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Friday, 3 December 2010

From Today's Papers - 03 Dec 2010






Army chief dismisses US envoy’s remark Says India has no 'Cold Start' doctrine  New Delhi, December 2 Army Chief Gen V K Singh today said India has no "Cold Start" doctrine as claimed in the secret American documents and dismissed the US perception about the Indian Army being "slow and lumbering".  "There is nothing called 'Cold Start' (doctrine) in the Indian Army. We don't have anything called 'Cold Start'," he told PTI reacting to Wikileak documents in which US Ambassador Timothy Roemer analyses India's military approach towards Pakistan in the wake of 26/11 attacks.  He also dismissed Roemer's description of the Indian army's mobilisation process as "slow and lumbering", saying that is "his perception" with which he does not agree.  "We don't necessarily agree with that perception. We know what has to be done," Gen Singh underlined.  He said the Indian army has "things in place" and "We practice our contingency depending on situations. We are confident that we will be able to exercise the contingency when the time comes."  Asked about the slow process of modernisation of the Armed forces, Gen Singh explained that it is mainly due to procedures and the fact that authorities want to be cautious to ensure nothing goes wrong.  Gen Singh said “We are aware that the modernisation process is subject to procedures of procurement. It takes at least two years, sometimes it may take more because somebody raises an issue about a company—that this company is doing this and that. It may be blacklisted. It happened in the case of Bofors.  “Procedurally we have problems because this is a democracy and nobody wants to take a chance.”  To a question whether with all these problems India could be called a fighting force, he asserted, “100 per cent. We are capable of achieving what we want.”  He said that no force anywhere could have 100 per cent modernisation. “Anywhere, ideally, 30 per cent will be old legacy, 30-40 per cent will be in the process of modernisation and another 30-40 per cent will be totally modernised.”  The Army Chief said in a big country like India, it will take time because of manufacturing and other issues. “All that I can say is that whatever we have, whether it is old or otherwise, we are still capable of what we want to achieve,” he emphasised. — PTI

N-sub Arihant to be ready in 2012 Ajay Banerjee/TNS  New Delhi, December 2 India will use its indigenous nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant for ‘deterrent patrol’ aimed at providing the ability of a retaliatory ‘second strike’ in wake of a nuclear attack. The submarine, when on patrol, will carry its full load of nuclear-tipped missiles that can be launched from under the sea and hit targets hundreds of miles away.  Arihant, launched in July last year at Viskahapatnam, will be ready to float in 2012. It is the first of a series of three ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) that India proposes to build.  Two types of N-tipped missiles are being developed for Arihant. One of them would be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) --- K-15 Sagarika --- with a range of 700 km. This has been tested several times using a pressurised canister submerged under water to mimic a submarine-style launch. A longer range 3,500 km missile is under test and one such test has already been conducted.  During the Cold War “deterrent patrol” was a norm adopted by the US and the erstwhile USSR when their submarines trawled under sea for days. The two super-powers are known to have conducted more than 200 such patrols annually. It is meant to 'deter' an adversary from launching a first N-strike on the nation as the submarines can then launch the retaliatory strike within minutes.  Recently, China has developed two SSBNs that are termed as ‘Jin-class’ in military circles and these carry 12 N-tipped missiles. The Chinese Navy has been conducting patrols in the last two years. The UK and France are the other countries that have similar abilities. A nuclear submarine is needed for such patrols due to its ability to remain submerged and undetected for longer periods.  Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, in what is a rare acknowledgement of the country’s nuclear abilities, today said: “We have a declared policy of no-first-use...But we have Arihant….. When it is commissioned and goes to sea, it will be on deterrent patrol. The triad (nuclear) would be there when Arihant is commissioned.”  The nuclear triad, he said, would be complete only when India has strategic nuclear missiles that could be launched from land, air and sea. The N-submarine will form the third leg --- often termed as the most reliable and stealthy --- of nuclear triads on land, air and sea-based platforms. The Indian nuclear doctrine elucidates that the nation should possess the capability.  On land, India possesses or is in the process of possessing a family of nuclear-tipped missiles, including the Agni series and Prithvi variants. In the Air, the Sukhoi and the Mirage have the ability to deliver N-tipped bombs.  The Admiral, admitted to "hiccups" in India's Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) project saying the 40,000-tonne warship could not be launched this year but will be done in the middle of next year. On the Navy's future acquisition and capability enhancement programmes, Verma said there were 36 ships and submarines on order in various Indian shipyards and that these programmes were largely on track.  On the induction of Admiral Gorshkov, he said, all efforts are being made to ensure it is delivered to us by December 2012.

