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Saturday, 20 November 2010

From Today's Papers - 19 Nov 2010

Terror alert in Delhi, Mumbai  New Delhi, November 18 Acting on specific inputs by a foreign intelligence agency, the Union Home Ministry has sounded the highest possible alert for the cities of Mumbai and Delhi.  Separately, the three armed forces are conducting an exercise “Defence of Gujarat coast”. More than 20 naval ships, IAF reconnaissance planes, Army amphibious assault units and the Coast Guard are part of the exercise.  Sources said there was an apprehension of terror strikes ahead of the 26/11 anniversary. The Centre has asked authorities in Maharashtra and Delhi to tighten security to foil any attempt by anyone to disturb peace. The attacks could occur at crowded places.  An intelligence agency of a western country has informed that it has credible information that Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba may launch strikes in crowded places in Mumbai, similar to the one carried out two years ago. Another intelligence input suggested that Kashmiri terror outfits might strike in three markets, including the popular underground Palika Bazar, in Delhi. — TNS

It’s spy vs spy for top RAW job Man Mohan Our Roving Editor  New Delhi, November 18 It is spy versus spy. In the secretive world of espionage agencies, knives are out among ‘rival’ Indian Police Service officers to grab the coveted posts of heads of various intelligence agencies.  The fast moving developments are not less than a cloak and dagger thriller film. Although the ball began rolling to ‘select’ new heads last Friday, aspirants have for several months been making efforts to ‘eliminate’ their competitors, reminding one of their covert operations.  The main focus is on the 42-year-old RAW, India’s foreign espionage agency, and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) formed in 2004. Last Friday, three top PMO officers -- Principal Secretary, TKA Nair, National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon and Cabinet Secretary MN Prasad -- met to consider the profiles of several ‘candidates’ for top positions of RAW, NTRO, Aviation Research Centre (ARC) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB). A decision from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected soon.  Reliable sources told The Tribune that ‘manoeuvres’ were being made to shift current RAW chief KC Verma to the NTRO as its head, despite the fact that he has no experience in technical espionage. The NTRO works like America’s National Security Agency that specialises in the collection and analysis of foreign communications and signals intelligence.  In the Intelligence Bureau, in-house number two officer — Nachal Sandhu — has been tipped to succeed current Director Rajiv Mathur, who retires on December 31. If Verma’s name is okayed by the PM for the NTRO, he will replace KVSS Prasad Rao, who retired on October 4. Rao earlier served in the space department and the Defence Research and Development Organisation. Before becoming the NTRO head, Rao had tried to get this post but his efforts were torpedoed by Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who felt that a person found “unfit” to head RAW could not be posted as the head of another intelligence agency. But with help from the highest quarters in the PMO, Rao later succeeded, and this move again irritated Chidambaram.  Similarly, Verma, a 1971 Jharkhand cadre IPS officer, two years ago tried to become the NTRO chief but he was refused as he was brought to RAW on a fixed two years tenure on February 1, 2009. Earlier, he served in the Intelligence Bureau.  For some months, Verma has been trying to shift to the NTRO as this ‘manoeuvre’ may help a ‘friend officer’ Sanjiv Tripathi, heading the Aviation Research Centre, to become RAW’s 19th chief. This will benefit both Verma and Tripathi in getting fixed two-year tenure.  As RAW chief, Verma is scheduled to retire on January 31, 2011, and as the Aviation Research Centre head, Tripathi is slated for retirement on December 31, 2010. “There seems to be a mutual understanding between Verma and Tripathi and their well-wishers in the PMO,” commented a senior RAW officer.  The ARC deals in aerial surveillance, signal intelligence, photo reconnaissance flights, monitoring of borders and imagery intelligence operations. Though the ARC is an autonomous organisation, it is a sub-organisation of RAW.  Tripathi is the son-in-law of RAW’s seventh chief, Gauri Shankar Bajpai. The well-connected, Lucknow-based Bajpai has virtually stationed himself here for past several months to help Tripathi. He has also often been described as a protégé of 17th RAW chief Ashok Chaturvedi, in whose term the organisation was hit by several controversies. As the Aviation Research Centre chief, Tripathi has also faced allegations of allowing his mentor, Chaturvedi and his wife Asha, ‘unsanctioned’ use of helicopter to travel to temples around India on private visits.  During his earlier stint as a RAW officer in Mauritius, Tripathi had run into a controversy because of ‘unauthorised use’ of the cultural centre of the Indian High Commission by his wife for holding numerous exhibitions of her paintings.  Tripathi is facing a tough competitor from within RAW — Anand K Arni — who as Special Secretary is number two in the organisation. Considered to be an expert on Pakistan, Arni is from RAW cadre service. Before becoming the Aviation Research Centre head, Tripathi served as the additional secretary (personnel) in RAW.  Most of RAW chiefs so far have been experts on either Pakistan or China. Barring an exception of one case, RAW chiefs have been chosen from the IPS cadres. This has been resented by RAW’s own cadre officers. Technically, Tripathi is not an IPS officer. He had resigned from the IPS cadre to become part of RAW service cadre. Still, a powerful PMO and IPS lobby is backing Tripathi, claiming that he is a former IPS officer.  There is an interesting catch here. If for some reason, the PMO does not take a decision for another month about shifting Verma to the NTRO, Tripathi will retire from the Aviation Research Centre on December 31.  A 1974-batch IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh, Ajit Lal — also an expert in IB on north-east affairs — is also eyeing RAW’s top post or ‘proper adjustment’ somewhere else. Once Sandhu becomes IB chief, Lal will move to number two position, and he will have nearly one-and-a-half year to retire.  RAW works under the Cabinet Secretariat. It has more or less been developed on the lines of America’s foreign intelligence agency, the CIA, which operates worldwide, focusing on militarily and economically strong nations. Because of India’s limited requirements, RAW mainly concentrates on Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, though it has stations in global capitals.  RAW started with 250 employees and an annual budget of Rs 2 crore. Now, its budget is said to be in several hundred crores, which is free from Parliament or any government body’s scrutiny.  In the recent decade, RAW has acquired the reputation of being strong in technical intelligence but weak in human intelligence. The recent years have also witnessed few high profile defections and scandals which have tarnished RAW’s image. In 2004, when India was undergoing Lok Sabha elections, the agency’s Joint-Secretary, Rabinder Singh, defected to America.  The intelligence community was shocked when a director-level woman officer heading RAW’s training institute tried to commit suicide in front of the PMO on August 19, 2008, alleging inaction and wrong findings to a sexual harassment complaint filed against a joint secretary on deputation.

