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Saturday, 9 April 2011

From Today's Papers - 09 Apr 2011

violation of cyber security Army takes action against officers
Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, April 8 Even as information warfare and cyber security have emerged as issues of serious concern for armed forces, the Army is understood to have initiated action against a number of officers for allegedly violating laid down protocol and directives on the use of networks, including social network portals. Sources familiar with the Army's cyber-security establishment place the number of officers against whom "some disciplinary action or the other" has been initiated in this regard recently at 50. In the backdrop of increasing threats emerging from cyberspace and to plug existing loopholes in information security, the Army is revamping its procedures and regulations pertaining to information and network security, including the use of social networking portals like Facebook.  Sources said that the new set of procedures and guidelines, which are being fine-tuned, is expected to be issued by Army headquarters in about a month's time. Several conferences that were attended by information warfare experts and intelligence officers were held in this regard at New Delhi recently.  Aforementioned errant officers against whom action have been initiated include those who have posted service-related information or photographs on the Internet. Action against those who have come to the notice of the authorities includes a reprimand or a censure or warning letter.  "Officers who post any kind of service-related information or give out their rank or post their photographs in uniform come to the attention of hostile agencies," a senior officer said. "Their computers can become targets of hacking and there have been instances in the past of such things happening," he added.  Officers said that though there is no ban on service personnel using the Internet or social networking sites, there are clear-cut guidelines that bar them from posting details about their service profile or other military-related information. The Army has its own intranet for internal data and information transfer which is isolated from the Internet, but instances of officers using personal computers, which may be linked with the Internet, for official work cannot be ruled out.  According to reports, mobile devices and social networking sites have been listed among the top three areas of security risk and concern for Internet and computer users in 2011.  The other two are cyber threat targeting physical systems and infrastructural services, and "botnets" that involve large-scale attacks using malicious software.  Reports cautioned that social network sites like Twitter and Facebook could be used to lure users into handing over personal and sensitive information. "What is also of concern is that an unsuspecting family member of an officer or jawan could also be targeted," an officer said. Estimates are that over 35,000 Army personnel across all ranks are active Internet users. The number of family members, including wives and children, could be much more.
Navy adds UAV, planes to eastern fleet
Revamp prompted by need to checkmate China Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, April 8 New warships, reconnaissance planes and unmanned arial vehicles (UAVs) are being added to the Indian Navy's eastern fleet. The thrust of the Navy will be to ramp up its eastern fleet, possibly to counter China which is increasing its presence in the Bay of Bengal. Sources said the Indian Navy has decided to base the first of the two P8-I long range maritime reconnaissance aircrafts at a base near Chennai. The plane can hover around for 10 hours, depending upon the payload of radars and equipment it is carrying for a particular mission. The plane can search for undersea submarines, monitor sea traffic, engage in communications relays and electronic signal intercepts.  Also the Navy will base a team of UAVs at Parundu in Andhra Pradesh. This will be the first permanent UAV team on the east coast. Heron and searcher UAVs that can be controlled from a specially designed warship or land will be used. The Navy has already stationed its first indigenous stealth frigate, the 5,000-tonne INS Shivalik at Vizag. This was commissioned in Mumbai last year. The INS Jalaswa, a troop carrier designed to launch some 1000 land-based troops is also stationed in the east. The fleet tanker INS Shakti, that carries replenishment of oil and supplies for warships out sea-will also be stationed in the east. The ship is expected this year. INS Jyoti, the largest fleet tanker of the Navy is already dedicated to the east coast.  The move to add to the eastern fleet comes just six months after the Defence Ministry okayed two additional naval bases on the eastern sea board - Paradip and Tuticorin in Orissa and Tamil Nadu, respectively. These are the first major naval bases other than Vizag on the eastern coast. The Navy has smaller stations but no big bases that typically provide all logistics support like supplies, replenishment, repair and maintenance. Tuticorin will be a forward operating base.  The east coast is 2,600 km long and has six littoral countries- Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Most of the country's missile tests are conducted off the east coast. India's Look-East Policy aims at engaging smaller navies that are east of India. For them this will be a huge morale booster as all of them regularly conduct exercises with India, said sources.  Beijing has ports and gas pipelines in Myanmar and is building a new deep-sea port at Sonadia near Cox Bazar Bangladesh. All these are in the Bay of Bengal and face India.
