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Thursday, 17 March 2011

From Today's Papers - 17 Mar 2011

Key pacts missing in annual defence report Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, March 16 The Defence Ministry has, in its annual report, failed to mention anything about the development on strategic agreements it inked in the 2010-11 fiscal, with some of the deals impacting the country’s security in the long term.  Tabled in Parliament today, the report has given a miss to the much publicised deal with Russia to co-develop the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). This deal along with the co-development of the multi-role transport aircraft was inked in December last.  Besides, the report does not detail out the latest developments, if any, on the upcoming indigenous aircraft carrier being built at Kochi. It also misses out on providing any details regarding the upcoming Scorpene submarines being built at the Mazagon dock in Mumbai. There is not a word on the acquisition of the (sea-based) aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov from Russia.  The report, however, discusses other developments and acquisitions, including surface-to-air missiles, upgradation of Arjun tanks, BrahMos missiles and Tejas aircraft.  Dwelling on the security scenario in the immediate neighbourhood, the report says our relations with China were of “crucial importance”. “India is conscious and watchful of the implications of China’s evolving military profile in the immediate and extended neighbourhood. India’s policy is to engage with China on the principles of mutual trust and respect and sensitivity for each other’s concerns.”  On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the report implicates Pakistan “due to undiminished activities of terrorist organisations from its territory”. “The continued infiltrations across the LoC and the existence of terrorist camps across the India-Pak border demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its attitude and approach to terrorist organisations, even though such organisations pose a danger to Pakistan’s own social and political fabric,” the report says.  It also lists out, the growing defence cooperation with other countries.
Poisonous snakes in Pak backyard biting neighbours: US  Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC  An “enduring solution” in Afghanistan is the best way to make Pakistan realise how to achieve its national security aims without “allowing elements on its soil who create problems for their neighbours,” Gen David Petraeus, top US commander in Afghanistan, told lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday.  “The fact is that the Pakistanis are the first to note that more needs to be done. There is, I think, a growing recognition that you cannot allow poisonous snakes to have a nest in your backyard even if they bite the neighbour's kids, because sooner or later they're going to turn around and cause problems in your backyard,” Petraeus said, adding: “And I think that, sadly, has proven to be the case”.  Petraeus and Michele Flournoy, undersecretary for defence policy, briefed the senators about the situation in Afghanistan.  “The fact of that stability and that success will force a recalculation by a whole number of parties that will have to reckon with that and may choose to approach that reality differently and change some behaviour that we've seen in the past,” Flournoy said.  Senator Mark Udall noted that the Pakistani leadership has been “unwilling to abandon support for the Taliban because they view it as a hedge against possible future Indian influence in Kabul”.  “In the context of our new strategic partnership with India, do you think that there are new openings to engage New Delhi in a more positive political solution that might reassure Pakistan?” Udall asked the Defence Department officials.  Flournoy responded that the US had been “very heartened by the fact that India and Pakistan are resuming their own dialogue on a number of disputed issues, from Kashmir to counter terrorism, humanitarian issues, trade and so forth”.  She described such dialogue as “extremely important”, adding: “Pakistan, in particular, views? so many issues in the region through the prism of its relationship with India. And so getting at some of those root problems between the two of them is one of the most important initiatives that can happen in the region, and so we are being as supportive of that as possible.”  Meanwhile, Petraeus assured the senators that there was “quite considerable security” for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. But, he added, there are other elements in Pakistan, “the Pakistani Taliban and several other varieties of elements who generally have symbiotic relationships, and the most extreme of which might indeed value access to nuclear weapons or other weapons that could cause enormous loss of life.”