In defence of the army: The question of prisoners of war Haris Masood Zuberi yesterday                  Is it justified to doubt the army which has offered great sacrifices in battle?  Militants usually do not comply with customs of war. They  strike civilians and thus render themselves undeserving of traditional reprieve.  In the war on terror, the US government promptly refused to regard captured al Qaeda and Taliban militants as Prisoners of War and instead labelled them as ‘unlawful combatants’ at the very onset of the long-winding war on terror.  Historic precedent hints that ruthless terrorists are like pirates captured on the high-seas. David Neuendorf of the Indiana Journal-Press once contended that:      “Such people were subjected to military justice, administered by military commanders on the scene. That usually meant hanging from a yardarm. Today it could mean a firing squad.”  In Pakistan, this is not an outrageous thought keeping in mind the terrorists ability to reorganise and strike another day.  So, how should captured militants in Pakistan be treated?  The question came up recently after a video showing a military firing-squad executing six men sparked uproar. The video obviously wasn’t filmed during a peacetime drill or inside a prisoner-of-war (POW) camp. Is it justified to doubt the army which has offered great sacrifices in battle and instead give militants the benefit of doubt, presuming militants captured by troops (following an ambush or fierce battle) as innocent civilians just because they wore plain shalwar kameez (with no ammunition vests)? Who is a prisoner of war?  According to Article 4 (A) (2) of the 3rd Geneva Convention ‘Relative to Treatment of Prisoners of War’ members of ‘militias, volunteer corps and organised resistance movements’ can only be accorded prisoners-of-war (POW) status if they fulfill four conditions. These can be interpreted as:  a)           Having a command structure, whereby commanders are directly responsible for actions/discipline of subordinates  b)      Having a distinctive uniform/insignia recognisable at a distance, to identify them as members of a particular militia/corps, so as not to conceal their identity  c)      Carrying their weapons openly, in order not to deceive  d)      Conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war  Civil-military tug-of-war  Disturbingly, the army’s tactics are judged on the battlefied by civilian standards which displays a lack of understanding of the intensity and nature of the conflict. Under the sway of a sensationalist media, the civilian segment of society has been overwhelmed by the idea of fighting militancy. The army now fights on – largely without the support of their nation.  Coming from simple urban lives, civilians cannot appreciate battlefield tactics. Despite the fact that thousands of lives have been lost at the hands of the terrorists, impressionable members of the public end up sympathising with militants.  At the beginning of the Operation Rah-e-Rast in 2009, news channels oblivious of ground realities continued airing footage of enemy casualties out of a pompous sense of impartiality. It wasn’t until flag-draped coffins began to arrive every day that the army/ISPR finally earned some airtime and the gullible nation eventually grasped the grim situation and chose a side.  Morality in the battlefield  Perhaps if a battle scene was played in slow motion, every shot causing the death of an enemy combatant would appear as an isolated act of brutal murder. An army fighting a war against terrorists cannot afford sensationalist media coverage that exploits naïve public sentiments, swaying popular opinion and leading to political and judicial actors overstepping their mandate and interfering in military matters, risking the security and morale of the troops in the process.  Variants of War  A ‘battlefield’ is commonly taken to mean territory falling between two opposing sides. The core difference between the war on terror and our nation’s earlier wars under black-outs, air-raid sirens and dog-fights wherein the public cheered bo-kaata, is that with the looming threat of attacks anywhere, anytime and no formal demarcation, the battle never ends for soldiers serving in volatile areas, who have seen countless comrades (as well as civilians) brutally killed at the hands of militants.  Under such ‘kill-or-get-killed’ circumstances and ceaseless engagement with militants who rely most on hit-run tactics, everyday is a battle and everywhere is the battlefield. Local army commanders entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the lives of their subordinates and ensuring the safety of other units/convoys have the right to decide when they must act on aggressive survival instinct to incapacitate militants apprehended during a battle, and when troops can enjoy peaceful partridge shoots.