Ivory Coast: Indian envoy evacuated by UN, French forces  » News » Ivory Coast: Indian envoy evacuated by UN, French forces Ivory Coast: Indian envoy evacuated by UN, French forces April 08, 2011 23:20 IST Tags: Ministry of External Affairs, Shamma Jain, UN Security Council, Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo Share this Ask Users Write a Comment India [ Images ]n Ambassador to Ivory Coast, Shamma Jain, was on Friday evacuated from her residence by United Nation and French forces in capital Abidjan in the wake of heavy fighting even as India said all its citizens there were safe.  The Ministry of External Affairs said it was "closely" monitoring the situation and had requested for evacuation of Jain to a safe place in Abidjan.  "On account of the consequent grave danger, Ambassador Jain was safely evacuated from her residence, in the early hours of Friday morning at our request, by the UN forces, who were ably supported by French troops," the MEA said in a statement. It said Jain and the officials of the Indian Mission are safe in Abidjan.  The ministry said that members of the Indian community are also safe though forced to remain indoors on account of the prevailing security situation in the city. "Our mission personnel are in constant touch with them and the situation is being closely monitored," it said. The MEA said some other heads of mission have also similarly been evacuated.  On Thursday, French helicopters had rescued Japan's [ Images ] ambassador to Ivory Coast overnight after he was besieged by mercenaries during fierce battles involving fighters loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the country's democratically elected president, and Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to quit the post even after losing the November 2010 elections.  The area where Jain stayed is the scene of fierce fighting between the two forces.  India had on March 31 supported the UN Security Council sanctions, including a travel ban and asset freeze on strongman Gbagbo, his wife and close aides. However, India had also raised objections to the UN siding with Ouattara and said that its 10,000 strong peacekeeping force not be part of the political stalemate in that country. © Copyright 2011 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
Now, new hi-tech shelters for troops on borders
By IANS,  New Delhi : Several thousand Indian Army soldiers posted on the borders with Pakistan and China can now expect a comfortable stay in the rugged terrain with the government launching a project to provide "plush" hi-tech shelters for them.The move comes following soldiers expressing such a desire to Defence Minister A.K. Antony when he visited them in the recent months, an army release said here Friday.  "Consequent to the visit of the defence minister to forward areas, the necessity towards the improvement of habitat in difficult areas was highlighted. While there have been incremental efforts to improve the infrastructure along border areas, a pilot project has been initiated for a quantum jump in improvement of habitat, which becomes the most important factor to boost the morale of all ranks," the release said.  Although the pilot project is already in progress, the effort had improved the satisfaction levels of troops deployed in difficult terrain and weather conditions, the army said.  The project involved construction of plush-looking, insulated shelters at various posts on the borders on "an incremental module" concept using technologies suitable to the terrain and weather conditions.  "These hi-tech shelters will not only improve the living conditions of troops manifold, but will also have a direct bearing on the individual capacities to perform their tasks better, since terrain and weather impose severe restrictions on all ranks," the release said.  The "light-weight, modular, pre-fabricated" shelters require minimum logistical and transportation efforts and are an apt answer to the climatic challenges that officers and soldiers face.  In consonance with the armed forces efforts to go green, special emphasis has been laid in designing the shelters on incorporating appropriate active and passive measures for energy conservation. The special design also maximises sun light exposure and minimises heat loss to keep the troops warm under extreme cold temperatures.  In addition, various types of bio-digesters, sewage treatment plants, and composting toilets are being constructed to ensure better sewage disposal in extreme cold climatic conditions, the release added.
China's Defence White Paper: 2010 A Preliminary Analysis
By Bhaskar Roy  The contents of the defence White Paper titled "China's National Defence in 2010" released by China's State Council on March 31 should not have surprised military analysts. It was as anodyne and opaque as ever. In fact, the Chinese official media appears to have revealed more in many areas than this official paper does.  A senior Chinese official visiting New Delhi with a joint Communist Party and Discipline Inspection Commission delegation had remarked during a discussion session that one should not only see what China says but also what China does. That was a good hint on how to analyse China's national papers, at least.  Discounting the self-praise as the most benign, friendly, constructive and positive country in the world that runs throughout the paper, and the typical repetition that are the hallmark of Chinese reports, there are indications of policy and thinking as well as concerns.  Digressing from some earlier editions, this paper recognized from the very outset that the international situation had become more complex, international strategic competition had intensified, regional conflicts and flashpoints were a recurrent theme, and stated that "world peace remains elusive". It must be noted that China has moved away from its earlier theme of peace as the dominant trend, to politely state that some conflicts may be inevitable. Certainly, conflicts have increased around the world so has China's vital interests and position. In spite of an effort to reemphasize Deng Xiaoping's doctrine of keeping a low profile and building strength late last year in the face of international concerns, China has gone ahead to demonstrate its strength as the world's second largest economy with a fast growing military machinery that is fearsome to all neighbours. Beijing has begun to show increasing confidence its becoming a player to intervene militarily in the global arena despite it stated policy to the contrary.  