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Monday, 27 December 2010

From Today's Papers - 27 Dec 2010

Army backtracks on Kargil papers, calls them secret Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, December 26 Backtracking on its earlier submission before the Armed Forces Tribunal, the Army recently maintained that the reports and documents relating to the 1999 Kargil conflict were secret and hence could not be produced.  On October 25, when the case of Brigadier Surinder Singh had come up for hearing, the Army had stated that all documents were available and were in the custody of various units and locations and need some time to collect and present.  Brigadier Surinder Singh was commander of 121 Brigade at Kargil when the conflict broke out. He was removed from command in the early stages of the conflict and later dismissed from service.  In his petition he has prayed not only for professional restitution, but also for a complete investigation into the Kargil conflict, modelled on the Shimon Agranat Commission that was set up after the Yom Kippur war between the Arabs and the Israelis.
Reducing N-weapons New START kindles hope for a safer world  The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, also called New START, signed by the US and Russia in April 2010 is on the way to becoming operational with its ratification by the American Senate last week. The Senate vote in favour of the treaty is a big morale booster for President Barack Obama after his party suffered serious reverses in the recent Congressional elections, which threatened to derail his nuclear vision aimed at reducing the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons. Early this year his administration had come out with what was called the Nuclear Posture Review, which assured the global community that the US would not launch a nuclear attack on a non-nuclear country and would end nuclear tests for the production of more weapons of mass destruction.  The aims to be achieved under the New START and the declarations made through the Review kindle the hope for a safer world in the days to come. The new treaty, which had no difficulty in getting ratified by the Russian parliament because of the ruling party there having a comfortable majority, will result in the reduction of the US and Russian nuclear weapons to 1500 warheads for each of them. The limit was 2200 nuclear weapons according to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which ceased to remain valid in December 2009. It is true that there are certain kinds of nuclear weapons which are not covered by the New START, and the US and Russia will still have enough bombs — 90 per cent of the total stockpile in the world — to destroy all that exists on the globe many times over. Yet the new treaty can be considered as a welcome move towards a nuclear weapon-free world.  With the New START coming into effect, the Obama administration will be in a better position to force Iran to abandon its controversial nuclear power programme and launch a renewed drive against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. This is, however, not enough to end nuclear proliferation. There is need to have some kind of a system so that China, Pakistan and Israel, too, provide credible proof that they are not adding to their nuclear arsenal. This is necessary to prevent other countries from aspiring to become nuclear powers.
India's UN bid gaining support: Rao  Kochi, December 26 Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao today said India's claim for permanent membership in the UN Security council was gaining support.  Indian economy and the country's foreign relations have taken good strides and based upon this many countries were coming forward to support India's claim for permanent membership in the council, Rao told reporters here.  “This process may take a little time, but any way we are hopeful,” she said.  As part of e-Governance initiative, 77 passport seva kendras would be started throughout the country. These kendras would be given outsourcing work of passport offices.  Except police verification, all other formalities would be completed by these kendras, she said. In Kerala, 13 such centres were expected to start functioning from July next year, she said, adding, Tata Consultancy Services was contracted for the outsourcing work. An evaluation conducted by the government on such centres had shown that they would work effectively, — PTI
Army destroyed Kargil papers?  25 Dec 2010, 1029 hrs IST, AGENCIES  Twelve years after the Indian army pushed back their enemy in Kargil, shocking details of important documents being destroyed have surfaced. The army has admitted that 18 papers containing important communications, which could uncover the Kargil war truth, have gone missing.  In an affidavit by Major Harpal Singh given to the Armed Forces Tribunal, he admits to the important documents being destroyed. The affidavit states, "It is submitted that the said letter is not available with the headquarters 121 (Independent) Infantry Brigade Group (Originator) and Headquarters 3 Infantry Division (addressee) as the same was destroyed by burning by a Board of Officers."  Crucial letters that reveal that the army was alerted of an enemy buildup at Kargil months before the war were destroyed.  The army affidavit came in reply to a petition by Brigadier Singh challenging charges of dereliction of duty. He had claimed that he alerted forces between December 1998 & 14 January, 1999.  The letters between the 121 Infantry Brigade & 3 Infantry Division could have proved the following:  - Additional equipment demanded by 121 Infantry Brigade to shore up defences was denied to them  - Areas weak in defence were identified & higher authorities were alerted, contrary to Army claims  - The Brigade was not given items like telescopes by the Division headquarters despite a request

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