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Saturday, 18 December 2010

From Today's Papers - 18 Dec 2010






US drone attacks kill 50 Pak militants  Peshawar, December 17 US drones carried out an unprecedented three attacks on militant hideouts in the restive Khyber tribal region of northwest Pakistan today, with reports saying that over 50 militants were killed in the missile strikes.  Officials in the political administration of the semi-autonomous Khyber Agency told PTI nearly 30 militants, including Lashkar-e-Islam commander Ali Marjan alias Fauji, were killed in the strikes. TV news channels put the death toll at 51.  The drones fired several missiles at three bases of the banned Lashkar-e-Islam group in Tirah area of Khyber Agency. The three attacks were carried out within a space of hours. Several militants were also injured in the attacks, officials said. The third strike, which targeted a Lashkar-e-Islam base at Sangana in Tirah Valley, was carried out following reports that the group's chief Mangal Bagh Afridi was present in the area, sources said. This was only the second time since the drone attacks began in 2004 that unmanned spy planes attacked targets in Khyber Agency. Seven militants were killed in the first missile strike in the region yesterday.Local residents said they had seen drones flying over parts of Khyber Agency since the morning.  The spy planes continue to hover over the region after the attacks.US drone attacks have largely focussed on the lawless Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan and attacks in other parts of the tribal belt have been rare. The attacks in Khyber Agency assume significance as the region is located near Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Several militant groups, including the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Islam, are active in Khyber Agency, the main supply route for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.  The militants regularly attack supply vehicles in Khyber Agency. Today's strike came a day after US President Barack Obama unveiled his new Afghan war strategy, asking Pakistan to do more against militants on its soil. "Progress has not come fast enough, so we will continue to insist to Pakistani leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with," Obama said at the White House. — PTI

Honour the soldier India must never forget its armed forces  Thirtynine years ago, India recorded a spectacular military victory over Pakistan which has since been closely studied and analysed by several military forces the world over. The military victory, which involved considerable planning, evoked the largest surrender after World War-II, a record that was later broken by Saddam Hussein's mother of all surrenders during the 1991 Gulf war. The most significant consequence of India's military victory was that it rendered irrelevant Jinnah's two-nation theory – East Pakistan broke away from West Pakistan to build a national identity based on (Bengali) ethnicity and language rather than on the commonality of religion.  Indeed, the record of the Indian soldier has been among the most glorious. From conducting nation-consolidation operations starting with Junagadh, Kashmir, Hyderabad and later Goa to nation-preservation against attacks from Pakistan and China, the Indian military has also been wantonly misused if not abused as evident from its involvement in Operation Bluestar in Punjab, Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka and internal security operations in Kashmir and in the Northeast due to a long history of gross political and administrative mismanagement.  Yet, the stoic and apolitical Indian soldier has performed uncomplainingly and with aplomb even as some governments in our neighbourhood succumbed to military interference or coups. His sacrifice remains mostly unheralded. In April this year the Supreme Court observed that our soldiers were being shabbily treated by the government. Disgustingly, successive governments have failed even to build a national war memorial. The India Gate, where our President ritualistically lays a wreath every Republic Day and which we treat as a war memorial, was, ironically, built by the British colonialists to commemorate the 90,000 Indian soldiers who died fighting in World War-I and in the Third Anglo-Afghan war. It is a national shame that ex-servicemen have been returning their gallantry medals to the indifference of our politicians. Unlike the US where successive presidents starting from US Army Colonel Harry Truman to Air Force First Lieutenant George W. Bush or the present British Royal family starting from Queen Elizabeth-II to her grandson, Royal Army Lieutenant Prince Harry, all of who have a distinguished record of military service and of seeing action in wars, the Indian politician ranks among the most corrupt and self-seeking with rare examples of either he or his son serving in the military. India cannot afford to forget that all books of statecraft starting with Sun Tzu's Art of War, Kautilya's Arthashastra, Niccolo Machiavelli's Prince warn against neglecting the soldier. We can risk this only to our own peril.

Indian Army chief Singh to visit Nepal to bolster bilateral defence cooperation                 Print        Friday, 17 December 2010 12:09  Indian Army Chief, General V K Singh will arrive in Kathmandu on a three-day visit next week.  During his visit from December 20-23, Gen Singh, as per the tradition, will be conferred the honourary rank of Nepal Army General at a special investiture ceremony by President Dr Ram Baran Yadav.  During his stay, Kapoor is scheduled to hold talks with the Prime Minister, Defence Minister and Nepal Army Chief including top military and security officials.  The Times of India reported that the Indian Army chief's visit is aimed at "bolstering bilateral defence cooperation with the landlocked country (Nepal), where China has made several strategic inroads."  This is the second visit of an incumbent Indian Army Chief to Nepal this year.  On January 21, erstwhile Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor came to Nepal on a four-day visit and was conferred the honourary rank of Nepal Army General.  Nepal Army chief Chattraman Singh Gurung was conferred the honoruary rank of General of the Indian Army by Indian President Pratibha Patil during his official visit to India last year.  Nepal and India follow a six-decade long tradition whereby the Indian and Nepali Army honuor each other's army chiefs with the title of honorary general.