As a Permanent-5 member of the UNSC, China has political power which it has exercised effectively for its own interest. But for military intervention in its own interest, China will require western partners. Therefore, on over all consideration, China has always opposed military interventions, especially of foreign troops on the ground in a sovereign country. And like the USA, dictatorships in small third world and developing countries have been its preference. China's economic strength at the moment, analysed by experts within and outside the country, is the driving force in garnering support among countries generally ignored by the developed world. When China gives aid to these countries, human rights violations, factional or tribal wars and internal ruinations are not tied. What are of importance are primarily natural resources especially oil and gas exploitation, voting for China in international organizations on human rights and religious intolerance, and allowing China's overflowing workers population to work on China aided projects in those countries depriving indigenous workers of jobs.  The paper brings out the following challenges, imperatives and natural rights for China:  i) Concerns about the developments in its immediate active neighbourhood i.e. North East Asia (Korean Peninsula and Japan), South East Asia (ASEAN), and significantly, Afghanistan.  ii) Sovereignty and territorial issues where Taiwan lists at the top of Beijing's core interests, and territorial claims with Japan and in South China Sea (and border/territorial issue with India).  iii) Securing maritime interests – securing sea lanes for natural resources imports (more than 70% of its energy imports traverse the Indian Ocean), security of its overseas assets and security of its citizens abroad (and evacuating them in times of crisis).  iv) The crux – ensure leadership of the Communist Party, demolish any liberation opposition, maintain stability at any cost and, most importantly, counter and defeat the Uighur separatists of China's western Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region (XAUR), and the Tibetan movement. All these combine to pose the greatest challenge of Beijing. China's J20  China's J20?  The goals and tasks of China's national defence in the new era was defined as follows:  Safeguarding national sovereignty, security and interests of national development. China's national defence is tasked to guard against and resist aggression, defend the security of China's lands, inland waters, territorial waters, and air space, safeguard its maritime rights and interests, and maintain its security interests in space, electromagnetic space, and cyber space. It is also tasked to oppose and contain the separatist forces for "Taiwan independence", crackdown on separatist forces for "East Turkistan independence" and "Tibet independence", and defend national security and territorial integrity.  In order to implement these tasks including economic tasks, the paper gives a theoretical account in detail without going into any specifics of armament, cyber and information warfare capabilities or asymmetric warfare philosophy. It makes an omnibus statement of defence development which corroborates what is already known about the PLA Navy (PLAN), PLA Air Force (PLAAF), PLA Army (PLAA) and Second Artillery (Missile) Force (SAF).  The emphasis was on full mechanization of the PLA and integration of all arms for joint force projection by 2020, attaining major progress in informization as a driving force. It was stated that new weapons platforms are being developed, but no indications were given on types and capabilities.  The maximum emphasis was on the air force and the navy. The Chinese military planners have realized that advanced aircrafts are required not only for defence of China's air space but to try and establish relative supremacy in the outer fringes of its air space. They are particularly concerned over US spy planes on intelligence collection flights around China's airspace, and the lessons of 2001 when a Chinese air force aircraft collided with a US spy plane.  The newly unveiled JF-20 Stealth fighter aircraft was expected to be an attack aircraft, but some Chinese officials have opined that it will perform roles in protecting the sovereignty of China's airspace. This is a possibility, but the JF-20 could play a key role in area denial. The real problem will start when China begins transferring the JF-20 to front line allies like Pakistan.  There is a clear indication that the spine of the PLAAF in the immediate future will comprise of surface-to-air, air-to-air, and air-to-ground missiles along with enhanced radar and electronic counter measures (ECM) capabilities.  A close look at the paragraphs on PLAN leaves no doubt that the Chinese naval force is on the path to a major expansion, and the force is shifting quickly to aircraft carriers. The carriers are not only required for its coastal defence and recovery of its claimed maritime territories starting with Taiwan as the core, but also for overseas projections. China has taken seriously the prophesy of famous naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan on the critical importance of the Indian Ocean.  The paper emphasized that overseas role of the PLAN was for Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW). It exemplified the PLAN's anti-piracy role in the Gulf of Aden and evacuation of Chinese workers from Libya. But with one aircraft carrier scheduled to go into service sometime this year, and a total of five to be in service by 2020, the objectives are clearly different than those stated.  To maintain China's sustainable development the critical inputs are energy and raw material, and consolidate overseas employment for its growing jobless workers. The $100 billion African fund instituted by China in 2008 was specifically for this purpose. As the world's "factory", China's huge economy is export dependent. It has hardly any substantial deposit of oil and natural gas as well as minerals like iron ore and copper among other things. Seventy percent of its oil imports come from the Gulf, West Asia and Africa. It makes a double benefit when mostly Chinese workers are employed in mines in the undeveloped countries the produce of which also comes to China. Therefore, if these centres of import are threatened, the very foundations of China's economy will be shaken.  This could make for the most dangerous recipe for global stability and China knows it, and wants to avoid it as far as possible. It is, therefore, intensifying its civil and military diplomacy which the paper discussed quite extensively.  Very little was discussed about the second Artillery force except that it possessed both nuclear and conventional missiles. Separately, there have been several reports about new 4000 plus km missile under development. It may be the long awaited DF-41 or a variant. This missile could have both nuclear or conventional warheads. Another long range missile deployed along the Fujian coast according to the Taiwanese intelligence, is the DF-16. The development of DF-16 was widely known, but not the specifics of its deployment.  Conventional warhead long range missiles serves the particular purpose of an attack on a non-nuclear country and/or avoiding a nuclear war. But "no first use" policy of nuclear weapons though stated in the paper as a routine exercise have been examined and interpreted even by Chinese experts in different ways. It does not mean China will wait for a nuclear strike to retaliate. It will examine the intention of its nuclear adversary and can logically launch a preemptive strike. For example, reports by the Indian media reducing any nuclear missile test by the DRDO as aimed at China could be reason enough for Beijing to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against India in case of a major India-China conflict.  