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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

From Today's Papers - 30 Mar 2011

Adarsh scam Show-cause notice to Maj Gen  
New Delhi, March 29 After completing its Court of Inquiry into the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the Army has issued show cause notice to a serving Major General about his alleged role in allowing the private building to be constructed on defence land.  “After the Court of Inquiry (COI), the Army has issued a show cause notice to Maj-Gen Ram Kanwar Hooda, the then General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa Area about his role in the whole issue and he has also submitted his reply," Army sources said here.  The Army had ordered a CoI under Pune-based Military Intelligence School Commandant Lt-Gen JS Rawat after the scam broke out to probe the role of serving officers, including Hooda in the scam.  After the COI was ordered, Hooda, serving as Additional Director General (Mechanised Forces) at the Army Headquarters here, was put under Discipline and Vigilance (DV) ban by the Adjutant General's branch.  Any officer under such a ban is not considered for any course or promotion by the authorities.  The CoI was completed in January and had concluded that the land on which the society was built belonged to the Army and was wrongfully given away to private builders.  The 104-apartment society got embroiled in a controversy after the Navy had raised concerns over security as the building over-looked important military installations.  On December 9 last year, Defence Minister AK Antony had ordered a CBI probe to fix responsibility of the armed forces and defence estates officers in the housing scam. — PTI

NATO in Libya Gaddafi must be made to look for the exit door
 With the entry of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in Libya, replacing the troops of the US and its Western allies, the intervention by the international community has taken a new turn. Now the Libyan dictator’s argument will have no meaning that it is not fair for foreign forces to meddle in the “internal affairs” of a sovereign nation. NATO’s action comes after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya and to prevent the killing of civilians by Col Muammar Gaddafi’s forces. The Security Council has also imposed an arms embargo on Libya, which will be enforced strictly now. NATO’s involvement, however, does not mean an end to the military role of the US, France, Britain and other Western powers. However, they will not be able to use their military-related activities in Libya for reaping political capital back home. This was a major charge against French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as France is slated to have elections soon.  One question that seems to have divided the international community is whether NATO’s intervention will remain impartial. Will NATO not provide cover to the Libyan rebels, who are disorganized and unable to consolidate the gains they initially made? First it was Turkey which expressed doubts over the real purpose of bringing NATO in the Libyan war theatre. Now Russia has warned the world that foreign intervention in a sovereign country has not been mandated by Resolution 1973. These questions have found mention at the on-going London conference of the UN, NATO, the African Union and the Arab League on Libya.  The truth is that the global community indirectly wants regime change in Libya but no one is prepared to admit, not even President Barack Obama, that all that is being done under the cover of Resolution 1973 is aimed at ending the dictatorship of Colonel Gaddafi. The US appears to be under tremendous pressure from its allies in West Asia like Saudi Arabia not to take any step which may make people get the impression that the Western forces are there in the Arab world to instal rulers of their choice in the garb of bringing about democracy. The ideal course can be to create a situation in which Colonel Gaddafi is forced to leave the country to the people of Libya as it has happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.

