riedel made in this regard, include: "Senior Indian officials in private say
that New Delhi and Washington now share a common diagnosis of the problems,
but neither has developed a strategy that promises success." "It is an
increasingly urgent concern, but one that does not have any magical answers.
Both agree that engagement with Pakistan is the only way forward, but
neither feels satisfied that its engagement is working." "The third parties
also involved, particularly Pakistan's ally China, will also figure
extensively in the private talks. Obama is keen to find ways to use regional
diplomacy to strengthen Pakistan, and Beijing must be a player in that
process." These points have naturally worried the hawks among the Indian
establishment and within its hand reared media. But what can Mr Riedel or
for that matter his president do if the idea is to discreetly, and certainly
not publicly, nudge India to discuss the issue of Kashmir with Pakistan. Mr
Obama did not refer to the "K" word in Mumbai, but he left little doubt that
India should resume talks with Pakistan by first taking up the less
difficult issues and moving on to the complex ones, meaning the key dispute.
For Mr Riedel this is an important condition for a successful American
strategy in Kashmir. Therefore, whatever the public posture, the Kashmir
issue is inevitably up for discussion and it's probably going to be out in
public. Yet a resolution of the Himalayan dispute is not lurking round the
corner or is about to spring upon us any time soon. This is where it is
important in the interim, beginning now, to get India's military presence in
Kashmir to open up to international scrutiny, to be made accountable. Prime
Minister Singh has frequently promised "zero tolerance" to human rights
abuse in Kashmir, but has done little to stop the disease from festering.
Last week, just days before the Obama visit, the Indian government thumbed
its nose at the international community by ordering the deportation of an
American scholar who has been a regular visitor to Kashmir. Professor
Richard Shapiro, who was denied entry by the immigration authorities in New
Delhi, is the head of the Department of Anthropology at the California
Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He is also the life partner
of Angana Chatterji, who is the Co-convener of the International People's
Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Reports say since July 2006, Prof Shapiro regularly travelled to Kashmir,
and interacted with various human rights defenders, scholars, youth, to bear
witness and learn from their experiences. He has evidently been
conscientious in not violating the conditions of his tourist visa. He also
helped form a Jewish-Muslim Friendship Circle. Kashmir was until 1990 a
beautiful mosaic of syncretic culture under the overarching influence of
Sufi Islam. A hard-line Islam blowing in from Pakistan together with
Kashmir's Indian-run torture chambers are pushing the region towards an as
yet untested brand of extremism. Mr Riedel knows what that implies for the
region all the way to Afghanistan and beyond. "There is a solution,
however, to the problem," he wrote recently. "The cease-fire line that
divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, the Line of Control, would
become the agreed international border between the two countries. At the
same time, it would become a permeable border for Kashmiris, who could move
back and forth easily. Both countries' currencies would be valid on both
sides of the line. The two parts of Kashmir, Pakistani Azad Kashmir and
Indian Kashmir and Jammu, would handle local issues like tourism, sports,
and the environment in joint shared institutions along the lines of how
Ireland and Ulster work together now on all Northern Ireland issues." His
ideas may find favour with the Indian establishment or they may not.