Returning to discuss China's challenges, imperatives and natural rights mentioned earlier in this assessment, an examination of China's core interest in terms of territorial sovereignty is important. After China's unofficial approach to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year to recognize the South China Sea as its core interest, serious concerns arose in the region. Clinton declined to accept the Chinese proposal and the Chinese denied having made any such proposal. The Chinese denial, however, does not make any material difference to the truth.  The most recent clarification of China's core interests came in an explanation in an article by Da Wei, research professor at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a Chinese official think tank. Da Wei made it clear that the Chinese Communist Party's and the government's policies had not changed, and made it abundantly clear that all territorial issues comprise China's core interests.  Prof. Da Wei should know, as he is a high ranking member of the CICIR which, in turn, is attached to the State Council and the Ministry of State Security.  PLA, People and Party  Although the PLA was always called upon to meet domestic crises like the 1989 Tienanmen Square students uprising, the March 2008 Tibetan uprising or the July 2009 Uighur anti-Hans riot in Xinjing, this paper and developments around it speak of a much bigger role for the armed forces in safeguarding the Communist Party's supreme command over the nation.  It is highly arguable if the Chinese people are ready for a revolution. There are two basic reasons for it. One, Tienanmen spirit appears to have dissipated and making money has become a driving force. As the father of China's reform and opening up policy, Deng Xiaoping said in 1992 during his famous Shenzen tour, one of the three criteria to test the success of socialism was whether the people's living standards had improved. Notwithstanding the growing income disparity in the country, those who can lead a revolution are busy in profitable economic activities. Two, according to some Chinese intellectuals the spirit of the Chinese people has been so bludgeoned by the party, that living has become the only issue.  But with more than 100,000 anti-government protests every year for the last several years, the debate on political reform and democracy initiated by outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao, and demand for democracy spreading in West Asia and North Africa along with some similar views within the country, the party just cannot take any chance.  In addition, the Xinjiang separatist issue and the Tibetan movement for genuine autonomy which the Chinese still see as a pro-independence movement in spite of the Dalai Lama's assurance to the contrary, the Chinese leaders remain highly concerned. The leadership launched the "strike hard" campaign in the late 1990s which is still continuing, but the results are not commensurate with the efforts. It has only caused bitterness.  In an unprecedented move in the history of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese leadership under President, Party General Secretary, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) Hu Jintao, , an all encompassing internal security initiative called "Wei-Wen" was launched at the March NPC annual meeting. The Wei-Wen initiative was given a budget of $ 95 billion, over $ 3 billion more than the defence budget which itself increased by 12.7 % over the previous year, amounting to $ 91.5 billion.  The mammothness of this initiative is mindboggling. The PLA has a major role. The public security apparatus expanded hugely since the 2008 Tibetan uprising. A huge number of civilians, more than one hundred thousand in Beijing and other important cities have been recruited to report on friends, acquaintances and neighbours. It appears like an Orwellian nightmare.  It is difficult to forecast how the Wei-Wen initiative will ultimately work out. But one fear is that it can create a nation of programmed nationalism and another section waiting for the infamous knock at the door in midnight.  The paper underscored the importance of political work of the PLA. It made clear that the PLA must guarantee politically, ideologically and organisationally-the nature of the People's army under the absolute leadership of the party. On the one hand, the emphasis was to reign in the adventurism that sections of the PLA had exhibited in 2010 to act as a player independent from the party. Now the army is being brought back to serve the Party which includes the Wei-Wen initiative. The Chinese military's mouthpiece, the PLA Daily (March 29) made it emphatically clear that there was no question of bringing the armed forces under the government, but must remain under the party. This is a retraction from the Deng Xiaoping's policy to make the armed forces apolitical and professional. Ideology re-emphasized on loyalty to the party, love the people, and serve the country. But the new ideological return does not mean that military development will be relegated to second place. The aim is to integrate a powerful armed force with the political, ideological and social imperatives of the country.  Taiwan  Reunification of Taiwan with the mainland remains the top priority in Beijing's core interest, yet it is the most difficult one. In fact the Chinese leaders feel if Taiwan was to declare independence Xinjiang, Tibet and even Hong Kong would be difficult to control. And if Taiwan decided to do so, Beijing would not hesitate to switch to the military option. That would open the proverbial Pandora's Box with a global impact not seen post-world war-II. China is also cognizant of this.  The above of course, is an unlikely scenario. Taipei"s main protector, the United States, has kept it on a tight leash. The US military assistance is very cautious, just enough to keep some kind of military balance across the Taiwan strait. The $ 18.6 billion US military assistance to Taiwan in 2009, did not include submarines which this island entity requires badly. Yet, China suspended military exchanges with US for almost a year.  While deploying more than one thousand nuclear and conventional missiles (range 280 to 300 Kms) covering Taiwan, supplementing this with the new DF-16 long range missiles, and the aircraft carrier killer DF-21D missile to be deployed soon, Beijing adopted a more friendly approach after President Ma Ying-jeo's KMT came to power two years ago. Economic relations across the strait forged ahead, tourism increased and contacts have become more frequent.  