BrahMos missile test-fired successfully  Balasore (Orissa), Dec 2 India successfully test-fired the 290-km range BrahMos cruise missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur off the Orissa coast today.  The supersonic cruise missile, with precision strike capability, was test-fired from a mobile launcher at 11.00 hrs from the launch pad no. 3 of the ITR, defence sources said.  “The trial was successful,” they said. The missile, which can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound, is capable of carrying conventional warheads up to 300 kg for a range of 290 km. The missile can effectively engage ground targets from an altitude as low as 10 meters, they said.  The 8.4 meter-long missile is a two-stage vehicle that has a solid propellant booster and a liquid propellant ram-jet system. The Balasore district administration, on the advice of defence authorities, had temporarily shifted 3,220 persons belonging to 401 families residing within two km radius of the launch pad to two nearby shelter centres as a safety measures during the missile test.  BrahMos is capable of being launched from multiple platforms like submarine, ship, aircraft and land based Mobile Autonomous Launchers.  One regiment of the 290-km range BrahMos-I variant, which consists of 67 missiles, five mobile autonomous launchers on 12x12 Tatra vehicles and two mobile command posts, among other equipment, is already operational in the Indian Army, the sources said.  The Indian Navy has started the process of inducting the first version of BrahMos missile system in all frontline warships from 2005. — PTI

Lamba to take over as Vice-Chief of Army Tribune News Service  New Delhi, December 2 Lt-Gen Arvinder Singh Lamba will take over as the new Vice-Chief of the Army. Gen Lamba hails from Punjab and is from the artillery regiment of the Army.  Lamba, who headed the Shimla-based Army Training Command, will replace Lt-Gen PC Bharadwaj who retired from service on November 30, official sources said here today.  In another important move, Lt-Gen SK Singh, who was the Corps Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, will be the GoC-in-C of the Jaipur-based South Western Command. Lt-Gen Ravi Dastane will replace him at Leh. Lt-Gen KT Parnaik will be the new GoC-in-C of the Udhampur-based Northern Command from January 1. He will replace the present Northern Army Commander, Lt-Gen JS Jaswal, who retires on December 31.  Lt-Gen NC Marwaha, who was heading the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, will head the Andaman and Nicobar-based Tri-Services Command. Lt-Gen SA Hasnain will replace him.

