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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

From Today's Papers - 10 Jan 2011





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Can’t divulge why we didn’t come to INS Khukri’s rescue: Kirpan Capt

 Shubhadeep Choudhury Tribune News Service  The Khukri Files      * Khukri sank off the coast of Diu on December 9, 1971, after being torpedoed by a Pak submarine, killing 18 officers & 176 sailors.     * INS Kirpan, which was close by when the attack took place, instead of coming to Khukri’s rescue, allegedly fled to safety.     * In December last year, Chanchal Singh Gill, a Khukri survivor, petitioned the Chandigarh Bench of the AFT seeking withdrawal of gallantry awards from officers of Kirpan.     * Gill has also sought correction of the naval history related to Khukri saying it was the Indian Navy’s “greatest cover up”.     * The AFT has given notice to the Defence Ministry seeking its reply before March 25.  Bangalore, January 9 Thirty-nine years after Indian Navy frigate INS Khukri was sunk by a Pakistani submarine during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the incident has returned to haunt the Captain of the ship that was supposed to come to Khukri’s rescue but allegedly fled to safety instead.  Rishi Raj Sood, captain of INS Kirpan - which was accompanying Khukri but disappeared as PNS Hangor torpedoed the latter - did not deny that his ship didn’t come to help when Khukri sank off the coast of Diu on December 9, 1971.  “It is classified information. I cannot divulge it to you”, Sood, who now lives in Bangalore, told this reporter when asked why he did not join the battle when Hangor had struck Khukri.  “We all know what to do when there is an attack. There is a reason why Kirpan did not come to the rescue of Khukri. The day the Naval HQs allows me to divulge the reason, I shall myself write an article on it”, he said.  The issue resurrected when Chanchal Singh Gill, a Khukri survivor, petitioned the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) last month seeking withdrawal of gallantry awards given to officers of Kirpan. Gill, who was on duty as artificer apprentice in Khukri on the fateful night of December 9, also sought correction of the naval history related to Khukri saying it was the Indian Navy’s “greatest cover up”. The AFT has now given notice to the Defence Ministry asking it to file its reply before March 25.  “They had no business getting the gallantry awards”, Admiral OS Dawson (retd), former Chief of Naval Staff, who was director of naval operations at the time of the 1971 war, told this reporter. Dawson, who lives in Bangalore, said in the humdrum of war Kirpan’s flight from the battle scene was not given due attention.  A book by Major General Ian Cardozo (retd) on the sinking of Khukri contains some poignant accounts given by the survivors of the drowned frigate.  “We were hoping that Kirpan, our sister ship would come to rescue us but we saw her sailing away from the area”, Commander Manu Sharma, a survivor of Khukri, has been quoted by Cardozo as having said.  “An early rescue was what everyone hoped for. We thought that at least INS Kirpan would send boat for our rescue, but no rescue boat came from INS Kirpan” Lt Commander SK Basu, who was aboard Khukri and survived the Pakistani attack, told Cardozo.  The survivors paid glowing tributes to Mahendra Nath Mulla, Captain of Khukri. Mulla refused to abandon Khukri and went down with the ship after having given his life jacket to a young sailor. Sadly, this great military hero, who sacrificed his life in adherence to the noblest of naval tradition, has been hardly remembered by the nation.  Sood perhaps could have saved the lives of at least some of the 194 people (18 officers and 176 sailors) who died in the attack on Khukri. He continues to defend himself saying that in no way he can disclose the secret behind his questionable action.










Chinese troops enter Indian territory again: Report 

Press Trust of India, Updated: January 09, 2011 18:48 IST ad_title  Leh/Srinagar:  After remaining peaceful for most of the year, Chinese troops entered Indian territory in the fag end of 2010 along the Line of Actual Control in South-eastern Ladakh region and threatened a contractor and his team to halt work on constructing a "passenger shed".        The Chinese troops, which included motor-cycle borne personnel of People's Liberation Army (PLA), entered Gombir area in Demchok region in Jammu and Kashmir and threatened the civilian workers who were building the shed, the plan for which was cleared by the state rural development department, according to details accessed by PTI.       The incident took place in September-October last year in a village about 300-kms south-east of Leh district headquarters.       An official report, which was prepared after a meeting of officials from civilian administration, army, central security agencies and Indo-Tibetan Border Police, stated that a passenger shed was approved at an estimated cost of Rs. two lakh to be built at 'T' point in village Gombir under the Border Area Development Project of Ministry of Home Affairs.     