Encouraged, the paper suggested a potential military exchange at an appropriate time. This is something the KMT can even think of at this moment. While the Taiwanese people are divided between full independence and retaining the status quo, reunification has no takers. The Taiwanese defence and security sectors are emphatically opposed to such contacts as they sense danger. China's worry is that the de-facto status of Taiwan may in time become dejure. There is the factor that indigenous Taiwanese are taking over governance and the influence of the old KMT mainlanders is waning. Beijing will have to live with this uncertainty.  Foreign Relations  With an eye to the rising "China threat" syndrome in the international community, especially after China's threatening behaviour in 2010, the paper devoted considerable space to military confidence building. It tried to hide the real purpose of border roads building and erecting permanent, sophisticated military structures as just defensive, and mentioned establishment of friendly contacts with the military of the other side as China's efforts to be friendly.  The paper described military confidence building as an effective way to maintain national security and development, and safeguard regional peace and security. It listed establishment of mechanism of defence and security consultation and dialogue with 22 countries, initiatives with ASEAN countries, Japan, Mongolia, India, and Pakistan to ensure Asia-Pacific security and diffusing flash points. It also listed confidence building measures with several countries including India and Bhutan,. China's contribution to the UN peace keeping force, anti-piracy activities and MOOTW were also highlighted.  The paper, however, failed to address questions on its skirmishes with Japan and countries like Vietnam and the Philippines over the Spratly Islands' sovereignty, trying to control the sea lanes of the South China Sea, and reluctance to discipline North Korea for its military offensive against South Korea which threatened to spin dangerously out of control last year.  India  The paper reserved one paragraph to detail the several confidence building agreements China had signed with India from 1993 to 1996. Separately, it also mentioned China working to "advance Sino-Indian military relations".  The remarks are significant. With so many contentious issues in the open across its Asian Pacific seaboard, stability with a large neighbour with which it has serious differences on boundary and territorial issues, this is good publicity.  On the other hand, India must assess very carefully the Chinese desire to resume military-to-military relations. India suspended military relation when China refused to give Lt. Gen B.S. Jaswal, GOC-in-C of the Northern Command a normal visa as he was in command of Kashmir. Beijing's position was that it was their considered policy. If India agrees to resume military relations with China, it would have accepted China's position. The negative impact on India will be massive, and weaken India's sovereign position.  China has given no indication to suggest that it was considering reversing its position on the visa issue. Very recently, the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan strongly reiterated China's position. During his visit to India this January, Premier Wen Jiabao said he understood India's concern, and suggested Beijing would revisit the issue. He was less than honest. China's activities in India's neighbourhood must be included in India's policy calculations.  North-East Asia  The paper was very circumspect about Japan and the two Koreas. The reason is not difficult to understand. The threatening stand-off between China and Japan over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands last year, and more recent spooking of Japanese ships by Chinese aircraft and ships along Japanese waters are indicative of China's hard-line position. Following the recent earthquake and tsunami devastation of Japan, the Chinese official media (and of course officials) are trying to ease relations, saying Japan's future lay with China, and the US be expelled from the region. Most importantly, the official Global Times wrote in the Japanese context that it was already decided that China was the number one country in Asia. Sadly, the Chinese authorities see opportunity when disaster and bad luck strikes another country. China remains committed to North Korea, and its leadership and the Workers' Party of Korea (WKP) and believes that on the one hand, it sees the collapse of the North Korean regime and the WKP may have a domino effect on the Chinese communist party. North Korea also remains Beijing's strongest card against Japan and the USA. But there is a growing voice inside China, even among intellectuals facilitated to the government, that North Korea was becoming a liability for China. The paper was silent on these issues.  Conclusion  The Defence White Paper circumvented serious issues across the board. There was hardly any celebration of China's strategic relations with Pakistan, showed some concerns over Afghanistan, and played down strategic contentious issues with the US. Just nothing was revealed in specific terms of its weapons and systems development or apportioning of its defense budget. To foreign observers it was an exercise in public relations.  China's propaganda that its military development is purely defensive must be seen in terms of what it wants to defend. Securing its core interests, defending its economic interests overseas, and its political interests in the international fora by military means, requires a huge offensive military capability including no-contact and asymmetric warfare. China is well on the way to achieve these including protecting its self-assumed status as Asia's only pole.  It will be a major error of judgement if Indian strategists measure China's growing military power in terms of American and NATO assessments. China is now trying to dominate the BRICS, having already penetrated the SAARC and kept India outside the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) unless Pakistan was included. China's use of the Pakistan card against India has been elevated to a higher level with Beijing's new policy on Kashmir. Its latest political and military diplomacy in Sri Lanka and Nepal have found powerful centres in these countries to counter India. The BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh remain dedicated to Chinese partners to counter India. The Chinese "string of pearls" theory to encircle India is a no longer a figment of imagination of some Americans. It is real. At the same time, China is quickly acquiring the reputation of being the most untrustworthy big power. Hawks in China's political and military establishments are bursting at the seams to demonstrate their power action. Concurrently, sane voices are rising to restrain the combative power centres.  Indian policy makers must remember that to conduct relations with China (which is a must) with dignity requires to openly hold sovereign positions and convey in no uncertain terms that India can stand alone. Power ensures peace and respect.
The Afghan army
The United States will start withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan in July this year, but there is no clear end in sight to the turmoil sweeping across Afghanistan. For too long, the Afghan National Army (ANA) has been considered the cornerstone of NATO's counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan. The long-term strategy to stabilise Afghanistan rests also on the Afghan army's ability to take control of the situation. But the Afghan army remains a highly unprofessional and fragmented force, pushing the country to the brink of another civil war. It is divided into four main factions; Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras who consider each other enemies.  Viewed historically, it should come as no surprise that the Afghan army has remained unskilled – political rulers have invariably tried to use it as an instrument for personal aggrandisement. Sardar Daud used the army, with Russian assistance, as a means to take over the government. After the Russian withdrawal, the army was divided along tribal lines. And during the mujahideen years, political rifts blighted its performance.  Since 2001, the US has spent more than $25 billion in an attempt to rebuild the Afghan military but the result has been very poor. At the London Conference in January 2010, NATO countries and the Afghan government agreed that troop levels would be raised to 240,000 by 2014, but no attention was paid to improving the quality of the armed forces.  The Afghan army is beset by a host of problems including poor combat effectiveness because of the factionalisation of the ANA through the early domination of the Ministry of Defence by the Tajik community. Northern Alliance warlords still continue to monopolise resources causing widespread discontent among other ethnic groups.  All appointments to the defence and interior ministries are made on a sectarian basis. For instance, amongst the 100 generals appointed in 2002, almost 90 belonged to the Northern Alliance. The result is that troops are often more loyal to a group led by a local commander than national goals. This policy has fundamentally upended the old slogan of the Afghan Army, "Khuda, Watan, Wazifa" (God, country, responsibility).  Drug addiction is another major impediment to improving the army's capacity and cohesion. Some analysts believe that the percentage of Afghan soldiers who are drug addicts is very high. Additionally, almost 90 percent of the force is illiterate. ISAF Commander, General Stanley A McChrystal, in 2009, identified the under-resourcing of the Afghan army as one of the chief obstacles to a successful 'population-centric' counterinsurgency campaign. Chronic shortfalls in training personnel and poor logistics have seriously jeopardised the 'army's quality and long-term viability'.  Additional problems include crippling attrition rates, a weak chain of command, and the fact that many army officers have been involved in drug trade, illegal contracting practices, and killings.  The Indian military's presence in Afghanistan, in an attempt to deny Pakistan 'strategic depth' and expand India's power projection in Central Asia, has also played the role of a spoiler and has badly affected the unity of the Afghan military.  Members of the factionalised Afghan army are often found fighting alongside militants against the US and NATO forces, playing the role of 10 to 50 dollars-a-day Taliban. They are also known to use army vehicles and helicopters for commercial purposes and sell arms to the Taliban. With such poor management and infrastructure, the Afghan army can hardly be expected to be able to prove effective in the war against militants.
'Gunning' for corporate glory: Armed personnel graduate from IIM-L
Seeking transition from 'Battlefield to Boardroom', 27 defence officers today completed their General Management Programme from Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L).  The special programme is aimed at helping defence personnel look beyond traditional post-retirement career options (security and administration) and preparing them to move into corporate world.
While, the fee is borne by the candidates, the Army negotiates for a lower fee structure with the institute. IIM-L was the first institute to launch this course in 2004 and now other institutes, including IIMs, have followed suit.  The graduating officers, including four women personnel, underwent a comprehensive 24-week programme spanning 31 courses across domains. Lt Cdr Alok Rai and Lt Col Vinita Dhaka stood 1st and 2nd respectively in the 9th batch of the programme and were awarded merit certificates.  Addressing the valedictory ceremony, IIM-L Director Dr Devi Singh highlighted that the values and integrity imbibed in the armed forces would help them in creating a clean corporate environment.  "Indian armed forces officers form a rich hub of leadership skills, combat experience and managerial ability. Preparing both retired and retiring officers for a second career is a major function of the Directorate General of Resettlement," Brigadier A K Siwach, Director Resettlement Zone (Central), said.  He said in this technology era, only knowledge-based employment would thrive and specialists would have better job avenues. Brig Siwach presented a Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threat (SWOT) analysis for the officers.