WikiLeaks Endorse 'Hindu Terrorism'   Kashmir Watch, Dec 17  By Sajjad Shaukat  While describing "win-win" relationship with India, during his famous trip to India, Obama's main focus was Indo-US united front against terrorism, which relates to the Islamic militancy in the region, but he totally neglected Hindu terrorism which now has also been endorsed by the revelations of the WikiLeaks.  In this connection, in one of its diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks has indicated involvement of top Indian Army leadership in engaging Hindu extremist militants to carry out certain terror operations to keep Indian Muslims on the back foot and to keep pressure on the neighbouring Pakistan's army and intelligence agencies, particularly the Inter-services Intelligence Agency, while the cable refused to confirm any involvement of ISI in any terror incident across India.  Disclosure of another cable confirmed that there was a nexus of top Indian army officials and extremist Hindu outfits, suggesting that an Indian Police officer, a counter terror specialist with the name of Hemant Karkare had exposed this nexus to some extent when he arrested a serving Colonel of Indian Army, Lt. Colonel Purohit for blazing a Pakistan bound train (Samjhota Express).  The cable further disclosed that Hemant Karkare held a secret meeting with a senior US diplomat at New Delhi and briefed him about the gravity and the growing depth of the nexus between top Indian army leadership and the militant Hindu fanatic groups. Karkare sought the security for him and his family from the said American diplomat as he feared that the army and establishment would eliminate him as intended to move further to expose the network. In addition, he had briefed the said US diplomat that a former Commander in Chief of the Central Command of the Indian army, Lt. General P.N Hoon was heading the militancy wing of the Hindu extremists and was getting full tactical, logistic and financial support from senior army officers. The day, Karkare was eliminated in a pre-planned ambush during the Mumbai attacks, a cable sent to the US read: "we have lost an important link and a vital evidence".  Another cable sent to Washington termed Hindutva (Hindu Nationalism) brotherhood in general and Shiv Sena in particular, as ticking time bombs with regard to militancy and terrorism. In the cable, it was suggested that fund raisers like Hindu Students Council of America etc. should be banned to raise funds as they were generating funds for the Hindu militant outfits under the garb of charity.  Another file dubs Hindutva Brotherhood as a far bigger threat to regional and global peace that Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the later three were declared as "peanuts", if equated with Hindutva Brotherhood and Sangh Parivaar and Washington was urged to take up the issue with New Delhi.  However, there is no doubt that under the mask of secularism, Hindu terrorism prevails in every field at the cost of other minorities. It is even supported by Indian defence forces clandestinely. This fact could be judged from the recent past, when in the house of Bajrang Dal fundamentalists in Nanded, a bomb went off. The investigations proved that the militants belonging to the Bajrang Dal were found in the bomb-making and attack on a mosque in Parbhani in 2003. Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra had arrested Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit along with other army officials, indicating that they were helping in training the Hindu terrorists, providing them with the military-grade explosive RDX, used in the Malegaon bombings and terrorist attacks in other Indian cities. ATS further disclosed that Lt. Col. Purohit confessed that in 2007, he was involved in bombing of Samjhota express, which brunt alive 69 Pakistanis. Leaders of the Indian extremist parties, Shiv Sena, BJP, VHP and RSS has still been pressurising the Congress regime to release the culprits.  Before these revelations about Hindu terrorism, Indian government has been accusing the Islamic organizations in contact with Pakistani or Bangladeshi intelligence agencies in carrying out bomb blasts in Malegaon and other Indian places.  As regard Hindu terrorism, BBC indicated on November 21, 2008 that a new phrase has entered the sometimes cliche-riddled Indian press: "Hindu terrorism", calling it the latest addition to the media lexicon.  Nevertheless, India which claims to be a secular state, has broken all the records of violence, genocide and massacre perpetrated on various ethnic and religious groups, entailing the community of its own lower castes. These atrocities and injustices display that Hindu terrorism is on rise.  It is notable that historical background and religious beliefs which have formed the habits and national character of Hindus are quite different from the other ethnic and religious communities. Indians still have a strong belief in the superiority of their race. Indian Hindus are followers of Chanakya (Say some thing else and do some thing else). These facts have been verified by the misdeeds of Hindu fundamentalist parties like the BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sina and Bajrang Dal which have missed no opportunity to communalise national politics of India even under the Congress rule. With the backing of Indian officials, these parties have intensified anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed in the last decade coupled with the dissemination of Hindutva.  