Pakistan supported it once, but does it hold the same views today? While we
debate the many options or non-options for a final resolution of the Kashmir
issue, a frightening variant of the Adarsh housing scam may be wreaking
havoc in the Valley. The state government admitted in 2003 that close to
3,000 had gone missing in Kashmir. Human rights groups say the figure is
much higher. Is there a need to probe the scandal and to bring the guilty to
justice as democracies are mandated to do? Or is the Indian army too much of
a holy cow to be trifled with with or without its share of grievous

Indian boots in Afghanistan? By Ali K Chishti US President Barack Obama
has already begun his 10-day trip to Asia where he would be visiting Japan,
South Korea, Indonesia and India. Obama's trip to Japan, South Korea and
Indonesia is seen as a "continuing policy" to further strategic cooperation
between the US against growing Chinese influence and North Korea. However,
it is his trip to India, which is being seen as "agenda-driven" and somewhat
a strategic shift by the US. Obama's trip to India, which the Indian media
is playing up as an "extra-ordinary trip", is being seen with very high
hopes domestically where various agreements and issues such as civil nuclear
cooperation, economics, counter-terrorism, Pakistan and China will be
discussed in great detail. The real agenda of Obama's trip to India is
"Afghanistan" where there's "an absolute breakdown of relations". While both
the US and India wish to avoid re-emergence of terrorism sanctuaries capable
of carrying out international terrorism, it is the "US giving all cards to
the Pakistanis in Afghanistan, which is a real problem. We have investments,
assets and recent history which prove that Afghanistan is abused and used
against carrying out attacks inside India", confirmed Zahid Hussain, an
Indian defence analyst. "Afghanistan has become a major source of tension
between the US and India for the primary reason that India does not believe
that we will stay until the job is done," McCain said in a speech before
leaving for a trip to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. While President Obama
will be in India signing deals and will give a strong statement supporting
India, McCain will be on a "Mission Pakistan" to make sure "no egos are
hurt" in Islamabad. While Obama will be singing praises for New Delhi,
Daily Times had been told by many American analysts close to the US Defence
Department that finally, the US has made up it's mind up to formally ask
India to send troops to Afghanistan due to shortage of manpower in
Afghanistan, to satisfy non-Pakhtuns, and to satisfy the concerns of India
and other regional powers, including Russia regarding a possible Taliban
take-over. It should be noted that Pakistan's all-powerful army chief
General Ashfaq Kayani, in Washington DC, publically called for "minimising
Indian role" in Afghanistan for an exchange of stability in Afghanistan.
The US, according to Harvey Caroll, a US defence analyst, "is thinking
broadly and keeping all its options open and while there had been talks with
the Taliban, the US also wants to keep the Northern Alliance and
"non-Pakhtuns" happy or give some sense of security for the long term.
Pakistan needs to get out of its India-centric attitude and stop the
blackmail". "The almost 9,000 Indian troops deployed on UN peacekeeping
missions could easily be re-deployed in Afghanistan," confirmed Bharat
Singh, an Indian defence analyst. While it should be noted that India has
other interests in Afghanistan too, it primarily wants to end Pakistan's
monopoly as a gateway to Afghanistan and had even financed an alternate
corridor of strategic importance that connects Afghanistan with the Iranian
port of Chahbahar. The 280km road from Delaram on the Kandahar-Herat highway
to Zananj is India's own 'Silk Road', which it wants to protect at any cost
with the Iranians, who play along. India, which traditionally has been
supporting the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, has many defence
officials and even a serving brigadier inside Afghanistan to look after
Indian interests. Daily Times has been told that Lt Gen RK Loomba, the
Indian Army's Military Intelligence DG, was also in Afghanistan to assess
Afghan military's capabilities, and India is keen on taking the new role in
Afghanistan. It should be remembered that the Afghan Defence Ministry,
which is mostly headed by old leftists, denied Pakistan's offer to train the
Afghan army, while General Caldwell, the head of NATO training mission,
during an interview previously published in Daily Times, also denied
Pakistan's role in training the Afghan army. Meanwhile, the NATO and ISAF
command, which sees Pakistan as an "enemy" because of Pakistan's security
doctrine of "strategic depth" and the analogy of "good Taliban and bad
Taliban", also wants Indian boots in Afghanistan since 2006 and would still
welcome them. In a conference call with reporters this week, Robert D
Blackwill, who served as an ambassador to India during the George W Bush
administration, said India is extremely anxious that the US would forge a
deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan. McCain described the emergence of a
strategic partnership with India as "one of the most consequential,
bipartisan successes of recent US foreign policy". While it should be
remembered that India has taken Russia, France, the UK and now even the
Americans on board for their permanent membership in the UN Security
Council. On the Pakistani side, the country has taken a central role in
Afghanistan policy by assuring the Americans earlier this year that "we will
help you stabilise Afghanistan only when you reduce Indian influence in
Afghanistan". The offer to India from the US to actually bring in uniformed
Indian soldiers to Afghanistan would be seen as a serious security threat
and an anti-thesis to Pakistani security doctrine of strategic depth. Could
this be all bluff? The US actually pressurising Pakistan? "Maybe, but it
would certainly take skeletons out of the Pakistanis, plus the possibility
is real. We can't get blackmailed anymore," Daily Times was told.\11\08\story_8-11-2010_pg7

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal