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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

From Today's Papers - 14 Dec 2010





WikiLeaks highlights threat from Pak India needs to review its security measures
 by T.V. Rajeswar  MANY documents released by WikiLeaks have yielded disturbing information about India’s security environment. American Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson had conveyed to the US State Department in September 2009 that Islamabad would always support the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The ambassador had specifically said that the Pakistan Army and its ISI were covertly sponsoring four militant groups, including the LeT, the Afghan Taliban and the latter’s allies, the Haqqani and Hekmatyar networks, and would not abandon them for any amount of US money. It was also pointed out that there was no chance of Pakistan considering enhanced financial assistance as sufficient compensation for discontinuing its support to these groups.  A leading think tank based in Delhi, the Observer Research Foundation, has come out with the information that the LeT has a core cadre strength of 50,000 trained and armed men — 5000 in Karachi and the rest across Punjab. The cadre consists of dedicated men, and many of them are former army and ISI commandos. They have access to the latest weapons and funds. The Punjab Government of Pakistan had also reportedly made a grant of nearly $1 million in 2009.  All these factors only underline the need for India to be vigilant against the threat from Pakistan, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. There are further reports that the LeT has opened its units in Nepal and Sri Lanka for running training camps for the infiltration of cadres into India. It is mentioned that from Sri Lanka these terrorists are likely to launch attacks on specific targets in South India. This is the first time that South Indian targets have been mentioned in any of the LeT plans. One wonders whether the LeT cadres are targeting the comparatively peaceful southern part of the country by launching attacks on some of its famous temples at Rameswaram, Madurai, etc. The consequences throughout India of such attacks can be imagined. Possibly, these elements are looking for opportunities to disturb communal peace by planning such attacks.  The WikiLeaks expose has also thrown light on the dangerously unstable situation in Pakistan. President Asif Zardari has been afraid of being overthrown or even assassinated by the Army. Zardari asked for US help for protecting his life as well as ensuring that in the event of his being overthrown, his sister should be made the next President and not his son Bilawal as was thought after Benazir Bhutto’s death. The latest reports state that Zardari has sought asylum for his family and himself from the President of the UAE. Benazir herself had stayed in exile for many years in Dubai before her return to Pakistan and her subsequent assassination.  Gen Ashfaque Kayani, however, has his own idea about President Zardari’s succession. General Kayani mentioned his own choice, A. Wali Khan of the Awami National Party, as a possible replacement. The government led by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani would, however, remain undisturbed so as to pre-empt fresh elections in which case former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif might stage a comeback. General Kayani hates Nawaz Sharif more than anyone else and hence his choice for the Awami National Party chief.  Despite Pakistan’s economy being in serious trouble, American appraisals have it that Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world. This has been mentioned in one of the cables released by WikiLeaks. The assessment was made in 2008. At the same time, the safety of a huge quantity of enriched uranium in one of the nuclear facilities in Pakistan was causing security concerns to the US which seriously thought of lifting the enriched uranium with the consent of the Pakistan Army. Pakistan, however, later backtracked on it.  It may be recalled that after the LeT attack on Indian Parliament in December, 2001, the Indian Army came out with Operation Parakram, resulting in massive forward troop mobilisation along the western front. The exercise was more in the nature of a warning shot to Pakistan since the troops were called back after US intervention.  The diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show that in the aftermath of the 26/11 killings by ISI-assisted LeT terrorists, Pakistan expected an attack from India — Operation Cold Start — and Islamabad was prepared to consider the nuclear option if the need arose. India did not go beyond holding discussions with Pakistan at various levels and urging it to prosecute all those involved in the 26/11 attack, an exercise still going on.  What is clear from all these exchanges is that Pakistan is prepared to consider exercising the nuclear option if faced with setbacks in a normal confrontation with India. With Pakistan being in an unstable state and with the dominance of the army over all the aspects of life in Pakistan, India has to be on the alert all the time.  Former Pakistan ruler Gen Parvez Musharraf has gone on record with his assertion that he trained terrorist groups to operate from Pakistan on a regular basis. Now that the former US Ambassador has clearly testified to the fact that whatever be the financial disbursement and the pressure from the US, Pakistan will never give up on Kashmir. The Kashmir problem has never been easy for India to handle all these years. The report of the interlocutors sent to Kashmir to talk to the various sections of people and politicians and come up with their suggestions for a solution has to be awaited. We know well the stakes involved in resolving the Kashmir problem.  The Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister is quoted as having said that a Pakistan military leader told him that the Pakistan Army was no match to the Indian Army — the justification given by Pakistan why it needed nuclear weapons.  The US has reportedly told Pakistan that it needed to have a new security arrangement with India as a pre-condition for a civilian nuclear deal with Washington DC. Senator John Kerry, considered a foreign policy czar in the US, reportedly told this to Zardari in Islamabad in January 2010. Kerry has also reportedly advised Zardari to have a security arrangement with India in the interest of Pakistan’s own stability.  Another bit of interesting information is that General Kayani told a top American diplomat that the Pakistan Army wanted resumption of back channel talks with India but President Zardari was against it. General Kayani reportedly has the backing of General Pasha of the ISI in this regard. This thinking should be encouraged and eventually there may be talks with General Kayani himself since he is the most important man in Pakistan today. General Kayani and General Pasha may be encouraged to talk directly with Indian interlocutors, who may consist of the National Security Adviser and the Army Chief.  Now one can draw the conclusion that Pakistan would never give up supporting the terror groups like the LeT and would use them for creating problems for India, at least in Jammu and Kashmir.







Ties with India fragile: China
Stapled visa issue likely to be settled during Jiabao’s visit Ashok Tuteja/TNS  New Delhi, December 13 India is hopeful of resolving a row with China that erupted last year when Beijing started issuing stapled visas to Indian nationals from Jammu and Kashmir during the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to New Delhi from December 15-17. New Delhi also expects the Chinese leader to formally endorse India’s candidature for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, according to Indian officials.  Ahead of Wen Jiabao’s visit, Chinese Ambassador to India, Zhang Yan, prepared the ground for the trip by stating that the two countries were in touch over the stapled visa issue. Addressing a round table organised by FICCI, he hoped the Chinese Premier’s visit would draw up a roadmap for the development of bilateral relations. He struck a note of caution, saying India-China relations were ‘very fragile’ and could be easily damaged. It would be difficult to repair them.  In the information age, public perception is vital for the development of any relations. Efforts should be made on both sides to create an objective, friendly and mutually trustworthy relationship rather than a wrong projection of each other,” he said in the address at the function, which was attended by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Indian Ambassador to China S Jaishankar.  This will be Wen’s second state visit to India, the first being in April 2005 when the two countries signed a declaration for strategic and cooperative partnership. The visit is taking place when ties between the two nations have suffered one setback after another over a spate of issues. It, therefore, provides an opportunity to both premiers to review what has gone wrong in the relationship and how it can be repaired.  Briefing reporters here this evening, senior officials of the Ministry for External Affairs (MEA) said the two countries would sign a number of agreements/MOUs during the course of the Chinese leader’s visit. That Wen would be accompanied by a 400-strong business delegation reflects the importance the two sides are attaching to promoting trade and economic ties between them. There are indications that the two sides could sign a free trade agreement (FTA) in the not too distant future.  New Delhi has asked Beijing to correct the growing trade imbalance against India. “We would like more exports from India in IT, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture,” Vishnu Prakash, spokesman for the MEA said. India-China bilateral trade is expected to touch a record $60 billion this year. India also wants Chinese companies to invest in the infrastructure sector here in a big way,  On the boundary dispute, the two countries have painstakingly emphasised that the Sino-Indian border was the most peaceful one. While striving to seek mutually acceptable solutions, both sides have agreed not to let the border issue stand in the way of bilateral cooperation.  It is not that easy for the two countries to brush political differences under the carpet. India has been unhappy with China issuing stapled visas to Indian nationals from Jammu and Kashmir, thereby virtually questioning the status of the sensitive border state. The presence of Chinese troops and the projects being undertaken by some Chinese firms in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) have also been cause of concern in the foreign office.  Another issue is Beijing’s ambiguity on India’s claim for a permanent UNSC seat. China is now the only country among the five permanent members of the UNSC which has not endorsed India’s case for a permanent seat. The US, Britain, France and Russia have all publicly announced that India should be a permanent member of an expanded UNSC.






N Korea threatens South with N-war
 Seoul, December 13 North Korea warned today that US-South Korean cooperation could bring a nuclear war to the region, as the South began artillery drills amid lingering tension nearly three weeks after the North’s deadly shelling of a South Korean island.  The South’s naval live-fire drills are scheduled to run on Monday through Friday at 27 sites. The regularly scheduled exercises are getting special attention following a North Korean artillery attack on frontline Yeonpyeong Island that killed two South Korean marines and two civilians.  The November 23 artillery barrage, the North’s first assault to target a civilian area since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, began after the North said South Korea first fired artillery toward its territorial waters.  South Korea says it fired shells southward, not toward North Korea, as part of routine exercises.  After the attack, South Korea staged joint military drills with the US and also pushed ahead with more artillery exercises, despite the North’s warning that they would aggravate tension.  A South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff officer tried to play down the significance of this week’s drills, saying they are part of routine military exercises and would not occur near the disputed western Korean sea border where last month’s attack took place.  The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of office policy, gave no further details.  North Korea, however, lashed out at Seoul, accusing South Korea of collaborating with the US and Japan to ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang.  That cooperation “is nothing but treachery escalating the tension between the North and the South and bringing the dark clouds of a nuclear war to hang over the Korean peninsula,” Pyongyang’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. North Korea has often issued similar threats during standoffs.  In a show of unity, top diplomats from South Korea, the US and Japan met in Washington last week and said they would not resume negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme until the country’s behaviour changes.  Adm Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited South Korea last week and warned Pyongyang to stop its “belligerent, reckless behavior.” South Korean and US defense officials today met in Seoul for one-day discussions on North Korea and other issues that are part of regular defense talks, according to Seoul’s Defence Ministry. — AP








'India-China managing ties well despite differences'
Press Trust of India / Beijing December 13, 2010, 12:46 IST  India and China are managing their relationship well and looking for long-term solutions to resolve their differences as the "old mindset still prevails", Indian Ambassador to China has said, hoping that Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India would increase bilateral cooperation.  "Even on our differences, we have managed them well while seeking long-term solutions," Ambassador S Jaishankar said in an interview to Chinese news agency, Xinhua, ahead of Wen's December 15-17 visit to India.  The two countries have held interactions in a range of fields, from agriculture and environment to urbanisation and transport, he said.  The convergence of interests of India and China will transcend rhetoric and manifest itself in substantial cooperation and interaction, Jaishankar who is in New Delhi to make preparations for Wen's visit, said.  "This could be expressed in different dimensions of our relationship: on bilateral ties, on regional questions and on global issues," he said.  India hoped Wen's visit would raise the level of bilateral cooperation, Jaishankar said adding that relations had developed positively since Premier's last visit in 2005, when China and India agreed to establish a "strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity."  With regard to problems in Sino-Indian relations, he said most of the issues were historic and in other cases, "the old mindset still prevails."  "The question really boils down to whether one recognises the reality of growing inter-dependence in the contemporary world," he said, adding the risks of not getting along were very high.  He said that so long as world views were dominated by the balance of power and national competition, issues in the relationship would get more prominence than they probably deserved.






Agni: India's fire power Agni  DRDO  Ballistic Missile 
 Posted On: Dec 13, 2010 print this news India's Agni missile project was initiated by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) in the year 1983.  Initially conceived as a technology demonstrator project in the form of a re-entry vehicle, the project was later upgraded to a full-fledged ballistic missile programme.  Agni missile system  The Agni missile system is an Intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) of India. The surface-to-surface missile has, so far, been designed and developed in five variants – Agni-I, Agni-II, Agni-II Plus, Agni-III and Agni-V.  AGNI-I  Agni-I is the first missile of the Agni series. It was first tested at the Interim Test Range in Chandipur, Orissa in 1989. Later, two more tests were conducted on 29 May, 1992 and 19 February, 1994. These tests were technology test-beds (TTBs) for developing vehicle structure, integration, navigation and control, flight dynamics and re-entry vehicle technology.  Agni-I has a range of around 700 kms. The missile can be fired from road-mobile launchers. It is propelled by solid fuel, giving it a shallow re-entry angle. Maneuvering RV body-lift aerodynamics give it the ability to correct trajectory errors and reduce thermal stresses. During its reentry phase, the missile uses all carbon composite structure for protecting the payload.  Agni-I has currently been inducted in the Indian Army.  AGNI-II  AGNI- II is a medium range ballistic missile with the capacity to hit targets 2,000 kms away. The missile can carry a nuclear payload of 1,000-kg. It has a length of 20 metres, a diameter of 1.3 metres and weighs 16 tonnes, and is an improvement over its predecessor which had a length of 21 metres and weighed 19 tonnes.  AGNI- II was first tested on 11 April 1999 from the IC-4 pad at Wheeler Island, Balasore. The second test flight on 17 January 2001 demonstrated that the missile can also be launched from a road TEL (Transporter-Erector-Launcher) vehicle.  Agni-II incorporates accurate terminal navigation and guidance system, which constantly updates information about the missile flight path using ground-based beacons, improved accuracy by a factor of at least three over that of the Agni-I. The surface-to-surface missile was recently launched in May, 2010 off an island in Orissa. The test was carried out by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Indian Army.  Agni-II has also been inducted in the missile arsenal of the Indian Army.  AGNI-II PLUS  Known as the Agni-II Plus, Agni-II Prime or A2, this nuclear-capable missile was developed by the DRDO to fill the gap in the range between Agni-II and Agni-III. While Agni-II has a range of more than 2,000 km, Agni-III can target places more than 3,000 km away.  The two-stage, surface-to-surface missile has a range of about 2,500 km. The 17-tonne missile is 20 metres long, capable of carrying nuclear warheads of one tonne.  The missile was recently test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island off Orissa coast on December 10, 2010. But within moments of take-off from a specially designed truck, the missile plunged into the Bay of Bengal following a deviation in its trajectory.  AGNI-III  Agni-III is an intermediate-range ballistic missile developed by India as the successor to Agni-II. The ballistic missile has a range of 3,500 km- 5500 km, which means that India is capable of engaging targets deep inside its neighbouring countries. The missile’s Circular Error Probable (CEP) is within 40 meters range, which makes it one of the most sophisticated and accurate ballistic missiles of its range in the world.  The first test for Agni III was conducted from Wheeler Island off the Bhadrak coast on July 9, 2006. The launch was not successful due to some anomaly in the first stage. Later on, the subsequent test of the missile on April 12, 2007 from the Wheeler Island off the coast of Orissa was successful. In the latest launch, in February, 2010, India again successfully tested Agni-III.  AGNI-V  Agni-V (5,000-6000 km) is an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). It is the first canistered road-mobile ballistic missile in India’s military arsenal, bringing possible targets in almost the whole of China and Pakistan within striking range. An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a missile with a long range (greater than 5,500 km or 3,500 miles) typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery.  Agni-V is a three stage solid fueled missile with composite motor casing in the third stage. Two of the three stages of the solid-propellant missile are made of composites, making it lighter. While 60 per cent of the sub-systems are similar to those of the 3,500-km-range Agni-III, the rest comprises of new and advanced technologies like the ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer, which provide navigation and guidance.  Agni-V will be able to carry multiple warheads and will have countermeasures against anti-ballistic missile systems. The missile is specially tailored for road-mobility. With the missile’s canister having been successfully developed, all of India's future land-based strategic missiles will be canisterised as well.  Another major technological breakthrough that will boost up the Agni-V is the Advanced Systems Laboratory's (ASL) success in developing and testing MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles). An MIRV, atop an Agni-V missile, will comprise of three to 10 separate nuclear warheads. Each warhead can be assigned to a separate target, separated by hundreds of kilometers; alternatively, two or more warheads can be assigned to one target.  The missile, according to experts, is similar to the Dongfeng-31A missile that raised quite a few eye-brows during China’s National Day Military Parade in Beijing on October 1, 2009.  Agni-V is India’s most ambitious strategic missile project. It is expected to provide a major tactical advantage as it can be launched from anywhere in the country. The test-firing of the missile will help India join the elite club of nations with the capability to produce ICBMs.







Two Army jawans commit suicide, one kills colleague Three Army personnel died in two separate incidents overnight in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts in Upper Assam, with one committing suicide, and another killing himself after shooting his colleague.  Balbir Singh (35), a jawan with the 23 Rajput Regiment posted in the 2 Division headquarters at Dinjan cantonment in Dibrugarh district, pumped as many as 11 rounds from his Insas rifle into Lance Naik Chandravir Singh (34) of the 19 Mahar Regiment, and later shot himself dead.  While Balbir Singh killed Chandravir Singh at around 4:30 am on Sunday, he committed suicide at around 9 am after firing several more rounds indiscriminately, for over four hours as the authorities tried to capture him.  Dibrugarh SP Arabinda Kalita said the Army authorities in Dinjan informed the Chabua police station, following which the police went to the cantonment to conduct an inquiry and carry out an inquest. An FIR has been filed.







Chief of Army Staff pays obeisance at Golden Temple      
Jagmohan Singh Monday, 13 December 2010 AMRITSAR: First time in the period of more than two and half decades Chief of the Army Staff General Vijay Kumar Singh today along with his entire family members reached in the holy city to pay obeisance in the sanctum Sanctorum of Harmandhar Sahib popularly know as Golden Temple a well renowned Sikh shrine located in the northern city of Amritsar.   General Vijay Kumar Singh during his visit has given his personal remarks in the visitor book of the Golden Temple as “A visit to express faith and for thanks giving. May this Grace showers His blessings overall. My sincere thanks to who looked after us during this visit”.   Talking to media General said, “I was here to pray before the Almighty for the well being of Indian Nation and Indian Army. To come in this holiest Place Golden Temple was long pending wish of my and my family”, said adding that Youth of Indian nation should love to their nation in order to enhance devotion towards Indian Nation.   General also paid obeisance at the holy Akal Takht (highest Sikh temporal seat) which was once in 1984 was raised to ground during the ‘Operation Blue Star’ when Indian army attacked to flush out the hiding militants inside the Golden Temple premises.   General before his visit, on Friday in the Golden Temple had organized Akhand Path (uninterrupted recitation of holy Sikh Book Guru Granth Sahib) and today it was a bhog ceremony (concluded day of the holy recitation).   General was here along with his wife, daughter, son -in-law and her family to attend the Bhog ceremony of Akhand Path.   According to the Information officer of Golden Temple Gurbachan Singh, General had organized Akhand Path for thanks to Almighty after assuming his office as Chief of the Army Staff. The visit of the Singh was here in Golden Temple was purely personal visit, stated Gurbachan Singh.   Gurbachan Singh said that General has spent almost one hour in the Golden Temple. During his visit General was given Siropa (robe of honour), set of Sikh religious books and replica of Golden Temple in the Information Centre of Golden Temple.   According to Army Authority General after the Golden Temple visit left the city and went back along with his family members.   Visit of General Vijay Kumar Singh was kept secret, only top police officers and army authority was aware of his visit in the city.   Earlier, General A. S. Vaidya the then chief of the Army Staff has visited in the Golden Temple with the then former Indian Prime Minister Indra Gandhi in 1984 after the few days of Operation Blue Star at Golden Temple to take stock of the situation.   After the visit of General A. S. Vaidya, no chief of the Army Staff had visited Golden Temple.   However, on June 1984 Indian Army was ordered to remove Sikh separatists from the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The separatists led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale were accused of amassing weapons in bulk quantity in the premises of Golden Temple.






Indian Army Colonel wanted women to be sent to his hotel room
By Frontier India | December 13th, 2010 | Category: Indian Army News | No Comments »  The Indian Army has finished a Court of Inquiry (CoI) against a Colonel Sandeep Singh, who wanted women to be sent to his hotel room. Army is holding him him guilty of “misdemeanour” during his stay at a hotel in Gangtok earlier this month. The CoI, was held at the 17 Mountain Division in Sikkim. As per the CoI has, the Colonel had called up the hotel front desk and asked for a women to be sent to his room. Colonel Sandeep Singh was visiting Sikkim capital as part of his Higher Command Course.  The Army will take a due call on CoI’s recommendation of action against the Colonel as per the Army HQ. Colonel Sandeep Singh’s four colleagues, who were undergoing the Course along with him, were witnesses in the proceedings.  They had gone to Gangtok as part of their forward area tour which was mandatory under the course.




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