No-first-use nuke doctrine to stay: Govt Aditi Tandon/TNS  New Delhi, March 16 External Affairs Minister SM Krishna today said India would stick to the “no-first- use” nuclear doctrine. It will also remain committed to its policy of maintaining a minimum credible nuclear deterrent.“India would pursue its policy of universal and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament,” Krishna told the Lok Sabha.  On Pakistan, the minister said though the government was engaging in a dialogue with the neighbour to reduce the trust deficit and resolve outstanding issues in a spirit of openness, it had never abandoned its concerns on the need to eliminate cross-border terrorism.  “The countries that have allowed terror camps to be set up in their territory are now deeply regretting having done so. Our immediate neighbour has an explosion every other day and people are dying in suicide attacks,” Krishna said.  “We are building the Parliament building in Afghanistan. We are aiding several developmental projects in that country and people there are appreciating our efforts. We know some countries don’t like our presence there. That is why our Embassy in Kabul has been a repeated target of attacks. But we will stay on till the Government of Afghanistan wants us to,” Krishna said.  The government is also working with Sri Lanka to put in place more effective measures to prevent the use of violence against Indian fishermen by getting the fishermen’s associations on both sides to engage and build an atmosphere of trust.  The minister also allayed the concerns voiced by the House on India’s US policy, saying the country was engaging with the US as an equal. Admitting China’s hyperactive movement along the Sino-Indian border, Krishna said India was building 3429 kilometres of roads in that area.
India will keep no-first-use nuke policy: Krishna Press Trust of India / New Delhi March 16, 2011, 16:25 IST  Government today made it clear that there will be no revision of the country's no-first-use nuclear doctrine and said minimum credible deterrence would be maintained in view of threats and challenges.  External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told the Lok Sabha that the government is working to improve relations with immediate neighbours, including Pakistan and China, as also with other countries like the US and Russia.  In his hour-long reply to a debate on the Demands for Grants of his Ministry, he dwelt on various aspects of foreign policy and rejected the notion that India was getting isolated or was a "by-stander" in world affairs, including the evolving situation in West Asia. The Demands were later passed by a voice vote.  He spent some time in praising former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and responded to the points raised by the senior BJP leader yesterday, including the suggestion for revising the no-first-use doctrine in the nuclear policy.  "Government remains committed in taking effective steps to strengthen India's defence and to maintain credible minimum nuclear deterrence," Krishna said referring to some members' concern over Pakistan's growing nuclear arsenal.  "On nuclear doctrine, I would only like to say that there is no change in our policy. We are committed to universal, non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament and we remain firm on the commitment," he said.  Yesterday, Jaswant Singh had advocated the need for revising the no-first-use policy, framed by his own NDA government, citing changes in the global scenario including a growing nuclear arsenal of Pakistan.  Turning to relations with Pakistan, Krishna said India was pursuing a path of dialogue to reduce the trust deficit and resolve all outstanding issues in the spirit of openness and with the hope that "we can build a better future for the peoples of both countries".  At the same time, India has "never abandoned" its concern and the need to eliminate cross-border terrorism and to put an end to activities of terrorists and terror groups which have "negative and destructive agendas for our nation and which is not in the best interests of our relations".  In a veiled reference to Pakistan, Krishna said "those countries which provide space for terrorism to grow and space for terror camps to be set up are deeply regretting having done so" as there are "explosions every day".  Turning to China, he said India had conveyed its concerns over its practice of issuing stapled visas to people from Jammu and Kashmir and has got assurance that "it is their intention to solve the problem to our satisfaction"  Noting that this had "generated differences" between the two countries, he said India expected that China would implement its assurance.
Pentagon expresses concern over increasing LeT activity Press Trust of India / Washington March 16, 2011, 10:37 IST  Top Pentagon officials have expressed strong concern over the increasing influence of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit, in South Asia and the its damaging potential to bring India and Pakistan on the verge of war through a terrorist activity.  "We're very concerned about that interaction that LeT is having on India and the effect, the compression effect that you have between two nuclear powers when there is an attack into India from LeT," Major General Randolph Alles Director, J-5, Strategic Planning and Policy, US Pacific Command, said in his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee.  "We're concerned, as we look at the South Asia region, with the LeT, or the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group, which emanates out of Pakistan but has a presence in India and Nepal and Bangladesh. The LeT is responsible for the Mumbai attacks, where so many people lost their lives," he said.  The Pentagon, he said, is attempting to address that by focusing not only in India but also in Bangladesh and Nepal, to assure that they work on facilitation networks, and more importantly how they address building the capacity of its partners to, in fact, address those internal issues so that they can secure their borders, so that they have developed networks for intelligence; they can develop intelligence on things that might be occurring inside of their country, and then also law enforcement and actual counterterrorism operations.  At another Congressional hearing convened by the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Claire McCaskill, wanted to know from Gen David Patraeus, Commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, about the LeT operations in South Asia.  "I am anxious to get some kind of briefing from you for the record on LeT, especially in light of the instability of the Pakistani government right now and some of the issues we're having with incidents that have occurred in Pakistan and how the Pakistan government is responding to those," McCaskill said.  "I worry that we're honing in and doing what we need to do with Al Qaida. We are honing in and doing what we need to do with the Taliban. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and LeT obviously has got a great deal of power, it appears, with certain people in the Pakistani government," the Senator said.    
Indo-Pak peace dialogue important: Pentagon Press Trust of India / Washington March 16, 2011, 10:25 IST  The resumption of peace talks between India and Pakistan is extremely important for peace in the region, including Afghanistan, a top Pentagon official has said.  "We have actually been very heartened by the fact that India and Pakistan are resuming their own dialogue on a number of disputed issues, whether from Kashmir to counterterrorism, humanitarian issues, trade and so forth. So we think that dialogue is extremely important," US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said in her testimony before the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee.  Early this month, Flournoy had led the high-powered Pentagon delegation for the India-US Defense Policy Group (DPG) meeting.  Flournoy had also been instrumental in shaping the Af-Pak policy of the Obama administration.  "I think Pakistan, in particular, views so many issues in the region through the prism of its relationship with India. So getting at some of those root problems between the two of them is one of the most important initiatives that can happen in the region. So we are being as supportive of that as possible," she said.  Flournoy said she thinks that America's success in Afghanistan will be a calculus - changing event for many actors in the region who've spent many years hedging.  "The fact of that stability and that success will force a recalculation by a whole number of parties that will have to reckon with that and may choose to approach that reality differently than and change some behavior that we've seen in the past," she said.  The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy was responding to questions from Senator Mark Udall on India Pakistan relationship.  "We have been hearing for quite a while that the Pakistani leadership is unwilling to abandon support for the Taliban because they view it as a hedge against possible future Indian influence in Kabul. India, of course, denies any such ambitions," he said.  "In the context of our new strategic partnership with India, do you think that there are any new openings to engage New Delhi in a more positive political solution that might reassure Pakistan?" Udall asked.  "If you can tie in the extraordinary energy resources of the Central Asian states with the very rapidly growing economy of the subcontinent, you have to go through Afghanistan to do that and then tie into Pakistan and India," said General David Petraeus, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.  "That's obviously beneficial for all of the countries in the region, but it obviously requires a degree of economic cooperation to take place between India and Pakistan in particular that has been elusive so far because of the context in which they've been seeking to do this," Petraeus said.