Fighting terrorism Civil society can play a major role by Gen V.P. Malik (retd)  THE second anniversary of the 26/11 attack on Mumbai has highlighted two important issues — the accountability of the state and the role of civil society in countering terrorism.  Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram went to Mumbai to participate in the anniversary observance. He paid homage to the terror victims, sympathised with their kith and kin and also lauded those who had conducted themselves bravely on this day two years ago. Some measures taken by the Centre and state governments to prevent and combat terrorism were highlighted. But as pointed out by him and the media, there is a lot more to be done in the areas of national and state security apparatus, intelligence sharing mechanism and equipping of the security forces.  Chidambaram has admitted that India has failed to get the Pakistani perpetrators punished or to deter their establishment from using proxy terror outfits as a strategic weapon. That is obvious from the post-26/11 terrorist attacks on the German Bakery in Pune and the Indian Embassy in Kabul. A decade-long flip-flop in our counter-terrorism efforts and security policy towards Pakistan — kabhi naram, kabhi garam — and over-dependence on the US have not been helpful. India has to believe in itself and develop its own deterrent, prevention and combat capabilities.  The contrasting response of civil society in India during this period has been interesting. At the one end of the spectrum are the people from Mumbai who lit candles for the 26/11 victims, resolved to fight terrorism unitedly, and questioned why Kasab was still hanging around. The Force One display in Mumbai was impressive, but not the lethargy of the leaders and officials responsible for its control and equipment. Having faced three large-scale terrorist attacks on the city, civil society activism against terrorism in Mumbai is understandable.  At the other end are the Hurriyat leaders, little known outside the valley in J&K, who are openly questioning the integrity of the nation, organising hartals, stone-pelting and provocative attacks on the security forces. They accept or condone violence to push their agenda. Everyone in the government and outside knows that they get their funds, support and guidance from Pakistan, which has been using jihadi terrorism as a strategic tool against India.  There is also a publicity craving author who romanticises the Maoists, provides glamorous company to Hurriyat leaders and makes seditious statements challenging India’s sovereignty.  There are some little-known and suspiciously funded political organisations and think-tanks that provide interactive platforms to such people across the country. The media provides them oxygen. These dissidents and provocateurs are hot favourites of our TV channels. Remember the old adage related to the media: man biting dog makes news, not the other way round!  All this raises the question of the role of civil society in preventing and countering terrorism in democratic India.  India’s civil society to me means a group of inter-dependent “civil” people who share a common value system and interests. Civil society is guided and bound by the Constitution of India with all its privileges, responsibilities and accountability. To maintain a sense of security and equitable opportunity, civil society must abide by its legal governance system - its laws, rules and regulations.  India has a diverse, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-community social structure. People everywhere have socio-political and socio-economic aspirations. At one level, the diversity sharpens competition among different social groups for political, social and economic advancement. At another macro level, it helps as a balancing factor, enables cooperative benefits and co-existence. It binds the nation and discourages secessionism. An active civil society in a democratic country like India is essential.  My long involvement with counter-terrorism in the Northeast, Punjab and J&K makes me believe that civil society usually contributes more to the cause of preventing and countering terrorism than encouraging terrorism. Wherever active, it generates awareness and provides a constructive outlet for the redress of grievances. It gives voice to the marginalised and vulnerable people, including victims of terrorism, and plays a critical role in ensuring that counter-terrorism measures respect human rights and the rule of law. I have no hesitation in stating that prolonged and intensified operations against terrorists and insurgents, despite discipline and education, often lead to fake encounters and other human rights violations! Prolonged deployment of the security forces and the inconveniences that go with such a measure tend to alienate civil society.  In any counter-terrorism strategy, conflict resolution and removing the causes of terrorism are always more important than military action against terrorist violence. Civil society enables us to reach the core of the conflicts in spreading awareness, ending foreign influence and supporting area development. It plays an important role in facilitating dialogue and providing policy advice. Civil society engaged in such work helps dry up the wells of extremism from which violence springs. Punjab in this regard is one of our best examples.  The problem that we face in India is that many civil society organisations which are potential allies of the state in promoting development are viewed with suspicion when working among the marginalised populations or perceived to be supporting political opponents of the state. This makes the security forces and other counter-terrorism agencies extremely reluctant to develop partnership with such organisations.  There is a lot that civil society does and can do to prevent and check terrorism. It needs to consolidate, promote harmony and solidarity in society as well as manage an orderly response in the event of a terrorist attack as it has done repeatedly in Mumbai. It needs to involve itself in a pro-active manner, hand-in-hand with government agencies, following the instructions, maintaining watch and ward in our surroundings. The debates, the disagreements and events in society which cause tensions can be resolved expeditiously to restore a congenial atmosphere.  What about the fringe civil society organisations and their ideologues mentioned earlier? I believe that if they cross the laxman rekha of our legal governance system, they must be condemned by civil society and dealt with promptly by the state. They get away because we misinterpret, we procrastinate, and we do not enforce the laws of the land. The home security regulations in the US and the UK are much harsher and more strictly enforced than we do in India.  Yet another reason is the lack of effective governance due to divisive vote bank politics, corruption and degeneration of our value system. These basic issues concerning civil society need much greater attention today than they did anytime before.  Unfortunately, in the matter of effective governance, our civil society takes little interest. It is inactive and generally a mute spectator. We should not forget that whenever and wherever there is lack of good governance, “civil” people easily turn into “uncivil” people!

Wikileaks' expose US-Pak 'mutual' relationship Where Pakistan is never tired of asking for aid from US and US on the other hand is bound to keep providing to keep Talban away, so suggest the WikiLeaks. CJ: Neetu Banga   Wed, Dec 01, 2010 15:40:00 IST Views: 24    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 Latest World News :  Al-Qaeda planning big to get 9/11 mastermind released WIKILEAKS REVELATIONS have brought forth the reality of the obligatory relation that US and Pakistan share. Where Pakistan is never tired of asking for aid from US and US on the other hand is bound to keep providing to keep Taliban away, so suggest the WikiLeaks.   Leaked US cables clearly tell the tale of hundreds of billions that have been given to Pakistan and how they have been used.   The aid is directly diverted to Government of Pakistan's coffers and then it reaches ISI for disturbing peace not only in India, but also in many parts of the world.   Pakistan Army General Ashfaq Kayani has himself said whatever aid they are getting from US is diverted towards Islamabad government's coffers and he had no knowledge about the whereabouts of the aid.   A British daily, which reported on the basis of US embassy cables leaked, said that dozens of cables from Islamabad portray US officials dangling billions in aid, offering sophisticated weapons and pushing to provide counter-insurgency training for Pakistan's old equipped army are getting misused and doubted that Osama bin Laden is associated with it.   It has already come to surface that Pakistan is aware of the fact that US cannot afford to walk away due to the constant fear of Talibans and by supporting Pakistan it is able to keep Talibans at bay.   US payments for the war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal belt have reportedly exceeded $7.5 billion since 2002. When the payments became sluggish in January 2009 Pakistan Military General took up the matter candidly in the US embassy and “begged” for more aid, a cable has reported.   One dispatch said that transparency with regards to the aid is often absent in the country. All offers of assistance go unanswered or are overruled at headquarters, even as Pakistan's maintenance and training are inadequate.   "While the army remains fixated on India as Pakistan's mortal enemy, the common man is just as likely to point to America," one of the cables said.

Army, Navy favour Adarsh Society demolition  NDTV Correspondent, Updated: December 02, 2010 20:59 IST ad_title  PLAYClick to Expand & Play Mumbai:  The demolition of Mumbai's controversial Adarsh Housing Society now seems imminent.  NDTV has learnt that the Army and Navy are exploring the option of demolishing the housing society after extensive evidence that it was built on defence land. The Ministry of Defence may also look at invoking the Works of Defence Act, 1903, which empowers it to acquire a building or installation, or even demolish it.  The Army's Southern Command has established culpability of at least half a dozen high ranking retired and serving officers of both Defence Estates Organisation and the Army in colluding to get Adarsh off the ground.  The  Adarsh Housing Scam has already cost Ashok Chavan to quit as Maharashtra Chief Minister, and now the Opposition says demolition seems the only way out.      * Share this on     * NDTVTwitter     * NDTVNDTV Social     * Share with MessengerLive Messenger     * NDTVGmail Buzz     * NDTVPrint   "If this is true then appropriate action should be initiated by the Defence and the building should be demolished if the need arises," says Eknath Khadse, the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly.  "Everyday there are new revelations on Adarsh. All along the state government has mentioned that it is their land. Now they have no defence left to say that.. Let the building be demolished," says Shiv Sena's Subhash Desai.  Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had issued a show-cause notice to the controversial society for "blatant" violation of green norms. The minister suggested that some of the floors of the 31-storey building in upscale Colaba area of Mumbai be demolished as has been done in similar cases in the past.  The Environment Ministry made it clear that it never issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC) on March 11, 2003, to the Society for construction of the residential building.  The naked collusion between Army officers with politicians and bureaucrats loomed 31 storeys high when the Adarsh Society scam was discovered. It suggested a new low in corruption - flats meant for war widows and defence veterans had been cornered at prices unheard of for Mumbai's pricey Colaba area.