Engineers celebrate 230th Corps Day at Chandimandir       Punjab Newsline Network Thursday, 18 November 2010 CHANDIGARH: While all three wings of Engineer Corps of Indian Army celebrating their 230th raising day nationwide, the celebration by the Engineers of Western Command with traditional fervor and Zeal is on here at Chandimandir also.   Maj Gen V K Bhatt, Chief Engineer Western Command and Colonel Commander of Bombay Sappers along with other officers, retired officers and other ranks joined in a solemn wreath laying ceremony to pay homage to the martyrs at ‘Veer Smriti’, the War Memorial of Western Command today. The entire fraternity of the Corps of Engineers in the tricity of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali are attending the celebrations.  The Corps of engineers, one of the oldest arms of the Indian Army, established in the year 1780 consists of three major wings namely Combat Engineers, Military Engineering Service and Border Roads. The Corps also provides officers to the Military Survey and Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).  The main role of combat engineers is to provide mobility to own forces by constructing bridges, tracks and helipads; on the other hand the Corps denies the same to the enemy by creating such as laying mine-fields and demolition of bridges.  The military engineers are mainly responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of all works, buildings, airfields, dock installations, etc. They are also engaged with additional Services such as military roads, water and electricity supply, drainage, refrigeration, furniture, required by the Army, Navy and Air Force.  The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is another major arm of the Defence service which is playing a vital role by constructing national highways, airfields, buildings and bridges. The Border Roads, by constructing a large number of roads in once inaccessible areas of the Himalayas, Rajasthan and North Eastern States have contributed significantly to their economic development.