How India kept pressure off Sri Lanka Nirupama Subramanian Share  ·   Comment   ·   print   ·   T+   The Hindu Related NEWS 189383: India stress humanitarian concern to Sri Lanka 202476: Menon on end game in Sri Lanka 206806: UK readout of Des Browne (Special Envoy for Sri Lanka) visit to India 207268: Menon weighs post-conflict conference on Sri Lanka 203792: Shivshankar Menon urges cooperation on Sri Lanka 204118: Rajapaksa promises a pause TOPICS World India Sri Lanka diplomacy India-Sri Lanka international relations peace negotiations politics espionage and intelligence  In the final stages of the war with the LTTE, New Delhi played all sides but discouraged international attempts to halt the operations.  India played a key role in warding off international pressure on Sri Lanka to halt military operations and hold talks with the LTTE in the dramatic final days and weeks of the war in 2009, confidential U.S. Embassy cables accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks showed.  The cables reveal that while India conveyed its concern to Sri Lanka several times about the “perilous” situation that civilians caught in the fighting faced, it was not opposed to the anti-LTTE operation.  They also show that India worried about the Sri Lankan President's “post-conflict intentions,” though it believed that there was a better chance of persuading him to offer Sri Lankan Tamils an inclusive political settlement after the fighting ended.  After its efforts to halt the operation failed, the international community resigned itself to playing a post-conflict role by using its economic leverage, acknowledging that it had to rope in India for this.  In the closing stages of the war, New Delhi played all sides, always sharing the concern of the international community over the humanitarian situation and alleged civilian casualties in the Sri Lankan military campaign, but discouraging any move by the West to halt the operations.  In January 2009, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee made a “short notice” visit to Sri Lanka. The Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Colombo, Vikram Misri, briefed the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission and other diplomats about the visit, in a cable dated January 29, 2009 (189383: confidential).  At a two-hour meeting at President Rajapaksa's residence, attended by the army chief, defence secretary and other top officials, Mr. Mukherjee stressed he was in Colombo with “no objective other than to ensure that human rights and safety of civilians were protected.”  Mr. Misri told the diplomats that while domestic political considerations were a factor in the Indian calculus, “New Delhi is deeply worried about the humanitarian crisis in the Vanni. He added that Indians throughout the country, not just in Tamil Nadu, are troubled by the high level of casualties sustained by Tamil civilians caught in the crossfire.”  From Mr. Mukherjee's statement at the end of his visit, it was clear that India did not oppose the operations. “I stressed that military victories offer a political opportunity to restore life to normalcy in the Northern Province and throughout Sri Lanka, after twenty three years of conflict. The President assured me that this was his intent.”  Indian theme  This was to remain the Indian theme, except for a brief period in April 2009, when New Delhi, under pressure in the context of elections in Tamil Nadu — the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a partner in the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), was feeling the heat of the Sri Lankan operations — made an attempt to press for a pause in the operations, if not a cessation.  In a meeting with U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires Peter Burleigh on April 15, 2009, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said the Sri Lankan government had made clear it “did not want a UN Envoy in resolving the conflict with the LTTE, nor was the GSL interested now in direct negotiations with the LTTE or in a cease-fire”, which is in a cable sent on April 15, 2009 (202476: confidential).  The Foreign Secretary told Mr. Burleigh that the Indian government had advised Sri Lanka against rejecting all such proposals out of hand and “offered a suggestion that the GSL consider offering an amnesty to all but the hard core of the LTTE.”  But he also pointed out there were questions about what constituted the LTTE's core and what modalities would be used to make such an offer.  The Foreign Secretary “acknowledged that the space for such discussions was small and flagged President Rajapaksa's electoral considerations as militating against anything that could be viewed as a concession to the LTTE. ‘Quiet diplomacy' outside of Sri Lanka faced serious challenges and the Sri Lankan government would have to ‘be dragged, kicking and screaming' to talks.”  Mr. Menon highlighted another problem: in “India's view, the group was sending conflicting signals and there was a real question as to who spoke for Prabhakaran”. He also questioned whether Prabhakaran understood the situation he faced.  