India still paranoid of China, obsessed with Pakistan
# Lt Gen KT Parnaik, who heads the operationally critical Northern Command, had warned last month that China's military presence in Azad Kashmir was too close for India's comfort. # He had said China's links with Pakistan through Azad Kashmir facilitated quicker deployment of Pakistani forces to complement its Communist neighbour's military operations, outflanking India and jeopardizing its security.  VP Malik is former chief of staff, Indian Army builds on this ephemeral Chinese Dragon and writes about the imagined  Chinese-Pakistan collusion to attack Bharat. The "Aman ki Asha" fools would say that this narrative should be written off as the ranting of a crusty old general who has passed the age of senility and is now "Sathaya hua hai". If this was the only article in Bharati media–one could have ignored it. A Google search on China, LOC or PoK will gives us a peek into the depth of Bharati psychopathic personality disorder,  We counted 83 stories, furor in the Lok Sabha, RSS threats,  BJP bombastic blusters, and denials by Beijing and Pakistan. Not to be left behind the Bharati Ministry of External Affairs jumps into the fray "The external affairs ministry on Wednesday sought a detailed report from the defence ministry on Chinese presence along the line of control (LoC) between India and Pakistan. This comes on the heels of the concerns flagged by a top army official over Chinese troops being "actually stationed and present on the LOC".  The sad truth is that the article is representative of the pervasive schizophrenic paranoia of the Bharati Army, press and resident of South block in Delhi. A recent commentator on this site described all Muslims as "Traitors, and illegitimate children of rapacious mobs from the Middle East". This temple indoctrination breeds Bhrati Brahmanic superiority and Indian Exceptionalism which now flows in the blood-thirst of its youth. The pullulating millions residing in Bharati slums are fed on the milk of hatred and the venom of bigotry. Neutral observers would see these trends as very dangerous and very explosive. Throw in a mix of Saffron religious fervor, and $100 billion in arms purchases, and you have a Nazi republic in the making.  Here is the sober Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao "The correct term is transgression and not incursion. There are transgressions from time to time when Chinese troops come over to our side of the line of actual control and occasionally we are told that we cross into their side."  VP Milik reminds us that "two years ago, a ministry of defence (MoD) report had stated that 'the possibility of China and Pakistan joining forces in India's farthest frontiers, illegally occupied by the two neighbours, would have direct military implications for India". This possibility became real when last week, the Norther n Army Commander confirmed that Chinese troops are present on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC). The Chinese troops aren't pointing guns towards our posts on the LoC, but the fact that they are located and working alongside Pakistani troops reflects 'joint' interest and enhancement of strategic and operational preparedness." China Premier Wen Jiabao deliver the Report on...  China Premier Wen Jiabao. Image via Wikipedia  Of course there is no truth to any of this. The Chinese Peoples Army is not present in Azad Kashmir. There are a few Chinese who were helping Pakistan during the floods, and a few People Republic engineers who are working on the Karakorum Highway. How this arts and craft folks translates into a threat to Bharat is byond the pale and above the comprehension levels of normal human beings. This sort of zany nonsense abut Pakistan and China is now part and parcel of the Bharati psyche. VP Maliks simply quotes other "authors" which quote Malik in a viscous circle that inbreeds the incestuous lies.     Wait! It gets better.  VP Malik says "What the Northern Army Commander has stated is not new. The Chinese military presence in Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), purportedly to repair, upgrade and re-commission the Karakorum Highway and to improve infrastructure in the area became visible last year. His statement and concern supplement prior information. It's also known that China plans to construct railway tracks and oil pipelines from Kashgar in Xinjiang to Gwadar port in Pakistan."  Bharati Foreign minister was also soiling his pants. SM Krishna told reporters "We have seen media reports on the subject. The government closely and regularly monitors all developments along our borders." Its like the entire country is in e frenzy waiting for a 1962 to happen again–dreading it then imagining the worst. The national Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) canot be cured–it is a permanent part of the the Bharati DNA.  The Indian Express reports that the "BJP leader said he urged Krishna to take up the matter with the Chinese government at the highest level as their presence in an area '… is a matter of serious security concern for us' Related articles      * TAPI without India is a better deal (     * Throwing out India from TAPI (     * Dump TAPI. Build TAPC (     * End of TAPI may signal birth of TAPC (     * Why Delhi cannot understand the China-Pakistan nexus? (     * All of Kashmir will be liberated soon: Millions pledge it in Pakistan (     * Kashmir Banaiga Pakistan (     * Kashmir solidarity Day held with vigor (  The VP Malik's Geobelish strategy is clear, take a kernel of truth and blow it totally out of proportion. This in effect creates the era of Bharat as the victim–forget the murder of 40 Pakistani civilians who are burned alive in the Samjohta Express (Colonel Prohit was a serving Indian Army man, who used Indian army issue Semtex) , and constantly harp on Mumbai where only a few Bharatis were killed.  Take this news item published by India Blooms "The right-wing opposition party had earlier expressed concern over the rise in the number of China's PLA (People's Liberation Army) troops in the region near the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan." Not to be left behind the Saffron Brigade jumps on the bandwagon and begins riding the government.  To build the case against Pakistan VP Malik talks about Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao address to both houses of Pakistan Parliament in December 2010–"To cement and advance the all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Pakistan is our common strategic choice…" As if this was not enough, Rehman Malik's statement is abused who supposedly "described it (Wen Jiabao's message] as a strong message to the "enemies of Pakistan".  