The Chinese army -- PLA -- came to the 'T' point and asked the contractor to stop the work, the report said. An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the arrival of Chinese troops, some of whom were ironically on motorcycle, triggered panic among the workers who rushed to the nearby Army post for help.       The Chinese troops also shouted some slogans which could not be translated by the officials, the official said.       The Army was quick in responding and asked the state government to maintain status quo, the report said and added that the 3 Infantry Division asked the state Government to take the permission of Ministry of Defence before carrying out any construction activities at least 50 kilometres of the Line of Actual Control.       When contacted, Lt Col J S Brar, who officiates as spokesperson for Leh-based 14 Corps, refused to comment on the issue.       According to the report, the civil administration proceeded on field verification to the area on October two, 2010 and on the next day, Army wrote to the administration to seek Defence Ministry's clearance for any project within 50 kms of Border.       The Civil administration said it was baffled by the Army's missive as this would mean entire Nyoma sub-division would get affected in the matter of developmental work.       The state Government had planned construction of seven link-roads in Nyoma and Damchok areas to increase connectivity and provide job opportunity to the people of this remote and treacherous mountain region, which is close to the Line of Actual Control.  The Chinese troops, which had carried out incursions into Indian territory in June and July 2009, had also carried out such an exercise in November 2009 also when its troops threatened Indian workers to stop road construction in Ladakh.       The road construction was taking place in the Demchok sector which was stopped after the Defence Ministry had raised objections with the then Deputy Commissioner (Leh) A K Sahu and asked them to stop the work.       The work on a link-road in Demchok in South-eastern Ladakh region was stopped last month after objections were raised by the Chinese Army. Work on the road, which was to connect two villages - the last inhabited areas on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on Sino-Indian border in Demchok - was stopped during the last week of October 2009.       The road was being built under the Centrally-sponsored National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).       In 2009, the Chinese Army had violated the International Border in Ladakh region and painted boulders and rocks in the area red.        The Chinese troops had entered nearly 1.5 kilometres into the Indian territory on July 31 near Mount Gya, recognised as International border by India and China, and painted the boulders and rocks with "China" and "Chin9" in red spray paint.        The 22,420 ft Mount Gya, also known as "fair princess of snow" by Army, is located at the tri-junction of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, and Tibet. Its boundary was marked during the British era and regarded as International border by the two countries.        Before this, Chinese helicopters had violated the Indian air space on June 21 along the Line of Actual Control in Chumar region and also helli-dropped some expired food.        Ironically, Chinese army has done construction activities along the international border across Karakoram ranges in Ladakh sector for the first time in 2009 after the 1962 stand-off between the two countries and a report of Jammu and Kashmir government had claimed that Chinese have been taking "land in inches and not in yards".        "They (Chinese) have threatened the nomadic people who had been using Dokbug area (in Ladakh sector) area for grazing since decades long, in a way to snatch our land in inches. A Chinese proverb is famous in the world 'better do in inches than in yards," the report filed by a former Sub Divisional Magistrate (Nyoma) Tsering Norboo had said.        Norboo had been deputed by the state government to probe incursion of Chinese Army in Dokbug area and threatening the local shepherds to leave the land as it belonged to them.  The area has been used by the shepherds to graze their livestock as the area is warmer compared to other parts of Ladakh.  India and China have been engaged in talks over the Line of Actual Control and had exchanged maps in 2002.  In the western sector (East Jammu and Kashmir), the Samar Lungpa area, between the Karakoram Pass and the Chipchap river, is contentious, with Chinese maps showing the LAC to be south of the Samar Lungpa.  This is the northernmost part of the border, far to the north of Leh. But while the Indo-Tibetan Border Police operates north of the line the Chinese claim to be the border, they remain south of the Lungpa. South of the Chipchap River are the Trig Heights, comprising Points 5495 and 5459.  Chinese troops frequently enter the area and in fact, they have a name for Point 5459; Manshen Hill. The area, south-east of Trig Heights, called Depsang Ridge is also contentious.  Differences were found when Chinese small-scale maps were interposed on large-scaled Indian ones.