Obama cites limits of US role in Libya
Washington:  President Obama defended the American-led military assault in Libya on Monday, saying it was in the national interest of the United States to stop a potential massacre that would have "stained the conscience of the world."  In his first major address since ordering American airstrikes on the forces and artillery of Col. Moammar el-Gaddafi nine days ago, Mr. Obama emphasized that the United States' role in the assault would be limited, but said that America had the responsibility and the international backing to stop what he characterized as a looming genocide in the Libyan city of Benghazi.  "I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action," Mr. Obama said.  At the same time, he said, directing American troops to forcibly remove Colonel Gaddafi from power would be a step too far, and would "splinter" the international coalition that has moved against the Libyan government.  "To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq," Mr. Obama said, adding that "regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya."  Speaking in the early evening from the National Defense University in Washington, Mr. Obama said he had made good on his promise to limit American military involvement against Colonel Gaddafi's forces -- he did not use the word "war" to describe the action -- and he laid out a more general philosophy for the use of force.  But while Mr. Obama described a narrower role for the United States in a NATO-led operation in Libya, the American military has been carrying out an expansive and increasingly potent air campaign to compel the Libyan Army to turn against Colonel Gaddafi.  The president said he was willing to act unilaterally to defend the nation and its core interests. But in other cases, he said, when the safety of Americans is not directly threatened but where action can be justified -- in the case of genocide, humanitarian relief, regional security or economic interests -- the United States should not act alone. His statements amounted both to a rationale for multilateralism and another critique of what he has all along characterized as the excessively unilateral tendencies of the administration of George W. Bush.  "In such cases, we should not be afraid to act -- but the burden of action should not be America's alone," Mr. Obama said. "Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all."  Mr. Obama never mentioned many of the other nations going through upheaval across the Arab world, including Yemen, Syria and Bahrain, but left little doubt that his decision to send the United States military into action in Libya was the product of a confluence of particular circumstances and opportunities.  He did not say how the intervention in Libya would end, but said the United States and its allies would seek to drive Colonel Gaddafi from power by means other than military force if necessary.  Speaking for 28 minutes, Mr. Obama addressed a number of audiences. To the American public, he tried to offer reassurance that the United States was not getting involved in another open-ended commitment in a place that few Americans had spent much time thinking about. To the democracy protesters across the Middle East, he vowed that the United States would stand by them, even as he said that "progress will be uneven, and change will come differently in different countries," a partial acknowledgment that complex relations between the United States and different Arab countries may make for different American responses in different countries.  "The United States will not be able to dictate the pace and scope of this change," Mr. Obama said. But, he added, "I believe that this movement of change cannot be turned back, and that we must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms: our opposition to violence directed against one's own citizens; our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders; our support for governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people."  The president's remarks were timed to coincide with the formal handover of control over the Libya campaign to NATO, scheduled for Wednesday. But in the wake of criticism from Congressional representatives from both sides of the aisle that Mr. Obama overstepped his authority in ordering the strikes without first getting Congressional approval -- and the return of lawmakers to Washington after their spring recess -- Mr. Obama had another audience: Congress.  Mr. Obama said that he authorized the military action only "after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress," which White House officials have maintained is sufficient for what they have described as a limited military campaign.  Whether his comments will do much to calm the criticism on Capitol Hill remains unclear. Some liberals remain unsettled by the fact of another war in a Muslim country, initiated by a Democratic president who first came to national prominence as an opponent of the Iraq war, even as others backed the use of force to avert a potential massacre.  Some Republicans continued to criticize Mr. Obama for moving too slowly, while another strain of conservative thought argued that the intervention was overreach, a military action without a compelling national interest.  "Since the allied military campaign began in Libya, President Obama's seeming uncertainty about the parameters and details of our engagement has only inspired a similar uncertainty among the American people," Representative Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, said in a statement after the speech. "The president's speech this evening offered very little to diminish those concerns."  From the start, Mr. Obama has been caught between criticism that he did not do enough and that he had done too much. He continued to try to explain some seeming contradictions on Monday evening, including that while the United States wants Colonel Gaddafi out, it would not make his departure a goal of the military action.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, he said, will attend a meeting in London on Tuesday where the international community will try to come up with a separate plan to pressure Colonel Gaddafi to leave.  "I know that some Americans continue to have questions about our efforts in Libya," Mr. Obama acknowledged. "Gaddafi has not yet stepped down from power, and until he does, Libya will remain dangerous."  But, he said, "if we try to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground, or risk killing many civilians from the air. The dangers to our men and women in uniform would be far greater. So would the costs and our share of the responsibility for what comes next."  Aaron David Miller, a State Department Middle East peace negotiator during the Clinton administration, said Mr. Obama described a doctrine that, in essence, can be boiled to this: "If we can, if there's a moral case, if we have allies, and if we can transition out and not get stuck, we'll move to help. The Obama doctrine is the 'hedge your bets and make sure you have a way out' doctrine. He learned from Afghanistan and Iraq."  White House officials said the American strikes in Libya did not set a precedent for military action in other Middle East trouble spots. "Obviously there are certain aspirations that are being voiced by each of these movements, but there's no question that each of them is unique," Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough said on Monday. "We don't get very hung up on this question of precedent."  But the question of precedent is one that Mr. Obama is clearly still grappling with. "My fellow Americans, I know that at a time of upheaval overseas -- when the news is filled with conflict and change -- it can be tempting to turn away from the world," he said.  But, his conclusion was ambiguous at best: "Let us look to the future with confidence and hope not only for our own country, but for all those yearning for freedom around the world."