VP Malik next discusses the old lament that on 4,056 km India-China border and the whining of Delhi about Aksai Chin, ostensibly "ceded by Pakistan to China in an India-disputed agreement in March 1963″. The fact is that CHina already controlled the region on August 14th, 1947. Pakistan did the smart thing and recognized China's sovereignty over what it already controlled. VP Malik also obfuscates and ignores that fact that China actually withdrew for a few hundred kilometers to Pakistan. Bharati psychosis has no end. Malik obsesses about insignificant minutia–"For reasons still not clear, in a statement in the Chinese daily Global Times on December 14, 2010, the Indian ambassador to China put the border length to be 3,488 km."  Malik's conniption fits focus on Chinese statements "There is no settled length of the common border. The Chinese government often refers to the border length as being about 2,000 km." Malik's epiphanny are beyond lunacy. "By reducing the length in its definition of the border, China has questioned Indian sovereignty over J&K." Why is this such a "Ah Ha" moment for Malik and compnay. China has never recognized Bharati claims over Jammu and Kashmir. For that matter, neither does the UN, or the rest of the world–though the Americans now consider this a bilateral disput–at least thats what they say publicly.  The paranoia is a self-defeating mecahnism which feeds on itself and it grows exponentially–Malik says "Without going into details of other security and sovereignty related issues between India and China in Tibet and the Indian Ocean, it is obvious that as China develops greater national power, geo-politically and strategically it will become more aggressive and create new pressures on the border issue."  China is known to be assertive in its diplomacy over security and military issues. It will attempt to exploit our diplomatic appeasement postures and defence weaknesses on the ground to its advantage.  The likes of Malik and Bharat Verma are pushing Bharat towards a military state that ignores its population and spends money on rust buckets and bullock-cart space program "India-China economic and security relations are moving in opposite trajectories. The competitive relationship over our long-term security interests outweighs the cooperative one in trade, commerce and culture. India can't afford to let the latest developments go uncontested diplomatically. In the interest of its own security and Asian stability, it must build a sympathetic international lobby."  The comparison between defense spend (China $19.6 Billion, India$34) is not an accurate depiction of how potent the militaries are. China has reached technological independence and is producing planes and exporting them. Bharat is buying $100 billion of arms because it cannot make them. Joint ventures with Russia are just about opening kits and placing tricolored decals on the planes, ships and tanks. Malik's warnings to Delhi that "India must pay greater attention to its defense preparedness, particularly on the north-western borders. There is an urgent need to build defence infrastructure along the northern border." are just a way to sound alarm bells in South Block so that politicians can line their pockets with bribes–so that more Swiss accounts can be filled with Bharati Dollars. The Swiss banker's Association says that 80% of Swiss numbered accounts belong to Bharatis.  Bharat's border road building programs are decades behind China's. LCA production is simply three decades behind schedule, and thre are no plans by the IAF to use the LCA in any quantity. The DRDO reports are eye openers for anyone who follows the comical claims made by Bharati General on a predictable schedule.  For the past sixty years Bharat is known as the Kalban of South Asia. 2011 offers it another choice to stop the projection of its power in Bhutan, South Tibet, Kashmir, Bhutan, Lanka Nepal, and come to terms with the limits of its power, and spread its legs only as far as the bedsheet allows.
Badal honours Op Saiyam team
27 Army officers and jawans had defused 20,000 bombs received as scrap metal  Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today honoured 27 officers and jawans of Bomb Disposal Unit of Indian Army for successfully conducting 'Operation Saiyam' - a unique Army operation to defuse about 20,000 unexploded bombs weighing about 50 tonnes that had arrived in waste steel scrap at the dry port of Dhandari Kalan (Ludhiana), thereby preventing any possible disaster in the civil areas in and around Ludhiana.  The CM was presiding over a Civil and Military Liaison Conference organised by the Punjab Government here at Punjab Bhawan this morning. While addressing a galaxy of senior officers of Defence and Civilian authorities, Badal highly appreciated the Army's role in extending timely and all-out support to the civil administration during any such emergency. Badal also assured to extend fulsome support and coordination to the Army from the state government .
Army gagged from commenting on Hazare
Defence Minister A K Antony has reportedly ordered top army officials not to comment on veteran social activist Anna Hazare's fast-unto-death on the Lokpal issue.  Top Army officers have been asked to convey this to the rank and file.  Anna Hazare was a driver in the Indian Army and spent his spare time reading the books of Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinoba Bhave. This inspired him to become a social worker and activist.  Kisan Bapat Baburao Hazare, popularly known as Anna Hazare, later took voluntary retirement from the Army and came to Ralegan Siddhi village in 1975.  Initially, he led a movement to eradicate alcoholism from the village. Next, he motivated the residents of the village into shramdan (voluntary labour) to build canals, small-scale check-dams and percolation tanks in the nearby hills for watershed development; efforts that solved the problem of water scarcity and made irrigation possible.  Hazare has helped farmers of over 70 villages in drought-hit Maharashtra since 1975. He also motivated villagers to build a secondary school through voluntary labour.  A gag order (also known as a gagging order or suppression order) is an order, sometimes a legal order by a court or government, other times a private order by an employer or other institution, restricting information or comment from being made public.

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