When the Indian Army impressed the US Army India Defence Daily, 18-Nov-2010 11:30:57 AM . Font Size: Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Keywords: India defence daily | US soldiers | Anti-Tank Guided Missile | Yudh Abhyas 2010 | Infantry | See Full Image A US soldier pins US Army airborne jump wings on an Indian army soldier during a wing exchange ceremony on November 13 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The Soldiers earned their foreign jum A US soldier pins US Army airborne jump wings on an Indian army soldier during a wing exchange ceremony on November 13 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The Soldiers earned their foreign jum  Indian Army has received an overwhelming pat on its back from the US forces for the professional manner in which it went about carrying out tasks assigned to it in Yudh Abhyas 2010. The 14-day combined training exercise enhanced relationships between the two militaries and expanded operational and cultural knowledge between Indian and US soldiers.  Lt Col Christopher Cassibry, commander of 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, leads the colour guard during the November 14 closing ceremony of combined training exercise Yudh Abhyas 2010 at Buckner Physical Fitness Centre on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson  "This two-week exercise brought these soldiers together for this increasingly complex exercise. What we've done here through Yudh Abhyas is important. It's important to this relationship between our two countries," said Brig Gen Raymond Palumbo, commanding general of the US Army in Alaska.  Approximately 750 soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (National Guard) and Indian army soldiers from the 62nd Infantry and 5th parachute Regiment Brigade participated in Yudh Abhyas 2010 and filled the formation during the ceremony.  "I thought the outcome of this exercise was great. As far as our training objectives, we met all of them," Maj Edward Berg, brigade judge advocate, 4th ABCT, 25th ID, said, adding, "The thing that will last for me, that I will remember most, is just the time getting to know my counterpart and creating that friendship."  "We had a great time getting to know each other on a personal level as well as a professional level," Berg added. "I think it's important not only personally to make friends with people from different nations, but also professionally as we go more towards joint operating environments."  "It's been great working with the Indian army. They are very professional," said Spc Justin Coates, infantryman in Charlie Troop, 1-40th CAV. "They really know what they are doing, and I felt confident with their ability to jump."  "They have been able to adapt to our differences very quickly. So seeing them perform so well in this unfamiliar environment is amazing. From talking to them and working with them, I've learned that even though we wear different uniforms, we still share the same lifestyle," said Sgt Randy Henrion, team leader with Apache Troop, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.  Yudh Abhyas 2010 included a command post exercise that focused on combined peacekeeping operations, a field training exercise that included several combined missions, marksmanship and tactical training highlighted by a Javelin live-fire, a combined US and India airborne jump, as well as various cultural activities and social exchanges.  The exercise was significant within all levels involved, Palumbo said.  It strengthened national bonds between India and the United States, it brought two allied militaries together on the same field, and gave each individual participant a chance to experience an unfamiliar culture and establish new friendships.  "It's great that we brought two professional armies together for something like this. I think we've created great friendships for the future," Major Edward Berg, brigade judge advocate, 4th ABCT, 25th ID said.  Soldiers and leaders from both armies presented gifts to commemorate the bonds established through the training event, and bid farewell to each other to conclude the ceremony and Yudh Abhyas 2010.  Yudh Abhyas is a regularly scheduled bilateral, conventional-forces training exercise, sponsored by US Army, Pacific and the Indian Army.  The exercise is designed to promote cooperation between the two militaries to develop US Army Pacific and USARAK relationships with India and promote interoperability through combined military decision making process, battle tracking and manoeuvring forces, and exchange of tactics, techniques and procedures.  Like in the last edition in Babina in India, this time too the Indian soldiers tried out several US-made weapons, including the Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missile.  The Indian Army is buying at least 400 of the Raytheon-made weapons and the two sides are discussing a proposal to produce them under license and the Indian defence public sector Bharat Dynamics Limited.

India to Procure Rotary Wing UAVs for Special Forces Counter Terror Operations 2010-11-18 Government is looking to procure helicopter-shaped Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to air-drop small commandos units for launching special operations to counter terrorism and Maoist menace with added swiftness and stealth. The UAVs till now were used by various security forces to gather intelligence and conduct reconnaissance missions in unfriendly terrain but commandos on-board is a maiden initiative.  The Qualitative Requirements (QRs) for the rotary wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) floated by the Home Ministry specify that the air borne machine should be able to "deploy two to three men team" at a short notice. Experts handling the technology in the Home Ministry said that such UAVs have recently been used by the NATO forces in Afghanistan and it can carry men by replacing the equivalent weight of the payload that the UAV is stipulated to bear.  Such operations, by deploying a crack commando team on-board the UAVs, can be undertaken in case of a terror attack in urban areas and even naxal zones, sources said. The Draft QR specifically states that the "UAV should be capable of rapid deployment with a detachment not exceeding two to three men and should have all weather day and night operations capability", an essential requirement for such machines to perform in the tough and unknown terrains. "The system (UAV) must be able to detect and acquire the designated targets. The sensor packages must provide a high quality imagery resolution to permit target detection, recognition, identification and accurate location of targets, move of personnel and vehicles.  "The UAV must be capable of being deployed and operated in built up areas and narrow lanes during counter-terrorist and counter-hijack operations," the QR said. The new desired UAVs for the security forces including the elite NSG, will also have the capacity to record data upto 80 Gega Bytes (GB). The security forces, according to sources, have asked for an "intelligent" UAV which can change its pre-fed programming and go into a "loiter" mode in the operations area to suit the need of the operation. The UAV should also be capable "of providing real time high quality video with full flight telemetry and capable of tackling ground targets, both static and mobile".  The UAV is desired to cruise at a speed of 30 knots and above with hovering and hanging facilities in the air and the sensors deployed on it should pick up the target at 400 metres. It should also be airborne for about six hours, the QR floated after consultations with various security agencies said. Sources said the desired UAV should have a platform to enable simulation exercises for troops prior to an operation and should have all facilities of maintenance and product support.