Another Adarsh in the making in Pune? 

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 09, 2011 22:48 IST ad_title  PLAYClick to Expand & Play Pune/Mumbai:  The list of housing scams in Maharashtra is just growing. This time in Pune.   This four-acre piece of land in Lohegaon, earmarked for a defence personnel cooperative society was promoted as a residential scheme for Kargil war heroes.   But when the society was proposed names of several bureaucrats and police officers figured in the list.   The IAS officers include: Mohan Adtani, Vasantrao Vaidya, Vikas Deshmukh, Bajirao Jadhav and Shyam Vardhane.     

The IPS officers whose names figured in the list are: Vishwas Pandhare, Anant Rokde, Rajkumar Vhatkar, Pradip Raskar and Suhas Warke.   Also in the list are two members of former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's staff.  Two secretaries of Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane are also in the list.   The society received clearance in September 2010 during the tenure of former chief minister Ashok Chavan.   But after complaints of irregularities the allotment was cancelled in December last year.   Stung by the Adarsh scam, the Maharashtra Chief Minister has now promised action.  "Fixing accountability will be a key element of our government. If somebody had broken the law and violated rules then we will throw the book at them," said Prithviraj Chavan.  "There was a demand to add more members apart from the original list as without their help we would not get the land.  In this way bureaucrats entered the society," said Ravi Barhate, the Builder.  With so many serving IAS and IPS officers involved it be a long time before the guilty are punished.









US defense chief: China moving too fast on new weapons 

Associated Press, Updated: January 09, 2011 12:10 IST ad_title  Aboard a US military aircraft:  China is farther along in its development of a new stealth fighter jet than the US had predicted, and that plane and other Chinese military advances are worrisome, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Saturday.  The United States is also nervous about a new Chinese ballistic missile that could theoretically explode a US aircraft carrier nearly 2,000 miles out to sea. China has also apparently beaten US estimates to develop that weapon.  "They clearly have potential to put some of our capabilities at risk," Gates said en route to military talks with Chinese leaders. "We have to pay attention to them, we have to respond appropriately with our own programs."  The United States has long known that China wanted to field a stealth jet, but development outpaced US intelligence estimates, Gates said China is still years behind US capabilities in radar-evading aircraft, and even by 2015 the United States would still have far more such aircraft flying than any other nation in the world, Gates said.  China says it does not pose a threat and its military forces are purely for defense -- which in its definition includes deterring Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing claims as its territory, from declaring formal independence.  In an apparent nod to US calls for more openness, China allowed video and pictures of last week's runway tests of its prototype stealth fighter to be taken and posted online. While there was no official comment on the tests of the J-20, photos and video of the plane taxiing on the runway were widely distributed. That was a sign of official approval because government censors routinely remove politically sensitive content.  Gates is trying to coax Chinese military leaders into more regular discussions with the US. A predictable framework for such contacts could help avert the need for some of the capabilities now in development, Gates said.  The Pentagon is focusing scarcer defense dollars on ways to counter the kinds of weapons China is now building. For example, Gates said recently he wants to spend more on a new long-range nuclear bomber and updated electronics gear for the Navy that could throw an incoming missile off course.  Gates said he has been concerned about the anti-ship missile since he became defense secretary. It's unclear how close the "carrier killer" DF-21 missile is to being usable. China announced a smaller-than-usual increase last year in its military budget, 7.5 percent, bringing it to $76.3 billion. But actual spending, including money for new weapons and research and development, is believed to be as much as double that. China has the second largest defense budget in the world, trailing only the US.  Gates is also visiting South Korea, for brief talks about averting war with the North, as well as Japan, which is alarmed by Chinese military moves.  The China invitation was a coup for Gates, who invited a Chinese counterpart for similar talks and a visit to the US nuclear weapons headquarters in 2009. A reciprocal invitation was expected in 2010, but China withheld it in protest of a planned $6.4 billion arms sale to China's rival, Taiwan.




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