Ruling out the possibility of Indian involvement in any such process between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government, Mr. Menon told the U.S. official that the ongoing elections in India made such efforts “impossible.”  Still, he left Mr. Burleigh with the impression that India was not opposed to the idea of talks at that late stage.  “He asked whether the U.S. was interested in such talks and said India would think about participation, perhaps with other states under UN auspices, in an effort to obtain a peaceful conclusion to the conflict,” the charge wrote in the cable.  Three weeks later, U.K. Special Envoy for Sri Lanka Des Browne, visiting New Delhi on May 6-7, heard from Foreign Secretary Menon and National Security Adviser (NSA) M.K. Narayanan(cable 206806: confidential, May 13, 2009), that while there was “domestic political pressure” on India to do more on Sri Lanka due to the ongoing elections (the Tamil Nadu Assembly election was on May 13), “there was little anyone could do to alleviate the fighting as Sri Lanka government forces moved towards the end game of defeating the LTTE.”  A British High Commission contact briefing the U.S. Embassy political counselor on this meeting said the Indian officials were concerned about the humanitarian situation, but “were more upbeat on chances to persuade President Rajapaksa to offer Tamils a political solution once fighting had ended.  The two Indian officials were “slightly more optimistic of the chances to persuade President Rajapaksa to offer the Tamils a genuinely inclusive political settlement once fighting had ended. It was the Indians' impression that President Rajapaksa believed this was his moment in history, i.e., a chance to bring peace to the island for good, but that the Sri Lankan Army was an obstacle, having been emboldened by its victory over the LTTE.” They told Mr. Browne that if Sri Lanka did not implement the “13th Amendment Plus” devolution plan quickly, a new terrorist movement could quickly fill the vacuum left by the LTTE's defeat.  Their advice to the British special envoy: it was “useful to have Sri Lanka on the UNSC's agenda, and to issue periodic Presidential Statements, but it would be counterproductive for the UN to ‘gang up' on Colombo; providing Rajapaksa with a rationale for fighting off international pressure would only serve to bolster his domestic political standing.”  On May 15, the U.S. Charge met Mr. Menon again for “a discussion on the urgent humanitarian situation” in Sri Lanka, in a cable sent on May 15, 2009 (207268: confidential).  Acknowledging the “dire situation,” the Foreign Secretary said pressure needed to be put on the Sri Lankan government to avoid civilian causalities. But once again, “he cautioned that bilateral diplomacy would be more effective than highly public pressure in the UN Security Council or the Human Rights Council.”  For a ‘pause'  By then, under pressure from UPA coalition partner and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, New Delhi had already tried to get the Sri Lankan government to go easy on the war-front.  On April 23, Mr. Burleigh wrote (203792: confidential) of his meeting that day with the Indian Foreign Secretary.  Mr. Menon told him that in a phone call to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later that day, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee would propose that the U.S. and India coordinate an international effort to force the Sri Lankan government “to take appropriate political steps to bring stability to Sri Lanka and a return to normalcy in the Tamil regions.”  He told Mr. Burleigh that the Indian Cabinet had decided to make “a new appeal to pause military operations” and provide relief to civilians trapped in the war zone.  Mr. Menon and Mr. Narayanan then made a quick visit to Colombo on April 24. On their return, the NSA told Mr. Burleigh, in a cable sent on April 25 (204118: confidential), that the Sri Lankan President had “more or less” committed to “a cessation of hostilities”.  Mr. Rajapakse would make the announcement on April 27 after consulting his Cabinet. Mr. Narayanan asked the U.S. to “keep quiet” about it until it came.  The announcement did come, but not for a cessation of hostilities. Declaring that combat operations had ended, the Sri Lankan government announced heavy-calibre weapons would no longer be used. The Defence Ministry warned this was not a cessation of hostilities or ceasefire, and said the push into a 10-km swathe of land where the LTTE leader and the members of his inner circle were holed in would continue.  Briefing Delhi-based diplomats during his May 6-7 visit, Des Browne, the U.K. special envoy, said he believed Sri Lanka could be forced through monetary inducements to accept a post-conflict role for the international community, according to the cable sent on May 13, 2009 (206806: confidential).  “At the end of the day they'll want the money,” Mr. Burleigh quoted the U.K. special envoy as saying. Mr. Browne noted that the government had expended “vast resources” for the war, and emphasised India's “unique role” in the post-conflict scene.  But it appears that the U.S. was worried India might shy away from such a role, and Mr. Burliegh suggested in his cable that “the time is ripe to press India to work more concretely with us on Sri Lanka issues.”