<A href="*90&engine=Rediff" target="_new"><IMG SRC="" WIDTH=728 HEIGHT=90 BORDER=0></A> US played down Pakistan's human rights abuses December 03, 2010 02:47 IST Tags: Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps, Pakistani Army, Anne Patterson, NWFP Police Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  Much before the human rights violation by the Pakistani Army became public through the media, a top American diplomat stationed in Islamabad [ Images ] had advised the US Government to keep reports of such abuses under wraps. "A growing body of evidence is lending credence to allegations of human rights abuses by Pakistan security forces during domestic operations against terrorists in Malakand Division and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas," said a secret US cable coming out of the US Embassy in Islamabad and signed off by its Ambassador, Anne Patterson.  Human rights violations by Pakistani Army had appeared on YouTube and other websites. The cable dated, September 7, 2009 and labeled as Secret/Nonforn (Non-foreign) was released by WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website, which claims to have in its possession more than 25,000 secret US cables and would be gradually releasing those over the next several weeks.  The United States, which has charged the WikiLeaks of indulging in a criminal act by stealing and releasing these cables, has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of these documents. Taking serious note of human rights violations by the Pakistani Army, Patterson however advised Washington to avoid comment on these incidents to the extent possible and that efforts remain focused on dialogue and the assistance strategy to Pakistan. "While it is oftentimes difficult to attribute with accuracy any responsibility for such abuses, reporting from a variety of sources suggests that Frontier Corps and regular Pakistan Army [ Images ] units involved in direct combat with terrorists may have been involved," the US cable said.  "The crux of the problem appears to centre on the treatment of terrorists detained in battlefield operations and have focused on the extra-judicial killing of some detainees. The detainees involved were in the custody of Frontier Corps or Pakistan Army units. The allegations of extra-judicial killings generally do not/not extend to what are locally referred to as "the disappeared" -- high-value terrorist suspects and domestic insurgents who are being held incommunicado by Pakistani intelligence agencies including the Inter-Services Intelligence Division (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) in their facilities," the cable said.  Noting that the revenge for terrorist attacks on Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps personnel is believed to be one of the primary motivating factors for the extra-judicial killings, the report said cultural traditions place a strong importance on such revenge killings, which are seen as key to maintaining a unit's honour.   "Senior military commanders have equally and repeatedly stressed their concerns that the courts are incapable of dealing with many of those detained on the battlefield and their fears that if detainees are handed over to the courts and formally charged, they will be released, placing Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps troops at risk," the cable says.   "This fear is well-founded as both Anti-Terrorism Courts and the appellate judiciary have a poor track record of dealing with suspects detained in combat operations such as the Red Mosque operation in Islamabad and have repeatedly ordered their unconditional release," the cable observes.   According to the cable, the US Embassy in Islamabad assessed that the lack of viable prosecution and punishment options available to the Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps is a contributing factor in allowing extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses of detained terrorist combatants to proceed.   "There may be as many as 5000 such terrorist detainees currently in the custody of the Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps from operations in Malakand, Bajaur, and Mohmand. As operations in these areas and other parts of the FATA proceed, this number will increase," the cable said.    NWFP Police have also been implicated in the abuse and extra-judicial killing of terrorist suspects that they believe responsible for attacks on police stations and individuals in the run-up to the conflict, the cable said.

India eyes producing more Akash missiles, BEL expects windfall Press Trust of India / Bangalore December 02, 2010, 17:40 IST  Defence major Bharat Electronics Limited expects to bag contracts worth at least Rs 10,000 crore in the next few months from Indian Air Force and the army to produce several squadrons of Akash missile system.  Bangalore-based BEL has already bagged a Rs 1,221 crore order from IAF to produce two squadrons of the surface-to-air area defence guided missile system.  "They (IAF) are going to place another order for six squadrons shortly (in a month)," said P C Jain, general manager of BEL's military radar business unit.  BEL sources said the order for six squadrons of Akash missile system is estimated to be nearly Rs 3,500 crore.  They said each squadron consists of 48 missiles, a surveillance radar (3D central acquisition radar) and a tracking (flight level) radar and flight control centre, among others.  According to Jain, the Indian Army is "looking for the same (Akash missile) system", and BEL is expecting an order to produce two regiments for it.  The army is currently in the process of finalising the configuration it requires vis-a-vis the system.  "Each regiment is much bigger than a squadron, much, much bigger...May be five-six squadron is equivalent to one regiment," Jain said, indicating that the army order is expected to be Rs 6,000 crore-Rs 7,000 crore.  The surveillance radar used in the Akash missile system, a medium-range, multi-target surface-to-air defence system which provides air defence against multifarious threats to mobile, semi-mobile and static vulnerable forces and areas, has a range of 120 km and the tracking radar 80 km.  The surveillance and tracking radar can detect 100 targets and 64 targets simultaneously, respectively.  The missile system has a range of 25 km and "it can go up to an altitude of 18 km", Jain said. "It can engage four targets simultaneously. We can launch eight missiles simultaneously."  He also said the BEL has despatched the company- produced weapon location radar system to Pokhran in Rajasthan for user trials by the army, from which it expects to bag order to deliver 50 such units.  Jain said BEL has delivered 1,400 Battle Field Surveillance Radars to the Indian Army, adding, the IAF is now looking to deploy such systems to monitor movement of manpower, jeeps and other small vehicles in its airfields.  BEL would shortly make a presentation to the IAF in this regard.