No signs of ceasefire in Libya: UN chief
Before heading to London to attend a conference on Libya, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said that there were no signs of a cease-fire in the North African country where Muammar Gaddafi's forces are battling rebels.  "Despite repeated claims by the Libyan authorities, we continue to see no evidence of a cease-fire, nor any steps by the Libyan authorities to fulfill their obligations under resolutions 1970 and 1973," Ban told the General Assembly yesterday.  "We continue to have serious concerns about the protection of civilians and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, and we continue to stress the urgent need for humanitarian access," he added.  "For my part, I will continue to engage in wide-ranging diplomatic efforts aimed at a cease-fire and a political solution," Ban told members of the world body.  Ban's special envoy to Libya, former Jordanian foreign minister Abdelilah Al-Khatib, will join him at the London conference, which will be attended by more than 40 countries.  On February 26, the Council slapped sanctions on the Libyan regime including an arms embargo, an asset freeze and travel ban on Gaddafi and his loyalists, and a referral to the Hague-based International Criminal Court.  In March, the Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire, establishing a no-fly zone and authorized "all necessary measures" for protecting civilians in Libya.  India, China, Russia, Brazil and Germany abstained from voting on the resolution, which was co-authored by Britain and France.  The committee to monitor the sanctions against Libya is set to begin work, according to Portuguese Ambassador Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral.  "Broadly speaking, the Committee's tasks include overseeing the arms embargo, travel ban, assets freeze and, ban on flights of Libyan aircraft," he told the Security Council.  Cabral said that the request will be sent to the member-states of the UN to inform the committee about how they are implementing the sanctions.

Singapore and Indian Armies Conduct Armour Exercise
13:40 GMT, March 29, 2011 The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Indian Army conducted the seventh bilateral armour exercise, codenamed Exercise Bold Kurukshetra, from 1 to 29 Mar 2011. Held at the Babina Field Firing Range in central India, more than 700 soldiers from Headquarters 4th Singapore Armoured Brigade, 42nd Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment and 38th Battalion, Singapore Combat Engineers, as well as the Indian Army's 34th Armoured Brigade, 12th Mechanised Infantry Regiment and 15th Armoured Regiment, participated in this year's exercise.  During the exercise, the two armies conducted joint planning and training, and executed an integrated live-firing involving the SAF's BIONIX 1 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and Mortar Track Carrier, as well as the Indian Army's BMP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and T-90 Main Battle Tank. Chief Armour Officer, Colonel Benedict Lim and the Indian Army's 21 Corps Commander, Lieutenant-General Sanjiv Langer, witnessed the live-firing and met with the SAF and Indian Army troops as part of their visits to the exercise.  Exercise Bold Kurukshetra is held annually and underscores the warm defence ties between Singapore and India. Aside from joint exercises, the SAF and the Indian Armed Forces also interact regularly through visits, courses, seminars and other professional exchanges.

Infiltration bids by terror outfits in J&K on the rise: Army
New Delhi, Mar 29 (PTI) Infiltration attempts by Pakistan-based terrorist organisations into Jammu and Kashmir increased slightly last year with 500 such bids recorded in 2010 as against 490 in the previous year. "In 2009, the Pakistani terrorist organisations made a total of 490 attempts to cross over to Indian territory whereas 500 were made by them in 2010," Army sources said here today.In these attempts, they said, 120-125 militants were able to sneak into Indian territory. In 2009, only 105 could cross over to our side of the perceived border. The number of militants killed in several encounters with the Army was between 250-255 out of which 120-125 were killed while infiltrating. They further added that the 42 terrorist camps operating in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) are still training militants for anti-India activities. Indian Army is deployed along the Line of Control (LoC) and has its troops positioned in the hinterland also where they have formed a three-tier counter-infiltration grid to tackle militancy. In January this year, Defence Minister A K Antony had also voiced his concern over the rise in infiltration from Pakistan. Giving his assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Antony had said, "Inimical forces across the border are jittery as they saw normalcy returning to Jammu and Kashmir." PTI AD