Army lost 313 men since 2009, says Antony 2011-03-16 18:40:00 1Crore Life Cover - L I C Ads by Google Get 1Crore security @ Rs.818* pm & Save Your Family From Any Mishap  New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) The Indian Army has lost 313 men since 2009 in operations across the country, Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the Rajya Sabha Wednesday.  Replying to written questions from members, Antony said the army lost 114 men in 2009, 187 men in 2010 and 12 in 2011 till March 8.  From Rajasthan, eight personnel were killed in 2009 and 15 in 2010. All these casualties were reported from Jammu and Kashmir, he said.  The navy lost one of its personnel during operations in 2009, but saw no casualties in 2010. The air force saw no casualties at all in the last two years, he added.
Pak Ambivalent in Attitude Towards Terror Groups: India New Delhi | Mar 16, 2011 India today said Pakistan was ambivalent in its "attitude and approach" towards terrorist groups whose "undiminished activities" were raising security concerns.  "The continued infiltrations across the Line of Control and the existence of terrorist camps across the India-Pakistan border demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its attitude and approach to terrorist organisations," the Defence Ministry's annual report for 2010-11, which was tabled in the Parliament today, said.  The report further said India's security concerns vis-a-vis Pakistan remained due to "undiminished activities of terror organisations, even though such organisations pose a danger to Pakistan's own social and political fabric".  The Ministry said though it supported dialogue with Pakistan, the neighbouring country "needs to take effective steps to address India's concerns about terrorism originating from territory under its control".  Commenting on the overall security situation in the region, the Ministry in its report said, "Insurgency in Afghanistan and spread of terrorism and radicalism and the inadequacy of responses to it in some countries" remained a cause for concern for New Delhi.  Noting that a "secure, stable and peaceful neighbourhood was central to India's security construct", it said signs of economic prosperity and strengthening of democratic processes in some of the countries in the region were "positive" developments.  On the situation in Afghanistan, the report said the region remains "challenged" by a Taliban-led insurgency and India was committed to support the government there.  On relations with Sri Lanka, it says India supports Colombo's efforts to find a lasting political settlement.  "India is already substantially contributing to the rehabilitation of internally-displaced people in Northern Sri Lanka and stands ready to enhance bilateral cooperation in a range of areas, including defence and security," the report said.  On Myanmar, it said India continued to engage with its eastern neighbour and cooperation in security matters was being enhanced.  "The Myanmar government has reciprocated India's gestures of goodwill and friendship," the report said.  Observing that the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir had "stabilised", the Defence Ministry said the terror threat continued to be "real" as terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan was still intact.  The Ministry in its annual report said the situation was stabilised by the persistent efforts of the Army, which last year eliminated 238 terrorists and apprehended 62 of them.  "The security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has stabilised... While Army operations have reduced terrorist strength, the terror threat remains real as terrorist infrastructure across the border remains intact," it said.  "The continuous infiltration attempts in Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists from Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir are a matter of concern," it added.  The report said despite Army's strict vigil, infiltration attempts along the LoC were on where 40 terrorists were killed and 31 such bids were foiled.  Noting that 31 terrorist leaders were neutralised by the Army while targeting their leadership, it said, "238 terrorists have been killed and 62 apprehended while suffering 52 casualties in 2010."  It added that the incidents of terrorist violence remained low in the state due to the "operational ascendancy" gained by the Army in the state.  The report gives credit to the coordinated action by security forces for stabilisation of the security situation in the state, which witnessed violent protests and civil unrest "stoked by anti-nationals and separatists with active support from across the border."  On the situation along the borders, the report says the ceasefire with Pakistan is "holding out" barring a few aberrations.  "There have been 57 cases of ceasefire violation along the border during 2010 as compared to the 31 such cases in 2009. These incidents are being taken up with Pakistan through the Director General, Military Operations (DGMO) mechanism," it said.