Where's the Merc? A piece of history dating back to the 1971 Indo-Pak War is said to have disappeared from the Eastern Command headquarters in Kolkata. A Mercedes Benz, that used to be the staff car of the then East Pakistan army commander Lt General AAK Niazi before it was brought to the Fort William, cannot be traced. It was the same car in which Niazi drove down to Dhaka airport with Lt Gen (retd) JFR Jacob to receive Lt Gen J S Aurora, the then GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, before the historic surrender on December 16, 1971 which was signed by both of them. The car which was treated as ‘War Booty’ by officials, was used by GOC-in-Cs of the Eastern Command till a few years ago. Senior Army officers are unsure whether the car was ‘scrapped’ and sent to the Panagarh depot in Burdwan for disposal through auction. If this is what actually happened, the car may have been auctioned off by now. It could either be lying in the garage of a person who knows nothing about its true value or may have landed in the hands of a scrap dealer to be torn into pieces. “It was ‘War Booty’ that was brought from Dhaka after the War. Unfortunately, we are unable to trace it now. There is a possibility that the car was scrapped a few years ago. Maybe, officers who took the decision were not aware of its origin,” a senior officer of the Army said. In 1971, while Pakistani army generals had Mercedes as their staff cars, few Indian businessmen could hope to own the vehicle, given the country’s stringent import policy. Such cars were a strictly forbidden for all the government or military officials. A section of retired officers believe that the car was simply taken ‘off records’ to avoid any controversy. After all, bringing it to India clashed with late Field Marshal SHFJ Maneckshaw’s principle that soldiers of the Indian Army were not to behave as if they were part of an invading Army. “This was not the only Mercedes that was brought back to India. There were other cars that found their way to other command headquarters. Questions were even raised in Delhi on why the vehicles were brought back. In response, officers had said that they were brought to India for repairs that couldn’t be undertaken in Bangladesh,” a retired Army officer said. Eminent historians like Amalendu De, sounded extremely unhappy when told about the development. “If the Army admits that the car was brought to Kolkata after the creation of Bangladesh, it should certainly have been preserved. Some anti-Indian elements in Bangladesh had earlier made allegations that the Indian Army had taken away some jeeps after the surrender. I had investigated the matter and found the allegations to be baseless. This is the first time that I am hearing of the Mercedes,” De said. When Niazi surrendered before Aurora thirty-nine years ago, as per protocol he also handed over his revolver to Aurora. Jacob, then chief of staff, Eastern Command, wrote in his memoirs later that the revolver handed over by Niazi was not his. “....Niazi then undid his epaulette and removed his .38 revolver with attached lanyard and handed it over to Aurora. There were tears in his eyes.... Sometime later, when I examined the revolver surrendered by Niazi, I realised that the weapon wasn’t his. It was a normal Army issue .38 revolver. The barrel was choked with muck..... The lanyard was dirty and frayed in parts,” Jacob wrote stating his doubts about the weapon, “This wasn’t the personal weapon of a commanding general. More likely, Niazi had taken it from one of his military policemen and surrendered it as his personal weapon. I could not help feeling that in his own way, Niazi had got a little of his own back,” Jacob wrote. In 2003, a pistol which was presumed to be that of Niazi, was stolen from the National Museum in Delhi. Army officials later revealed that Niazi’s revolver (it was not a pistol) was preserved safely at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun. What was stolen from the museum could have been a pistol surrendered by another Pakistani officer. Historians can only pray that the Mercedes is also tucked away somewhere and will be shown the respect it deserves.

1 comment:

  1. thank you so much for this great informations !!! good job



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