Tactical Battlefield Communication System to be in Place Soon, Says Pallam Raju         18:10 IST The Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju has said that the Indian Armed Forces will soon have in place a Tactical Battlefield Communication system. Inaugurating a two day seminar on "Converged Infostructure for a Transformed Force" here today, Shri Pallam Raju said that the Tactical Communication System (TCS), a project of the Corps of Signals, is well on the way after some initial delays.  Calling upon the private industry to partner with the Armed Forces, Shri Pallam Raju said that the TCS "is being progressed under the 'Make' category and provides the Indian Industry an excellent opportunity to seek its share of defence production". Underling that the defence equipment manufacturers and development agencies cannot leave the mission critical performance to chance, he asked the industry to set up state-of-the-art testing facility for quality assurance.  In view of the distinct strength of the Indian I&CT industry, Shri Pallam Raju said that the Armed Forces expect "substantial participation by the private sector". "In order to synergise and enhance the national competence in producing globally competitive defence equipment without time and cost overruns, the government is exploring all viable initiatives such as formation of consortia, joint ventures and public-private partnerships", he said.  In his address, the Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh said that the battle space is slowly but surely shifting from Platform Centric to Network Centric Warfare. "A strong, robust and secure information grid is therefore a prerequisite for this. The information grid must always act as a force multiplier and an enabler for the soldier as well as the Commander in the battlefield", he said.  The Army Chief said that the drive towards network-centricity began a few years ago and has already been operationalised. "Once equipped, I see our Armed Forces increasingly harnessing the power of data and voice networks to blend decision makers, sensors and shooters into an efficient and lethal mix of flexible, coordinated and a fast moving combat force that uses information as a weapon to strike with pinpoint precision, and bring unprecedented firepower to bear with a much smaller strength in numbers", he said.  The Signal Officer-in-Chief Lt Gen P Mohapatra cautioned that the newer technologies also increased vulnerabilities of the forces. "Security must therefore remain a key central issue to the transformation process", he said.  The proceedings of the two-day seminar are being webcast live on the Army Intranet and video conference with the Command Headquarters. The seminar also showcases the rich history of the Corps of Signals, which is celebrating its Centenary this year.

India has no ‘Cold Start’ doctrine: Army chief National Dec 2, 2010  Army Chief Gen V K Singh on Thursday said India has no “Cold Start” doctrine as claimed in the secret American documents and dismissed the US perception about the Indian Army being “slow and lumbering”.  “There is nothing called ‘Cold Start’ (doctrine) in the Indian Army. We don’t have anything called ‘Cold Start’,” said reacting to wikileak documents in which US Ambassador Timothy Roemer analyses India’s military approach towards Pakistan in the wake of 26/11 attacks.  He also dismissed Roemer’s description of the Indian army’s mobilisation process as “slow and lumbering”, saying that is “his perception” with which he does not agree.  “We don’t necessarily agree with that perception. We know what has to be done,” Gen Singh underlined.  He said the Indian army has “things in place” and “We practice our contingency depending on situations. We are confident that we will be able to exercise the contingency when the time comes.”

Minister defends army over Omar remark 2010-12-03 05:30:00  New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju Thursday said the Indian Army had the right to 'voice its opinion' even as the force apologised to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for a statement criticising him.  'I think as a force on the ground which has to deal first-hand with the situation, the army has the right to voice its opinion once in a while and it will also be taken note of,' Raju told reporters here on the sidelines of a defence function.  He said as a force on the ground fighting terrorism first-hand, the army was discussing the concerns regarding the visibility of armed forces in the region, which should be addressed in a 'practical and pragmatic' manner.  The army's Northern Command, in a statement Tuesday, had said Abdullah had 'given in' to the clamour of demilitarisation and dismantling of bunkers in Srinagar, which had 'delighted' the separatists.  This had irked Abdullah, who, while speaking at a public meeting in south Kashmir's Anantnag town, had said he would persist with his demand for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and dismantling of bunkers in the places where 'militancy has declined and peace has returned'.  Northern Command chief Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal then 'apologised' to the chief minister on this issue, command PRO Lt. Col. Pradeep Kochhar said in a statement Thursday.



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