Indian army to get 2 new gun systems  New Delhi, Mar 14 (PTI) Defence Minister A K Antony today told Parliament that two new gun systems are expected to be inducted into the Indian Army. Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, he said "two new gun systems are expected to be inducted during the 11th Plan." On the steps being taken by the government to supply state-of-art guns to the army, Antony said "modernization is an ongoing process. While a number of weapons and equipment have already been inducted, procurement process for other weapons, including guns, is under way." Replying to another query on installation of coastal scan system for the Coast Guard to monitor the sea lanes of the country, the Minister said "a project for installation of a chain of static sensors for coastal surveillance is under implementation." "In the first phase, surveillance is being enhanced at 46 locations around high traffic density and security sensitive areas. Another 40 stations will be established in Phase II." The first phase of the project is expected to be implemented by 2012. Meanwhile, replying to a question on Pakistan''s nuclear capability and reports that it has added 40 to 100 additional weapons in last five years, he said "the government has seen reports relating to nuclear weapons programme of Pakistan. India''s nuclear doctrine and security preparedness is geared to meet all its current and future security needs and challenges".  "The government remains committed to taking all necessary measures to meet any security threat," he added. PTI AD
Pakistan and national defence By Editorial Published: March 14, 2011  Pakistan has also to deal with the question of the paramountcy of army. PHOTO: APP  Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Athar Abbas has made a spirited defence of Pakistan’s military budget and sought to correct what he calls some misunderstandings in relation to what the Pakistan Army is spending on maintenance and induction of new weapons. More importantly, he said that if the government wanted to make reductions in defence it should talk to India, which poses a threat to Pakistan.  Major General Abbas correctly pointed to the waste occurring in the spending of the civilian budget which was responsible for creating the extra pressure on an already troubled economy and pointed to the gap in the military expenditures of Pakistan and India: $4 billion and $36 billion respectively.  The discussion of Pakistan’s national defence has always been an important topic in the country, especially during periods of low economic growth and financial emergencies. This is quite normal and it happens wherever a country comes under pressure from the malfunctioning of the national economy. In Pakistan, disclosure of the complete military budget in parliament has always been a controversial matter, and its absence from the budget document has often been attributed to the dominance of an army that runs state policy to maintain its importance among the state institutions.  It is also clear — as pointed out by Major General Abbas — that alternatives to defence policy are always possible through negotiation with the enemy, from whom threat is traditionally perceived. All countries under economic duress resort to negotiations and there are examples, where defence perceptions have changed among nations after they overhauled their relations with the ‘enemy state’. However, there are certain additional dimensions to Pakistan’s national defence that make the option of ‘normalisation of relations’ an important factor. The era of ‘intra-state’ conflict is upon us in South Asia. Both India and Pakistan are subject to this internal upheaval and need to revisit their hostile bilateral equation that swells their military budgets.  There are two ways the problem can be approached. One is the ‘Sri Lankan model’, which has overcome its intra-state conflict after ‘normalisation’ with its neighbour, India. The other way is to link the internal conflict to the ‘enemy without’ and worsen an already bad security situation. The increased heat of accusations of ‘cross-border’ interference through ‘local elements’ and ‘non-state actors’ actually brings the enemy states close to war, while internal conflicts deteriorate. The concept of ‘security’ is not only purely military; the economist also presents his alternative to interstate conflict hitched to disputes that can’t be resolved. The economist’s prescription of normalisation through trade and cross-border investment presumes resolution of perennial disputes after development of what he calls ‘co-dependency’.  Pakistan has also to deal with the question of the paramountcy of army. This military dominance over civilian governments is long-standing and is linked to Pakistan’s textbook nationalism, designating India as a permanent enemy. Because of a steadily declining economy and uneven development across the country, the ‘binding’ effect of our textbook nationalism is no longer uniform. The ‘threat of India’ does not inspire national integration in parts where alienation is actually increasing because of neglect. Is the Pakistan Army prepared for a paradigm shift?  What Major General Abbas says points to this shift, but events covered extensively in the media prove that it has not happened. In fact, what often appears credible is yet another instance of pressuring the civilian government into pliancy by exploiting the internecine national politics which may have actually been revived to maintain the army’s dominant position. The latest proof of it is Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s absurd ‘strategic wisdom’ that not only India, but also two other states, including the sole superpower, were busy bribing the Taliban to attack Pakistan!

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