Besides previous genocide of Muslims and destruction of the Babri Mosque, more than 2500 Muslims were massacred in 2002 in the BJP-ruled Indian state of Gujarat. Regarding that massive genocide, both Human Rights Watch in 2002 and Amnesty International in 2003 charged the "Gujarat state administration" for involvement in "a massive cover-up of the state's role in that massacre" and pointed out numerous police officials�specifically ministers, high officials and leaders of the VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal as participants.  On September 13, 2008, the communal riots in Uttar Pradesh killed more than 200 Muslims. In one of the most tragic incidents in Assam, Hindu extremists burnt alive six members of a Muslim family. Violence has continued against the Muslims from time to time. Similarly, assaults on Christians and their property have been executed by the Hindu mobs in Orissa, Assam, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. In this respect, at least 60 Christians have been assassinated in the recent past by Hindu extremists in the state of Orissa. Other minorities of India are also target of Hindu terrorism.  In Maharashtra, non-Hindu communities have lived in constant fear and awe since the advent of the fundamentalist party, Shiv Sena whose Chief Bal Thackeray has organised army of hoodlums to beat up any religious minority, openly directing the Hindu terrorists to loot and stone any of their shop or house. Silence of the subsequent governments on every challenge of Shiv Sena and lack of serious action against Thackeray's vandalism have clearly verified the support of Indian high officialis behind Hindu terrorism.  Under the cover of democracy and secularism, Indian subsequent regimes dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland�Hindutva have been using brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of independence are alive in one or the other form.  Particularly, in the Indian-held Kashmir, since 1947, Indian forces have intermittently been employing all the possible techniques of military terrorism such as curfews, crackdowns, sieges, massacre, targeted killings etc. to maintain their alien rule. However, Indian brutalities keep on going against the current phase of Kashmiri uprising which began on August 12, 2008. In the last two years, more than 3000 unmarked graves of the unidentified bodies were uncovered in villages of Indian-held Kashmir. Sources have suggested that these graves include bodies of extrajudicial executions committed by the Indian military and paramilitary forces. European Parliament strongly condemned India regarding human rights violations in the occupied Kashmir.  The leakage of the diplomatic cables of the WikiLeaks has also indicated Indian Army in gross Human rights violations in Indian held Kashmir. In this respect, Lt. Gen HS Panag, the then GOC-in-Chief of the Northern Command of the Indian Army was equated with General Milosevic of Bosnia with regard to butchering the Muslims in the Indian through war crimes. The related cable urged Washington to secretly divert UN attention towards the genocide of innocent civilians in the Indian occupied Kashmir on the hands of Indian Army and also suggested that the US should avoid holding any joint drill with Indian army until it stops inhuman activities in Kashmir. The cable termed one Lt. Col. AK Mathur as "Devil's Advocate" at Srinagar.  Nonetheless, besides previous evidence in this context, the disclosures of the WikiLeaks also endorse Hindu terrorism.  Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations  Email:

India offered us choppers, Karzai told Gen Petraeus  In an indication that India was prepared to take its role in Afghanistan beyond developmental programs, a leaked US cable released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks has revealed that India was prepared to offer light attack helicopters to the Afghan government months after its embassy in Kabul was targeted by suicide bombers.  It has also been revealed that just a month before Indian Army officers in Kabul were attacked by suicide bombers, the US had asked for a briefing on the Indian training of Afghan security personnel.  The latest revelations indicate that the chopper offer was not taken forward given the adverse reaction in Pakistan to any sort of military aid by India to Afghanistan. The leaked cable pertains to a January 2009 conversation between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and General David Petraeus, who was then heading the US Central Command that overlooks all operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He (Karzai) noted that the Indians were prepared to offer Afghanistan light attack helicopters. A short discussion followed highlighting the adverse reaction in Pakistan to Indian provision of military equipment to Afghanistan, the leaked cable reads.  India manufactures the Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), including armed variants, and has been aggressively marketing them in many markets.  In a separate cable, it has been revealed that a month before three Indian Army officers in Kabul died in an attack by suicide bombers, India agreed to brief the US on its training of Afghan Army personnel after the matter was raised by US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke during a visit to New Delhi.



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