India’s Geopolitical Future: How Critical Is Naval Power? – Analysis
Down the centuries, the build up of naval power by seafaring nations remained a crucial factor in shaping history and changing the geography of the world. Colonization of third world countries by European nations with a strong maritime tradition is a clear pointer to the significant role played by naval forces in the global power equations. And notwithstanding the mind boggling technological changes that have now brought about a paradigm shift in the way defence forces operate, the importance of a naval force in the current overall strategic scenario of the world cannot be undermined by any stretch of imagination. For a strong and forward looking maritime force equipped with an array of state of the art war fighting equipment is as critical to the geopolitical security of the country as a land-based army supported by a well organized air power.  Not surprisingly then the well known US based geostrategist, Parag Khanna, who is also the founding director of the Global Governance Initiative at the New American Foundation think-tank, noted,”In terms of geopolitics, India’s influence is still very limited…What underpins that is the reality that India is not going to be what initially was thought and hoped it would be a land based continental rival to balance China. Now India is seen as much more of a naval power – overseeing and having a strategic role with respect to the Indian Ocean and the trade routes there. That actually is the geopolitical future of India. It is a very strong future”. India  India  In fact, in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks engineered by Pakistan-trained terrorists who reached mainland India through the Arabian sea lanes, there has been a growing realization of the need to monitor and protect India’s coastline much the same way as the landlocked border is defended. Clearly and apparently, the long, porous and poorly guarded coastal stretch had for long remained a safe stamping ground of smugglers, drug-runners, arms-traffickers as well as terrorists and criminal gangs. However, the most complex threat to India’s maritime security arises from the Sudanian origin sea brigands expanding their operations to the Arabian Sea region.  In response to this challenge, the Indian navy along with the Coast Guard has stepped up its vigil in the high seas around India to subdue sea pirates who pose a threat to sea trade routes of vital importance. For instance, ‘Operation Island Watch’, launched by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard in March this year resulted in the capture of Somalian pirates operating west of the Lakshadweep Islands after a fierce gun battle. The Indian navy is fully well aware that India’s island territories could become a target of attack by pirate gangs. “The island territories are becoming increasingly vulnerable in view of piracy. There were as many as 14 incidents of piracy near the Minicoy islands in Lakshadweep recently. Uninhabited islands are being monitored,” said Indian Defence Minister AK Antony. There is palpable concern in India’s defence establishment over the shifting of piracy southwards down the east coast of Africa and threatening the island nations of Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives, all of which could serve as an ideal base to promote terrorist activities.  Against the fast changing global maritime dynamics, the Indian navy has drawn up an ambitious plan to transform itself into a three-dimensional, network-enabled force to take care of Indian “interests and assets” across the high seas of the world. The Indian navy is clear in its perception that futuristic threat would be dynamic and could emanate from multiple sources. The long-term vision of the Indian navy is to position itself as a robust blue-water maritime force capable of responding to situations across the global seas with swiftness and deep strike capability. To this end, the Indian navy is looking at acquiring ‘space assets’ building up network-centric capability. But in terms of conventional weapons, there seems to be quite a few gaps. In particular, the navy should strengthen its fleet of attack aircraft and helicopters along with submarines.  While boosting the strike capability and reach as well as the technological base of the Indian navy, one would need to take into account a variety of factors including the changing orientation of naval warfare and radical transformation in global maritime scenario. Augmenting a naval force is both a cost-intensive and technology-intensive exercise. Perhaps the most striking feature of the ongoing programme for modernization launched by the Indian navy is its thrust on sourcing its requirements through indigenous routes by harnessing the potential of the Indian industry. The Indian navy has already made it clear that its plan for modernization is not China-specific but based on meeting the multiple threats facing India.  In particular, the sea-based nuclear strike capability being put in place by the Indian navy would provide credible second strike capability. Incidentally, the nuclear strike capability based on a submarine platform has the advantages in terms of stealth and survivability in case of a first attack. In the ultimate analysis, the Indian navy is looking at drawing inspiration from India’s rich maritime tradition to position itself as an ocean-based force multiplier capable of defending Indian interests in all its dimensions.

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